Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

Netflix is reportedly considering a move to enforce one of its terms of service: that a customer’s account credentials cannot be shared with individuals beyond the account holder’s household. The company recently introduced a limited test that displays a warning that reads, “if you don’t live with the owner of this account, you need your own account to keep watching.” It next prompts viewers with three options: to get an email or text verification code to authenticate the account, click on a button to verify later, or sign up for a new account. Continue reading Netflix Running Test to Curb Unauthorized Password Sharing

South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

Seoul-based startup Coupang is South Korea’s version of Amazon and the country’s biggest e-commerce retailer. Its IPO last week raised $4.6 billion and valued the company at about $85 billion, while its share offering price of $35 rose 41 percent to close the day at $49.25. Although Coupang plans to expand, it will soon face competition from South Korean family-owned conglomerates, called chaebol, which are building their own delivery networks. Another looming problem for Coupang are accusations of poor labor practices. Continue reading South Korean E-Commerce Powerhouse Raises $4.6B in IPO

Digital Collage Sells for a Record $69.3 Million at NFT Auction

Non-fungible tokens (NFTs) have been generating headlines, most recently when graphic designer and self-taught artist Mike Winkelmann (also known as Beeple) sold a digital image online at Christie’s auction house for $69.3 million. It was also the most expensive digital asset to ever sell with a “digital certificate of authenticity,” otherwise known as an NFT. The blockchain-based assets differ from cryptocurrencies such as Bitcoin in that each NFT is a “singularly unique marker for the digital asset it tags.” Hence the uproar in the art world over Beeple’s record-breaking sale. Continue reading Digital Collage Sells for a Record $69.3 Million at NFT Auction

Bill Could Make Net Neutrality Law Under New Administration

Senator Ed Markey (D-Massachusetts) plans to introduce a bill in the next few weeks that would make new neutrality a law. “The coronavirus pandemic has proven that broadband is as essential as electricity and other utilities,” he said. “We need to restore net neutrality protections to ensure that our Internet remains open and free and that consumers can continue to benefit from this critical infrastructure.” Many Republicans still oppose net neutrality, and its existence has largely been subject to who chairs the FCC. Continue reading Bill Could Make Net Neutrality Law Under New Administration

Apple Reveals Plan to Build a Chip Design Center in Germany

Apple is planning to build a 98,400-square-foot semiconductor design center in Munich, Germany, part of a 1 billion euro ($1.2 billion) investment to create customized chips for 5G mobile devices and other wireless technologies in Germany. The company plans to move into the facility in late 2022. Munich is a regional hub for chip development and home to Apple partner Infineon Technologies and the Fraunhofer Group for Microelectronics, a major European semiconductor-based technology research institute. Continue reading Apple Reveals Plan to Build a Chip Design Center in Germany

Game Platform Roblox Goes Public, Now Valued at $45 Billion

Gaming platform Roblox went public on Wednesday and saw its shares rise from a reference price of $45 to $69.50, valuing the company at $45 billion. A year ago, the company was valued at $4 billion. The NPD Group reported that a record-breaking $56.9 billion was spent on gaming in the U.S. in 2020, up 27 percent from 2019. Sony enjoyed a 62 percent rise in profit, and Microsoft recorded a first-ever $5 billion in quarterly gaming revenue. In a hot gaming market, Roblox delayed its listing to more accurately price its shares. Continue reading Game Platform Roblox Goes Public, Now Valued at $45 Billion

Biden Appointing Antitrust Experts to Key Administrative Posts

President Joe Biden is expected to nominate Columbia University law professor Lina Khan, a leader of the Big Tech antitrust movement, for an open seat on the Federal Trade Commission, where she would have power to enforce existing regulations. Biden appointed another Columbia law professor, Tim Wu to the National Economic Council (NEC) as a special assistant for technology and competition policy. Big Tech antitrust wasn’t a signature focus of Biden’s presidential campaign, but the appointments seem to signal his intentions. Continue reading Biden Appointing Antitrust Experts to Key Administrative Posts

European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

As part of a $2 trillion recovery package, the European Union is investing $150+ billion in “Digital Compass” to boost advanced technologies and narrow the gap with the U.S. and Asia. One goal is to produce at least 20 percent of the world’s semiconductors by 2030. In 2020, said the European Commission, the EU produced 10 percent. In 2019, the EU debuted a public-private cloud-computing project, Gaia-X to increase self-reliance and, in 2017, the European Battery Alliance to develop electricity-storage technologies. Continue reading European Union Earmarks $150 Billion for New Tech Initiatives

Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

The Walt Disney Company’s streaming service Disney+ reached 100 million subscribers in its first 16 months of operation, after reporting 94.9 million subscribers on January 2. With the latest announcement, Disney+ is clearly on track to reach the goal of 260 million subscribers by 2024. At a shareholder meeting, Disney chief executive Bob Chapek again stressed that Disney+ is a company priority and that it still plans to add 100+ new titles each year. In comparison, Netflix has 203.7 million subscribers. Continue reading Disney+ Achieves 100 Million Subscriber Mark in Record Time

Study Suggests Deepfakes Fool Top Facial Recognition Tech

Deepfakes, in which a person in a video is swapped for another person via AI-enabled tools, are on the rise. Deeptrace reported that, between October 2019 and June 2020, the number of deepfakes on the Internet jumped 330 percent, reaching 50,000 at the peak. Deepfakes have been used to place celebrities in embarrassing and inappropriate content, defraud a major energy producer and many other disruptive or criminal uses. Tools to create deepfakes are readily available, and a recent study said deepfakes can reliably fool commercial facial recognition services. Continue reading Study Suggests Deepfakes Fool Top Facial Recognition Tech

Creators Launch Audio Collective to Support New Community

Clubhouse, the popular audio chat app, has inspired other social media platforms to follow in its footsteps. In the process, the nascent audio creation space now has its own influencers. In response, 40 audio creators have established the Audio Collective to serve this cohort. The Collective has positioned itself as a one-stop shop for event planning, brand consulting, support and community. The founders also plan to ask Clubhouse for better moderation policies, insights and performance metrics as well as monetization tools. Continue reading Creators Launch Audio Collective to Support New Community

Discord Stands Out Among Chat Apps for Lack of Advertising

Facebook, Twitter and Snap have built successful online hangouts and monetized them via targeted ads. Discord, a chat app that got its start in 2015 as a way for videogamers to talk, however, doesn’t carry ads but has tripled its revenue by selling subscription access to exclusive content. Discord co-founder and chief executive Jason Citron said the company avoided advertising because it would be “too intrusive” and consumers don’t like it. He also stressed that people use Discord to hold real-time conversations, which has numerous personal and business applications. Continue reading Discord Stands Out Among Chat Apps for Lack of Advertising

NBC Grows Streaming ‘News Now’ Network with Tenth Show

NBC News is debuting two program hours on NBC News Now, its live streaming service. From NBC owned and operated station WRC-TV in Washington, DC, former anchor Aaron Gilchrist will headline a 12:00-2:00 PM slot Monday through Friday that will also be available on NBCUniversal’s streaming hub Peacock. The show will focus on breaking news, supplemented by stories from journalists in the field. The new program boosts NBC News Now to 10 live original hours daily. NBC News also produces “dozens of hours” daily for MSNBC. Continue reading NBC Grows Streaming ‘News Now’ Network with Tenth Show

New Camera-to-Cloud Technology Available for Productions

Feature film “Songbird,” directed by Adam Mason, is a thriller based on the COVID-19 pandemic. Shot last summer in Los Angeles, the production used new camera-to-cloud technology that enabled remote participation — including live feedback — by any crew member that couldn’t be on set. Cloud-based video review company Frame.io had been working on the concept, streaming footage from connected cameras over 4G or LTE to remote crew. The company’s C2C solution launches this month. “Songbird” co-producer Max Votolato dubbed it “like having a video village in your pocket.” Continue reading New Camera-to-Cloud Technology Available for Productions

Streaming Now Makes Up 83 Percent of Total Music Revenue

In its year-end report, the Recording Industry Association of America (RIAA) stated that, in the U.S., recorded music revenues grew 9.2 percent to $12.2 billion at estimated retail value, the fifth consecutive year of growth. Paid subscription services, ad-supported on-demand platforms and digital radio added $10.1 billion in revenue, a 13.4 percent jump. Paid subscriptions to on-demand services such as Apple Music and Spotify represented the majority of recorded music revenue, growing 14.6 percent to $7 billion in 2020. Continue reading Streaming Now Makes Up 83 Percent of Total Music Revenue

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