Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Netflix is strategizing ways to court the hundreds of thousands of people in places like India that are glued to watching YouTube on their mobile phones. Only a few months, ago, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said sleep was Netflix’s biggest competitor. But since his company is also eyeing India for its next 100 million Netflix subscribers, that country’s focus on YouTube is concerning. Netflix and Amazon, both of which have spent billions to produce original content, still find it difficult to crack emerging markets. Continue reading Netflix and Amazon Face Formidable Video Rival in YouTube

Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

Netflix revealed its plan to test a lower-priced tier of its subscription streaming service in certain areas as part of a strategy to boost sales, especially in emerging markets such as Asia. While the company has not committed to specific regions or a time frame, CEO Reed Hastings explained that Netflix is looking to experiment. The move would represent a shift for the company, which has consistently maintained or raised its prices while spending more on new content and local productions to attract new customers. Netflix is not expected to reduce the cost of its lowest tier, but rather introduce an alternate fourth tier with different features. Continue reading Netflix Plans to Experiment With Lower Price in Asian Markets

Right to Be Forgotten Case Could Affect Borderless Internet

In early 2019, the European Union’s highest court will likely rule on a dispute between Google and French regulators on the right to be forgotten. In 2015, French regulators ordered Google to respect this right on all its sites worldwide — in other words, not just google.fr but also google.com. Google’s argument (and that of many other tech companies) is that this “right” not only menaces free speech but is an onus for private companies, encroaches on sovereignty and creates a range of other risks. Continue reading Right to Be Forgotten Case Could Affect Borderless Internet

Facebook Extends Watch Video Platform to a Global Audience

Facebook announced that its Facebook Watch video platform is rolling out worldwide starting today. The VOD platform, designed for episodic content and a potential competitor to YouTube, initially launched in the U.S. one year ago. In what should be good news to content creators and publishers, Facebook is also making its Ad Breaks program for monetizing video content available in Australia, Ireland, New Zealand and the United Kingdom, with plans to launch in 21 other countries in September. Continue reading Facebook Extends Watch Video Platform to a Global Audience

Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

After introducing its Samsung Cinema LED during CinemaCon in Las Vegas, Samsung announced that it is debuting the movie theater screen in Europe, with plans for more global markets including the U.S. in 2018. The Samsung Cinema LED screen’s first commercial installation was in South Korea in July, with another in Bangkok, Thailand a few months later. The first European installation will be at Arena Cinemas in Zurich, Switzerland. The screen displays 33.6 x 17.8 feet and supports 4K resolution and high-dynamic range images. Continue reading Samsung Begins Installation of ‘Cinema LED’ Movie Screens

LINE’s New Clova Wave Smart Speaker Is Available in Japan

LINE, known for its popular WhatsApp-style mobile messaging platform, has released a $125 smart speaker in Japan named Clova Wave, beating Amazon and Google to market. LINE has more than 220 million messaging users in the region. The company first announced the speaker device at a conference in June, after unveiling its new digital assistant, Clova. LINE also earlier announced a smart speaker called Champ, based on the LINE Friends characters, but no release date was revealed. LINE is a subsidiary of Naver Corp., South Korea’s largest web operator and search portal. Continue reading LINE’s New Clova Wave Smart Speaker Is Available in Japan

Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

China’s Ant Financial Services Group, an affiliate of Alibaba Group Holdings, is building a global network of merchants that accept its payment services via the Alipay mobile payments app. Ant Financial just announced a partnership with the online-payments arm of Thai conglomerate Charoen Pokphand Group, meaning that Chinese tourists can use their familiar payment app there. Alibaba has also launched its new Digital Media and Entertainment Group as the company continues its push into movies, online video, music, gaming and more. Continue reading Alibaba Expands Alipay, Creates Media Entertainment Group

Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Bots are text or language-based user interfaces to a service rather than ones that are graphical, and they’re getting a boost from several big technology companies, especially those that missed out on smartphones and their apps. Microsoft has described a vision of bots that can do everything from book a hotel room to order pizza, and has debuted tools to make it easier for a developer or small business owner to build one. Now, Facebook has plans to roll out a bot store that connects with its Messenger service. Continue reading Bots Could Replace Apps for Microsoft, Facebook and Others

Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance

Uber Technologies, which increased its U.S. gross revenue about 200 percent this year, plans to raise as much as $2.1 billion in its latest financing round that would value the company at $62.5 billion. The funding would enable Uber to pursue its goals of branching into new services such as food and package delivery, explore new technology such as autonomous cars, and grow globally, particularly in China. Meanwhile, Lyft and other international Uber rivals have formed an alliance to inter-connect their services. Continue reading Uber Approaches $62.5 Billion Valuation, Rivals Form Alliance

Pirate Bay File-Sharing Service Raided by Police, Shut Down

The Pirate Bay was taken down yesterday after Swedish police raided a server room over alleged copyright violations, seizing computers and servers in the process. Pirate Bay’s file-sharing section and its Suprbay.org forum were both affected. The move follows a series of recent events surrounding the service that have returned it to the spotlight. Online sources are reporting that file sharing services such as EZTV, Torrage and Zoink also went down yesterday, but it is not yet clear whether they were raided. Continue reading Pirate Bay File-Sharing Service Raided by Police, Shut Down

PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Late last week, Google added new payment options to the Google Play Store, including the ability to use PayPal for the purchase of apps, music and movies. Paypal can now be used as a payment method for Google’s virtual storefront in 12 countries including the U.S. While this is the first time Google has offered the PayPal option (Microsoft’s Windows Phone Store has featured the option since its inception), the payment method can only be used for digital content, which excludes devices or accessories. Continue reading PayPal Can Now Be Used for Purchases in Google Play Store

Despite Piracy, Global Cinema Experiences Revenue Growth

A new report released by the Motion Picture Association of America during CinemaCon this week in Las Vegas points to good news as movie industry revenues around the globe increased four percent from 2012 to 2013. While revenue from U.S. and Canada box offices were only up one percent, the global increases suggest that the movie industry has been able to survive during the ongoing threat of online piracy. Revenue in China also increased, the country that sits on top of the piracy list. Continue reading Despite Piracy, Global Cinema Experiences Revenue Growth