Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

Gray Television and Raycom Media jointly announced plans to combine their companies in a $3.65 billion cash-and-stock deal. Gray will acquire Raycom for $2.85 billion in cash, $650 million in a new series of preferred stock, and 11.5 million shares of Gray common stock. After spinning off nine stations, the combined company will operate 142 stations in 92 markets. Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-CEO, while Gray’s current chief Hilton Howell will serve as executive chairman and co-CEO.

Continue reading Gray Television, Raycom Media to Merge in $3.6 Billion Deal

ARM to Enhance IoT Management With Purchase of Stream

ARM announced that it has acquired Stream Technologies in a deal that will bring Stream’s connectivity management capabilities to ARM’s Mbed IoT Device Management Platform. The integration of Stream tech is expected to provide customers with greater efficiencies and cost savings while managing connected devices regardless of location or network (Stream supports connectivity across wireless protocols including cellular, satellite and LoRa). ARM also recently announced a new processor designed to prevent attacks and tampering with IoT devices. Continue reading ARM to Enhance IoT Management With Purchase of Stream

Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

A European Parliament committee just voted on Article 13, a controversial provision in the EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) that wasn’t in the final draft but was re-introduced on May 25, the day it went into effect. Article 13 requires Internet platforms to vet uploads such as news articles and music videos for copyright infringement. Such filters could encourage platforms to block more content and place an undue burden on smaller platforms, argue the critics. Worse, they continue, filters could be modified to block content critical of governments. Continue reading Critics Argue GDPR’s Article 13 Threatens Future of Internet

Facebook Launches New Toolset for Live Interactive Games

Facebook has decided to take a page from the book of HQ Trivia, an app hosted by “quiz daddy” and comedian Scott Rogowsky that focuses on live-streamed multiple choice questions and other gimmicks. The Silicon Valley company launched tools aimed at Facebook Live content creators that will let users interact with shows rather than simply passively viewing them. The new Interactive Show Experiences will let publishers and content developers add polls, multiple choice options, cash prizes and player eliminations to their videos. Continue reading Facebook Launches New Toolset for Live Interactive Games

Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

A new report from the Pew Research Center notes that social media growth has stalled across developed markets but continues to expand in the developing world — good news for Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg and his plan to bring Internet access to emerging markets. Internet use and smartphone ownership has also plateaued in developed markets over 2015-2017, while expanding in emerging economies. Pew Research polled more than 40,000 citizens of 39 countries during February to May in 2017 to create its report. Continue reading Social Media Continues Growth Across Developing Markets

Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Justin Sun, founder of Tron and its TRX cryptocurrency, just purchased BitTorrent, a pioneering file-sharing company. TorrentFreak first reported rumors of the acquisition last month, saying that Sun was pursuing the company. After starting talks with BitTorrent in September last year, Sun signed a letter of intent to purchase the company in January. Meanwhile, BitTorrent began speaking with other suitors, leading Sun to file a temporary restraining order, asserting that BitTorrent agreed not to pursue other offers. Continue reading Tron Founder Sun Purchases File-Sharing Pioneer BitTorrent

Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

As part of its efforts to expand in Asia and compete with Amazon, Google is investing $550 million in Chinese e-commerce platform JD.com. The partnership will include the Google Shopping advertising platform promoting JD.com products, which should help the Beijing-based Jingdong (formerly 360buy) reach beyond China and Southeast Asia markets to the U.S. and Europe. Google has been ramping up investments across Asia. The company recently invested in Indonesian ride-hailing company Go-Jek, and is reportedly considering an investment in Indian e-commerce upstart Flipkart. Continue reading Google Plans to Invest $550 Million in China Retailer JD.com

