Audible and Amazon Continue to Dominate Audiobook Market

Audiobook sellers like Amazon-owned Audible are competing for the ears, not eyes, of book lovers. And they’re showing promise. In 2016, audiobook sales climbed to $2.1 billion, representing an 18 percent jump from the previous year (the format experienced a 26.2 percent sales increase during the first three quarters of 2017). Audible represents about 41 percent of all audiobook sales, and when paired with Amazon, which sells audiobooks directly through its website, the two make up more than half of the market. Audible’s library includes 400,000 titles and its annual subscriber growth is in the double digits.

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Save Tweets for Later With Twitter’s New Bookmark Feature

After years of requests (and users experimenting with inefficient workarounds), Twitter is finally introducing a feature called Bookmarks that allows users to save tweets in a private area on the app for later viewing. The feature, which Twitter announced last fall was in development, should provide a convenient option for saving articles and videos. “In the scheme of things, Bookmarks is a small change,” notes Recode. “It’s not the kind of feature that’s going to have a notable impact on Twitter’s user growth or revenue. It’s not going to help with Twitter’s abuse problems. It’s just a simple way to make Twitter better.” Continue reading Save Tweets for Later With Twitter’s New Bookmark Feature

CES: Kuzzle Launches its Advanced Backend Solution for IoT

Following 15 years of working on assorted web and digital projects, French startup Kuzzle shifted direction and used the backend infrastructure from its earlier projects to build a new development platform. The company created an open-source backend solution for the Internet of Things designed to be compatible with major cloud providers. The scalable tech can be used for connecting devices, synchronizing data, authentication, geofencing, security and more. Kuzzle can be used as a backend solution for web services, mobile apps and IoT.  Continue reading CES: Kuzzle Launches its Advanced Backend Solution for IoT

Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

Over the weekend, the Meredith Corporation agreed to an acquisition of New York-based Time Inc. in an all-cash deal worth $2.8 billion. The deal includes a $650 million infusion from the private equity arm of billionaire brothers Charles and David Koch. Through its National Media division, Iowa-based Meredith owns popular magazines such as Better Homes & Gardens, Family Circle, Living and Shape. The purchase will add notable publications including People, Sports Illustrated and Time to the Meredith line-up. The company’s Local Media division owns a collection of TV stations. Continue reading Meredith Expands its National Reach with Time Inc. Purchase

Google Submits New Plan to Comply with EU Antitrust Order

In June, the European Union fined Google €2.4 billion ($2.9 billion) over the practice of favoring its own services through Google Search results. Now, the tech behemoth has said it has complied, submitting details of how it will end its anti-competitive practices. The European Commission gave Google until September 28 to stop the practices, after which the company would be fined as much as 5 percent of Alphabet’s average daily worldwide turnover, estimated at about $12 million per day, based on its 2016 turnover of $90.3 billion. Continue reading Google Submits New Plan to Comply with EU Antitrust Order

Amazon Opens Bookstore in NYC, Plans Six More This Year

Amazon just opened its seventh bookstore, a 4,000 square foot space, in the Time Warner Center at Columbus Circle in midtown Manhattan at the heart of the publishing industry. Nearby is the site of a bygone Borders bookstore in addition to publishers such as Penguin Random House, Simon & Schuster and Hachette Book Group. Amazon has committed to opening a chain of brick-and-mortar bookstores around the country, an irony given that the company’s online sale of books is often cited as a major factor in the demise of many bookstores nationwide. Continue reading Amazon Opens Bookstore in NYC, Plans Six More This Year

Facebook Journalism Project Aims to Improve Ties with Media

Facebook’s Journalism Project is creating stronger connections to media companies, the result of the company’s unwelcomed limelight regarding fake news, and founder Mark Zuckerberg’s reluctant admission that the company is, at least in part, a media company. Facebook is also reaching out to support local news and making more efforts to educate users about hoaxes. Facebook plans to offer training for journalists and keep media updated on its efforts. This is the latest chapter in a historically complicated relationship. Continue reading Facebook Journalism Project Aims to Improve Ties with Media

Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

The Washington Post is unrolling a new “lightning-fast” mobile website based on Google’s Progressive Web Apps that loads pages in under one second; the current mobile site loads pages in about three seconds. The goal is to create the fastest mobile news site possible, says chief technology officer Shailesh Prakash, who notes that 70 percent of the newspaper’s digital traffic is from mobile devices. The Post plans to direct 10 percent of traffic to the new site now, segueing to a complete switch by the end of the year. Continue reading Washington Post Turns to Google Tech for Faster Mobile Site

