Google Plans to Swap Cookies for Another Targeted Ad Tech

Google is making its first moves to adopt the Federated Learning of Cohorts (FLoC) tracking system by 2022. FLoC allows advertisers to target ads without exposing individuals’ personal data but, instead, groups people by similar interests, such as football fans, retired travelers or truck drivers. Google group product manager, user trust and privacy Chetna Bindra explained that, “this approach effectively hides individuals ‘in the crowd’ and uses on-device processing to keep a person’s web history private on the browser.” Continue reading Google Plans to Swap Cookies for Another Targeted Ad Tech

FCC Approves New Connectivity Fund for Schools, Libraries

The FCC unanimously agreed to enact the $7.17 billion Emergency Connectivity Fund Program to provide resources for U.S. schools and libraries to buy laptops, tablets, Wi-Fi hotspots and broadband connections for online learning during the pandemic. Starting on May 12, the program, part of President Joe Biden’s $1.9 trillion American Rescue Plan Act, will also provide $50 per month to low-income households and $75 to households on Native American lands to pay for broadband services and $100 towards buying a laptop or tablet. Continue reading FCC Approves New Connectivity Fund for Schools, Libraries

Pentagon Considers Ending JEDI, Enabling Bigger Role for AI

The Pentagon may end the JEDI (Joint Enterprise Defense Infrastructure) cloud-computing project, awarded to Microsoft in 2019. Since then, it has been in litigation with Amazon, which was passed over for the $10 billion contract that will consolidate the Pentagon’s array of data systems and provide access to real-time information. The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is also exploring the use of artificial intelligence in automating military systems, including weapons. Continue reading Pentagon Considers Ending JEDI, Enabling Bigger Role for AI

ViacomCBS: Q1 Profit Jumps, More Content for Paramount+

ViacomCBS, owner of CBS, Showtimes and Nickelodeon, reported Q1 revenue surged 14 percent year-over-year to $7.41 billion, up from almost $6.5 billion. Its attributable net income also rose 79 percent to $899 million, compared with $501 in the same quarter last year, for $1.42 per share versus last year’s 81 cents a share. The company’s total streaming subscriber base is 36 million, an addition of 6 million global streaming subscribers, and, led by Paramount+, streaming revenue rose 65 percent to $816 million. Continue reading ViacomCBS: Q1 Profit Jumps, More Content for Paramount+

Fox Corp Quarterly Figures Exceed Wall Street Expectations

In the quarter ending March 31, Fox Corporation saw its year-over-year profit increase sevenfold to $567 million, with a 6.5 percent drop in revenue to $3.2 billion. The numbers exceeded Wall Street estimates. Earnings per share were 88 cents, ahead of analyst expectations of 58 cents. Fox chief executive Lachlan Murdoch reported that exiting “Thursday Night Football” a year early would lift earnings from $350 million to $400 million, which would help finance the 13-year deal that the company struck to continue broadcasting Sunday NFL games. Continue reading Fox Corp Quarterly Figures Exceed Wall Street Expectations

Roku Q1 Results Exceed Wall Street Expectation for Revenue

In Q1, Roku reported a 35 percent jump in active accounts, to 53.6 million, with revenue up 79 percent year-over-year to $574.2 million, beating Wall Street analysts’ expectation of $490.6 million. Those analysts also predicted that Roku would lose money in Q1 but instead it reaped an operating income of $75.8 million, up from $55.2 million in the red a year ago. Platform revenue increased 101 percent to $466.5 million. Total streaming hours on all Roku devices also reached 18.3 billion hours, a 49 percent YoY increase. Continue reading Roku Q1 Results Exceed Wall Street Expectation for Revenue

Google Creates New Entertainment Hub for Walmart Tablets

Google debuted “Entertainment Space,” a feature on the left side of the home screen of Walmart tablets that the company dubs “a one-stop, personalized home for all your favorite movies, shows, videos, games and books.” It is soon to expand to Lenovo, Sharp and other manufacturers’ devices. Google Play product manager James Bender said that with Entertainment Space users will “save time and avoid having to hop between apps to try to figure out what to do.” Each family members can have their own profile on the hub. Continue reading Google Creates New Entertainment Hub for Walmart Tablets

