March 22, 2017: Twitter Launches New Tool for Live Video, A-List Celebs to Host A.C.L.U. Telethon on Facebook Live, Turner and CBS to Stream March Madness in VR

1. TWITTER LAUNCHES NEW TOOL FOR LIVE VIDEO: Twitter has launched the Producer API, a new live video tool that will allow media publishers and broadcasters to connect equipment to Twitter to stream directly to the network. TechCrunch: "Twitter had previously launched Periscope Producer last fall, which allows creators to live stream video content from devices like professional cameras, satellite trucks, VR headsets, desktop streaming software and elsewhere. This was a step up from Periscope’s earlier value proposition—individual users 'going live' from their phones to stream straight to Twitter. Instead, the software offered a way to use professional equipment in order to stream higher-quality, more polished videos. Twitter says that since Periscope Producer’s launch, it saw the total number of Producer broadcasts nearly double quarter over quarter. The new API is meant to expand upon that earlier offering, to make the Producer service easier to use for publishers and broadcasters. … But with this API, Twitter is throwing the doors open to any broadcaster that wants to stream to Twitter in order to raise brand awareness or boost its audience, without having to first negotiate with Twitter for the rights to live stream to the network. Essentially, Twitter’s new Producer API is an answer to Facebook’s own Live API, which is today offered to news organizations, brands, celebs and other developers as a means of live streaming video to Facebook on mobile and web. Twitter’s entry could have some appeal to those in the live events business or news publishers, because Twitter’s brand is associated with breaking news and other real-time content more so than Facebook and other social networks."

2. A-LIST CELEBS TO HOST A.C.L.U. TELETHON ON FACEBOOK LIVE: Celebrities including Tina Fey, Tom Hanks, Amy Poehler, and Tracy Morgan are slated to host the American Civil Liberties Union's Facebook Live telethon on Friday. The Hollywood Reporter: "Streaming via Facebook Live on Friday, at 7 p.m. ET, Stand for Rights: A Benefit for the ACLU is gathering celebrities in what is being billed as a 'historic event marking the first time in history people have something productive to do on Facebook on a Friday night.' The streaming telethon will feature appearances by Tracy Morgan, Jon Hamm, Padma Lakshmi, Tituss Burgess, Jane Krakowski, Uzo Aduba, Josh Charles, Zosia Mamet, Ike Barinholtz and more. 'In these tumultuous times, we need our favorite actors, musicians, and comedians to do what they do best. Speak earnestly about politics? No! Entertain you for a great cause? Yes!' read the statement from the event organizers on Tuesday. 'Because when the Titanic sank, the band kept playing! Except in this case, the band will be raising money for something that can fix the boat. And Leonardo DiCaprio won’t have to die.' The event is being executive produced by Friend of a Friend Productions in collaboration with The Huffington Post, Funny or Die and Maggie Vision. It will broadcast live from New York City via the Facebook pages of Stand for Rights 2017, Funny or Die and The Huffington Post."

3. TURNER AND CBS TO STREAM MARCH MADNESS IN VR: While N.C.A.A. streamed the Final Four and championship basketball games in virtual reality for free last year, Turner Sports and CBS Sports are giving March Madness fans this year a chance to watch the event using the technology from the Sweet 16 to the final game. Engadget: " The live games will be available from the March Madness VR app inside the Oculus store that's available for download today. Once inside, you'll need to buy a "premium ticket" to watch the immersive action on the hardwood for $2 or $3 per game. For the cost of admission, you'll get a virtual courtside seat where you can expect multiple camera angles, sound from inside the arena and dedicated commentary on the pricier Gold level. If you want to pay up all six games for this tier, you can hand over $8 to do just that. At $2 per game, you'll get access to a single 180-degree camera angle and the regular CBS broadcast commentary from Jim Nantz and crew at the Silver level. The tech that drives the whole thing is Intel's True VR, formerly known as the live events-focused virtual reality setup from Voke, a small company that the chipmaker purchased late last year. Intel says that with Voke's technology it can use VR to offer both live and on-demand games and highlights that will 'bring the in-stadium experience to life from any location.' If you'll recall, Voke powered the March Madness virtual reality streams in 2016. True VR will employ so-called pods that contain a dozen cameras each for the Sweet 16 and Elite 8. The plan for those two rounds is to use up to 48 cameras for the games. For the Final Four and championship game, Intel is bumping that total up to 84. This is only the beginning of VR events with the NCAA, Intel, Turner and CBS. Part of today's news is that this year's March Madness coverage is the start of a multi-year deal between all four with Intel being named the exclusive VR live games partner of the NCAA."


Marriott International has announced an equity investment in the startup PlacePass, a travel technology solutions provider and online meta-search platform for destination-based local experiences and activities.


BOSTON:  The $80 million, 131,000-square-foot Mohegan Sun Expo Center is slated to open in summer 2018, to coincide with Barrett-Jackson Auction 2018 Northeast.

CHICAGO:  This year's Sangria Festival will take place August 20 at Humboldt Park.

GREENWICH, CONNECTICUT:  The seventh edition of the Greenwich Wine & Food Festival will take place September 22-23 at Roger Sherman Baldwin Park.

LOS ANGELES:  FYF Fest will take place July 21-23 at Exposition Park. Headliners include Missy Elliott, Frank Ocean, Bjork, and Nine Inch Nails.

This year's British Academy Britannia Awards are slated for October 27 at the Beverly Hilton Hotel.

Sofitel Los Angeles at Beverly Hills has named Pete Manfredini executive chef.

For information on upcoming events in Los Angeles, visit Masterplanner:

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  Local food event tour Cochon555 will come to the Ritz-Carlton, South Beach, with its Heritage BBQ competition on Sunday. The event, which raises money for the pig-farming sanctuary Piggy Bank, will feature competitions between five local chefs, five sommeliers, and five bartenders. 

NEW YORK:  Brooklyn Brewery Mash presents Beer Mansion will take place April 21-22 at the Monto and the Well in East Williamsburg. The event will feature five themed tasting rooms from Brooklyn Brewery, KCBC, Strong Rope, Finback Brewery, and LIC Beer Project.

Miami-based public relations and special events firm Tara, Ink., has opened its first New York office at 110 Wall Street downtown.

For information on upcoming events in New York, visit Masterplanner:

ORLANDO/CENTRAL FLORIDA:  The Hilton Orlando on International Drive has acquired land for a future expansion. Orlando Business Journal:

TAMPA:  EDGE Social Drinkery, a rooftop lounge at the Epicurean Hotel, is making several upgrades. Food and beverage options are being expanded and the venue is adding a 60-inch television, colored lighting, and new artwork and seating.

TORONTO:  Event management company Big Entertainment has rebranded as Big HQ.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  Tacos and champagne concept Taqueria del Barrio is slated to open in the former Domku space in Petworth at the end of this month. Washington City Paper:

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With contributions from Alesandra Dubin and Claire Hoffman in Los Angeles, Mitra Sorrells in Orlando, and Beth Kormanik, Michele Laufik, Jill Menze, and Ian Zelaya in New York.

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