Amazon Posts Record Profit and Significant Growth for AWS

Amazon announced its fifth consecutive quarterly profit yesterday, and its third consecutive record-setting profit. Revenue increased 31 percent; sales rose to $30.4 billion from $23.19 billion. The company’s cloud computing division, Amazon Web Services, accounted for an impressive 56 percent of Amazon’s operating income, and it grew 58 percent in the last quarter. “The results show Amazon moving toward investors’ long-held hope of consistent profitability after a lengthy period of heavy investments and quarterly losses,” notes The Wall Street Journal. “Overall, Amazon posted a second-quarter $857 million profit, or $1.78 a share, compared with $92 million, or 19 cents a share, a year earlier.” Continue reading Amazon Posts Record Profit and Significant Growth for AWS

Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

Google’s quarterly profit rose 24 percent, while revenue increased 21 percent to $21.5 billion, thanks in large part to its advertising and push into mobile, according to The Wall Street Journal. Google is also experiencing success with its cloud services division. Parent company Alphabet reported 33 percent growth of its non-advertising business over the previous year, surpassing Wall Street expectations. “The strength of the quarter is about mobile,” said Google chief exec Sundar Pichai. “Our investment in mobile now underlines everything that we do today, from search and YouTube to Android and advertising.” Continue reading Google Reports Strong Quarter Based on Strength of Mobile

LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

Chinese tech company LeEco (formerly LeTV), has paid $2 billion for California television seller Vizio, which presently controls about 20 percent of the U.S. market. The Beijing-based company is often referred to as the Netflix of China, although it sells hardware devices such as TVs, set-top boxes, smartphones and electric cars in addition to its streaming services. With the acquisition, LeEco can now bring its services to the U.S. “Our strategy is to integrate our platform — including software and services — with devices,” said LeEco exec Winston Cheng. Continue reading LeEco Acquires Vizio to Bring its Streaming Services to U.S.

Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Apollo Global Management will acquire Bellevue, Washington-based Outerwall Inc., owner of Redbox movie rental kiosks and Coinstar coin counting machines, “for $52 a share, a transaction value of $1.6 billion when including debt,” reports The New York Times. “Investors applauded the move, sending the stock 11 percent higher in early trading Monday to a level just above the $52 buyout price.” Outerwall operates more than 40,000 rental kiosks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, but has struggled to compete with cable VOD and streaming services. Redbox recently started testing its own streaming and download service. Continue reading Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Facebook is testing new mobile video features for its Android app, including subscription-based video channels and a dedicated video tab that incorporates video search, which would provide brands with the opportunity to target ads based on keywords. Enhancing the mobile viewing experience is the next step toward making the social platform more video-centric and ramping up competition with YouTube. However, Facebook needs to convince its users to watch video mixed with other content and, especially for advertisers, show successful video completion rates. Continue reading Facebook Takes Aim at YouTube with Mobile Video Features

Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Twitter announced lackluster Q2 earnings, with $602 million in revenue for a net loss of $107 million. While the company improved over Q2 2015, when it lost $136.6 million, and monthly active users increased from 310 million to 313 million, its numbers fell short of Wall Street expectations and the company’s stock dropped more than 10 percent in after-hours trading. Despite new deals for live-streaming sports in the near future, the platform is not keeping up with the growth of social rivals such as Facebook, WhatsApp, Messenger, Snapchat and LinkedIn. Continue reading Twitter Struggles with Worst Quarterly Revenue Growth Ever

Twitter Continues its Push to Become Live-Streaming Service

Twitter is looking to strengthen its status as a social destination for sports fans by striking deals with Major League Baseball and the National Hockey League to host live video of games for users who are in out-of-market regions. The move follows a similar agreement with the National Football League that will bring “Thursday Night Football” to Twitter this fall, a partnership with the National Basketball Association to live-stream original programming (but not games), and deals with Pac-12 Networks and Campus Insiders to stream college sports during the 2016-2017 season. Continue reading Twitter Continues its Push to Become Live-Streaming Service

The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees. Continue reading The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Jukin Media Creates Variety of Opportunities for Viral Videos

