Tag Archives: video

Unbabel for Video launches to translate your videos in seconds

You don’t need to launch your product or service outside the U.S. for translation services to become important.

In the U.S., Hispanic viewers are ahead of the curve when it comes to digital. They lead in adoption of new devices. The average Hispanic person in the U.S. spends more than eight hours watching online video each month. That’s more than 90 minutes longer than the U.S. average, according to a Nielsen report.

But how do you translate your lucrative, high-converting video content into Spanish, or any other language, for that matter?

Today, Unbabel — the Y Combinator-backed startup that combines machine learning with crowdsourced human translations — has announced the launch of Unbabel for Video to solve this exact problem.

“We’ve seen the results of translating videos through the experiences of YouTube channels such as VICE,” Vasco Pedro, CEO and cofounder of Unbabel, told me in an interview at CapitalFest in Amsterdam. “After translating videos into Spanish and Portuguese, it more than doubled the daily watch time from speakers of those languages. In fact, watch time from [Spanish-speaking] users tripled.”

Here’s how it works.

Powered by its proprietary technology platform, which combines neural machine translation, artificial intelligence, quality estimation algorithms, and a global network of more than 50,000 bilingual post-editors, the new service transcribes and translates video and audio content, returning searchable, time-stamped text in dozens of languages.

In short, Unbabel for Video first attempts a high-quality automatic translation using the Unbabel platform. These outputs are then distributed to the Unbabel community, which use the system to review and edit thousands of words per day.

How has Unbabel managed to build such a big post-editor community?

“When we launch in a different country we create and promote content that attracts a seed group of 10 to 20 people,” Pedro said. “From there, we have a program that allows those first post-editors to refer their friends to the program. Of course, we then put these applicants through a series of tests and certifications before accepting them as translators.”

This community of human translators and the speed with which they are employed by the system makes Unbabel an attractive solution for quick and accurate translation. This new API transcribes and translates video automatically.

Pedro showed me the API working within a video app that the company has prepared for demonstration purposes. We recorded a short video that the system transcribed within a few seconds, creating subtitles for the video in English. Pedro then showed me instant translations in Spanish, Portuguese, Chinese, and Japanese. The transcription wasn’t perfect, which means the translations weren’t either, but with the click of a button, the video was pushed out to the post-editor community.

Within a few minutes, we had perfect subtitles in five languages. The API supports 28.

It is important to note that Unbabel for Video is a B2B solution. The company has no immediate plans to make this technology available to consumers.

“You need a lot of money to go after consumers,” Pedro said. “And, frankly, we don’t have expertise in consumer-facing products. Consumers are also less willing to pay for transcription and translation services, whereas businesses can use our product to dramatically reduce the costs and resources required to translate business content, including video.”

And that’s the key to this system. In essence, Unbabel is providing the kind of translation service you’d expect from a high-end agency, but at a lower cost and with a much faster turnaround.

Unbabel for Video is available from today.

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Apple TV may be getting Amazon Prime Video at long last

Amazon’s Prime Video TV service may be available on Apple TV later this year, according a report by Recode. For those not keeping track, Amazon hasn’t exactly had a smooth relationship with some of its competition in the video streaming space. The company’s Prime Video service is not available on Apple TV or most Android TV devices, and the company has ignored Google Cast in lieu of its own Fire-branded streamers. In fact the feud runs so deep that Amazon removed all Apple TV and Chromecast listings from its store in late 2015. It gave the lame excuse that it would…

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Text, image and video moderation service Arbitrum picks up $500K from Ask.fm founders

 Arbitrum, a text, image and video moderation service founded by German Gedgauds, who previously headed up Ask.fm’s moderation team and product, has raised $ 500,000 in funding. Backing the Riga, Latvia-based startup is Balaclava Lab, the investment vehicle of Ask.fm founders Ilja Terebin, Mark Terebin and Oskar Liepins. Read More
Fundings & Exits – TechCrunch

Facebook’s video strategy nets 1,055% higher share rate than YouTube


Native video is becoming hugely important. With 25 percent of U.S. users adopting an ad blocker last year, native content is how marketers are avoiding the cut.

And native video is one of the reasons influencer marketing and user-generated content has become so important.

In a study released today by social media analytics company Quintly  — that took in data from 6.2 million posts from 167,000 Facebook profiles throughout 2016 — one thing is clear. Native video has not only taken over Facebook, it has done so by design.

