Appeals Court Sides with States vs. City Broadband Networks

In recent years, some cities have created broadband networks to provide Internet in communities — especially rural ones — where commercial services aren’t willing to set up shop. Those so-called “municipal broadband networks” just got slapped down by the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Sixth Circuit, which upheld laws in North Carolina and Tennessee halting their growth. For now, the ruling only impacts networks in those two states, but other cities that have created municipal networks have taken note. Continue reading Appeals Court Sides with States vs. City Broadband Networks

Twitter Now Shares Advertising Revenue with Video Creators

In an effort to lure content creators and better compete with social platforms such as Facebook and Snapchat, Twitter announced that it will share 70 percent of ad revenue with users that upload videos. “Those are much better margins than what a video creator can get on the world’s biggest video site, Google’s YouTube, which pays creators 55 percent of the video ad revenue,” reports Wired. Twitter has reportedly already applied the 70-30 revenue split with some big names, including the National Hockey League and Major League Baseball. However, Twitter is playing catch up; YouTube generates billions of daily video views, and Facebook algorithms have been emphasizing live video in the platform’s News Feed. Continue reading Twitter Now Shares Advertising Revenue with Video Creators

FCC Pushes for 5G Standards with Emphasis on Cybersecurity

FCC chairman Tom Wheeler is reminding the tech industry that cybersecurity standards should be a significant consideration while moving forward with the development of 5G wireless Internet. Last week, the FCC published a request “for comment on a new set of proposed 5G rules to the Federal Register focused on adding specific ‘performance requirements’ for developers of example Internet-connected devices,” reports FedScoop. Companies interested in a license to access 5G spectrum will need to comply with the new requirements, which will include network security plans. Continue reading FCC Pushes for 5G Standards with Emphasis on Cybersecurity

Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Spotify is readying an initial public offer next year, pressured by its most recent financing. Private-equity firm TPG, hedge fund Dragoneer Investment Group and Goldman Sachs are part of a group that issued $1 billion in convertible debt, which carries an interest rate that increases until Spotify’s IPO. Investors also get a discount on shares if they convert debt into equity — 20 percent now, but increasing if Spotify delays the IPO. One problem prevents Spotify from doing so: long-term rights for the music it plays. Continue reading Spotify Prepares to Go Public, Seeks Long-Term Music Rights

Netflix-Style Video-On-Demand Service Debuts in North Korea

North Korea has launched its own Netflix-like streaming service called Manbang (“everywhere” or “every direction”), although the content and availability is limited. According to Digital Trends, Manbang offers “citizens in three cities, including the capital Pyongyang, access to five streamed channels alongside a selection of on-demand content.” The service’s set-top box also streams state-approved newspaper articles, documentaries about Kim Jong-un and the leadership, and English and Russian language lessons. The box enables “viewers to search for programs by typing in the title, or by browsing through categories, offering similar functionality to Netflix in the United States,” notes NK News. Continue reading Netflix-Style Video-On-Demand Service Debuts in North Korea

Pandora Readies Subscription-Based On-Demand Streaming

Pandora is expanding beyond its flagship free Internet radio, with two new monthly subscription options. According to sources, the company is near to inking deals with major record companies. Up until now, Pandora hasn’t needed to secure rights because listeners can’t get specific songs on demand, and the company has limited service in the U.S., Australia and New Zealand, where music licensing is automatic in exchange for payments. The new tiers will debut first in the U.S. and then other English-speaking countries. Continue reading Pandora Readies Subscription-Based On-Demand Streaming

Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook is working with game engine Unity to build a dedicated, downloadable desktop gaming platform. The new platform will not require the intensive coding of Facebook’s previous SDK, making it easier for game publishers to offer iOS and Android games on the desktop. Developers now have until August 31 to get “instant access” to an alpha version of Unity 5.4 needed to build and export games to Facebook’s Web and desktop app. Facebook’s move is seen as an attempt to regain gaming revenues lost to the mobile platform. Continue reading Facebook and Unity Team to Build Desktop Gaming Platform

Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

To keep track of the massive amount of data shared on Facebook, the company’s Artificial Intelligence Research (FAIR) lab created fastText, which offers a variety of techniques that make it more accurate and easy to do. Today, Facebook is making fastText open source, available on GitHub, so developers can use its libraries anywhere. Among the techniques fastText uses are “bag of words” and “subword information.” Facebook will use fastText to cut down on “clickbait,” an ever-present irritation on the Internet. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources fastText Tools That Stifle Clickbait

Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

Turner Broadcasting is experimenting with a way to keep viewers from skipping ads: a countdown clock showing how much time is left in each ad break. The idea was first tested this season on TNT’s new crime drama “Animal Kingdom,” via a timer at the bottom of the screen for both live TV and pay TV affiliates’ VOD systems. The timer appears when there is 60 seconds left in a break. NBC’s “Today” and ABC’s “Good Morning America” have also used countdown clocks, but “Animal Kingdom” may be the first primetime show to do so. Continue reading Turner Tests New Ad Countdown Clock with ‘Animal Kingdom’

AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

A new draft listing for Amazon.com features a $149.99 hardware device called AirTV that addresses the limitation of Dish Network’s Sling TV regarding access to over-the-air, local channels. “The device works with an antenna and Sling TV’s app in order to offer a combination of local live television programming and Sling TV’s content, including its program guide and optional add-on packages,” reports TechCrunch. According to the product listing, free local TV is accessible via the app on any compatible device via Android, iOS, Amazon Fire TV and Roku. For more channels, “you can subscribe to paid Sling TV packages — all from the same app.” Continue reading AirTV Combines HD Antenna and Sling TV for Local Channels

Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

If you’re in the U.S., India, Russia, Canada or Mexico, the next time you want to tweet a photo, the top stickers will come from PepsiCo. The company, which has created almost 50 different stickers, is Twitter’s first partner in promoted stickers. Of those, only eight will be available to Twitter users, specific to 10 countries, including those listed above. In the U.S, Twitter users have the option of two Pepsi cans side by side, smiley emoji, a barbeque grill, and a ballet dancer’s feet clad in red pointe shoes. Continue reading Twitter and Pepsi Ink Deal to Add Promoted Stickers to Photos

Enseo Service to Bring Netflix to More Hotel Rooms Worldwide

Netflix and in-room entertainment platform maker Enseo have announced an expanded deal to bring the Netflix app to more worldwide hotel rooms. Hotel guests will be able to log in to their Netflix accounts via Enseo’s system and access TV shows, movies and their personalized lists and settings. “The two companies were already working together on Enseo’s product, the Enseo Entertainment Experience,” reports TechCrunch, “which also provides access to other streaming services like YouTube, Pandora, Hulu and Crackle.” Enseo was the first to bring Netflix to hotels with its original 2014 agreement. The new deal means Enseo “can now offer Netflix to any hotel under a contract in any country worldwide where Netflix is available.” Continue reading Enseo Service to Bring Netflix to More Hotel Rooms Worldwide

EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Deutsche Telekom and Spain’s Telefónica have long lobbied the European Union to either repeal some of the onerous regulations governing carriers or to extend them to Internet-based text-message and voice-call services, including Microsoft’s Skype and Facebook’s WhatsApp. Now, carriers might get their wish as the EU’s executive body is on the verge of suggesting more rules for Skype, WhatsApp and their ilk: tighter privacy and security, and an easier way for consumers to move information when switching services. Continue reading EU Rules to Create Parity Between Internet Apps and Carriers

Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

SNL Kagan forecasts that video revenue for U.S. cable operators will decrease 4.7 percent by 2026, despite higher monthly cable TV bills. Residential video revenue for “cable operators is projected to fall from $57.7 billion in 2016 to $55.0 billion annually in 2026, declining at a compound annual growth rate of 0.5 percent over the next 10 years,” reports Variety. While basic video subs are projected to fall from today’s 53 million to 45.4 million in 2026, there will be a 13 percent jump in broadband subs, representing $11 billion. Cable broadband subs are expected to reach 71 million by 2026, driving up revenue to $47.3 billion. Continue reading Cable TV Revenue to Decline, Broadband Subs on Upswing

Google to Expand Tests of Wireless Internet to 24 Locations

Google has been testing its wireless-transmission technology using the 3.5 GHz band in Kansas City. Now, a redacted Federal Communications Commission filing reveals that the company has plans to set up its experimental transmitters for 24 months at up to 24 locations in the U.S., including Provo, Utah; Omaha, Nebraska; and Boulder, Colorado. The filing shows that Google is asking for authorization to operate in the range of 3.4 to 3.8 GHz, relying on newly available spectrum. Continue reading Google to Expand Tests of Wireless Internet to 24 Locations

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