Technologies

Hidden Door Announces the Launch of an Ai Game Platform to Create the Narrative Multiverse

Hidden Door is a new technology studio at the crossroads of machine learning and immersive entertainment. It has started with the lofty ambition of developing the world's first narrative multiverse – a platform for generating and sharing endless stories. The firm is founded by AI entrepreneurs Hilary Mason, and Matt Brandwein has raised $2 million in a pre-seed round headed by Northzone, with Makers Fund, Betaworks, Brooklyn Bridge Ventures, Homebrew, and angels Dan Sturman (CTO of Roblox) and Joshua Schacter participating (founder of del.icio.us).

In the storytelling style of a table top roleplaying game, players can improvise limitless adventures with responsively produced NPCs, artifacts, and settings, including a playful AI narrator. Hidden Door's objective is to inspire creativity through artificial intelligence (AI), employing natural language, vivid art, and engaging social narrative experiences. The initial product is a social game platform that allows users to tell stories with their friends in a range of shared creative universes.

 "We connect by sharing stories.” "It's finally possible to design machines that make the story computable, allowing anyone to tell their own stories." We feel we've succeeded in designing a system that can improvise alongside creative individuals while directing different and safe story experiences."

-Hilary Mason, co-founder and CEO of Hidden Door

Hidden Door's platform features millions of stories, proprietary language, and expandable art models. Developers can use its APIs to create online experiences for dynamically improvising new stories with groups of players while adhering to strict content and safety guidelines. In addition, it will allow authors to automatically modify old works for this new medium in the future.

Jay Chi, founding partner, Makers Fund said, “We invested in Hidden Door due to their vision for a playful and dynamic narrative platform that brings people together around magical storytelling.” “Hidden Door is well on its way to solving what previously appeared to be an unsolvable problem: building an AI that can have realistic dialogues with players while inventing a narrative. They're a distinctive group that combines storytelling, machine learning, and interactive entertainment uniquely. We're excited to see how the community comes up with new ideas and stories to add to the story."

Players will be able to explore an initial assortment of original playable environments when the game launches. Players aged nine and above who enjoy role-playing games or inventing stories with friends will be able to join the invite-only alpha in early 2022.

"We often characterize technology and humanity as in opposition when thinking about AI,Hilary and Matt are creating a machine that truly enhances human collaborative creativity, and we're thrilled about Hidden Door." That's not just impressive, but it's also the kind of universe we'd like to live in."

-Wendy Xiao Schadeck, a partner at Northzone.

