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

Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Pandora just acquired Rdio for its technology and talent, and Spotify is unrolling Fan Insights to offer its musicians a way to research its fan base and plan smarter tours. In both cases, these popular streaming music services are expanding beyond their core expertise — and their unstable revenue — by uniting radio, on demand and even live shows. As bigger players such as Apple, Google and Amazon create music services, Pandora and Spotify must offer more services to survive. Continue reading Pandora, Spotify Explore On-Demand Music and Ticket Sales

Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Facebook just launched Notify, an iOS mobile app for push notifications of customizable news, information and entertainment. Posted directly on the lock screen, Notify lets the user choose which cities, sports teams, music genres he wants to follow, from among 70 publishers. The feed features a link to the associated site for a 24-hour period. The user can save the content to read later or share through Facebook or other social media platforms. Notify does not, however, offer real-time discussion or feature ads. Continue reading Facebook Introduces Notify, Customizable Push Notifications

Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Snapchat launched a temporary Discover channel yesterday featuring advertiser-created content. Sony Pictures Entertainment paid for a “sponsored” Discover channel to promote its new James Bond film “Spectre,” which opened on Monday in the U.K. The Discover section currently includes 15 media partners, but the 007 channel (which is sharing multimedia content for the film such as behind-the-scenes footage, cast member testimonials and Bond trivia questions) represents the first time a brand has paid to be featured this way on Snapchat Discover. Continue reading Snapchat Tests Sponsored Discover Channel with James Bond

Digital Hollywood: Defining and Engaging the Digital Consumer

The digital consumer is undergoing a redefinition, said a panel of experts at Digital Hollywood focused on “Hollywood and the Digital Consumer: How Technology Content and Services Establish the Next Level of Consumer Entertainment Experience.” “We can agree that we no longer need the adjective,” said moderator Don Levy, president of Smith Brook Farm and consultant with ETC@USC. “It’s now just our customer, the audience.” Mobile platforms and niche markets are among the trends that dominate consumer behavior, said the panelists. Continue reading Digital Hollywood: Defining and Engaging the Digital Consumer

Apps vs. Mobile Web: Apple, Google Compete for Publishers

Apple pushes apps as a way to make the iPhone a must-have device. Google pushes mobile websites, to make money from digital search and the data it collects. What’s a digital publisher to do? More and more of them are finding it onerous to maintain both. Although apps are ideal for loyal users, they require users to download them. Web pages appear to be a better way to attract new users. Apps currently dominate, but there’s some indication that publishers that must choose between the two, pick their website. Continue reading Apps vs. Mobile Web: Apple, Google Compete for Publishers

Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Apple plans to include its Flipboard-like newsreader app, simply named News, in the upcoming iOS 9 this fall. First announced at WWDC in June with 18 publishers on board, News now touts more than 50 publishers. Conde Nast, Hearst and Vox Media are among the initial launch partners hoping that iPhone and iPad users will consume more of their content. While some publishers have expressed concerns about ad-blocking capabilities made possible by iOS 9, launch partners are pleased with Apple’s advertising terms. Continue reading Apple to Launch News App with iOS 9, Adds More Publishers

Pew Research: Facebook, Twitter Are Preferred News Sources

While social networks such as Facebook and Twitter prefer to describe themselves as content distribution platforms rather than content publishing platforms, denying any involvement in the editorial reshaping of what users see (despite their editorial ability to remove content from their sites), a recent study conducted by the Pew Research Center reveals that Facebook and Twitter users across multiple demographics in the United States are increasingly turning to the two services to access external news. Continue reading Pew Research: Facebook, Twitter Are Preferred News Sources

Authors and Booksellers Accuse Amazon of Antitrust Violations

A group of authors, their representatives and booksellers have banded together to ask the U.S. Department of Justice to investigate Amazon for antitrust violations. The move by authors and booksellers comes on the heels of an ugly contract dispute, during which Amazon made it difficult to buy books from publisher Hachette. Five years ago, Amazon secretly asked regulators to examine the practices of leading publishers, a move that ultimately gave the e-commerce company more influence. Continue reading Authors and Booksellers Accuse Amazon of Antitrust Violations

Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Facebook has turned its attention to music videos in its latest move to offer more video content to its users. The social media company began moving into video in the last few years, now showing content from BuzzFeed, Vice and other publishers, in addition to its user-generated content. Music videos would continue the trend and up the competition between Facebook and YouTube. Facebook currently has 1.4 billion worldwide users, and adding video is likely to extend the time that viewers stay on the site. Continue reading Facebook Looking to Expand Media Offerings with Music Videos

Appeals Court Agrees That Apple Conspired on E-Book Pricing

A federal appeals court has upheld an earlier ruling that determined Apple conspired with publishers to raise digital book prices. The U.S. Court of Appeals for the Second Circuit voted 2-to-1 in agreement of Judge Denise Cote’s 2013 decision when the case originally played out in the U.S. District Court in Manhattan. Apple and five publishers had been accused by the Justice Department of conspiring to increase prices above Amazon’s standard for new e-books through an ‘agency pricing’ model. The publishers settled prior to the trial, but Apple opted to fight the accusation. Continue reading Appeals Court Agrees That Apple Conspired on E-Book Pricing

Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Apple charges app publishers 30 percent of subscription amounts initiated through apps, the same percentage it collects for in-app revenue. Some companies have been working around the charge by not enabling subscriptions through their mobile iOS app or charging consumers more. However, the company is reportedly considering a change to the agreement, but only for subscriptions that are delivered via Apple devices rather than the App Store. Such a revision suggests that only services offered through Apple TV would likely be exempt from the 30 percent fee. Continue reading Apple Considering Change to iTunes Charge for App Partners

Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Periscope, Twitter’s new mobile live streaming app (and Meerkat competitor), is starting to draw the attention of advertisers and programmers. The app, which Twitter purchased this year for a reported $100 million, allows users to live stream content directly to and from their smartphones. The app was initially released only for iOS devices, but went live on Android phones this week. VH1 recently used the social tool to promote the wedding of two stars on “Love & Hip Hop” by providing users access to the ceremony’s red carpet arrival. Continue reading Now Live on Android, Periscope Part of New Social Strategies

Interest in Acquiring Flipboard Heats Up with Tech Companies

Reports recently surfaced that Twitter has been in talks this year to purchase Flipboard, in a deal that would value the company at more than $1 billion. The acquisition would bring an experienced product team to Twitter as well as an heir apparent to CEO Dick Costolo in Flipboard co-founder Mike McCue. However, updates to the news have suggested that talks between the two companies have stalled, and other companies, including Google and Yahoo have since had discussions about possibly acquiring the newsreader app. Continue reading Interest in Acquiring Flipboard Heats Up with Tech Companies

Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

As part of the growing backlash to Facebook’s Internet.org project, 65 advocacy organizations from 31 countries released a letter of protest this week to Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg. Facebook has partnered with wireless carriers and other organizations on the initiative that hopes to bring free Internet service to the developing world. However, the letter argues that the project “violates the principles of net neutrality, threatening freedom of expression, equality of opportunity, security, privacy, and innovation.” Continue reading Letter Released in Protest of Facebook’s Free Internet Project

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