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Netflix is more worried about video games like ‘Fortnite’ than HBO

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Bird Box NetflixA scene from the Netflix film “Bird Box.”Netflix

  • Netflix said it’s more worried about “Fortnite” and other types of entertainment than it is about competing streaming services like HBO, Hulu, and Amazon Prime Video.
  • A letter to shareholders reported that the company had 139 million subscribers at the close of 2018, and that Netflix accounts for about 10% of all television screen time in the U.S.
  • “Fortnite,” the world’s most popular video game, reportedly generated $2.4 billion in 2018, and more than 200 million people have played the free game.

As more and more movie streaming services crop up, Netflix says it’s not concerned with comparing itself to the competition. Instead, Netflix is more worried about keeping members watching instead of choosing another type of entertainment entirely — like video games.

In its Q4 earnings report out Thursday, Netflix said it accounts for roughly 10% of all television screen time, with viewers streaming 100 million hours of content per day. By the close of 2018, the company had 139 million subscribers and had raised revenue by 35%, but still fell short of their earnings expectations for Q4. And in an increasingly diverse entertainment landscape, Netflix is now facing stiff competition from the likes of “Fortnite.” 

“We earn consumer screen time, both mobile and television, away from a very broad set of competitors,” the quarterly earnings statement read. “We compete with (and lose to) ‘Fortnite’ more than HBO.”

Read more: Netflix falls after slight Q4 revenue miss and solid subscriber-growth numbers

“Fortnite,” the world’s most popular video game, has had 200 million registered players since launching in June 2017, and generated more than $2.4 billion in revenue as a free-to-play game last year. News outlets like the Wall Street Journal and Axios have noted that “Fortnite” has become akin to a social network for young gamers, with the average player spending six to 10 hours a week online.

While Netflix may not be able to match the interactive allure of video games, the company plans to continue improving the user experience so that existing members are happy to carve out more time in their day.

“Our growth is based on how good our experience is, compared to all the other screen time experiences from which consumers choose,” the earnings report reads. “Our focus is not on Disney+, Amazon or others, but on how we can improve our experience for our members.”

Those improvements will come at a cost though, as the company recently announced that subscription costs will be increased by up to 18%

Netflix has made comments in the past regarding competition and its drive to capture more time from viewers. During a 2017 earnings call, CEO Reed Hastings said that one of Netflix’s biggest competitors is sleep.

“You know, think about it, when you watch a show from Netflix and you get addicted to it, you stay up late at night,” Hastings said on the call. “We’re competing with sleep, on the margin. And so, it’s a very large pool of time.”

With multiple digital streaming services on the horizon, Netflix will still have to compete for content, but the battle for customer attention may be just as important.

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More groups join in support of women in STEM program at Carleton

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OTTAWA — Major companies and government partners are lending their support to Carleton University’s newly established Women in Engineering and Information Technology Program.

The list of supporters includes Mississauga-based construction company EllisDon.

The latest to announce their support for the program also include BlackBerry QNX, CIRA (Canadian Internet Registration Authority), Ericsson, Nokia, Solace, Trend Micro, the Canadian Nuclear Safety Commission, CGI, Gastops, Leonardo DRS, Lockheed Martin Canada, Amdocs and Ross.

The program is officially set to launch this September.

It is being led by Carleton’s Faculty of Engineering and Design with the goal of establishing meaningful partnerships in support of women in STEM.  

The program will host events for women students to build relationships with industry and government partners, create mentorship opportunities, as well as establish a special fund to support allies at Carleton in meeting equity, diversity and inclusion goals.

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VR tech to revolutionize commercial driver training

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Serious Labs seems to have found a way from tragedy to triumph? The Edmonton-based firm designs and manufactures virtual reality simulators to standardize training programs for operators of heavy equipment such as aerial lifts, cranes, forklifts, and commercial trucks. These simulators enable operators to acquire and practice operational skills for the job safety and efficiency in a risk-free virtual environment so they can work more safely and efficiently.

The 2018 Humboldt bus catastrophe sent shock waves across the industry. The tragedy highlighted the need for standardized commercial driver training and testing. It also contributed to the acceleration of the federal government implementing a Mandatory Entry-Level Training (MELT) program for Class 1 & 2 drivers currently being adopted across Canada. MELT is a much more rigorous standard that promotes safety and in-depth practice for new drivers.

Enter Serious Labs. By proposing to harness the power of virtual reality (VR), Serious Labs has earned considerable funding to develop a VR commercial truck driving simulator.

The Government of Alberta has awarded $1 million, and Emissions Reduction Alberta (ERA) is contributing an additional $2 million for the simulator development. Commercial deployment is estimated to begin in 2024, with the simulator to be made available across Canada and the United States, and with the Alberta Motor Transport Association (AMTA) helping to provide simulator tests to certify that driver trainees have attained the appropriate standard. West Tech Report recently took the opportunity to chat with Serious Labs CEO, Jim Colvin, about the environmental and labour benefits of VR Driver Training, as well as the unique way that Colvin went from angel investor to CEO of the company.

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Next-Gen Tech Company Pops on New Cover Detection Test

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While the world comes out of the initial stages of the pandemic, COVID-19 will be continue to be a threat for some time to come. Companies, such as Zen Graphene, are working on ways to detect the virus and its variants and are on the forefronts of technology.

Nanotechnology firm ZEN Graphene Solutions Ltd. (TSX-Venture:ZEN) (OTCPK:ZENYF), is working to develop technology to help detect the COVID-19 virus and its variants. The firm signed an exclusive agreement with McMaster University to be the global commercializing partner for a newly developed aptamer-based, SARS-CoV-2 rapid detection technology.

This patent-pending technology uses clinical samples from patients and was funded by the Canadian Institutes of Health Research. The test is considered extremely accurate, scalable, saliva-based, affordable, and provides results in under 10 minutes.

Shares were trading up over 5% to $3.07 in early afternoon trade.

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