Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

Apple is now working on a digital TV guide that shows what’s playing on video apps from HBO, Netflix, ESPN and others, so consumers don’t have to open individual apps to discover content. The TV guide will work on a range of Apple devices, including Apple TV and iPhones. Last year, Apple’s goal was to sell TV programs to consumers, with an interface to make it easy to find content. By focusing on the interface, Apple leaves the financial arrangement to programmers, distributors and consumers. Continue reading Apple’s New Plan for TV Ecosystem Influence is Digital Guide

YouTube Kids Goes Behind Paywall to Lose Inappropriate Ads

YouTube Kids, a standalone app that launched a year-and-a-half ago, has been a big success, with more than 10 billion video views annually and a position as one of the top five kid apps in the iOS and Android app stores. But although YouTube has vetted the content to be kid-appropriate, not so the advertising, which ranges from product placement to pitches for junk food. Last year, the Center for Digital Democracy and Campaign for a Commercial-Free Childhood asked the Federal Trade Commission twice to investigate. Continue reading YouTube Kids Goes Behind Paywall to Lose Inappropriate Ads

Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Time Warner announced it is investing $583 million for a 10 percent stake in Hulu, joining forces with existing owners Disney, 21st Century Fox and Comcast’s NBCUniversal. However, Time Warner does not plan to offer its television programming via the current version of Hulu’s video service, which features repeats of recently aired shows. Instead, the media giant will license its content for the new pay TV service that Hulu plans to launch in 2017. That means channels such as Cartoon Network, CNN, TBS, TNT and Turner Classic Movies would be available to viewers through the planned live TV service. Continue reading Time Warner Invests in Hulu with Plans to Join Pay TV Service

Trade Groups Petition for Rehearing on Title II, Net Neutrality

After a federal appeals court upheld the Federal Communication Commission’s net neutrality rules, the NCTA, CTIA, USTelecom and the American Cable Association — all the trade organizations representing U.S. Internet service providers — challenged that ruling. They did so by filing a petition for an “en banc” rehearing with the U.S. Court of Appeals for the D.C. Circuit. En banc hearings are to rehear a case in front of all the judges (rather than a panel), usually in cases of “exceptional public importance.” Continue reading Trade Groups Petition for Rehearing on Title II, Net Neutrality

Google Pairs Webpass with its Wireless Tech for Fiber Rollout

Google plans to use the approach of acquired Webpass to more cost-efficiently develop and rollout its Fiber fast Internet business. The San Francisco-based Webpass, founded by Charles Barr, is known for using wireless technology to build fast broadband service in cities in a speedier and most cost effective manner. Verizon, Comcast and AT&T, meanwhile, have spent billions of dollars digging up streets to lay fiber cable. Google will pair Webpass’ approach with wireless technology it is currently developing. Continue reading Google Pairs Webpass with its Wireless Tech for Fiber Rollout

Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

Facebook just put the blueprint and software for its 17-lens Surround 360 stereoscopic 3D camera on GitHub, fulfilling a promise the company made earlier to make the camera design, assembly instructions, control software and stitching software available for free. Facebook’s move is seen as an effort to enable more people to create 360-degree immersive videos. By open-sourcing the camera’s construction and operation, developers will be able to create products and speed up the development of the marketplace. Continue reading Facebook Open-Sources Designs for Surround 360 Camera

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

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.

SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

The transition to Ultra HD is the classic chicken-and-egg scenario: Programmers don’t launch services because pay TV operators can’t distribute them, and consumers don’t buy UHD TV sets because there’s nothing to watch. Fifteen years ago that was the identical conundrum for High Definition, however, and now HDTV is ubiquitous in the U.S. Ultra HD just got one step closer to that with satellite operator SES’s launch of its first trials of Ultra HD 4K linear channels, to be followed by subscriber tests later in 2016. Continue reading SES Begins Ultra HD Linear TV Trials with Small Cable Ops

NBC Inks Deals with Digital Celebrities to Promote Olympics

To lure millennials to watch the Rio Olympics, which run August 5 to 21, NBC is enlisting 24 Internet celebrities to build buzz. For the first time, NBC is using a portion of its marketing budget on digital influencers such as German DJ/comedian Flula Borg, who has 779,000+ YouTube fans, to appear in videos with U.S. Olympic athletes, including Michael Phelps, Missy Franklin, Maya Moore and Claressa Shields. The YouTube celebrities tapped for videos have 120 million followers on YouTube, Facebook, Twitter, Instagram and Vine. Continue reading NBC Inks Deals with Digital Celebrities to Promote Olympics

How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

Publishers have gravitated to sponsored content — stories, videos and podcasts that mimic journalistic content — to cope with rapidly changing online advertising. The Atlantic, Slate and The New York Times are among the publications that count sponsored content as a significant portion of their revenue. Companies such as Vice and BuzzFeed have created businesses centered on focused content. But the definition of sponsored content is shifting as viewers move from news sites towards Facebook and other social media platforms. Continue reading How Sponsored Content Transforms as It Moves to Facebook

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

Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

Later this year, Comcast will debut a prepaid service similar to the plans wireless companies use to attract low-income households. Dubbed Xfinity Prepaid Services, the customer can buy TV or Internet services for seven or 30 days at a time, with a one-time equipment set-up fee. Upon completion of the term, the user can renew the service with no limitations. Xfinity Prepaid Services will first be available in Illinois, Michigan, Georgia, Florida and Indiana. Comcast will extend the service to all its customers by end of 2017. Continue reading Comcast to Roll Out its Xfinity Prepaid Services in Five States

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

Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

For 13 years, San Francisco-based Linden Lab has been presiding over Second Life. Now, the company is about to create a virtual reality network, dubbed Project Sansar, to provide an environment for individuals and businesses to experiment in VR. Sansar has been constructed to be incredibly scalable and immense, which could be either exciting or daunting to potential users. Linden Lab hopes it’s the former, and that people will use Sansar to build innovative VR worlds for problem-solving and social interaction. Continue reading Second Life Creators to Launch Virtual Reality Project Sansar

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