Once Again, Prime Day Shatters Sales Records for Amazon

According to Amazon, this week’s Prime Day 2019 topped last year’s Black Friday and Cyber Monday combined. Despite competing discounts offered by eBay, Best Buy and Walmart, Prime members purchased more than 175 million products during the annual sales event. The tally is challenging to compare to previous Prime Day events since the e-commerce giant keeps expanding the duration of the sale (this year it was 48 hours, compared to 36 hours in 2018 and 30 hours in 2017). However, the event set a number of sales records, including new milestones for Amazon devices. Continue reading Once Again, Prime Day Shatters Sales Records for Amazon

Dish Releases AirTV Mini, its Next-Gen 4K Streaming Stick

Dish Network’s AirTV subsidiary has launched the AirTV Mini, a 4K streaming dongle powered by Android TV that promises more memory and a faster processor than similar devices from competitors such as Amazon, Google and Roku. The Wi-Fi-enabled, HDR-compatible stick offers Dish’s Sling TV, Netflix, OTA channels, and apps created for Android TVs — all accessible via a single interface. It also provides support for Google Assistant and Google Play. When teamed with an OTA antenna and AirTV Wi-Fi network tuner, the palm-sized $79.99 device provides a streaming solution for TV viewers and cord-cutters that includes OTA feeds from networks. Continue reading Dish Releases AirTV Mini, its Next-Gen 4K Streaming Stick

YouTube, Facebook Lure Creators With Monetization Tools

YouTube and Facebook are looking to compete with other social platforms by offering creators more direct monetization tools. At VidCon in Anaheim, YouTube chief product officer Neal Mohan revealed that the number of YouTube personalities earning five to six figures annually has jumped 40 percent year-over-year. YouTube’s new tools will help these YouTubers earn money directly from their followers. Ahead of VidCon, Facebook hosted its “Facebook Creator Day” in Malibu, during which it showcased monetization tools, including virtual stars that can be gifted to creators and a program that enables fans to pay creators for exclusive content. Continue reading YouTube, Facebook Lure Creators With Monetization Tools

Report: Mobile Apps and Games Have Impressive Quarter

According to App Annie, consumers downloaded 11.2 billion mobile games for iOS and Android in Q2 2019. Games served as 35 percent of global downloads, but were responsible for almost 75 percent of consumer spending on iOS and Google Play. Overall, mobile apps had a record quarter: 30.3 billion apps were downloaded, while iOS and Google Play saw $22.6 billion in consumer spending. Arcade, action and casual games collectively represented the third-largest category for Google Play Q2 growth year-over-year. Games served as the top contributor to download growth for iOS, led by arcade, action, and puzzle games. Continue reading Report: Mobile Apps and Games Have Impressive Quarter

Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Ford Motor Co. and Volkswagen AG are extending their seven-month-old alliance to include collaborating on self-driving and electric car technology. In a joint statement today, the companies announced that Volkswagen would invest $2.6 billion in Ford’s autonomous-vehicle partner Argo AI by providing $1 billion in funding and contributing its Audi $1.6 billion Autonomous Intelligent Driving unit, based in Munich. In 2017, Ford invested $1 billion in Pittsburgh-based autonomous vehicle startup Argo. Once the Ford-VW deal is finalized, Argo’s value is expected to reach $7 billion. Continue reading Ford, VW Collaborate on Autonomous and Electric Vehicles

Snapchat Intros Celeb Creator Shows, Shares Ad Revenue

Snapchat began streaming first-person ‘Creator Shows’ this week featuring celebrities and social influencers in the same vertical video approach of the platform’s collection of original series. Notable celebs such as Kevin Hart, Arnold Schwarzenegger and Serena Williams can now stream their short-form videos on Snapchat and monetize their efforts through an ad-revenue sharing model (specific terms have not been revealed, but sources note that Snap’s standard deal with media companies is typically a 50 percent split). Continue reading Snapchat Intros Celeb Creator Shows, Shares Ad Revenue

WarnerMedia’s Streaming Service Will Be Called HBO Max

AT&T completed its $85.4 billion acquisition of Time Warner last year, in part to take on phone service competitors and streaming giant Netflix. Now, WarnerMedia has confirmed that its upcoming streaming video service will be called HBO Max. A beta version is expected by the end of this year, with a full launch slated for spring 2020. The subscription service will feature 10,000 hours of content at launch, including films from the Warner Bros. library, HBO series and movies, exclusive streaming for all 236 episodes of “Friends,” The CW’s upcoming “Batwoman” and “Katy Keene” series, original movies from Greg Berlanti and Reese Witherspoon, full libraries of “Pretty Little Liars,” “The Fresh Prince of Bel Air” and more. Continue reading WarnerMedia’s Streaming Service Will Be Called HBO Max

Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Social video startup TRASH aims to make it simple for users to create short videos to share with friends. CEO Hannah Donovan, previously general manager at Twitter’s now defunct Vine video app, co-founder of music-discovery site This Is My Jam, and former head of creative at Last.fm, points out that research shows most consumers carry powerful cameras with them, but don’t know much about editing video content. So she set out to leverage computer vision technology to analyze video and synthesize the content into an appealing sequence. The free TRASH app does just that, as explained by its simple tagline, “You shoot, we edit.” Continue reading Mobile App Uses AI Technology to Edit Short Social Videos

Twitter Will Warn Users of Politicians’ Inappropriate Tweets

Twitter announced that it plans to hide messages that are posted by politicians who violate the company’s abuse or harassment policies. Such tweets will be hidden behind a warning label, but will not be removed from the service, since Twitter still considers them a matter of public interest. The notices will inform readers if a tweet violates rules regarding harassment or violent threats, and then readers will have the option of clicking through to access the questionable message. The move could complicate the current debate over political bias on Twitter in addition to the balance other social platforms are struggling with between free speech and offensive content. Continue reading Twitter Will Warn Users of Politicians’ Inappropriate Tweets

Universal’s Michael Wise Named Chair of ETC@USC Board

At its annual Studio Technology Leaders Dinner last night, The Entertainment Technology Center @ the University of Southern California (ETC) announced that Universal Filmed Entertainment Group CTO Michael Wise has been named the new chairman of ETC’s executive board of directors. ETC executive director & CEO Ken Williams opened the evening by introducing and congratulating Wise on his new leadership position on the board. Williams also took a moment to thank the outgoing chair and former CTO of 20th Century Fox Film Corporation, Hanno Basse, who has served as ETC’s executive board chair since December 2016. Continue reading Universal’s Michael Wise Named Chair of ETC@USC Board

Facebook Agrees to Hand Over User Data to French Judges

Marking a world first, social giant Facebook has agreed to turn over data of French users who are suspected of hate speech on the popular platform. Cédric O, state secretary for the digital economy of France, who has been influential in shaping French President Emmanuel Macron’s perspective on Big Tech, made the announcement yesterday. The Facebook decision follows a number of successive meetings between President Macron and Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. It has been reported that Macron is actively interested in regulating hate speech worldwide and taking control of false information online. Continue reading Facebook Agrees to Hand Over User Data to French Judges

Spotify Expands Ad Options by Targeting Podcast Listeners

Spotify, which now has 123 million worldwide users of its ad-supported audio service, is expanding its podcast business by offering advertisers the ability to target consumers based on the types of podcast programs they are streaming. Brands across 10 global markets (Australia, Brazil, Canada, France, Germany, Italy, Mexico, Spain, United Kingdom and United States) will have the option of targeting Spotify Free users based on podcast categories such as “Business & Technology,” “Comedy” and “Lifestyle & Health.” 3M and Samsung have been testing the new ad-targeting tool. Continue reading Spotify Expands Ad Options by Targeting Podcast Listeners

Walmart Monitors Store Registers with AI-Powered Cameras

Walmart is leveraging computer vision tech by Ireland-based Everseen and several other companies in more than 1,000 of its stores to more closely monitor checkouts. The surveillance program is internally referred to as Missed Scan Detection, and uses AI-powered cameras to identify and correct problems such as errors, fraud and theft during the checkout scanning process at self-checkout registers and those run by cashiers. The National Retail Federation notes that U.S. retailers lost an estimated $47 billion in 2017 to such problems. Continue reading Walmart Monitors Store Registers with AI-Powered Cameras

Apple iPhones Can Now Be Repaired at Any U.S. Best Buy

Apple and Best Buy announced the two companies are extending their partnership so that technicians can repair iPhones at any of the 992 Best Buy locations in the U.S. The companies also revealed that 7,600 Geek Squad techs are now certified for iPhone repairs using genuine parts from Apple. While Apple will continue to offer repairs at its own stores, the new deal should prove beneficial to iPhone users in Montana, North Dakota, South Dakota, Vermont, West Virginia and Wyoming, since Apple does not presently have stores in these states. Continue reading Apple iPhones Can Now Be Repaired at Any U.S. Best Buy

Streaming Service fuboTV Adds More Non-Sports Content

Live sports streamer fuboTV has signed a multi-year deal to bring Discovery networks to its service as part of the $54.99 per month base package. In coming weeks, fuboTV will add networks including Animal Planet, Discovery Channel, Investigation Discovery, MotorTrend, OWN (Oprah Winfrey Network) and TLC. Food Network, HGTV and Travel Channel are already live on fuboTV through a deal with Discovery-owned Scripps Networks Interactive. The deal also includes additions to the fubo Latino Spanish-language package as well as on-demand content from Discovery. Continue reading Streaming Service fuboTV Adds More Non-Sports Content

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