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NBCU Hands Snapchat Account to BuzzFeed and Earns Gold

NBCUniversal handed control of its Snapchat account to BuzzFeed during the Summer Olympics, giving nearly total editorial control of its Discover channel to 12 BuzzFeed video producers on location in Rio. The BuzzFeed team produced up to 20 pieces daily, with a focus on the athletes and local activities. The experiment of distributing content via social platforms and the media/messaging app resulted in a big win for NBCU, generating 2.2 billion views across the pop-up Discover channel and daily Live Stories, for a total of 230 million minutes of consumption. Read more

Best Buy Bets Big on Virtual Reality with First Mainstream Test

Best Buy is going all out to promote sales of the Oculus Rift and Sony PlayStation VR, with what’s regarded as the first mainstream test of VR products. The Oculus Rift demonstrations, which began their rollout in May, will be in 500 stores in time for the holiday season, with an added 200 demonstrations for PlayStation VR starting in October. The genesis of the push to VR began with chief executive Hubert Joly, who had a “mind-boggling” VR experience with a man-eating shark. He’s betting the U.S. public will be equally smitten. Read more

Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Pinterest is acquiring Instapaper, the app that allows consumers to save content for later viewing. The deal provides San Francisco-based Pinterest with access to vital behavioral data and technology that could help it better target content and ramp up its capabilities to compete with Facebook as a next-generation, insular media portal. Instapaper is expected to remain a standalone app, and Pinterest will invest in its further development. The majority of Instapaper’s team, including CEO Brian Donohue and community manager Rodion Gusev, will relocate from New York to California. Read more

Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Pandora took a major step as its service expands to directly compete with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal: bringing on musician Questlove as its first artist ambassador. Questlove, whose Roots is the house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” originally visited Pandora for non-specific discussions but, when its co-founder Tim Westergren showed him its Music Genome Project for categorizing songs by minute attributes, he was immediately hooked and accepted Westergren’s offer to join as a strategic adviser and ambassador. Read more

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Read more

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