Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Directly targeting AT&T, Sprint is now offering DirecTV subscribers a year of free cell phone service. The offer, which started August 28 and ends September 30, includes a plan with unlimited talk, text and up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, plus a one-time $36 activation fee, but not the cost of a smartphone. Sprint’s move is an attempt to foil AT&T’s plan to turn DirecTV subscribers into AT&T subscribers, a key motivation for the wireless company’s $49 billion acquisition of the satellite TV provider. Continue reading Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

“The Daily Show” Builds Out Digital Brand Beyond Cable TV

Comedy Central just hired Baratunde Thurston as a supervising producer of “The Daily Show” to oversee expansion of digital content. As Trevor Noah replaces original host Jon Stewart, “The Daily Show” is poised to deliver expanded content across a wide range of digital platforms. Thurston, humorist and author of “How To Be Black,” was formerly director of digital for The Onion. Online virality has become increasingly important for late night shows such as NBC’s “The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon” and ABC’s “Jimmy Kimmel Live.” Continue reading “The Daily Show” Builds Out Digital Brand Beyond Cable TV

Facebook Video Raises Offensive Content, Piracy Concerns

Now that Facebook has become a major player in video, the social media company finds itself tackling new issues: piracy and policing of content. The latter became an issue within minutes after a gunman killed two journalists on live TV; the gunman posted his video on Facebook (and Twitter), which went viral. Content owners are also irate that Facebook has been slow in working to prevent copyrighted videos from being reposted by third parties. Now that Facebook admits it has a problem, the work to fix it begins. Continue reading Facebook Video Raises Offensive Content, Piracy Concerns

Nielsen to Track Viewership Across Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

Nielsen is rolling out a program to track views of almost 1,000 shows on Netflix, Amazon’s Prime Instant Video and Hulu, relying on the same 25,000 U.S. households used to track traditional TV ratings. The idea is that, by having access to that data, large media companies such as Comcast NBCUniversal can hammer out better content licensing deals, especially with Netflix. Currently, Nielsen provides data only to studios that own the programs and pay for the information, but it plans to syndicate the data in the future. Continue reading Nielsen to Track Viewership Across Netflix, Amazon and Hulu

New Initiative: U.S. Offers Cybersecurity Tech to Private Sector

Cybersecurity technology from Los Alamos National Laboratory is now available to banks and other private sector businesses, via the consulting firm Ernst & Young. The New Mexico lab, benefitting from the $1 billion the U.S. spends a year on unclassified cybersecurity research, has developed a great deal of relevant technology, but is not set up to market the results of its own research. Ernst & Young, which consults on cybersecurity, will communicate the lab’s products and add its own expertise. Continue reading New Initiative: U.S. Offers Cybersecurity Tech to Private Sector

Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

Facebook just launched its new personal assistant, M, to a few hundred San Francisco Bay Area users. Unlike Apple’s Siri or Microsoft’s Cortana, however, M is not just powered by artificial intelligence. M does all the same things that Siri and Cortana do, but it adds a team of experienced customer service reps to accomplish more “human” tasks such as calling the cable company and enduring automated messages and holds. Facebook is disadvantaged on mobile devices, but the company hopes its efficiency will spur usage. Continue reading Facebook Personal Assistant Integrates AI with Human Touch

Startups Promote Interactive Video for Next-Gen Storytelling

In 2013, the interactive music video for Bob Dylan’s “Like a Rolling Stone” (directed by Vania Heymann) signaled a new wave of interest in interactive video. Although interactive media has been around for a long time, enthusiasts say that interactivity is now ready to make bigger inroads in entertainment and advertising. Web-based standards means that interactive videos can play across multiple platforms; it’s a way to differentiate content in a crowded market and, most importantly, click-through rates are impressive. Continue reading Startups Promote Interactive Video for Next-Gen Storytelling

Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

Hulu will try its hand at programmatic advertising with a private ad exchange that should make buying ads more similar to the experience on Facebook or Twitter. The new automatic ad buying service will rely on Facebook video ad exchange LiveRail, but won’t leave the company’s traditional salespeople out of the equation. To make ads more valuable, Hulu will combine its own data with that of the advertiser to more narrowly target relevant viewers. Show-specific sponsorships won’t initially be offered. Continue reading Hulu Pursues Programmatic Advertising, Powered by LiveRail

Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

Facebook has added video to its newly released photo-sharing app Moments, enabling users to automatically create, customize and then share a music video created from mobile photos. This is the first update the app received since its June debut. With over 4 billion daily video views, video is becoming an important and fast-growing category on Facebook. By adding video to Moments, the social network competes with services like Flipagram, or Google Photos’ automatically created animations. Continue reading Facebook Updates its Moments Photo-Sharing App with Video

FTC Has Authority Over Corporate Hacks, says Appeals Court

The Third U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals ruled that the Federal Trade Commission can advance its lawsuit against Wyndham Worldwide, which the FTC holds partially culpable for theft of online data three times between 2008 and 2010, for a total of over 619,000 credit- and debit-card numbers. Since Congress has yet to pass sweeping legislation on data security, the FTC has stepped in, so far instigating 50 additional data-security cases based on its mandate to act against unfair and deceptive business practices. Continue reading FTC Has Authority Over Corporate Hacks, says Appeals Court

Intel to Bring Superfast Optane Hard Drives to Market in 2016

Several high-profile technology companies, most notably Hewlett-Packard, have been hard at work trying to reinvent the hard drive. But it looks like Intel will be first to market with its new Optane drives. Although a current prototype of Intel’s Optane drives only functions seven times the speed of a top-end flash disk drive, it could be much faster by the time it is released in 2016. And the potential is great: Optane drives are said to operate as much as 1,000 times faster than today’s memory technology. Continue reading Intel to Bring Superfast Optane Hard Drives to Market in 2016

Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

In 2016, Aerosense, jointly owned by Sony and robotics firm ZMP, plans to launch a commercial drone service targeting construction, logistics and agriculture industries. A prototype of an airplane-shaped drone was unveiled this week. The drones, which will be capable of capturing HD images and transmitting them to the cloud, will rely in part on the mobile phone and digital camera technologies developed for Sony’s Xperia smartphones. Analysts believe the unmanned aircraft industry may be worth $82 billion in the U.S. by 2025. Continue reading Sony and ZMP Team Up to Offer Commercial Drone Services

Companies Share Cyberthreat Info on New Facebook Platform

When Facebook launched ThreatExchange in February, the idea was to create a platform where companies could share information on potential cyberattacks, malware and other malicious hazards. Now, the Silicon Valley company says that the number of companies on the platform has reached 90, after 23 joined last week when the application process became easier. Facebook, which isn’t alone in offering a platform for centralized cyberthreats, is continuing its work to integrate these other information-sharing platforms. Continue reading Companies Share Cyberthreat Info on New Facebook Platform

Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Two years ago, venture investor Aileen Lee coined the term “unicorn” for what was then a fairly rare commodity: a startup company that investors valued at $1 billion. In the current market, at least 131 startups are valued at a total of $485 billion, says research firm CB Insights, making the designation “unicorn” — a mythical beast — less accurate. Apparently, unicorns not only exist, but only half of the current crop hail from their birthplace in Silicon Valley. And they now focus on a wide variety of industries. Continue reading Over 131 Startups Now Valued at $1 Billion, Says CB Insights

Fig: New Game Crowdfunding Site Offers Equity to Investors

The new crowdfunding platform Fig just launched with a new way to finance computer games. Its debut is a campaign to raise $125,000 for “Outer Wilds,” an unfinished game already honored with the 2015 Independent Games Festival Awards’ Grand Prize. Fig, which plans to debut one major studio title and one independent release each month, differs from a more general crowdfunding platform like Kickstarter in two ways: it is meticulously curated and offers rewards and equity to investors. Continue reading Fig: New Game Crowdfunding Site Offers Equity to Investors

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