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People Turn to Social Media to Diagnose STDs

By Dennis Thompson
HealthDay Reporter

TUESDAY, Nov. 5, 2019 (HealthDay News) — The HIV test came back positive and the patient, full of fear and denial, took to the STD forum on the popular social media site Reddit.

“I’m really scared because they said my results showed ‘HIV-1 Confirmation.’ I have to go back and get another test but I’m wondering is the doc wrong, do you think I have HIV?” the person wrote.

People worried that they have a sexually transmitted disease are more often turning to social media to receive a diagnosis, according to a report published Nov. 5 in the Journal of the American Medical Association.

Nearly 3 of every 5 posts to Reddit’s STD forum is seeking a “crowd diagnosis” of a suspected infection, often with an accompanying photo of affected genitalia, said senior researcher John Ayers. He’s an associate professor with the Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health at the University of California, San Diego.

Worse, 20% of people requesting an STD crowd diagnosis through Reddit specifically sought a second opinion after receiving a diagnosis by a health care professional.

“One in 5 people that went on here was already told by a doctor what their condition was,” Ayers said. “They go on social media to refute that diagnosis.”

He said the phenomenon is disturbing, and not just because it takes the dreaded office question, “Does this look normal?” to a global scale.

There’s a good chance that people are being given misleading or wrong information, which increases the risk of spreading the infection to others, Ayers said.

“We’re undergoing an STD epidemic right now, and in part that epidemic may be fueled by people’s reliance on social media for health care,” he said.

Ayers cited the frightened HIV-positive patient as an example. That post received a reply within an hour, researchers found.

“They go online and they get told they don’t have HIV, which means that person is going to go now and infect more people,” Ayers said.

Rising rates of STDs

The rates of new HIV diagnoses in the United States have remained stable in recent years, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, but infection rates for other STDs are skyrocketing:

  • Chlamydia infections are up 19% since 2014, and now stand at 1.8 million.
  • There’s been a 63% increase in gonorrhea cases during that time, to more than 583,400.
  • Primary and secondary syphilis are up 71%, with more than 35,000 cases.
  • Congenital syphilis passed from mother to baby has increased 185%, with more than 1,300 cases.

Continued

Ayers and his colleagues noted that people are increasingly turning to social media for information about STDs and other illnesses.

“Remote care” and “telemedicine” are concepts that have been kicking around for some time, but doctors may be surprised by the extent to which people already are participating, Ayers said.

“People are already doing remote care. They’re just doing it in the wrong setting. They’re doing it on social media,” he said.

To gain some understanding, the researchers focused on Reddit, a social media website with 330 million active monthly users. The site hosts more than 232 health forums, also called “subreddits,” including one focused on STDs.

“None of them are dedicated to diagnosis,” Ayers said. “They’re all about sharing information and social support. But the reality is they all turn into a forum for crowd diagnoses.”

Ayers and his team gathered posts on Reddit’s STD forum from its start in November 2010 through February 2019, nearly 17,000 in all.

The monthly number of posts have been steadily increasing over the years, with 908 appearing in January and February 2019.

Researchers drew a random sample of 500 posts to see how many were seeking crowd diagnoses.

About 58% of posts requested a crowd diagnosis. Nearly one-third of those requests included a photo of the person’s physical symptoms, “which basically meant they were sexting, for want of a better word,” Ayers said.

One example involved a person who posted a photo and asked: “Is this ingrown hairs or genital warts?”

“I went to the doc a few days ago and he said it’s genital wart,” the post continued. “I’m floored because I always use condoms. I recently shaved so the doctor could be wrong and they’re ingrown hairs? Here’s a pic. I’d appreciate a second opinion. If it is warts, I may try apple cider vinegar first.”

Nearly 9 out of 10 requests for a crowd diagnosis received a reply, and many received multiple replies, Ayers said. Some posts received a reply in less than a minute.

“Crowd diagnoses are becoming popular because strangers are so willing to try to help,” Ayers said.

Continued

He noted that 79% of requests were answered in less than a day. “Try getting a doctor’s opinion in that time,” Ayers said.

Can health care take advantage of social media?

Dr. Stacey Rizza is an infectious disease expert at the Mayo Clinic in Rochester, Minn., who reviewed the findings. She said she’s alarmed that people are turning to social media rather than doctors to deal with their STDs.

“In my opinion, I don’t think that’s the appropriate way to diagnose anything,” Rizza said. “But in infectious diseases, it’s not just that one person. Other people will be impacted, too.”

While it is concerning, Dr. Amesh Adalja sees opportunity in the trend, as well.

“This phenomenon should be seen as an opportunity for health care providers to engage with patients on social media to ensure accurate diagnosis and advice is being given,” said Adalja, a senior scholar at the Johns Hopkins Center on Health Security in Baltimore who also reviewed the study. “Exploiting the ease of social media inquiry will likely become an increasingly important way to interact with patients.”

Ayers agreed. He said public health officials and organizations should partner with social media platforms to improve the information being shared and make sure people are turning to their doctor for a proper diagnosis.

He noted that Reddit’s forum on suicide is staffed by volunteers who encourage people to seek qualified help.