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Media and Broadcasting

SONY MUSIC MASTERWORKS LAUNCHES NEW JOINT VENTURE WITH UK-BASED LIVE ENTERTAINMENT COMPANY, ROAST PRODUCTIONS

PR Newswire | January 11, 2024

Sony Music Masterworks, a division of Sony Music Entertainment, today announced a new strategic venture with Roast Productions, a live entertainment company founded by Bonnie Royal and Michael Stevens. Based in London and operating internationally, Roast Productions focuses on producing theatre, concerts, and family entertainment events. Royal and Stevens will continue to lead the company's day-to-day operations and collaborate with Masterworks on the development of a range of new productions, working in close partnership with both Masterworks President Mark Cavell and Ollie Rosenblatt, founder and CEO of Senbla, a UK producer/promoter. Recent and current shows include MACBETH starring Ralph Fiennes and Indira Varma playing in Liverpool, Edinburgh, London and Washington DC; 2:22 A GHOST STORY in the West End (Apollo Theatre), touring in the UK and Australia; CHRISTMAS ACTUALLY, a Christmas variety show curated by "Love Actually" filmmaker Richard Curtis and produced in partnership with Senbla; the highly acclaimed West End run of VANYA starring Andrew Scott; and the new musical COWBOY BOB at the Alley Theatre in Houston, TX; as well as the 2024 UK tour of THE 13-STOREY TREEHOUSE based on the best-selling book by Andy Griffiths and Terry Denton. The company will also offer production, general management, and marketing services in the West End and beyond. At the same time, Roast Productions is pleased to announce strategic agreements with National Theatre Productions and Various Productions, as co-producer for STANDING AT THE SKY'S EDGE at the Gillian Lynne Theatre opening in February, and with the Ambassador Theatre Group, as Creative Producer of the inaugural WIMBLEDON CHILDREN'S FESTIVAL at the New Wimbledon Theatre, launching in Summer 2024. Mark Cavell, President of Sony Music Masterworks, said, "I'm absolutely delighted to welcome Bonnie and Michael to the Sony Music Masterworks family. Their creativity and expertise will further support our endeavours in securing and creating new quality and original live productions that will captivate and entertain audiences across the globe, and provide first-class content for our other partners to promote and market." Bonnie Royal and Michael Stevens, Producers and Co-Managing Directors of Roast, commented, "It is an absolute honour to join Sony Music Masterworks and develop new work and new markets together. The strength of its vision and values makes it the ideal partner for us as we develop a diverse body of work in the UK and internationally." Sony Music Masterworks' agreement with Roast Productions is the latest in a series of strategic partnerships and acquisitions advancing its growth as a multi-faceted worldwide entertainment business operating in more than 30 countries. The network of companies includes Black Ink Presents, a Los Angeles-based creative design and production services company; Culture Creative, a production and project management team specialising in developing site-specific and bespoke projects in unique heritage and landscape settings; Netherlands-based GEA Live, which designs, represents and produces shows and experiences based on prominent IP in music, film, television, anime and gaming; The Luna Entertainment Group, the UK market-leader of open-air, drive-in and pop-up cinema experiences which also stages high quality location-based entertainment experiences, exhibitions and events; MAC Global, an award-winning, pan-regional concert promotion, talent management, events and production company based in Dubai, United Arab Emirates; Proactiv Entertainment, the live event producer and promoter based in Barcelona, Spain; Raymond Gubbay Ltd., the music, dance & Light Trail/Lightscape promoter; RoadCo Entertainment, the New York-based producing and distribution agency specialising in live entertainment