Facebook is determined to catch and pass YouTube in the video wars. In 2015, VB Insight studied both platforms and found that YouTube was still 11X bigger than Facebook. At the time, Americans spent an aggregate of 8,061 years on YouTube, compared to 713 years watching video on Facebook.

But with automatic video plays in the feed by default, and a design that downplays the importance of other video platforms, Facebook has been clawing away at YouTube’s dominant position.

“Our last video study already showed that Facebook native videos have been dominating the social network,” Nils Herrmann, digital communications manager at Quintly, told me. “But this study gives a more detailed understanding of this trend and just how substantial it is. It might not come as such a surprise that Facebook’s native videos are outperforming other formats, but what’s interesting is how those native videos performed on average 109 percent better than even YouTube videos. And that number rose as high as 186 percent in December 2016. Also that same month, we found that FB native videos held a 1055 percent higher share rate than YouTube videos. Given how popular YouTube remains on its own outside of Facebook, these numbers raised a few eyebrows!”

Facebook’s tactic of downplaying other formats has seen Vimeo shares almost disappear from the network entirely — only 2 percent of profiles included a Vimeo link in their feeds. And video is now so prevalent on Facebook that 53 percent of all Facebook profiles share video content on their feed.


The performance of native videos suggests that influencer marketing could be a big winner for marketers who want to win on Facebook. However, that is a double-edged sword for Mark Zuckerberg’s social network, since it isn’t monetizing these videos in the same way YouTube does.

“At the moment, Facebook native videos simply increase your share of voice through a higher reach than other formats based on the results of our study,” Herrmann said. “This is a good start for both companies and influencers to optimize their strategies, to measure and then adjust. After professional Facebook users build a more grown-up video strategy, Facebook is very likely to do something comparable as YouTube.”

The study includes a few other surprises and further indications that Facebook’s strategy around video-sharing and viewing is allowing the company to catch up with Google’s YouTube.

“For starters, over 90 percent of the analyzed profiles used Facebook native videos — that is 3X more than the use of YouTube videos,” Herrmann said. “And it’s consistent in nearly every analyzed group of different profile sizes that FB native videos were a strong player. We also found that the biggest profiles (with 10 million+ followers) are increasingly likely to use Facebook native videos — a 35 percent growth rate in usage was detected for this profile group alone between July and December 2016.”

With Facebook now pushing video to Samsung and Apple TVs via its new app, the message is clear — video is important.

“Facebook really has succeeded in having their native video format take precedent on their own social network,” Herrmann said. “While it would likely never fully replace the use and shares of YouTube and other formats, in the long run, we might see those become even more rarely used, while Facebook native videos will continue to dominate users’ news feeds everywhere.”

The full study, which also details video performance, share rates, and growth statistics, is available today.

Social – VentureBeat

Bizarre video of Alexa (not) talking about the CIA sparks conspiracy theories

In light of Wikileaks’ shocking revelations of the CIA’s huge arsenal of tools for remote hacking, discussions of online privacy are bound to proliferate across the web in the coming days – and one bizarre video of Amazon’s voice-enabled assistant Alexa is already sparking all sorts of wild conspiracy theories. Redditors are freaking out over a clip that shows Alexa deliver answers to a rigorous line of questioning with regards to its “connection” to the CIA. As seen in the video, an anonymous woman asks Amazon’s virtual assistant a series of questions, starting with a simple inquiry into the authenticity of Alexa’s answers.…

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Hands-on with Facebook’s new video app for TVs: photos and first impressions

Facebook for Samsung TVs

A little more than two weeks after Facebook first revealed plans to launch a dedicated video app for TV screens, the company has finally started rolling it out, kicking off this week with Samsung TVs and Apple TV.

Though the company had given a hint as to what to expect from the app, we can now see what it looks like and how users are expected to engage with videos on the big screen.

Here’s a quick look at how Facebook’s shiny new app has shaped up, using the Samsung incarnation for the test.

Facebook video on the big screen

First, you’ll need to head to the relevant Apps section of your TV device and install the app. When you open it, Facebook asks you to visit “Facebook.com/device” from a PC or mobile device, through which you enter the code that’s given on your TV screen. This, essentially, is to save you having to manually type in your username / password through the TV remote — which could be pretty fiddly.

