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February 28, 2017: Oscar Ratings Hit Nine-Year Low, Mashable to Host Live Shows on Twitter at SXSW, VR and AR Spending to Double in 2017

1. OSCAR RATINGS HIT NINE-YEAR LOW: The 89th Academy Awards on Sunday garnered 32.9 million viewers, making the telecast the least watched since 2008. The Hollywood Reporter: "Sunday's Oscar telecast came in at a bloated three hours and 49 minutes, ranking as the longest in 10 years, but only those who stayed up past midnight for the announcement (and re-announcement) of this year's best picture caught the night's most memorable moment. The producers for La La Land were interrupted, mid-acceptance speech, when it was revealed that Faye Dunaway and Warren Beatty had named the wrong winner and that Moonlight had actually taken the night's top honor. No matter how many people watched the show, that will surely linger as the defining point of the 2017 Oscars. Despite the long running time, there also wasn't any big dip towards the end. The telecast was relatively steady throughout, pulling the biggest showing during the 9 o'clock ET hour. And, while an audience boost would have really helped the narrative, it is a minor loss. The drop in the demo stings a bit more, as the value of younger viewers (particularly during live, commercial-filled television) remains high. Leading into the big night, ABC's Oscars had suffered two consecutive years of dramatic dips—losing almost 10 million viewers between 2014 and 2016. But the show remains a lucrative flagship for ABC, which again reaped north of a reported $115 million in ad revenue from this year's show. ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences got a jump-start on broadcast rights in August, extending the current contract through 2028. And, for their part, ABC and corporate Parent The Walt Disney Co. made their involvement a bit more known this year—naming their own Jimmy Kimmel as host for the first time."

2. MASHABLE TO HOST LIVE SHOWS ON TWITTER AT SXSW: South by Southwest mainstay Mashable has partnered with Twitter to live stream shows from this year's festival. Adweek: "'The Mashable Show,' as it’s being called, will be hosted by the site’s executive editor, Jessica Coen, and social editor Tracey Edouard, who will be joined by comedian Kerri Dohert—and Cookie Monster will appear as everyone’s favorite sidekick. Other Mashable editors and reporters will also join the lineup. Viewers will see exclusive interviews, live music and comedy performances on the livestream in addition to interactive elements within Twitter’s app, such as polls and real-time responses from Twitter users. 'If you’ve been to SXSW before, you’re familiar with the Mashable House, which is packed with the most exciting and creative people in town,' said Gregory Gittrich, CCO of Mashable, in a statement. 'This year, we’re thrilled to take our signature IRL experience and connect it with the social web by premiering our show from main stage at the Mashable House.' Advertisers interested in being involved with the show will have mid-roll spots and original clips produced by Mashable available for sponsorship and promotion through Twitter."

3. VR AND AR SPENDING TO DOUBLE IN 2017: Spending on virtual reality and augmented reality is slated to reach $13.9 billion this year, according to market researcher IDC. Cnet: "That outlay, on AR and VR hardware, software and services, is expected to hit $143.3 billion in 2020, according to the report, released Monday. A lot of that depends on you taking more and more of a shine to the emerging technologies, which let you immerse yourself in computer-generated worlds (VR) or project digital extras onto your surroundings (AR). You'll be able to choose from a growing array of gear, games and more from across the tech and entertainment industries. Among the recent developments, HTC says it's creating a mobile VR device after the success of its Vive headsets. This week at the big Mobile World Congress show in Barcelona, Spain, Samsung is showing off a new Gear VR headset. VR also had some moments in the spotlight at the Sundance Film Festival earlier this year. Augmented reality boomed into the mainstream in 2016 as Pokemon Go dominated app stores across Android and iOS. Last year, spending on VR and AR amounted to $6.1 billion. Games and entertainment will help VR hold a lead in 2017 and 2018, but AR spending will take over after 2018 as technology develops in areas such as health care delivery and product design, according to IDC."


CHICAGO:  The 12th annual Pitchfork Music Festival, taking place July 14-16 at Union Park, has announced headliners including LCD Soundsystem, Solange, and A Tribe Called Quest.

Long Grove Confectionery's annual Chocolate Fest will take place May 19-21. The event will offer treats from local vendors and a scavenger hunt for kids.

LAS VEGAS:  The N.C.A.A. Men’s College Basketball Tournament "Hoops Central" viewing party will return to Westgate Las Vegas Resort & Casino March 16-19.

LOS ANGELES:  Time Out Los Angeles's WingFest will take place March 12 at Mack Sennett Studios. The event will offer wing tastings from local spots including Baby Blues BBQ, the Walrus and the Hedgehog, and L.A. Wing Co.

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

MIAMI/SOUTH FLORIDA:  The Betsy-South Beach hotel has opened the Conservatory, a new lounge space in the hotel's Art Deco Wing. The venue, which features a menu from chef Laurent Tourondel, La Colombe Coffee drinks, and Alambiq cocktails, is available for events and meetings for as many as 150 reception-style.

Fontainebleau Miami Beach has debuted its renovations to the Versailles Tower and its poolside cabanas.

NEW YORK:  Fox Lifestyle Hospitality Group owner Mark Fox will open Street Taco, a Mexican street food concept, in Gramercy in March. The new restaurant will have communal dining, a DJ booth, customized art installations, and a Volkswagen van that lets guests peek into the kitchen.

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

TORONTO:  The Canadian International AutoShow, which took place at the Metro Toronto Convention Centre February 17-26, set an attendance record for the second year in a row, attracting 339,590 people.

WASHINGTON, D.C.:  The Washington, D.C. Economic Partnership and Events DC will bring its “WeDC House” back to South by Southwest in Austin next month. The activation will promote Washington as having a diverse tech and innovation community, and also feature local chefs and musicians.

Strathmore's annual Spring Gala will take place May 6 at the Music Center at Strathmore. The event will be headlined by Tony Bennett.

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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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