Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

Telecom giant Verizon announced today that it is selling AOL, Yahoo and its Verizon Media assets, including its advertising technology business to New York-based private equity firm Apollo Global Management for $5 billion. LionTree LLC, a global investment firm focused on media and tech, was lead advisor on the deal and will join Apollo as an investor. The new company will keep the Yahoo name and will be led by Guru Gowrappan, the current CEO of Verizon Media Group. Verizon plans to keep a 10 percent stake in the overall business. Continue reading Verizon Is Selling AOL, Yahoo and Its Media Brands to Apollo

AT&T: Gains in HBO and HBO Max Subs, Wireless Customers

AT&T has experienced an increase in HBO and HBO Max subscribers and wireless customers. Its number of domestic HBO and HBO Max subscribers grew from 41.5 million three months ago to 44.2 million today, including those who signed up for the new streaming service and others who subscribed via a cable TV provider. The company has also added 595,000 postpaid phone subscribers and a net gain of 207,000 prepaid phone subscribers. The telco cut expenses by increasing online customer service and promoting simpler plans. Continue reading AT&T: Gains in HBO and HBO Max Subs, Wireless Customers

Senators Press Ad-Auctioneers for Personal Data Sales Info

Senate Finance Committee chair Ron Wyden (D-Oregon) heads a bipartisan group of U.S. senators attempting to understand more about digital advertising auctions and their relationship to personalized ads. The group sent a letter to the largest companies that run these auctions, including AT&T, Index Exchange, Google, Magnite, OpenX Software, PubMatic, Twitter and Verizon Communications. The senators want the names of all foreign clients gaining access to user data through the auctions, citing concerns of national security. Continue reading Senators Press Ad-Auctioneers for Personal Data Sales Info

AT&T Resists Plan to Bring High-Speed Fiber to Rural Homes

AT&T expressed opposition to the proposal of subsidized fiber-to-the-home for everyone in the U.S., with the argument that rural communities don’t need anything faster than the existing service’s 10Mbps upload speeds. AT&T executive vice president of federal regulatory relations Joan Marsh defined “broadband for the 21st Century” as its VDSL (very high-speed digital subscriber line), a 14-year-old system that uses copper telephone wires for the last mile to the home. She noted the “significant additional cost” to deploy fiber to every home, saying there is “no compelling reason” to justify the expense. Continue reading AT&T Resists Plan to Bring High-Speed Fiber to Rural Homes

Court Decision Allows California to Enforce Net Neutrality Law

In 2018, former California governor Jerry Brown signed a bill making the state the first to enact a net neutrality law. The Trump administration sued to block it, and the Biden administration dropped that suit, but the telecom industry had filed a separate suit. Now, U.S. District Court judge John A. Mendez denied the telecom suit, allowing the state to enforce the 2018 law. State senator Scott Wiener (D-San Francisco) called the decision “a huge victory for open access to the Internet, our democracy and our economy,” while some industry groups suggest federal legislation would be a preferred approach to a state-by-state model. Continue reading Court Decision Allows California to Enforce Net Neutrality Law

U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

Although most people do not have access to 5G networks yet, the U.S. and China are already in a race to be the first nation to develop and patent 6G, expected to be up to 100 times faster than 5G’s peak speed. Experts note that 6G is currently a “theoretical proposition” and the technology is at least 10 to 15 years away. However, the possibility that 6G can usher in “the next industrial revolution” — from flying taxis to real-time holograms — has made it a potent focus of a geopolitically-influenced race. China is currently considered the leader in 5G. Continue reading U.S. and China Already in an Arms Race for 6G Technologies

AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

When COVID-19 hit last year, AMC Entertainment had just taken on $4.8 billion in debt, a combination of a modernization effort that started in 2012 and acquiring competing movie chains to become the world’s largest movie theater company. Now, almost a year into the pandemic, AMC’s debt has risen to $5.5 billion — not including deferred rental payments. Pre-pandemic, AMC generated $5.5 billion a year in revenue. AMC Entertainment chief executive Adam Aron was the first to ink a deal for a limited exclusivity window. Continue reading AMC Chief Exec Adam Aron Still Optimistic in Perilous Times

CES: Acceleration of Technology, Adoption in 5G’s First Year

During this week’s CES 2021, Deloitte Consulting principal Dan Littman led an inquiry into how the 5G rollout fared in 2020, with AT&T Business chief executive Anne Chow and Qualcomm Technologies senior vice president of engineering Alejandro Holcman. “5G is a new-generation wireless technology filled with complexity of technology, ecosystems and government requirements,” said Littman. “And 2020 made everything a little more challenging.” He asked Chow and Holcman to describe how 5G has been challenged and/or accelerated during the year. Continue reading CES: Acceleration of Technology, Adoption in 5G’s First Year

