Picking Up Online Orders at Stores a Hassle for Customers

The “click-and-collect” method of shopping is not as easy as it sounds. This type of shopping allows customers to place orders online and pick up their purchases at a physical store just a few hours later. However, one study found that 60 percent of these orders were not completed correctly on Cyber Monday. Some stores made customers wait for more than an hour, gave customers the wrong item, or simply had to cancel orders because the store ran out of stock. Continue reading Picking Up Online Orders at Stores a Hassle for Customers

ETC Coverage of CES Resumes in January From Las Vegas

ETC coverage of CES 2016 shifts to Las Vegas on January 4 and will feature the latest news and guidance for attendees. The ETC team will report from the Consumer Technology Association’s Top Trends and Global Market Report sessions on Monday afternoon. From there, we will go to CES Unveiled, the major press preview of many of the most noteworthy products to be displayed when the exhibit halls open two days later on January 6. Expect twice daily news briefs and as-its-published updates on the ETCentric app. Continue reading ETC Coverage of CES Resumes in January From Las Vegas

FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Comcast, AT&T, and T-Mobile USA received a letter from the FCC asking them to answer questions about their use of “zero rating,” by which some types of content are exempted from a customer’s data cap. Though FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler insisted this doesn’t constitute an investigation, the FCC has previously noted that data cap exemptions can favor the exempted content over content that counts against a customer’s data use. The FCC asked the companies’ technical and business personnel to be available for discussions by January 15. Continue reading FCC Queries Comcast, AT&T and T-Mobile About Data Caps

Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

Amazon and Google have recently made efforts to connect Internet users with home and local service providers, taking on companies such as Angie’s List and Yelp in the process. Now, Facebook is testing its own feature that directs social media users to the top-reviewed service providers in their area. The new site is only available on desktop, but Facebook offers the ability to find local businesses on mobile via “Nearby Places.” In addition to home services, Facebook’s feature highlights restaurants, bars, nightclubs and travel-related businesses such as hotels, sightseeing and tours. Continue reading Facebook Users Can Search Top-Ranked Local Businesses

European Commission Enacts Data Protection Regulations

The European Commission, the EU’s executive arm; the European Parliament and member states just approved stringent data protection regulations, considered there to be of equal importance to freedom of expression. The rules, slated to go into effect by early 2017, will give individuals more power over how their information is collected and managed, as well as make data protection regulations consistent across the EU. Officials have been meeting since summer 2015 to hammer out rules that all 28 members could agree to. Continue reading European Commission Enacts Data Protection Regulations

Netflix Adopts New Streaming Plan for Better Pix, Less Data

Netflix is changing how it streams video, the first such effort since the company launched in 2007. Beginning in 2011, Netflix has been working on a new streaming algorithm that will not only improve image quality but also save up to 20 percent of data. Netflix currently accounts for nearly 40 percent of all data consumed during peak Internet viewing hours. As Netflix focuses on entering more international territories, including nations with less developed Internet capabilities, streaming quality and data usage are critical. Continue reading Netflix Adopts New Streaming Plan for Better Pix, Less Data

DraftKings and Fan Duel Get Temporary Reprieve in New York

On Friday, a New York judge granted the state attorney general’s injunction to bar daily fantasy sports companies FanDuel and DraftKings from operating in the state. Then, hours later, an appeals court judge allowed the companies to continue to operate until at least January 4, when the legality of the games will be further considered. The appeal was granted based on the argument of the DraftKings lawyers who said that even a temporary shutdown would irreparably harm the company. Continue reading DraftKings and Fan Duel Get Temporary Reprieve in New York

Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

The number of trailers for franchise blockbusters has skyrocketed, flooding YouTube, Facebook and other platforms. “Star Wars: The Force Awakens” counts 17 trailers, teasers and ads thus far. Today’s trailer looks much more like entertainment than an ad, linking to past franchise chapters, teasing out the identity of shadowy or hooded characters, and generally amping up anticipation and heated fan engagement before the film even opens. The nested teasers and trailers dole out details without giving away plot. Continue reading Movie Trailers Proliferate, Building Fervor, Fan Engagement

BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

BuzzFeed, already a top Facebook video contributor with four different brands, launched another one in October: Top Knot, which focuses on beauty and fashion. The Top Knot Facebook page already has nearly 1 million fans and has logged almost 200 million views in two months, with a handful of clips generating up to 7 million views each. BuzzFeed and NBCU, which invested $200 million in the company, are looking into ways to collaborate, in addition to an announced plan to jointly cover the 2016 Summer Olympics. Continue reading BuzzFeed Introduces Yet Another Top Facebook Video Page

Facebook Boosts Ad Revenue for Publishers of Instant Articles

In response to feedback, Facebook has changed its advertising policies for Instant Articles, to help publishers generate more revenue. Publishers can now include more advertising in each article and control the links to other articles at the end of theirs. Instant Articles, which debuted in October, allows media companies to publish content directly to Facebook instead of posting links to their sites. Meanwhile, Amazon has been developing and testing Expert Articles on topics of interest to the site’s consumers. Continue reading Facebook Boosts Ad Revenue for Publishers of Instant Articles

Streaming Video, Notably Netflix, Dominates Internet Traffic

Streaming video now makes up 70 percent of Internet traffic, says Sandvine, a Canadian networking-equipment company that conducted a global study during September/October 2015. The company monitored a slice of global services for home broadband to take a snapshot of online traffic across North America, Africa and the Middle East and found that real-time entertainment now prevails. Furthermore, in North America, Netflix dominates about 35 percent of aggregate peak-period Internet traffic, up from 22 percent in 2011. Continue reading Streaming Video, Notably Netflix, Dominates Internet Traffic

Mobile-Only U.S. Homes Grow, Mobile Internet Leads Globally

Two recent reports document the trend of U.S. households to use only cell phones and, globally, for mobile networks to be the dominant means of accessing the Internet. The Center for Disease Control and Prevention’s report shows 47 percent of U.S. homes now only use mobile phones. The annual survey of the International Telecommunications Union reveals that there are 7.1 billion mobile subscriptions globally, and more than 95 percent of the earth’s inhabitants are within reach of a mobile network signal. Continue reading Mobile-Only U.S. Homes Grow, Mobile Internet Leads Globally

DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

DirecTV has joined the ranks of those looking to bring more 4K content to consumers. During New York’s TranSPORT conference, DirecTV’s Phil Goswitz confirmed that the company plans to launch a live 4K broadcast service sometime early next year. He said live sports transmissions are currently being tested and DirecTV has the ability to transmit up to 50 new UHD channels. Goswitz explained that DirecTV is “moving into working with partners” for more 4K content. CBS, ESPN and Fox are among the networks that have also been experimenting with live 4K production. Continue reading DirecTV Planning to Debut Live 4K Broadcasting in Early 2016

Facebook’s Beta Shopping Feed Reveals Weakness, Potential

Since it debuted in October, Facebook’s Shopping feed has been in beta among a handful of U.S. users. So far, the new feature can help a user track down something found in his or her News Feed. Although there are few products and no reviews, the potential lies in Facebook’s key strength — its knowledge about its users. That would allow the company to curate more accurately than any other shopping service out there. A Facebook survey reports that 50 percent of its users come to the site looking for products. Continue reading Facebook’s Beta Shopping Feed Reveals Weakness, Potential

Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

Walmart Stores, with chief technology officer Jeremy King leading the charge, is in the midst of a dramatic overhaul of its digital operations. The goal is to create a digital presence as powerful as its brick-and-mortar one and, in the process, break Amazon’s record of successfully squelching most traditional retailers online. To do so, Walmart has invested serious resources into its effort: 15 acquisitions, 3,600 new hires and billions of dollars in the project code-named Pangaea, named after the pre-historic supercontinent. Continue reading Walmart Reinvents Its Digital Operations to Overcome Amazon

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