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NBA on board as WarnerMedia launches Innovation Lab

US media and entertainment company WarnerMedia has said it will launch an incubator designed to create new and innovative consumer experiences and businesses, with basketball league the NBA signing on as one of the initial partners for the venture.

To be based in New York City, WarnerMedia Innovation Lab will seek to encourage deep collaborations across WarnerMedia and its parent company, telco AT&T, as well as between key corporate partners and developers of emerging new technologies.

“Our goal in launching this dedicated laboratory is to accelerate innovation around how our content can thrive and grow within emerging formats and platforms,” WarnerMedia chief executive John Stankey said.

“By taking advantage of AT&T’s technological capabilities we are literally creating a next-generation playground for our creative, tech and strategy executives and key business partners across HBO, Turner, Warner Bros. and Otter Media.”

WarnerMedia said a key accelerant to the Lab will be technology and infrastructure expertise garnered from across AT&T’s businesses. The Innovation Lab will combine core competencies in areas ranging from the ‘Internet of Things’ (IoT), AI and Machine Learning, Virtual Reality and Mixed Reality with WarnerMedia’s IP and creative talent.

Initial areas of exploration are expected to include AT&T’s 5G infrastructure offerings to develop, deliver and deploy new immersive consumer content experiences in the form of AR/VR/MR/Gaming Offerings, enhancing real-time interactivity and connectivity.

The Lab will also look to combine data and insights from across AT&T’s more than 300 million direct-to-consumer relationships across wireless, video and broadband services with WarnerMedia’s content, in order to harness the potential of dynamic content, innovative advertising formats and delivery using Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning research.

The NBA’s initial role in the venture will see the two parties explore areas including utilising AT&T’s IoT infrastructure, connected car partners and connected environments across arenas, airports and cities to re-imagine localised content and fan experiences, as well as utilising creative talent to bring the immersive game experience beyond the court.

Turner, a division of WarnerMedia, and the NBA jointly-manage NBA Digital, the league’s cross-platform portfolio of digital assets that include NBA TV, the NBA App, NBA.com, NBA League Pass and NBAGLeague.com.

Additionally, the Lab will foster further collaboration with Turner and Xandr, AT&T’s newly launched advertising company. The Lab will be led by Jesse Redniss who will add to his responsibilities as Turner’s executive vice-president of data strategy and product innovation.

“The future of consumer experience will be personalised, both participatory and passive at the same time, while also dynamic based on how viewers want to receive and engage within their media content journey,” Redniss said.

“By infusing emerging technology innovations led by AT&T and methodologies with our world class IP, partners like the NBA and story world developers, we expect the Innovation Lab to help redefine the future of the entertainment and sports experience.”