“If that existed for the STD forums, maybe we could get more people to engage with the professional help they need and actually get better,” Ayers said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: John Ayers, Ph.D., M.A., associate professor, Division of Infectious Disease and Global Public Health, University of California, San Diego; Stacey Rizza, M.D., professor, medicine, Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn.;  Amesh Adalja, M.D., senior scholar, Johns Hopkins Center on Health Security, Baltimore;Journal of the American Medical Association, Nov. 5, 2019

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Media Reports on Celeb Suicides Could Trigger Copycats

FRIDAY, Nov. 1, 2019 — How the media reports on celebrity suicides may increase the risk for copycats, a new study suggests.

But following guidelines on the reporting of these suicides can reduce the risk of others following suit, researchers added.

“Suicide needs to be reported on as a public health issue every single time, rather than a story focused on the celebrity’s death and the method of that death,” said researcher Arielle Sheftall, from the Center for Suicide Prevention and Research at Nationwide Children’s Hospital in Columbus, Ohio.

For the study, she and her team used 14 variables from recommendations by the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention on how to report on suicide, which include not sensationalizing the death and framing the report as a public health issue. The researchers looked at how the guidelines were used after the suicides of designer Kate Spade and chef Anthony Bourdain.

After reviewing newspaper articles from across the United States, they found that some media didn’t adhere to several of the suicide reporting guidelines.

On average, only seven of the 14 guidelines were followed and only two were followed by all the newspapers.

The two guidelines that were followed stress that suicide isn’t caused by a single factor and that suicide isn’t a growing epidemic.

Guidelines that weren’t followed by any of the papers included stressing that suicide is preventable and good treatment can reduce the risk of suicide.

It’s important to understand that many people are reading the story, including those at risk for suicide, Sheftall noted.

“People who may be struggling with suicidal thoughts could be exposed to these articles, and that is why it is so crucial to follow all of the suicide reporting guidelines. We are not pointing fingers at journalists or their newsrooms, but encouraging them to become aware of the guidelines and understanding their nuances,” she said in a hospital news release.

The report was published online Nov. 1 in the journal JAMA Network Open.

More information

For more on recommendations for reporting on suicide, see the American Foundation for Suicide Prevention.

For more on suicide prevention, head to the Suicide Prevention Lifeline.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: November 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

Warner Media’s Crunchyroll Invests in VIZ Media Europe Group

Two of the world’s biggest anime powerhouses have joined forces today: WarnerMedia’s Crunchyroll has invested in European anime company VIZ Media Group. The company, a division of Otter Media, has signed a deal that brings together Crunchyroll’s global platform with VIZ’s anime partners, while the Hitotusbashi Group will keep its minority stake in the operation. Closing of the transaction will occur once closing conditions have been satisfied, including the receipt of required antitrust clearances.

Crunchyroll, which was founded in 2006 as an anime-sharing platform, has grown to attract a community of more than 50 million registered users through a variety of 360° content experiences including:

  • Streaming Video – Fans can choose between subscription-video-on-demand (SVOD) and advertising-based-video-on-demand (AVOD) services; Crunchyroll’s two million paying subscribers spend an average of 85 minutes per day streaming. Crunchyroll streams more than 1000 licensed anime titles across devices, professionally translated into eight languages. Original content, largely from Crunchyroll’s studios in Tokyo and Los Angeles, will be joining the collection soon.
  • Events – Through participation in more than 180 events across 18 countries, Crunchyroll engages with an estimated 21 million anime fans globally each year. In addition, Crunchyroll hosts two marquee events annually, Crunchyroll Expo and the Anime Awards.
  • Consumer Products – Crunchyroll creates and sells a wide variety of anime products through more than 100 merchandising partners and their direct-to-consumer Crunchyroll Store. More than 2000 SKU’s are currently available online for purchase in the Crunchyroll Store.
  • Games – Crunchyroll Games is a game publisher working on a growing collection of anime-based experiences for fans; four mobile games are currently available.
  • Manga – Fans can download the Crunchyroll Manga app on mobile devices, with new titles updated regularly.

VIZ Media Europe Group, comprised of VIZ Media Europe (VME), AV Visionen, Anime Versand and VIZ Media Switzerland (VMS), is an established licensor and distributor of Japanese content for the EMEA region, bringing fans a variety of 360° experiences, including:

  • Content Distribution – VME and VMS are the content suppliers for EMEA TV broadcasters and VOD platforms. More than 40,000 hours of animation of all ages have been distributed in 100+ countries.
  • Theatrical Distribution – Regular anime rendezvous at theaters in Europe and successful event screenings (Kazé Anime Night) in German-speaking territories.
  • Consumer Products – Licensing, brand management and retail development for all categories in EMEA.
  • Manga Publishing – VME and VMS started successfully under the brand Kazé Manga in 2010 in French Speaking Europe and in 2012 in German-speaking Europe.
  • DVD Home Entertainment – VIZ Media Europe Group’s robust home video capabilities span across France (through Kazé), Germany (through AV Visionen), and German-speaking Europe including Scandinavia and Eastern Europe (through VIZ Media Switzerland).
  • Streaming Video – Anime on Demand (AoD) launched in 2007 as the first legal streaming platform in Germany for anime with nearly 5000 episodes and films available. Launched in 2013, Anime Digital Network (ADN), in partnership with Média-Participations, is a French platform dedicated to anime, with more than 6000 episodes and films available.

“Crunchyroll and VIZ Media Europe Group will bring together significant expertise, capabilities, and dedication to grow and promote our respective licensed and original content,” said Joanne Waage, general manager of Crunchyroll. “We look forward to learning from and collaborating with our new colleagues in Paris, Lausanne and Berlin, so we can continuously create the most engaging experiences for anime and manga communities around the world.”

