Amazon Hits Roadblocks in Pursuit of Retail Grocery Business

Amazon’s plan to open Amazon Go, a convenience store without a cashier, has suffered a setback. In beta since December, the first store was scheduled to open to the public by the end of March, but sources reported that there are problems with the technology used to automatically charge customers when they leave the store. Brick-and-mortar stores are key to Amazon’s desire to enter the food sales market in earnest. The company is also exploring the possibility of retail stores to sell furniture, appliances and other items. Continue reading Amazon Hits Roadblocks in Pursuit of Retail Grocery Business

Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Big spending digital players Netflix and Amazon are shaking up traditional TV stalwarts. Netflix is expected to spend $6 billion on original and acquired programming this year, up $1 billion from last year. That figure is five times more than what cable outlets FX (owned by 21st Century Fox) and Showtime (owned by CBS Corp.) spend and more than twice that spent by Time Warner’s premium channel HBO. TV actors are demanding $250,000 an episode, twice their previous rate, and there’s a feeding frenzy for A-list below-the-line crews. Continue reading Netflix Dominance Pushing Studios to Earlier Release Window

Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

Comcast is planning a third quarter launch for its expanded streaming video service called Xfinity Instant TV. The $15-$40 per month service, targeting broadband subscribers looking to opt out of traditional cable bundles, “will include major broadcast networks as well as add-on options for sports channels like ESPN and Spanish language channels such as Telemundo and Univision,” reports Reuters. The company hopes customers will later upgrade to the X1 platform. Xfinity Instant TV is a new version of its Stream service that was tested earlier in Boston and Chicago. Dish and AT&T are already targeting cord cutters, but “Comcast’s service is different in that it is limited to its territories and to its own broadband subscribers.” Continue reading Comcast’s Upcoming Streaming Option to Target Cord-Cutters

AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

According to inside sources, AMC Networks plans to target millennials with its own ad-free, online streaming service. However, distinguishing itself from today’s collection of standalone options, AMC’s offering will reportedly be made available exclusively for cable subscribers, a move meant to support the pay TV industry as it faces a growing number of cord cutters. “AMC is discussing featuring digital-only spinoff shows of its existing programs like ‘The Walking Dead’ and is considering pricing between $4.99 to $6.99 a month,” reports Reuters. “Packaging the service as an add-on to existing cable bills allows AMC to curry favor with cable and satellite companies.” Continue reading AMC Planning a New Streaming Service for Cable Subscribers

Congress Makes a Move to Change New Internet Privacy Rules

The Republican-controlled Senate voted yesterday to reverse FCC privacy protections created under the Obama administration and former FCC chair Tom Wheeler that would have forbidden Internet service providers from using customer data without permission for use in targeted ads. “The measure passed in a 50-to-48 vote largely along party lines,” reports The New York Times. “The House is expected to mirror the Senate’s action next week, followed by a quick signature from President Trump.” The decision means service providers would not require permission to track and share the browsing and app activities of its customers. Continue reading Congress Makes a Move to Change New Internet Privacy Rules

World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

The World Wide Web Consortium (W3C) has formally moved its Encrypted Media Extensions (EME) anti-piracy mechanism to the stage of Proposed Recommendation. The decision of whether or not to adopt the EME standard now depends on a poll of W3C’s members, which have until April 19 to respond. Although the proposed standard has many critics, W3C director/HTML inventor Sir Tim Berners-Lee has personally endorsed it. Engineers from Google, Microsoft and Netflix created EME, which has been under development for some time. Continue reading World Wide Web Consortium Proposes HTML5 DRM Standard

Facebook Tests Trans-Atlantic Data Transmission, Sets Record

Facebook engineers tested the transmission of information across a trans-Atlantic-Internet cable, claiming they set a record by pushing two-and-a-half-times more data than current methods. The test was based on hardware designed by the Nokia-owned R&D facility Bell Labs, and relied on optical fiber Facebook owns inside the America Europe Connect (AEC) undersea cable that spans from New York to Ireland. Facebook’s test is part of a trend whereby Internet companies, rather than infrastructure firms, are driving the evolution of the Internet. Continue reading Facebook Tests Trans-Atlantic Data Transmission, Sets Record

Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

Pinterest, now in its third full year earning selling ads, is targeting more than $500 million in revenue this year. The company earned $100 million in revenue in 2015 and $300 million last year. Some close to Pinterest say the company is gearing up for an eventual IPO. “The company hired its first CFO, Todd Morgenfeld, from Twitter back in October, and has Facebook’s former monetization director, Tim Kendall, overseeing all of Pinterest’s revenue efforts, among other things,” reports Recode. Those close to the company suggest that if Snap “can fetch a valuation north of $20 billion on the public markets, Pinterest is in good shape to do something similar.” Continue reading Pinterest, Targeting $500 in Revenue, Could Be Prepping IPO

Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

As Twitter readies its first original content presentation for the Digital NewFronts in May, the company is reportedly launching a live video API today designed to help media publishers post live video broadcasts via the social platform. Twitter’s offering is expected to be similar to the Facebook Live API launched last year. “The API will let companies hook up professional broadcasting and video editing equipment to Twitter with more powerful integrations than Twitter’s existing Periscope Producer feature,” explains TechCrunch. “Telestream, Wirecast, and Livestream Switcher are amongst the API partners that will help publishers use the API.” Continue reading Source Says Twitter Will Launch its New Live Video API Today

Intel Debuts Memory Products Based on 3D XPoint Technology

Intel is shipping its first products based on 3D XPoint, a technology it has been developing for more than ten years to bridge the gap between conventional memory, which holds data for immediate use, and longer-term storage. The company reports that 3D XPoint is 1,000 times faster than NAND flash often used in storage drives, but only 1 percent the speed of DRAM (dynamic random-access memory) temporary memory. Intel says it can speed up tasks in fraud detection, retail recommendations and autonomous vehicles. Continue reading Intel Debuts Memory Products Based on 3D XPoint Technology

Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

In response to pressure from advertisers unhappy with placement of their commercials before extremist group videos on YouTube, Google apologized and explained it would simplify the tools that help advertisers control where online ads appear. The British unit of French advertising firm Havas, the U.K. government, and Marks & Spencer Group are among those that suspended their ads on YouTube and the Google Display Network. Matt Brittin, Google’s president for Europe, Middle East and Africa, “said he would step up enforcement and review policies to make sure ads don’t inadvertently appear near inappropriate videos,” according to The Wall Street Journal. “He said Google wanted to be careful with how it did so because some advertisers, such as news organizations, might want to place ads alongside controversial content.” Continue reading Google Plans to Simplify Advertiser Controls for YouTube Video

Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Journalists were recently invited to the Silicon Valley offices of Netflix for a behind-the-scenes look at the company’s distribution efforts for its latest Marvel series, “Iron Fist.” Through a series of talks that emphasized how the streaming service is essentially becoming a global Internet-based television network for more than 93 million subscribers, the “Netflix Lab Days” event addressed the tech and business considerations involved with programming for an international audience, creating “taste communities” for recommendations and personalization, initiating deals with TV operators and ISPs around the world, language translations for original content, and translating the Netflix apps and catalog into multiple languages. Continue reading Netflix Continues Push to Become the First Global TV Network

Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Hulu’s upcoming live TV service will compete for cord cutters with offerings such as Dish’s Sling TV, AT&T’s DirecTV Now, Sony’s PlayStation Vue and YouTube TV. While details of the new service have been limited, the company’s marketing site (where it’s currently taking sign-up requests) has teased a few tidbits. The service will likely offer a combination of Hulu’s on-demand content with the option of live TV for a monthly fee below $40. It will also feature a DVR option; a new interface with user profiles, guest profiles, and recommendations; the ability to pause a live TV show for later viewing; real-time custom alerts for events and programs; and support for multiple, simultaneous streams on live TV. Continue reading Hulu TV Service Will Likely Offer Simultaneous Streams, Alerts

Commercial Internet Now Supports More Than 10 Million Jobs

A new report suggests that the commercial Internet now represents 6 percent of our gross domestic product. “The ad-supported Internet contributed about $1.121 trillion to the U.S. economy last year and is responsible for more than 10 million jobs across all 50 states, according to a new study commissioned by the Interactive Advertising Bureau,” reports The Wall Street Journal. The study found that the number of jobs created by the Internet more than doubled from 2012 to 2016, largely spurred by the rapid adoption of mobile devices, the transition to e-commerce, and the growth of a new gig economy. In regards to size and scope, “About 86 percent of the ad-supported Internet economy falls outside of New York City, San Francisco, Boston, the Washington, DC area, and Seattle.” Continue reading Commercial Internet Now Supports More Than 10 Million Jobs

Fox, Turner, Viacom Introduce OpenAP TV Ad Buying Platform

Fox Networks Group, Turner and Viacom announced the launch of OpenAP, a new Web-based platform designed to help advertisers target ads across television networks. According to The Wall Street Journal, the platform allows advertisers to “mix and match data sets to create ad targeting criteria that can be used for multiple TV buys. The move comes as the TV industry is looking to adopt some of the precision ad targeting and automation that has become standard for digital advertising.” The offering intends to resolve challenges involving transparency, consistency and standardization by serving as a centralized digital user interface that cross references data with third party sources. More details will be revealed at a New York event on April 7. Continue reading Fox, Turner, Viacom Introduce OpenAP TV Ad Buying Platform

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