Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Rovi has completed its $1.1 billion cash and stock deal to acquire DVR pioneer TiVo and, in an unusual move, announced that it would rename itself after the company it just purchased. The company also unveiled TiVo UX, its new on-screen user experience that integrates programming options from multiple platforms for a seamless search and recommendation interface. The new UI — featuring TiVo’s innovative Prediction tech — is designed to access content from TV and mobile sources quicker and easier, in an effort to “allow every device to become a primary screen for video consumption.” Continue reading Rovi Renames Itself TiVo After Buyout, Launches UX Interface

Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

Pinterest is acquiring Instapaper, the app that allows consumers to save content for later viewing. The deal provides San Francisco-based Pinterest with access to vital behavioral data and technology that could help it better target content and ramp up its capabilities to compete with Facebook as a next-generation, insular media portal. Instapaper is expected to remain a standalone app, and Pinterest will invest in its further development. The majority of Instapaper’s team, including CEO Brian Donohue and community manager Rodion Gusev, will relocate from New York to California. Continue reading Pinterest Buys Instapaper, Next Step in Becoming Media Portal

With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Microsoft acquired Genee, a smart scheduling app that can help improve the company’s virtual assistant Cortana. Currently, Cortana can track packages and set reminders based on location among other tasks but, with Genee, it could also automatically set business meetings simply by recognizing key phrases in emails. That’s just one of the many tasks that an AI-enhanced Cortana would be able to do, all based on Genee’s ability to interpret language. The terms of the deal were not disclosed. Continue reading With Smart App Genee, Microsoft Aims to Boost Cortana’s AI

Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

We have an update to Univision’s $135 million acquisition of Gawker Media. Latest reports indicate that the deal will not save the company’s flagship site, and Gawker.com will shut down next week. “The website itself won’t go dark when it stops publication, but it won’t have anyone running it,” reports Recode. Gawker Media’s remaining sites — including Gizmodo, Deadspin and Jezebel — will be folded into Fusion Media Group, Univision’s English-language digital media division, as part of the company’s push to target millennials. Univision recently invested in The Onion, The Root and Fusion. Continue reading Univision Acquisition Marks End of the Road for Gawker.com

Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

TV network and digital publisher Univision will purchase Gawker Media for $135 million, a deal that includes all seven of the blog network’s sites, including Jezebel, Deadspin and Gawker.com. The only other bidder in the auction, Internet publisher Ziff Davis, originally offered $90 million. “I am pleased that our employees are protected and will continue their work under new ownership — disentangled from the legal campaign against the company,” said Gawker Media owner Nick Denton. “We could not have picked an acquirer more devoted to vibrant journalism.” Continue reading Univision Outbids Ziff Davis, Buys Gawker in $135 Million Deal

Beam Acquisition Could Lead to New Xbox Streaming Service

Microsoft just acquired Beam Interactive, a Seattle-based startup that enables games to become more interactive. With a software development kit, Beam allows programmers to tweak existing computer games, such as “Minecraft,” so players can live-stream their gaming sessions to friends. Most players are used to a more passive model of playing, available on YouTube and Twitch, but Beam offers crowdsourced controls to let the player direct the play of the person streaming. Beam launched at TechCrunch Disrupt NY 2016. Continue reading Beam Acquisition Could Lead to New Xbox Streaming Service

Intel Invests in Machine Learning with Nervana Systems Deal

Betting big that future data centers will rely upon artificial intelligence, Intel is acquiring deep learning startup Nervana Systems. Details have yet to be revealed, but an inside source values the San Diego-based startup at $408 million. According to Intel VP Jason Waxman, the shift to artificial intelligence could surpass cloud computing, since machine learning would be necessary for a future in which billions of devices communicate with each other. Nervana “has been working to bring machine learning all the way into the silicon,” reports Recode, “rather than simply making software that can run on top of anyone’s cluster of graphics chips.” Continue reading Intel Invests in Machine Learning with Nervana Systems Deal

Walmart to Purchase Jet.com in Bid to Compete with Amazon

In its biggest bid yet to compete more directly with Amazon, Arkansas-based Walmart is acquiring e-commerce startup Jet.com for $3.3 billion ($3 billion in cash and $300 million in shares to be paid over time). Walmart has been busy expanding its online operation, and the Jet.com deal provides it with a shopping site that is adding 400,000 consumers monthly and has already reached a $1 billion gross merchandise run rate. Store-based businesses such as Costco, Target and Walmart have been looking for effective ways to contend with Amazon’s successful online model. Continue reading Walmart to Purchase Jet.com in Bid to Compete with Amazon