experiences; Seaview, the Tony and Olivier award-winning media company with theatre, film, TV, and digital verticals; Senbla, the London-based producer/promoter of quality music, theatre and immersive events, shows and festivals and Terrapin Station Entertainment, an artist management, tour production and sports/stadium consultancy company which specialises in family-friendly and brand-led events, immersive exhibits, game shows and charity concerts. ABOUT BONNIE ROYAL Over her career, Bonnie Royal has headed up an extensive and diverse portfolio of productions. Previously as Commercial Director of Fierylight, she worked with global brands including the children's entertainment icon PEPPA PIG for over 10 years (including 11 seasons in London's West End), and led the development and production of family titles such as Julia Donaldson's THE SMARTEST GIANT IN TOWN with Little Angel Theatre in 2020, which went on to have a sell-out UK tour and played an Olivier Award-nominated West End season. As Marketing Director, Royal's credits include The Kenneth Branagh Theatre Company: PLAYS AT THE GARRICK season (which included THE WINTER'S TALE starring Dame Judi Dench and ROMEO AND JULIET starring Lily James and Richard Madden) to HAIRSPRAY (London Coliseum), CIRCUS 1903 (Southbank Centre), THE 39 STEPS (West End) and FLEABAG (West End), as well as the West End transfers of The Almeida's MARY STUART and the National Theatre's HOME, I'M DARLING. Most recent projects include Rodgers and Hammerstein's OKLAHOMA! (West End) and THE PADDINGTON BEAR EXPERIENCE (County Hall). ABOUT MICHAEL STEVENS With over more than 20 years in the performing arts industry, Michael Stevens has focused on creative collaboration, with a sustained commitment to the commissioning and production of new works. His work in an Executive Producer role with organisations – including the Australian Chamber Orchestra, Melbourne Festival and Arts Centre Melbourne – led to dozens of new (and many award-winning) creations across theatre, musical theatre, dance, opera, circus, classical and contemporary music, film, visual arts and in the digital arena. Returning in 2016 to London, Stevens co-founded Fiery Angel Entertainment, with which he introduced CIRCUS 1903 to London for four seasons at Royal Festival Hall and Hammersmith Apollo and BARRY HUMPHRIES' WEIMAR CABARET at the Barbican Theatre. New productions have included GUYS AND DOLLS at the Royal Albert Hall, directed by Stephen Mear with an all-star cast, and the European premiere of DOLLY PARTON'S SMOKY MOUNTAIN CHRISTMAS CAROL at the Southbank Centre, as well as touring projects such as ROB BRYDON – A NIGHT OF SONGS AND LAUGHTER (80 shows at London Palladium and on tour around UK/Australia/New Zealand); PEPPA PIG – MY FIRST CONCERT (Royal Festival Hall, London Coliseum, & 90+ UK dates); BLACK BLUES BROTHERS (UK regional tour) and TUBULAR BELLS – THE 50TH ANNIVERSARY CELEBRATION (50 shows at Royal Festival Hall and on UK tour). ABOUT SENBLA A leading producer and promoter of hundreds of live shows around the world annually, Senbla provides a wide range of services in support of performing arts productions, artist tours, large scale artist concerts, and concept-based shows, as well as theatrical and family entertainment events. Its extensive capabilities includes licensing and production, plus management of all aspects of global Intellectual Property rights. The company has worked on numerous recent productions including the 'Spider-Man: Into The Spider-Verse' concert with live orchestra which played 85 dates globally; Michael Bublé at the Bath Royal Crescent; a run of Lionel Richie UK shows; Diana Ross's recent UK Arena Tour; concert with live orchestra dates from Ennio Morricone, Sophie Ellis-Bextor, Joss Stone, The Holiday, Love Actually, and A Muppets' Christmas Carol; opera events, the Disney 100 UK Arena Tour, and Circus 1903. Senbla also is an investor in theatrical shows including "Six" on Broadway and its US Tour, and is a co-promoter and producer of shows internationally.

