MGM, Lionsgate Invest in Free TV Streaming Service Tubi TV

Tubi TV, a startup that aims to aggregate content for free TV streaming, added to its Hollywood studio support with new investments from MGM and Lionsgate. They join the $6 million Series B round of financing led by new investor Cota Capital and existing investor Foundation Capital. As part of the deal, MGM and Lionsgate licensed hundreds of titles from their catalogs to Tubi TV. Former Fox Television Entertainment Group chair Sandy Grushow, currently chief executive of Phase 2 Media, also just joined the Tubi TV board. Continue reading MGM, Lionsgate Invest in Free TV Streaming Service Tubi TV

Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Comcast just launched Stream TV, its live streaming TV service, in the Chicago and Boston areas (including eastern Massachusetts, New Hampshire and Maine), and plans to debut the service in all its territories by early 2016. What makes Stream TV of interest is that its usage does not count against the 300GB data plans available in some Comcast territories or use a customer’s Internet bandwidth measured in bits per second. Stream TV is an IP cable service delivered over Comcast’s managed network rather than the public Internet. Continue reading Comcast’s Stream TV Does Not Affect Subscriber Data Caps

Site Offers Process for Reporting Online Content Takedowns

The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), in partnership with Visualizing Impact, just debuted a new site called Onlinecensorship.org where consumers can post when Facebook or other social media platforms take down their content. The site came into being after EFF director for international freedom of expression Jillian York and Visualizing Impact chief executive Ramzi Jaber had a conversation about content takedowns, and then won the Knight News Challenge last year. The site also informs users how to challenge content takedowns. Continue reading Site Offers Process for Reporting Online Content Takedowns

Sprint Offers New Half-Off Promotion, Expanded LTE Network

Until January 7, any wireless customer switching to Sprint will get half-off the price of the plan offered by his current carrier, as well as $650 in switching costs. For existing Sprint customers, the company offers a free Alcatel OneTouch Pixi 7-inch tablet with 1GB of free data for signing a two-year contract. While Sprint chief executive Marcelo Claure says the offer demonstrates the company’s confidence in its improved network, its competitors interpret the latest move in the wireless price wars as closer to desperate. Continue reading Sprint Offers New Half-Off Promotion, Expanded LTE Network

Nokia Initiates Share-Exchange Offer in Alcatel-Lucent Merger

Initiating its planned merger with Alcatel-Lucent, first announced in April, Nokia began its share-exchange offer with that company’s shareholders in Paris and London. Nokia is paying €15.6 billion ($16.6 billion) for Alcatel-Lucent, with the idea that combining the two companies’ expertise in telecom and Internet gear will help it better compete in a global economy. Nokia not only faces competition from new players such as China’s Huawei Technologies but from Ericsson, which just struck an alliance with Cisco. Continue reading Nokia Initiates Share-Exchange Offer in Alcatel-Lucent Merger

Drone Manufacturers Pursue Self-Regulation via Geofencing

Small-scale drone manufacturer DJI, a Chinese company that dominates the drone space, now offers a geofencing system built on flying restrictions it first introduced in 2013. The system already has built-in restrictions around airports and other locations such as prisons and power plants. The company plans to continually update airspace information, possibly including the ability to respond to an emergency request. The drone will not, however, be able to operate in areas deemed to be of national concern such as Washington DC. Continue reading Drone Manufacturers Pursue Self-Regulation via Geofencing

Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora just acquired Rdio for its technology and talent, and Spotify is unrolling Fan Insights to offer its musicians a way to research its fan base and plan smarter tours. In both cases, these popular streaming music services are expanding beyond their core expertise — and their unstable revenue — by uniting radio, on demand and even live shows. As bigger players such as Apple, Google and Amazon create music services, Pandora and Spotify must offer more services to survive. Continue reading Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is moving into the mainstream and the San Francisco-based Sentient is one example of how it’s working. The company most recently built a visual search service for an online footwear company, Shoes.com, and also worked with Saint Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto on tracking patient care. Rather than rely on history for recommendations, the technology looks at more than a hundred factors to make judgments. Microsoft is also building AI into its products, including its Azure cloud platform. Continue reading Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman is on a mission to shut down daily fantasy sports websites FanDuel and DraftKings, calling them illegal. Most recently, he sought an injunction to prevent both companies from operating in the state. FanDuel says it will comply by temporarily banning New York consumers from playing. DraftKings, however, says it’s still open for business with New York clientele. Schneiderman is also focusing on other daily fantasy sports sites, subpoenaing Yahoo. Continue reading NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Apple is in talks with banks to develop a new payment service to allow an iPhone user to send money to another iPhone user, most likely bypassing Visa and MasterCard by working directly with banks. The talks are at an early stage and no one involved would comment on the evolution of the plan. But multiple sources confirm Apple’s talks with the country’s largest banks and that the company is serious about moving forward. Unknown is whether credit card companies are engaging Apple or waiting for the company to contact them. Continue reading Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

With the introduction of credit cards with an embedded security chip, the banking and retailing industries are battling over issues of security, fraud and the cost of adoption. For years, European banks have issued credit cards with both the chip and a PIN; U.S. banks are foregoing the PIN and relying solely on the chip and an in-person signature. Retailers argue they are absorbing the high cost of adopting the chip technology and paying interchange fees, without reaping any of the benefits of lower fraud. Continue reading Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

Marketers and advertisers have targeted ads to journalists and “influencers” for some time. But the practice is getting more advanced and pervasive, as Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies offer more granular targeting tools. In fact, the latest efforts now target customized messages to journalists as specific publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Reaching individuals who work in media can now be accomplished in a variety of ways, including using profile or email information.

Continue reading Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Prompted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss cross-device tracking technologies. Using ultrasonic, inaudible pitches, the technology allows a user’s online behavior to be tracked across phones, TVs, tablets and computers. The pitches can be — and are already — embedded in TV commercials, ads in a computer browser and apps. The consumer is not made aware that the tracking technology has been activated and there is no way to opt out. Continue reading FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

In response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, many Internet and social media companies responded by creating encryption so advanced that even they couldn’t read users’ communications. Now, many critics say, terrorists and other criminals are using those same platforms because their messages will be safely encrypted from prying eyes of intelligence and government authorities. Among the strongest critic is the U.K. government, which is proposing that such encryption be illegal. Continue reading U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

FilmOn just lost its latest court case, with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling that the company is not a cable system, denying it the statutory license cable companies receive. Collyer’s ruling comes as good news to the coalition of TV and movie companies — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Telemundo — that sued FilmOn in 2013. The new ruling goes against the July ruling from a Los Angeles Federal judge that went in favor of FilmOn, and also revives many of the same questions behind the Aereo ruling. Continue reading Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

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