You’ve heard a lot about Facebook this year, but you may not have heard about Watch.Watch is the social network’s hub for video, and, unlike the rest of company, it’s been mostly unscathed by Facebook’s privacy, security, disinformation and leadership scandals. Unfortunately for Watch: Neither its successes nor failures have been glaring enough to attract notice.House of Cards was the first show to put Netflix’s original-content efforts on the map. David Giesbrecht/Netflix Since launching last year with a reported $1 billion programming budget, Watch has yet to score with a critical smash or popular hit. It hasn’t got a signature show, like House of Cards, that puts its original content on the map, or a must-see program, like Stranger Things, that drives people to it in droves. Ask Facebook and it’ll say Watch is faring great. Watch’s niche programming is a feature, not a bug, according to Fidji Simo, Facebook’s head of video. “What we’re really going after is the amount of conversation and engagement, and that can be realized both in niche communities or in broad hits,” Simo said in an interview last week. “But we’re not really going for massive viewership.”Facebook is part of a scrum of tech and media companies wrestling one another to lock down your attention for TV online. But while most are taking aim at Netflix with online video subscription services, Facebook is stalking YouTube’s turf of free video you watch with ads. And with 2.27 billion people using Facebook every month, the world’s biggest social network may be the one competitor with the scale to actually take on YouTube. It just needs to figure out how. 2:58 1 “We are seeing some trends in younger audiences, and they are really engaged with these types of shows and create a lot of conversation,” she said. Looking forward to next year, Simo said much of Watch’s efforts will be focused on developing ways to make video more social, interactive and immersive, like testing a dark background when you’re watching a show. And Watch wants to keep widening its advertising base, so creators have more ways to make money from their videos. Of course, pushing for advertising led Facebook into the middle of minefields. Even Watch will need to watch its step. CNET’s Holiday Gift Guide: The place to find the best tech gifts for 2018.Culture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports. Now playing: Watch this: TV and Movies Digital Media Share your voice Zuckerberg defends actions after New York Times investigation Facebook Tags Comment “I’m not sure Watch is the future of Facebook video,” said Michael Greeson, president and director of research at the Diffusion Group, whose research shows half of adult Facebook users have never heard of the service. Instead, he says, it may be “the next step in the company’s learning curve.” Squishy stats More than 400 million people visit Watch each month and stay for at least a minute of video, an indication they’re intentional viewers. On a daily basis, the number is 75 million people, and among those, the average watch time is 20 minutes.That implies Watch has roughly 25 million hours of viewership each day. Red Table Talk, a talk program with Jada Pinkett Smith, is Facebook Watch’s most followed show. Stan Evans To put that in perspective, people watch more than a billion hours of video on YouTube daily. And Google’s massive video site has more than 1.8 billion logged-in users every month. But, as is always the problem with online video, none of these comparisons are perfect. YouTube’s billion-plus daily viewing hours, for instance, take place across its entire site. Facebook Watch’s stats don’t include videos people watch on other parts of the site, such as their News Feed. And these squishy, imperfect comparisons make it hard to gauge whether Facebook’s most successful shows are doing well. By pure number of followers, Jada Pinkett Smith’s talk program, Red Table Talk, is Facebook’s biggest show, with 4.3 million followers. What do you even compare that to? Maybe Tyler Oakley. Oakley, sometimes referred to as the Ellen DeGeneres of YouTube, has fewer followers on Facebook itself than Red Table Talk does. But he has 3 million more subscribers on his main platform, YouTube. (For the record, DeGeneres’ own Facebook following is nearly 30 million. So we can say Red Table Talk isn’t a hit on the scale of the Ellen Show. Illuminating.)Sorry for Your Loss, which stars Elizabeth Olsen as a young widow, has been Facebook Watch’s most critically praised original. Facebook That Facebook is measuring its success in social conversation and engagement makes things cloudier still. Watch’s most loyal audience, measured by the number of people who completed at least three episodes, is for Sorry for Your Loss, a bereavement drama starring Elizabeth Olsen. Sorry for Your Loss is also Facebook’s most critically acclaimed program and Watch’s best shot so far at potentially scoring award nominations. But the show’s third episode has just 182,000 views. Compare that to the final episode of Netflix’s House of Cards — that is, the eighth episode in the sixth season of a series that’s well past its heyday. By Nielsen’s ratings, House of Cards’ finale still pulled in an estimated 901,000 viewers. And that’s just in the first week. The first three episodes of Sorry for Your Loss have been available free for three months globally. Growing painsOf course, Watch is still a baby.”Facebook Watch is a grand