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The latest news from Entertainment

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    bird box

    • Twenty-six million US Netflix subscribers viewed "Bird Box" in its first seven days, according to Nielsen estimates.
    • That made it Netflix's second-biggest original program in the first week, behind only "Stranger Things" season two.
    • Netflix said "Bird Box" was its biggest original film in the first week of release, and Nielsen's data is further evidence the movie is a massive hit.

    The "Bird Box" sensation continues.

    The popular Netflix movie, which has taken the internet over with memes since it debuted December 21, was viewed by 26 million Netflix subscribers in its first seven days of release in the US, according to Nielsen estimates released on Tuesday.

    That makes it the second-most-viewed Netflix original program in the first week that Nielsen has analyzed, behind only 2017's "Stranger Things" season two, which it trailed by less than 1 million viewers. Nielsen started tracking Netflix viewership in October 2017.

    Read more: Netflix's 'The Kominsky Method' won 2 Golden Globes but isn't even in the top 100 US streaming shows

    Netflix said last month that over 45 million accounts worldwide viewed "Bird Box" in the first week, a record for Netflix original movies. It later confirmed a view was counted if an account watched at least 70% of the content. Nielsen's findings are further evidence that "Bird Box" is a massive hit.

    Netflix had 137 million global subscribers as of October, including 61 million subscribers in the US.

    Nielsen said the "day-by-day consumption for the first 10 days of release was extraordinarily consistent." "Bird Box" was viewed by nearly 4 million subscribers in the US almost every day of its first 10 days, Nielsen said, with 3.9 million users watching on December 28, its biggest day.

    It surpassed another hit Netflix original movie, "Bright." While 5.4 million US subscribers viewed "Bright" on its premiere day compared with 3.5 million for "Bird Box," the newer release showed more momentum. After seven days, "Bright" was viewed by 20 million users, according to Nielsen.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix won 5 Golden Globes for TV shows and movies including some surprise victories

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the extreme workout regimen of a professional ballerina


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    roma netflix

    • Barclays analysts released a report this week on Netflix estimating the streaming giant could spend $2.5 billion to $3 billion on its original movies this year.
    • Netflix plans to release 90 movies this year.
    • But to compete going forward, Barclays analysts argued that Netflix needs to release more of its movies theatrically.
    • Box-office analyst Jeff Bock told Business Insider he disagreed, and said he believes Netflix is doing fine owning the streaming space.

     

    If you think Netflix has been churning out a lot of movies, just wait and see what the count will be by the end of 2019.

    According to a Barclays report released this week, the streaming giant plans to release 90 movies this year (55 big budget movies and 35 documentaries) and based on the average budgets for the genres Netflix targets, Barclays projected Netflix could spend $2.5 billion to $3 billion to make them.

    "This would make Netflix's output budget second only to Disney and bigger than every other Hollywood studio," the report said, also pointing out Netflix would have the biggest pipeline in the movie business.

    To put that in context, in 2018 Warner Bros. released 49 movies, Sony released 28, Universal 23, Fox 17, Disney 13, and Paramount 12.

    Barclays said that while Netflix hopes the movies will help add more subscribers to its service in the near term, the massive outpouring of content is also part of Netflix's preparation for a future in which studios will stop licensing movies to it.

    With Disney's streaming service, Disney+, set to launch this year, and others to follow (WarnerMedia's, for instance), competition for movie catalog rights will be fierce.

    Disney plus

    The big question as 2019 begins is how Netflix will tackle theatrical distribution for movies, as the company's strategy seems to be in flux.

    2018 marked the first time Netflix gave some of its movies exclusive theatrical releases before they were available to stream. It gave exclusive runs to "The Ballad of Buster Scruggs," "Bird Box," and "Roma" (though Netflix didn't release their box-office grosses). The biggest motivating factor behind the change in policy was giving Alfonso Cuarón's "Roma" a real shot at the Oscars.

    But the Barclays analysts argued that to compete with big studios like Disney going forward, Netflix should release more of its original movies theatrically.

    "We believe the nature of film as a product/experience is difference enough to television content that it requires a distribution strategy that is more tailored to the medium," the report said.

    bright netflix movie will smith joel edgertonThe report noted that audiences still equate a lack of quality to movies that are not released theatrically. And then there's the longterm life of a movie title. The report made the case that even though Netflix's Will Smith movie, "Bright," had blockbuster-level production value, a year later the interest in the movie, according to Google Trends, isn't close to that of theatrically released titles that came out around the same time like "Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle" or even the smaller-budgeted "Three Billboards Outside Ebbing, Missouri."

    Read more: The top 7 shows on Netflix and other streaming services this week

    "Releasing a film only on Netflix not only reduces the economic returns for Netflix but also changes the preception of the quality of content on the service," the analysts said.

    But one box-office analyst Business Insider spoke to didn't agree.

    Jeff Bock, senior box-office analyst at Exhibitor Relations, said Netflix giving theatrical releases to its own big releases could "possibly" help it compete with Disney blockbusters, but he sees the streaming giant continuing its game plan of getting legends — Will Smith, Brad Pitt, Sandra Bullock (who was the star of "Bird Box"), Joel and Ethan Coen (who made "Buster Scruggs"), Alfonso Cuarón, and Martin Scorsese (Netflix is releasing his upcoming movie "The Irishman") — to bring their passion projects to Netflix as a counter to what Disney is doing.

    bird box"Netflix has the best of the best working for them, and they offer little-to-no interference, can a studio offer that these days?" Bock said. "Netflix is the ruler of all things streaming."

    And just recently, we learned that Netflix can grab the popular culture as much as a big studio release can.

    "Bird Box" didn't just become a popular meme, it was seen by 26 million US viewers in its first week, according to Nielsen (Netflix announced 45 million accounts worldwide viewed the movie in its first seven days, a record for the company). It's highly unlikely the blink-and-you-missed-it theatrical release of the movie helped generate buzz for its eventual huge streaming launch.

    Netflix declined to comment for this story.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix won 5 Golden Globes for TV shows and movies including some surprise victories

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A drag ballet troupe has been performing around the world for nearly 50 years


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    bohemian rhapsody

    • "Bohemian Rhapsody" winning best drama at the Golden Globes on Sunday shocked many, but the win reinforces the movie's international appeal.
    • The Queen biopic has made $743 million worldwide, 74% of that coming from foreign markets.
    • The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, the Globes voting body, is made up of 90 international journalists.
    • BoxOfficeAnalyst.com's Doug Stone told Business Insider that the movie's success reminded him of "The Greatest Showman," which was also an international hit and was nominated for best musical or comedy at last year's Globes.

    Queen biopic "Bohemian Rhapsody" shocked many when it won best drama at the Golden Globes on Sunday. Most awards experts predicted the night would belong to "A Star Is Born," which ended up going home with just one prize for best original song.

    Some attributed the movie's win to the Golden Globes being, well, the Golden Globes. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association (HFPA), the Globes voting body, is notorious for awarding wild choices, and "Bohemian Rhapsody" is just one of many head-scratching moments this year. 

    READ MORE: Shocking Golden Globe winners like 'Green Book' and Glenn Close confirmed we're in for a wild Oscar night

    But when looking at the movie's international success, the win isn't as surprising. 

    "Bohemian Rhapsody" has grossed $743 million globally, with $549 million of that, or 74%, coming from foreign markets, according to Box Office Mojo. It's the eighth highest-grossing movie of 2018 worldwide.

    It's even currently taking Japan and South Korea by storm, according to The Washington Post. The movie has made $72 million in South Korea, where Queen-related events are held throughout the country. And in Japan, where it's made $56 million so far, some theaters allow audiences to sing and dance to the songs.

    Little is know about the HFPA, but it's comprised of about 90 international entertainment journalists who are based in California, according to its website.

    READ MORE: Fox fired 'Bohemian Rhapsody' director Bryan Singer, but he still thanked the Golden Globes for the movie's big win

    "Bohemian Rhapsody," one of the biggest movies of 2018 that focuses on a band with a worldwide fanbase, is right up the HFPA's alley.

    "Given the subject of the film, 'Bohemian Rhapsody' was definitely more a film that would [appeal] (thanks to the world wide popularity of Queen) to foreign audiences," BoxOfficeAnalyst.com's Doug Stone told Business Insider.

    "Bohemian Rhapsody" didn't wow critics, and the movie has a 62% Rotten Tomatoes critic score. But Stone said the movie performed better with foreign critics, which further highlights the movie's international appeal.

    Of 54 international press members that Stone recognized on Rotten Tomatoes, 43 of them gave the film a positive review, he said. "Bohemian Rhapsody" also has a 90% audience score on Rotten Tomatoes based on over 16,000 user ratings, suggesting audiences like the movie a lot more than critics. 

    "The film's performance is reminiscent in some ways of 'The Greatest Showman,' which threw terrific box-office numbers (60% foreign) and audience response relative to its 55% Rotten Tomatoes rating," Stone said.

    "The Greatest Showman" was nominated for best musical or comedy at last year's Golden Globes.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'The Kominsky Method' won 2 Golden Globes, but isn't even in the top 100 US streaming shows

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A drag ballet troupe has been performing around the world for nearly 50 years


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    Fortnite championship

    • "Fortnite" is a money-making behemoth.
    • The game reportedly generated just shy of $500 million in revenue in 2018 — and that's only on Apple's devices.
    • In December 2018 alone, the game reportedly made just under $70 million on Apple devices.


