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

Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

Google’s parent Alphabet finally sailed past Apple as the world’s most valuable company, as shares rose 4.2 percent, to a market capitalization of about $560 billion, compared to Apple’s $539.7 billion. Alphabet posted 14 percent revenue growth in its core Internet businesses, including search, YouTube and Android, rising to $74.54 billion from 2014’s $65.67 billion. Revenue from its “Other Bets,” or moonshots, rose 37 percent to $448 million, up dramatically from the $12 million in revenue reported in 2013. Continue reading Alphabet Tops Apple, Still Growing Core Business, Other Bets

VR/AR Expected to Impact Much More Than Video and Gaming

Most conversation about virtual reality and augmented reality focuses on how it will impact gaming and video entertainment. But a recent report from Goldman Sachs upends that notion, with its prediction that VR and AR will instead open up “an entirely new marketplace of applications” for both the business and consumer sectors. The report states that virtual reality hardware will be an $80 billion industry within 10 years, which is actually a slow adoption when compared to that of smartphones and tablets. Continue reading VR/AR Expected to Impact Much More Than Video and Gaming

Atom: New Movie Ticket Purchasing App Earns Studio Support

One of Hollywood’s most enduring problems is filling seats in movie theaters, and a startup, which previously raised $10 million, thinks it has an answer. Atom, headquartered in Santa Monica, has an app to make the movie-going experience simpler for groups and to enable discounts for floundering movies, a controversial practice called “variable pricing.” Now, Disney, Twentieth Century Fox and Lions Gate Entertainment are betting that Atom is on to something good. Continue reading Atom: New Movie Ticket Purchasing App Earns Studio Support

Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

At the recent Sundance Film Festival, virtual reality was a big hit for the second year running. But the changes in just a year were also evident: rather than the conversation focusing on the technology enabling the VR experiences, the focus was on storytelling. Virtual reality, in other words, has become a medium, as demonstrated in projects such as “Grease” director Randal Kleiser’s sci-fi VR drama “Defrost,” which tells the story of a woman just awaking from a coma. The series is a full season with another in development. Continue reading Sundance 2016: VR’s Coming-of-Age as a Storytelling Medium

Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

As big companies such as General Electric and Netflix close down their data centers and move operations to the cloud, Amazon and Microsoft are enjoying rising revenues in their cloud operations — and increasing competition between each other. In the process, they’re also gaining dominance over rivals including Google and IBM. Recently, GE has reported whittling down its reliance on data centers from 34 to four. Netflix closed its last data center at the end of last summer. Continue reading Amazon, Microsoft Lead Boom in Cloud Services for Enterprise

Facebook Launches Live Video, Starts to Develop VR Network

Facebook is turning on live streaming video broadcasting to what is potentially a nearly 1 billion-member base. With 934 million customers worldwide, Facebook will offer the live streaming capability first to iPhone users, with a global rollout over the next few weeks. The company has been testing this service with a handful of public figures for the last two months. At the same time, with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s strong belief in the future potential of VR, Facebook is making strides in developing a network for it. Continue reading Facebook Launches Live Video, Starts to Develop VR Network

Watchup for Personalized Newscasts is Now Free on Apple TV

With an app from startup Watchup, Apple TV users can now receive free customized newscasts from 160 news partners, including CNN, Fox News Channel, CBS News and Tribune Media, as well as local news covering 80 percent of U.S. markets. Users can select topics of interest and then further refine resulting newscasts by “liking” or “disliking” specific reports. The app supports fourth-generation Apple TV, launched last fall, as well as apps for iOS and Android, Amazon Fire TV, Microsoft Xbox 360 and Nintendo Wii U. Continue reading Watchup for Personalized Newscasts is Now Free on Apple TV

Amazon Doubles Market Value, Plans to Launch Music Service

Amazon’s growth is impressive — but it still, apparently, does not meet investors’ high expectations. With profits in Prime and Amazon Web Services, the company just delivered the largest quarterly profit in its 20-year history, but its shares plummeted 15 percent in after-hours trading, erasing more than $30 billion in market value. Shareholders were perhaps spooked by a 20.5 percent jump in operating costs, to $34.6 billion. Yet Amazon still out-performed other tech titans, including Alphabet, Apple and Facebook. Continue reading Amazon Doubles Market Value, Plans to Launch Music Service

Aereo Founder Introduces Starry, Low-Cost Wireless Internet

Chet Kanojia, who founded the now-shuttered Aereo, is attempting to circumvent Internet service providers with a new startup dubbed Starry. In development for a year, Starry will offer low-cost wireless Internet at speeds the company claims will be faster than wired broadband — and without any of the hassles of getting a technician out to the home to install and maintain the network. Needless to say, ISPs that provide broadband networks are not happy. Starry Internet will be offered first in Boston, beginning February 5. Continue reading Aereo Founder Introduces Starry, Low-Cost Wireless Internet

Facebook Profits Skyrocket, Beating Wall Street Expectations

Facebook finished 2015 with a strong fourth quarter, with sales rising 52 percent from a year ago to $5.84 billion, and profit more than doubling from $701 million to $1.56 billion. The upswing beat Wall Street’s predictions for Q4 of $1.2 billion in profit on $5.37 billion in revenue. Investors rewarded the company by pushing its stock up more than 12 percent in after-hours trading. Responsible for the stupendous upward trend is mobile advertising, which soared to 80 percent of the company’s total ad business in Q4 2015. Continue reading Facebook Profits Skyrocket, Beating Wall Street Expectations

Wanda Cinemas Plans to Launch 100 Dolby Cinemas in China

Wanda Cinema Line Corporation partnered with Dolby Laboratories to open 100 Dolby Cinema locations in China in the next five years. The first location — as of now unnamed — will open this spring. Dolby Labs combined its Dolby Vision and Dolby Atmos to create what it calls a “premium cinema offering for exhibitors and moviegoers that combines spectacular image and sound technologies with inspired design.” Wanda will be the first cinema chain in China to install Dolby Cinema theaters. Continue reading Wanda Cinemas Plans to Launch 100 Dolby Cinemas in China

FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition

Federal Communications Commission chairman Tom Wheeler has just proposed updating rules for television set-top boxes, in order to lower cable bills and provide more access to Internet-based programming. Consumer advocates supporting the change say the move would increase competition, giving the consumer choices over whether to use the service provider’s set-to-box/cable app or competing devices and apps. That competition could be advantageous to TiVo, Alphabet’s Google unit and other alternative STB providers. Continue reading FCC to Shake Up Set-Top Box Dominance, Impact Competition