The headline on 21 Feb 2020
Google is ending the free wifi that it made available at Indian railway stations and other public spaces. It said there’s no longer a need because India’s data costs are already among the lowest in the world.
Google is reportedly in talks with publishers to pay them for content that will go into a new “premium” news product. Source: The Wall Street Journal > Google in Talks to Pay Publishers for News
Twitter acquired the creator of Chroma Stories, which gives creators and businesses a bunch of templates to post to IG Stories and Snapchat. Twitter makes it sound like this is just an acqui-hire. But could Twitter Stories be a thing?
Facebook is testing new ways for people to explore the News Feed. New formats could include a chronological Most Recent view, as well as an Already Seen. Source: TechCrunch > Facebook prototypes tabbed News Feed with Most Recent & Seen
Australia’s competition watchdog, the ACCC, will start two new inquiries into possible anti-competitive behaviour by digital platforms. This was part of the recommendations from a previous inquiry that looked into whether tech companies like Google and Facebook were taking a bigger share of ad revenues from media companies.
The headline on 20 Feb 2020
Mediacom reported fourth quarter results. Source: Mediacom Communications Reports Combined Results for Fourth Quarter and Full Year 2019
Comscore set a new multi-year partnership with all 27 CBS local television stations. Source: Comscore Announces Multi-Year Renewal with CBS Television Stations
The headline on 19 Feb 2020
TiVo reported fourth quarter earnings. Source: TiVo Corporation Reports Fourth Quarter 2019 Financial Results
Loop Media revealed its new Loop Player device. Source: Loop Media, Inc. Unveils Its Proprietary Loop Player, Partnering With Industry Leader No Static and Innovative Eatery Flix Brewhouse
Google Maps got a big redesign. It changed its app icon and logo. The classic map intersection icon has gone, and we now have a map pin on a white background that is way more consistent with all the rest of the Google product branding. Strategically, this is symbolic of the evolution of the Maps product itself; 15 years ago, it addressed a user problem around “How do I go there?”, or the journey; Maps is now arguably more about what I can do when I get there — the destination. They also redesigned the app user experience, with two new Contribute and Updates tabs at the bottom, a clear shift to highlighting user-submitted content. Source: The Verge > Google Maps gets a new icon and more tabs to celebrate 15th anniversary
Wanted a way to unlock your phone without taking off your COVID-19 mask? This hipster design firm (called Resting Risk Face) plans to make Face ID-compatible N-95 respirator masks that print the hidden part of your face on to the mask to make “phone access easy during viral epidemics.” These things are “still in development”. The bad news? $40 per mask.
Made this service that prints your face on an N95 mask, so you can protect people from viral epidemics while still being able to unlock your phone.
— Danielle Baskin (@djbaskin) February 15, 2020
The headline on 18 Feb 2020
ConvergeOne, a global IT services provider, announced that it has expanded its SD-WAN portfolio with the launch of its Secure SD-WAN managed services offering powered by Cisco Viptela. Source: ConvergeOne Expands SD-WAN Portfolio with Secure SD-WAN Managed Services Powered by Cisco Viptela
The headline on 15 Feb 2020
The Duterte administration wants the Supreme Court to shut down ABS-CBN, the biggest TV network in the Philippines. The Solicitor General alleged that ABS was conducting “highly abusive practices” and so should have its business license revoked. The company’s operating franchise expires in March. The owners and staff of the network have been anticipating the move since Duterte came to power in 2016. “This ABS, your contract will expire, and you try to renew. I don’t know what will happen to you. If I were you, just sell it,” he warned. Source: ABS-CBN > Solicitor General questions ABS-CBN franchise before Supreme Court
Facebook banned a network of Pages and accounts linked to Vietnam’s Viettel and its Myanmar franchise Mytel in the company’s first takedown of “commercial misinformation”. The network allegedly used fake accounts to pose as “independent telecom consumer news hubs” while spreading lies about business failures and fraud at rival telcos. Viettel says it doesn’t condone the tactics and is running an internal review. With everyone’s attention drawn to fighting fake political news, are we missing what companies are doing with misinfo? Source: Facebook Newsroom > Removing Coordinated Inauthentic Behavior From Russia, Iran, Vietnam and Myanmar
A BuzzFeed News investigation found more than 100 sites posing as legit local news and financial outlets. The sites not only stole content from real publishers, they were also able to make money through ads and by selling financial email subscriptions. “These sites show how easy it’s been to bypass the procedures Google uses to keep low-quality sites out of Google News.” Source: BuzzFeed News > These Fake Local News Sites Have Confused People For Years. We Found Out Who Created Them.