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Business

Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming Expand Innovative Programs in Fight Against Human Trafficking

PR Newswire | January 16, 2024

Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming announce their ongoing commitment to the fight against human trafficking with new support tools for victims and those at risk, a youth education program, new trainings to help Team Members combat and prevent human trafficking, and work with new community partners to create a greater impact. "We are deeply committed to the work our community partners provide for those at risk, victims and survivors of human trafficking in the United States and around the world, as we work together to combat human trafficking," said Jim Allen, Chairman of Hard Rock International and CEO of Seminole Gaming. Over the last several years, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have implemented comprehensive protocols to increase awareness of and prevent human trafficking, including training over 27,000 hotel and casino Team Members globally and collaborating with local community partners and advocacy groups. Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are continuing their work in 2024 with direct support for victims, survivors, and at-risk youth, through the following programs: First Hospitality Brands to Globally Implement Twentyfour-Seven QR Code Created for trafficking survivors, by survivors at Twentyfour-Seven Inc., Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are the first hospitality brands to implement the Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which provides critical information and support to those who need it, while also deterring traffickers from targeting individuals on the properties. The Twentyfour-Seven QR code sticker, which has resulted in several law enforcement investigations being opened, is being implemented in 44 hotels and casinos across 13 countries. This QR code, which offers information in several different languages, is helping people at risk find a way to understand their situations and the resources available for protection. Expanding Youth Education in Mexico to Prevent Online Luring Building upon the success of the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest (SIQ), an education program that helps teens understand the risks of being lured online, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming have now expanded the program into classrooms in Mexico following a well-received pilot in Quintana Roo last year that reached 35,000 students. The state's Governor has made the program a mandatory part of the educational curriculum. To effectively reach Mexican youth, the SIQ content was co-developed with experts from PACT- (Protect All Children from Trafficking; formerly ECPAT-USA), ECPAT-Mexico, and EduNetwork Partners. To date, the Hard Rock Social Identity Quest was adopted and taught by 60,000 teachers in 45 U.S. states, reaching 1.2 million high school students, eight percent of the student population. Nearly 2,000 Hard Rock team members also completed the Quest with a young person in their lives. Funding our Community Partners through Change for Change Through its Change for Change program, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming will raise funds to combat human trafficking during January. Casino guests will have the opportunity to donate change from redeemed gaming vouchers to the Hard Rock Heals Foundation, where 100 percent of the funds will benefit our community partners: PACT, the first U.S. organization to focus on the commercial sexual exploitation of children, and Twentyfour-Seven. In 2023, this program raised $100,000 for PACT and Covenant House New York. Youth Employment Program with FLITE Center Florida and Covenant House New York Offered initially in New York City and extended to South Florida last year, Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming's Youth Employment Program aims to help protect youth at risk and support survivors to escape a life of trafficking by helping them forge careers in hospitality. Partners include Covenant House New York City, the largest provider of runaway and homeless youth services in New York City, and FLITE Center, South Florida's leading agency for vulnerable youth and those aging out of foster care. FLITE Center provides support to vulnerable youth with guidance on education, employment, housing health and wellness, and care coordination. Setting a New Standard for Training in the Gaming Industry with the American Gaming Association Hard Rock and Seminole Gaming are driving the advancement of industry practices to combat human trafficking with the American Gaming Association's (AGA) Anti-Human Trafficking Task Force's first-ever free industry-developed training, designed to be the new standard in training for the gaming industry. Working with non-profit and law enforcement partners, the AGA Taskforce created this training based on trauma-informed care and the contributions of trafficking survivors. It will help set a standard for the gaming industry and ensure that guest-facing Team Members know how to recognize signs that trafficking may occur and what steps to take. Learn more about Hard Rock International and Seminole Gaming's corporate social responsibility initiatives at www.hardrock.com/social-responsibility. About Hard Rock®: Hard Rock International (HRI) is one of the most globally recognized companies with venues in over 70 countries spanning 309 locations that include owned/licensed or managed Hotels, Casinos, Rock Shops®, Live Performance Venues and Cafes. HRI also launched a joint venture named Hard Rock Digital in 2020, an online sportsbook, retail sportsbook and internet gaming platform. Beginning with an Eric Clapton guitar, Hard Rock owns the world's largest and most valuable collection of authentic music memorabilia at more than 87,000 pieces, which are displayed at its locations around the globe. Hard Rock Hotels has been honored by J.D. Power's North America Hotel Guest Satisfaction Study as the number one brand in Outstanding Guest Satisfaction for two consecutive years, and among the top Upper Upscale Hotels for four consecutive years. HRI became the first privately-owned gaming company designated a U.S. Best Managed Company by Deloitte Private and The Wall Street Journal in 2021, and has since been honored threefold. Hard Rock was also honored by Forbes among the World's Best Employers, as well as Best Employers for Women, Diversity and New Grads and a Top Large Employer in the Travel & Leisure, Gaming, and Entertainment Industry. In the 2022 Global Gaming Awards, Hard Rock was named Land-Based Operator of the Year for the second time in four years. Hard Rock International currently holds investment grades from primary investment-grade rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB) and Fitch Ratings (BBB). For more information on Hard Rock International, visit www.hardrock.com or shop.hardrock.com. About Seminole Gaming: Seminole Gaming manages six Florida casino enterprises for the Seminole Tribe of Florida, including Seminole Hard Rock Hotels & Casinos in Tampa and Hollywood, Fla. Seminole Gaming has long been recognized for its industry innovations and success. The Seminole Tribe was the first Indian Tribe in North America to open Ultimate Bingo, a high-stakes bingo hall and casino, which debuted in 1979 and became the forerunner of the Indian Gaming movement. Seminole Gaming is currently the only gaming company with investment grade ratings from all three primary investment-grade rating agencies: S&P Global Ratings (BBB), Moody's Corporation (Baa2) and Fitch Ratings (BBB).