LinkedIn Adds In-Stream Video, Initially From 500 Influencers

The 433-million member LinkedIn, which Microsoft is in the process of acquiring for $26 billion, is moving into video. The company has chosen 500 LinkedIn “Influencers” — people with large followings who regularly post to the site — who will create 30-second (or less) videos with a LinkedIn-created app Record. The videos will be each Influencer’s response to general questions relating to LinkedIn’s mission of professional development, such as leadership challenges or technology trends. Continue reading LinkedIn Adds In-Stream Video, Initially From 500 Influencers

Verizon to Ramp Up Telematics with Purchase of Fleetmatics

Following its $4.8 billion acquisition of Yahoo, Verizon announced it is purchasing Dublin-based telematics company Fleetmatics for $2.4 billion in cash. Fleetmatics will become part of the subsidiary Verizon Telematics, which primarily handles fleet management, mobile enterprise solutions and Internet of Things initiatives. Verizon’s AOL and Yahoo purchases will help build its media and advertising businesses, while the Fleetmatics acquisition points to the company’s enterprise mobility ambitions. The deal is expected to close by Q4 2016. Continue reading Verizon to Ramp Up Telematics with Purchase of Fleetmatics

Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Apollo Global Management will acquire Bellevue, Washington-based Outerwall Inc., owner of Redbox movie rental kiosks and Coinstar coin counting machines, “for $52 a share, a transaction value of $1.6 billion when including debt,” reports The New York Times. “Investors applauded the move, sending the stock 11 percent higher in early trading Monday to a level just above the $52 buyout price.” Outerwall operates more than 40,000 rental kiosks in the U.S. and Puerto Rico, but has struggled to compete with cable VOD and streaming services. Redbox recently started testing its own streaming and download service. Continue reading Redbox Owner Agrees to Be Taken Private by Apollo Global

Disney to Buy Stake in BAM Tech, MLB Streaming Video Unit

Disney is acquiring a 33 percent stake in the streaming video unit of Major League Baseball’s MLB Advanced Media tech arm. The deal values the unit, dubbed BAM Tech, at $3.5 billion. Terms of the deal also reportedly include a four-year option for Disney to purchase an additional 33 percent stake. The deal raises the prospect that Disney “is poised to expand its range of online-video services,” reports Variety. “The league formed MLBAM in 2000 to launch MLB.tv, one of the earliest Internet-delivered video subscription services. Since then, it has grown the division to operate streaming services of several other companies — including Disney’s WatchESPN.” Continue reading Disney to Buy Stake in BAM Tech, MLB Streaming Video Unit

Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Apple is in “exploratory talks” to purchase Jay Z’s streaming music service Tidal, according to insiders. Apple is said to be interested in augmenting its Apple Music service with top artists associated with Tidal including Madonna and Kanye West. Tidal landed a number of high profile exclusive releases this year from West, Rihanna and Beyoncé. It is also the only streaming service to feature the catalog of the late pop star Prince. Tidal says it presently has 4.2 million subscribers who pay $20 per month for the high-fidelity version of the service or $10 per month for the standard-quality version. Continue reading Apple in Early Talks to Acquire Tidal Streaming Music Service

Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Lionsgate announced it has agreed to acquire premium cable network Starz for $4.4 billion in cash and stock. Starz president and CEO Chris Albrecht, who just signed a new contract that runs through 2020, is expected to continue running Starz. It is not clear if the deal would have any impact on Lionsgate’s stake in Epix, which the company owns with Viacom and MGM, and serves as the pay TV home to Lionsgate films. The deal will bring 17 Starz- and Encore-branded channels and Anchor Bay Entertainment video distribution to Lionsgate. Continue reading Lionsgate to Purchase Premium Channel Starz for $4.4 Billion

Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

The $17.7 billion acquisition of New York-based Cablevision Systems Corp. by European cable company Altice NV is now complete. The new company, Altice USA, will become the fourth largest broadband provider in the country with 4.6 million customers across 20 states. Cablevision will join with Suddenlink, acquired by Altice last year. “Altice has vowed to invest more in improving the infrastructure of the Cablevision and Suddenlink networks with a focus on boosting broadband speeds, improving Wi-Fi service and updating the programming guide and interface to more user-friendly designs,” reports Variety. Continue reading Altice Closes Cablevision Deal to Become Major U.S. Operator

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