The U.S. FTC wants tougher penalties on influencer ads that run on social platforms. It’s been trying for years to get influencers to disclose sponsored posts, but that hasn’t had an impact. In one recent case, an advertiser paid 50 influencers to post about a dress on Instagram — without mentioning the sponsorship. The FTC charged the company with deceiving the public. Source: The Verge > The FTC is cracking down on influencer marketing on YouTube, Instagram, and TikTok
YouTube is testing clapping. It’s a feature that it “borrowed” from Twitch to help creators earn money on the side. Clapping will cost you $2. Source: The Verge > YouTube continues to mirror Twitch, tests new clap feature that lets fans donate to creators
Myanmar’s Daily Eleven has a long, critical op-ed about Facebook’s plan to help the Union Election Commission monitor hate speech on its platform before the election. It says FB is biased in favor of Muslims. It also alleges that FB will issue a warning or suspend the account of anyone who uses the word “kalar” (typically used to refer to people of south Indian origin) in a post. Source: Eleven Media Group > Is Facebook’s bias a source of concern for Myanmar’s 2020 election?
McClatchy filed for bankruptcy in the U.S. The newspaper publisher, which provides “local” coverage across 14 states, wants to restructure the debt that it took on after it acquired Knight-Ridder in 2006. Source: The New York Times > McClatchy, a Major U.S. Newspaper Chain, Files for Bankruptcy
Vice Media’s co-founder wanted a massive valuation for the company when he fundraised about two years ago. TPG put in $450 million, valuing the company at $5.7 billion — far larger than any of Vice’s rivals. Vice agreed to guaranteed payments to TPG of up to $400 million in stock and cash dividends. The problem is, Vice is still struggling to turn in a profit — and it’s coming time to pay the piper. Rafat Ali said it beautifully on Twitter: “No one running Vice gives a shit about what Vice stands for, what is its purpose as a media co; it is turd that needs to be financially managed just to sell off so it becomes someone else’s problem.”
We knew this all along, great to read it this starkly: no one running Vice gives a shit about what Vice stands for, what is its purpose as a media co; it is turd that needs to be financially managed just to sell off so it becomes someone else’s problem. https://t.co/T27vp3OYGw
— Rafat Ali, Media Owner & Operator (@rafat) February 11, 2020
The New York Times is undoubtedly the best example of a legacy, local newspaper pivoting into becoming a digital, international brand. It recently announced that it hit its ambitious target of $800 million in annual revenue — a full year ahead of schedule. But while all that’s great for the NYT, it isn’t indicative of the rest of the industry. Source: The Guardian > The New York Times’s success lays bare the media’s disastrous state
Josh Benton at Nieman Lab has been looking into the rise of NYT and what that means for the rest of the industry. In particular: Is there even a viable No. 2 player in the U.S.? A nugget in his piece: “Here’s a shocking statistic: It’s possible that, today in America, 1 out of every 10 newspaper journalists works for The New York Times.” Source: NiemanLab > The Wall Street Journal joins The New York Times in the 2 million digital subscriber club
The Coalition For Women In Journalism is beta-testing their safety app. JSafe (only on iPhones) is meant to help journos report threats, attacks, and abuse they face in the field. They’d like you to try it. Source: JSAFE: DEFEND AND REPORT
