Study Finds Many Consumers Seeking Multi-Service Bundles

Bundling is back. Following the cord-cutting that led to a decline in content subscriptions, consumers now indicate they want multi-service deals, with discounts and choice as to what type of content is included. A new study from Hub Entertainment Research indicates that traditional SVODs have declined overall in household usage while areas such as gaming, music, podcasts and social media have increased. “TV is no longer the center of the entertainment universe,” the study suggests, noting premium video only accounts for about 6.3 percent of consumers’ total entertainment sources. Continue reading Study Finds Many Consumers Seeking Multi-Service Bundles

Google GenAI Accelerator Launches with $20 Million in Grants

Google.org, the charitable arm of the Alphabet giant, has launched a program to help fund non-profits working on technology to support “high-impact applications of generative AI.” The Google.org Accelerator: Generative AI is a six-month program that kicks off with more than $20 million in grants for 21 non-profit firms. Among them, student writing aid group Quill.org, job seeker for low- to middle-income countries Tabiya, and Benefits Data Trust, which helps low-income applicants access and enroll in public benefits. In addition to funds, the new unit provides mentorship, technical training and pro bono support from “a dedicated AI coach.” Continue reading Google GenAI Accelerator Launches with $20 Million in Grants

IP Theft Common in NFT Markets, But No New Laws Required

A government study finds that while IP theft is commonplace in the world of NFTs, existing laws can be applied to protect U.S. copyright, trademark and patent rights. Those are the findings of a study released this month by the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office in conjunction with the U.S. Copyright Office. The 112-page report concludes “existing statutory enforcement mechanisms are currently sufficient to address infringement concerns related to NFT applications, and that changes to intellectual property laws,” or to registration and recordation practices, “are not necessary or advisable at this time.” Continue reading IP Theft Common in NFT Markets, But No New Laws Required

YouTube, Facebook Most Popular Social Apps Among Adults

While YouTube and Facebook are the most-used platforms among U.S. adults, TikTok is the fastest growing, according to a new Pew Research survey on social media usage. Google’s YouTube led in popularity by a wide margin, with 83 percent of the 5,733 U.S. adults polled reporting they had used it at some point. Meta Platforms’ Facebook took second place, with 68 percent of respondents having at least tried it. Those two platforms also stood out for having the majority through each age demographic subset. Instagram, also owned by Meta, took third place, with 47 percent of respondents attesting they had used it. Continue reading YouTube, Facebook Most Popular Social Apps Among Adults

FCC Votes to End Cable and Satellite Early Termination Fees

The Federal Communications Commission is proposing to eliminate penalties for early termination and other so-called junk fees from cable and direct broadcast satellite television providers. The agency will also be studying the impact of such practices on consumers, which it believes may be subject to undue hardship when penalized for things like moving, unexpected financial hardship or poor service. During its December Open Meeting last week, the FCC voted to adopt a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking (NPR) to end what it appears to feel are unjustified fees that also potentially harm competition by adding costs to switching services. Continue reading FCC Votes to End Cable and Satellite Early Termination Fees

Pew: U.S. Teens Fixated on Video Apps YouTube and TikTok

Teenagers in the U.S. are finding it hard to tear themselves away from YouTube and TikTok, according to a new study of 13- to 17-year-olds by the Pew Research Center. Pew found that “nearly 1 in 5 saying they use the video-streaming apps ‘almost constantly.’” YouTube topped the chart for the second consecutive year, with 93 percent, “roughly 9 in 10 teens” saying they regularly use YouTube. That far outstrips TikTok, Snapchat and Instagram, which manage to creep to about 70 percent among a subset of teens 15 to 17. Among the total teen sample, that falls to 63 percent for TikTok, 60 percent for Snapchat and 59 percent for Instagram, according to Pew. Continue reading Pew: U.S. Teens Fixated on Video Apps YouTube and TikTok

Deloitte: Consumer Views of Connected Devices Are Changing

U.S. consumers are consolidating their devices, eliminating outdated ones to make room for new ones that better serve their needs, according to the fourth annual Deloitte Connected Consumer survey. The study found that while 48 percent of consumers purchased a minimum of one new connected device this year, the average number of devices per household fell to 21 in 2023 from 25 in 2021, “when many loaded up on technology during the COVID-19 pandemic.” Although many consumers may be attempting to streamline their digital lives, they remain very interested in virtual experiences and tech innovation. Continue reading Deloitte: Consumer Views of Connected Devices Are Changing

YouTube Connected TV Popularity Prompts Ad Break Testing

YouTube is increasingly popular among connected TV (CTV) viewers who no longer turn to the social video service only for music videos or one-off skits. YouTube says that in the U.S., 65 percent of CTV watch time is on content that is 21 minutes or longer. The shift has prompted the Google-owned platform to change its approach to display advertising. The company is experimenting with longer but fewer ad breaks and limiting creator control with regard to ad placement on new videos. A new countdown timer more prominently displays the time until an ad ends or can be skipped. Continue reading YouTube Connected TV Popularity Prompts Ad Break Testing