    "Fortnite" continues to dominate the attention of tens of millions of players around the world.

    Despite the fact that it's a free game, "Fortnite" brings in hundreds of millions of dollars through sales of virtual items, sales of virtual money, and the ever-important seasonal Battle Pass.

    The game is available on seven different gaming platforms, but it's perhaps most popular on Apple's ubiquitous iPhone and iPad.

    It's no surprise, then, that "Fortnite" is estimated to have grossed over $455 million in iOS revenue in 2018.

    Fortnite (battle pass)

    That's according to analytics firm Sensor Tower, which says 82.6 million people worldwide have downloaded the game on iOS devices since the game's mobile launch in April 2018. 

    To be all the way clear, that means "Fortnite" reportedly grossed nearly half a billion dollars on only Apple devices, and it did so in just eight months of availability. Not too shabby!

    Of course, these are only estimates. "Fortnite" maker Epic Games hasn't released any official revenue figures and remains a private company. But the latest figures appear to be in line with previous reports about the direction and momentum of "Fortnite's" revenue.

    Keeping its own cut

    Broken down further, "Fortnite" is said to have made $1.6 million each day on Apple's devices; if Apple is pulling in its standard cut of 30%, Apple made somewhere in the realm of $136.5 million on "Fortnite" in 2018.

    With that kind of money at stake, it's no wonder Epic Games launched "Fortnite" on Android without Google's help — you simply download the game directly from Epic's website. That lets Epic sidestep the Google Play store cut and keep all the revenue to itself when Android users download the game on their phones. 

    We don't know how much revenue "Fortnite" has generated on Android devices. Sensor Tower's estimates are only for iOS. 

    As a general rule, Apple iPhone users tend to spend more money than Android users on mobile apps and in-app purchases. But outside of the US, Android is the dominant mobile platform, with a roughly 80% market share. That means "Fortnite's" global Android revenue, which Epic keeps 100% of, may add up to a nice chunk of change. 

    Not a bad first year for a game.

    SEE ALSO: The CEO behind 'Fortnite' is now worth over $7 billion

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: The safest way to walk on ice is to impersonate a penguin — here's why


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    Kingdom Hearts Steamboat Willie

    • "Kingdom Hearts" is a beloved video game franchise that blends the worlds of Disney's films with characters and gameplay from the "Final Fantasy" universe.
    • Due out on January 25th, "Kingdom Hearts III" is one of the most anticipated games of the decade, and the first true sequel in the series since 2005.
    • From Mickey Mouse to Wreck-It Ralph, memorable characters from more than 30 Disney films appear across the "Kingdom Hearts" games.

    "Kingdom Hearts" is a video game franchise born from improbable circumstances: Before the first game was released in 2002, few could have imagined that Disney would be willing to hand their full library of iconic characters over to a Japanese video game developer. 

    And yet, developer Square Enix found itself with a hit in the form of "Kingdom Hearts," which marries the gameplay of its own "Final Fantasy" series with the legendary Disney pantheon of heroes and villains. 

    Due out on January 25th, "Kingdom Hearts III" is the first series sequel in more than 13 years, making it one of the most anticipated games of 2019. Square Enix has already teased a bunch of new worlds and returning characters for the game, borrowing from films including "Toy Story," Frozen," "Tangled," and"Big Hero 6."

    Indeed, in "Kingdom Hearts," players travel between different world's based on Disney films, usually accompanied by Donald Duck and Goofy. In the course of battling the villainous Heartless, hero Sora helps classic Disney heroes like Mulan, Aladdin, and Simba face familiar villains from their respective stories. Since the first game was released, "Kingdom Hearts" has incorporated characters from more than 30 Disney films.

    Below you can find every Disney movie represented in the "Kingdom Hearts" series— including the forthcoming "Kingdom Hearts III" — in the order they were released.

    SEE ALSO: 'Kingdom Hearts 3' has leaked over a month early, and outraged fans are trying to punish the person they think did it

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    "Steamboat Willy" (1928)



    "Snow White & the Seven Dwarfs" (1937)



    "Pinocchio" (1940)



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Los Angeles Valiant Fans Overwatch League

    • "Overwatch" is one of the most successful esports titles in the world, with the Overwatch League and other events supporting more than 200 professional players 
    • At the start of the year, a player using the name "Ellie" was added to the roster of a semi-professional team but quickly raised the suspicion and ire of male players. 
    • Skeptical "Overwatch" fans questioned whether Ellie was given preferential treatment for being a woman; some demanded that her identity be made public and threatened to find and release her personal information.
    • It turns out, Ellie wasn't a woman. And the incident underscores a disturbing problem within esports. 

    The rise of esports has given video game players a chance to turn their passion into a profession, but every once in a while there's an incident that shows just how immature the industry can be.

    For fans of the game "Overwatch," a recent controversy over a gamer posing as a woman has exposed an undercurrent of sexism that pervades the culture even as splashy corporate sponsorships and multi-million dollar prize purses have become the norm

    "Overwatch" is one of the world's most successful esports titles, and the Overwatch League is dominated by men. 

    That's why a player named Ellie attracted a lot of attention when she was added to the roster of a semi-professional "Overwatch" team called Second Wind a couple of weeks ago. Unlike the other players, Ellie's full name was not listed on Second Wind's website but her "Overwatch" account was known to be among the top ranked online. 

    Some gamers demanded to know Ellie's personal information

    Ellie's spot on the team seems to have been enough to raise the suspicion of her male rivals, who accused the Overwatch League of giving preferential treatment to a woman and questioned whether Ellie was in fact a woman. As time went on the tone of the demands grew more toxic, with some players threatening to find and release Ellie's personal information on their own.

     

    Some players and fans defended Ellie's right to privacy and accused the skeptics of targeting Ellie based on gender. But Ellie told Second Wind she would withdraw from the team due to the public reaction.

    This being esports however, that's not where the story ends. 

    It turns out that Ellie was not a woman after all.

    An investigation by Second Wind and several esports journalists determined that Ellie was a persona created by a male player using the tag "Punisher" online. "Punisher" was already known to be a top online "Overwatch" player and told friends that he convinced women to help him impersonate a female player as a "social experiment." Esports journalist Rod "Slasher" Breslau spoke to three women who said Punisher clued them into the scheme privately.

    Did the social experiment prove a point or make a bad situation worse?

    The goal of Ellie/Punisher's impersonation experiment is not entirely clear, and some worry that it may have actually provided more ammunition to skeptics who doubt the potential of female players.

    As a male-dominated industry, esports regularly faces an undercurrent of misogyny when men and women are competing with each other. Only a select few women are willing to compete within a culture that many would call toxic, and the climate surrounding Ellie and Geguri suggests that women will only face additional skepticism as they reach the top level of play.

    There is only one woman currently playing in the Overwatch League, the game's highest level of competition. Kim "Geguri" Se-yeon of the Shanghai Dragons was accused of cheating by multiple professional male players prior to her Overwatch League debut. She ultimately proved them wrong though, and three of her accusers retired.

    With only a few professional opportunities available for thousands of players, jealousy among the top ranks isn't too surprising, but the goal of esports should be to create a healthy, professional environment while preserving the spirit of competition. To avoid skepticism and toxicity, professional organizations need to practice proper due diligence and present their players in the best possible light.

    For women interested in esports, the scandal is another reminder that a portion of the community still refuses to believe that women can compete as professionals, and , they will always be playing to prove the doubters wrong.

    SEE ALSO: Eight teams paid more than $30 million each to join the Overwatch League – here's everything you need to know before the new season starts

    SEE ALSO: A 'Overwatch' hero was just revealed to be gay, and fans are freaking out

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    the kominsky method

    • Audience demand for Netflix's "The Kominsky Method" grew 73% the day after the Golden Globes on Sunday, according to research company Parrot Analytics.
    • The show won two awards: best comedy series and best actor in a comedy series. 
    • The show was ranked "just below" Parrot's top 100 streaming shows in the week leading up to the Globes.

    Netflix's "The Kominsky Method" didn't have a huge audience before its big night at Sunday's Golden Globes, when it won the award for best comedy series and best actor in a comedy (Michael Douglas). But new data suggests the Globes piqued audience interest.

    Audience demand for "The Kominsky Method" grew 73% on January 7, the day after the Globes, research company Parrot Analytics told Business Insider. The show was ranked "just below" Parrot's top 100 streaming shows in the week leading up to the Globes (December 31 to January 6).

    READ MORE: Netflix's 'The Kominsky Method' won 2 Golden Globes, but isn't even in the top 100 US streaming shows

    Parrot Analytics measures "demand expressions," its globally standardized TV demand measurement unit. Audience demand reflects the desire, engagement, and viewership weighted by importance, so a stream or download is a higher expression of demand than a "like" or comment on social media.

    Social-media reaction during the Globes suggested many had no idea the show existed. In the comedy category, it was up against last year's winner, Amazon's "The Marvelous Mrs. Maisel"; HBO's "Barry"; NBC's "The Good Place"; and Showtime's "Kidding," starring Jim Carrey.

