ChatGPT, the Fastest Growing App, Intros Subscription Plan

OpenAI is piloting a $20 per month subscription plan called ChatGPT Plus for its text-generating chatbot. The paid plan offers benefits over the free version that include faster response times, access to ChatGPT even during peak periods and early access to new features. OpenAI will soon begin inviting U.S. customers to subscribe and said it plans to offer the Plus plan in more territories. Since debuting ChatGPT, the company has received feedback from “millions of people” using the viral to draft prose, edit content, brainstorm ideas, educate and assist with programming. Continue reading ChatGPT, the Fastest Growing App, Intros Subscription Plan

Samsung Unveils Smartphones, Laptops at Unpacked Event

During Samsung’s Galaxy Unpacked event in San Francisco, the company introduced its $1,200 Galaxy S23 Ultra smartphone, featuring a 200-megapixel camera sensor, an updated form factor, a Snapdragon 8 Gen 2 processor, and major jump in storage. Samsung also announced updated Galaxy S23 and S23 Plus models with the same floating camera design of the S23 Ultra and pricing that matches last year’s offerings. The company’s new Galaxy Book3 Ultra laptop touts a 16-inch, 120Hz OLED screen and offers an Intel H-Series Core i7 or Core i9 processor and an Nvidia RTX 4050 or 4070 GPU. The Book3 line features Samsung’s Dynamic AMOLED 2X display and an Nvidia RTX 3070 GPU. Continue reading Samsung Unveils Smartphones, Laptops at Unpacked Event

Zuckerberg Reveals 2023 ‘Year of Efficiency’ Mantra for Meta

Belt-tightening has paid off in a big way at Meta Platforms, whose stock rocketed by as much as 19 percent due to a combination of “improving conditions” and news of a $40 billion buyback plan. The company forecast Q1 revenue of as much as $28.5 billion — which is more than first quarter earnings in 2021, right before a change in Apple’s privacy rules detrimentally impacted ad-reliant social platforms. In Q4, Meta reported its third consecutive quarter of declining sales but still amassed a net profit of $4.7 billion on revenue of $32.2 billion, down 4.5 percent year-over-year. Continue reading Zuckerberg Reveals 2023 ‘Year of Efficiency’ Mantra for Meta

Warner Bros. Discovery to Debut Roku, Tubi FAST Channels

The Roku and Tubi streaming platforms are the first partners for Warner Bros. Discovery’s new FAST channels, helping WBD CEO David Zaslav’s promise that the company would be “aggressively attacking” the free, ad-supported streaming TV market in 2023. This spring the WBD FAST channels will launch on the Roku Channel, which will additionally add another 2,000 hours of WBD on-demand programming, via more than 225 ad-supported titles. Tubi, which is owned by Fox Corporation, began introducing WBD content this week, with plans to add three new FAST channels — WB TV Family, WB TV Reality and WB TV Series. Continue reading Warner Bros. Discovery to Debut Roku, Tubi FAST Channels

Instagram Creators Launch Artifact, Called a ‘TikTok for Text’

Instagram co-founders Kevin Systrom and Mike Krieger are back with a personalized news feed called Artifact that that uses artificial intelligence to pattern users’ interests and the friends that most likely want to discuss them with you. The new app — whose name combines articles, facts and artificial intelligence — opened a public waiting list this week and is available on iOS and Android. The Verge calls it “TikTok for text,” adding that “you might also call it Google Reader reborn as a mobile app or maybe even a surprise attack on Twitter.” Continue reading Instagram Creators Launch Artifact, Called a ‘TikTok for Text’

Spotify Reports Q4 Loss Despite 20 Percent Growth in Users

Spotify reported strong net growth of 33 million new monthly active users but another quarterly loss for Q4 2022, culminating a period during which the company invested heavily in podcasts. The news came amidst layoffs and an announcement that the company’s chief content and advertising officer Dawn Ostroff will depart. Spotify CEO Daniel Ek conceded with regard to the aggressive podcast growth that he “probably got a little carried away and overinvested relative to the uncertainty we saw shaping up in the market.” Given the result — 20 percent global user growth, to 489 million MAUs — Ek concluded “I would do it again.” Continue reading Spotify Reports Q4 Loss Despite 20 Percent Growth in Users

A Rebranded ‘Paramount+ with Showtime’ Will Roll Out Soon

Paramount Global will be fully integrating Paramount+ and Showtime across both streaming and linear platforms later this year, according to president and CEO Bob Bakish, who said both the premium streaming tier on Paramount+ and the Showtime linear cable network will be known as “Paramount+ with Showtime” in the U.S. Pricing was not disclosed. In September, the studio began offering Paramount+ bundled with Showtime for prices ranging from $11.99 to $14.99 for premium. Paramount+ with Showtime will include Showtime original content, while Showtime will also get some Paramount+ original fare. Bakish said details will be shared in upcoming weeks. Continue reading A Rebranded ‘Paramount+ with Showtime’ Will Roll Out Soon

