With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

In a deal with ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Comcast is delivering a package of 72 “Best of Oscars” moments from previous Academy Awards broadcasts via its VOD platform to X1 subscribers. The goal, for Comcast, is to drive up VOD rentals and purchases of Oscar-nominated features. For ABC, which is offering content gratis, the hope is that Comcast’s Oscars content will boost awareness and viewership of the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28. Continue reading With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

Verizon’s AOL Chief Exec Talks Potential Purchase with Yahoo

In December 2015, Verizon stated it was interested in acquiring all or some of Yahoo, which has been struggling for years with leadership changes and an inability to successfully exploit rising trends such as mobile. Now, Verizon has gone a step farther and given Tim Armstrong, chief executive of its AOL unit, the mandate to lead discussions with Yahoo about the potential for acquisition. Armstrong, a former Google sales executive, has known Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, also a former Google executive, for years. Continue reading Verizon’s AOL Chief Exec Talks Potential Purchase with Yahoo

Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Up until now, “zero rating” has been a gray area in net neutrality, but Verizon’s recent action might force the FCC to clarify its stance. Zero rating means that an Internet provider allows certain video and/or music streams to not count against a subscriber’s data cap. Verizon just confirmed that it has applied zero-rating to its new go90 service, thus giving itself preferential treatment and putting competitors such as Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services at a disadvantage. Continue reading Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Troubled Japanese LCD manufacturer Sharp is in talks to sell to Taiwanese company Foxconn. According to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, the two companies have cleared 90 percent of the obstacles to sealing a final deal. If the deal does go through, it will mark significantly new openness of Japanese companies to foreign suitors. Also wooing Sharp is Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a Japanese government-supported consortium that has already acquired the display businesses of Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Continue reading Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

Warner Music Group, which has ownership stakes in streaming services, will now share revenue with artists if and when those services go public or are sold. Following Warner’s lead, Sony Music confirmed it would do the same. Analysts believe the move is an attempt to woo artists who receive miniscule returns from streaming. Two other trends leave musicians out in the cold: royalties are often not pegged to a specific song and record labels have traded more generous royalty rates for part ownership of streaming services. Continue reading Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Google just indicated one of its future initiatives when Amit Singhal, who oversees the Google search engine, stepped down, and was replaced by John Giannandrea, who oversees Google’s work in artificial intelligence and, by association, what’s called “deep learning.” Google has already used deep learning to reinvent Search, via RankBrain, a deep learning system to generate responses to search inquiries. As of October of last year, RankBrain has grown to handle a “large fraction” of the queries to the search engine. Continue reading Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

Augmented Reality is about to get a boost, not from a new set of glasses, but from ear buds. Doppler Labs, via a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $600,000, has produced Here, live in-ear audio tuners that let the user tweak live audio from the environment or a music event. Each bud has its own microprocessor, and, importantly, there is no latency. Doppler Labs made Here for audiophiles and live music fans, and plans to provide a pair to every Coachella paid attendee, with pre-set filters for every music act. Continue reading Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

Apple, Google, Amazon, Verizon Vie for NFL Streaming Rights

After determining that the broadcast rights to “Thursday Night Football” would be split between CBS and NBC, the National Football League is now deciding who will win the games’ digital streaming rights. Although the NFL has been mum on which companies it’s negotiating with, sources say that Apple, Amazon, Google and Verizon are vying for the rights, which could be sold to more than one distributor. Even if one outlet gets the digital rights, they won’t be exclusive, since CBS, NBC and NFL already plan to stream the games. Continue reading Apple, Google, Amazon, Verizon Vie for NFL Streaming Rights

IPG Media Lab Study Reveals Parameters for Ad Effectiveness

IPG Media Lab revealed the results of new research showing that that online ads that meet the Media Rating Council’s minimum threshold for viewability aren’t always effective. Although the MRC standards are a benchmark to determine when advertisers should have to pay for an ad, some agencies and marketers protest that the standards aren’t sufficient, an argument that seems borne out by the new IPG Media Lab study, which shows that, as an ad increases the metrics that define viewability, so does consumer recall. Continue reading IPG Media Lab Study Reveals Parameters for Ad Effectiveness

YouTube Debuts Original Content on Red Subscription Channel

On February 10, YouTube will release a slate of original content, including three movies and an adventure series, to convince viewers to sign up for its new $9.99/month subscription service, YouTube Red, currently only available in the U.S. The content features personalities with major YouTube followings, such as PewDiePie (Swedish gamer Felix Kjellberg), whose channel has nearly 42 million fans. YouTube global head of original content Susanne Daniels also sees the possibility for more standard premium content in the future. Continue reading YouTube Debuts Original Content on Red Subscription Channel

Instagram Expands Spots to 60-Seconds, to Boost Ad Revenue

Instagram has extended its 30-second video ad format to 60-seconds, to capture more advertising dollars. T-Mobile, with a longer version of its Super Bowl ad featuring Drake, and Warner Bros., promoting its film “How To Be Single,” are the first to take advantage of the new advertising policy. By offering longer-form ads, Instagram is enabling advertisers to re-use existing ads rather than produce new ones for its specific requirements. Instagram users, however, can only post a maximum 15-second video. Continue reading Instagram Expands Spots to 60-Seconds, to Boost Ad Revenue

EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

After three months of often-tense meetings, Europe and the U.S. agreed to a pact to enable digital data to move back and forth across the Atlantic. Negotiating beyond the January 31 deadline, European and U.S. officials hammered out details of the “EU-US Privacy Shield,” which will enable Google, Amazon and thousands of other businesses to continue operations. But the agreement isn’t out of the woods: it still faces official approval by the EU’s 28 member states, and EU privacy advocates have vowed to oppose it. Continue reading EU and U.S. Agree to Data Privacy Pact, Now Awaits Approval

Yahoo CEO Spinning Off Core Assets to Save Ailing Company

Yahoo’s chief executive Marissa Mayer is on a path to revive Yahoo by spinning off core assets, possibly ending the company’s existence as an independent entity. One thing is certain: the company is going to get smaller. On Tuesday, Yahoo said it would lay off 15 percent of its 11,000-person staff, ultimately making the workforce 42 percent smaller than it was in 2012, when Mayer took over the reins as chief executive. Although she counsels shareholders to be patient, activist investors may try to elect a new board. Continue reading Yahoo CEO Spinning Off Core Assets to Save Ailing Company

Nielsen to Face Stiff Competition From comScore and Rentrak

Nielsen has served as the leading name in measuring TV ratings, but now the 93-year old company faces new competition. That’s because media measurement companies comScore and Rentrak have merged in a $768 million deal. ComScore, founded in 1999, specializes in measuring use of digital media, and Rentrak relies on data from set-top boxes to formulate TV ratings. Nielsen has launched new products in an attempt to evolve beyond its paper diary beginnings, but numerous critics in the TV industry are eager for an alternative. Continue reading Nielsen to Face Stiff Competition From comScore and Rentrak

AOL’s Tim Armstrong Sees Major Growth in Mobile Ecosystem

Mobile will “rip through the Internet and traditional media,” says AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong, who was interviewed by Fortune editor Alan Murray at the MPA’s American Magazine Media Conference in New York. Armstrong, who’s been in his role since 2009, believes we’ll see dramatic growth in mobile over the next 30 years, dwarfing the Internet, which he previously thought was “the biggest thing to ever happen in my lifetime.” Verizon bought AOL last year for $4.4 billion. Continue reading AOL’s Tim Armstrong Sees Major Growth in Mobile Ecosystem

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