Jukin Media has created a business model that leverages social media and the financial possibilities involving viral videos. The company searches for popular online videos, pays the video creators, “and then licenses clips out to digital media companies, brands and morning news shows,” explains The Wall Street Journal. “Think of it as Getty Images for viral videos,” said Jukin CEO and founder Jon Skogmo, who has also launched social channels that feature the unique content. The clips are becoming popular for advertising as well. “Brands are very attracted to this type of user-generated content,” said Skogmo, “especially when they’re seeing everyday people playing with their products.” Continue reading Jukin Media Creates Variety of Opportunities for Viral Videos

Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

Computer scientists at UC San Diego have developed an efficient technique for rendering the sparkling, shiny and uneven surfaces of water, various metals and materials such as injection-molded plastic finishes. The team has created an algorithm that improves how CG software reproduces the interaction between light and different surfaces (known as “glints”), a technique the team claims is 100 times faster than current state-of-the-art methods, requires minimal computational resources, and is effective beyond still images to include animation. Continue reading Researchers Develop Efficient Way to Render Shiny Surfaces

HPA to Present Charles S. Swartz Award to Michelle Munson

The Hollywood Professional Association announced that Michelle Munson, co-founder and CEO of IBM company Aspera (IBM and Aspera are both silver sponsors of ETC@USC), will receive the organization’s prestigious Charles S. Swartz Award. “The HPA Awards recognize creative artistry, innovation and engineering excellence in the professional media content industry and the Charles S. Swartz Award honors the recipient’s significant impact across diverse aspects of the industry,” explains the release. This year’s HPA Awards ceremony is slated for November 17 at the Skirball Cultural Center in Los Angeles. Continue reading HPA to Present Charles S. Swartz Award to Michelle Munson

Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Engineers at Facebook’s Connectivity Lab have developed a large laser detector that could help deliver Internet to new areas by opening “airwaves to new high-speed data communications systems that don’t require dedicated spectrum or licenses,” reports PC World. Reaching new regions typically involves cost-efficient wireless networks, which also require radio spectrum and often have speed limitations. Instead, engineers are looking into “sending data from point-to-point over laser beams” that would not involve “any special spectrum or permission, and multiple systems can work in the same area without interfering with each other.” Continue reading Facebook Considers Laser Tech to Deliver High-Speed Internet

Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

Scientists have been working with atomic-scale memory tech that manipulates interaction between atoms so they could develop “a device that can pack hundreds of times more information per square inch than the best currently available data-storage technologies,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The prototype, described as a significant breakthrough, could be the next step toward storing future information — including photos, videos and posts from the Internet — more efficiently and affordably. Leading tech companies such as IBM and Hewlett-Packard are among those researching solutions to future data storage needs. Continue reading Miniature Hard Drive Stores Data Using Atomic-Scale Memory

ABC News to Provide Live Convention Coverage via Facebook

YouTube, Twitter and Facebook already announced video plans for the Republican and Democratic National Conventions. Now Facebook has unveiled an additional partnership. “ABC News plans to deliver around-the-clock live coverage on Facebook” for both conventions, reports Variety. “Throughout each day and between the speeches in primetime, ABC News’ curated Facebook feed will provide live video of on-the-scene interviews, protests and other breaking news,” while “Facebook will provide ABC News with exclusive, real-time data during major speeches that it will use across TV and digital platforms.” Continue reading ABC News to Provide Live Convention Coverage via Facebook

‘Aliens’ Panel to Stream from Comic-Con via YouTube Service

20th Century Fox Home Entertainment will be at Comic-Con International in San Diego this week celebrating the 30th anniversary of James Cameron’s sci-fi thriller “Aliens.” According to Variety, “Fox is for the first time using YouTube’s new mobile live streaming service to let the original cast of the movie talk to a global audience.” Streaming the Saturday panel will mark the first time a Hollywood studio uses the service. The panel will feature Cameron, producer Gale Anne Hurd, and actors Sigourney Weaver, Bill Paxton, Lance Henriksen, Paul Reiser, Michael Biehn and Carrie Henn. The “Aliens” 30th anniversary limited edition Blu-ray and digital release will be available September 13. Continue reading ‘Aliens’ Panel to Stream from Comic-Con via YouTube Service

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