Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

Facebook is interested in global live-streaming rights to “Thursday Night Football” as well as a selection of the National Football League’s 2016-17 games, say sources knowledgeable about the Silicon Valley company’s plans. If Facebook succeeds in obtaining those rights, it will be its first major TV content deal and would mark a departure from its video strategy thus far, which has focused on short-form for the last two years. As Facebook Live has become more of a priority, sports have shifted to the fore. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Stream NFL’s Thursday Night Football

AT&T, with Videology, to Sell Programmatic Ads on Linear TV

AT&T has partnered with ad technology company Videology to introduce a “private marketplace” for a handful of select advertisers, who will be able to buy linear TV ads reaching 26 million households. Beginning in Q3, advertisers can use their own data and data from third parties to reach targeted audiences on cable networks on AT&T’s U-verse service or DirecTV, which AT&T acquired last year for $49 billion. Advertisers will be able to purchase ads via a self-serve website, although the back-end will operate manually. Continue reading AT&T, with Videology, to Sell Programmatic Ads on Linear TV

Amazon Announces Alexa Voice-Controlled Household Devices

Internet retailer Amazon introduced two new Echo-related products yesterday: the $130 Amazon Tap — a smaller, portable version of the Echo; and the $90 Echo Dot — a hockey puck-size version of Echo, minus the powerful speaker. As is the case with the newly popular Echo, users interact with both devices via the Alexa voice service. Amazon Tap features a rechargeable battery and uses Bluetooth and Wi-Fi to connect with mobile devices and the Internet. The Dot, which connects via wire or Bluetooth, is designed to provide Alexa for existing speaker systems. Continue reading Amazon Announces Alexa Voice-Controlled Household Devices

Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

AMC Networks chief executive Josh Sapan and ESPN president John Skipper have both spoken recently about discussions with Amazon to include their channels in possible skinny bundles for the Internet. Amazon has gone on record as considering the idea for some time, but hasn’t responded to Sapan and Skipper’s remarks. Amazon isn’t the only online entity that might be hawking TV service soon. Turner Broadcasting chief executive John Martin reveals that he’s talking with six or so new companies looking to do just that. Continue reading Amazon Expands its TV Footprint, in Talks on Skinny Bundles

BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

Popcorn Time is back. The fork most closely associated with the version shut down by the MPAA last year is now promising “resilience-driven development” based on the development of the relatively new and legal Project Butter. In October 2015, the most popular Popcorn Time fork shuttered its website after the MPAA filed a lawsuit against developers in Canada. While the MPAA’s threats created a domino effect that stopped several contributors from working on the platform, outdated versions of PopcornTime.io software began receiving updates this month. Continue reading BitTorrent Program Popcorn Time Returns After 2015 Shutdown

States Push Web Tax, Hoping to Spur Litigation and Legislation

States that want to collect sales taxes from out-of-state Internet e-tailers are tired of waiting for Congress to act. As a result, they’re passing state laws to do so. Alabama, South Dakota, Utah and 10 other states have passed legislation that directly contradicts the standing national law that states can only apply tax to businesses with brick-and-mortar locations there. State legislators are hoping that by challenging the existing law, they will spur litigation and force Congress to re-examine the issue. Continue reading States Push Web Tax, Hoping to Spur Litigation and Legislation

Mobile World Congress Focuses on 5G, IoT, VR and Regulation

Although smartphones are becoming commodities, the mobile industry operators, developers, and Internet companies attending the 2016 Mobile World Congress aren’t worried. That’s because the focus is on the Internet, especially the upcoming 5G networks, which power not just mobile phones but all connected devices. The show is a hotspot for the new gadgets, licensing and partnership deals, frenzied competition and new entrants driving the industry to create services and devices that work seamlessly together. Continue reading Mobile World Congress Focuses on 5G, IoT, VR and Regulation

