Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Cord cutting continues to impact the pay TV industry. According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, the top 20 cable and satellite TV providers lost 479,000 subscribers in the U.S. between April and June, while operators in Canada lost 53,000 customers, marking the highest rate of decline experienced thus far in North America. The report comes after the first net drop of pay TV subscribers for the first three months of a year, following a disappointing Q1. Additionally, digital IPTV subscriptions fell by 62,000 in the U.S. and 9,000 in Canada. Continue reading Pay TV Industry Loses 532,000 Subscribers in North America

Advertisers Face an Increase in Ad-Blocking, Search for Fixes

The use of ad-blocking software is increasing to the point that some advertisers say it could be perilous to the Internet’s economic model. And it’s about to get worse for them. Whereas, now, ad-blocking software is limited to desktop computers, Apple iOS 9 will extend ad-blocking to mobile phones as well. But there could be a solution, say some experts. Advertisers are going to have to create simpler, less intrusive ads to survive. The other option — begging for customers to disable ad-blocking — hasn’t seen much success. Continue reading Advertisers Face an Increase in Ad-Blocking, Search for Fixes

Google Details Network Challenges, Seeks Academic Feedback

In an unprecedented move, Google revealed the details of how it developed and improved software-defined networking (SDN). In a paper presented at the ACM SIGCOMM 2015 conference in London, Google described the steps taken over a ten-year period, moving from third party vendor switches in 2004 to, a year later, building its own hardware and shuttling data among servers in its own data centers. The company is describing its network in part to share its experiences and seek assistance from the academic community. Continue reading Google Details Network Challenges, Seeks Academic Feedback

Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

For those who want a more social TV viewing experience, Showgoers is a new and interesting solution. The Chrome extension enables far-flung friends to watch the same movie or TV show featured on Netflix and play, pause or seek specific segments, simultaneously. Not surprisingly, the idea was born out of a long-distance relationship; the developer created Showgoers to create another experience that the couple could share. Although Showgoers can’t get around geographical blocking, it is simple to set up — and free. Continue reading Showgoers: Chrome Plugin Powers Shared Viewing for Netflix

Facebook Three Times as Popular as Twitter with Adult Users

According to the new “Mobile Messaging and Social Media” report from the Pew Research Center, Facebook is now more than three times as popular as Twitter among adults in the U.S. The report notes that 72 percent of adult Internet users are on Facebook, while 31 percent use Pinterest, 28 percent use Facebook-owned Instagram, 25 percent use LinkedIn, and about 23 percent use Twitter. The figures represent slight increases over 2014 for Facebook, Instagram and Pinterest; no change for Twitter from the previous year; and a 3 percent decrease for LinkedIn. Continue reading Facebook Three Times as Popular as Twitter with Adult Users

CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

Hollywood director Randal Kleiser (“The Blue Lagoon,” “Grease”) just debuted “Defrost,” a four-minute narrative virtual reality film that he hopes is the first in a series of VR films. That’s exactly what the 50 cablecasters that comprise the membership of CableLabs hope for. The industry’s non-profit R&D facility, CableLabs has been studying VR and suggests consumer excitement is strong, but that the lack of content could be a major stumbling block for cable companies interested in providing VR programming. Continue reading CableNet Explores VR, Additional Content Could Drive Adoption

U.S. Renews Contract with ICANN, Delays Giving Up Oversight

The Department of Commerce announced that it would renew its contract with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) for one year (with options to extend it another three years), delaying its plans to relinquish oversight of one aspect of Internet governance. Commerce has overseen ICANN’s management of the Internet’s domain-name system since 1998. But last year, the Obama administration proposed transferring the oversight to international stakeholders, a plan that has met criticism regarding the potential impact to free expression. Continue reading U.S. Renews Contract with ICANN, Delays Giving Up Oversight

Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

At Apple’s upcoming September 9 event, the Silicon Valley company will announce a more powerful version of its Apple TV set-top box. But what it won’t be introducing is a live TV service streamed over the Internet. Although Apple insiders are mum, those close to the project say that Apple hasn’t licensed enough content from TV networks and that talks to do so are moving slowly. Another obstacle is a sufficiently robust computer network to guarantee the content will stream properly. The company is reportedly now targeting a 2016 launch date. Continue reading Apple Delays Live TV, Lacking Licensed Content and Network

Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

According to a new report from music analytics firm Next Big Sound, consumers streamed more than one trillion songs during the first six months of this year. The report acquired data from Pandora, Rdio, SoundCloud, Spotify, Vevo, Vimeo and YouTube. While digital downloads and CDs continue to experience a decline, streaming music generated $1.87 billion last year. Streaming music is clearly on the rise (Next Big Sound cites only 450 billion streams for all of 2014), yet companies are still looking for opportunities to profit. Continue reading Music Fans Have Already Streamed One Trillion Songs in 2015

Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

Facebook is about to become a bigger competitor to Twitter-owned Periscope as it begins to offer wider access to the VIP-only Facebook app Mentions and Facebook Live. Up until now, Facebook Live — which allows a broadcaster to start a live video stream immediately, which users can watch in real-time and comment on — has only been available to a handful of high-profile individuals. Previously, Facebook has been circumspect when asked about when more people would have access to Live, which launched on August 4. Continue reading Facebook Live Broadcasting to Open Soon for Verified Profiles

New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

The New York Times is in the process of tweaking its recommendation engine by integrating two previously used models. The Recommended for You section of NYT provides suggested content from over 300 articles, blog posts and interactive stories that are published every day. By personalizing the content that appears on apps and the website, readers are directed to stories that have the greatest interest and relevancy to them. NYT described its efforts to rebuild the engine for maximum efficiency and accuracy. Continue reading New York Times’ New Algorithm Improves Recommendation Engine

NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

The National Football League and Twitter already have a relationship, but in a new deal, Twitter users will be able to enjoy an increased amount of footage beginning with the start of pre-season football. The NFL has just signed a multi-year deal with the social network to add more game highlights from pre-season games through the 2016 Super Bowl, breaking news, analysis, game recaps, behind-the-scenes video and other footage of interest to football fans. The relationship between the two companies began in 2013. Continue reading NFL and Twitter Expand Partnership With More Video and Ads

Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

In a move that surprised Wall Street, Google created Alphabet Inc., a new publicly traded parent company. Google will be a subsidiary of Alphabet, with Google executive Sundar Pichai as its new CEO. Co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin will run Alphabet, which will include all of Google’s other ancillary businesses. Brin will also run Google X, the company’s experimental laboratory. Since the announcement was made after the close of trading on Wall Street, Google shares rose 6 percent in after-hours trading. Continue reading Google Now a Subsidiary of New Parent Company, Alphabet Inc.

China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

The Chinese government stated it will place cybersecurity police units at the country’s major Internet companies and websites, to prevent fraud, other illegal activities and the amorphously phrased “spreading of rumors,” reports the state-owned Xinhua News Agency. The Internet in China is monopolized by three major companies: e-commerce site Alibaba, Tencent for gaming and messaging, and search engine Baidu. Neither Facebook nor Google operate in China; LinkedIn, which has agreed to China’s cybersecurity measures, does. Continue reading China Ratchets Up Internet Control with On-Site Cyber Police

New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

DNT (Do Not Track) has been an Internet standard that consumers can activate to prevent sites from secretly following and recording their online activities. But, despite DNT, many unprincipled advertisers continue to clandestinely track and record users’ Internet activity. The Electronic Frontier Foundation (EFF), privacy company Disconnect and a group of Internet companies decided it was time to combine their resources to develop a stronger DNT setting. Continue reading New ‘Do Not Track’ Standard Aims to Bolster Internet Privacy

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