The headline on 14 Feb 2020
Second Spectrum, the official optical tracking and analytics provider of sports leagues including the NBA and the English Premier League, has chosen AWS as its preferred cloud, machine learning and artificial intelligence provider. Source: Second Spectrum Selects AWS as its Preferred Cloud, Machine Learning, Artificial Intelligence, and Media Services Provider
The headline on 13 Feb 2020
Sony Electronics named Jeff Goldstein as head of sales to the custom integrator channel. Source: Sony Electronics Taps Jeff Goldstein to Lead Custom Integration Sales
The headline on 12 Feb 2020
Altice USA introduced Smart WiFi, a whole-home intelligent mesh WiFi system. Source: Altice USA Upgrades Broadband Experience for Optimum and Suddenlink Customers with Introduction of Smart WiFi Technology
WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt will present a keynote address on Sunday at the NAB Show in April. Source: WarnerMedia Entertainment Chairman Robert Greenblatt to Keynote 2020 NAB Show Executive Leadership Summit
Entertainment Studios closed on the acquisition of 11 broadcast television stations from USA Television Holdings. Source: Entertainment Studios Expands Broadcast Television Holdings By Closing Deal To Purchase Eleven Television Stations With Network Affiliations Including ABC, CBS, NBC, And FOX For $305 Million
Stop listening to your users. Watch them instead. This is an oldie but a goodie, counterintuitive as it may seem. “Don’t base design decisions on what customers say. You have to watch people’s behaviour to form valid insights that can drive your product to better user experience and higher business success.” Don’t listen to your user; watch this video of Jakob Nielson for all of its oddly compelling 2 minutes and 57 seconds. Source: Nielsen Norman Group > Don’t Listen to the Customers
In India, Mint recently blew past The Economic Times, its closest competitor in the biz news space. According to The Ken, there are three reasons this happened: strategic hiring, counterintuitive web practices that paid off, and “some questionable design choices”. They made a number of decisions when they redesigned their website: infinite (ish) scroll, topics over categories (‘coronavirus’ and ‘CAA’ instead of the more traditional ‘politics’ and ‘health’) — and they stopped caring about desktop altogether. Source: The Ken > Beating ET: Unboxing Mint’s defiance of online media
Assembler, a tool to identify doctored images, is being tested by a number of newsrooms around the world, including Rappler. Assembler has been built by Jigsaw (previously Google Ideas), owned by Google’s parent company. “[A] Jigsaw product manager said Assembler might be “most helpful in a situation where a journalist from a large news organization receives a scandalous image and is under pressure to break the news.” It could also be used to verify an image that has gone viral, he said.” Source: The New York Times > Tool to Help Journalists Spot Doctored Images Is Unveiled by Jigsaw
Why is it called UPPERCASE and lowercase? Because in the physical case that typesetters stored their letter in, all the CAPS were kept in…the upper part of the case and the regular letters in the lower part of the case. And why is leading (the space between lines) have called leading? Because of the strips of lead inserted between the rows of letters. Source: Origin of Upper and Lower Case!