experiment, and it’s still early in the game,” said Peter Csathy, chairman of CreaTV Media, a media- and tech-focused business advisory and investment firm. “It’s been watching and learning and growing and changing, and that’s all part of the plan.”Facebook Watch’s strategy also doesn’t lend itself to making shows that break outside their niches. Watch’s goal since the beginning, Simo said, is to create video that’s intrinsically social, so Facebook shows line up with built-in communities on the social network. Hence, beauty pageant fanatics match up well with Queen America, a newer Facebook Watch show that stars Catherine Zeta-Jones.Catherine Zeta-Jones stars as a beauty pageant coach in Queen America. Boris Martin Facebook’s other game plan has been to throw things at the wall to see what sticks. In more flattering Silicon Valley parlance: Fail fast. “We specifically designed our content strategies to be able to learn a lot,” Simo said. “That’s a big part of the reason why we’re funding content, to be able to learn as fast as possible.” Those two strategies combined can yield shows with real traction in specific groups, even if their appeal is invisible to wider audiences. It’s the same paradox that meant many traditional media companies have dismissed YouTube stars as minor leaguers. Facebook’s unrelenting scandals this year haven’t helped Watch. Watch is getting lost in the haze as Facebook puts out its other fires. Instead of Facebook’s brand drawing people into Watch’s shows, it’s increasingly a barrier, according to Csathy.The social network has been especially hard hit among young people, those most coveted by advertisers and a video-centric demographic that Watch has been aiming to lure in. A study by Pew found that 44 percent of people aged 18 to 29 years old have deleted their Facebook apps. Instead, Watch could lean hard into demographics that are already there, said Scott Fisher, the founder of Select, a company that manages top digital creators and influencers like Oakley.”Facebook is almost like the daytime TV” of online video, Fisher said. “Facebook should have the next This Is Us for their originals. That’s the right vibe. If they end up trying to do House of Cards, I don’t know if that makes sense.”But Simo flatly rejects speculation Facebook Watch is recalibrating around older viewers, pointing to teen-targeted shows, such as SKAM Austin and Five Points, that Facebook is renewing.
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After making a huge splash at India Art Fair earlier this year with his 3-D sculptural installations in metal, Israeli artiste David Gerstein is all set to exhibit a body of new works in his first solo show in India. Titled Poetic Mirror, the show is being brought to India by Bruno Art Group and is curated by Alka Pande. Born in Jerusalem in 1944, Gerstein studied in Jerusalem, Paris, New York and London and started exhibiting his work in 1971. He uses a large spectrum of media such as wall sculptures, paper cuts, prints and photographs and other small objects. He is most famous for his large, Fauve -like outdoor installations, which are very much part of the Israeli landscapes. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’Though Gerstein has already tasted success in the Indian market with many of his works being sold to Indian collectors post India Art Fair, this is the first time he will be visiting the country. Says the artist who is considered the pioneer of 3-D metal art: ‘Unfortunately, I have never been to India before but for many years, I have been reading about it and hearing stories or seeing films that it seems I know what India is like. My passion for colours always makes people inquire whether India helped determine my love for strong fresh colours which is so typical to the Indian culture. After all, the Mediterranean culture and heritage which we share with India brings us to the same strong sun and shadows. I’m sure India will look familiar to me from the very beginning. Some of my works involve a lot of details and are rich in colours which in recent years have disappeared from the art world trends.’ Also Read – Leslie doing new comedy special with NetflixYet, Gerstein admits he looks forward to watching the way ‘life is being performed on Indian streets, to smell the food and to see the wonderful craft that is being done everywhere. India and Israel share the same landscape and vegetation since the weather is closed but I am more interested in urban scenes than just landscape views,’ he says.’My art has always traversed its own path apart from trendy movements and I have stayed away from the ‘isms’, though often it’s been called ‘pop art’. I was a narrative artist from the very beginning and wanted to get people’s attention by representing the values I share with the common art lover. I want to share beauty and happiness and make people aware that there are great values we have as people and not just violence and disasters. After many years of creating narrative and figurative images, I wanted to extend the borders of painting and to give a new sculptural dimension to the so far illusionist look of the flat paintings. By slicing the view to multi layers, I achieved certain volume that was lacking in all the paintings that were done before.’ Among the works that will be on display during the show is the swirling 5th Avenue, a busy street scene inspired by the artist’s stay in New York. Happy Hours depicts the sensation of freedom overwhelming two bikers surrounded by a cloud of butterflies. The powerful Endless walk represents a multicoloured crowd of people walking along lines that form the infinity symbol. Gerstein’s works convey a sense of wonder and amusement at this fervour-ridden reality that is ours, and can be interpreted as a metaphor of life as a mad race. The Burning Lips pass on the feeling of softness of the lips or the sensation of its great sensitivity. Elegance is a comment about femininity and Peloton Wave is all about movement and the way the human figure is integrated with the mechanism of the bicycle. ‘Each image has its own story and solution.’WHERE: Visual Arts Gallery, India Habitat CentreWHEN: 6 to 15 May, 10 am to 8 pm