Governor Newsom Orders Study of GenAI Benefits and Risks

California Governor Gavin Newsom signed an executive order for state agencies to study artificial intelligence and its impact on society and the economy. “We’re only scratching the surface of understanding what GenAI is capable of,” Newsom suggested. Recognizing “both the potential benefits and risks these tools enable,” he said his administration is “neither frozen by the fears nor hypnotized by the upside.” The move was couched as a “measured approach” that will help California “focus on shaping the future of ethical, transparent, and trustworthy AI, while remaining the world’s AI leader.” Continue reading Governor Newsom Orders Study of GenAI Benefits and Risks

Salesforce: 17 Percent of Shoppers Have Used Generative AI

Salesforce suggests “the retail industry is again on the precipice of major disruption” based on consumer adoption of artificial intelligence, which is being used to change shopping habits and inform purchases through things like personalization, browsing suggestions and recommendations based on past habits and visualizations. Other popular use cases include AI-generated marketing assets and customer service agents. Based on a study conducted in May and June of this year involving 2,400 shoppers and 1,125 retail decision makers, Salesforce notes that one in six shoppers, or 17 percent, have already used generative AI for “purchase inspiration.” Continue reading Salesforce: 17 Percent of Shoppers Have Used Generative AI

U.S. Impacted by Significant Increase in Ransomware Attacks

Ransomware attacks have surged in the 12 months ending in June 2023, with the United States accounting for 43 percent of the 1,900 attacks reported — 7x greater than that of the second most popular target, the United Kingdom, at 196. The period marked a 75 percent increase in U.S. ransomware attacks, which were perpetrated by 48 different groups including CL0P, a gang believed to have ties to Russia. U.S. companies, governmental organizations and individual consumers were targeted during the period, with healthcare and educational institutions disproportionately impacted, according to a study by cybersecurity firm Malwarebytes. Continue reading U.S. Impacted by Significant Increase in Ransomware Attacks

Study: Smart TVs Are Now in 74 Percent of American Homes

Four in five U.S. homes now have a smart TV, accounting for three in five TV sets, according to the fifth annual Hub Entertainment Research “Evolution of the TV Set” survey, which found streaming is growing commensurate with penetration of the intelligent displays. About 64 percent of viewers use their smart TVs to stream video, while roughly half use the connected devices to stream music or other audio content, the study found. The 74 percent of households that own at least one smart TV is up from 61 percent in 2020. Additionally, Horowitz Research found that consumers are increasingly turning to curated collections and hubs for content discovery. Continue reading Study: Smart TVs Are Now in 74 Percent of American Homes

Meta’s Threads Adds Updates, Aims to Suppress Bot Attacks

Threads released an iOS update this week that automates the ability to translate posts into foreign languages. The Instagram spinoff also added a follows tab to the activities feed, where replies and mentions are displayed. Also new to iOS is the ability to access a list of any user’s Instagram followers, to subscribe to “unfollowed” users, and tappable repost labels. While Threads has prompted shock and awe by hitting 100 million downloads within five days of its July 5 launch, and is now at about 150 million, there are reports of dips in user activity. Meanwhile, the new platform has followed Twitter in introducing tighter rate limits. Continue reading Meta’s Threads Adds Updates, Aims to Suppress Bot Attacks

Twitter Usage Decline Could Indicate a Trend Moving Forward

About 60 percent of Americans who have used Twitter in the past year report taking a break from the platform during that time, with 25 percent of them predicting they are unlikely to be using the service a year from now, according to a study by the Pew Research Center. The survey of adult Twitter users was conducted March 13-19, approximately five months after billionaire Elon Musk purchased the site in October. The findings come amidst media debates as to whether Twitter is “dying,” according to Pew, which notes some high-level celebrity defections since Musk took over the social site. Continue reading Twitter Usage Decline Could Indicate a Trend Moving Forward

Microsoft Study: GPT-4 Nearing Artificial General Intelligence

A March research paper by Microsoft has reopened discussion as to whether artificial intelligence is inching toward human reasoning, as the industry grapples with how an AI system can assimilate training data in a way that allows it to generate answers and promulgate ideas that weren’t programmed into it. Asked for a stable way to stack a book, nine eggs, a laptop, a bottle and a nail, the Microsoft AI generated a response researchers say hinted at artificial general intelligence, or AGI, a term used to connote an as yet theoretical type of machine learning that can duplicate human reasoning. Continue reading Microsoft Study: GPT-4 Nearing Artificial General Intelligence