Premium Twitter Blue Now Available in U.S. and New Zealand

The premium service Twitter Blue is opening to users in the U.S. and New Zealand, after having launched this summer in Australia and Canada. The Blue program is available for $2.99 per month on iOS, Android and the web. Blue subscribers gain a range of features, including the ability to undo tweets within 30 seconds of posting, categorizing saved tweets into topical bookmark folders, using a reader mode for turning threads into easy-reading text, and adding a custom range of app icons. Additional features available only to iOS users include mobile color themes, a customizable navigation bar, and the ability to pin conversations. Continue reading Premium Twitter Blue Now Available in U.S. and New Zealand

DOJ Favors Withdrawing Section 230’s Immunity for Big Tech

The Justice Department recommended, in a 25-page report, that lawmakers repeal portions of Section 230 of the Communications Decency Act of 1996, which has given website operators broad immunity for what people post on their services. The proposed repeal would take away that immunity, forcing social media platforms and similar sites to be responsible for the videos, words, images posted by their users, while assuring that their moderation is consistent. The DOJ’s recommendation will have to be enacted by Congress. Continue reading DOJ Favors Withdrawing Section 230’s Immunity for Big Tech

Apple to Bundle News+, TV+, Music as Early as Next Year

According to sources, Apple, in a bid to gain more subscribers, plans to bundle its paid Internet services, including Apple News+, Apple TV+ and Apple Music, as early as 2020. Apple included a proviso in its recently inked media deals that allows it to bundle the News+ service with other paid digital content. Debuted in March, Apple News+ is a $10 per month subscription service that provides access to many publications, splitting the revenue in half with the newspaper and magazine publishers. The Apple TV+ streaming video service launched earlier this month. Continue reading Apple to Bundle News+, TV+, Music as Early as Next Year

U.S. Newspapers Block Online Access for European Audience

Rather than comply with the European Union’s new data privacy rules, some American news outlets have opted to block access to their online content in Europe. The EU’s General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) limits what info can be collected about users. This impacts companies that provide free content but share user data in order to sell targeted ads. Newspapers that have opted for a blackout or restricted access include the Arizona Daily StarNew York Daily News, St. Louis Post Dispatch, and Tronc-owned Chicago Tribune, Los Angeles TimesOrlando Sentinel and The Baltimore Sun. Continue reading U.S. Newspapers Block Online Access for European Audience

AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

AT&T, one of the winners in the recent end of net neutrality rules, is clarifying its stance. In an open letter that was published nationwide, including in The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, and the Los Angeles Times, chief executive Randall Stephenson called on Congress to establish an Internet Bill of Rights that would apply to all Internet companies and guarantee “neutrality, transparency, openness, non-discrimination and privacy protection for all Internet users.” Continue reading AT&T Chief Exec Calls for Creation of an Internet Bill of Rights

Are Premium Channels Losing Customers to Streaming Sites?

As Netflix and similar online streaming services gain in popularity, premium channels like HBO and Showtime are seeing a decline in paying viewers. A new report from researcher NPD Group reveals that the number of household subscribers to pay TV channels has dropped by 6 percent over the past two years, while streaming subscription services have increased by 4 percent. Many see this change as part of the migration from the expensive bundled options of cable. Continue reading Are Premium Channels Losing Customers to Streaming Sites?

Netflix Plans to Release Sundance Award-Winning Documentary

Netflix is making good on its promise to compete directly with movie theaters now that it’s in final negotiations for the exclusive rights to a Sundance Film Festival documentary. The film, “The Square,” is about the Egyptian revolution and will be released through Netflix. It could make Netflix an Oscar contender, just a short while after its success at the Emmys with “House of Cards.” According to one source, this will be the first of many films to be released first on Netflix. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Release Sundance Award-Winning Documentary

Tribune to Acquire 19 Local TV Stations in $2.7 Billion Deal

The Tribune Company has agreed to pay about $2.73 billion to acquire all 19 television stations from Local TV Holdings, which is owned by investment firm Oak Hill Capital Partners. Tribune, which already owns 23 local TV outlets and is looking to possibly sell some or all of its newspapers, will become one of the country’s largest station groups through the deal (and the biggest holder of Fox affiliates). The 19 stations cover areas from Scranton to Salt Lake City. Continue reading Tribune to Acquire 19 Local TV Stations in $2.7 Billion Deal