Manufacturers Are Impacted by Sagging Memory Chip Prices

Memory chip prices have plummeted this past year, with continued declines expected through Q2. The painful supply chain shortages of 2020 have been replaced, in many instances, by inventory gluts, with some chipmakers talking about scaling back expansion plans. The average price for memory chips used in consumer electronics — from TV sets to smartphones and personal computers — are expected to dip by double-digits in Q1, analysts say. In 2022, prices declined by 20 percent starting in Q2. TrendForce predicts inflation and high interest rates will continue to suppress corporate and consumer spending on electronic devices, including data servers. Continue reading Manufacturers Are Impacted by Sagging Memory Chip Prices

Crypto Meltdown Renewing Regulatory Interest on Capitol Hill

The FTX crash and ensuing fallout has fueled efforts by Congress and federal regulators to rein in the cryptocurrency business, which caused massive investment losses this past year. Senator Sherrod Brown (D-Ohio) and Congressman Patrick McHenry (R-North Carolina) are among those leading the charge to put consumer safeguards in place. McHenry in January became chair of the House Financial Services Committee. Legislators are also calling for robust enforcement of existing laws, which the crypto industry has been resisting. Senator Elizabeth Warren (D-Massachusetts) said Congress needs the resources “to be an effective cop on the beat.” Continue reading Crypto Meltdown Renewing Regulatory Interest on Capitol Hill

Google’s MusicLM AI Can Generate Tunes from Text Prompts

Google is introducing a new artificial intelligence app called MusicLM that creates music in any style or genre based on text prompts and can translate a whistled melody or casually hummed snipped into instrument sounds. TechCrunch calls the technology “impressive” but says the Alphabet company “fearing the risks, has no immediate plans to release it,” in recognition of the controversy surrounding AI models trained using copyrighted material. MusicLM was created using a dataset of 280,000 musical hours, resulting in the ability to generate minutes-long songs of “significant complexity.” Continue reading Google’s MusicLM AI Can Generate Tunes from Text Prompts

Watermark-Erasing AI Worries Photographers, Other Creatives

A new artificial intelligence service offering free watermark removal from photographs is causing worry among copyright holders. Photographers took to Twitter to complain about this threat to their livelihoods while the creative community at large pondered the broader implications for AI infringement on intellectual property rights — a central aspect of discussions involving ChatGPT, which was trained using privately held as well as public domain data. Available to download as an app from sites including Product Hunt and the Google Play Store, the WatermarkRemover.io app itself is legal, while some of its potential uses are not. Continue reading Watermark-Erasing AI Worries Photographers, Other Creatives

Apple Developing User-Friendly AR Creation App for Headset

Apple is preparing for the release of its upcoming mixed reality headset by engineering software that, while aimed largely at developers, would also allow users to create their own augmented reality apps in the same way as Final Cut Pro, which is used to edit video by both professionals and laymen. Apple’s highly anticipated headgear is expected to come to market this year, and a general use AR development tool would be a major coup for the company, given that AR apps are complicated to create and new technologies typically rely on fresh content to drive sales. Continue reading Apple Developing User-Friendly AR Creation App for Headset

Disney Expands Its Ad Measurement with EDO and Samba TV

Disney Advertising has struck a deal with measurement firm EDO to examine audience engagement across multiple platforms, starting with Hulu. EDO will also provide outcome data, quantifying the effectiveness of streaming campaigns. The agreement allows Disney to provide brands with information detailing the impact of streaming ad exposure “on cross-screen digital behavior like search and site visits,” said Disney Advertising SVP of data enablement and category strategy Danielle Brown from the company’s annual Tech & Data Showcase last week. The company has also expanded its relationship with Samba TV, another vendor in the new currency space. Continue reading Disney Expands Its Ad Measurement with EDO and Samba TV

BuzzFeed Eyes a Future Collaborating with Meta and OpenAI

BuzzFeed stock jumped last week as news of collaborative efforts with Meta Platforms and OpenAI began circulating. The New York-based digital media firm famous for viral content said it is using OpenAI’s artificial intelligence to enhance lists, quizzes and other content. Meanwhile, a 2022 deal valued at close to $10 million with Meta Platforms is seeing results as BuzzFeed trains creators to expand their online presence and generate content for Meta’s social platforms, including Facebook and Instagram. BuzzFeed shares, which were trading at under $1 through January, rose to $3.87 in after-hours trading on Friday. Continue reading BuzzFeed Eyes a Future Collaborating with Meta and OpenAI

TikTok On the Offense in Battle to Protect Its U.S. Operations

TikTok is taking a proactive stance to quash U.S. government concerns that user data might be collected and exploited by China, where the viral video platform’s parent, ByteDance, is based. TikTok CEO Shou Zi Chew made the rounds in Washington last week, sharing with think tanks and public interest groups his plan to prevent data on Americans from being transmitted out of the country. The strategy marks a shift for TikTok, which kept a low profile during attacks by the Trump administration and continuing pressure under President Biden. Chew is now scheduled to testify before the House Energy and Commerce Committee about security and privacy. Continue reading TikTok On the Offense in Battle to Protect Its U.S. Operations