Google Clarifies its Ad-Blocking Ban for Apps in Android Store

After a confusing period of inconsistent application of its ad blocker ban, Google just re-approved and republished Rocketship’s Adblock Fast to Google Play. The move appears to indicate that Google has reversed its earlier decision to ban ad blockers from the Google Play store. After that earlier decision was announced, Google pulled apps such as Adblock Fast, but then permitted but simply stalled updates for Crystal’s ad blocker. Google has not commented publicly on how its ad-blocker policy is evolving. Continue reading Google Clarifies its Ad-Blocking Ban for Apps in Android Store

Twitter Hopes to Attract Users with Improved Timeline Feature

Since Jack Dorsey returned last year as chief executive of Twitter, he has done everything he could think of to improve the company’s fortunes, including lay-offs, new executives and a board shake-up. Recent numbers, however, have shown that not much has changed — its monthly 320 million visitors in Q4 2015 are the same as the previous quarter. The pressure is on to find a formula that works, and Dorsey is betting that tweaking existing features and adding an algorithmic timeline might help sustain and build the user base. Continue reading Twitter Hopes to Attract Users with Improved Timeline Feature

Viacom Signs Multiyear Deal with Snapchat to Sell Advertising

Viacom just inked a multi-year deal with Snapchat to sell advertising for the vanishing-message app. Viacom will get a bigger investment in digital media and the millennial-focused Snapchat — which already carries content from Viacom’s MTV and Comedy Central — will get the chance to draw in bigger advertisers. In addition, Viacom will add the U.S. version of MTV and an international version of Comedy Central on Snapchat’s “Discover” page, where CNN, Vox, Mashable and The Wall Street Journal also have channels. Continue reading Viacom Signs Multiyear Deal with Snapchat to Sell Advertising

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

Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

Although rumors are swirling that Amazon plans to open a global shipping and logistics operation to compete with both FedEx and United Parcel Service, the company’s chief financial officer Brian Olsavsky said that Amazon is merely looking to supplement its shipping partners during busy periods such as Christmas. But Amazon might actually have more ambitious plans than Olsavsky is willing to admit. A 2013 report targeting Amazon senior management actually proposes a major expansion of its Fulfillment By Amazon. Continue reading Amazon is Quietly Building “One-Click-Ship” Global Delivery Biz

Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

CBS now has the numbers to back up its assertion that live streaming of Super Bowl 50 broke records: 3.96 million unique viewers via computers, tablets, OTT devices and mobile phones, consuming more than 402 million minutes of coverage, for an average of 101 minutes each; an average per minute audience of 1.4 million consumed more than 315 million minutes. Last year, says NBC, Adobe Analytics counted more than 1.3 million people streaming the game, with an average 800,000 viewers per minute and 213 million total minutes. Continue reading Super Bowl 50: Live Streaming Way Up, But Social Media Down

With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

In a deal with ABC and the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences, Comcast is delivering a package of 72 “Best of Oscars” moments from previous Academy Awards broadcasts via its VOD platform to X1 subscribers. The goal, for Comcast, is to drive up VOD rentals and purchases of Oscar-nominated features. For ABC, which is offering content gratis, the hope is that Comcast’s Oscars content will boost awareness and viewership of the 88th annual Academy Awards on Sunday, February 28. Continue reading With ABC and AMPAS, Comcast Brings Oscars Content to VOD

Verizon’s AOL Chief Exec Talks Potential Purchase with Yahoo

In December 2015, Verizon stated it was interested in acquiring all or some of Yahoo, which has been struggling for years with leadership changes and an inability to successfully exploit rising trends such as mobile. Now, Verizon has gone a step farther and given Tim Armstrong, chief executive of its AOL unit, the mandate to lead discussions with Yahoo about the potential for acquisition. Armstrong, a former Google sales executive, has known Yahoo chief executive Marissa Mayer, also a former Google executive, for years. Continue reading Verizon’s AOL Chief Exec Talks Potential Purchase with Yahoo

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

Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Troubled Japanese LCD manufacturer Sharp is in talks to sell to Taiwanese company Foxconn. According to Foxconn chairman Terry Gou, the two companies have cleared 90 percent of the obstacles to sealing a final deal. If the deal does go through, it will mark significantly new openness of Japanese companies to foreign suitors. Also wooing Sharp is Innovation Network Corp. of Japan (INCJ), a Japanese government-supported consortium that has already acquired the display businesses of Toshiba, Hitachi and Sony. Continue reading Sharp May Sell to Foxconn, Rather Than Japanese Consortium

Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

Warner Music Group, which has ownership stakes in streaming services, will now share revenue with artists if and when those services go public or are sold. Following Warner’s lead, Sony Music confirmed it would do the same. Analysts believe the move is an attempt to woo artists who receive miniscule returns from streaming. Two other trends leave musicians out in the cold: royalties are often not pegged to a specific song and record labels have traded more generous royalty rates for part ownership of streaming services. Continue reading Warner, Sony Commit to Divvy Spotify Sales Gains with Artists

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

Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

Augmented Reality is about to get a boost, not from a new set of glasses, but from ear buds. Doppler Labs, via a Kickstarter campaign that raised more than $600,000, has produced Here, live in-ear audio tuners that let the user tweak live audio from the environment or a music event. Each bud has its own microprocessor, and, importantly, there is no latency. Doppler Labs made Here for audiophiles and live music fans, and plans to provide a pair to every Coachella paid attendee, with pre-set filters for every music act. Continue reading Doppler Labs Develops In-Ear Audio Tuners for Live Music, AR

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

IPG Media Lab Study Reveals Parameters for Ad Effectiveness

IPG Media Lab revealed the results of new research showing that that online ads that meet the Media Rating Council’s minimum threshold for viewability aren’t always effective. Although the MRC standards are a benchmark to determine when advertisers should have to pay for an ad, some agencies and marketers protest that the standards aren’t sufficient, an argument that seems borne out by the new IPG Media Lab study, which shows that, as an ad increases the metrics that define viewability, so does consumer recall. Continue reading IPG Media Lab Study Reveals Parameters for Ad Effectiveness