    The show has a respectable 80% Rotten Tomatoes critic score, and an impressive 94% audience score, so those who have seen it like it.

    "The formidable star power and talent of Douglas and Arkin elevate this single-camera comedy right out of the gate," Lorraine Ali wrote for The Los Angeles Times. "As Sandy and Norm, they bring substance, depth and an understated sense of humor to a format that often relies on rote plots, one-liners and exaggerated characters."

    Time's Judy Berman wrote, "The show isn’t a total bust. The stars lend real poignancy to each man’s plight, and to their testy friendship, but their performances can’t compensate for the lazy writing."

    SEE ALSO: Netflix won 5 Golden Globes for TV shows and movies including some surprise victories

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: A drag ballet troupe has been performing around the world for nearly 50 years


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    Tim Cook

    • Apple CEO Tim Cook teased 'new services' expected from the company in 2019 during an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC's 'Mad Money.'
    • Those "new services" could include Apple's already-rumored video-streaming platform and a monthly news subscription service. 
    • Cook gave the interview at a time when Apple is facing intense scrutiny following its recent warning that iPhone sales during the holiday quarter were lower than previously expected, the first time in nearly 17 years the company has made such an announcement.

    During an interview with Jim Cramer on CNBC’s “Mad Money” Tuesday evening, Tim Cook teased 'new services' from Apple were coming in 2019, less than a week after the company shocked global markets with a warning about lower-than-expected iPhone sales.

    Cook, however, did not go into specifics. "On services, you will see us announce new services this year," he told Cramer. "There will more things coming. I don’t wanna tell you about what they are."

    This ambiguous snippet could mean many things. First, he may be referring to Apple's new video streaming service, reported on last October, which Apple has already sunk $1 billion into as part of its larger move into producing original content. Apple is already creating or developing at least 17 original, scripted series, ranging from a biographical drama on NBA all-star Kevin Durant's life growing up, an animated show from the creator of "Bob's Burgers," and an untitled series from M. Night Shyamalan.

    Cook could also be referencing Apple's rumored monthly news subscription service, which could look a lot like Apple's streaming-music service, Apple Music. Apple's acquisition of magazine subscription app Texture in March 2018 is reportedly related to those efforts.

    Cook told Cramer that the new services are those that Apple has been "working on for multiple years."

    Apple has been keen to stress its growing services revenue as it finds itself under intense scrutiny following its recent warning that revenue from iPhone sales during the holiday quarter would be down from previous expectations.

    Apple executives have said in the past that the company's goal is to hit $50 billion in services revenue by 2021.

    Watch Tim Cook's full interview over at CNBC.

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Tim Cook's estimated net worth is $625 million — here's how he makes and spends his money


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    Yoshi's Crafted World

    • Nintendo's first big game of 2019 stars Yoshi, the ever-helpful dinosaur friend of Super Mario.
    • The game is named "Yoshi's Crafted World," and it's set to launch on March 29 for $60.
    • "Yoshi's Crafted World" is a blend of platforming, puzzle solving, and egg shooting. Yes, egg shooting!

    Nintendo's first major game of 2019 puts a side character into a rare starring role: In "Yoshi's Crafted World," players control Super Mario's dinosaur friend Yoshi through a variety of unique, perilous worlds.

    The game is set to arrive on March 29, Nintendo said on Wednesday morning; it's headed to the Nintendo Switch, and will cost $60.

    For fans of the Super Nintendo, "Yoshi's Crafted World" may look familiar — it's a bit of a spiritual sequel to "Yoshi's Island: Super Mario World 2," which was originally launched on the SNES in 1995.

    This is most evident in the trail of eggs following behind Yoshi, which he creates by swallowing his enemies whole. Those eggs can then be aimed and fired at enemies, traps, puzzle solutions, and all manner of other target. It's a unique twist that sets these two Yoshi's titles apart from Nintendo's other platforming franchises.

    The other twist in Crafted World, of course, is the game's distinct style:

    Yoshi's Crafted World

    As the name implies, "Yoshi's Crafted World" is made up of what looks like craft projects.

    The background above, for instance, is made up of colored cardboard cutouts, shirt buttons, and pieces of paper shaped into cones. The bushes on the right are newspaper cutouts, with visible writing still on the paper.

    The overall aesthetic is clearly built around the "crafted concept,' and it gives "Yoshi's Crafted World" a distinctly Nintendo look. 

    Yoshi's Crafted World

    Given Yoshi's origins in the "Super Mario" series, it's no surprise that the game's main villain appears to be Kamek— a particularly pernicious enemy from "Super Mario World" who also served as the antagonist in the original "Yoshi's Island" game.

    Nintendo released a trailer detailing the game's story in broad terms, which you can see right here:

    But you probably want to see the actual game in action, don't you? Great news — you can do that right here:

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    randy freer

    • Hulu now has 25 million subscribers, adding 8 million more in 2018 for 48% year-over-year growth.
    • CEO Randy Freer told CNBC that he thought Hulu could catch up to Netflix, which has over twice as many subscribers as Hulu in the US.
    • Hulu lost an estimated $1.5 billion in 2018 and has discounted subscription prices at least twice since October 2017.
    • On Cyber Monday in November, it offered a limited deal of $0.99 a month.

    Hulu ended 2018 on a strong note. The company announced on Tuesday that it had 25 million subscribers, adding 8 million last year for 48% year-over-year growth.

    CEO Randy Freer told CNBC on Tuesday that Hulu "added more subscribers in the US than Netflix" in 2018 and that he thought it was possible to catch up to Netflix, which is the reigning streaming champion. Netflix has 137 million subscribers worldwide and 58 million in the US.

    "We think we can add more and more subscribers because what people want is a differentiated product," Freer said on CNBC. "People want the ability to make one choice into the home, and I think Hulu will have the opportunity to do that."

    But Hulu still has a long way to go if it wants to reach Netflix's numbers, especially as more players enter the streaming game. Disney (which owns 60% of Hulu) and AT&T (which owns 10%) are expected to launch their own platforms this year.

    Read more: Netflix will go head-to-head with Disney in 2019, with Wall Street estimating it will spend up to $3 billion on original movies

    Money is gushing into the ecosystem.

    Netflix said its content budget for 2018 would be up to $8 billion. And in a report released this week, Barclays analysts estimated that Netflix would spend up to $3 billion on original movies alone in 2019.

    To compete with Netflix and others, Hulu has to invest — but it already loses a hefty sum of money each year doing just that. Hulu lost an estimated $1.5 billion in 2018, up from the $920 million it lost in 2017.

    Netflix has also burned plenty of cash in its quest for more subscribers. Netflix estimated its negative free cash flow would be $3 billion for 2018 and be similar in 2019.

    Growth is the most pressing concern for the big streamers like Netflix, Hulu, and newcomers like Disney. Everyone is spending big to grow.

    But besides big investment, Hulu's growth has also been boosted by promotional pricing.

    Hulu has offered discounted subscription prices at least twice since fall 2017.

    Hulu offered its limited-commercials plan for $5.99 a month for the first year in October 2017. The deal was available until January 2018. At the time, Netflix had raised its prices, and it is likely to do so again this year, according to a report from Piper Jaffray analysts released in November.

    In November, Hulu offered its deepest discount ever with a Cyber Monday deal of $0.99 a month for the first year for its limited-commercials plan.

    The biggest question as 2019 kicks off is whether Hulu can keep up that subscriber growth, and gain ground on Netflix, without discounts, especially as Disney launches its branded streaming service. Another is whether those $0.99 subscribers will stick around for years to come.

    SEE ALSO: Netflix's 'The Kominsky Method' got a big boost in popularity after its Golden Globes wins

    Join the conversation about this story »

    NOW WATCH: Watch the extreme workout regimen of a professional ballerina


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    Kingdom Hearts 3

    • A huge new Disney game is almost here: "Kingdom Hearts 3" arrives on January 29.
    • The game features a massive cast of Disney characters, many of whom are instrumental to the game's story.
    • Even if you've never played a "Kingdom Hearts" game before, there's plenty of reasons to be excited for the upcoming Xbox One and PlayStation 4 game.


    It's rare that a game comes along where Disney's all-star cast of characters — from Mickey Mouse to Buzz Lightyear to Bambi — all play a part.

    "Kingdom Hearts 3" is an exception.

    When the game arrives on January 29 for Xbox One and PlayStation 4, players will take on the role of Sora as he finishes his multi-game journey. Whether you're new to the series or a longtime fan, there are plenty of good reasons to be excited for the upcoming game.

    Here's a quick primer to get you started:

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    Other than the central heroes — protagonist Sora and his friends Riku and Kairi — the majority of other characters in "Kingdom Hearts 3" are major Disney characters.



    And yes: One of those characters is Mickey Mouse himself.



    Notably, you don't play as those major Disney characters. The main playable character in "Kingdom Hearts 3" is Sora, who wields a weapon called a "Keyblade."

    The "Kingdom Hearts" franchise is a mash-up of Disney's biggest characters with the design sensibility of Japanese gaming powerhouse Square Enix — the folks behind "Final Fantasy." 

    The reason that Sora looks like a "Final Fantasy" character is because he was designed by Tetsuya Nomura, the man behind the original look of the "Final Fantasy" series. The general vibe of the "Kingdom Hearts" series is a distinct mix of Eastern and Western artistic history. 



