Today’s Podcasts Are Finally Proving They Can Turn a Profit

Podcasts have the potential to be intimate, captivating and entertaining. The recent podcasting boom began in 2014 with “Serial,” a true crime drama that changed perceptions of how big podcasting could be. But it wasn’t profitable right away and took millions of downloads over time to get there. The question became: could podcasts similar to “Serial” be replicated on a commercial basis? It seems that they now have the potential. For example, news sources such as The New York Times and Vox are proving that there can be big money in daily news podcasting.

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Kickstarter Hires Reporter to Investigate Drone Startup Failure

Kickstarter has hired an investigative journalist to look into a recent case in which a successful fundraising campaign led to spectacular failure. British drone startup Torquing Group raised $3.4 million (£2.3 million) and, less than a year later, went down in flames. Its co-founder/chief executive Ivan Reedman left the company for “personal health issues and irreconcilable differences” and, a visit to the company’s Wales headquarters didn’t turn up a working prototype of the product due to ship within months. Continue reading Kickstarter Hires Reporter to Investigate Drone Startup Failure

Warner Music Group Buys Music Curation Startup Playlists.net

Warner Music Group’s artist and label services company WEA has acquired U.K.-based startup Playlists.net. The startup, which allows users to share, upload, and discover Spotify playlists, will still operate as a standalone company. Because the music charts in the U.K. now take streaming music into account, WEA could use Playlists.net’s platform to promote playlists with their artists or track data that could help predict up-and-coming artists or trends in music. Continue reading Warner Music Group Buys Music Curation Startup Playlists.net

Siri Creators Build a New Improved AI That Can Teach Itself

Viv Labs, a startup founded by three of the people who developed Siri for Apple, is currently working on an artificial intelligence technology that will truly be able to perform tasks at the sound of a voice command. Unlike Siri, the new AI named Viv will be able to teach itself to perform almost any function, not just the ones that are programmed. The AI will also get to know its user, recognize the services that the user prefers, and eventually know what the user needs before it is stated. Continue reading Siri Creators Build a New Improved AI That Can Teach Itself

Twitter Acquires AI Startup Madbits, Explores Image Search

Twitter announced that it has acquired an artificial intelligence startup known as Madbits. The social network is buying into Madbits’ technology that can search an image and understand its content. This new image search engine is based on deep learning, a type of AI that relies on convolutional neural nets, much like a human’s network of neurons in the brain. Twitter is just the latest in a line of tech companies to invest in this type of technology. Continue reading Twitter Acquires AI Startup Madbits, Explores Image Search

Keep’s OneCart Service Makes Online Shopping Even Easier

New York-based startup Keep allows Internet shoppers to add any merchandise from across e-commerce sites to one unified shopping cart. Now, with the addition of the OneCart feature, users can add an item from any online store to the mobile app and check out with minimal effort. And rather than entering credit card and shipping information for every shopping site, Keep unifies the experience by allowing users to enter information just once to be used universally. Continue reading Keep’s OneCart Service Makes Online Shopping Even Easier

Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Kumo, a startup that hopes to offer consumers access to individual channels rather than entire bundles, has raised $50 million in financing. The company may face significant hurdles, since content creators and owners have historically avoided this type of model, fearing a negative impact to their revenue streams. Unlike Aereo’s failed attempt at pairing an antenna with a cloud storage service, however, Kumo is reportedly working to license content for its a la carte approach. Continue reading Kumo Aims to Break TV Bundle by Offering Specific Channels

Dealflicks Partners with Movie Theaters to Offer Special Deals

Dealflicks is a company that offers movie and concession discounts in order to fill the empty seats in movie theaters. According to Dealflicks, about 88 percent of seats remain empty on average. The company is partnering with movie theaters to help attract consumers through special deals. Dealflicks has already raised $1.7 million in seed funding in order to offer these discounts through its mobile app. Meanwhile, over 400 theaters have partnered with the company.

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Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

High-profile YouTubers — whether they be vloggers, athletes, musicians or beauticians — can now reach their audience through personalized mobile apps. Victorious, a startup led by three former Google executives, launched last week. The company has recruited several YouTube celebrities to use its app to post photos and videos, and communicate with fans. Victorious will allow the creators to make money from in-app purchases, advertisements and merchandise sales. Continue reading Startup Offers Customized Mobile Apps for YouTube Celebrities

Global Wireless: Google Acquires Alpental in Pursuit of 5G

As part of its inititaive to extend Internet access to countries not yet connected, Google has acquired Alpental Technologies, a small startup focusing on 5G cellular service. Alpental, which was founded by former Clearwire engineers, has developed a cheap, high-speed networking technology that runs on 60GHz spectrum band. The FCC said that this band of spectrum has been used to provide service for buildings a mile apart at speeds up to seven gigabits per second. Continue reading Global Wireless: Google Acquires Alpental in Pursuit of 5G

Dutch Startup Blendle Develops Yet Another iTunes for News

A Dutch startup named Blendle has built what it calls an iTunes for news, where instead of buying songs, customers can purchase stories from different newspapers, magazines and websites. The benefit is that, rather than subscribing to an entire publication, users can select specific content. Individual articles go for as little as 14 cents. Available for a month, the service now has 60,000 registered users, and this week signed its first English-speaking publisher, The Economist. Continue reading Dutch Startup Blendle Develops Yet Another iTunes for News

Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

For the past nine years, Ostendo Technologies has been developing miniature projectors. The Carlsbad, California-based startup is particularly interested in projecting glasses-free 3D images for smartphones. Ostendo’s projectors are about the size of a Tic Tac, and are powered by a computer chip estimated to cost about $30. The startup expects the first 2D projectors to be sold to consumers in the summer of 2015, with the 3D projectors following in the second half of 2015. Continue reading Startup Introduces Chip to Bring Holograms to Smartphones

Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Energous and Witricity have developed new ways to charge smartphones, tablets and other small devices without needing wires to plug them into an outlet. Energous’ WattUp technology allows users to recharge phones in special cases or receivers that can pick up signals from a transmitter that is plugged in more than 10 feet away. Toyota and TDK are already planning to utilize Witricity’s wireless charging technology in upcoming hybrid and electric cars, and car batteries. Continue reading Startups Use New Technologies to Wirelessly Charge Phones

Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Researchers at MIT have developed a method for teaching computers to understand what is happening in video content. The method uses a similar approach to textual analysis, such as natural language processing, by looking at each part of a video to figure out what the whole thing means. The researchers created an algorithm to identify what occurs in individual frames of the video, and then determines what those mean when combined in a certain order. Continue reading Researchers Use Algorithm for Computers to Understand Video

Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

The Federal Communications Commission voted 3-2 yesterday in favor of moving forward with proposed rules that would allow broadband providers to charge individual companies extra for preferential handling of online traffic. The ongoing debate has divided tech companies regarding the best path to keeping the Internet open. FCC Chairman Tom Wheeler’s proposal would ban providers from blocking or slowing sites, but leaves open the possibility of deals for access to so-called “fast lanes.” Continue reading Net Neutrality: FCC Votes in Favor of Advancing Web Proposal

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