“We have built a large network in EMEA and beyond, expanding our manga and licensing expertise through multiple skills in various business lines: TV, DVD, Digital & Merchandising,” said Kazuyoshi Takeuchi, CEO of VIZ Media Europe Group. “Over the last decade, our team has shown a deep understanding of Japanese pop culture and adaptation within local markets, and I believe this relationship will strengthen our position and future growth, adapting to changes in the dynamic Japanese animation industry and global business climate.”

“Crunchyroll has helped enable anime to become a mainstay in popular culture, and we are committed to this growing category. This transaction between Crunchyroll and VIZ Media will combine one of the major anime brands ex-Asia with a well-known and beloved manga and anime distributor,” said Tony Goncalves, CEO of Otter Media. “Together, we aim to create connections for passionate anime fans across Europe and beyond.”

Animation Magazine

Eric Ellenbogen Named CEO of DHX Media

DHX Media has appointed Eric Ellenbogen as Chief Executive Officer and Vice Chair of the Board of Directors. Ellenbogen succeeds Michael Donovan, who has stepped down as CEO and as Executive Chair. Donovan will continue to serve on the Board as Founding Chair. And Donald Wright has been appointed non-executive Chair.

“We are delighted to announce that Eric will lead DHX Media in fully realizing the value of our extraordinary media assets,” said Wright. “Eric brings fresh leadership and a clear vision to our Company, as well as a 30-year track record of creating significant shareholder value in the media space. In the nine months since he has joined our Board, while also serving as a strategic advisor, he has worked closely with our senior leadership team and gained a deep understanding of our Company. Given his broad perspective and decades of relevant industry experience and success, we are confident that Eric will be able to move the Company forward from the get-go as CEO.”

“We thank Michael for his many years of leadership and vision. As founder of DHX Media, Michael has played a significant role in building the Company into the global entertainment force it is today. We are pleased that he will remain on the Board.”

Ellenbogen commented, “DHX Media has an unmatched portfolio of kids’ and family content with high-profile, beloved characters, including Peanuts, Teletubbies, Strawberry Shortcake, Caillou and Inspector Gadget. In addition to its library and leading animation studios, DHX Media has built a truly unique asset in WildBrain – one of the largest kids’ networks on YouTube – with unparalleled reach and engagement. I’m pleased to have the opportunity to work with the management team, employees and our many valued partners and customers to deliver leading content and brands for audiences worldwide.”

Ellenbogen has spent more than 30 years running entertainment businesses, including holding senior management roles as President of Lorne Michaels’ Broadway Video Entertainment; President of Golden Books Family Entertainment; and President & CEO of Marvel Enterprises before its acquisition by Disney.

With the backing of private equity, he co-founded Classic Media in 2000, which became one of the largest private owners of branded kids’ and family entertainment and was acquired by DreamWorks Animation in 2012. Ellenbogen became Co-Head of DreamWorks Classics and DreamWorks International Television, and was largely responsible for the company’s entry into the television business. Following DWA’s sale to NBCUniversal, Ellenbogen became Co-President of Classic Media, which was restarted as a business unit of NBCUniversal.

Ellenbogen was a board director of Golden Books and Marvel, then both public companies, and is a Trustee of the Public Theater in New York City among other civic involvements. He is a graduate of Harvard College and holds an MBA from UCLA.

Animation Magazine

Here’s How Too Much Social Media Can Harm Girls

By Steven Reinberg
HealthDay Reporter

WEDNESDAY, Aug 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Bingeing on social media isn’t good for any teen, but new research has pinpointed three ways in which hours spent on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook may harm the mental health of young girls in particular.

“Almost all of the influence of social media on mental health could be explained by the three mechanisms examined — namely experiencing cyberbullying, sleeping for less than eight hours a night and reduced physical activity — all of which have known effects on mental health,” said researcher Dasha Nicholls, a reader in child psychiatry at Imperial College London.

“The influence of these mechanisms in boys was much less marked, however, and it is likely that other mechanisms are operating that we were unable to explore,” she added.

Girls use social media much more than boys, Nicholls explained, and girls may use social media differently than boys. They also are exposed to and react differently to the content they see, she noted.

“It’s important to keep a balance, so that social media does not displace other activities that are important for mental health,” Nicholls said.

Another expert said social media is a mixed bag for teens.

Social media use does not necessarily need to be harmful, said Ann DeSmet, a post-doctorate fellow in health science at Ghent University in Belgium.

It can reduce loneliness, but can also increase exposure to harmful outcomes, such as cyberbullying, said DeSmet, who authored an editorial that accompanied the study.

“It is harmful if it displaces time that would be spent on healthy lifestyles, such as physical activity and sleep, or when it increases involvement in cyberbullying,” she said.

For the study, Nicholls and her colleagues interviewed roughly 10,000 teens from almost 1,000 schools in England. Over three years, the researchers checked how much time teens spent on social media. They defined heavy use as using apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp three or more times a day.

Nicholls team found that in 2013, 43% of boys used social media throughout the day, compared with 51% of girls. In 2014, social media use had jumped to 51% of boys and 68% of girls. By 2015, 69% of boys and 75% of girls used social media multiple times a day.

Continued

Among girls, the more often they used social media, the more psychological distress they suffered, the findings suggested. In 2014, 28% of girls who used social media a lot reported psychological distress, compared with 20% of those who used it weekly or less. This effect was not as clear in boys, the study authors noted.

