Xiaomi Plans Hong Kong IPO, China Reins In Tech Companies

Chinese smartphone manufacturer Xiaomi plans to launch its IPO in Hong Kong in what is anticipated to be the world’s biggest IPO in 2018. The filing with the Hong Kong stock exchange did not reveal the size or projected valuation of the offering, but sources say the company hopes to raise at least $10 billion. A source also reported that the listing will value the company at “less than the $100 billion figure previously suggested.” Xiaomi’s filing also uncovered some financial details for the first time. Continue reading Xiaomi Plans Hong Kong IPO, China Reins In Tech Companies

Qualcomm Reveals 5G Test Results, First Networks to Debut

Qualcomm just revealed the results of tests it ran in Frankfurt and San Francisco to determine real-world speeds of 5G networks. The tests took geography, user demands, and various devices with different levels of LTE/5G connectivity to simulate real-world conditions. The tests were also focused on 5G NR (New Radio) networks, built in tandem with existing 4G LTE networks, that could launch as early as next year. Presented at the Mobile World Congress, Qualcomm results show that just how fast the new networks will be. Continue reading Qualcomm Reveals 5G Test Results, First Networks to Debut

Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

Vudu will now let people convert their DVD and Blu-ray Disc content into digital copies for use on various Internet-connected devices by simply scanning the UPC barcode via their smartphones. One caveat, however, is that the Vudu Mobile Disc-to-Digital feature requires the user to be physically located at their home billing address. That requirement is an anti-fraud measure put in place by Walmart, which bought the premium video-streaming service in 2010. The feature is also limited to transfer 100 titles per year per account. Continue reading Vudu’s Mobile App Converts DVDs, Blu-rays into Digital Copies

Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Facebook’s Live Audio, a complement to its Facebook Live video streaming, launched with a handful of publishers and authors testing out the ability to deliver news radio, podcasts and other audio-based services. BBC World Service, British talk radio LBC, publisher HarperCollins, and authors Adam Grant and Britt Bennett are the first to use the service, followed next year, says Facebook, by more “publishers and people.” Broadcasters have a limit of four hours, which will allow a wide range of content. Continue reading Facebook Debuts Live Audio with HarperCollins, BBC, Others

Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

Earlier this year, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings said the idea of offering video downloads was a possibility — but he wasn’t more specific. Now, industry insider Dan Taitz, whose company Penthera Partners offers video downloading technology, reports that, by the end of the year, Netflix will allow subscribers to download some programs for offline viewing, a feature already in place at Amazon, Comcast and elsewhere. Frost & Sullivan principal analyst Dan Rayburn confirms Taitz’s prediction. Continue reading Netflix Plans Debut of Video Download Feature By End of Year

ELeague Broadcasts Gaming Competitions on TBS and Twitch

Turner and WME|IMG’s new gaming league ELeague, which began showing “Counter-Strike: Global Offensive” competitions via online video streaming service Twitch, will now debut the winning teams this Friday at 10 p.m. on national cable TV channel TBS. This is the latest attempt to bring eSports to TV, including one by DirecTV, which failed to gain traction. The trick to make it succeed is to translate eSports “online sensibility” to television, bringing some of its 214 million 18-to-25 year old viewers along for the ride. Continue reading ELeague Broadcasts Gaming Competitions on TBS and Twitch

Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Since Facebook rolled out Live to everyone in December, it’s quickly built momentum, distinguishing itself from YouTube and other video platforms, and building a massive audience. Although Facebook had to overcome a range of technical challenges to enable hundreds of thousands of phones to stream at the same time, it used its expertise and engineering capacity to do so. Now, Facebook is encouraging celebrities and broadcasters to create Live content, and is also working on a business model to share eventual revenues. Continue reading Facebook Live Partners with Broadcast, Aims to Share Profits

