Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

According to Gartner’s Q4 sales report, the global smartphone market saw a dip in shipments for the first time. The world’s top vendors (besides Huawei and Xiaomi) experienced declines. Overall, there was a 5.6 percent slide compared to the previous year, representing 24.29 million fewer phones. Gartner research director Anshul Gupta cites “a lack of quality ‘ultra-low-cost’ smartphones and users preferring to buy quality feature phones.” Additionally, “replacement smartphone users are choosing quality models and keeping them longer, lengthening the replacement cycle of smartphones.” Continue reading Gartner: Global Smartphone Shipments Decline for First Time

Sling TV Takes the Lead in the Internet-Based Live TV Market

Sling TV announced that it reached 2.212 million subscribers at the end of Q4 2017, a year-over-year growth of 47 percent. The Dish-owned streaming TV service, one of the first OTT streaming options for ESPN, now leads competitors in this space such as DirecTV Now, PlayStation Vue and newcomers YouTube TV and Hulu Live TV. However, it was also the first live TV streaming service to launch, giving it the most time to accumulate subscribers, and is facing an increasing number of rival streaming options. Meanwhile, DirecTV Now picked up more than 1 million subscribers last year.  Continue reading Sling TV Takes the Lead in the Internet-Based Live TV Market

Symantec Publishes Global Security Findings in Latest Report

Today’s consumers are “overconfident in their security prowess,” which has resulted in a record year for cyberattacks, according to the “2017 Norton Cyber Security Insights Report.” The Symantec report found that 978 million people across 20 countries were impacted last year by cybercrime, and 44 percent of consumers were affected in the last 12 months. “As a result,” notes the report, “consumers who were victims of cybercrime globally lost $172 billion — an average of $142 per victim — and nearly 24 hours globally (or almost three full work days) dealing with the aftermath.” Continue reading Symantec Publishes Global Security Findings in Latest Report

Fox News Ready to Announce Streaming Subscription Service

Fox News is reportedly planning to launch a standalone subscription service by the end of this year, as more viewers abandon their cable and satellite TV packages. Despite a record 2017 for Fox News, its highest-rated year in terms of television audience, the network is expected to announce Fox Nation today, which will feature original programming. The new digital venture enters a growing field of web-only streaming TV offerings from the likes of HBO, Cinemax, CBS and Showtime. Additionally, CBS is planning CBS Sports HQ and ESPN is launching its ESPN Plus service this spring. Continue reading Fox News Ready to Announce Streaming Subscription Service

Alibaba to Stream Popular Disney Movies, TV Shows in China

Alibaba Group’s entertainment unit has signed a new licensing deal with Disney that will make Disney’s movies and animated TV shows available in China via Alibaba’s streaming video service Youku and other distribution channels. In addition to more than 100 live-action and animated films, the agreement includes more than 1,000 episodes of Disney TV series, making Alibaba the largest distributor of Disney animated content in the region. The deal comes almost two years after the DisneyLife streaming video service ceased operating in China. Continue reading Alibaba to Stream Popular Disney Movies, TV Shows in China

Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

Amazon-owned game streaming platform Twitch introduced a new feature yesterday called “Rooms.” First announced at TwitchCon in October, the always-on chat room feature is now available for web and mobile (for now, creators can host up to three public or private Rooms). Individuals with a Twitch account have the ability to create custom chat rooms accessible from the Stream Chat feature on channel pages. Channel owners can specify which users get access, such as followers, moderators or subscribers. The rooms can also be created based on shared interests, such as spoilers. Continue reading Game Streamer Twitch Debuts Always-On Chat Room Feature

YouTube TV Adds Turner and Sports Content, Raises Pricing

Starting next month, new subscribers to YouTube TV will face a $5 monthly increase. The new price will run $40 per month; however, existing subscribers will continue to pay $35. The good news for consumers is that the service announced a major content expansion with new offerings from Turner, NBA TV and MLB Network. The base package now includes Turner networks such as Adult Swim, Cartoon Network, CNN, HLN, TBS, TNT, truTV and Turner Classic Movies. MLB Network and NBA TV will soon join the lineup. Continue reading YouTube TV Adds Turner and Sports Content, Raises Pricing

ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Yves Bergquist, project director data & analytics at ETC@USC, will deliver the TR-X keynote at next week’s HPA Tech Retreat and debut ETC’s AI primer for media and entertainment. The HPA Tech Retreat (February 19-23) will take place at the JW Marriott in Palm Desert, California. The TR-X Seminar (February 19, 1:00-5:15 pm), held in conjunction with the HPA Tech Retreat, will explore AI and machine learning in the M&E ecosystem. Panels will address real world AI case studies, partnering with AI in the creative process, marketing, research and more. Registration info is available online. Continue reading ETC’s Bergquist to Deliver TR-X Keynote and Debut AI Primer

Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

As part of Facebook’s broader news strategy, company exec Campbell Brown announced at the Code Media conference that the social platform plans to introduce a breaking news feature to its video streaming platform Facebook Watch. The company launched Watch in August to compete in the original video space across mobile, TV apps and desktop. Content partners earn 55 percent of ad revenue and Facebook gets 45 percent. Watch is different than Facebook’s video tab in that it offers exclusive content, personalized recommendations, subscription options and more. Continue reading Facebook to Include Breaking News Section in Watch Platform

Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Walmart’s tech incubator, Store No. 8 recently purchased Spatialand, a small virtual reality startup that specializes in software tools designed for transforming existing media content into immersive experiences. The acquisition is part of Walmart’s plans to create future shopping experiences for store locations and websites. Spatialand founder Kim Cooper and 10 employees will join Walmart; Store No. 8 principal Katie Finnegan will serve as interim CEO. Financial terms were not revealed. Continue reading Walmart Acquires VR Startup With Eye on Future of Shopping

Hulu to Offer High-Quality Live Streaming With 60fps Support

One of the criticisms of Internet-based live television services involves video quality limitations for sports fans. Some of the services support 30fps, a frame rate that leads to problems when streaming live sports. Hulu announced this week that it plans to address this concern with a staggered rollout of support for 60fps for its Live TV service. The streams will initially be available for select channels and devices, to be followed by an expanded rollout. Support for higher-quality streams could attract new customers for Hulu, especially on the eve of the Winter Olympics. Continue reading Hulu to Offer High-Quality Live Streaming With 60fps Support

Amazon Prime Now Begins Delivery of Whole Foods Products

Amazon is introducing home delivery of Whole Foods products through the company’s one- and two-hour Prime Now delivery service. Initially, the program will launch for neighborhoods in select Austin, Cincinnati, Dallas and Virginia Beach areas, but Amazon plans expansion throughout the year. While the company has not offered details on the expanded rollout, it’s worth noting that it took less than three years for Prime Now to reach more than 50 global markets. However, the company’s own grocery delivery arm AmazonFresh scaled back delivery in some areas last year. Continue reading Amazon Prime Now Begins Delivery of Whole Foods Products

Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

Amazon-owned Twitch revealed new metrics regarding its popular game streaming service, including more than 2 million monthly streamers and 15 million daily visitors, an increase in Partners who profit from their Twitch videos (27,000), and the number of its Affiliate streamers (150,000). While the total number of Twitch’s creator community held steady in 2017, the increase in number of people making money on the platform is compelling, even as it faces new competition from YouTube Gaming. Continue reading Growth in Number of Twitch Partners, Affiliates Earning Money

Broadcom Raises Stakes in Takeover Bid for Rival Qualcomm

In what it calls its “best and final” offer, Broadcom raised its takeover bid yesterday for chipmaker Qualcomm from about $70 a share to $82 a share, or about $121 billion. The new offer comes a month before Qualcomm’s next shareholder meeting. A takeover would result in a company whose products would be used in most smartphones worldwide. However, “Qualcomm’s leadership fiercely opposes” the acquisition, reports The New York Times, “while analysts have said that even if shareholders approved the deal, it could be rejected on antitrust grounds.” Continue reading Broadcom Raises Stakes in Takeover Bid for Rival Qualcomm

Startup Simplifies Voice App Development With New Interface

Storyline, a startup founded in September, has launched version 2 of its easy-to-use visual interface designed to help businesses, brands and publishers develop Amazon Alexa skills without the need for extensive coding knowledge. Since 39 million U.S. consumers now own a smart speaker, voice apps are needed, and Storyline hopes that its simple drag-and-drop solution will help foster that growth. The company refers to its approach as the “Weebly for voice apps,” drawing a comparison to the popular, easy-to-use, website-building platform. Continue reading Startup Simplifies Voice App Development With New Interface