Labor Department Reverses Trump-Era Rule for Gig Workers

On May 6, the Biden administration rescinded the “Independent Contractor Rule,” created during the Trump administration, that made it easier to classify gig workers as independent contractors. The Department of Labor stated that withdrawing the rule would “maintain workers’ rights to the minimum wage and overtime compensation protections of the Fair Labor Standards Act.” Labor Secretary Marty Walsh added that the move will “stop the erosion of worker protections that would have occurred had the rule gone into effect.” Continue reading Labor Department Reverses Trump-Era Rule for Gig Workers

New Telemundo Studio to Solely Produce Streaming Content

NBCUniversal Telemundo Enterprises announced the launch of Telemundo Streaming Studios this week, a production unit that will exclusively serve the growing need for Spanish-language VOD streaming content. The newly created unit, which already has 35 projects in development, will also offer production services to direct-to-consumer platforms. Latinos are seen as a key cohort in expanding streaming, and Nielsen reported that four out of five have access at home to it. Rival Univision debuted PrendeTV, a free, ad-supported streaming service in March. Continue reading New Telemundo Studio to Solely Produce Streaming Content

IBM Research Showcases Its New Groundbreaking 2nm Chip

IBM Research is using a semiconductor manufacturing technology featuring nanosheet components that has helped it create what it claims is the world’s first 2nm chips. The company says the chips are expected to arrive in 2024 or 2025. With 50 billion transistors on a single chip, the new processors will increase performance by 45 percent or reduce power consumption by 75 percent compared with the current technology used to make IBM server chips and Apple’s iPhone chips. Taiwan Semiconductor Manufacturing makes today’s most advanced chips, which are 5nm. Continue reading IBM Research Showcases Its New Groundbreaking 2nm Chip

YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

As part of its IAB NewFronts presentation, YouTube demonstrated interactive advertising features for smart TVs and mobile devices, which will enable advertisers to create more engagement with viewers by sending links to their phones or connected second screens. Other newly introduced interactive features include those that expand shopping for direct response video ads, such as browsable images that click through to websites. The company stated that it intends to continue to introduce more interactive features for advertisers. Continue reading YouTube Unveils Interactive Features, New Original Programs

Sixty Percent of Instagram Users Link Accounts to Messenger

More than 60 percent of eligible Instagram users have enabled interoperability between that platform and Facebook Messenger, said Facebook vice president and head of Messenger Stan Chudnovsky, who added the rate is “beating our expectations in terms of how fast and how many people are upgrading.” “People are definitely buying into the convenience,” he noted. The cross-app communication began rolling out in September 2020. Facebook plans to add end-to-end encryption but neither app is expected to be encrypted until next year. Continue reading Sixty Percent of Instagram Users Link Accounts to Messenger

Valve Sued by Indie Game Developer Over Steam Store Rules

Independent developer Wolfire Games, a digital storefront for bundled games, has filed a lawsuit against Valve, claiming that the 30 percent commission it charges in its Steam Store is monopolistic and anticompetitive. According to Wolfire, Valve controls about 75 percent of the entire PC gaming market, earning an estimated $6 billion in annual revenue from its 30 percent commission. The lawsuit follows Epic Games’ suit against Apple, currently in court, and Microsoft’s decision to slash its own commission fee. Continue reading Valve Sued by Indie Game Developer Over Steam Store Rules

Gray to Buy 17 Meredith TV Stations, Will Reach 113 Markets

Gray Television inked a deal with Meredith Corporation to acquire 17 TV stations for $2.7 billion, bringing its number of outlets to 101 stations serving 113 markets and reaching 36 percent of U.S. TV households. It is acquiring Meredith TV stations in Atlanta; Phoenix; Nashville; Portland, Oregon and other mid-sized markets. Meredith is refocusing its efforts on magazine publishing and digital assets. Gray will become the No. 2 U.S. broadcaster after Nexstar, with its 116 stations reaching 62 percent of U.S. TV households.

Continue reading Gray to Buy 17 Meredith TV Stations, Will Reach 113 Markets

Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers

Amazon’s over-the-top businesses (including IMDb TV, Twitch, live sports and Amazon’s News app among others) have grown to 120+ million monthly viewers. The free, ad-supported IMDb TV, which is getting a mobile app, has seen its viewership rise 138 percent year-over-year, making it a rival to similar ad-supported streamers including Fox’s Tubi, ViacomCBS’s Pluto TV and Roku’s The Roku Channel. Amazon’s exclusive rights to NFL’s “Thursday Night Football” will begin a year earlier than originally planned, with the 2022-2023 season. Continue reading Amazon OTT Businesses Reach 120+ Million Monthly Viewers