Moreover, a well-being survey found that girls who used social media very often were likely to report lower life satisfaction and happiness, and greater anxiety in 2015. This relationship wasn’t seen among boys, the researchers noted.

Well-being in girls was affected most by cyberbullying, poor sleep and lack of physical activity. Nearly 60% of psychological distress was caused by these factors.

These factors accounted for only 12% of psychological distress among boys who used social media frequently, the researchers said.

The differences between boys and girls might be that girls start with higher levels of anxiety. Also, cyberbullying is more common among girls, Nicholls noted.

The findings were published online Aug. 13 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Dr. Anne Glowinski, a professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that parents should be aware of how much time their children are spending on social media and what they are doing there.

Also, parents should set guidelines about social media use.

“Parents tend to go all or nothing,” she said. “One of the scenarios I see is that a kid gets handed the smartphone, does whatever they want, and then boom, something bad happens.”

Giving a kid a smartphone should come with guidelines, Glowinski said.

Also, parents should be concerned if their child is not interacting with real people, or is gaining weight or not engaging in physical activity, or sleeping poorly. These can be signs of emotional problems, she said.

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Dasha Nicholls, Ph.D., reader, child psychiatry Imperial College London, United Kingdom; Ann DeSmet, Ph.D., post-doctorate fellow, health science, Ghent University, Belgium; Anne Glowinski, M.D., professor, child psychiatry, Washington University School of Medicine, St. Louis; Aug. 13, 2019,The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health, online

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Pagination

WebMD Health

Here’s How Too Much Social Media Can Harm Girls

WEDNESDAY, Aug 14, 2019 — Bingeing on social media isn’t good for any teen, but new research has pinpointed three ways in which hours spent on Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and Facebook may harm the mental health of young girls in particular.

“Almost all of the influence of social media on mental health could be explained by the three mechanisms examined — namely experiencing cyberbullying, sleeping for less than eight hours a night and reduced physical activity — all of which have known effects on mental health,” said researcher Dasha Nicholls, a reader in child psychiatry at Imperial College London.

“The influence of these mechanisms in boys was much less marked, however, and it is likely that other mechanisms are operating that we were unable to explore,” she added.

Girls use social media much more than boys, Nicholls explained, and girls may use social media differently than boys. They also are exposed to and react differently to the content they see, she noted.

“It’s important to keep a balance, so that social media does not displace other activities that are important for mental health,” Nicholls said.

Another expert said social media is a mixed bag for teens.

Social media use does not necessarily need to be harmful, said Ann DeSmet, a post-doctorate fellow in health science at Ghent University in Belgium.

It can reduce loneliness, but can also increase exposure to harmful outcomes, such as cyberbullying, said DeSmet, who authored an editorial that accompanied the study.

“It is harmful if it displaces time that would be spent on healthy lifestyles, such as physical activity and sleep, or when it increases involvement in cyberbullying,” she said.

For the study, Nicholls and her colleagues interviewed roughly 10,000 teens from almost 1,000 schools in England. Over three years, the researchers checked how much time teens spent on social media. They defined heavy use as using apps like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, Snapchat and WhatsApp three or more times a day.

Nicholls team found that in 2013, 43% of boys used social media throughout the day, compared with 51% of girls. In 2014, social media use had jumped to 51% of boys and 68% of girls. By 2015, 69% of boys and 75% of girls used social media multiple times a day.

Among girls, the more often they used social media, the more psychological distress they suffered, the findings suggested. In 2014, 28% of girls who used social media a lot reported psychological distress, compared with 20% of those who used it weekly or less. This effect was not as clear in boys, the study authors noted.

Moreover, a well-being survey found that girls who used social media very often were likely to report lower life satisfaction and happiness, and greater anxiety in 2015. This relationship wasn’t seen among boys, the researchers noted.

Well-being in girls was affected most by cyberbullying, poor sleep and lack of physical activity. Nearly 60% of psychological distress was caused by these factors.

These factors accounted for only 12% of psychological distress among boys who used social media frequently, the researchers said.

The differences between boys and girls might be that girls start with higher levels of anxiety. Also, cyberbullying is more common among girls, Nicholls noted.

The findings were published online Aug. 13 in The Lancet Child & Adolescent Health.

Dr. Anne Glowinski, a professor of child psychiatry at Washington University School of Medicine in St. Louis, said that parents should be aware of how much time their children are spending on social media and what they are doing there.

Also, parents should set guidelines about social media use.

“Parents tend to go all or nothing,” she said. “One of the scenarios I see is that a kid gets handed the smartphone, does whatever they want, and then boom, something bad happens.”

Giving a kid a smartphone should come with guidelines, Glowinski said.

Also, parents should be concerned if their child is not interacting with real people, or is gaining weight or not engaging in physical activity, or sleeping poorly. These can be signs of emotional problems, she said.

More information

For more on teens and social media, head to the Pew Research Center.

© 2019 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

Posted: August 2019

Drugs.com – Daily MedNews

VIZ Media and Crunchyroll Form Home Video/EST Pact

Globally popular anime brand Crunchyroll and premiere anime/manga distributor, publisher and licensor VIZ Media have partnered on a robust home video and electronic sell-through distribution deal that will bring even more beloved anime titles to fans across the U.S. and Canada. VIZ will now distribute select Crunchyroll series and upcoming acquisitions through these avenues.

