Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Verizon Media (formerly Oath) now has production studios located in Australia, Brazil, Canada, Hong Kong, London, New York, Paris, Singapore, Sunnyvale and Taiwan. In addition, it built a 5G Los Angeles studio with plans to help pioneer new formats and production tech enabled by advanced 5G wireless connectivity. The worldwide facilities are being used by Verizon Media brands such as AOL, HuffPost, TechCrunch and Yahoo. The L.A. space — led by Verizon Media’s immersive media arm RYOT — is outfitted with full motion capture and volumetric capture stages. Continue reading Verizon Media Tackles Production Tech With Global Studios

Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

Although Google+ might be considered a failed experiment in creating a social network, it still came in No. 1 in the 2017 American Customer Satisfaction Index, meaning some people still find it useful. Most brands have moved from Google+ to other social media platforms with bigger audiences, but Google didn’t give up, introducing Google My Business in 2014. The service, which allows businesses to manage how information about them appears in a search, is poised to go big with Google Posts. It could also help fend off Facebook as a competitor in search and advertising revenue. Continue reading Google Fends Off Facebook Threat with Local Search Feature

The First Reviewers Laud Apple iPhone X’s Screen, Camera

Apple only gave reviewers 24 hours to test out the iPhone X, so the reviews aren’t in-depth — but most of them are thumbs-up for the Silicon Valley company’s most expensive iPhone ever. Apple has positioned the iPhone X (pronounced “ten”) as its most cutting edge phone, with an almost full edge-to-edge 5.8-inch screen, no physical home button and new Face ID facial recognition to unlock it. The phone, which will be in stores on November 3, is priced at $999 for 64 gigabytes of storage and $1,149 for 256 gigabytes. Continue reading The First Reviewers Laud Apple iPhone X’s Screen, Camera

Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

Verizon completed its $4.48 billion purchase of Yahoo’s Internet business, which it will combine with Internet pioneer AOL. The two merged companies form Oath, a new division led by AOL chief executive Tim Armstrong that will serve about 1.3 billion monthly users. Verizon executive Marni Walden says the strategy is to place the same content in multiple locales to reach the biggest audience possible. “There is a tremendous opportunity to increase viewership of some of these brands,” she said.  Continue reading Verizon Merges Yahoo, AOL Into Oath, With 1.3 Billion Users

AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

AOL is planning to release 5 percent of its staff today, affecting about 500 employees. “CEO Tim Armstrong said that most of the cuts will come in its corporate units, while resources will be shifted more at mobile, video and data offerings going forward,” reports Recode. AOL, which was purchased last year by Verizon, recently added 1,500 employees from its ad deal with Microsoft and acquisition of Millennial Media. AOL’s current structure features its media unit (with properties such as Huffington Post and TechCrunch) and its platforms groups, which includes its advertising tech. “Armstrong said the layoffs are not related to current discussions AOL execs are having with Yahoo counterparts about integration between the two companies,” notes Recode. Continue reading AOL Layoffs Reflect New Emphasis on Mobile, Video and Data

The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Verizon announced it would acquire Yahoo’s core operating business in a $4.83 billion cash deal expected to close in the first quarter of next year. Yahoo will join Verizon’s growing stable of digital properties, including AOL, which it purchased last May for $4.4 billion. The deal should help Verizon ramp up its mobile efforts and combine AOL’s ad tech with Yahoo’s online sites and services. AOL chief Tim Armstrong and Verizon exec Marni Walden spearheaded the deal. “This culminates a rigorous, thorough process over many months, and yields a great outcome for the company,” wrote Yahoo CEO Marissa Mayer in a letter to her employees. Continue reading The Wait Is Over: Verizon Will Acquire Yahoo for $4.83 Billion

Twitter Expands Video Ads to 30 Seconds, Adds a Skip Button

Twitter now offers 30-second pre-roll video ads, with an immediate skip option for viewers who don’t want to watch them. The ads run in front of videos that are part of Twitter’s Amplify program, a social television initiative for broadcasters to publish real-time in-tweet video clips accompanied by Twitter’s standard six-second ads. Twitter hopes the longer ads will re-energize the Amplify program, since six-second ads are a hurdle for media partners, which have an inventory of 15-second and 30-second ads. Continue reading Twitter Expands Video Ads to 30 Seconds, Adds a Skip Button

SoundHound Offers Digital Assistant Platform to Developers

SoundHound’s Hound app, which is designed to rival digital assistants like Siri, Cortana and Google Now, will be available to third-party developers for the first time. The company best known for its music recognition app released the Houndify platform so that developers can add the Hound digital assistant to their own products. According to the company, Hound can answer complex queries with data from partners like Expedia, AccuWeather, Sportradar and Xignite. Continue reading SoundHound Offers Digital Assistant Platform to Developers

Verizon to Acquire AOL in Push for Mobile Video and Ad Tech

Verizon Communications announced that it plans to acquire AOL for $4.4 billion as part of its larger initiative to develop mobile video and advertising opportunities. As part of the deal, Verizon will pick up assets such as Adap.tv, Convertro, The Huffington Post, Moviefone, and TechCrunch, among others. According to AOL, the combination of networks will match the scale of Facebook and Google. Following the merger, expected to close this summer, AOL CEO Tim Armstrong will continue running the company and help build the growing content business. Continue reading Verizon to Acquire AOL in Push for Mobile Video and Ad Tech

Google Acquires Mobile Startup Polar to Reinvigorate Google+

Google has acquired mobile startup Polar, to bring the founder Luke Wroblewski and his team to Google+. Polar developed online polling technology for clients such as HBO, TechCrunch and USA Today to poll their users on mobile websites and apps. At Google, the new hires are expected to work on optimizing Google’s struggling social network for the mobile platform. Wroblewski is a prominent mobile designer and author of the book, “Mobile First.” Continue reading Google Acquires Mobile Startup Polar to Reinvigorate Google+