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

Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

In the midst of troubling press attention as the company faces antitrust claims and ongoing criticism of its App Store business model, Apple unveiled its iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 during a streaming event yesterday. Apple CEO Tim Cook appeared live on a virtual set rather than the traditional in-person stage as a precaution during COVID-19. Apple’s iPhone 13 Pro features a new camera system that promises a new cinematic mode, improved low-light capabilities and an updated ultra-wide lens. The Apple Watch 7, touting a revamped look, includes new features such as a larger screen, softer corners, more support for e-bikes and fall detection for cycling. Continue reading Apple Unveils iPhone 13 and Watch Series 7 at Annual Event

Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Qualcomm unveiled its Qualcomm Flight RB5 5G platform, with the hopes of speeding up development of commercial, enterprise and industrial drones. The new platform, which is powered by Qualcomm’s QRB5165 processor and builds on the company’s IoT products, enables drones to utilize 5G and artificial intelligence technologies. Low power 5G drones can capture and transmit a lot of data via cameras that it transmits to an operator or over a network. AI enables the drone to determine what data is most valuable. Continue reading Qualcomm Introduces Its Latest Drone Platform with 5G & AI

Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Netflix now blocks residential IP addresses in its efforts to stymie VPN and proxy users from bypassing geographical restrictions. But some ordinary Internet users without a VPN have been impacted and now report “missing content” on Netflix. When Netflix began this crackdown six years ago, it was in response to copyright holders complaining about piracy. But the ban hit a lot of legitimate VPN users and VPN pirates found other ways to get around geographic blocking including using residential IP addresses as proxies. Continue reading Netflix Blocks Home IP Addresses in Geo-Fencing Crackdown

Sony’s Funimation Pursues Anime with Crunchyroll Purchase

AT&T closed the sale of its anime streamer Crunchyroll to Sony’s Funimation Global Group for $1.175 billion in cash. Funimation is a joint venture between Sony Pictures Entertainment and Sony Music Entertainment subsidiary Aniplex. According to Sony Pictures chair and chief executive Tony Vinciquerra, the goal is to “create a unified anime subscription experience as soon as possible.” The two services will remain separate initially. Crunchyroll currently has 5+ million paying subscribers globally and 120 million registered users in 200+ countries. Continue reading Sony’s Funimation Pursues Anime with Crunchyroll Purchase

U.S. Cybersecurity Agency Enlists Amazon, Google, Microsoft

The U.S. Cybersecurity and Infrastructure Security Agency (CISA), part of the Department of Homeland Security, debuted the Joint Cyber Defense Collaborative (JCDC), which will leverage the expertise of Big Tech companies including Amazon, Google and Microsoft. According to CISA director Jen Easterly, the initiative’s aim is first to combat ransomware and cyberattacks on cloud-computing providers and ultimately to improve defense planning and information sharing between the government and private sectors. Continue reading U.S. Cybersecurity Agency Enlists Amazon, Google, Microsoft

Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus

In Q2 of this year, Discovery Communications’ revenue rose 21 percent year-over-year to $3.06 billion, with earnings per share at $1.01, exceeding Wall Street predictions of $2.97 billion in revenue and 85 cents earnings. The company also revealed that, at the end of Q2, it had 17 million direct-to-consumer customers that increased to 18 million last Tuesday after airing the Olympics in Europe. Its Q2 U.S. ad revenue also rose 12 percent year-over-year while international ad revenue skyrocketed 70 percent, ahead of 2019 levels. Continue reading Discovery Revenue, Subs Rise with Olympics, Discovery Plus

WarnerMedia Launches House of Max Studio to Produce Ads

WarnerMedia’s ad sales division is launching House of Max in Q4 this year to develop commercials that incorporate characters and concepts from its various HBO Max series. WarnerMedia senior VP of entertainment marketing solutions Maureen Polo said the studio’s “wide array of programs” will “allow brands to make more thoughtful and meaningful connections” with consumers, adding “we can produce content that doesn’t feel like advertising.” Intellectual property will be available from programs including “Hacks,” “The Flight Attendant,” and “Gossip Girl.” Continue reading WarnerMedia Launches House of Max Studio to Produce Ads

AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

After acquiring DirecTV six years ago, AT&T has spun it off and, along with AT&T TV and U-verse, formed a new company it will co-manage with TPG Capital. AT&T received $7.1 billion in cash and a 70 percent interest in the new company, and TPG contributed $1.8 billion and owns the remaining 30 percent. In 2015, AT&T had paid $49 billion to acquire DirecTV, absorbing another $18 billion in debt, becoming the largest U.S. pay-TV provider with 26 million customers. It then lost almost 40 percent of its TV subscriber base. Continue reading AT&T Spins Off DirecTV, Combines It with AT&T TV, U-verse

Hello Sunshine Sold to New Media Company for $900 Million

Reese Witherspoon’s media business, Hello Sunshine, valued at about $900 million, has sold to a unnamed firm supported by Blackstone Group, which is spending $500+ million in cash to purchase shares from existing investors, including AT&T and Emerson Collective. Terms of the deal were not disclosed. Former Disney executives Kevin Mayer and Tom Staggs will run the unnamed media company backed by Blackstone, while Witherspoon and chief executive Sarah Harden will join the board of the new venture and continue to oversee the day-to-day operations of Hello Sunshine. Continue reading Hello Sunshine Sold to New Media Company for $900 Million

Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

Comcast posted Q2 results that beat Wall Street expectations: revenue of $28.55 billion versus the $27.18 billion predicted by Refinitiv, and adjusted earnings per share of 84 cents, versus Refinitiv’s prediction of 67 cents. Comcast said its NBCUniversal’s streaming service Peacock is now at 54 million subscribers. Meanwhile, Comcast’s high-speed Internet service added 354,000 customers (its highest ever for Q2), versus StreetAccount’s estimate of 270,000. Comcast also had its second best Q2 for total customer relationships, adding 294,000. Continue reading Comcast Adds Record Q2 Broadband and Cable Customers

HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

AT&T reported advances made by HBO in Q2 2021: a net gain of 2.85 million total domestic HBO Max and HBO subscribers, including 2.38 million retail net additions, for a total of 47.0 million at the end of the period, representing a gain of 10.7 million over the last year in the United Sates. HBO and HBO Max counted 67.5 million customers worldwide, up 12 million from last year. AT&T chief financial officer Pascal Desroches noted that the numbers exceeded Wall Street forecasts as well as AT&T’s own expectations. Continue reading HBO and HBO Max Subscriber Numbers Exceed Expectations

TV Networks Urge Rating Council to Pull Nielsen Accreditation

The Video Advertising Bureau (VAB), a trade group with members including Disney, ESPN, FOX, NBCUniversal, ViacomCBS and others, urged the Media Rating Council (MRC) to strip Nielsen’s accreditation, stating that, “Nielsen’s COVID-period conduct as a ratings service violated at least five minimum standards, with the damage done to their largest subscriber clients still creating material negative impact into July 2021.” MRC chief executive George Ivie said his group takes the VAB’s concerns seriously but has “an independent process to execute.” Continue reading TV Networks Urge Rating Council to Pull Nielsen Accreditation

HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Thanks to a new partnership between WarnerMedia’s HBO Max and social messaging platform Snapchat, up to 64 Snapchatters will be able to co-watch full-length episodes of HBO series via the HBO Max Mini, part of the Snap Minis feature, which debuted last year to host third-party experiences through the social app. With Minis, the user can access Headspace to meditate, buy movie tickets with friends via Atom and, now, watch entire HBO episodes including pilots of “Lovecraft Country” and “Game of Thrones.” Viewers will be able to synchronize playback and watch the same title together. Continue reading HBO to Stream Episodes, Enable Watch Parties on Snapchat

Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

Dish has inked a 10-year agreement to use AT&T as its primary network provider as part of the company’s transition to becoming a nationwide wireless operator. Effective immediately, the deal replaces T-Mobile as Dish’s principal partner and is a potential forerunner to an eventual DirecTV-Dish merger. Dish will pay AT&T at least $5 billion over the next decade to use the latter’s 4G and 5G networks. Dish founder Charlie Ergen nearly sold his company to AT&T in 2007, but his push for last-minute changes squashed the deal. Continue reading Dish Signs 10-Year $5 Billion AT&T MVNO Deal to Go Mobile

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