Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

Silicon Valley companies are getting closer to becoming major players in sports broadcasting. Up until now, Amazon, Facebook, Twitter, YouTube, Verizon and Yahoo have been happy to ink contracts for various smaller sports packages that allow them to stream what has already been broadcast by the TV networks. But that scenario may be poised for a change, evidenced by the recent bidding war for primetime TV rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” (Fox just signed a 5-year broadcast agreement, but a digital partner has yet to be announced). Continue reading Silicon Valley Could Compete with Pay TV in Streaming Sports

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Partner on Healthcare

Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway and JPMorgan Chase & Co. are partnering to find a way to reduce healthcare costs for their U.S. employees. The companies are motivated by rising healthcare costs in the U.S., and their joint new company will target technological solutions for a simpler and more economical healthcare solution. They did not reveal, however, how much money they have committed to the effort or whether it would expand to include employees outside the U.S., but did emphasize the effort would not be a profit-making venture. Continue reading Amazon, Berkshire Hathaway, JPMorgan Partner on Healthcare

Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

For the last two years, Amazon Studios and Netflix dominated in acquisitions of films at the annual Sundance Film Festival, purchasing six titles each at the 2016 festival and, last year, Netflix leaving with 10 titles and Amazon with five. This year was a notable difference, with neither streaming giant buying a single title (yet) from the 2018 fest. Because of that, more traditional distribution companies and foreign sales agents were able to compete, the latter because the streamers bought worldwide rights. Continue reading Why Netflix, Amazon Didn’t Buy Movies at Sundance Film Fest

Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Before the European Union’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) goes into effect on May 25, Facebook plans to debut a new privacy center that will be a hub for all its privacy settings. The company also published its “privacy principles” for the first time, with details of how it handles user information. Chief operating officer Sheryl Sandberg says the result will be a “good foundation” for meeting GDPR’s requirements. The GDPR limits how technology companies collect, store and utilize users’ personal information. Continue reading Facebook Lists its Privacy Principles as EU’s Data Laws Loom

Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Amazon’s quick delivery of groceries, cleaning supplies and other products is now expanding into a trial whereby consumers buy directly from merchants, with Amazon providing the latter with lower delivery costs, warehouse inspections, logistics software and recommendations. By doing so, Amazon shifts the burden from its own warehouses. In the process, however, it cuts out United Parcel Service and FedEx, both of which would have picked up the parcels from merchants’ warehouses and delivered them to customers. Continue reading Amazon Takes Control of Delivery, Cutting Out UPS and FedEx

Record Cryptocurrency Heist May Lead to Increased Regulation

Coincheck Inc., which operates one of Japan’s leading cryptocurrency platforms, lost ¥58 billion ($530 million) of customers’ assets to an unauthorized person from outside the system. The dollar figure represents 523 million units of the virtual currency NEM and is the largest cryptocurrency theft to date. Previously, the loss of $450 million in bitcoin from Japan’s Mt. Gox exchange was the biggest theft. Whether this puts a damper on the white-hot craze for bitcoin and its related virtual currencies remains to be seen. Continue reading Record Cryptocurrency Heist May Lead to Increased Regulation

Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

The National Music Publishers’ Association raised music streaming royalties for songwriters and music publishers by more than 40 percent in an attempt to resolve a conflict between them and the streaming services, including those from Amazon, Apple, Google, Pandora and Spotify. The Copyright Royalty Board now requires those services to pay the aggrieved parties 15.1 percent of their revenue, up from a previous 10.5 percent. Songwriters and music publishers will now receive $1 for every $3.82 the recording labels receive. Continue reading Songwriters, Music Publishers Get More in Streaming Royalties

Company Offers Twitter Followers, Bots That Retweet for a Fee

Devumi is a company that sells Twitter followers and retweets to celebrities, politicians, businesses, overseas governments and anyone else who wants to become a digital influencer. According to the results of a New York Times investigation, the company has an estimated stock of 3.5 million automated accounts and has provided its approximately 200,000 customers with more than 200 million Twitter followers. The revelation comes at a time when big tech companies are in the spotlight for deceptive news and outside manipulation. Continue reading Company Offers Twitter Followers, Bots That Retweet for a Fee

Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

Facebook, Google and Twitter faced Congress in the past weeks to answer questions about how Russian companies and troll farms spread deceptions and inaccuracies before and after the 2016 U.S. presidential election. The digital tech companies were also asked if there was evidence of collusion between the Russian actors and the Trump campaign, and Google was asked specifically about its commercial dealings with a Russian broadcaster that, say federal intelligence agencies, is a Kremlin propaganda outlet. Continue reading Facebook, Google and Twitter Talk About Russian Interference

ESPN to Stream its Interactive ‘First Take’ on Facebook Watch

ESPN is introducing a participatory version of “First Take” exclusively for Facebook Watch. Dubbed “First Take: Your Take,” the show, which will feature TV talk hosts Stephen A. Smith, Max Kellerman and Molly Qerim, will focus on a weekly topic and let viewers interact by posting their own videos. Each week, producers will pick the best reactions and one video poster will be invited on the show for that week’s final episode to debate Kellerman or Smith. Smith notes the show is aimed to grow the audience. Continue reading ESPN to Stream its Interactive ‘First Take’ on Facebook Watch

Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

Apple is preparing for a major iPhone operating system update, iOS 11.3, and it will include some important new features. Chief among those is Business Chat, which lets users communicate directly with businesses via the iMessage app. At launch, Business Chat will allow communications with a select group of companies including Wells Fargo, Lowe’s, Hilton and Discover. Also new with iOS 11.3 is version 1.5 of the company’s virtual reality developers’ kit ARKit, four Animoji, and new features that display battery health. Continue reading Apple Includes New Business Chat Feature in Next iOS Update

AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

AT&T, one of the winners in the recent end of net neutrality rules, is clarifying its stance. In an open letter that was published nationwide, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, chief executive Randall Stephenson called on Congress to establish an Internet Bill of Rights that would apply to all Internet companies and guarantee “neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users.” Continue reading AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

At this year’s Sundance Film Festival’s New Frontier, VR financing/distribution company CityLights purchased “Spheres: Songs of Spacetime,” a three-part virtual reality series that explores the depth of space. The exact purchase price was not revealed, but it is reportedly in the seven figures, and is being hailed as the first VR film to be acquired for such an amount. The series, presented by Oculus Studios and Protozoa Pictures, and directed by Eliza McNitt, is slated for release on the Oculus Rift sometime this year. Continue reading VR Series ‘Spheres’ Sells for Seven Figures at Sundance Fest

Snapchat Debuts Stories Shared via Web to Spur User Growth

Snap has just made a radical change to how users can share their stories, in a move to expand its reach. Now, even people who haven’t downloaded the app will be able to access content via a link. Anyone with an official account, like celebrities, will be able to share stories, hosting the content on Snapchat.com. People without official accounts who submit content publicly to a group video will also be able to share their content. With this change, videos on Snap will be seen by more people, which could increase downloads. Continue reading Snapchat Debuts Stories Shared via Web to Spur User Growth

YouTube Introduces Plan to Unify Artists’ Disparate Channels

YouTube debuted plans to streamline its service by consolidating artists’ channels. In doing so, it will combine separate channels for live albums, music videos, live performances, single songs and complete albums to a single site. Among YouTube’s many music partners, the new plan will especially impact Vevo channels where Official Artist Channels, marked with a musical note, will be the first thing a user sees in search. Channels can still be accessed with YouTube’s advanced channel filter in search. Continue reading YouTube Introduces Plan to Unify Artists’ Disparate Channels

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