Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Music-identification app Shazam has landed investments from the industry’s biggest record labels, including Warner Music Group, Universal Music Group and Sony Music Entertainment. London-based Shazam’s most recent valuation was $500 million. Its value for the labels involves its potential as a marketing partner. Not only does the app enable users to identify music playing on the radio or TV, but it lets them share a song’s name via social media, download it from iTunes, or stream it via services such as Spotify. Continue reading Major Record Companies Invest $3M Each in Shazam Music App

Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

Retail and cloud giant Amazon has joined Google and Facebook in investing in development its own server chips. The company recently brought together a team of CPU architects and hardware development engineers, four of whom come from Calxeda, the defunct ARM-based server startup in Austin, Texas. Despite the high initial costs of custom server chips, these specialized products would allow Amazon to optimize costs and improve performance. Continue reading Amazon Hires Engineering Team to Design Its Own Server Chips

AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

AT&T announced a joint venture with The Chernin Group to commit $500 million to buy and launch Internet video services. Video content is foreign territory for AT&T, while Chernin’s only foothold is a majority stake in anime streaming service, Crunchyroll. Together, the two organizations have pledged to “acquire, invest in and launch over-the-top video services.” AT&T’s move into streaming services comes on the heels of similar projects by competitors such as Verizon and Dish Network. Continue reading AT&T and Chernin Group Invest $500 Million in Online Video

Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Similar to how business networking site LinkedIn services the needs of recruiters, professionals and job seekers, Technicolor has launched a social network called Creative District that is geared toward media producers and creatives. The platform is designed to help film and media creators collaborate and share resources, and find work and funding. Creative District operates as a startup, while Technicolor serves as the network’s sole investor. Continue reading Creative District: Technicolor Launches Pro Networking Site

Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Netflix announced on Monday that it plans to raise the price of its streaming video service for new members by a dollar or two per month. The service, which now has more than 34 million paid U.S. subscribers, is justifying the rate increase based on its continued investment in original programs, including series such as “House of Cards” and “Orange Is the New Black.” In addition to its first-quarter earnings report yesterday, Netflix announced opposition to Comcast’s proposed acquisition of Time Warner Cable. Continue reading Netflix Passes 34 Million Subscribers, Previews Price Increase

Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

Amazon recently released statistics that show its Prime Instant Video streaming service has tripled since last year, and is now more popular than Apple and Hulu. Despite its growth, Amazon is still dramatically far behind Netflix and YouTube. According to a recent report from Qwilt, a provider of online-video delivery and caching solutions, Netflix is currently the number one streaming video site, representing more than 57 percent of the streaming market in March, while YouTube follows in second. Continue reading Streaming Video: Amazon No Netflix, But Tops Apple and Hulu

Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

As Hollywood studios are shifting from distributing movies on film to digital distribution via hard drives and satellite, many small theaters cannot afford $60,000 or more to upgrade and support the new technology. Theater owners are faced with the difficult decision between investing in new equipment or closing down their theaters. Meanwhile, most major U.S. cinema chains have already converted to digital cinema, many with the support of Wall Street-financed programs. Continue reading Small Theaters Face Challenges in Shift to Digital Distribution

Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Amazon announced that it will acquire comiXology, the digital comics platform that had its 200-millionth download last fall. With the sales of physical comics fading, comiXology is developing tech to allow the craft to move online. The company operates a comics store and a mobile comics app, which was the top-grossing non-game iPad app from 2011 to 2013. Its library includes 40,000 comics from 75 major publishers. ComiXology also opened a self-publishing platform last year. Continue reading Digital Comics Platform ComiXology to be Acquired by Amazon

Junction: Crowdfunder Allows Fans to Invest in Film Projects

The new San Francisco-based Junction provides wealthy movie fans with an opportunity for investing in films online. It is not another Kickstarter that helps projects get made, but instead allows potential investors to contribute to projects that already have enough finances secured for production. Junction is only open to individuals with annual income of more than $200,000 a year or net worth of $1 million. The incentive for producers is that outside investors will help minimize risk. Continue reading Junction: Crowdfunder Allows Fans to Invest in Film Projects

Fast Food Giants Follow GrubHub’s Lead with Ordering Apps

Starbucks and McDonalds are working towards implementing mobile ordering and digital payment systems. Besides the pizza industry, most fast food chains have been reluctant to adopt digital ordering systems, while small businesses have been quick to accept GrubHub, which allows customers to order food online or through a smartphone app. Since GrubHub recognizes that fast food chains will likely create their own apps, the company is focused on partnering with independent restaurants. Continue reading Fast Food Giants Follow GrubHub’s Lead with Ordering Apps

Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Cartoon Network plans to launch a “micro-network” later this year that will feature 15-second content bites that only play through a smartphone app. The purpose of these videos, polls, games and trivia is to deliver device-specific content. Unlike the current Watch Cartoon Network app, which requires a cable subscription, Cartoon Network Anything will be accessible to everyone. The short form content will be updated regularly to match consumers’ reduced attention span common during smartphone use. Continue reading Cartoon Network Anything App to Experiment with Micro-Content

Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

In an effort to attract more U.S. viewers, Paris-based online video site Dailymotion is pushing new original programming that it hopes will help the service compete with Google’s YouTube. Dailymotion plans to initially commit between $3 million and $4 million to produce up to six series this year that will include leading personalities from industries such as food, music and entertainment. The company is also courting U.S. firms as potential investors. Continue reading Mario Batali to Kickstart New Dailymotion Original Programming

Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

The Walt Disney Company has announced a partnership with Techstars to launch an accelerator program that will help 10 startups get off the ground, while potentially providing the media giant insight into new innovation and creativity. Disney Accelerator plans to invest $120,000 in each startup, and provide them with the opportunity to work with Disney for three months starting in June (the application deadline is April 16). At the end of the program, Disney and Techstars may take a stake in one or more of the startups. Continue reading Disney Partners with Techstars to Launch Accelerator Program

Big Brands Respond to Value of Facebook Advertising Tools

Facebook reached record profits as evidenced in its fourth-quarter financial report, thanks in part to its investment in resources to prove its worth to advertisers. Currently, the company’s market value is at almost $150 billion, and advertisers are responding by spending even more in advertising on the social media site. New tools for marketers allow them to target users based on their in-store spending habits, increasing the value of ads on the site. Continue reading Big Brands Respond to Value of Facebook Advertising Tools

Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

Following a 3 percent drop in market value, Verizon has hinted at plans to get competitive in pricing, which customers will likely appreciate, but investors might not. The telco lost about $4 billion of its value, and some say it’s directly related to the competition among telcos to be the most aggressively priced. T-Mobile has been most notably aggressive in its pricing strategies, attracting new customers and possibly forcing Verizon to lower its fees as well. Continue reading Verizon Will Likely Respond to T-Mobile’s Aggressive Prices

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