“VIZ Media, in partnership with Warner Home Entertainment, is responsible for distributing some of the biggest titles in anime. This partnership will ensure maximum exposure and monetization for our content partners’ IPs and empower us to super-serve anime fans across North America,” said Sae Whan Song, head of business development for Crunchyroll. “We’re looking forward to working with VIZ Media to broaden our distribution and to offer our fans another way to enjoy their favorite series.”

“With Crunchyroll’s expansive catalog of anime in every genre and VIZ Media’s demonstrated success in sales and distribution, we’re excited to join forces to deliver the best titles to viewers any way they want to view it,” says Brian Ige, Sr. Vice President, Animation, VIZ Media.

Crunchyroll connects a community of 50 million registered users and 2 million subscribers to the world’s largest collection of anime, which includes more than 1,000 titles and 30,000 episodes.

Animation Magazine

Toonz Media Group Announces Imira Leadership Changes in Global Expansion

Toonz Media Group, in line with its global expansion process — and this year celebrating its 20th anniversary — announces a change in leadership at Imira Entertainment. Paul Robinson, who has been Imira’s CEO since December 2017, is resigning his post to take on a key strategic role within the Toonz Media Group; and Carlos Biern has been appointed as Toonz’s new President of Animation Productions & Co-productions.

Robinson will provide strategic advice to the Toonz Media Group and will continue to head the Canal Clan International joint venture with RTVE, Malish TV Russia and other platform initiatives worldwide, as well as strategic alliances for the group. As part of this operational and strategic restructuring, Imira’s operational matters and responsibilities will be taken over directly by Biern and his executive team.

Robinson, an international media exec with vast experience in the global kids and family entertainment industry having held senior exec positions at the BBC, The Walt Disney Company, and NBC Universal, joined Imira as interim CEO to lead the Spain-based rights management and distribution company forward and to build the distributor’s international presence and align the company from a new business perspective. He will continue to work with the Toonz group and different entertainment divisions, reporting directly to Group CEO P. Jayakumar.

Biern, a long-time kids and family exec who is President of the Spanish Federation of Animation & Visual Effects Producers (DIBOOS), has been appointed President of Animation Production and Co-production at Toonz Media Group, overseeing all international productions and co-productions of the group and its companies; and will take on an operational role within Imira from both a management perspective and to build on projects initiated under Robinson’s helm, working alongside P. Jayakumar and the Imira team, as well as Robinson, now in his new role.

“We thank Paul for his service over these past 18 months and are delighted to continue to benefit from his expertise and extensive experience as we expand across all our entertainment divisions, and welcome Carlos who brings with him a valuable knowledge and years of experience in the international as well as the Spanish arena,” commented P. Jayakumar.

Robinson added, “It has been a pleasure to lead a wonderful team of people and to contribute to help make a Spanish distribution company a little more global and worldwide in its reach and aspirations. The global market is changing rapidly, and there is an imperative for us to continue to develop new routes to market and strategically serve our customers better whilst developing new business opportunities.”

“I am delighted to be joining such a vibrant entertainment group and working with both Imira and Toonz experienced teams. I am extremely happy to take this role to build even more our presence by incorporating the best creative talent in kids and family entertainment from all over the world,” Biern said of his appointment.

Animation Magazine

Toonz Media and Fauna Team Up for Hybrid Series ‘Briko’

Toonz Media Group, now celebrating its 20th anniversary year, announced a new co-production with Turkey’s leading kids’ entertainment company, Fauna Entertainment: Briko, a 52 x 2.5’ CGI animation and 52 x 10’ live-action hands-on learning edutainment adventure series.

Aimed at kids ages 4-7, Briko follows the adventures of a curious and creative young boy called Briko, and his best friend, a hyperactive rabbit called Hepi. In each episode, Briko and Hepi come across a surprise box and which always challenges them in a different way. Once they have worked out how to open it, they discover a world of surprises through everyday objects that the box contains, and the dynamic duo turn their wildest imagination To creating, making or inventing fun games, gadgets, tools or objects, transforming normal and apparently useless items into exciting, fun creations and toys. Supporting the animated episodes are stand-alone live-action tutorials to empower and show kids how to make Briko and Hepi’s creations.

Now entering production, Briko has a Turkish broadcaster and Turkish Master Toy partner on board already to reel out the STEM-based, stand-alone, educational Brik-Box and a host of related products, including publishing and digital edutainment materials. The trailer will be ready by end of June and first episodes will be shown at MIP Junior and MIPCOM this year. Full delivery will be in Q4 2020.

“We are delighted to be partnering with Fauna on this original animation and live-action mix transmedia project which can both entertain and empower kids to use their imagination and creativity, using objects available to kids worldwide,” said P. Jayakumar, CEO of Toonz Media Group.

Emre Aksoy, Chief Business Officer of Fauna Entertainment, added, “We are very excited to work with Toonz on Briko, which plans to increase the creativity of kids and enhance family playtime, thanks to Briko’s hands-on activities.”

Toonz will handle the entire animation production, and Fauna will be responsible for the script development and all the live-action elements. Both production entities will share the co-ownership of the IP, and Toonz has worldwide distribution rights across all platforms and territories except in Turkey, which will be handled by Fauna.

Briko

Briko

P. Jayakumar

P. Jayakumar

Emre Askoy

Emre Askoy

Animation Magazine

FMX Brings the Global Digital Media Community Together

The FMX Conference on Animation, Effects, Games and Immersive Media has closed out another successful edition in Stuttgart. Haus der Wirtschaft and new venue Hospitalhof were packed with more than 4,000 visitors maxing out the event’s capacity. “We are very happy,” says FMX Conference Chair Prof. Andreas Hykade. “High-caliber speakers and an enthusiastic audience made FMX 2019 an unforgettable event.”

