USA Gets Creative with Social Marketing of ‘Mr. Robot’ Return

The second season of the series “Mr. Robot” debuts this evening. But three days earlier, fans of the USA Network series who tuned into Facebook Live to watch a Q&A with the cast of the series, moderated by comedian Keegan-Michael Key, got a surprise showing. In a twist that emulates the show’s themes, fsociety, the show’s hacker organization, broke into the live Q&A to deliver a rant about the interview, followed by a sneak preview of the debut episode of Season 2. Then the full episode disappeared. Continue reading USA Gets Creative with Social Marketing of ‘Mr. Robot’ Return

Amazon’s Prime Day Sales Surge 30 Percent Over Last Year

According to e-commerce giant Amazon, yesterday’s Prime Day sales from third-party merchants were up 30 percent over last year’s event, driven by international demand. The statement was made at 3:00 pm Eastern Time during the company’s day-long promotion designed to attract more subscribers for its $99-per-year Amazon Prime membership. Once the total numbers are in, Amazon anticipates “a record day for small businesses and sellers.” Last year’s event was criticized after deals ran out too early. “The company this year offered more deals and deeper inventory,” reports Bloomberg. “It relied on thousands of third-party merchants who sell goods on Amazon and give the company a cut of each sale to boost the number of deals.” Continue reading Amazon’s Prime Day Sales Surge 30 Percent Over Last Year

Post Cereal Gets Immersive with New Fruity Pebbles VR Spot

Cereal company Post created its first virtual reality content: a 30-second pre-roll spot for Fruity Pebbles’ “Yabba Dabba Doo” campaign that will run on multiplatform apps VirtualSky and StartApp. Rather than place the viewer in an environment to explore, the Pebbles spot is a carefully guided, organized experience. It’s still quite immersive, with 360 visuals that spray the viewer with water guns among other activities that include dodgeball, painting a mural and jamming with a garage band. Continue reading Post Cereal Gets Immersive with New Fruity Pebbles VR Spot

Walmart Makes Mobile Payment App Available to Entire Chain

Walmart is expanding its mobile payment service, Walmart Pay, to its entire chain of 4,600 U.S. stores. The feature can be found on the retailer’s app, which is available for Android and Apple devices. According to the company, more than 20 million consumers regularly use the app, which offers discounts and helps locate products. Walmart, which has 140 million weekly shoppers, is aiming to make the shopping and checkout experience more convenient. It is also looking to compete with companies such as Apple, Alphabet and Samsung, all of which offer ways to make mobile purchases. Continue reading Walmart Makes Mobile Payment App Available to Entire Chain

Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Comcast just announced that it will allow Netflix to stream videos onto its X1 platform. According to a statement, both companies say they still have “much work to do” before they will be able to rollout the new service to consumers before the end of the year. Sources say that the deal will ultimately be similar to those that Netflix has created with smaller cable services across the country. In those arrangements, the Netflix app is seen on the platform, making it easier for users to sign in and access it. Continue reading Comcast, Netflix Ink Deal to Stream Videos on X1 Set-Top Box

Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

“Today” show host Al Roker’s newly-formed Roker Media is teaming up with Brave Ventures to launch the “Live Fronts.” The NewFronts-style event, which will provide live-video companies with the chance to pitch to advertisers, will be held in New York City in October. Attendance will be open to “anyone in the business of live-streaming,” said Brave Ventures co-founder Jesse Rednis. Advertising Age describes the event “as a way to showcase the opportunities for marketers and content producers on platforms like Facebook Live, Periscope and YouNow, while at the same time hanging the open-for-business sign.” Continue reading Live Streaming Will Get its Own Upfronts in NYC This October

Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

In the next few months, Pinterest will unveil a way to use the smartphone as a visual search tool. The user goes to search, taps the visual search button, points the camera and Pinterest will “recognize” objects in the camera’s view. The user can then tap any recognized object to get a recommendation for similar ones, and resize the image box to refine the search. Pinterest has always placed a major focus on visual search, and the most recent update now connects that visual search with e-commerce. Continue reading Pinterest Unveils Visual Search Tools to Enable E-Commerce