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    The Division 2 Tom Clancy

    • Epic Games, the company behind "Fortnite," recently launched a digital storefront for PC video games called the Epic Games store.
    • Ubisoft, the developer of the highly anticipated game "The Division 2," will release the game in the Epic Games store instead of the most popular online platform for PC games, Steam.
    • Epic Games only takes 12% of the revenue generated by sales in their store, while Steam takes a 30% cut from transactions.
    • If Ubisoft and other major publishers continue to support Epic's business model, it could lead players to change their purchasing habits and force Steam to change their policies.

    The creators of "Fortnite" scored a big win over the world's biggest PC gaming platform when they convinced a major publisher to make one of the biggest PC releases of the year exclusive to their online store.

    Ubisoft will launch "Tom Clancy's The Division 2" on March 15 in the Epic Games Store and on Ubisoft's own Uplay service. The sequel is one of the most anticipated action games of the year and a high-profile release for Ubisoft, one of the few studios capable of making multiple AAA titles per year. Unlike its predecessor, "The Division 2" will not be released on the Steam digital marketplace, which is currently the most popular platform for PC games.

    “As long-time fans and partners of Ubisoft, we’re thrilled to bring a range of awesome Ubisoft games to the Epic Games store,” Epic founder and CEO Tim Sweeney said in a statement. “We aim to provide the most publisher-friendly store, providing direct access to customers and an 88% revenue split, enabling game creators to further reinvest in building great games.”

    The Division 2

    Epic launched their digital storefront a month ago, offering developers a larger percentage of sales revenue than the competition. The company is taking just 12% of revenue from sales in the Epic Games Store, less than half of what Steam or the Apple and Google app stores charge for distributing digital content. With Epic's business model offering a better profit margin, some developers have already made their games exclusive to the Epic Games Store.

    Epic is also giving an even better revenue split to developers who use their Unreal Engine technology to create games. Though Epic typically takes 5% in royalties of all revenue from games using Unreal, those fees are waived for Unreal games sold in the Epic Games Store. While Unreal is already used in dozens of games each year, this gives smaller developers greater incentive to adopt the engine and focus on marketing their games through Epic.

    Read more:The creator of ‘Fortnite’ is leading a battle that could throw the entire video game industry into disarray, and it's likely to be terrible for Google and Apple

    Just days before Epic's store went live, Steam announced that it would be adjusting its revenue-sharing agreement to reward the best-selling games on the platform. Games that earn more than $10 million will earn a 75%/25% split, while those that earn $50 million or more are boosted to an 80%/20% revenue-sharing rate. Still, the rates are considerably less favorable than Epic's offerings.

    With "Tom Clancy's The Division 2," Ubisoft is hoping the game's massive PC fanbase will be willing to move away from Steam to access the game. More than 80 million players use Epic's platform to play "Fortnite" each month, which will help other games in their store gain exposure. With online features  in "The Division 2" functioning primarily through Uplay, the move from Steam to Epic's platform will have little to no impact on player experience.

    “We entrust Epic to deliver a smooth journey for our fans, from preordering the game and enjoying our Beta to the launch of 'Tom Clancy’s The Division 2' on March 15,” Chris Early, Ubisoft's vice president of partnerships said in a statement. “Epic continues to disrupt the videogame industry, and their third party digital distribution model is the latest example, and something Ubisoft wants to support.”

    Players can pre-order the standard, gold, or ultimate edition of "The Division 2" in the Epic Games store now to gain access to the private beta before the game's launch, and the full game will be released on PC, PS4, and Xbox One on March 15th. Ubisoft plans to announce more games coming to the Epic Games store later in the year.

    SEE ALSO: The creator of ‘Fortnite’ is leading a battle that could throw the entire video game industry into disarray, and it's likely to be terrible for Google and Apple

    SEE ALSO: The CEO behind 'Fortnite' is now worth over $7 billion

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Fortnite Cover

    • With more than 200 million registered players, "Fortnite" is the world's most popular video game.
    • Epic Games, the Cary, North Carolina-based company behind the game, makes hundreds of millions of dollars each month from "Fortnite" microtransactions.
    • North Carolina's Better Business Bureau has given the company an F for failing to respond to hundreds of customer complaints in the past year.

    "Fortnite" sparked a global phenomenon in 2018, capturing the hearts of millions of players and becoming the world's most popular video game in the process. But even as "Fortnite" continues to skyrocket in popularity around the globe, the company behind the game is facing criticism from a very local source, the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau (BBB).

    As reported by WTVD in Cary, North Carolina, "Fortnite" creator Epic Games received an F-rating from the BBB following hundreds of complaints from upset customers. The BBB rating reflects how a company interacts with its customers, and Epic, which is based in Cary, received the failing grade for a perceived lack of response to customer complaints.

    The website for the Eastern North Carolina Better Business Bureau lists 271 complaints made against Epic in the last year, the vast majority of which were left unanswered. As a company with an international product played by millions of players each day, Epic does have their own private support desk for concerns complaints, but some frustrated customers looked to the BBB to help resolve their situation.

    Read more: How big is 'Fortnite'? With more than 200 million players, it's now equal to nearly two-thirds the US population

    Scrolling through the anonymous BBB complaints does show some recurring problems. Some players reported that their accounts had been hacked or stolen and Epic customer service had failed to restore them. Other customers complained about Epic failing to refund improper and accidental charges they received while playing, and more than a few parents reported account issues while trying to assist their children. A handful of players claimed that Epic had unjustly banned them for cheating with no proof.

    "My son was banned from using Fortnite and accused of cheating to gain an advantage," a complaint from November 2018 reads. "My son has spent quite a bit of money on the game and was abruptly banned with any warning or explanation or provided with any proof of wrongdoing. The claim that he cheated to gain an advantage is false. Not only will the company not provide any evidence that what they are saying is true but they refuse to answer or address the questions via email, they refuse to allow me to talk to a more senior staff who might be able to address my concerns either."

    All but a handful of the complaints were left unanswered, and they likely represent a small portion of the support requests Epic receives for "Fortnite' each day. Still, the lingering complaints reflect some ongoing concerns with the "Fortnite" business model, and the rating doesn't reflect well on Epic's customer service. However, the game continues to see growth on a massive scale, so it seems that Epic's good will hasn't run out just yet.

    SEE ALSO: How big is 'Fortnite'? With more than 200 million players, it's now equal to nearly two-thirds the US population

    SEE ALSO: A 'Fresh Prince' star is suing 'Fortnite' maker Epic Games, claiming his dance moves were stolen. Decide for yourself with these comparisons of every dance in the game

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    NOW WATCH: I cut Google out of my life for 2 weeks, but the alternatives prove why Google is so much better


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    mario kart Kauffman Stadium Jumbotron

    • The helicopter for a local Kansas City TV station captured a game of "Mario Kart" being played on the jumbotron at Kauffman Stadium, home of the Kansas City Royals.
    • Aerial footage showing the game on the screen was posted to Twitter on Tuesday, where the post has recieved more than 10,000 retweets and 44,000 likes.
    • Although Twitter users had many theories about who was playing "Mario Kart," the game was actually organized as a way to raise money for the Royals' beneficiary foundation, Royals Charities.

    Some lucky "Mario Kart 8" players were recently able to duke it out on an 100-foot jumbotron screen in a 40,000-seat stadium. 

    Aerial footage posted to Twitter on Tuesday captured an excited Super Mario crossing the finish line on the massive jumbotron screen at Kauffman Stadium, home to the Kansas City Royals baseball team. The game being played seems to be "Mario Kart 8," the latest iteration in Nintendo's fan-favorite franchise. 

    The video was captured by a helicopter for the local news channel KCTV, while en route to Arrowhead Stadium, where the Kansas City Chiefs play in the NFL. The tweet from KCTV sports reporter Tom Martin has gotten more than 50,000 reactions at the time of publication. 

    The jumbotron, named CrownVision, sits out in center field, measuring approximately 85 feet wide and 106 feet tall. Which is to say, it's a much bigger screen than most people have in their living rooms. 

    The mystery of who was actually playing the game was the question of the day on Twitter. Was it employees, taking a video game break? Was the stadium the victim of a break-in from game-loving burglars?

    The real culprit, it turns out, was Royals Charities, the Royals' team beneficiary foundation. The Twitter account for the charity responded to the video to say the Mario Kart was being played as part of a fundraiser. Royals Charities also teased that a "video game party" could happen again sometime in the future as the prize for a charity auction.

     

    SEE ALSO: 33 of the best and wackiest photos from the biggest tech convention of the year

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    NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos is worth over $100 billion — here's how the world's richest man makes and spends his money


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    lauren sanchez jeff bezos patrick whitesell

    • Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos is reportedly dating entrepreneur and former TV anchor Lauren Sánchez.
    • Earlier on Wednesday, Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced that they were divorcing after 25 years together.
    • The New York Post reported that Sánchez is still married to Hollywood agent Patrick Whitesell, though they are separated.
    • The National Enquirer said it's on the verge of publishing an exposé on the alleged affair between Bezos and Sánchez, with claims that its reporters tailed the pair for months.

    Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos reportedly has a new romance in his life: former TV anchor Lauren Sánchez.