Minister-President of the State of Baden-Württemberg, Winfried Kretschmann, was enthusiastic in his opening speech, naming FMX an “international flagship” for the state. “The illusion is the most beautiful of all pleasures,” he quoted Voltaire. The Minister-President described the ability to fill the empty screen with our fantasy through the animated film “an exemplary digital space” as “one of the most important human talents.”

The central theme of FMX 2019, Bridging the Gap, highlighted worldviews and workflows that inspire exchange in the fields of animation, effects, games and immersive media. Bridging the Gap was interpreted in different ways by the FMX 2019 speakers. Dr. Andrew Glassner, artificial intelligence pioneer, held a Crash Course in Deep Learning and expressed a philosophical approach: “We nourish and protect our dreams, from the quiet murmurs of our hearts to the bold plans of our minds. As they evolve, these intimate visions grow beyond ourselves, bridging the gap between our inner passions and our outer engagements with the world.”

Academy Award-winning director Dr. Jan Pinkava, who gave the opening keynote speech, said, “The best thing is to do good work with people that you like. If we can understand each other, learn from each other, respect each other, and disagree happily with each other, we can like each other more and do better work.”

For supervising sound editor Nina Hartstone, who talked about the Oscar-awarded sound editing of Bohemian Rhapsody, Bridging the Gap means “pushing the boundaries of creating sound in film to tell a story in a way that immerses the viewer in another world – transporting our consciousness out of reality and experiencing a different life.”

VR/360° creator, documentary maker and journalist Gayatri Parameswaran presented the VR documentary Home After War. “Bridging the Gap means, to me, using technology for storytelling in a way that we can bring people together,” she said.

Academy Award-winning filmmaker and animation historian Prof. John Canemaker expressed his enthusiasm about FMX 2019: “FMX is a super event — impressive in the quality and breadth of the presentations and hospitality shown! It was of great value to me as a filmmaker and educator.”

More than 280 top-class speakers gave presentations, workshops and masterclasses. Moreover, 33 companies presented their latest products and services at the Marketplace as well as in six Company Suites. At the Recruiting Hub, 28 companies were on the lookout for creative talents, while 19 universities showed their projects on the School Campus. For the first time, over 20 virtual reality experiences and presentations could be experienced live on the School Campus.

FMX 2019 once again proved to be one of the most important events for the community to meet, refresh old contacts and make new acquaintances. This year, the new Get-Together, which took place daily in front of Haus der Wirtschaft, was the perfect place for an exchange of ideas.

The 25th edition of FMX (www.fmx.de) will take place from May 5-8, 2020.

Animation Magazine

Amanda Rockwell to Head US Sales for J2911 Media

Media executive Amanda Rockwell has joined J2911 Media as the new Sales & Acquisitions Executive for the United States. The news was announced by Vivian Reinoso, Head of Worldwide Acquisition, Distribution & New Project Engagement, to whom Rockwell will report directly.

Rockwell has been a creative writer and producer for 20 years, working for Time Life, PBS, and NASA TV besides running her own company, and spent six years as Head of Development for a production company in Washington, DC. She has expertise working with independent filmed entertainment and television program producers and has helped build a portfolio of compelling entertainment for international distribution.

Rockwell holds an M.A. from American University in Producing for Film, a B.A. from the University of Virginia in Politics, and recently matriculated with an A.A. in Advanced Culinary Arts. Combining her two loves, she most recently produced the TV series Dallas Cakes (Food Network).

J2911 Media is a global content acquisition and distribution company, dealin in movies, documentaries, factual entertainment and animation for a variety of target demographics. The group’s animation catalog includes children’s educational series Huevokids (9 x 30’ | 16 x 15’ | 31 x 5-8’), non-dialogue preschool shorts Outopus (52 x 2’ | 6 x 15’) and CG alien escapee comedy Lost on Earth (13 x 11’).

Animation Magazine

A Media Avalanche is Burying Our Attention Spans

April 16, 2019 — Pop art guru Andy Warhol once predicted that in the future, everyone would be famous for 15 minutes.

He may have been too generous.

The vast and growing volume of diversions that pepper our modern world appears to be taking a toll on our attention spans as people hop to the next trending topic faster and faster, European researchers report this week.

“We’re confirming something that a lot of people have been feeling, but that we haven’t had any large-scale evidence for,” says Sune Lehmann, PhD, a data scientist at the Technical University of Denmark and a co-author of the study. “A lot of us have had a feeling that things are moving faster.”

The findings, published Monday in the research journal Nature Communications, were the result of nearly 2 years of work by Lehmann and colleagues in Germany and Ireland. They mathematically tracked billions of Twitter hashtags, Google queries, Reddit comments, and other markers of online popularity as they rose and fell over various time spans in the last decade and a half.

They also examined citations of scientific journals, Wikipedia entries, box-office receipts of more than 4,000 movies over 40 years, and key phrases in 100 years of books cached online. And they found the time it took for a topic to peak in popularity and drop off has been getting shorter as more material competes for a limited mental market.

The study differs from previous research by trying to quantify differences in attention span “on a very large scale,” Lehmann says.

“It’s a new take on trying to understand some of the things our technology seems to be doing to us,” he says.