Rental Kiosk Leader Redbox Readies Video Streaming Service

Redbox plans to launch a video streaming service called Redbox Digital. The DVD rental company previously launched Redbox Instant, a streaming service joint venture with Verizon, which lasted 18 months. The new effort will be a video-on-demand store similar to iTunes, Vudu or Google Play, letting consumers stream or buy digital copies of movies or TV show episodes. Redbox Digital will be part of the service’s existing loyalty program, integrate into its mobile apps and support TV-connected platforms like Chromecast and Roku. Continue reading Rental Kiosk Leader Redbox Readies Video Streaming Service

Netflix Pioneers Upcoming Trend of Moving IT to Public Cloud

Netflix became one of the largest companies to move all its information technology to Amazon Web Services’ public cloud platform, completing a process that began seven years ago. The company says that, among hundreds of IT functions in the cloud, it’s moved business logic, distributed databases, big data processing and analytics, recommendations and transcoding apps to the AWS servers, and shut down its last on-premise data center. The shift to cloud services also helped Netflix expand to 130 more countries. Continue reading Netflix Pioneers Upcoming Trend of Moving IT to Public Cloud

Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Amazon is recruiting comedians, radio producers, engineers, marketers and lawyers for almost 100 positions in the company’s growing Audible division. Audible currently offers more than 250,000 audiobooks and plays, but the new hires suggest that Amazon is investing in more original programming. Prominent comedians like Maria Bamford and Jonathan Katz, as well as producers from NPR, WNYC and the radio show “Fresh Air,” have already joined the Audible team. Continue reading Amazon Expands Its Audible Programming to Include Podcasts

Amazon Plans to Expand Online Grocery Shopping in Europe

Amazon is looking to expand its services, particularly online grocery shopping and video streaming, in Europe this year. The company plans to add several thousand new jobs in Europe to help expand its operations. Amazon has already found success in its online grocery shopping and delivery service, Amazon Fresh, in the United Kingdom, and will likely use that model in other major cities. Amazon’s online sales continue to grow at the same pace as the online sales rate across the region. Continue reading Amazon Plans to Expand Online Grocery Shopping in Europe

Netflix Earns Spot in the Top 10 Grossing Apps Worldwide

Netflix has become one of the world’s top grossing apps after the streaming company introduced an in-app subscription option. Netflix placed ninth in App Annie’s Top Grossing Apps chart for November 2015. This marks the first time that Netflix has made the list, joining the ranks of other streaming services including Spotify, Pandora, HBO Now and Hulu. Netflix’s reluctance to sell subscriptions through its app in the past may have been due to Apple’s steep cut of in-app purchase revenue. Continue reading Netflix Earns Spot in the Top 10 Grossing Apps Worldwide

Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

Vevo, a joint venture of Universal Music Group, Google, Sony Music Entertainment, and Abu Dhabi Media, just bought Showyou, a subscription-based video streaming platform and Vevo’s first-ever acquisition. The move is largely seen as Vevo’s effort to become more independent from its reliance on YouTube and to compete directly with other premium products including YouTube Red and Spotify. Showyou, which started as a social curation platform in 2011, switched to a subscription-based service last year. Continue reading Vevo Buys Showyou to Cut Out YouTube, Compete with Spotify

T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

T-Mobile US will stream 24 video services including Netflix, Hulu and HBO for free, albeit at lower quality. The wireless company has already used this tactic — called zero rating, which means the data will not be counted against the subscriber’s data limit — for its Music Freedom service, which includes music streaming apps Spotify and Apple Music among others. The new video exemption, dubbed Binge On, does not, however, include video from YouTube, Facebook and Netflix and requires users to have a 3GB plan or larger. Continue reading T-Mobile Launches Binge On: Video Streaming, No Data Cap

China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

Though LeTV is little known in the U.S., that’s about to change. The Chinese online video and consumer electronics behemoth, which posted an estimated $1.6 billion in revenue last year, is about to introduce U.S. consumers to its Android-based smartphone, a bike with an integrated GPS device, smart TVs with voice control, a 4K video streaming box and a VR headset. The company plans to initially focus on the 3 million Chinese speakers in the U.S. but has also inked a two-picture deal with “Lion King” director Rob Minkoff. Continue reading China’s LeTV Brings VR Headset, Smart TV, More to the U.S.

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