Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora just acquired Rdio for its technology and talent, and Spotify is unrolling Fan Insights to offer its musicians a way to research its fan base and plan smarter tours. In both cases, these popular streaming music services are expanding beyond their core expertise — and their unstable revenue — by uniting radio, on demand and even live shows. As bigger players such as Apple, Google and Amazon create music services, Pandora and Spotify must offer more services to survive. Continue reading Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

Artificial intelligence is moving into the mainstream and the San Francisco-based Sentient is one example of how it’s working. The company most recently built a visual search service for an online footwear company, Shoes.com, and also worked with Saint Michael’s Hospital at the University of Toronto on tracking patient care. Rather than rely on history for recommendations, the technology looks at more than a hundred factors to make judgments. Microsoft is also building AI into its products, including its Azure cloud platform. Continue reading Companies Develop New Applications for Artificial Intelligence

NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

New York State attorney general Eric T. Schneiderman is on a mission to shut down daily fantasy sports websites FanDuel and DraftKings, calling them illegal. Most recently, he sought an injunction to prevent both companies from operating in the state. FanDuel says it will comply by temporarily banning New York consumers from playing. DraftKings, however, says it’s still open for business with New York clientele. Schneiderman is also focusing on other daily fantasy sports sites, subpoenaing Yahoo. Continue reading NY State Attorney General Goes After Fantasy Football Sites

Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Apple is in talks with banks to develop a new payment service to allow an iPhone user to send money to another iPhone user, most likely bypassing Visa and MasterCard by working directly with banks. The talks are at an early stage and no one involved would comment on the evolution of the plan. But multiple sources confirm Apple’s talks with the country’s largest banks and that the company is serious about moving forward. Unknown is whether credit card companies are engaging Apple or waiting for the company to contact them. Continue reading Apple in Talks with Banks About New Money-Transfer System

Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

With the introduction of credit cards with an embedded security chip, the banking and retailing industries are battling over issues of security, fraud and the cost of adoption. For years, European banks have issued credit cards with both the chip and a PIN; U.S. banks are foregoing the PIN and relying solely on the chip and an in-person signature. Retailers argue they are absorbing the high cost of adopting the chip technology and paying interchange fees, without reaping any of the benefits of lower fraud. Continue reading Retailers and Banks Battle Over Adoption of Chip Technology

Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

Marketers and advertisers have targeted ads to journalists and “influencers” for some time. But the practice is getting more advanced and pervasive, as Facebook, Twitter and other social media companies offer more granular targeting tools. In fact, the latest efforts now target customized messages to journalists as specific publications, such as The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal or USA Today. Reaching individuals who work in media can now be accomplished in a variety of ways, including using profile or email information.

Continue reading Social Ads Aimed at Journalists Becoming More Sophisticated

FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

Prompted by the Center for Democracy and Technology (CDT), the Federal Trade Commission has scheduled a workshop to discuss cross-device tracking technologies. Using ultrasonic, inaudible pitches, the technology allows a user’s online behavior to be tracked across phones, TVs, tablets and computers. The pitches can be — and are already — embedded in TV commercials, ads in a computer browser and apps. The consumer is not made aware that the tracking technology has been activated and there is no way to opt out. Continue reading FTC Studies Privacy Issues Inherent in Cross-Device Tracking

U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

In response to Edward Snowden’s revelations of government surveillance of ordinary citizens, many Internet and social media companies responded by creating encryption so advanced that even they couldn’t read users’ communications. Now, many critics say, terrorists and other criminals are using those same platforms because their messages will be safely encrypted from prying eyes of intelligence and government authorities. Among the strongest critic is the U.K. government, which is proposing that such encryption be illegal. Continue reading U.K. Plans to Ban Advanced Encryption to Combat Terrorists

Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

FilmOn just lost its latest court case, with U.S. District Judge Rosemary Collyer’s ruling that the company is not a cable system, denying it the statutory license cable companies receive. Collyer’s ruling comes as good news to the coalition of TV and movie companies — including ABC, CBS, NBC, Fox and Telemundo — that sued FilmOn in 2013. The new ruling goes against the July ruling from a Los Angeles Federal judge that went in favor of FilmOn, and also revives many of the same questions behind the Aereo ruling. Continue reading Ruling Against FilmOn Shows Aereo Issues Are Not Resolved

Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

On the heels of its first original theatrical film acquisition, “Beasts of No Nation,” Netflix is financing “Snowpiercer” director Bong Joon-ho’s next film, “Okja,” to the tune of $50 million. The film, which stars Jake Gyllenhaal, Tilda Swinton and Paul Dano and will be produced by Brad Pitt/Dede Gardner’s Plan B, marks the next step of the streaming media company’s transition to film production studio. Netflix’s 2016 releases include a “Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon” sequel and the Weinstein’s “Marco Polo.” Continue reading Netflix Doubles Down on Movie Production with $50M for ‘Okja’

What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

When Quentin Tarantino’s “The Hateful Eight” debuts on December 25, it won’t simply resurrect Ultra Panavision, an extra-wide format last used in 1966 on “Khartoum.” The filmmaker will release the 70mm film on 100 screens — 96 in the U.S. and four in Canada — a feat that hasn’t been accomplished since 1992. And to do so, Tarantino has had to find and refurbish projectors and train projectionists to run them. It’s all in service of an old-fashioned night at the movie palace, with overture, intermission and additional footage. Continue reading What it Will Take to Present Tarantino Film in Ultra Panavision

Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

Facebook, which has begun to build VR-like 360-degree videos into its site, now allows users to enjoy a true VR experience on the Samsung Gear VR. The company also launched a microsite to provide potential 360 filmmakers with best practices, guidelines and FAQs. VR producers, Vrse’s Chris Milk and Aaron Koplin also show the best way to make immersive video. Facebook has jumped into VR to stay fresh and, while offering users a chance to enjoy VR, also add some juice to its own VmaRketing. Continue reading Facebook Pushes 360 Videos, Both Branded and Independent

Programming Free-for-All Favors Consumer Power of Choice

Traditional TV networks are pulling out all stops to succeed with their non-traditional streaming platforms. CBS is launching a new “Star Trek” series in 2017, which will air exclusively on its CBS All Access app; HBO inked a deal with former “Daily Show” host Jon Stewart to create new content for HBO Now; and NBCUniversal is cranking out original series and specials for its Seeso comedy channel, due to launch in January. Meanwhile, Vice Media plans a 24/7-cable channel with A+E Networks. Continue reading Programming Free-for-All Favors Consumer Power of Choice

Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Facebook just launched Notify, an iOS mobile app for push notifications of customizable news, information and entertainment. Posted directly on the lock screen, Notify lets the user choose which cities, sports teams, music genres he wants to follow, from among 70 publishers. The feed features a link to the associated site for a 24-hour period. The user can save the content to read later or share through Facebook or other social media platforms. Notify does not, however, offer real-time discussion or feature ads. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Apple Goes After Enterprise With High-End, Pricier iPad Pro

Apple’s new iPad Pro is the company’s biggest, priciest tablet and the first aimed squarely at enterprise users. The company says it’s pitting the iPad Pro against laptops, not other tablets, but it almost immediately draws comparisons with Microsoft’s Surface, that company’s business-focused tablet. Apple has not typically targeted the enterprise market, but this new focus is driven by the need to bolster revenues in light of declining iPhone revenues. Sales of the iPad have also declined since the 2013 peak of 71 million units. Continue reading Apple Goes After Enterprise With High-End, Pricier iPad Pro

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