For example, in 2013, a popular topic generally stayed in Twitter’s top 50 trending topics for an average of 17.5 hours, the researchers reported. By 2016, that number had dropped to 11.9 hours. At the same time, the number of people following each topic at its peak was roughly the same, Lehmann says.

In other words, the same number of people were engaged with the Twitter topic at its peak in both years, but no single topic could keep the masses engaged for as long.

Not only is there “more and more stuff going into the systems,” he says, but companies that produce and market that stuff are getting better at keeping you on their platforms.

“One of way of doing that is serving you content that keeps you sitting at the computer,” Lehmann says. “That has to do with both sending you something interesting but [also] making it easier to get that next piece of information.”

The outliers in the study — meaning visitors were not spending as much time there — were the online encyclopedia Wikipedia, where Lehmann suggested visitors tend to focus on finding quick answers to a specific question; and scientific journals –“It’s more painful than being on Facebook scrolling through a news feed,” he says.

The study feeds into an ongoing debate about the effects the electronic revolution of the past 3 decades has had on how our brains work. Richard Restak, MD, says the immersion in technology is rewiring people’s brains and can produce effects similar to those seen in people with attention deficit hyperactivity disorder.

“People with ADHD, when they’re not medicated, describe a constant bombardment of sensory inputs of every sort,” says Restak, a neurologist at George Washington University School of Medicine and Health Sciences. “All the medications do is cut it down to one or two things, which is normal.”

The brain can adapt to meet those new demands and perceptions, and there’s some evidence that’s happening, Restak says. There has been an increase in diagnoses of ADHD in adults, while children who grew up in the internet era “are much more comfortable with multitasking, and much more adept at it.”

Other researchers have warned about negative consequences of being immersed in electronic stimuli, suggesting some people are susceptible to internet “addiction” that can affect relationships and jobs the same way substance abuse or compulsive gambling can.

The American Psychological Association says more than 4 out of 5 Americans are “very attached” to their electronic devices. And while about two-thirds of them believe it’s important to unplug once in a while, barely a quarter ever do it, the organization found.

Much of the concern about media and attention span focuses on children. The APA recommends consistent limits on screen time for school-age children and various recommendations for kids under 6. But Lehmann says the new study suggests it’s an issue for adults, too.

“On Reddit and Twitter, the main user group might skew slightly younger, although with a large fraction of adult users,” he says. “But movies, books, et cetera, would have a quite balanced audience.”

© 2019 WebMD, LLC. All rights reserved.

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WebMD Health

Brexit-hungry media to be turfed off grassy patch outside UK parliament

LONDON (Reuters) – After months of grueling political perma-crisis, Brexit is taking its toll on the British political establishment – not least the small patch of grass opposite parliament that has become a makeshift home to the world’s media.

Members of the media are pictured on Abingdon Green, as uncertainty over Brexit continues, in central London, Britain April 10, 2019. REUTERS/Hannah McKay

Parliamentary authorities have decreed that the media encampment – the source of thousands of Brexit despatches broadcast all over the globe – be temporarily dismantled next week to allow the downtrodden turf to be repaired.

An email sent to media outlets this week said urgent action was needed to re-turf and reseed damaged areas, preserve the grass in the less-damaged parts, and maintain flowerbeds.

Normally reserved for occasional major political events like general elections and budget announcements, the number of broadcasters based on the green has become a barometer of the state of the nation: The more cameras, the bigger the drama.

For the last few months the area has been packed

Inside parliament, Prime Minister Theresa May’s government teeters on the brink of collapse, Brexit has been delayed and the fate of the world’s fifth-largest economy rests in the hands of the 650 lawmakers elected to sit there.

Outside, TV channels have built elaborate two-tier studios, radio stations have bunkered down inside white tents and presenters speaking languages from Arabic to Italian have jockeyed for a camera shot with a backdrop of parliament.

All that has turned College Green – a normally grassy area less than the size of four tennis courts – into a piebald muddy patchwork in need of a break.

But with Brexit far from resolved and an insatiable appetite for news of the country’s biggest political crisis in more than 70 years, the respite will only be temporary.

Parliament, which owns the land, said the closure was expected to last seven days. After that, regular access will be allowed again “should the circumstances justify it.”

Reporting by William James and Tom Scally; editing by Stephen Addison

Reuters: Oddly Enough

Youth Media Alliance Adds New Board Members

Canada’s Youth Media Alliance (YMA) announced the appointment of two new members to its Board of Directors: Christiane Asselin (Senior Director, Multiscreen Content and Programming, Web TV, ICI TOU.TV and Youth, for CBC/Radio-Canada French Services) and Monika Ille (Executive Director of Programming and Scheduling, APTN – Aboriginal Peoples Television Network). They take over from Ira Levy (Partner, Executive Producer; Breakthrough Entertainment) and Madeleine Lévesque (independent producer and Executive Director, Alliance Quebec Animation).

The YMA board of directors consists of the following members:

Co-Chairs: Judith Beauregard, Tobo; J.J. Johnson, Sinking Ship Entertainment

Treasurer: Jonathan Finkelstein, Apartment 11 Productions

Secretary: Michele Paris, Knowledge Network

Members: Christiane Asselin, Radio-Canada; Monika Ille, APTN; Nadine Dupont, Groupe Média TFO (Interim); Marney Malabar, TVO; Frank Falcone, Guru Studio; Marie McCann, CBC Kids; Athena Georgaklis, Nelvana; Peter Moss, PDM Entertainment; Sarah Haasz, Cottonwood Media; Jennifer Twiner-McCarron, Thunderbird Entertainment.