    On Wednesday, the billionaire exec and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, announced they were divorcing, saying in a joint statement: "We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends."

    The New York Post and the National Enquirer both reported that Jeff Bezos, 54, is romantically involved with 49-year-old Sánchez, a former "Good Day LA" news anchor with Fox who also works as a helicopter pilot and entrepreneur.

    The TV host is still married to Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of prominent Hollywood talent agency WME. Whitesell counts Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Hugh Jackman among his clients.  According to the New York Post, Sánchez and Whitesell separated in the fall. It's after this that Bezos reportedly "became closer" with Sanchez. Sánchez has three children — two from her marriage to Whitesell and one from a previous relationship.

    The National Enquirer says it conducted a four-month investigation into Bezos and Sánchez's alleged affair, and suggests that it was its impending report — due to be published in full later this week — that sparked the announcement from Bezos.

    "During a blockbuster four-month investigation, The ENQUIRER tracked Bezos, who turns 55 on Jan. 12, and secret lover Sánchez across five states and 40,000 miles, tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and 'quality time' in hidden love nests," the National Enquirer wrote in a story teasing its upcoming investigation.

    Bezos has an estimated net worth of around $137 billion, and news of his impending divorce has sparked fevered speculation as to what it will mean for his fortune. It's not clear whether Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos signed a prenuptial agreement or formed another arrangement regarding what might happen if they split. The couple have been married for 25 years, and have four children.

    An Amazon spokesperson did not immediately respond to Business Insider's request for comment.


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    Jeff Bezos

    • The National Enquirer, a gossip tabloid, said it has conducted a four-month investigation into an affair between Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos and former TV anchor Lauren Sanchez. 
    • On Wednesday, the Amazon CEO announced he and his wife, MacKenzie Bezos, were divorcing.
    • Hours later, the National Enquirer reported it tracked romantic involvement between Bezos and Sanchez.
    • The Enquirer said it has photos of Bezos and his new partner, and plans to publish them — and that it has access to "one steamy picture too explicit to print here."
    • The National Enquirer has long-standing ties to President Donald Trump — fueling speculation that the investigation of Bezos, a critic of the president, could have been politically motivated. 

    The news of Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos' impending divorce has taken a dramatic turn.

    On Wednesday, the billionaire technology exec announced he and wife of 25 years, MacKenzie Bezos, were splitting up. Hours later, the National Enquirer, a well-known celebrity-gossip tabloid, said it had conducted a four-month investigation into an affair between Bezos and Lauren Sanchez, a former TV host — and that it plans to publish the full story on Thursday. 

    The Enquirer said its reporters tracked Bezos and Sanchez "across five states and 40,000 miles, tailed them in private jets, swanky limos, helicopter rides, romantic hikes, five-star hotel hideaways, intimate dinner dates and 'quality time' in hidden love nests." The front-page headline, the Enquirer revealed, will be "The cheating photos that ended his marriage."

    The publication also said it has obtained photos of the two "doing the dirty" and suggested it has access to "raunchy messages and erotic selfies — including one steamy picture too explicit to print here." It said the full report will include "more shocking photos of the pair," though it has yet to print any. 

    The New York Post reported Sanchez and Bezos were involved in a relationship shortly before the National Enquirer did so on Wednesday. While the Post did not mention the National Enquirer by name, it suggested that the Bezoses timed their announcement to come ahead of the possible release of photos of Bezos and Sanchez.

    The President Trump connection 

    Commentators have already been watching the divorce with fascination, given what it could mean for Bezos' $137 billion fortune. The involvement of the National Enquirer — which has a long-standing association with President Donald Trump — adds a new dimension to the story, with some already speculating that the investigation could be politically motivated.

    Bezos, who is also the owner of the Washington Post, is a longtime critic of President Trump, and the two have a long-standing public feud.

    Meanwhile, David Pecker, the CEO of National Enquirer's parent company, American Media Inc. (AMI), was known for a long time as an ally of Trump, even before he entered politics, and the publication reportedly squelched several stories that would have reflected poorly on the future president. 

    MSNBC journalist Chris Hayes tweeted: "Given everything we know about how Pecker's National Enquirer has functioned as essentially an arm of Trumpworld, this prompts some questions."

    And Erica Orden, a CNN reporter, said: "One of the bylines on this National Enquirer story about Jeff Bezos is Dylan Howard, the AMI editor who was involved in AMI & [former Trump lawyer] Michael Cohen’s efforts to silence women who claimed affairs with Trump."

    It's worth noting, however, that Pecker seems to have flipped on Trump and is cooperating with prosecutors investigating payments made to women with whom Trump has been accused of having affairs, even as the National Enquirer is said to have downplayed its coverage of the president.

    The National Enquirer did not immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. An Amazon spokesperson also did not respond to a request for comment from Business Insider. 

    Lauren Sanchez is still married to Patrick Whitesell, the co-CEO of prominent Hollywood talent agency WME. Whitesell counts Matt Damon, Christian Bale, and Hugh Jackman among his clients. According to the New York Post, Sanchez and Whitesell separated in the fall, and she and Bezos "became closer" afterward. The National Enquirer, meanwhile, reported that their secret relationship has been ongoing for eight months.

    Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos announced their separation in a joint statement on Twitter earlier on Wednesday. "We want to make people aware of a development in our lives. As our family and close friends know, after a long period of loving exploration and trial separation, we have decided to divorce and continue our shared lives as friends," they wrote. 

    Jeff and MacKenzie Bezos have four children together. Sanchez has three children — two from her marriage to Whitesell and one from a previous relationship.


    Got a tip? Contact this reporter via Signal or WhatsApp at +1 (650) 636-6268 using a non-work phone, email at rprice@businessinsider.com, Telegram or WeChat at robaeprice, or Twitter DM at @robaeprice. (PR pitches by email only, please.) You can also contact Business Insider securely via SecureDrop.

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Split Universal

    • Having a "split personality" is called Dissociative identity disorder.
    • Split personalities are known as "alters," while the body is the "host" or "system."
    • DID has been wrongly portrayed in film, TV, and books as linked with evil.
    • In most cases, people with DID are the victims of abuse, not the abusers.
    • They want you to know they are not "monsters" but are human just like you.

    This article was originally posted on Feb 16, 2017.

    Have you ever been reading a page of a book, but you zone out and don't recall anything you've just read? Are you ever driving a familiar route, only to realize you haven't really been focusing on the road the entire time? This is sort of what it's like to have dissociative identity disorder (DID). The only difference is it happens all the time, and in these moments someone else takes over.

    Non-violent and seemingly normal anecdotes like these from people who have multiple personalities — or "alters" — are a far cry away from the character(s) represented in "Split," the new film starring James McAvoy as a man with 24 individual personalities.

    In the climax of the film, Kevin (McAvoy) morphs into "the Beast," one of his personalities. The Beast has superhuman speed, strength, and agility, apparently unique to its manifestation, and also kills and devours people, suggesting the human body can adjust itself biologically to fit a dangerous and psychopathic alter.

    While the film is entertaining, it is not a realistic portrayal of DID, and may do harm to people who live with the real disorder. One common misconception about DID is that whoever has it is not "themselves" 100% of the time. In fact, concepts such as "me," "myself," or "I" can be quite tricky things to define.

    According to the Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders, or the DSM-IV, DID is formally recognized as a psychiatric diagnosis, and the patient must show at least two individual identities or personalities, which routinely take control of the individual's behavior. Along with this there is also memory loss that goes beyond normal forgetfulness, and each alter can display a broad range of traits such as phobias or mood disturbances.

    All of the individuals that Business Insider spoke with who self-identified as having DID said they had suffered abuse at some point in their lives. Robert T. Muller, a professor of clinical psychology at York University in Toronto who has over 20 years experience working with people with DID, explained how the two are linked.

    "It's virtually unheard of that you have a client with multiple personality disorder who has not had significant attachment based trauma," or psychological trauma such as abuse from an early care giver like a parent, he said.

    Several studies have found a relationship between childhood trauma and dissociation, such as the work by Bethany Brand who recognized there was controversy around the disorder and looked into independent files and police records. She found that people with DID had all routinely had severe childhood traumas, and since then the research has been consistent.

    "Split" does address the topic of child abuse somewhat, explaining that Kevin's personalities began manifesting to help him cope with an abusive mother who has obsessive-compulsive disorder (OCD). However, as a horror film, it fails to accurately represent DID.

    Here are the stories of four people with multiple alters who explain what it's really like to live with many voices — sometimes competing and conflicting ones — within their own heads. It's important to remember that these are personal stories, however, and everyone who deals with a distinct mental illness — just like anyone who deals with a distinct physical one — has a unique experience.

    depression anxiety mental health

    Jennifer's* story

    There are four people in Jennifer's system — the name people with DID sometimes call their collective selves — and three of them are much younger. Jennifer is 39 years old but Emily* is 3, Caroline* is 7, and Eloise* is 16. She wanted her name and location to remain anonymous as she was only recently diagnosed.

    Jennifer believes she started dissociating at around age 3 to try and escape the volatile temper and abuse of her mentally unstable mother. For this, she sees her alters as her saviors.

    "My father never stood up for me so I felt defenseless and alone," she recalls. "Without Eloise, I wouldn't have survived being in that house. Without my alters, I wouldn't have survived — period."

