E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

While Amazon may be best known for its fast delivery and massive product selection, the Seattle-based company has also devoted a great deal of effort to offering one of the best refund and return policies possible. In fact, Amazon currently leads all e-commerce retailers when it comes to cash back for items returned. Where some companies take days, even weeks to reimburse customers for returns, Amazon takes an average of 1.3 days, according to a new study by StellaService Inc.  Continue reading E-Commerce: Amazon’s Return Policy Jumps Ahead of the Pack

Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

Last year, Ritz-Carlton Hotel experienced a different kind of disappointment with advertising campaigns. The company wanted to promote its brand page on Facebook but quickly stopped the campaign. Unhappy executives saw too much gain from these ads. Now, rather than trying to grow its fan base, Ritz-Carlton has focused on analyzing its social media conversations to better grasp the likes and dislikes of its guests. The plan highlights a shift in corporate social media strategies. Continue reading Corporate Shift in Social Media Seeks Quality Over Quantity

Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Apple and Google have agreed to drop all lawsuits between the two tech giants. According to a joint statement, there is no cross-licensing agreement as part of the truce, but the companies would work in “some areas of patent reform.” The announcement effectively ends about 20 lawsuits and covers Apple’s patent litigation with Google’s Motorola unit, which started four years ago and Google later inherited when it purchased Motorola Mobility. However, the deal does not affect Apple’s patent litigation against Samsung. Continue reading Apple and Google End Patent Battle, Agree to Work on Reform

Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

According to a new report from Strategy Analytics, Ultra High-Definition is poised for rapid adoption in the U.S., with a projected 33 percent of households expected to have UHD TV sets by 2020. The report, “Ultra High-Definition TV Displays: Global Market Forecast: 2012-2020,” predicts that North America will become the leading region in UHD penetration by 2020, and entry level prices for UHD TVs will drop below $2,000 this year from one or more of the major brands. Continue reading Report: UHD TV to Reach One-Third of U.S. Households by 2020

FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

While FedEx has traditionally charged to ship packages based solely on weight, the company has changed its policy to also price packages according to size. The move is expected to increase the price of over a third of FedEx’s U.S. ground shipments, and dramatically impact e-commerce companies. The next question is whether or not UPS will follow FedEx’s lead and consider a new pricing strategy as well. In the past, UPS and FedEx have kept similar pricing, rather than use pricing as a competitive advantage. Continue reading FedEx Responds to E-Commerce Boom with Increased Pricing

LinkedIn Hopes to Grow Audience with User Generated Content

Social network LinkedIn brought in $473.2 million in revenue for the first quarter of 2014. The company’s plan for the coming years is to increase the number of users and the frequency that those users visit the site by focusing on content posted by well-known professionals and everyday users alike. Currently, LinkedIn has 300 million people signed up for an account on their site, but during Q1, it had only 186 million unique visitors monthly via computers. Continue reading LinkedIn Hopes to Grow Audience with User Generated Content

Rdio to Launch Free, Ad-Supported Music Service This Year

Music service Rdio is planning a free, ad-supported offering to launch later this year. The service is also expected to add more non-music content and morning shows from Cumulus, which became a significant investor in Rdio last year. Some of that may include sports and talk show content from WestWood One, which Cumulus recently acquired. Cumulus CEO Lew Dickey introduced the new ad-supported model during a Q1 earnings call earlier this week. Continue reading Rdio to Launch Free, Ad-Supported Music Service This Year

AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

AOL announced it will launch a free streaming movie service through a new agreement with Miramax that will make Miramax’s library of films available to stream online and on mobile devices. Film selections will be refreshed each month. AOL’s new homepage video portal features clips from Moviefone, Huffpost Live, ESPN, Conde Nast and others. Through the new deal, AOL users will also have the ability to add Miramax titles to their rotation of news and entertainment video. Continue reading AOL Launching Ad-Supported Streaming Video with Miramax

Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Microsoft is expanding beyond video games in an effort to make its Xbox console more of an entertainment media hub. The software giant is planning to produce TV-like original programming including an expected series from Steven Spielberg based on “Halo,” a version of Swedish sci-fi show “Humans,” a soccer reality-style series and a documentary about discarded Atari games. Microsoft joins a growing field as companies such as Netflix, Amazon, Hulu and Yahoo are tackling original content. Continue reading Microsoft Planning Original TV Programming for Xbox Console

Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

Facebook is expected to launch its mobile advertising network during the F8 developer conference in San Francisco at the end of this month. Facebook plans to leverage its massive user information database for better ad targeting, and will pitch the ads to publishers and developers. The social giant will also benefit from expanding its ad reach, and will allow the company to profit from its over 1 billion users even when they are not on the site itself. Continue reading Facebook Plans to Launch its Long-Awaited Mobile Ad Network

In Strategic Move, Nike Lays Off Majority of FuelBand Team

Nike may be gearing up to shut down its wearable hardware efforts, after laying off the majority of its FuelBand fitness tracker team. The 70-person team, part of the tech-focused Digital Sport division, is responsible for developing and revising hardware including the FuelBand and Nike+ sportwatch. A person familiar with the matter told CNET late last week that about 70 to 80 percent of the team was let go. However, employees from Nike Digital Tech, responsible for Web software, were reportedly not affected. Continue reading In Strategic Move, Nike Lays Off Majority of FuelBand Team

New Twitter Redesign Emulates Facebook for Mainstream Appeal

Twitter profiles will receive a significant design overhaul in the coming weeks. Profile pages will include a large horizontal cover photo and a prominent profile picture, which are unmistakably similar to the look of Facebook profiles. The most popular tweets will also appear larger in the timeline and users can now pin a favorite tweet to the top of their page. Visitors to profiles will be able to filter timelines to include only tweets with photos, videos or replies. Continue reading New Twitter Redesign Emulates Facebook for Mainstream Appeal

Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

The Entertainment Technology Center@USC will host “Eventually OpenStack” on Monday, March 17 in Santa Monica. The event, scheduled for 6:30-8:30 pm and open to all, will examine how open source and cloud technologies are impacting the media and entertainment industry. Presenters include Yahoo’s Sean Roberts (board director at The OpenStack Foundation), DigitalFilm Tree CTO Guillaume Aubuchon, and Steve Hallett of Symantec. For more information, contact Erik Weaver at ETC or visit the event’s registration page. Continue reading Production in the Cloud: ETC to Host OpenStack Event Next Week

Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

Social photo- and video-sharing site Instagram has signed its first major advertising deal with an agency. Instagram is launching a paid ad program with Omnicom Media Group, which agreed to a year-long commitment of up to $100 million that will deliver ads from brands tied to Omnicom’s media and creative agencies. Instagram, which launched in October 2010, was acquired by Facebook in 2012. Today, Instagram says its 150 million active users upload 55 million photos daily. Continue reading Instagram Flexes its Muscles with E-Commerce and New Ad Deal

OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

OnLive, a startup that provides users with online video game streaming, is shifting its strategy to allow users to play games that are purchased from other services, as well as access games without being connected to the Internet. OnLive’s original goal was to enable users to play sophisticated games over the Internet, and eliminate the need to buy hardware or install software to play them. OnLive’s service could be compared to Netflix, but for video games instead of movies. Continue reading OnLive Shifts Strategy Beyond Simply Streaming Games Online

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