The headline on 11 Feb 2020
Redbox has reportedly launched an ad-supported streaming service. Source: Protocol > Redbox quietly launches ad-supported video service
AT&T is reportedly eying a February 27 launch for AT&T TV. Source: Cord Cutters News > AT&T TV’s Launch Date Has Been Moved To February 27th
beIN SPORTS XTRA is launching on Xumo. Source: beIN SPORTS Strikes Partnership With XUMO TV
The headline on 10 Feb 2020
Real Networks CEO Rob Glaser is investing $10 million in the company. Source: RealNetworks CEO Rob Glaser to Invest $10 Million into the Company
The headline on 07 Feb 2020
Pluto TV signed a multiyear global pact bringing its ad-supported service of more than 250 live, linear, thematically-curated and branded partner channels onto Hisense’s new Vidaa platform across the United States, Europe and Latin America. Source: Media Play News > Pluto TV Joins New Hisense Vidaa Platform
Interlink and Loop Media said their merger has closed. Source: Interlink Plus, Inc. and Loop Media, Inc. Close Merger
Lionsgate’s global subscribers from Starz, STARZPLAY Arabia and PANTAYA reached 28.5 million in the company’s fiscal third quarter, and global OTT subscribers reached 8.6 million. Source: LIONSGATE REPORTS RESULTS FOR THIRD QUARTER FISCAL 2020
Google revealed its YouTube revenue numbers for the first time in their latest quarterly earnings: $5 billion ($15 billion for the whole of 2019). Overall, YouTube makes up 10% of all Google revenue, which is spectacular. Google also revealed how much Cloud brings in ($2.6 billion for the quarter). All this is Google’s way of reminding you that it’s much more than just a search business. Source: The Verge > YouTube is a $15 billion-a-year business, Google reveals for the first time
Trivia: How much do you think Instagram makes for Facebook? According to Bloomberg, Instagram brought in $20 billion in revenue for 2019 — bigger than YouTube! — which is about a quarter of Facebook’s sales. You’ll remember that FB bought Insta for $715 million in 2012. Easily the smartest acquisition in this internet age. Source: Bloomberg > Instagram Brings In More Than a Quarter of Facebook Sales
TikTok is apparently trying out a new user profile design that’s hmm… a bit similar to Instagram’s. And that’s a problem because all social networks just end up looking the same. Source: The Verge > TikTok is testing profile redesigns that make it look like Instagram
Twitter has a new rule around deep fakes. “You may not deceptively share synthetic or manipulated media that are likely to cause harm. In addition, we may label Tweets containing synthetic and manipulated media to help people understand their authenticity and to provide context.”
We know that some Tweets include manipulated photos or videos that can cause people harm. Today we’re introducing a new rule and a label that will address this and give people more context around these Tweets pic.twitter.com/P1ThCsirZ4
— Twitter Safety (@TwitterSafety) February 4, 2020
Spotify made its fourth podcast acquisition by picking up The Ringer. No deal price was mentioned. “With the Ringer, we’re basically getting the new ESPN,” said Spotify. But it’s not clear where owning these titles fits in with Spotify’s overall strategy. Making these podcasts exclusive to Spotify would kill those audiences, unless of course the plan is to create specific Spotify-only shows. Source: vox recode > Spotify is buying Bill Simmons’s The Ringer to boost its podcast business
You know what? The world’s largest music streaming platform isn’t Spotify. You may not have heard of Gaana. The India-focused service has 152 million subs. Its killer strategy: local languages and ridiculously low prices. Source: The Wall Street Journal > Spotify, Apple Music Trail Little-Known Rival in Music-Obsessed India
How hot is Disney+? It’s signed up almost 29 million subs now — in less than three months. Source: The Ney York Times Media > Disney Plus Racks Up 28.6 Million Subscribers
BuzzFeed is looking for some teens to help them create election-themed TikTok and IG videos. “I feel it’s really important to pass the mic to them.” Source: NiemanLab > BuzzFeed News is recruiting teenagers to make election-themed TikTok and Instagram videos
If you’re looking to get your newsroom started on TikTok, here are some tips. Perhaps the most interesting tip: Share a skill. Source: journalism.co.uk > Seven tips for publishers to get started with TikTok
Even Forbes is getting into the video streaming game. The goal is to stream “expert content” into an app. “There’s 3,500 videos that we have in there from successful entrepreneurs, successful startups, to tutorials on how to write a business plan, how to raise capital, everything you might need to know.” Good luck trying to crack this crowded space. Source: FIPP > Forbes on innovation, audiences, and the changing nature of the business world