That said, in the case of Samsung, you can normally use your phone’s keypad to enter information and control things through the Samsung Smart View app — that doesn’t appear to be an option with the Facebook video app.

Facebook for Samsung TVs: Install

Above: Facebook for Samsung TVs: Install

Once you’re logged in, you’re presented with a horizontal carousel of videos that automatically play in sequence, though you can navigate to the next one using the arrow keys on the remote control.

The first category of videos you’ll see are those that have been shared to Facebook by your friends.

Facebook: Shared by Friends

Above: Shared by Friends

To go full screen on a video, just hit the “Enter” button on the remote.

Facebook Video: Full Screen

Above: Full Screen

Using the “Up” and “Down” arrows on your remote, you can then navigate between the various categories that Facebook has divided the videos into.

There is “Following,” which includes videos from Pages and people you follow on Facebook.


Above: Following

Then Facebook flexes its algorithmic muscles with videos it thinks you’ll like based on your various activities across the Facebook-connected ecosystem.


Above: Recommended

Next up is “Top Live Videos,” which again sees Facebook using signals from across the social network to identify which livestreams are proving popular at the moment.

Top Live

Above: Top Live

Those who spend a lot of time watching videos on Facebook, or who simply flag videos to watch later, will like the “Saved Videos” category, which places all your personally bookmarked clips in their own library.

Saved Videos

Above: Saved Videos

But if you don’t remember to save videos, the “Recently Watched” section is a good way to revisit everything you’ve viewed recently on Facebook.

Recently Watched

Above: Recently Watched

Given that people interact with their TV screens differently from the way they interact with a mobile phone or tablet, Facebook has had to redesign the experience to accommodate what is typically the primary input device — the TV remote control.

Those who prefer to use their mobile phone as the primary controller can actually do that already — last October, Facebook announced support for Apple TV through AirPlay and for Google’s Chromecast.

The TV app itself is intuitive enough and well-designed, and for those who don’t have a clue what to watch while slumped in front of the TV, the way it autoplays through each category is useful — it mirrors how YouTube works, in terms of how playing the next video without the user having to do anything.

Indeed, the video app launch represents the latest in a long-standing battle between Facebook and Google-owned YouTube, which has offered TV apps for many years already. Twitter is also embracing video-streaming, having recently launched its own live video app for Xbox One, Apple TV, and Amazon Fire TV.

Video opens up a host of new advertising channels for companies — just last week, Facebook announced that it would start inserting mid-roll video ads, while celebrities and brands will soon be able to include 20-second ad breaks in their live broadcasts.

Social – VentureBeat

Twitter admits ‘technical error’ in product update impacted video ad campaign reporting

Twitter's logo on display at the company's 2016 Flight developer conference in San Francisco, Calif.

Twitter has acknowledged that it incorrectly calculated video advertising metrics with the result likely impacting some campaigns between November 7 and December 12. The company placed the blame on a “technical error” from a product update made to its Android app and said that the issue has since been resolved.

In a rather opaque statement, Twitter said that it has since notified affected advertisers and is “confident it has been resolved” because it’s not a policy or definition issue. Although not disclosed by the company, Business Insider has reported that this bug inflated video ad metrics by as much as 35 percent.

When reached out for more information, a company spokesperson remarked, “We recently discovered a technical error due to a Twitter product update to Android clients that affected some video ad campaigns from November 7 to December 12. Once we discovered the issue, we resolved it and communicated the impact to affected partners. Given this was a technical error, not a policy or definition issue, we are confident it has been resolved.”

It’s also said that those impacted will be receiving refunds for the overbilling. Sources familiar with the matter shared that while 35 percent appears to be a lot, many affected advertisers will likely be reimbursed $ 1, suggesting that this event may not have that large an impact. However, the fact that Twitter disclosed a metric bug is noteworthy as it seems to be one of the first times the company has had to recalculate ad metrics.

But Twitter isn’t the first one to have to reveal this error. Fellow social media service Facebook has had to humble itself in front of advertisers repeatedly this year, announcing that it has had to readjust metrics multiple times, including for its estimated reach, streaming reactions, Graph API, around how it measured video viewership and more.

Nevertheless, the frequency at which services like Twitter and Facebook are disclosing may cause advertisers to worry, since they’re devoting huge budgets to this promising new age of marketing only to find out that there are discrepancies in reporting, which affects their return — and their trust. Additionally, how will today’s revelation impact Twitter’s relationship with brands as it seeks to keep itself afloat and prove that it’s something to bet big on?