NBCU’s BuzzFeed Launches Rio Olympics Snapchat Channel

At the Rio Olympics, a dozen BuzzFeed employees are putting out a daily edition of Snapchat Discover, the first major collaboration since NBCUniversal invested $200 million in BuzzFeed last year. NBC Olympics president Gary Zenkel said it was an easy choice to give BuzzFeed the task of producing the daily Olympics Snapchat channel because of the company’s expertise is creating video for social networks. NBCUniversal has also given BuzzFeed “free rein” to create content that will engage Snapchat’s audience. Continue reading NBCU’s BuzzFeed Launches Rio Olympics Snapchat Channel

Google Ramps Up its Cloud Business with Purchase of Anvato

Google announced yesterday that eight-year-old video platform Anvato is joining Google’s cloud division. Anvato’s software “fully automates the encoding, editing, publishing and secure distribution of video content across multiple platforms,” according to the Google Cloud Platform Blog. Anvato’s Media Content Platform, which counts media companies such as NBCUniversal, Fox Sports and Univision among its many customers, is expected to help Google “enable scalable media processing and workflows in the cloud.” Google is looking to compete with Amazon and Microsoft in cloud storage. Its current media clients include Sky News and Spotify. Continue reading Google Ramps Up its Cloud Business with Purchase of Anvato

Tumblr Users Can Stream Live Video to Followers’ Dashboards

Blogging platform Tumblr now enables users to live stream video directly to their followers’ dashboards. Live videos “can be reblogged like any other post,” while push notifications can be distributed when someone goes live or reblogs a live stream. Unlike Facebook Live, Tumblr is positioning itself as the publishing and discovery platform for existing services, including YouTube, YouNow, Kanvas and Upclose. All partner apps are ready to support live streaming to Tumblr on iOS and Android, with the exception of YouTube, which is Android-ready now and will add iOS support shortly. Continue reading Tumblr Users Can Stream Live Video to Followers’ Dashboards

FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

The Federal Communications Commission has approved Altice NV’s proposed $17.7 billion acquisition of Cablevision Systems Corp. As part of the deal, the European telecom group would assume Cablevision debt and invest to upgrade the company’s broadband. According to the FCC, Altice has a record of improving services after investing in broadband companies in Belgium, France, Israel, Luxembourg and Portugal. In December, the FCC approved Altice’s $9.1 billion purchase of Missouri-based cable company Suddenlink Communications. Continue reading FCC Signs Off on Altice Acquisition of Cablevision Systems

Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Yahoo chief exec Marissa Mayer has decided to close the company’s online magazine initiative, which was one of her signature projects. Yahoo notified editors and writers at 15 publications that they would be let go. The digital magazines covered topics such as autos, crafts, fashion, food, health, real estate, technology and travel — some of which will be folded into Yahoo News moving forward. Yahoo plans to continue some original content for areas including tech and fashion, but publications covering autos and food lost all their staff. Continue reading Yahoo Streamlines Online Magazine Project to Trim Work Force

Adele’s New Album to Launch Today, But Not for Streaming

Adele’s long-awaited new album “25,” her first in nearly five years, is scheduled for release today, but will not be made available via top streaming services such as Spotify and Apple Music. Less than one day before the album’s launch, major music services were reportedly informed that the singer’s new songs would not be made available for streaming. With the music industry in flux, especially in regards to distribution platforms, most artists need to accept the royalty payments and terms of service related to streaming offerings. However, top acts such as Adele, Beyoncé and Taylor Swift may have the power to set their own terms. Continue reading Adele’s New Album to Launch Today, But Not for Streaming

Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

Pandora Media and Sony/ATV announced a multiyear licensing deal yesterday that brings the companies together to provide better rates for artists while allowing Pandora to “benefit from greater rate certainty” that could also help “add new flexibility to the company’s product offering over time.” The direct licensing deal arrives as the music industry prepares for potential changes regarding federal regulation of songwriting rights. Sony/ATV is the world’s biggest music publisher with songwriting rights to thousands of artists, including the Beatles and Taylor Swift. Continue reading Pandora and Sony/ATV No Longer Opponents in Streaming Wars

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