Netflix Ups Its Monthly Subscription Prices For U.S. Viewers

Netflix is raising its subscription fees for all U.S. plans in May this year. The price hike, announced in January, was immediately applied to new customers and is being introduced to existing customers based on their billing cycle. The new price for its Standard plan, which offers two HD streams, will be boosted from $10.99 to $12.99, and the Premium plan, which includes up to four Ultra HD streams, will be raised from $13.99 to $15.99. The Basic plan for one non-HD stream is being increased for the first time, from $7.99 to $8.99. Continue reading Netflix Ups Its Monthly Subscription Prices For U.S. Viewers

Apple, Goldman Sachs Issue Credit Card Linked to iPhones

In the next few weeks, Apple and Goldman Sachs Group will issue a joint credit card for testing to employees, for a launch later in 2019. The card will offer consumers features on Apple’s Wallet app that will allow them to track their balances and rewards as well as set spending goals, said sources. With the card, Apple makes a major move into iPhone users’ finances. For Goldman Sachs, the card is part of a strategy to appeal to ordinary consumers. Neither company, however, has much experience in this arena. Continue reading Apple, Goldman Sachs Issue Credit Card Linked to iPhones

Intel Consumer Study on Technology Considers Next 50 Years

Having turned 50 years old this year, Intel released a report on the Next 50, which highlights the thoughts of 1,000 consumers about the future of technology. The report, which was conducted with research firm PSB, revealed that though Americans are enthused about technology’s future potential, 40 percent of them believe it will also introduce as many new problems as solutions. Consumers were most excited about familiar technologies, including smartphones (87 percent), PCs (84 percent) and smart home technology (84 percent). Continue reading Intel Consumer Study on Technology Considers Next 50 Years

Does Snap’s Daily User Slump Signal Social Media Saturation?

Snap reported that it lost three million daily active users in Q2 this year, the first time the company has recorded a loss in users since it went public in early 2017. This decline mirrors reports from Facebook, which stated its number of U.S. users was flat and its European users had fallen, and Twitter, which said in late July that its monthly active users had dipped by one million. Facebook and Twitter both experienced a tumble in share prices after their disclosures, raising the specter that social media usage has peaked. Continue reading Does Snap’s Daily User Slump Signal Social Media Saturation?

Supreme Court Ruling Could Bring More Power to Tech Giants

Many lawmakers in Washington — from Senators Elizabeth Warren to Ted Cruz — are concerned about the amount of power that big tech companies such as Amazon, Facebook and Google have accrued. Some have even floated the idea of an antitrust law to curb their influence. But the U.S. Supreme Court just heard a case — Ohio v. American Express — that may actually give the technology giants even more power, say the experts. The case looks at how to analyze “harmful conduct” by companies that serve “multiple groups of users.” Continue reading Supreme Court Ruling Could Bring More Power to Tech Giants

FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Speaking before the Internet Innovation Alliance about the appropriate role of regulators in a growing broadband economy, FCC Commissioner Michael O’Rielly suggested that the Internet is not a necessity or human right, as many tech leaders have suggested. “It is important to note that Internet access is not a necessity in the day-to-day lives of Americans and doesn’t even come close to the threshold to be considered a basic human right,” he said. “I am not in any way trying to diminish the significance of the Internet in our daily lives.” Continue reading FCC Commissioner Says the Internet is Not a Human Right

Consumers Transitioning from Purchasing to Renting Media

Apple and Amazon, two of the world’s most successful retailers, find themselves struggling in today’s market to increase the sales of books, movies, music, and games because of a shift in consumer priorities. It seems that consumers no longer want to buy media; they want to rent it. The two companies can be considered largely responsible for creating the problem because they made it so easy to rent books and stream music that consumers didn’t feel the need to buy media anymore. Continue reading Consumers Transitioning from Purchasing to Renting Media

AT&T to Pay $105 Million to Settle Accusations of ‘Cramming’

AT&T will pay $105 million to settle accusations that it billed hundreds of millions of dollars in bogus third-party charges to its wireless subscribers. The settlement is the latest in a number of similar moves by regulators to curtail mobile “cramming” — the practice of charging fees for third-party services that subscribers did not order. A similar case against T-Mobile is still pending. The AT&T settlement marks the largest to-date against a specific carrier for cramming. Continue reading AT&T to Pay $105 Million to Settle Accusations of ‘Cramming’

Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Senators Jay Rockefeller and John Thune have introduced a proposal to let cable and satellite subscribers choose which broadcast TV channels they receive. The proposal intends to limit the blackouts when cable and satellite companies must negotiate retransmission fees with broadcasters. Broadcast advocacy groups have expressed opposition to the proposal. They believe cable and satellite companies need to cut hidden fees, not the broadcast channels, to lower cable bills. Continue reading Senators Propose to Unbundle Local Broadcast TV Channels

Google will Compete with Amazon by Adding Product Ratings

In an attempt to compete with Amazon, Google is planning to add ratings to its product listing ads in order to make search results more effective. The ratings are to be based on aggregated rating and review data taken from several sources. Google believes merchants that gather these ratings will decide to share the data because it ultimately generates more business. The move should create more relevant search results as more data surrounds the product.

Continue reading Google will Compete with Amazon by Adding Product Ratings

UK Police Fight Piracy by Replacing Online Ads with Warnings

The Police Intellectual Property Crime Unit (PIPCU) of London has partnered with Project Sunblock, a content verification company, to help take down copyright infringing websites by replacing ads with warnings. The warning, which notifies site visitors that the site is under criminal investigation, serves as an alternative to when an advertisement from a Project Sunblock client is about to be placed on a piracy site. This solution helps keep respected brands off illegal sites. Continue reading UK Police Fight Piracy by Replacing Online Ads with Warnings

Consumers Spending 31 Percent More Time with Mobile Apps

According to new data from Nielsen, the amount of time consumers are spending on apps has reached an all-time high. The report indicates that Android and iPhone users in the U.S. age 18+ spend 65 percent more time (in excess of 30 hours each month) using apps than they did two years ago. However, the average number of apps used per month only increased from 23.2 in Q4 2011 to 26.8 in Q4 2013. Not surprisingly, 18-24 year-olds spend the most time on apps each month (37 hours, 6 minutes). Continue reading Consumers Spending 31 Percent More Time with Mobile Apps

Federal Regulators Analyze the True Cost of Freemium Games

Federal regulators are beginning to look into video games that follow the freemium model to determine whether or not they mislead consumers about costs. The idea behind this model is that users can download the game for free, but they need to pay in order to get further within the game. By claiming that the game is free, vulnerable players, such as children, can get sucked in before paying more and more money without realizing the true cost. Continue reading Federal Regulators Analyze the True Cost of Freemium Games

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

EBay Research Study Finds That Search Ads are Ineffective

A new controlled study by eBay Research Labs examined search ads — the kind that have made Google the richest advertising company in the world — and learned that companies may be exaggerating the effectiveness of these ads. The study showed that consumers were no more likely to buy things from eBay after seeing search ads than they were prior to viewing the ads. Researchers further concluded that reviews, comments, and related digital data have lessened the power of advertising. Continue reading EBay Research Study Finds That Search Ads are Ineffective

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