Research Reveals Fewer People Rely on Facebook for News

Research by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism reveals that younger people have changed their social media habits on consuming news. For Reuters, YouGov surveyed 74,000 people in 37 markets about their social media habits, and found that, among younger people, use of Facebook for news is down 9 percent from last year. Instead, this group is more likely to use Facebook’s WhatsApp to discuss current events in a more private forum. The survey took place before Facebook changed its News Feed filters in January. Continue reading Research Reveals Fewer People Rely on Facebook for News

Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Spotify is offering some managers and indie music acts a new arrangement: Management firms can receive “several hundred thousand dollars” as an advance fee for licensing “a certain number of tracks” of their indie artists directly to Spotify. In addition, in some cases, the managers and acts will earn 50 percent of the revenue of those songs per stream. In comparison, major-label artists and their management teams usually get 20 percent to 50 percent of the label’s share and don’t own their master recordings. Continue reading Spotify Offers Direct Licensing Deals to Managers, Indie Acts

Facebook Monitors Advertisers via Customer Feedback Tool

Facebook is introducing a new feature that will allow users to leave feedback after buying products from advertisers on its site, with the goal of cracking down on businesses that sell shoddy goods or don’t deliver them promptly. In addition to this new tool, Facebook is also warning e-commerce companies that get large numbers of complaints, to allow them to improve. If the companies do not clean up their act, says Facebook, it will constrain the number of ads they deliver and could ban them. Continue reading Facebook Monitors Advertisers via Customer Feedback Tool

Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Judge Richard Leon of the U.S. District Court in Washington has approved the proposed merger between AT&T and Time Warner, despite the Justice Department’s claim that the deal would stifle competition. Judge Leon ruled the Justice Department did not prove that AT&T’s $85.4 billion takeover of Time Warner would result in fewer consumer choices and higher prices for Internet and TV services. While AT&T aims to move forward with the transaction, the DOJ is reportedly considering its options. The decision is expected to impact the future of media and telecom industries, and spur additional mergers and related deals. Continue reading Federal Judge Rules in Favor of AT&T-Time Warner Merger

Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Noted venture capitalist and Kleiner Perkins Caufield & Byers partner Mary Meeker recently released her annual Internet Trends report at the Code Conference in Rancho Palos Verdes, California. Among the 294 slides, Meeker explained that smartphone shipments did not grow in 2017, and Internet user growth slowed to 7 percent (more than half the world is already online). However, people are spending more time online. Of the 5.9 hours per day that U.S. adults spent on digital media last year, 3.3 were spent on mobile, which is leading the charge in digital media consumption. Continue reading Highlights From Mary Meeker’s 2018 Internet Trends Report

Congress Takes Closer Look at Google-Huawei Relationship

A recent deal between Google and Huawei Technologies now has some influential Congress members looking into the relationship between the two behemoths. Google and Huawei, which have an operating-system partnership, recently struck a deal to upgrade capabilities on Huawei smartphones, which run Google’s Android operating system. After Congressional scrutiny, another Silicon Valley giant — Facebook — said it will end its relationship with Huawei and three other Chinese electronics manufacturers. Continue reading Congress Takes Closer Look at Google-Huawei Relationship

Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

Influenced by employee discontent, Google will not renew a contract with the Pentagon’s Project Maven when it expires next year. Google Cloud business head Diane Greene, who won the contract, was the one who announced the company’s decision in a weekly employee meeting. The Maven project uses artificial intelligence to interpret video images and, among its potential uses, could be employed to improve drone attack targeting. Many Google AI researchers worried aloud that it was a step towards using AI for advanced weaponry. Continue reading Google Plans Not to Renew its Defense Department Contract

California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

It’s not just Europe that’s battening down the privacy hatches with the recently activated General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR). California voters in November will likely be able to weigh in on the California Consumer Privacy Act of 2018, an initiative that would provide the state one of the broadest online privacy laws in the country. One of this initiative’s most significant backers is San Francisco real estate mogul Alastair Mactaggart, who put more than $2 million of his own money into getting it on the ballot. Continue reading California Data Privacy Measure Is Likely to Impact the Nation

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