Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

The clout of social media in traditional entertainment is recognized with coverage in The Wall Street Journal, which reports Netflix paid 20-year-old TikTok star Addison Rae more than $20 million as a lead in the romantic comedy “He’s All That,” the top U.S. performer on the streaming service upon its August premiere. A documentary series featuring TikTok’s Charli D’Amelio launched on Disney’s Hulu service this month, while producer Brent Montgomery, with credits including reality TV hits such as “Duck Dynasty” and “Pawn Stars” has sold Netflix “The Hype House,” about influencer roomies. Continue reading Hollywood Is Hiring Social Media Stars for Film and Television

Disney’s Creators Lab Leverages Power of Social Influencers

The Walt Disney Company is formalizing its efforts to leverage the power of social media influencers under a new program called the Disney Creators Lab. The initiative launches with 20 diverse influencers who have already established credibility with Disney by posting content related to the company on platforms including TikTok, Instagram and YouTube. Disney says that while there is no direct financial remuneration involved, the program will help influencers improve their skills and expand opportunities. Participants will be enrolled in weekly online Disney courses imparting techniques to promote social media more effectively. Continue reading Disney’s Creators Lab Leverages Power of Social Influencers

PayPal Launches Super App for Consumer Financial Services

PayPal has begun rolling out its new app, designed as a one-stop financial services tool capable of handling everything from direct deposit and automatic payments to peer-to-peer transactions, shopping and crypto capabilities. In addition, the company has announced PayPal Savings, offering high-yield accounts in partnership with Synchrony Bank. Shifting paychecks to PayPal is seen as a big step that can centralize consumer financial chores through the service, making it competitive with neobanks like Chime and Varo. PayPal now links to 17,000 billers including utilities and credit card firms. Continue reading PayPal Launches Super App for Consumer Financial Services

Viewers Choose Episode Order in Netflix Heist Series ‘Jigsaw’

Netflix is exploring another interactive story approach with its upcoming eight-part series “Jigsaw,” currently in production. The heist thriller will allow viewers to watch the first seven episodes in any order, culminating in a designated finale that will tie things up, no matter the path chosen by different viewers. Branching story structure is nothing new to fans of video games and Netflix previously experimented with the format in the “Black Mirror” special “Bandersnatch” and “Love, Death + Robots,” but “Jigsaw” shakes things up a bit in that the series arc can be constructed at random. Continue reading Viewers Choose Episode Order in Netflix Heist Series ‘Jigsaw’

Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

Roku announced its Streaming Stick 4K, a $49.99 device that is faster with better sound integration than the popular Streaming Stick+ it replaces. Available next month, the Streaming Stick 4K offers a boot speed that’s about 30 percent faster, with a new long-range Wi-Fi receiver that boosts it up to twice as fast. It features Dolby Vision HDR, dynamically adjusting contrast frame-by-frame and adds the ability to create 5.1 surround sound. The new model also comes with a push-to-talk voice remote. Those who prefer hands-free can upgrade to the $69.99 Streaming Stick 4K+. Continue reading Roku Streaming Stick 4K Touts Faster Speed and Dolby HDR

SEC Is Investigating Workplace Conduct at Activision Blizzard

The Securities and Exchange Commission has launched an investigation into Activision Blizzard examining how the gaming company handled information related to workplace discrimination and sexual misconduct. Senior executives including CEO Bobby Kotick have been subpoenaed along with former and current employees. The SEC asked for Kotick’s internal communications and minutes from Activision board meetings dating from 2019. The publisher of “Call of Duty,” “World of Warcraft” and “Candy Crush” must also provide the agency with personnel files and 2021 separation agreements. Continue reading SEC Is Investigating Workplace Conduct at Activision Blizzard

Twitter Will Pay $809.5 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

Twitter has agreed to pay $809.5 million to settle a class-action lawsuit that accused the social media giant of inflating stock value and misrepresenting user data for the benefit of insiders. In an SEC filing this week, Twitter stipulated the final settlement agreement will not “constitute an admission” or finding of liability or wrongdoing. The settlement agreement still needs approval from U.S. District Court for the Northern District of California. The suit originated with a shareholder complaint filed in Q3 2016 and was later consolidated. Continue reading Twitter Will Pay $809.5 Million to Settle Class Action Lawsuit

Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Global firms such as Amazon, IKEA, Mercedes-Benz and Walmart are cutting out traditional financial institutions in favor of financial technology, or “fintech” — startups offering everything from banking and credit to insurance. Embedded finance, a term for companies integrating software to offer services like “buy now pay later” at check out, are poised to disrupt the status quo, according to Reuters, which reports that while “banks are still behind most of the transactions,” analysts are warning that as they “get pushed further away from the front end of the finance chain” they’ll be frozen out of lucrative consumer data mining. Continue reading Embedded Finance Becomes More Popular Across Industries

Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Apple and Google are introducing privacy protections to thwart marketers from gaining access to consumer data when displaying ads, a change that is expected to seriously impact the online advertising schema that is the bedrock of ‘free’ apps and websites like Facebook and TikTok. In April, Apple iPhones debuted a pop-up window that asks people for permission to be tracked by apps. Google has outlined plans to disable a tracking capability in its Chrome web browser. And Facebook announced last month that is working on a new type of ad display that will not rely on personal data. Continue reading Consumer Privacy Concerns May Affect Future of Digital Ads

Ampersand Rolls Out ‘Total TV’ to Measure Multi-Screen Data

Advertising sales and data company Ampersand is stepping up to promote its Total TV Measurement solution at a time when the go-to industry ratings firm, Nielsen, is under fire. Total TV is designed to help advertisers strategize and purchase multi-screen marketing campaigns. Ampersand is owned by Comcast, Charter Communications and Cox Communications, and sells network, spot and addressable advertising that targets viewers based on viewing data from 40 million set-top box households. Ampersand reaches 85 million households across more than 150 networks. Continue reading Ampersand Rolls Out ‘Total TV’ to Measure Multi-Screen Data

Intuit Purchasing Email Marketer Mailchimp in $12 Billion Deal

Intuit is acquiring global newsletter and email marketing platform Mailchimp in a cash and stock deal valued at $12 billion. Intuit, which makes software products including TurboTax, says it plans to integrate Mailchimp with its QuickBooks accounting software to help small and medium-sized businesses acquire and retain customers, Intuit CEO Sasan Goodarzi said in a statement. Mailchimp has “a lot of customer data. We have all the purchase data,” Goodarzi told investors last week. The deal follows Intuit’s 2020 purchase of Credit Karma for $7.1 billion. Continue reading Intuit Purchasing Email Marketer Mailchimp in $12 Billion Deal

Canon Ultra-Fast Mirrorless EOS R3 Hits Stores in November

Canon has set a November release and price of $6,000 for its highly anticipated EOS R3 mirrorless camera. The pro-series device features a 24.1-megapixel back-illuminated stacked CMOS sensor, combined with Canon’s DIGIC X processor allowing 14-bit RAW files at an impressive 30 frames per second, video capability of up to 6K 60p RAW (4K 120p 10-bit) and ISO range of 100-102400 (expandable to 204800) for still images. Machine learning for eye- and body detection are among the features prompting Canon to call the EOS R3 a “monumental evolution” in digital imaging. Continue reading Canon Ultra-Fast Mirrorless EOS R3 Hits Stores in November

Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

Dish Network has contracted IBM to help automate its new 5G smart network, which will largely target enterprise clients. The deal supports Dish’s goal of becoming the first cloud-native, OpenRAN-based 5G network in the U.S. IBM will provide “AI-powered automation and network orchestration software and services to bring broad 5G network orchestration to Dish’s business and operations platforms,” the companies jointly announced. Dish has spent the past few years acquiring 5G spectrum as part a transition from satellite TV provider to major player in the broadband wireless services space. Continue reading Dish Adds IBM to Tech Arsenal in 5G Wireless Cloud Buildout

YouTube TV Carries Networks for Spanish-Language Market

YouTube TV is expanding its Spanish-language programming, adding Univision, UniMás and Galavisión to its base membership. The YouTube TV lineup will now include sports programming like the Campeones Cup championship between the top U.S. and Mexico soccer leagues and the Latin Grammy Awards along with a panoply of telenovelas. Subscribers in top Hispanic markets will also have access to Spanish-language local news and weather. An upgrade package that offers more Spanish-language content is coming soon. In May, Google-owned YouTube TV was reported to have more than 3 million U.S. subscribers. Continue reading YouTube TV Carries Networks for Spanish-Language Market

Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties

After being road-tested in Amazon’s retail outlets, the Amazon One biometric palm reader is being made available as an identification and payment option to third-party businesses. Ticketing company AXS this week introduced Amazon One as an option for contactless entry at Colorado’s Red Rocks Amphitheatre. Red Rocks guests can link their AXS Mobile ID with Amazon One at dedicated stations then enter the venue by hovering their hand, touch-free, over a scanner. Once the accounts are linked, Red Rocks ticketholders can quickly enter using a separate line exclusively for Amazon One users.  Continue reading Amazon Offers ‘One Palm’ Biometric Reader to Third Parties