Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

As part of Facebook’s strategy to expand its video business, the social network is looking to stream professional sporting events. Most recently, Facebook signed an agreement with Major League Soccer and Univision that will give the social platform exclusive, English-language streaming rights for a minimum of 22 regular season games in the U.S. The games will stream via Univision Deportes’ Facebook page, and the exclusive “Matchday Live” analysis shows produced by Major League Soccer will air on the MLS Facebook page. The first match-up is slated to stream this Saturday. Continue reading Facebook Signs Exclusive Streaming Deal with MLS, Univision

Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Fifteen months after Pandora acquired Rdio’s key assets, the company is launching its anticipated $10-a-month on-demand music service. Pandora Premium, which begins rolling out in the U.S. today, offers access to tens of millions of songs and the ability to save tracks offline. While it still touts the playlisting engine powered by data and people that made its curation approach famous, the service is aiming to distinguish itself from other offerings such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud by focusing on personalization features, a new design and ease-of-use. Continue reading Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Facebook Looking to Publish More Long-Form Original Series

Facebook is on the hunt for more TV-like original programming for the video tab in its mobile app. The company is looking for weekly shows no longer than 30 minutes per episode. Facebook isn’t interested in hard news content, but rather scripted and unscripted shows in subject areas including sports, science, pop culture, lifestyle, gaming and teens. Original programming would not only help keep users on the social media platform longer; it could also generate a significant amount of ad revenue. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Publish More Long-Form Original Series

FCC Allows LTE-U Devices to Share Airwaves Used for Wi-Fi

The Federal Communications Commission will now allow new 4G LTE wireless devices (known as LTE-U, for unlicensed) to use a portion of unlicensed 5Ghz airwaves currently used for Wi-Fi. With this decision, wireless providers can now deliver mobile broadband service, sharing the airwaves with Wi-Fi, says new FCC chair Ajit Pai, who made the ruling as a way of ending the dispute between the two industries. In the wake of this decision, Verizon Communications and T-Mobile US announced they will launch LTE-U networks and devices in the spring. Continue reading FCC Allows LTE-U Devices to Share Airwaves Used for Wi-Fi

HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update Examines IP, FCC, FAA

At the HPA Tech Retreat, Thompson Coburn attorney Jim Burger delivered his annual Washington Update, opening with a clip of President Trump suggesting that his government is operating like a well-oiled machine. “I have nothing to say,” said Burger in response, reporting that Marco Rubio told him, “every day something is new in the Senate.” Burger’s update focused on intellectual property issues, including litigation, as well as actions of the FCC regarding net neutrality and set-top boxes, and the FAA regarding drones. Continue reading HPA Tech Retreat: Washington Update Examines IP, FCC, FAA

Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Facebook will soon launch a TV app that will let users stream videos in their News Feed through set-top boxes including Apple TV and Amazon’s Fire TV, and smart TVs from Samsung. The move to a television app is evidence of Facebook’s new directive from chief executive Mark Zuckerberg to become a “video first” company, and positions the social network to compete for TV advertising dollars. Users can employ the TV app to watch Facebook videos on their living room TV sets, and Facebook is in discussions to provide access to other video content. Continue reading Facebook Readies TV App for Streaming Video Through STBs

Ford Pursues Self-Driving Tech, Invests $1 Billion in AI Startup

The Ford Motor Company is extending its foray into self-driving car technology with a $1 billion investment in Argo AI, an artificial intelligence startup. The newly formed startup, led by former Google and Uber self-driving experts, will initially develop the technology for Ford before licensing it to other companies. The move is part of Ford’s strategy to rebrand itself as more than a car manufacturer. The billion-dollar investment will roll out over the next five years. Argo AI will become a subsidiary of Ford that operates out of Pittsburgh, one of the main hubs of autonomous driving research. Continue reading Ford Pursues Self-Driving Tech, Invests $1 Billion in AI Startup

Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

President Donald Trump’s frequent use of Twitter has increased that platform’s visibility. That is potentially drawing in new “passive, non-tweeting” users, which may, in turn, result in more much-needed advertising revenue. But even as usage increases, the company still struggles to burnish its financial profile. To improve its fortunes, Twitter says it plans to tweak its advertising strategies, focus more on video and expand its data licensing business, by which companies pay to mine billions of daily tweets. Continue reading Twitter Reveals Plans to Attract More Users, Draw Ad Revenue

NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

The National Basketball Association and videogame publisher Take-Two Interactive Software inked a joint venture to establish a professional videogame league, with NBA franchises creating teams for Take-Two’s “NBA 2K” videogame, beginning next year. The NBA 2K e-league is the first to be operated by a major U.S. sports league, although both teams and athletes have bought or invested in e-sports teams before. Anheuser-Busch InBev NV and Arby’s Restaurant Group and other major advertisers have also gravitated to e-sports. Continue reading NBA, Take-Two Establish First Professional Sports E-League

EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy Concerns Film/TV Industry

To help create a unified digital market, the European Union just agreed to so-called portability, which will allow subscribers to access their online services as they travel from one EU country to another. When the EU introduced its Digital Single Market (DSM) in May 2015, Europe’s film/TV industry, which licenses its content territory-by-territory, promptly opposed it, especially the provision that would allow people in the EU to buy content on other countries’ digital platforms. The Motion Picture Association of America shares these concerns. Continue reading EU’s Digital Single Market Strategy Concerns Film/TV Industry

Facebook Working on Video App, Licensing TV-Quality Content

As part of its “video first” strategy, Facebook is at work on a video app for Apple TV and other TV set-top boxes, say knowledgeable sources, who add that the social media platform is also in discussions to license long-form “TV-quality” content. The move will allow Facebook to compete for TV advertising revenue and distribute content to TV sets. The company is already the No. 2 destination for digital ads after Google, but has said it is running out of room for more ads in its News Feed, the company’s main source of revenue. Continue reading Facebook Working on Video App, Licensing TV-Quality Content

With Gains in Cloud Computing, Microsoft Achieves No. 2 Spot

In fiscal Q2, Microsoft posted gains for its Intelligent Cloud segment, which includes Azure, showing an uptick of 8 percent — or 10 percent accounting for currency fluctuations — to $6.9 billion. Azure revenue has increased 93 percent, more than doubling from the same period a year ago. Microsoft is now firmly in second place, behind Amazon, in cloud computing. Microsoft also enjoyed a 5 percent increase in revenue from licensing Windows software to PC manufacturers and another 5 percent uptick from corporate agreements. Continue reading With Gains in Cloud Computing, Microsoft Achieves No. 2 Spot

Publishers Rethink Sharing Content on Social Media Platforms

The trade group Digital Content Next just released a report that details how some publishers of newspapers and other media outlets are pulling back on their use of Facebook’s Instant Articles program. The change comes as publishers re-examine their business models, especially vis-à-vis social media platforms. Publishers have hosted stories on Facebook, rather than their own websites, so they load more quickly on mobile phones. But these publishers also chafe against Facebook restrictions on the number and types of ads in Instant Articles. Continue reading Publishers Rethink Sharing Content on Social Media Platforms

Amazon’s Global Push Creates Direct Competition with Netflix

Amazon launched its global Prime Video service, pricing it under Netflix to compete in the subscription-video arena. This year, according to Cowen & Co., Amazon is on track to spend more than $3 billion on Prime Video content, compared with $6 billion by Netflix. In addition to its Amazon Studios originals, the program line-up for its international Prime Video offering will include hundreds of movies and TV shows, varying by country. Licensed movies include “Jurassic Park,” “Pulp Fiction,” “Gone Girl” and others. Continue reading Amazon’s Global Push Creates Direct Competition with Netflix

Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

Facebook plans to fund original productions and license original video content from media companies and digital celebrities for its platform. To be led by Facebook head of global strategy Ricky Van Veen, the new initiative is still in its nascent stages; a spokesperson only says the company is reaching out to many potential partners. Chief executive Mark Zuckerberg has steadfastly insisted Facebook is not a media company, but given this decisive move towards content, that will be a difficult position to maintain. Continue reading Facebook Pursues Funding, Licensing Original Video Content

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