    For Jennifer, her alters kept her safe when nobody else could. She said that Eloise was the personality that finally started fighting back, for example. Apparently she is the headstrong, fierce and very protective tomboy of them all, who enjoys martial arts, hunting and all things military. This couldn't be further from Jennifer, who is a liberal who loves animals and is considering taking up a career in dog massage. Eloise, Jennifer said, thinks this is ridiculous.

    Caroline is the most burdened of all the alter, probably because she was present for the majority of the abuse. She doesn't trust anyone, even Jennifer herself, which they say they are working on in therapy.

    For all their differences, Jennifer and her alters have found a happy medium by listening to each other and learning how they can help each other.

    "I have learned to face Eloise, to listen to her and to treat her as an equal, and it seems to have made our relationship much more manageable," Jennifer said. "If there is any friction we talk it out calmly rather shouting at each other like we used to do.

    "The system only works if we all respect each other and are all given 'air time' to voice our thoughts and feelings. I’ve never argued with Emily or Caroline; with them being so young they tend to look to me as parent-like figure so they are easy to advise and guide."

    Rich's story

    Rich, a 38-year-old farmer from California, was diagnosed with DID at age 14. He currently has three alters, but he said there used to be a lot more. Eventually, he said, those other alters became integrated into his personality. Now it's just him (Rich), Bobbie (who is female), and Fred (a newer addition). For him, his dissociation was a journey which began with him phasing out from reality, to seeing things in third person, to finally splitting into other separate personalities.

    "I couldn't feel anything that was happening to me, and sometimes I would have an out of body experience and even leave the room," he explained. "Later in life, my dissociative episodes were stronger, for lack of a better word. I would get amnesia and depending on the situation I would behave differently and even use different names. I guess it made things feel like they weren't happening to me."

    Rich said he was also mistreated when he was young. He was left with a babysitter for much of his childhood as his parents worked, and was sexually and emotionally abused, and he feels he probably hasn't recovered all of the memories from that time yet due to dissociating.

    "It feels like I am watching a movie when I try to recall things I did when I lived in that town," he said.

    Rich is married and said that his wife and Bobbie get on very well, and even sometimes go shopping together. He thinks Bobbie is likely to stick around now, rather than disappear like many of his other alters, because he is now "comfortable and happy."

    "I never took an exact count but I could count more than 10 and felt there was more," Rich said. "That includes alters that were just containers for memories and fragments that performed a singular purpose. I have struggled with food. I feel guilty about eating. I had one solely to make sure I would eat. I — it — would sneak food during the night. I had obsessive hand washer. That trait passed to me when it integrated."

    Drew's story

    Drew is in his 40s and lives and works full time as a graphic designer in a major metropolitan area in the US Midwest. There are about seven alters in his system of which he is the only male. He's also in a female body, but he doesn't consider himself trans — more that he has gender dysphoria. Drew was diagnosed with DID at age 20.

    Drew's alters include Sophie* who is the host aged 41, Claire who is 23, Eden who is 17, Rain who is 12, and a couple of younger alters who are about 4 and 8, but that's an estimate.

    "I don't like to put an exact number on us, especially the kids, because there are rumors that there are others hidden away," Drew said. "When you think you know everyone but then run into someone you didn't know, it really throws everyone for a loop."

    Drew said they are all very different people, and all appeared at different times. Many of them have memories of abuse growing up, and hold different memories about what happened to them.

    "Some memories of abuse are even 'split' in a way that one recalls only intense feelings like shame and fear, where someone else recalls mainly physical pain," Drew said. "Working together to share those memories with each other and integrate the experiences into a complete narrative is what we consider an eventual goal. Nobody has any desire to try and become one person, if that were even possible, which we don't believe it is."

    Drew believes his alters may have appeared as a way of dealing with emotional and physical abuse, as well as neglect and psychological harm, meaning there was no safe space to crawl away to. Splitting off and dissociating can be a defence mechanism, like playing possum or focusing your mind, only it has been taken to the extreme, according to Muller.

    Over the years, Drew and the others have worked hard at being co-conscious, which he describes as "a state in which one person is "out" but the others are also aware of what is happening." So while one may not recall going to the shops as a first-person memory, they would be aware of what happened as a sense of "we went to the shops."

    They also have their own areas where each prefers to take the lead. For example, Claire is very well organized, and so handles most of the day-to-day things at work. Sophie and Rain are the "artists" and are both very creative. Drew is the practical and logical one, and, he admits, slightly controlling.

    "We have pretty clearly defined areas of expertise, which helps us work cooperatively most of the time," he said. "There is occasionally a lot of shouting, or at least loudly voiced opinions."

    Jess's story

    Jess is studying to be an interpreter for the deaf. She's 34, from Ohio and works part time as a server assistant in a restaurant.

    Jess was diagnosed with DID at age 25, and sees her dissociation slightly differently to the others, in that she doesn't believe any person really just has one identity. She said babies take a long time to figure out their spatial surroundings, and even what and who they are, and so we develop identities as we grow, "through experiences and discovering the relation of ourselves to our environment."

    As for her system, she said there are three hosts: Post Traumatic Jess, Dissociative Jess** (who uses two asterisks to signify the alters within her) and Normal Jess, as well as 15 alters contained within three groups. That 18 people all together.

    There's Jey, Morrighan, EvaMarie, Morgana and Erzsebet in the adult group, ;Suzy, June and Bel in the teen group, then Emerald, Sapphire, Eloise and Connie who are children. There are also three "non-human" alters that Jess said helped her with surviving trauma. They are Kiki, a cat that distracts from reality as a human, Zoey, a sprite-a fairy like creature, and Justice, her guardian angel. Jess discusses them and her feelings and thoughts in her blog.

    She doesn't exactly know when each identity was created, but she knows she was very young, because that's when the sexual assault by her brother started.

    "I feel that each time I was in a situation that was unbearable, then I'd leave and someone else would be there," Jess said. "I believe at first they were like a blank shell, and the more they came out, the more they grew and learned just like any child does."

    Connecting everyone internally is the most difficult skill to master according to Jess, especially as all her alters differ in age, the memories they have, and their emotional reactions to situations. Some even have very distinct facial expressions, voices, and unique body language behavior.

    A challenge with DID, she said, is when something triggers the dissociation and she is suddenly not "present" any more and loses time.

    "You end up places you don't know how you got there, your plans you were supposed to do, go undone. Sometimes things come up missing or are misplaced," Jess said. "There are a lot of challenges but it's really unique to each individual.

    "The hardest part about life is just living it, I say. It's a lot of work to get everyone inside here on the same page."

    Split movie

    The challenges of being more than one person

    Dissociation can come with a host of challenges, but one of the most difficult may be memory loss. Jennifer, for example, spoke about how her partner used to get frustrated because she would forget conversations they'd had three or more times before.

    "I find that I do things without realizing that I've done — nothing sinister — mundane things like I would somehow find I have something in my hand that I know for a fact was in a different room, on a different floor in the house, but have no recollection of fetching it," she said. "I can forget whole movies, I can forget a book within days of reading it. I can even forget entire days of trips that I've taken with my partner."

    Rich recalled similar events. Sometimes he meets people and later doesn't remember when he sees them again, which can be confusing for others, and can sometimes be misconstrued as rudeness.

    Drew said Sophie refers to the lost time as "time warps" in her diary when she was younger and before she was diagnosed with DID. It's like driving along and missing the turning because you're on autopilot, but it happens at seemingly random times.

    "I might suddenly realize I'm having a conversation with a person I don't know or that I'm in a part of town I don't recognize holding a shopping bag of things I don't remember buying," Drew said.

    Jess said normal days can end up being like a game of Cluedo (Clue), trying to figure out "who did it."

    "I have a dark sense of humor that keeps me going," she said. "It's different for everyone, but I'm sure we all spend our days just trying to keep a schedule going between us all."

    Another challenge is something as simple as looking in the mirror and defining a sense of self.

    "Looking in the mirror and not recognizing myself is also a little disconcerting but I have grown to accept it now," Jennifer said. "Or I should say that the others have grown used to not recognizing themselves, as the reflection in the mirror is of the physical host, me, Jennifer*."

    Screen Shot 2017 02 09 at 15.38.59

    What they want you to know

    One major issue with "Split," as with other films about DID, is the fact that they portray one or many alters as evil. You just have to Google the term "multiple personality film" to see the ominous, brooding titles and covers accompanying the topic.

    In reality, this is almost always untrue, according to Muller. The vast majority of people with DID do not have alter-egos that allow them to indulge in evil desires.

    Drew has friends with DID, and said that the media portrayal has perhaps even contributed to individuals fearing their own alters, but it all comes down to a lack of understanding and willingness to listen.

    "Everyone I've known with DID has alters who were considered "evil" or "bad" by the rest of the system, only to come to understand that these individuals are actually very badly hurt children who have been tasked with carrying the bulk of the sadness, rage, and pain associated with abuse," he said. "People are just afraid of anything they don't understand and it's easy to turn people into monsters for being different."

    Muller said the idea of alters being dramatic or flamboyant in TV and film could originate from the fact there is often a juvenile part, who is childish to their approach to the world, and then a "persecutor" who is very aggressive.