Christiane Asselin is Senior Director, Multiscreen Content and Programming, Web TV, ICI TOU.TV and Youth, for CBC/Radio-Canada French Services. In this capacity, she oversees the production of all French-language children’s content, across all platforms.

Asselin has been working in the digital industry for the last 25 years. Young audiences have always been a fundamental part of the jobs she’s held over the years. Whether it was designing and producing Radio-Canada’s first website for kids, serving as executive director of Télé-Québec’s digital division or producing original content with Turbulent as partner and creative VP, Asselin has always believed in the importance of creating quality content for our children.

At Radio-Canada, Asselin is in charge of the on-demand video site ICI TOU.TV. Initially launched in 2010, ICI TOU.TV has emerged as one of Canada’s leading French-language content platforms, featuring a wide range of youth programming, international acquisitions, and original Canadian series. Asselin has developed deep insights into the media industry. Her technical, partnership and content-management expertise is a valuable asset for the rollout of Radio-Canada’s multiscreen content strategy.

Since 1990, Monika Ille has built a rich and diverse background in the media industry. Upon graduating with distinction from the Université du Québec à Montréal, she entered the industry working first for the Société Radio-Canada and then, for the National Film Board of Canada. During her employment with the NFB, she was instrumental in the development of a new training program for Indigenous filmmakers. She has been with APTN for the past 15 years.

Ille is a citizen of the Abenaki First Nation of Odanak and worked with Quebec Native Women and the Assembly of First Nations. She sits on the Quebec Board of Directors of the Academy of Canadian Cinema & Television and on the board of Théâtre ESPACE GO. She is an industry adjudicator on the Canadian Broadcast Standards Council – Quebec Regional Panel as well as a member of the Nominating and Governance Committee at MediaSmarts.

Animation Magazine

Do Social Media Hurt Mental Health of US Young?

By Alan Mozes
HealthDay Reporter

THURSDAY, March 14, 2019 (HealthDay News) — Young Americans may be more vulnerable to depression, distress and suicidal thoughts or attempts than their parents’ generation, and social media might be fueling that troubling trend.

So claims a review of a decade’s worth of data on roughly 200,000 teens between the ages of 12 and 17, and 400,000 young adults over 18.

Investigators found that beginning in the mid-2000s, those under the age of 26 started reporting a huge rise in symptoms related to all three mental health problems. The spikes ranged from about 55 to 70 percent. No such jump was seen among adults over the age of 26.

“Other studies had also documented an increase in mental health issues among adolescents, but it was unclear whether this was a shift among people of all ages or a generational shift,” explained study author Jean Twenge, a professor of psychology at San Diego State University.

The latest findings suggest a generational shift is indeed underway. These young adults “are experiencing mental health issues at a much higher rate than millennials were and are, even after accounting for year and age,” Twenge said. Millennials are those born between 1981 and 1996.

Why? “These increases in behaviors,” Twenge said, “cannot be explained by [more] awareness or acknowledgement.”

Instead, Twenge thinks the likely culprit is the explosive rise of social media over the past 10 years. The result, she said, is that “the way teens and young adults spend their leisure time has fundamentally changed.”

They “spend less time with their friends in person, and less time sleeping, and more time on digital media,” Twenge noted. “The decline in sleep time may be especially important, as not getting enough sleep is a major risk factor for depression and suicidal thoughts.”

What’s more, digital media is “something that happens to them every day, for hours at a time,” she said. “So, it makes sense it would have the largest impact on their mental health.”

And that impact hasn’t been good.

Continued

The analysis found that while major depressive symptoms had affected about 8 percent of survey respondents under 26 back in 2011, that figure had risen to 13 percent by 2017, representing an increase of roughly 60 percent. Young girls appeared to be particularly vulnerable, with indications that major clinical depression was affecting about 1 in 5 teen girls in 2017.

Similarly, indicators of serious psychological distress (such as anxiety and feelings of hopelessness) skyrocketed by more than 70 percent among those aged 18 to 25. During the same time frame, a whopping 55 percent rise was seen in suicidal thoughts among those between the ages of 22 and 23, while actual suicide attempts doubled.

The findings were published in the March 14 issue of the Journal of Abnormal Psychology.

Shari Jager-Hyman is a research associate with the Center for the Prevention of Suicide at the University of Pennsylvania, and was not involved with the study. She said the findings “could have important implications,” and agreed that changing attitudes towards mental health alone would not explain the whole story.

But certain aspects of the global rise of a new digital “town square” might, Jager-Hyman suggested. For example, these teens and young adults are the first to have to deal with the advent of “cyberbullying and social comparison facilitated by social media, both of which are associated with negative psychological outcomes,” she said.

“It is most likely that these findings are not attributable to any single factor,” Jager-Hyman said. “But it is certainly possible that increased exposure to social/digital media and decreased time engaging in face-to-face interactions may contribute to greater increases in psychological distress in younger people.”

WebMD News from HealthDay

Sources

SOURCES: Jean Twenge, Ph.D., professor, psychology, San Diego State University; Shari Jager-Hyman, Ph.D., research associate, Center for the Prevention of Suicide, department of psychiatry, Perelman School of Medicine, University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia; March 14, 2019, Journal of Abnormal Psychology

Copyright © 2013-2018 HealthDay. All rights reserved.

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Pagination

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