Zappos Holacracy Management Strategy Roils its Employees

When Zappos chief executive Tony Hsieh began to implement a radically different management strategy — Holacracy — he knew it would take some getting used to. The system, which is based on self-management, with the idea that the abolishment of hierarchy will promote collaboration, has proven to be a mixed bag. Although some employees are enthusiastic, most are confused. As of now, says chief operating officer Arun Rajan, 18 percent of the company, which equates to 260 people, has taken the generous buy-out package. Continue reading Zappos Holacracy Management Strategy Roils its Employees

ESPN.com Debuts eSports Vertical Dedicated to Video Gaming

ESPN launched a new vertical on its website to cover all things related to competitive gaming, including news articles, event coverage, profiles of prominent eSports figures, and analysis. The network started broadcasting professional video game tournaments in 2014 and released a special edition of ESPN The Magazine focusing on eSports in 2015. The success of those projects helped spur the launch of the new vertical, which currently covers popular games such as “League of Legends.” Continue reading ESPN.com Debuts eSports Vertical Dedicated to Video Gaming

YouTube Star PewDiePie Is Building His Own ‘Talent Squad’

Felix Kjellberg, better known by his YouTube username PewDiePie, is launching his own multi-channel network to create new content and foster new YouTube personalities. The brand is called Revelmode and it will be focused on YouTube creators related to video gaming. Kjellberg has already recruited some top YouTube creators to join the “collaborative talent squad.” Even though Kjellberg will be spearheading the Revelmode brand, he will continue his partnership with Maker Studios. Continue reading YouTube Star PewDiePie Is Building His Own ‘Talent Squad’

Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

Origin Access hopes to become the new Netflix of video gaming. For $4.99 per month, subscribers can sample new PC games before they’re released, receive special discounts on current games, and play some games for free. All of the games are delivered via Internet downloads. The subscription service is an extension of Electronic Arts’ Origin, an online community and store for PC games. EA already offers a similar subscription service for Xbox One games and rival Nvidia has one for PC games. Continue reading Electronic Arts Launches Subscription Service for PC Gamers

AT&T Revives Unlimited Data Plan, Despite Surge in Video

AT&T is bringing back its unlimited wireless data plan, but only for those customers who subscribe to its U-verse home television service or to DirecTV, the satellite TV service it recently acquired. For the past five years, AT&T has been moving customers into plans that charge for data use. The recent switch, most likely in response to competition among carriers eager to sign up new customers and retain existing ones, comes at a time when customers are gobbling up data watching YouTube and Netflix videos on mobile devices. Continue reading AT&T Revives Unlimited Data Plan, Despite Surge in Video

NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

NBCUniversal chief executive Steve Burke did not anticipate the big impact of time-shifting and over-the-top services such as Netflix and Hulu on the cable business, he said during CES 2016. Instead, he believed cable entertainment ratings would be stronger than they are today. At the same time, he doesn’t consider Netflix to be just an enemy but, rather, a friend and frenemy as well. More puzzling to him is how advertisers discount television in favor of digital outlets, which, he notes, do not have the reach or emotional impact of TV. Continue reading NBCUniversal’s Burke: Netflix is Friend, Enemy and Frenemy

Time is Up for Yahoo’s Turnaround, Sale Now On the Table

Since the 2012 hiring of former Google executive Marissa Mayer to improve Yahoo’s fortunes, the company has failed to turn around and is now facing difficult choices. Among many plans devised, the latest occurred last month when executives favored spinning off the company’s main Internet business. That strategy may be abandoned as Yahoo considers a sale of its business, while an activist — and anonymous — investor mounts a proxy fight. Employee morale is said to be low in light of 1,100 layoffs since August 2014. Continue reading Time is Up for Yahoo’s Turnaround, Sale Now On the Table

YouTube Exec Stands By His Online Video Growth Predictions

During his keynote presentation at CES 2016, YouTube’s chief business officer Robert Kyncl expressed continuing confidence in the growth of online video. He believes that people will spend most of their time (outside of working and sleeping) watching digital video. The executive stood by his 2012 predictions that 90 percent of all Internet traffic would be video and 75 percent of all video would be digital by the year 2020. Kyncl also explained how YouTube is evolving and planning to support high dynamic range. Continue reading YouTube Exec Stands By His Online Video Growth Predictions

The Internet of Things Brings Benefits, Risks and Public Policy

Consumer taste, technology development are two of the forces impacting the growth and direction of the Internet of Things. A group of experts focused on policy issues surrounding IoT’s evolution at CES. Moderator Alan Davidson, director of digital economy for the Department of Commerce, reports that, about seven years ago, the number of Internet-connected things surpassed the number of people on the planet. “By 2025, this is an area that will have an economic impact of $4 to $11 trillion on the global economy,” he said. Continue reading The Internet of Things Brings Benefits, Risks and Public Policy

CES: Merging Content with New Tech in a Fragmented World

Americans look at their cell phones 8 billion times a day, says Deloitte & Touche’s Craig Wigginton, who moderated a panel on “Merging Content With New Technologies.” Wigginton recited a flurry of statistics that underline today’s extreme fragmentation, a reality that challenges all content companies: Millennials check their smartphones 74 times a day, and 87 percent of them use it while watching TV. Meanwhile, 42 percent of Americans now use streaming services and over 50 percent of millennials watch on a small screen. Continue reading CES: Merging Content with New Tech in a Fragmented World

In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Yahoo has shut down Yahoo Screen, the company’s four-year-old video portal that had been a major component of chief exec Marissa Mayer’s turnaround strategy. Yahoo took a $42 million write-off on original video content in October, and while Yahoo Screen had yet to compete with video giant YouTube, comScore notes that the portal had about 15 million U.S. visitors in November. The portal had provided easy access to Yahoo’s video content — from digital magazines, concerts and football games to licensed reruns of “Saturday Night Live” and original series such as “Community.” Continue reading In Strategy Reversal, Yahoo Shutters its Online Video Portal

Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

Vizio is expected to be the first television manufacturer to showcase Dolby Vision at CES 2016 in Las Vegas. Audio pioneer Dolby is branching into video; the first two Vizio Reference Series sets with Dolby Vision will be demonstrated at this week’s confab. Vizio, which recently announced its affordable D-Series 4K TVs starting at just $600, is stepping away from its traditional low-cost business model to offer Dolby Vision. This month, the company will debut a 65-inch model for $6,000, and the 120-inch version will initially run about $130,000. Continue reading Dolby Vision Promises ‘Astonishing’ Brightness, Contrast, Color

AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

AT&T plans to reveal details regarding its “smart cities” initiative during CES 2016. The company is making a major push to turn traffic lights and other city objects into new tools for reducing expenses while efficiently managing congestion and energy. Telecoms are starting to work with municipalities to leverage data collected from sensors positioned throughout cities to help drivers find parking spaces or clear driving routes, for example. According to AT&T Mobility CEO Glenn Lurie, partners in AT&T’s initiative will be introduced in Las Vegas this week. Continue reading AT&T to Discuss Smart Cities Initiative and Partners at CES

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

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