Our Stories: Snapchat Turns to Publishers to Boost Revenue

In an effort to grow its stalled user base and generate more revenue, Snap Inc. announced it will encourage 20 publishing partners such as CNN, Cosmopolitan, NBC News and Viacom to create curated collections of user posts called Our Stories. Each collection of snaps will center on a specific event and will be made available via Snapchat’s Discover section. Snap has been generating revenue through ad sales by curating Our Stories for events such as concerts, awards shows and sports. While these have been curated by Snapchat employees, Snap is now asking media companies to build the collections. Continue reading Our Stories: Snapchat Turns to Publishers to Boost Revenue

Twitter Pushes Live Events via New Screen, Curated Tweets

Twitter has added a new screen to highlight live events and a curated list of tweets about them to appear on the top of users’ timelines. The new format, which includes live video, will place relevant events on the timeline, with photos and text to encourage users to “tap and explore.” To engage users, Twitter may send personalized push notifications for events near them. Twitter is also redesigning its Explore tab, and has created new sections including a personalized For You tab, as well as News and Sports. Continue reading Twitter Pushes Live Events via New Screen, Curated Tweets

Apple Plans to Purchase Digital Magazine Distributor Texture

Apple announced that it is acquiring Next Issue Media LLC and the company’s digital subscription service, Texture. For $10 per month, Texture provides subscribers with access to all or part of more than 200 magazines on Apple and Android devices. The deal will give the tech giant an additional business line that provides recurring revenue, similar to Apple Music. It could also help Apple’s relationship with publishers. Texture was originally created to give publishers more control over digital distribution, but was later rebranded as a service that offers curated articles based on subscribers’ interests. Continue reading Apple Plans to Purchase Digital Magazine Distributor Texture

Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Local news is already in sad shape, and Facebook and Google now aim to cover it rather than national news. But two editors of digital outlets are proposing a different model for invigorating local news, especially in urban areas that where the local press has been destroyed by digital technology. In this model, very good journalists would cover the news that no one else is covering — and ignore everything else that isn’t local news, including the Super Bowl, movie reviews and the stock market report. Continue reading Two Editors Describe New Model to Reinvigorate Local News

Facebook’s Rocket Icon Revealed as News Feed Experiment

Facebook just disclosed the meaning of the rocket ship icon next to the News Feed tab. According to the company’s News Feed head Adam Mosseri, the rocket ship is an experiment that connects a small number of users with people and pages they do not like or follow. At Variety’s Entertainment and Technology Summit, Mosseri said that the point is to expose people to stories they are interested in from sources they are not following. Facebook curates the information based on an algorithm that figures out a user’s interests. Continue reading Facebook’s Rocket Icon Revealed as News Feed Experiment

NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

At ETC’s conference on machine learning/AI at NAB, director of data and analytics Yves Bergquist talked about the work ETC@USC is doing to understand AI, storygraphics and audience intelligence. At the heart of the question, he said, is why we like or don’t like a movie or TV show. Getting an audience member to describe why she liked her favorite movie, he responded that the people who made that movie don’t know why she liked it. “Not because they’re stupid, but because it is a very complex, multi-faceted question,” he said. Continue reading NAB 2017: ETC Charts Path From Big Data to Big Knowledge

Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

Amazon hopes that YouTube celebs and Instagram stars can help market brands and recommend products found on the popular e-commerce site. The company has quietly launched a beta test of its Amazon Influencer Program, which allows social media influencers to apply to participate in the initiative and earn commissions on products sold. The new program is designed to work with influencers who have significant followings and regularly post content related to shoppable content across “all tiers and categories,” according to Amazon. Continue reading Amazon Rolls Out Social Influencer Program to Market Goods

Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

Fifteen months after Pandora acquired Rdio’s key assets, the company is launching its anticipated $10-a-month on-demand music service. Pandora Premium, which begins rolling out in the U.S. today, offers access to tens of millions of songs and the ability to save tracks offline. While it still touts the playlisting engine powered by data and people that made its curation approach famous, the service is aiming to distinguish itself from other offerings such as Spotify, Apple Music and SoundCloud by focusing on personalization features, a new design and ease-of-use. Continue reading Pandora Premium Looks to Take On Spotify and Apple Music

CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

CBS is launching apps for Android TV and Amazon Fire TV that will add 360-degree videos to CBSN’s news coverage. The apps will debut with a show documenting production of a “60 Minutes” episode on searching for gorillas in Africa. The apps, which will also feature a new playlist for 360-degree videos, will offer curated video playlists, a personalized playlist of favorite videos and features for finding related videos. Viewers will be able to use their remote control to navigate the videos. Continue reading CBS Brings 360-Degree Video to Android TV, Amazon Fire TV

Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Pandora took a major step as its service expands to directly compete with Spotify, Apple Music and Tidal: bringing on musician Questlove as its first artist ambassador. Questlove, whose Roots is the house band for NBC’s “The Tonight Show,” originally visited Pandora for non-specific discussions but, when its co-founder Tim Westergren showed him its Music Genome Project for categorizing songs by minute attributes, he was immediately hooked and accepted Westergren’s offer to join as a strategic adviser and ambassador. Continue reading Pandora Expands, Adds Questlove as First Artist Ambassador

Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Instagram’s Explore tab for displaying personalized content has evolved from a simple algorithm to a more sophisticated discovery platform for photos and videos. Through its “Picked For You” feature, Instagram added custom channels inside Explore for more personalization. Now, the social platform is introducing a new video channel called Events that “will be personalized for each user and feature videos from concerts, sports games, and other live events depending on what’s happening around the world, what types of live events users are interested in, and what type of accounts the user follows,” reports TechCrunch. The new feature could compete with Snapchat’s Discover channels. Continue reading Instagram Adds Events Channel to Explore Concerts, Sports

Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

Vevo, a joint venture of Universal Music Group, Google, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media, just bought Showyou, a subscription-based video streaming platform and Vevo’s first-ever acquisition. The move is largely seen as Vevo’s effort to become more independent from its reliance on YouTube and to compete directly with other premium products including YouTube Red and Spotify. Showyou, which started as a social curation platform in 2011, switched to a subscription-based service last year. Continue reading Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

Beats Music to Close Now That Apple Music is Live on Android

Apple acquired Beats Electronics for $3 billion in May 2014. While it was expected that the Beats Music streaming service would be folded into iTunes Radio to take on Spotify and similar offerings, Apple Music was launched more than a year later. Now, Apple has announced that it plans to officially shutter Beats Music on November 30. A statement on the Beats Music site encourages subscribers to check out Apple’s new service: “Your subscription will be cancelled, but you can move your picks and preferences over to Apple Music right now.” Continue reading Beats Music to Close Now That Apple Music is Live on Android

YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

After a year in beta testing, YouTube Music is finally available for Android and iOS. The app — meant to compete with streaming music offerings such as Apple Music, Pandora, Rdio, Spotify and Tidal — emphasizes music videos and amateur recordings. YouTube’s catalog of 50 million songs does not mean a video for every song, since the collection mixes video, audio-only, fan covers, emerging indie artists and much more. Discovery continues to be the underlying focus, and each song is connected to an auto-generated station of related songs. YouTube Music also blends human and algorithmic curation, similar to Apple Music’s approach. Continue reading YouTube Music Aims Spotlight on Personalization, Discovery

Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images

Internet users are typically more engaged when accessing websites and social platforms that include photos and videos. Marketing firm Shift, for example, notes that readers are five times more likely to click an embedded link if a tweet includes an image. As a result, companies are now developing software solutions for sifting through the millions of online images in an effort to help brands, advertisers and e-commerce players identify what draws viewers. EyeEm Mobile and Neon Labs are among those looking to enhance the power of online visuals. Continue reading Companies Develop Tools for Sifting Through Online Images