Five on Friday: Pirating, Training and Tweeting

Featuring LIVIT, Premier League, Google News Initiative and Twitter

In today’s edition of Five on Friday, LIVIT launches a tiered ARMY subscription plan so fans can support their favorite musical artists, entertainers and influencers on the streaming platform, a UK man gets jail time for selling pirated Premier League subscriptions, and Google News Initiative launches an academy to teach small newsrooms how to use artificial intelligence. Also, Facebook, TikTok and YouTube compete for top creators by starting huge creator funds, and Twitter is testing new conversation settings, including one that allows you to change who can reply to your tweets, even after they’re sent.

LIVIT App Launches Tiered ARMY Subscription Plan

Earlier this week, LIVIT, an international live streaming platform and app for up and coming music artists, entertainers and influencers, announced the launch of a tiered subscription plan called ARMY. With more than 45 million users around the globe, LIVIT launched the ARMY subscription program to connect users with their favorite artists and influencers. The tiered subscription plan gives subscribers a host of perks and benefits including exclusive subscriber-only content, digital gifts, and in-app badges.

The subscription program has four tiers: Sergeant ($30 per month); Captain ($167 per month); Colonel ($340 per month) and General ($1,770 per month). Each tier offers a host of perks and benefits, but the Colonel and General tiers offer unique perks, including special animations when entering a stream room and “free barrages” where a user comment is pinned to the top of the stream. It is not clear exactly what subscribers get at each level, and it doesn't look like the subscription is available in the app yet.

Launched in 2019, LIVIT is the largest live streaming platform in Asia, and it is expanding into other markets. The platform is powered by 17LIVE, and it allows users to watch live content 24/7 and to connect directly with streamers and other viewers. They can also attend exclusive events like virtual concerts. The LIVIT app is available for both iOS and Android.

Image courtesy of LIVIT

UK Man Gets Jail Time for Selling Pirated Premier League Subscriptions

The pirating of streaming subscription services has been a problem for almost as long as we’ve had streaming services, but it has become increasingly more prevalent in recent years. To prosecute streaming pirates, they have to be caught, and different jurisdictions will handle the crimes different ways, some imposing civil penalties and others criminal penalties.

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On July 6, one U.K. court sentenced a man to 16 months in jail for selling pirated streaming subscriptions to Premier League games. The defendant, Paul Faulkner, pled guilty to multiple copyright and fraud offenses, including accessing pirated content for his own use, said Premier League on their website.

Faulkner operated TV Solutions, a subscription-based IPTV service, to sell subscriptions containing sports and entertainment content, including access to Premier League matches. The judge said Faulkner’s crimes were sophisticated instances of fraud that utilized virtual private networks (VPNs).

Image: Bigstock Photos

In a news post on the league’s website, Premier League General Counsel Kevin Plumb said, “This sentencing demonstrates yet again that the courts take piracy crimes seriously and there are significant consequences for criminals involved in all forms of piracy. Legal action will be taken against those supplying unauthorized access to Premier League football, regardless of the size or scale of the pirate operation.”

“This defendant was also given a separate four-month prison sentence for simply watching the unauthorized service. If it were needed, this should dispel any misconception that watching pirate streaming services is a grey area or is not an offence in any way.

“The Premier League's significant financial support for the entire football pyramid and wider communities is made possible through being able to sell and protect our broadcast rights. We are pleased that, through judgments such as this, courts continue to recognize the importance of the protection of our copyright.”

In a separate post, the Premier League explained that UK viewers can legitimately watch matches by subscribing to Sky Sports or BT Sport, both of whom are authorized to carry Premier League games. They said they take the protection of copyright seriously, as do the courts, and cited other cases where streaming piracy occurred. They encouraged the public to contact them if they suspect illegal streaming devices or services.

Google News Initiative Launches Academy to Train Small Newsrooms on How to Use AI

The latest Google News Initiative is the development of the AI Academy to help small newsrooms learn how to use artificial intelligence. In a July 8, 2021 blog post, David Dieudonné, news lab lead for France, Italy and Spain, highlighted an example where the BBC used a bot to help answer readers’ questions about COVID-19. The use of the BBC Corona Bot helped the news outlet expand their reach and drive traffic to their articles.

