Time is Up for Yahoo’s Turnaround, Sale Now On the Table

Since the 2012 hiring of former Google executive Marissa Mayer to improve Yahoo’s fortunes, the company has failed to turn around and is now facing difficult choices. Among many plans devised, the latest occurred last month when executives favored spinning off the company’s main Internet business. That strategy may be abandoned as Yahoo considers a sale of its business, while an activist — and anonymous — investor mounts a proxy fight. Employee morale is said to be low in light of 1,100 layoffs since August 2014. Continue reading Time is Up for Yahoo’s Turnaround, Sale Now On the Table

YouTube Exec Stands By His Online Video Growth Predictions

During his keynote presentation at CES 2016, YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl expressed continuing confidence in the growth of online video. He believes that people will spend most of their time (outside of working and sleeping) watching digital video. The executive stood by his 2012 predictions that 90 percent of all Internet traffic would be video and 75 percent of all video would be digital by the year 2020. Kyncl also explained how YouTube is evolving and planning to support high dynamic range. Continue reading YouTube Exec Stands By His Online Video Growth Predictions

Virtual Reality, Mobile and HDR Are the Future of Storytelling

Virtual reality is inevitably part of the conversation when talking about storytelling of the future, the topic of a CES panel moderated by Variety’s Janko Roettgers. “We’re in the first inning,” suggested Condé Nast executive Joy Marcus, about VR. “We’re looking at it as a game that might go into extra innings. But we have an issue with devices and price points.” Google and Samsung have come out with options that work with smartphones, added Marcus. “But the other devices are pretty damn expensive.” Continue reading Virtual Reality, Mobile and HDR Are the Future of Storytelling

Assessing the Impact of VOD, Broadband, Apps and 4K on TV

The consumer is besieged by content ad platform choices and options. A group of broadcast, cable and social media executives gathered during CES to describe how it’s changing their business. “It is crazy competitive,” said Starz CRO Michael Thornton. “You have to make that show not just the best of the season but the best of all time.” Needham & Co.’s Laura Martin put digital in its place, succinctly. “There is no money in digital,” she noted. “Unless you have the powerful economic engine of TV to fund it, you’re losing money.” Continue reading Assessing the Impact of VOD, Broadband, Apps and 4K on TV

CES: Merging Content with New Tech in a Fragmented World

Americans look at their cell phones 8 billion times a day, says Deloitte & Touche’s Craig Wigginton, who moderated a panel on “Merging Content With New Technologies.” Wigginton recited a flurry of statistics that underline today’s extreme fragmentation, a reality that challenges all content companies: Millennials check their smartphones 74 times a day, and 87 percent of them use it while watching TV. Meanwhile, 42 percent of Americans now use streaming services and over 50 percent of millennials watch on a small screen. Continue reading CES: Merging Content with New Tech in a Fragmented World

In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Yahoo has shut down Yahoo Screen, the company’s four-year-old video portal that had been a major component of chief exec Marissa Mayer’s turnaround strategy. Yahoo took a $42 million write-off on original video content in October, and while Yahoo Screen had yet to compete with video giant YouTube, comScore notes that the portal had about 15 million U.S. visitors in November. The portal had provided easy access to Yahoo’s video content — from digital magazines, concerts and football games to licensed reruns of “Saturday Night Live” and original series such as “Community.” Continue reading In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

The prospects of 4K video have brightened. That’s because the HEVC Advance group that licenses the H.265/HEVC video format enabling 4K’s higher data rate to traverse through existing pipes just adjusted its royalty rates. Up until now, the group wanted steep rates, even from free outlets, and without a cap. With the new, revamped licensing scheme, HEVC Advance not only cuts rates in half but sets a yearly cap between $2.5 million to $40 million per year, depending on the service or device type. Continue reading Boon for 4K: HEVC Advance Lowers Video Licensing Rates

Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

The number of trailers for franchise blockbusters has skyrocketed, flooding YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” counts 17 trailers, teasers and ads thus far. Today’s trailer looks much more like entertainment than an ad, linking to past franchise chapters, teasing out the identity of shadowy or hooded characters, and generally amping up anticipation and heated fan engagement before the film even opens. The nested teasers and trailers dole out details without giving away plot. Continue reading Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

BuzzFeed, already a top Facebook video contributor with four different brands, launched another one in October: Top Knot, which focuses on beauty and fashion. The Top Knot Facebook page already has nearly 1 million fans and has logged almost 200 million views in two months, with a handful of clips generating up to 7 million views each. BuzzFeed and NBCU, which invested $200 million in the company, are looking into ways to collaborate, in addition to an announced plan to jointly cover the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

Facebook Boosts Ad Revenue for Publishers of Instant Articles

In response to feedback, Facebook has changed its advertising policies for Instant Articles, to help publishers generate more revenue. Publishers can now include more advertising in each article and control the links to other articles at the end of theirs. Instant Articles, which debuted in October, allows media companies to publish content directly to Facebook instead of posting links to their sites. Meanwhile, Amazon has been developing and testing Expert Articles on topics of interest to the site’s consumers. Continue reading Facebook Boosts Ad Revenue for Publishers of Instant Articles

Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

Vevo, a joint venture of Universal Music Group, Google, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media, just bought Showyou, a subscription-based video streaming platform and Vevo’s first-ever acquisition. The move is largely seen as Vevo’s effort to become more independent from its reliance on YouTube and to compete directly with other premium products including YouTube Red and Spotify. Showyou, which started as a social curation platform in 2011, switched to a subscription-based service last year. Continue reading Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

CES: Conference Tracks Explore Breadth, Depth of Innovation

In addition to its 2.2 million square feet of exhibit space and product showcases, CES offers nearly 300 conference sessions covering the gamut of consumer technology. Its 36 different conference tracks explore industry sectors from Automotive to Wireless. These conference sessions leverage the presence of more than 48,000 senior-level executives and government officials, many of whom participate on panels or present as subject matter experts. ETC will cover the most relevant sessions from Las Vegas, January 5-9. Continue reading CES: Conference Tracks Explore Breadth, Depth of Innovation

Facebook’s Beta Shopping Feed Reveals Weakness, Potential

Since it debuted in October, Facebook’s Shopping feed has been in beta among a handful of U.S. users. So far, the new feature can help a user track down something found in his or her News Feed. Although there are few products and no reviews, the potential lies in Facebook’s key strength — its knowledge about its users. That would allow the company to curate more accurately than any other shopping service out there. A Facebook survey reports that 50 percent of its users come to the site looking for products. Continue reading Facebook’s Beta Shopping Feed Reveals Weakness, Potential

Open Source Kubernetes Helps Make Google Cloud Contender

Google isn’t usually focused on open source projects, but the company now dominates the market for cluster managers with its open source Kubernetes software. Developed originally for internal use, Kubernetes gives corporations a way to manage clusters of containers, which are building blocks of code with a small application, designed to work across platforms and servers. Although it’s not a revenue source for Google, Kubernetes is a key technology in making Google a serious contender in the enterprise cloud. Continue reading Open Source Kubernetes Helps Make Google Cloud Contender

Facebook Channels Realize Explosive Growth with Food Videos

Facebook hasn’t been promoting videos for that long, but it’s already found its killer content: food videos. Leading the pack is BuzzFeed’s Tasty channel on Facebook, which posts clips on such mouth-watering delights as “loaded cheese-stuffed mashed potato balls.” Launched July 31, Tasty generated more video views than anyone else on Facebook by October, according to analytics firm Tubular Labs. Coming in No. 2 was BuzzFeed again, which posts food videos galore on its main Facebook channel. Continue reading Facebook Channels Realize Explosive Growth with Food Videos

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