Maharashtra government has promised to find a suitable venue soon to set up a new regional centre of Lalit Kala Akademi (LKA) – country’s premier art Akademi. The Chairman of LKA Uttam Pacharane has made this announcement after his successful meeting in this regard with the Maharashtra Chief Minister Devendra Fadnavees on June 23, in Mumbai. Pacharane informs that he was accompanied by the senior BJP leader Raghunath Kulkarni while meeting Fadnavees. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfAccoding to Pacharane, the Mahrashtra CM’s attitude was very positive about opening a new regional centre in Mumbai. He said, “It was a long pending demand and when he sought to arrange a suitable venue with Fadnavees, he readily agreed and assured of his and his government’s whole hearted cooperation in establishing the regional centre. Pacharane claims that not only Mumbai but LKA is soon going to establish a new centre in the Indore as well.Pacharane deems that the new centre in Mumbai shall provide a new fillip to arts market in the country and also help the artists from Goa, Maharashtra and Gujarat in getting a fair deal for their imagination and hard work not only nationally but also internationally. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsiveMaharashtra has a long tradition of Arts and Culture and people tend to decorate their homes with Alpanaa on festivals like Ganesh Pooja etc. Despite being a repository of talent the local artists are still struggling to get noticed nationally as well internationally in Maharashtra, Goa and Gujarat.Maharashtra has a number of arts institutions and new regional Arts centre shall contribute immensely in their growth and provide encouragement to the talent. Pacharane informs that the LKA shall soon launch a big initiative for conservation and encouragement of Tribal Art forms and the indigenous artists.
The Chief Guest Amulya Patnaik, Delhi Police Commissioner, along with three Deputy Commissioners, visited Delhi Public School, R K Puram for the Annual Scholar Badge Ceremony for Class XI. Organised around the theme ‘Celebrating Life’, it was a much-awaited event to recognise the academic and co-curricular excellence of students with accolades.The Principal began her welcome address by praising the backbone of the society: Parents, teachers, and the police. She said that the most suitable person as the Chief Guest was the Commissioner, who is also the father of an alumnus of the school. She narrated an anecdote about privileged people, who shop in a mall, whining about the items that they could not buy; while on the other hand, a few street children, who had practically nothing with them, were still cheerful. Also Read – Add new books to your shelfFollowing this, she regretted that she had spent a major part of her life waiting for the right moment to do things. “It is only when a moment becomes a memory that you realise how valuable it is”. She advised the parents to teach their children to enjoy life to the fullest. She concluded her speech with a quote by Abraham Lincoln, “And in the end, it’s not the years in your life that count; it’s the life in your years.” Amulya Patnaik began his speech by complimenting the school authorities. He talked about how India is turning into a superpower economically but is not really excelling in the civic sense. He laid emphasis on the importance of discipline: civic and self. In his speech, he narrated an anecdote about when he went to the UK for training. This incident made him realise how deeply rooted self-discipline should be in school kids. He praised the school and its excellence. According to him an introspective approach towards society is very important and he advised the kids to maintain an equilibrium between job, family, and health. Also Read – Over 2 hours screen time daily will make your kids impulsivePatnaik talked about the cyber world that we are living in today. He mentioned how technological advancement has led to the gadgets becoming an integral part of our lives. He advised kids, parents, and teachers to have a ‘Cyber Recess’: a day’s break from the cyberspace which could be utilized for recreational purposes. He mentioned the various programmes that the Delhi Police has initiated for the youth – Sashakti, a programme that reaches out to the girl students of various Delhi schools and teaches them self-defense as well as HimmatPlus, a mobile app. The Chief Guest, Principal, Vice Principal, Dr Renu Nayyar, and class representatives felicitated the scholars by presenting badges, blazers, pins, ties, and certificates of merit. The Prantik Roy Memorial Gold Medal, for an all-around performance, was awarded to Sagnik Anupam.