Google touts this innovation as an opportunity for smaller newsrooms to leverage the usage of AI for repetitive tasks that can be automated. This frees up journalists to work on “more creative aspects of news production,” wrote Dieudonné.

To that end, GNI has established the AI Academy for Small Newsrooms, a six-week long, free online program taught by leading journalists and researchers who bridge the gaps between journalism and artificial intelligence. The program starts in September and will initially accept 20 students from Europe, Middle East and Africa. Google hopes to expand the program in other regions next year.

The program includes six modules: key concepts and definitions; applications of AI in journalism; data and technology; people and culture; risks and concerns; and ideation to implementation. Those interested in learning more or applying to be part of the program may visit the JournalismAI website.

Image: Bigstock Photos

Facebook, TikTok and Other Platforms Use Cash to Compete for Top Creators

Short-form video is popular everywhere – Facebook, TikTok, YouTube, Instagram, Snapchat and other social media platforms. To woo top content creators, platforms are creator billion-dollar creator funds. TikTok was among the first, starting a $200 million creator fund last summer, and Facebook and YouTube are among the most recent platforms offering creators big bucks for their unique and creative content. Here is a quick rundown of who is offering what, in alphabetical order:

Facebook and Instagram:  Though late to the short-form video game, Facebook is now onboard and making headlines.  Mark Zuckerberg recently announced on Facebook that they are planning to invest over $1 billion to creators by the end of next year for their content on either platform. Payment will come in the form of bonus programs. The first to receive bonuses are creators who make videos on Facebook with in-stream ads enabled. Instagram, whose short-form video platform is called ‘Reels,' will introduce separate bonus programs that will initially be invite-only, says TechCrunch.

Snapchat: Snapchat is paying up to $1 million per day to creators on Spotlight. The program, which launched last November, makes virtually anyone eligible to submit their clips to Spotlight. Payments are made based on a proprietary formula which considers different engagement metrics and other factors.

TikTok:  As noted above, last summer, TikTok started a $200 million creator fund for U.S. creators who are 18 or older. The $200 million budget was to be spent over the course of the year with TikTok adding to the creator fund over time. TikTok has expanded the program and added some guidelines to the creator fund. For example, the program now applies to creators 18+ who are based in the U.S., U.K., France, Germany, Spain or Italy. The creators must have at least 10,000 followers and 100,000 video views in the last 30 days. And, of course, the account and content must adhere to community guidelines. According to The Hustle, TikTok is planning to grow its creator fund to more than $1 billion in the U.S. over the next three years and double it worldwide.

YouTube:  In May, YouTube created a $100 million for ‘Shorts.’ ‘Shorts’ originally launched in beta last fall. The trial was so successful that the short-form video is now available in the U.S. The creator fund is just one opportunity short-form video YouTubers have to monetize their work.

Short-form videos are popular with a wide range of audiences, but we typically thing of younger audiences being attracted to platforms like Snapchat and TikTok. Creators who are making a living creating content will follow the money. The platforms will have to differentiate themselves, whether through payment structure, amount of money available, ease of use and other factors. Who do you think will attract the most content creators?

Twitter Lets You Change Who Can Reply to You, Even After You Tweet

Twitter has had a busy year experimenting with new features, trying to find the sweet spots that will attract and retain users but also gain subscribers. The latest feature Twitter is rolling out are conversation settings. The first one is being able to change a tweet’s settings in terms of who can reply to a tweet. There are three options:

  • Everyone can reply (default setting).
  • Only people you follow can reply.
  • Only people you mention can reply.

People who can’t reply can still view a tweet, retweet it, retweet it with a comment, share and like tweets.

Image courtesy of Twitter

Twitter has been testing the feature since May 2020, and they say users have hosted interviews and panels, shared their thoughts or made announcements. The feedback Twitter has gotten is that people feel more comfortable because they are more protected from spam and abuse, problem repliers’ options are limited to direct messages or retweeting with comments, and it helps block out undesired “noise.” Users are choosing to use this feature rather than mute or block users.

Your Tweets = Your space, says Twitter.

Will you use this feature? If so, how will it benefit you? We’d love to hear what you think!