CES: AT&T and Qualcomm Executives Discuss 5G Use Cases

Deloitte Consulting principal Dan Littman, AT&T Business chief executive Anne Chow and Qualcomm Technologies senior vice president of engineering Alejandro Holcman discussed current and future 5G use cases and obstacles to deployment during a CES 2021 session. Chow noted her group is seeing “the smart factory of the future,” especially due to sensitivities over human contact and proximity during COVID-19. “Education is similar,” she said. “We’re still heavily virtual and we won’t go [all the way] back to the way it was.” Continue reading CES: AT&T and Qualcomm Executives Discuss 5G Use Cases

CES: WarnerMedia Chief Ann Sarnoff on Entertainment Shifts

MediaLink chair and chief executive Michael Kassan held a conversation during CES 2021 with WarnerMedia Studios and Networks Group chair and chief executive Ann Sarnoff on the impact of COVID-19 on the entertainment industry. Sarnoff, a 30+ year industry veteran, heads the Warner Bros. Pictures Group, HBO and HBO Max, the Warner Bros. Television Group, DC, and other WarnerMedia networks, channels and products. “When [AT&T Communications chief executive] John Stankey hired me a year and a half ago, he talked about breaking down the silos,” she explained of the organization’s new strategy. Continue reading CES: WarnerMedia Chief Ann Sarnoff on Entertainment Shifts

CES: Samsung, Ice Mobility on Trends in 5G Implementation

At CES 2021 this week, Elemental Content co-founder John Penney moderated a conversation with Samsung Electronics America vice president of product management Drew Blackard and Ice Mobility co-founder and chair Denise Gibson on trends in mobile communications. “The 5G new wireless ecosystem offers a lot of applications in business environments,” Penney noted, asking Blackard and Gibson to describe some of what they think will be the most compelling use cases as 5G continues its rollout of networks and devices. Continue reading CES: Samsung, Ice Mobility on Trends in 5G Implementation

Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

In 2020, many analysts expected a shakeout among the burgeoning number of streaming services. Instead, the COVID-19 pandemic led to record-breaking viewing. U.S. subscription numbers are expected to finish the year 50+ percent higher than a year ago, according to data from Moffett Nathanson and HarrisX, whose chief executive Dritan Nesho said “streaming coexistence and parallel growth” were leitmotifs for the year. Newcomers AT&T’s HBO Max and Disney+ also saw a rise in app downloads when they debuted feature films. Continue reading Streaming Platforms Benefited from 2020 COVID Lockdowns

Federal 5G Spectrum Auction Raises Nearly $70 Billion So Far

An auction of wireless licenses, which began December 8 and is conducted by the Federal Communications Commission, has thus far reaped $69.8+ billion. The auction shut down during the holidays but recommenced January 4, meaning the total bids will likely increase. The previous record, in 2015, was the $44.9 billion raised by a sale of mid-range cellular licenses to boost 4G coverage. The winning bidders will not be revealed until the auction ends, but AT&T and Verizon are pegged by analysts to be dominant. Continue reading Federal 5G Spectrum Auction Raises Nearly $70 Billion So Far

Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Warner Bros. announced that its entire 2021 slate, comprised of 17 movies, will be distributed simultaneously via movie theaters and on its streaming service HBO Max where new titles will remain for one month. Warner Bros. made the decision that, despite coronavirus vaccines on track to be widely deployed, the movie-going audiences won’t return to theaters until next fall. The move is also intended to boost interest in HBO Max, which debuted in May for $15 per month as a new competitor to Netflix and other streaming services. Continue reading Warner to Simultaneously Screen, Stream Its 2021 Film Slate

Discovery to Introduce Its New Streaming Service in January

Discovery plans to debut a streaming service, discovery+ that will include shows from its major networks TLC, Food Network, Discovery Channel and Animal Planet. It will also license library programming from the BBC, A&E Networks and Group Nine Media. The new service will launch in the United States on January 4 and cost $4.99 per month with ads and $6.99 without. Discovery and Verizon Communications inked a deal to provide the service free to the telecom’s U.S. customers for a year, with the two companies sharing the cost. Continue reading Discovery to Introduce Its New Streaming Service in January

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