    "[It's] a part that actually wants to torture themselves in a way, but to the person when they're in the persecutor role, they feel powerful and their cruelty feels powerful to themselves," Muller said.

    This doesn't mean the alter wants to wreak havoc on anyone else, as usually it's a means of punishing themselves. As with some other victims of abuse, people with DID also may have very low self esteem and self-worth, according to Muller.

    As for whether there is an "evil one," Muller said it's interesting because in some ways, DID is almost literary.

    "Something like Jekyll and Hyde, something that is the embodiment of a metaphor: our different parts and how we have different sides to ourselves, and how we don't show people our ugly sides, and we present a certain way to the world," he said.

    'The human mind is remarkable'

    It can be frightening for people in relationships with those who have DID to see their aggressive sides, but that's because it's disorienting to see your loved one as someone completely different, rather than being scared of what they would do to you. Jennifer said it's never crossed her mind to harm anyone else, because she knows how it feels to be scared of an abuser.

    "We are not dangerous in any way — we are more likely to hurt ourselves and be hurt by other people than we are to hurt anyone," she said. "We have endured so much suffering that to inflict pain on anyone else is the last thing we would ever wish for."

    Suffering is such an integral part of DID because it is so closely intertwined with PTSD. Certain triggers can make someone dissociate, such as loud noises, raised voices, or the sight of flannel shirts, in the case of Matt who has DDNOS, a form of dissociating, and keeps a blog about his experiences. Now that Matt is an adult, his mind is allowing him more and more access to his past and the abuse he went through as a child, thanks to therapy and finally exploring why he had so many feelings of depression within himself.

    "It's a defense mechanism and it's a very good thing, because our brains are so amazing," he said. "The trauma happened when I was a kid, but I didn't start dealing with it until 30, 35 years later.

    "All those memories were in a shoe box in the bottom corner of the closet of my mind... Then once you begin to pick through the rubble and start to recall memories, your brain says, 'okay, now you're able to deal with this memory so I'm going to give you bits and pieces of this gigantic puzzle.'"

    DID is an incredible survival tool rather than something to fear. Unfortunately, as a way of dealing with trauma that kept them safe as children, people with DID have carried it on past that stage. However, everyone I spoke to with DID was very aware of their disorder and their shortcomings, and had a take home message along the same lines: we are human, just a little different.

    "We just want them to know that we're not a monster, just because we have a DID diagnosis," said Jess. "We may be a system of many people, but we are people just like you... DID experiences are personal, and are as different as the amount of different people in the world."

    Ultimately, Rich would just like people to be a little more patient.

    "In short, 'I have a Dissociative Disorder. Please forgive my forgetfulness,'" he said.

    *Some names changed for anonymity at the interviewee's request.

    SEE ALSO: Here are all the iconic musical movie references in 'La La Land' you need to know

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    Toy Story 4 Disney

    2018 was a huge year for the movie business.

    There were record-breaking figures domestically ($11.9 billion), thanks to the domination by Disney, which was responsible for an incredible 26% of the market share, as well as surprise hits throughout the year like "A Quiet Place" and "A Star Is Born."

    The international box office ($29.8 billion) also had a record year with big hitters like "Avengers: Infinity War" and "Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom" proving their might, while movies like "Venom" and "Aquaman" showed they also had global appeal.

    But here's the thing — 2019 has the potential to be even bigger!

    With the final chapters in the current "Star Wars" and "Avengers" sagas coming out this year, plus (takes a deep breath) "Toy Story 4," "Captain Marvel," "Aladdin," "Lion King," "Frozen 2," a Quentin Tarantino movie ("Once Upon a Time in Hollywood"), a Jordan Peele movie ("Us"), the first "Fast and Furious" spin-off ("Hobbs & Shaw"), Joaquin Phoenix as the Joker, and Tom Hanks as Mister Rogers, on paper 2019 could be another record year.

    Here are 43 movies you should definitely check out in 2019: 

    SEE ALSO: The 29 hottest video games you shouldn't miss in 2019

    “Glass” — January 18

    Following "Unbreakable" and "Split," M. Night Shyamalan completes his unique comic book trilogy by bringing the characters (played by Bruce Willis, Samuel L. Jackson, and James McAvoy) together to face off in one movie.



    “The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part” — February 8

    Emmet (voiced by Chris Pratt) returns, along with many of the characters from the hit first movie, to face a new evil — Lego Duplo. 



    “Alita: Battle Angle” — February 13

    A project that James Cameron was attached to for years (he's still listed as one of the screenwriters), it has since been taken over by Robert Rodriguez, who will bring to life this beloved manga using some of the best CGI.



    See the rest of the story at Business Insider

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    Improbable

    • Buzzy British game tech startup Improbable says its cloud gaming platform has been blocked by Unity.
    • Improbably says that Unity, which claims to be the most popular game engine, changed its terms of conditions to block Improbable's SpatialOS platform.
    • The move jeopardises all games built on SpatialOS and Unity, with at least one developer pulling their game offline until the dispute is resolved.
    • Improbable has raised more than $600 million from backers such as SoftBank, and is worth around $2 billion.

    Gaming technology firm Improbable has been dealt a blow after game engine Unity blocked the startup's core technology.

    UK-based Improbable is valued at $2.2 billion and has raised around $600 million from backers such as SoftBank for its SpatialOS cloud gaming platform. SpatialOS plugs into different game engines — such as Unity —  and allows third-party game developers to create massive online worlds. A game engine does much of the heavy lifting in games, such as rendering graphics and handling the physics of gameplay.

    Almost half of all games in the world are built on Unity, according to Unity's CEO.  

    According to a post published by Improbable on Thursday, Unity altered its terms and conditions in December to "disallow services like Improbable's to function with their engine."

    According to Improbable, Unity hasn't given much further explanation.

    "Overnight, this is an action by Unity that has immediately done harm to projects across the industry, including those of extremely vulnerable or small scale developers and damaged major projects in development over many years," Improbable wrote.

    The change jeopardises the lineup of current and future games developed on Unity and Improbable's SpatialOS, which remains a nascent platform.

    One game studio that was early in adopting SpatialOS, UK-based Spilt Milk, said it was pulling its multiplayer shooter "Lazarus" offline.

    The company wrote on Twitter: "Hi – we’ve got some really bad news. Due to a dispute between Improbable & Unity we have to shut down the Lazarus servers. It’s going to be down for an undetermined amount of time, basically until the dispute is resolved, one way or another."

    Other developers are awaiting clarification about how their games will be affected. UK-based Bossa Studios launched the massively multiplayer online world "Worlds Adrift" to much fanfare in 2018

    Worlds Adrift

    Bossa CEO Henrique Olifiers told Business Insider it was too early to say whether the company would need to pull the game offline, and that the firm was awaiting clarification.

    Improbable placed the blame squarely on Unity, and said the change could leave game creators in a difficult situation financially. The company said it was planning an emergency fund to help its partners.

    The firm wrote "For now, we believe this unfortunate and counterproductive action to be an error in judgement or coordination failure within Unity. We are urgently working to clarify this situation and believe that a swift resolution may be possible."

    An Improbable spokesman told Business Insider that it was difficult to estimate the potential financial impact on the startup, but added that the situation with Unity was "unique." 

    If the license change remains in place, it could put developers off using SpatialOS in future. The spokesman said Improbable was in the process of updating all of its partners.

    The change is a blow, but won't impact all games running on SpatialOS. Midwinter Entertainment's upcoming "Scavengers", which is partly funded by Improbable, will run on Unreal, for example. 

    Business Insider has contacted Unity for comment.

    SEE ALSO: SoftBank-backed Improbable doubled its valuation to $2 billion after raising $50 million from a Chinese gaming giant

    Join the conversation about this story »

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    Evan Spiegel

    • Snap CEO Evan Spiegel recently said that Instagram made users feel "terrible" because they had to "compete for popularity."
    • Spiegel has yet to provide any proof to back up this claim, and current research suggests he is wrong.
    • Snapchat does, however, seem to have a slightly better emotional impact on users than Instagram, according to multiple surveys.
    • Assessing the impact of social-media apps on emotional well-being is complicated by factors like "active" versus "passive" use, and timeframe.

    It’s no secret there’s bad blood between Snapchat and Facebook-owned Instagram.

    Snap insiders and fans — including Miranda Kerr, the Australian supermodel and entrepreneur who is married to Snap CEO Evan Spiegel — have repeatedly blasted Facebook and Instagram for copying Snapchat, especially its stories format.

    But beyond the copying complaints, which Instagram has not denied, there’s another form of criticism that has recently bubbled up: the contention that Instagram is bad for you, while Snapchat is not.

    Spiegel expressed this view on stage at The New York Times’ DealBook conference in early November: “What people are experiencing on Instagram is, they don’t feel good about themselves. It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity.”

    The basic theory is easy to understand: Instagram has “likes” and public follower counts, whereas Snapchat does not, and if people are competing for likes on Instagram, they will end up feeling “terrible.”

    But the problem with that easy narrative is the evidence doesn’t back it up.

    After speaking with a professor in the field, consulting the current academic research, running a custom consumer survey, and corresponding with a Snap representative, I was still left without a single data set supporting Spiegel's claim that Instagram was "terrible" and Snapchat was not.