New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

Mitch Lowe, a Netflix co-founder and former Redbox president, is now chief executive at New York-based MoviePass, a company that pitches a subscription service for moviegoers. The user gets a debit card, which starts at $30 a month, to attend as many movies as she likes, in movie theaters that cover 90 percent of the country. But movie theater owners are reluctant to fully adopt the non-traditional idea. To gain acceptance, Lowe plans to launch the company’s first major marketing campaign, expand its services and raise more money. Continue reading New MoviePass CEO Hopes to Get Theater Owners on Board

New Snapchat Ads API Helps Brands Lower Advertising Costs

Sources indicate that Snapchat will cut its advertising prices for brands, due in large part to its new ad platform that enables more options and experimentation. With the new API launched earlier this month, Snapchat can deliver ads through third party companies. Snapchat is dropping the cost of its ads API from a minimum of $500,000 when the platform first opened to ads, to a minimum of $100,000, say insiders. Advertisers have expressed concern regarding the high cost of working with Snapchat — and interactive ads in general — both of which are now coming down. Continue reading New Snapchat Ads API Helps Brands Lower Advertising Costs

Study Finds People Prefer VR Travel, Adventure to VR Games

Market research firm Greenlight VR reveals that consumers’ main interest in virtual reality is not games, but rather travel, entertainment, events, home design and education. The company’s recent 2016 Virtual Reality Consumer Report also notes that the top VR device consumers now want is the Samsung Gear VR, followed by the PlayStation VR, and that they are less enthused about paying a premium for VR than they were in October. The report surveyed more than 1,200 people aged 18 to 60, including both users and non-users of VR. Continue reading Study Finds People Prefer VR Travel, Adventure to VR Games

Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

Facebook just introduced a new way to view panoramas and VR photos on smartphones. Rather than zooming in and out, the new feature, dubbed 360 Photos, will allow the user to simply upload a panorama or photo from an iPhone, Samsung Galaxy, 360 app or the Ricoh Theta camera and its ilk, which Facebook will then convert. Via a compass icon, the user can then scan the photo by tilting the phone or click/tap-and-dragging. A Gear VR user can tap the “View in VR” button to scan the 360 photo by moving his head. Continue reading Facebook Launches 360 Photos for Sharing Immersive Images

Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

SimilarWeb examined the amount of time Android users in nine countries spent on social apps Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and Snapchat during the first three months of 2016 and found that there has been a year-over-year decline. Facebook-owned Instagram saw the most significant drop of 23.7 percent (36.2 percent in the U.S.), followed by Twitter and Snapchat. Facebook was down 8 percent overall, 6.7 percent in the U.S. However, Facebook users in the U.S. spend a daily average of more than 45 minutes with the app. “Meanwhile, Facebook’s messaging apps — WhatsApp and Messenger — increased installs, up 15 percent and two percent respectively,” notes CNBC. Continue reading Android Users Are Spending Less Time with Social Media Apps

Latest T-Mobile Promotion Offers Stock Shares to Customers

T-Mobile chief executive John Legere says he will give away a share in the company to every account holder with a voice plan, a deal that’s also good for new customers. Those who have been T-Mobile customers for at least five years will also get two shares for every new customer they refer. T-Mobile says it has more than 30 million postpaid phone customers. The stock is currently trading at $43.07 per share, which would value the promotion at $1.3 billion if every customer takes Legere up on his offer. Continue reading Latest T-Mobile Promotion Offers Stock Shares to Customers

Facebook Bot Recommends Movies Based on Your Interests

While Facebook’s bot platform remains in its early stages as developers test potential apps and the challenges involved with natural language processing, a company named And Chill has created a movie recommendation engine that may be ideal for the social platform. Going beyond the basic like/dislike model, the new bot can be accessed through Messenger or SMS and asks each user for specific reasons why he or she likes a given movie. The information is then analyzed by And Chill to provide appropriate recommendations of similar films and links to YouTube trailers. Continue reading Facebook Bot Recommends Movies Based on Your Interests

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