Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

For an additional $4 ($11.99 per month), Hulu is offering an ad-free option to streaming movies and TV shows. Those who prefer to pay $7.99 will still have to sit through ads. The move could help Hulu better compete with popular streaming services such as Netflix and Amazon that do not include advertising. It could also present the company with an opportunity to increase its revenue in order to invest in more content. This could prove vital since premium cable networks such as HBO and Showtime are making their programming available outside traditional cable bundles. Continue reading Hulu Introduces Ad-Free Option to Streaming for Additional $4

Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Directly targeting AT&T, Sprint is now offering DirecTV subscribers a year of free cell phone service. The offer, which started August 28 and ends September 30, includes a plan with unlimited talk, text and up to 2 gigabytes of data per month, plus a one-time $36 activation fee, but not the cost of a smartphone. Sprint’s move is an attempt to foil AT&T’s plan to turn DirecTV subscribers into AT&T subscribers, a key motivation for the wireless company’s $49 billion acquisition of the satellite TV provider. Continue reading Sprint Offers Free Service to Lure DirecTV Subs From AT&T

Twitter Pushes Video for Newly Expanded Mobile Ad Network

Twitter is taking a page from Facebook’s playbook by opening its mobile ad network to a larger group of marketers. Whereas Twitter’s service was formerly restricted to a small group of clients that could buy ad campaigns running on its own service and third party apps in its MoPub mobile advertising exchange, now all advertisers with dedicated Twitter account managers can widen their campaigns beyond Twitter. Newly renamed “Twitter Audience Platform,” the product will also feature more video ads. Continue reading Twitter Pushes Video for Newly Expanded Mobile Ad Network

Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

The video platform skirmishes just heated up with news that Comcast is about to launch its own, dubbed Watchable. The streaming video platform will feature content from a list of major publishers, including NBC Sports, AwesomenessTV, Refinery29 and The Onion as well as two companies it has already invested in, Vox and Buzzfeed. Deals are non-exclusive, allowing publishers to also post on Facebook, one of Comcast’s chief rivals in online video. Comcast is also up against YouTube and Verizon’s as-of-yet unnamed video platform. Continue reading Comcast to Debut Latest Streaming Video Platform, Watchable

NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

The National Football League and Twitter already have a relationship, but in a new deal, Twitter users will be able to enjoy an increased amount of footage beginning with the start of pre-season football. The NFL has just signed a multi-year deal with the social network to add more game highlights from pre-season games through the 2016 Super Bowl, breaking news, analysis, game recaps, behind-the-scenes video and other footage of interest to football fans. The relationship between the two companies began in 2013. Continue reading NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Paramount Pictures is looking to experiment with two October film releases — “Paranormal Activity: The Ghost Dimension” and “Scout’s Guide to the Zombie Apocalypse” — by shortening the length of time it takes to make them available to watch at home via digital platforms. AMC and Cineplex are joined by several smaller operators in participating in the new approach. However, Cinemark (the nation’s third largest exhibitor) and Regal Entertainment Group (the No. 1 chain in North America) have declined. Continue reading Paramount to Experiment with Flexible Film Release Window

Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Comcast has turned to its theme park portfolio, which it acquired four years ago with its purchase of NBCUniversal, as a serious source of revenue. The company just committed to invest $1.6 billion to expand the Universal Studios Hollywood theme park in California — featuring a snow-capped Hogwarts Castle — and build a $3.25 billion theme park in Beijing, in partnership with Chinese companies, slated to open in 2019. Comcast invested $100 million for a new “Transformers” ride at Universal Orlando in 2013. Continue reading Comcast Commits to Theme Parks with Billions in Investment

Twitter Pitches Event-Based Ad Tools for Targeting Audiences

Twitter recently introduced new tools designed to help marketers identify events appropriate for their brands, create advertising content relevant to those events, and target users who would be interested in such events. For example, an advertiser could use Twitter’s event calendar to research the Oscars, the Olympics or Mother’s Day, and the users who would be interested in those events, and then review which tweets resonated best with those users in the past in order to help build an effective ad campaign. Continue reading Twitter Pitches Event-Based Ad Tools for Targeting Audiences

Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

Amazon unveiled Launchpad this week, a new platform designed to help hardware and physical goods startups market and distribute their new products on Amazon’s e-commerce site. Launchpad, which currently features more than 200 items from a wide variety of startups, will compete with similar services offered by Product Hunt, Shopify and Shyp. Amazon is going big with the new platform, positioning it as a global product with access to 10 international distribution portals, and working with 25 VC firms, accelerators and crowdfunding services. Continue reading Amazon Debuts Launchpad: New Marketing and Sales Portal

Instagram to Generate $595M in Mobile Ad Revenue in 2015

According to a new report from eMarketer, photo and video sharing app Instagram, which does not have a desktop ad product, is projected to bring in $595 million in mobile advertising revenue worldwide this year. The report predicts the Facebook-owned network will reach $1.48 billion in mobile ad revenue in 2016 and $2.81 billion the following year. By 2017, eMarketer expects Instagram will account for more than 10 percent of Facebook’s total ad revenue and, in the U.S., Instagram will have higher net mobile display ad revenues than Google and Twitter.

Continue reading Instagram to Generate $595M in Mobile Ad Revenue in 2015

Nintendo, Facebook to Host a ‘Super Mario Maker’ Hackathon

Nintendo and Facebook are teaming up to host a hackathon at Facebook’s headquarters on July 28 and 29, centered around the upcoming “Super Mario Maker” game. The game allows players to build their own Mario courses, and Facebook employees will be creating their own levels for the game, with Nintendo as the judge. The winning creations will be released for download once the game launches in September. Nintendo hopes that allowing players to design their own games will appeal to a creative generation of young gamers. Continue reading Nintendo, Facebook to Host a ‘Super Mario Maker’ Hackathon

Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

Linden Lab, which innovated the virtual world Second Life in 2003, is entering virtual reality with Project Sansar. The company has been working behind the scenes to build virtual worlds for Oculus Rift and other VR headsets, and relies on its experience with Second Life to inform Project Sansar. Second Life is user-centric, allowing players to create and explore virtual landscapes of their own making. Project Sansar, on the other hand, allows brands to build VR worlds and link to them from websites or third-party apps. Continue reading Second Life’s Linden Lab Debuts New Virtual Reality Project

YouTube’s 360-Degree Video Now Available for TrueView Ads

YouTube just added 360-degree functionality to its TrueView ads, and Budweiser tried out the new feature for its “Whatever USA” campaign. The 360-degree feature enables users to watch a video from any chosen angle by dragging the mouse along directional arrows to change the view. YouTube first debuted the 360-degree videos in March; now advertisers can bring that experience to TrueView ads, with the intent of fully engaging mobile consumers. Over half of YouTube’s views are now accessed from mobile devices. Continue reading YouTube’s 360-Degree Video Now Available for TrueView Ads

InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

India-based InMobi launched a new advertising technology this week called Miip (pronounced Meep), which features an animated monkey that follows users through apps and provides useful suggestions for products. The recommendations typically involve items that users may be interested in purchasing, and are suggested through a text bubble. Over time, InMobi hopes that users will become more inclined to click on a pop-up or even provide feedback if the monkey makes useful suggestions. Continue reading InMobi Launches Miip, a New Interactive Advertising Technology

Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

Facebook has announced a new set of features that provide users with more control over what they see in their news feeds. The new controls will include a “see first” list, comprised of the family, friends and followed pages that are important to a user and will show up at the top of his/her feed. Users can now access a single list to re-follow multiple people they’ve previously un-followed (ideal for temporarily muting spoilers of your favorite TV shows). Facebook has also added a feature to suggest pages for avid users who run out of fresh content in their feeds. Continue reading Users Now Have More Control Over Their Facebook News Feeds

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