“We will continue to monitor our systems to proactively identify issues. We value our customers’ trust in our service and will continue to provide support and transparency in our partnership,” the company said.

Social – VentureBeat

This stupid Japanese video is going to take over the world

Pen Pineapple Apple Pen. PPAP. Call it what you want, but it’s close to taking over the world. If you take a few seconds and look at the video above you’ll understand what I mean. It’s like the most addictive drug you could ever find, but worse. In the video you see Japanese artist Piko-Taro using its magical powers to combine a pen, a pineapple, and apple and another pen to form a pen-pineapple-apple-pen. It doesn’t make sense. It doesn’t have to, because the melody is so ridiculously catchy that it’ll be stuck in your head for the rest of the day. Or…

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Facebook Messenger now lets you easily switch to video within any mobile conversation

Facebook Messenger Instant Videos

You know all of that talk about video being added everywhere? Well Facebook isn’t letting up — and it has now introduced instant videos into Facebook Messenger, meaning that within any text-based conversation, you can jump right into a video chat if it’ll enrich your interactions. This peer-to-peer capability is currently exclusive to Facebook’s Messenger app on iOS and Android.

“Instant video is a reflection of the ubiquity of video,” Facebook said in a post. “We simply expect to have that ability in real time, all the time. With Instant video, you can bring your conversations to life in the most authentic way — seamlessly and instantly.”

If you have an open Messenger chat and feel you could better communicate something with video, there’s no longer any need to load up an option like FaceTime or even make a video call through Messenger. Facebook now lets you create an ad hoc video conversation with a tap of an icon in the top right corner of the app. Audio is off by default because “sometimes you just need to see something, not hear it,” but you can enable audio, if needed. When enabled, your video will float on top of the active text conversation, and your friend will be able to share a video response if they wish.

This feature is perfect for when you’re chatting with a friend and are curious to know which pair of shoes you should wear or what type of dessert you should bring them from the ice cream store, or you find yourself in any other situation where an impromptu video would add to the live experience.

Since you’re also able to have group chats within Facebook Messenger, this offering may one day be applicable there too, but it’s limited to one-on-one conversations for now.

Facebook Messenger Instant Video

Above: Facebook Messenger Instant Video

Image Credit: Facebook

With more than 1 billion monthly active users on the app, Facebook wants to make it simpler for people to communicate with each other, especially since it views video as one of the next big opportunities.

To use instant video, both parties must have the latest version of Facebook Messenger on either iOS or Android. This feature will only work between mobile devices.

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Twitter testing Periscope feature that pulls video from external sources


Twitter is testing a feature in Periscope that lets a limited number of broadcasters incorporate video from external sources, meaning that soon you may no longer be restricted to livestreaming video from your mobile device, GoPro camera, or drones. Should this experiment work well, creators could be empowered to spruce up their broadcasts, something that takes a page out of YouTube’s playbook and will likely appeal to influencers.

“We’re always testing new functionality that gives our broadcasters the ability to create great content,” a Twitter spokesperson said in a statement to VentureBeat.

Matt Navarra tweet Periscope

Some users may notice a label for certain broadcasts that reads: “Beta test of new broadcast feature incorporating external video in Periscope.” This feature represents on-going efforts by Twitter to reach out to influencers, something that chief executive Jack Dorsey has outlined as a focal point for 2016.

The feature will allow content creators to kick their broadcasts up a notch, especially as they talk about live events. In fact, one of most recent demonstrations of this offering come from broadcaster Alex Pettitt on Thursday, with coverage of the SpaceX rocket explosion. Instead of pre-recording video and then editing it in post-production, creators will have an easier time posting high-quality video in real time.

The incorporation of video from external sources follows recent changes Twitter has made, including helping creators monetize their work through its Amplify Publisher program and enabling them to add pre-roll ads to their videos. Additionally, the company has included Periscope in that same initiative, which means ads are coming to the livestreaming app for select broadcasters.

In the battle of live video, Twitter is going full steam ahead to capture the attention of creators, a group that remains very much in-demand. YouTube, Snapchat, Facebook, and Twitter are all vying for these creators’ content and audience because that leads to not only more advertising impressions, but also more users and activity across their properties.

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