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Technologies

The YES Network and MSG Networks Form Gotham Advanced Media and Entertainment (GAME), a New Technology

PR Newswire | January 05, 2024

The YES Network ("YES") and MSG Networks ("MSGN") today announced that they have formed Gotham Advanced Media and Entertainment ("GAME"), a new 50/50 joint venture to capitalize on technical and operational synergies associated with YES' and MSGN's streaming services. GAME will also offer turn-key digital content distribution services, including platform technology, operational support and comprehensive data analytics to third parties, utilizing the combined technical and operational expertise each company has garnered from the respective successful launch and operation of the YES App and MSG+. "As we continue to capitalize on the momentum created by YES' award-winning digital offerings, we look forward to collaborating with MSG Networks to further elevate the fan experience," said Jon Litner, CEO of the YES Network. "With the launch of GAME, we are excited to develop new product offerings, and premium features and functionality, to serve audiences like never before, while also providing a scalable tech solution for third-party content owners seeking to deliver state-of-the-art streaming experiences to their customers." Andrea Greenberg, President and Chief Executive Officer of MSG Networks, said: "This joint venture with YES will combine the streaming expertise of two of the largest regional sports networks in the country. With the formation of GAME, we seek to marry our collective insight, expertise and best-in-class technology not only to explore enhancements to our own products, but also to offer other networks, teams and sports properties an efficient way to launch a state-of-the-art streaming service. We are excited to partner with YES to create solutions for third-party content providers looking for a seamless way to reach new audiences." GAME expects that its potential clients would benefit from a broad range of world-class streaming services, all of which would be be run centrally by an expert staff experienced in live sports streaming. Streaming products will be customizeable and capable of delivering locally branded customer experiences, each catering to a client's particular needs. More information on GAME is available at {GothamAdvanced.com). To contact GAME directly please email {info@GothamAdvanced.com.} About YES Network The YES Network, the most-watched regional sports network in the country, owns the exclusive regional media rights of the 27-time World Champion New York Yankees, the Brooklyn Nets and the New York Liberty. YES, which has earned 146 Emmy Awards since its 2002 launch, also televises original biography, interview and magazine programs, college sports and Manchester City and AC Milan soccer. YES made the list of Forbes' top 10 most valuable sports business brands in the world for nine straight years. YES launched the YES App in March 2021 for authenticated users in its regional coverage territory, and it quickly became the #1 free sports app in the Apple App Store. Direct-to-consumer access to the YES Network has been available through the YES App since March 2023. In addition to providing fans with a live stream of the YES Network, the YES App features customizable push notifications, personalized content, game highlights, and app-exclusive original sports and lifestyle programming. It has won two New York Emmy Awards in its first two years of eligibility. About MSG Networks MSG Networks, a pioneer in sports media, owns and operates two award-winning regional sports and entertainment networks (MSG and MSG Sportsnet) and MSG+, a direct-to-consumer and authenticated streaming service, that serve the nation's number one media market, the New York DMA, as well as other portions of New York, New Jersey, Connecticut and Pennsylvania. The networks feature a wide range of compelling sports content, including exclusive live local games and other programming of the New York Knicks, New York Rangers, New York Islanders, New Jersey Devils and Buffalo Sabres, as well as significant coverage of the New York Giants and Buffalo Bills. This content, in addition to a diverse array of other sporting events and critically acclaimed original programming, has established MSG Networks as the gold standard in regional sports. MSG Networks is part of the Sphere Entertainment Co. (NYSE: SPHR). MSG+ launched in June 2023, and was the first Regional Sports Network to offer single game purchases. MSG+ offers fans access to all MSG-produced programming included on the networks in their area on a monthly or annual basis as well, and is available at no additional charge to subscribers of participating pay television providers of MSG Networks.

