MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

The disruptive movie subscription company MoviePass plans to build a recommendation engine to rival Rotten Tomatoes, which, say its executives, is too general and too critical for its client base. MoviePass subscribers pay a flat monthly fee to see one showing per day in participating theaters. According to MoviePass chief executive Mitch Lowe, subscribers want to be able to review movies on its site and say they would prefer to read reviews by fellow subscribers. MoviePass is also buying Moviefone from its owner, Verizon Communications’ Oath. Continue reading MoviePass Acquires Moviefone, Plans Recommendation Engine

Airbnb Debuts Tours and Activities in Turn Towards Services

Hoping to leverage the traveler’s yen for experiences that make her feel more connected to the places she visits, Airbnb is now offering local tours, activities from surfing lessons to pub crawls, and its travel services in major cities worldwide. Airbnb, valued at $30 billion, is currently one of the world’s fastest growing privately held companies, although it hasn’t been welcomed in all cities. Bringing in local hosts as guides, the tours have been tested by Airbnb in a few cities, soon expanding to 12 and, by 2017, 50. Continue reading Airbnb Debuts Tours and Activities in Turn Towards Services

Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Twitter now allows some mobile users to watch live video feeds on its sister app Periscope within the Twitter timeline. Previously, Twitter users linked to Periscope broadcasts via the discrete app. Acquired by Twitter in 2015, Periscope has taken off among users who use it to broadcast their whereabouts from smartphones. Users have posted an estimated 100 million live feeds on Periscope in the 10 months since its purchase. By linking the two apps, Twitter will introduce Periscope to new users and become home to more content. Continue reading Periscope Now Broadcasts Live Video Directly Within Twitter

Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

During CES in Las Vegas, Motorola Mobility chief operating officer Rick Osterloh suggested that Lenovo has plans to phase out the Motorola brand. In the wake of news media and analyst confusion resulting from Osterloh’s comments, the company issued a statement to provide clarification, noting that the Motorola name or organization is not being dismantled, but is instead looking to “evolve” under parent company Lenovo. As part of that initiative, the company is looking to “streamline” its products under two brands — Moto and Vibe. Lenovo acquired Motorola Mobility from Google in 2014. Continue reading Motorola Provides New Context to Comments Made at CES

Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

On October 5, the Apple Watch Hermès, priced between $1,000 and $1,500, will go on sale in Apple and Hermès stores in 14 countries including the U.S., China, France and Switzerland. The new watch is Apple’s first partnership with a luxury brand, and also the first time that Apple has permitted another brand’s components — in this case, signature watchbands, clasps and fonts — on one of its products. The Apple Watch Hermès was the most expensive new item at Apple’s recent new product introduction. Continue reading Apple Partners with Luxury Brand Hermès on New Smartwatch

SGN Releases Mobile Game for Fox’s New ‘Book of Life’ Movie

Mobile game maker SGN and 20th Century Fox released “Book of Life: Sugar Smash,” a companion mobile game for Fox’s new animated film. The two companies are sharing revenue from the game’s in-app purchases, which could translate to long-term revenue and marketing for both businesses. This revenue-sharing deal could also become a new model of partnership for future gaming and film companies. “Book of Life: Sugar Smash” is a free game available for iOS and soon Android. Continue reading SGN Releases Mobile Game for Fox’s New ‘Book of Life’ Movie

Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

Last year, Ritz-Carlton Hotel experienced a different kind of disappointment with advertising campaigns. The company wanted to promote its brand page on Facebook but quickly stopped the campaign. Unhappy executives saw too much gain from these ads. Now, rather than trying to grow its fan base, Ritz-Carlton has focused on analyzing its social media conversations to better grasp the likes and dislikes of its guests. The plan highlights a shift in corporate social media strategies. Continue reading Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

Apple to Buy Beats for $3 Billion: Largest Deal in its History

Apple announced yesterday that it has agreed to purchase Beats Electronics for $3 billion, in a deal that is expected to help the tech giant better compete with subscription-based music services. As anticipated based on earlier reports, Apple will offer the Beats streaming music service, built on curated playlists, and its premium headphones under a separate Beats brand, while the iTunes music store and streaming radio platform will be offered alongside the Beats music service. The Beats deal marks the largest acquisition in Apple’s history. Continue reading Apple to Buy Beats for $3 Billion: Largest Deal in its History

Study: Younger Consumers Interested in Branchless Banking

A new study from Accenture found that as our finances move to new digital platforms, younger generations place more trust in Internet and retail brands than they do with traditional banks. The study found that individuals between the ages of 18 and 34 would consider doing their banking entirely online while also getting their financial services from non-traditional providers. Topping the list, 46 percent of respondents in this age group said they would be likely to bank with PayPal. Continue reading Study: Younger Consumers Interested in Branchless Banking

Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Under pressure that its users may start sharing less, or make a move to more anonymous services, Facebook announced yesterday that it would provide a privacy checkup to every one of its global users. In an effort to help its 1.28 billion users better manage “private” information, the company is also recommending a privacy checkup be conducted on a regular basis, perhaps annually like a physical exam. And for new users, Facebook is initially setting content to be seen only by friends. Continue reading Facebook Changes Default Settings, Pushes Privacy Checkups

Nielsen Sets Out to Identify Who is Tweeting About Television

Nielsen expanded the information it provides for its Twitter TV Ratings service yesterday with the launch of demographic data. The new feature identifies the age and gender of those tweeting about TV shows and events in addition to those who see the tweets. Earlier Nielsen research found that the number of people who read tweets about TV shows outnumber those who create them by a 50-1 margin. In addition, the tweet “Viewers” represent a more demographically balanced profile than the tweet “Authors.” Continue reading Nielsen Sets Out to Identify Who is Tweeting About Television

Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

As part of its effort to streamline the process of addressing counterfeit goods, Chinese e-commerce company Alibaba Group has begun to automatically remove from its biggest shopping site products that certain brands have deemed as fake. Alibaba’s Taobao shopping site is one of the busiest in the world, and counterfeit goods have been a concern ahead of the company’s IPO. Its expedited take-down process will initially apply to products identified by less than two dozen brands participating in the program. Continue reading Alibaba Combats Counterfeit Goods After Filing IPO Prospectus

Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Ultra High-Definition is poised for rapid adoption in the U.S., with a projected 33 percent of households expected to have UHD TV sets by 2020. The report, “Ultra High-Definition TV Displays: Global Market Forecast: 2012-2020,” predicts that North America will become the leading region in UHD penetration by 2020, and entry level prices for UHD TVs will drop below $2,000 this year from one or more of the major brands. Continue reading Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Cinema ad network Screenvision announced this week that it is launching a new mobile engagement platform created in partnership with audio recognition leader SoundHound. Levi’s and Warner Bros. Records will be among the first brands to participate as advertisers. The partnership will help marketers target moviegoers with mobile ads tied to Screenvision’s pre-show programming on cinema screens. SoundHound’s audio recognition tech will be used for mobile devices to unlock related content from the Web. Continue reading Screenvision, SoundHound Connect Mobile Users to Cinema Ads

Today’s Piracy Sites Making Millions in Advertising Revenue

Because of automated ad-buying technology, illicit sites streaming video content can make hundreds of thousands or even millions from advertising. MediaLink researched 596 piracy sites, and found that the advertising, often from major brands, generated $227 million annually. These sites get to keep most of this revenue because profit margins typically range from 80 percent to 94 percent after site maintenance and human resources fees are paid. Continue reading Today’s Piracy Sites Making Millions in Advertising Revenue

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