    The consensus picture that emerged was that, in many circumstances, both Snapchat and Instagram had a positive emotional influence on their users, with Snapchat having a slight edge.

    But Spiegel’s attack on Instagram’s emotional impact is hyperbolic and unsupported.

    Even research commissioned by Snap itself, published on Tuesday, found that 8 of the 9 “top attribute index scores” for how users felt when using Instagram were positive. Users of both Snapchat and Instagram felt “playful,” “attractive,” “creative,” “adventurous,” and “flirtatious” when they were using the apps. Instagram's top attribute was "inspired" and the lone mark against it was that users felt “self-conscious.”

    Snapchat got a perfect 9 out of 9 positive attributes (no surprise there), while Twitter and Facebook’s attributes skewed negative.

    Here is the full chart from Snapchat and Murphy Research:

    unnamed

    Yes, Snapchat seems to beat Instagram in this study. But if even research being paid for by your competitor — a competitor who is trashing you in the press — gives you 89% positive attributes, that’s pretty good.

    And it’s not the only evidence to suggest that Spiegel is wrong in his assessment of Snapchat and Instagram’s emotional effects.

    How does using Snapchat or Instagram impact you emotionally?

    When I heard Spiegel’s quote about Instagram in November, I thought it would be worthwhile to try and answer a simple question: How did Snapchat and Instagram affect users emotionally?

    To get a feel for this, I asked on-demand insights company AlphaHQ to run a survey on Instagram and Snapchat users. The question AlphaHQ asked was this: “Compared to how you typically feel before opening the app, how does using [Snapchat, Instagram] generally impact you emotionally?”

    Here’s a summary of the findings:

    Instagram (453 user responses)

    • Worse: 7.5%
    • Better: 22.3%
    • No different: 70.2%

    Snapchat (581 user responses)

    • Worse: 4.8%
    • Better: 27.9%
    • No different: 67.3%

    Snapchat comes out ahead, but there is nothing to suggest Instagram makes its users feel “terrible” — or somehow much, much worse than Snapchat.

    But this wasn’t an academic study and I took the results as a gut check rather than a definitive answer.

    Instagram dog

    'We can't really make any claims about Instagram versus Snapchat'

    I approached Snap and asked both for its take on the AlphaHQ findings and for any research that backed up Spiegel’s statements.

    Snap and Spiegel declined to give a formal statement or interview.

    But the company pointed me to two academic studies, one from the University of Michigan published in 2016 by Information, Communication, & Society (titled “Sharing the small moments: ephemeral social interaction on Snapchat”); and another from the University of Minnesota published in 2017 (titled “Share First, Save Later: Performance of Self through Snapchat Stories”).

    The Michigan study dealt directly with the issue of Snapchat and mood, and included some references to Instagram. In general, Snapchat came out on top relative to other communication technologies with respect to its impact on a user's mood.

    “Our quantitative data demonstrated that Snapchat interactions were perceived as more enjoyable – and associated with more positive mood – than other communication technologies (i.e., calling, texting, emailing, Facebook),” the researchers wrote.

    But in looking at the data, the difference between Instagram and Snapchat's impact on mood didn’t appear statistically significant. I spoke to the lead author on the study, Joseph Bayer, now an assistant professor at The Ohio State University, to confirm that.

    “We can't really make any claims about Instagram versus Snapchat,” Bayer said. He added that he wasn’t aware of any academic studies that showed Instagram having an overall negative emotional effect on users.

    The second study Snap pointed me to, from Minnesota, characterized Snapchat as a “low-risk” way of sharing, but didn’t compare the app with Instagram.

    The Minnesota study also contained a section that undercut one of Spiegel’s central premises: that Snapchat is set up so users won’t care about popularity.

    The study found that Snapchat users “still cared about the way their content was received by the audience.” One of the primary ways the participants assessed the worth of their Snapchat content was by seeing who looked at each post — “and this was information they actively sought out.” The study participants also used a “diverse set of strategies for deciding whether [Snapchat] content was successful enough to warrant saving.”

    In the absence of “likes,” Snapchat users created their own methods for seeing how popular or successful a piece of content was.

    Snapchat

    Passively looking at strangers probably makes you sad

    But surely there had been some studies that contended Instagram, or social media in general, was bad for you, I thought.

    I went back to Snap, but the company did not send me any more studies on the record.

    When I asked Bayer, he said there was one study in particular that was frequently cited as a nuanced look at Facebook and its negative emotional effect in some circumstances.

    That study, published in 2015 by the Journal of Experimental Psychology, found that “passive” but not “active” Facebook usage “specifically undermines affective well-being and does so by enhancing envy.” So if you are passively scrolling through your Facebook feed, it can make you jealous of others.

    But the researchers also wrote that they “did not observe any relationship between active Facebook usage and well-being in the current studies.” (The study did not look at Instagram or Snapchat.)

    There have been similarly nuanced findings on how Instagram influences “well-being.”

    In a study published in 2015 by Cyberpsychology, Behavior, and Social Networking, researchers concluded that “Instagram use has negative associations with well-being for those who follow many strangers, but positive associations with well-being for those who follow few strangers.” (The study did not look at Snapchat.)

    Taken together, these two studies suggest that it’s not merely which social-media platform you use that determines the emotional effect it has on you, but also how you use it.

    Kylie Jenner

    Instagram Stories now has twice as many daily users as Snapchat

    This insight could help explain why Instagram copying Snapchat’s stories feature is such a threat to Snap.

    Since Instagram introduced the feature in the summer of 2016, it has become stunningly popular. In June, Instagram Stories hit 400 million active users, over twice Snapchat’s daily active user base.

    Snapchat’s rise has often been attributed to its “ephemeral” nature, which encourages users to document the silly or mundane aspects of their lives. Maybe one secret of the popularity of “ephemerality” was that it encouraged users to be more active on the platform, and communicate with their actual friends — both of which the academic research suggests are positive for well-being when applied to social networks generally.

    Now that Instagram has bottled some of that secret sauce with its stories feature, it presents a threat to Snapchat. Instagram gives you two options: lasting and ephemeral. You can be “active” either way. No wonder that has helped the platform sustain its massive growth.

    Instagram stories update

    'They have to compete for popularity'

    In that context, it’s easy to understand why Spiegel wants to criticize Instagram in another way: by characterizing its usage as a relentless pursuit of popularity. (“It feels terrible, they have to compete for popularity.”)

    Spiegel outlined the general theory when talking about the differences between Snapchat and Facebook in June at the Code Conference:

    "I think fundamentally it’s important to understand that Snapchat is not just a bunch of features. It really has an underlying philosophy that runs directly counter to traditional social media. I think that’s why traditional social media feels threatened. Because, fundamentally, if people realize that competing with their friends for 'Likes' and attention is kind of unpleasant and really not that great."

    But it’s not that simple.

    The 2015 study that looked at Instagram and “well-being” found that “contrary to the hypotheses, more frequent Instagram use was not associated with social comparison.” Is Instagram really a popularity contest, then?

    And as the 2017 Minnesota study found, without a “like” button, Snapchat users have found other ways of judging the performance of their content.

    So maybe it’s not competing with your friends for popularity on social media that makes you sad, but rather passively following celebrities and envying their lives. And guess what, you can passively follow celebrities on Snapchat, too.

    DJ Khaled

    It depends on which questions you ask

    It’s worth noting that not all researchers have come away with a rosy view of social media, and I did find one survey that presented an alarming picture of the situation.

    A study from the UK published in 2017 by the Royal Society for Public Health looked at the effect of social-media apps on health and well-being, as defined by 14 survey questions. In sum, the RSPH found that only YouTube had a net positive effect, with Twitter, Facebook, Snapchat, and Instagram having a negative effect.

    Instagram was the worst, but Snapchat was the second worst, which meant the RSPH study wasn’t particularly useful in settling the Instagram versus Snapchat debate.

    In reading study after study, it became clear that there were no simple answers to how social media affects humans emotionally, especially as new platforms continue to emerge.

    The emotional effect of Facebook seems to be fleeting

    But whatever the emotional effect — positive or negative — that these platforms have, it could also be fleeting.

    Bayer pointed me to a study that he and his colleagues published in 2017 in New Media & Society (titled “Facebook in context(s): Measuring emotional responses across time and space”).

    The researchers found that users generally had positive emotional experiences up to 10 minutes after active posting on Facebook. But that positive effect dissipated when subjects were tested 30 minutes after posting, and “Facebook activities predicted no changes in aggregate mood over 2 weeks.”

    The short-lived nature of Facebook’s emotional impact, which could perhaps be true of other platforms as well, complicates the matter even further.

    Calling Instagram 'terrible' isn't going to help Snapchat

    The bottom line is that assessing the emotional impact of social-media platforms on their users is complicated and must take into account things like "active" versus "passive" usage, and timeframe.

    But one thing I can say for certain from my research is that only an extreme cherry-picking of data could lead to the conclusion that Instagram is “terrible” while Snapchat is a benevolent tool for creativity and self-expression.

    It's understandable to lash out at a competitor that is brazenly copying your innovations. But painting Instagram as a terrible experience for users isn't going to do much for Snap’s stock price if the users actually come away from Instagram feeling "inspired."

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