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

In another annual HPA Tech Retreat panel, Jim Burger, a copyright attorney with Thompson Coburn in Washington, D.C. gave his “Washington Update.” “We’re talking about Congress and the Silly Season, and it’s crazy,” said Burger, who said he would touch on intellectual property litigation on the copyright side; the FCC and communications; net neutrality; and unlocking the set-top box among other topics. Burger noted that the House Judiciary Committee has held over 20 copyright hearings this year. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update During This ‘Silly Season’

HBO Now Reaches 800,000 Paid Subs, Expects Future Growth

HBO’s standalone streaming service HBO Now, which launched in April 2015 exclusively for Apple TV, currently has about 800,000 paid subscribers, the cable network announced this week. Since it is now available across a variety of devices and does not require a traditional TV subscription, the $15-per-month service is primarily targeting cord cutters and cord nevers, who are willing to pay for Internet connectivity but not necessarily a cable or satellite service. HBO’s goal is to reach half of the 10 million U.S. homes that have Web access but no TV subs. Continue reading HBO Now Reaches 800,000 Paid Subs, Expects Future Growth

Washington Post Introduces In-House Tool to Optimize Content

Since Amazon founder Jeff Bezos bought The Washington Post from the Graham family for $250 million, he has been experimenting with using technology to improve the customer experience and apply data to make decisions. The media company has now unveiled Bandito, a tool created in-house that enables The Post to maximize readership by automatically optimizing articles on the website. Among the features that can be varied are headlines, images, teaser text and even different article versions. Continue reading Washington Post Introduces In-House Tool to Optimize Content

Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Up until now, “zero rating” has been a gray area in net neutrality, but Verizon’s recent action might force the FCC to clarify its stance. Zero rating means that an Internet provider allows certain video and/or music streams to not count against a subscriber’s data cap. Verizon just confirmed that it has applied zero-rating to its new go90 service, thus giving itself preferential treatment and putting competitors such as Netflix, YouTube and other streaming services at a disadvantage. Continue reading Verizon’s Zero-Rating for Go90 Likely to Spur FCC Response

Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Google just indicated one of its future initiatives when Amit Singhal, who oversees the Google search engine, stepped down, and was replaced by John Giannandrea, who oversees Google’s work in artificial intelligence and, by association, what’s called “deep learning.” Google has already used deep learning to reinvent Search, via RankBrain, a deep learning system to generate responses to search inquiries. As of October of last year, RankBrain has grown to handle a “large fraction” of the queries to the search engine. Continue reading Google Sees Future in Artificial Intelligence and Deep Learning

Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Although CBS has yet to release official figures, the network claims yesterday’s Super Bowl matchup between the Denver Broncos and Carolina Panthers drew a record number of viewers who streamed the game. NBC broke streaming records last year with 800,000 viewers per minute on average and about 1.3 million concurrent users. Eclipsing the previous year’s numbers should come as no surprise since today’s consumers are more comfortable with streaming, and CBS made the game easy to access for free via OTT devices including Apple TV, Roku and Xbox One. Continue reading Super Bowl 50 Sets New Streaming Record, According to CBS

Apple, Google, Amazon, Verizon Vie for NFL Streaming Rights

After determining that the broadcast rights to “Thursday Night Football” would be split between CBS and NBC, the National Football League is now deciding who will win the games’ digital streaming rights. Although the NFL has been mum on which companies it’s negotiating with, sources say that Apple, Amazon, Google and Verizon are vying for the rights, which could be sold to more than one distributor. Even if one outlet gets the digital rights, they won’t be exclusive, since CBS, NBC and NFL already plan to stream the games. Continue reading Apple, Google, Amazon, Verizon Vie for NFL Streaming Rights

YouTube’s Fine Brothers Abandon Plans for ‘React’ Licensing

The Fine Brothers will not be expanding their empire of “React” videos after all, at least not at the expense of fan content creators. The popular comedy duo is reversing its plans to grant licensing to YouTube creators making their own “React” videos after their channel lost 300,000 subscribers in less than a week. Many fans resented the idea of the Fine Brothers’ ownership of an entire genre of videos that has existed long before the brothers’ popular YouTube channel. Continue reading YouTube’s Fine Brothers Abandon Plans for ‘React’ Licensing

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