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Applications

TelevisaUnivision and Charter Communications Announce Strategic Renewal, Expanding Distribution of Linear Networks

Charter Communications | January 25, 2024

TelevisaUnivision and Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ: CHTR) today announced a multi-year agreement to extend and expand their partnership. This agreement provides Spectrum customers with continued access to the most-watched Spanish-language news, sports and entertainment programming in the country. The modern deal framework is designed to enhance Spectrum's ability to serve the massive U.S. Hispanic audience with expanded access to an unprecedented amount of Spanish-language content. As part of the arrangement, TelevisaUnivision will create a new ad-supported premium subscription version of ViX, set to launch later this year. It will be available at no additional cost to Spectrum customers who receive TelevisaUnivision channels as part of their Spectrum TV Select or Mi Plan Latino packages. ViX's "Premium with Ads" offering will give viewers access to the entire ViX Premium content offering, including exclusive original series, novelas, comedies, movies, thousands of live exclusive soccer matches and tens of thousands of hours of library content with a moderate advertising load. The combination of ViX's premium streaming programming with TelevisaUnivision's market leading linear channels will create an unmatched Spanish-language content offering available to Spectrum customers at no incremental cost. In addition to giving Spectrum customers access to the forthcoming ad-supported premium version of ViX, the agreement enhances Charter's flexibility to offer its video customers high-value linear and over-the-top TV packages. TelevisaUnivision's U.S. channels will be included as an integral launch partner in a new, innovative, low-cost Spanish-language internet-delivered video package that Spectrum will launch in the coming months. "We're pleased to enter into an innovative deal with Charter that underscores a shared commitment to the growing Hispanic market and prioritizes their needs and interests, ensuring TelevisaUnivision's leading content remains available to viewers for years to come," said Mike Angus, Executive Vice President, Global Distribution and Streaming Partnerships at TelevisaUnivision. "This deal demonstrates the value we can deliver to our partners and consumers by continuing to invest in both the linear and streaming platforms to create a complementary Spanish-language content ecosystem." "We appreciate TelevisaUnivision's willingness to fully support our new distribution framework, which is good for customers and a significant step forward for the video ecosystem," said Tom Montemagno, Executive Vice President, Programming Acquisition for Charter. "With this agreement, our customers will continue to enjoy access to TelevisaUnivision's extensive Spanish-language programming, including entertainment and live sports, across multiple platforms. This furthers our goal of providing value to customers by including streaming apps with Spectrum services." Spectrum provides customers with access to TelevisaUnivision's networks, including Univision, UniMás, Galavisión, TL Novelas, TUDN, FOROtv, Bandamax, De Película, De Película Clasico, Telehit and Telehit Música. About TelevisaUnivision TelevisaUnivision is the world's leading Spanish-language media company. Powered by the largest library of owned Spanish-language content and a prolific production capability, TelevisaUnivision is the top producer of original content in Spanish across news, sports and entertainment verticals. This original content powers all of TelevisaUnivision's platforms, which include market-leading broadcast networks Univision, Las Estrellas, Canal 5 and UniMás, and a portfolio of 38 cable networks, which include TUDN, Galavisión, Distrito Comedia and TL Novelas. The company also operates the leading Mexican movie studio, Videocine, and owns and operates the largest Spanish-language audio platform in the U.S. across 35 terrestrial stations and the Uforia digital platform. TelevisaUnivision is also the owner of ViX, the largest Spanish-language streaming platform in the world. For more information, please visit televisaunivision.com. About Charter Communications Charter Communications, Inc. (NASDAQ:CHTR) is a leading broadband connectivity company and cable operator serving more than 32 million customers in 41 states through its Spectrum brand. Over an advanced communications network, the Company offers a full range of state-of-the-art residential and business services including Spectrum Internet®, TV, Mobile and Voice. For small and medium-sized companies, Spectrum Business® delivers the same suite of broadband products and services coupled with special features and applications to enhance productivity, while for larger businesses and government entities, Spectrum Enterprise provides highly customized, fiber-based solutions. Spectrum Reach® delivers tailored advertising and production for the modern media landscape. The Company also distributes award-winning news coverage and sports programming to its customers through Spectrum Networks.

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