The Guardian, The Times of London, and Le Monde have cut back on the articles they publish. Net result: higher audience traffic, more time spent, more subs… and lower costs. “Whether a digital magazine publishes 100, 500, or 1,000 articles makes no difference.” Amen. Source: digiday > Publishers are growing audiences by producing less content
Crowdfunded media startup Hong Kong Free Press published its 2019 annual report detailing its work, audience numbers, and financials. HKFP made a monthly income of about US$19K. Perhaps the most interesting bit in here is how HKFP is organized — non-profit, no shareholders, limited by guarantee. A fantastic case study for small media startups. Source: Hong Kong Free Press Editorial: Our new Annual Report
Myanmar ordered the country’s telcos to reimpose an internet shutdown in parts of Rakhine and Chin state. The last shutdown was only partially lifted just five months ago. According to Telenor, the directive reportedly cited security requirements and public interest. Source: The Myanmar Times > Govt doubles down on internet shutdown in western Myanmar
Like many countries, internet-based news is popular in Pakistan because it doesn’t draw the same scrutiny as traditional broadcasters. All of that is going to change with new regulations to standardize laws across digital and analog media. And the government is going after critical voices. Source: CPJ > Pakistan broadcast regulator proposes sweeping control of internet news programs
Applications to CrowdTangle’s Southeast Asia Data Bootcamp close on Monday. The program, designed to help newsrooms integrate data analytics in their operations, will cover flights and hotel accommodation for selected participants. Source: Apply to join CrowdTangle’s Southeast Asia Newsroom Data Bootcamp
Applications for the Singapore-based Asia Journalism Fellowship 2020 are now open. The program runs from July to October this year. Fellows will receive return airfare and accommodation.
What are the most important programming languages to learn? According to a survey of 116,000 developers from 162 countries, Google-supported Go and Python are where the opportunities lie. Source: ZDNet > Programming languages: Go and Python are what developers most want to learn
Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism is looking for an associate director of the Journalist Fellowship Program. “Experience of fundraising and marketing would be desirable.” Source: journalism.co.uk > Associate director of the Journalist Fellowship Programme
HBO Max and Warner Bros have created Warner Max, a small film label that will produce movies specifically for HBO Max. Source: Motion Pictures > WBPG AND HBO MAX ANNOUNCE WARNER MAX,THE FEATURE FILM PRODUCTION ARM FOR THE NEW STREAMING SERVICE
Radix is launching a new Android TV device management and MDM for telcos and operators. Source: Radix to Launch Its New Solution for Telcos and Operators, Android TV Device Management and MDM at MWC
The headline on 05 Feb 2020
Vizio hired Adam Bergman as its new vice president of ad sales. Source: Adam Bergman Joins VIZIO Ads To Build Advertiser-Direct Business
Cable One declared a quarterly cash dividend of $2.25 per share. Source: Cable One Declares Quarterly Dividend
Minnow has introduced a curated guide to help viewers find award-winning and festival selected film or TV series. Source: Minnow, the Next Generation Streaming Guide, Introduces New ‘Prestige’ Content Guide, Allowing Viewers to Find Specially Curated Selection of all Oscar®-Winning Movies, Golden Globe®-Winning Films and TV Series, and Festival Favorites from Sundance, Cannes, and More!
CSS Grid and Flexbox have made a huge difference to editorial layouts. This is a great showcase and demo of different design and layout ideas. Source: speckyboy > This Just In: Excellent News and Magazine CSS Layouts
One hundred and seventeen new emoji will soon be added to your vocab. This is 2020, and the politics of emoji have been well-documented: we use it for non-verbal communication, to signal that which we could not signal with words, and to represent. So we will soon be able to express ourselves with the brand-new Pinched Finger emoji (popularly also known as the “Italian Hand Gesture”), People Hugging (yay), the Transgender Flag, Bubble Tea, Cockroach (ew), and bottle-feeding parents. “Announced [on January 29] by the Unicode Consortium, the 117 new emojis form part of Emoji 13.0.” Source: Emojipedia > 117 New Emojis In Final List For 2020
Every once in a while, a little corner of your life presents itself as an intentionally designed thing, and all feels right with the world. Here is a messy collection of wonderful real-world UX in the wild to make you happy.
The headline on 04 Feb 2020
LG is now launching the Apple TV app for compatible 2019 LG smart TVs in the United States and more than 80 other countries. Source: Apple TV App And Apple TV+ Now Available On 2019 LG TVs In U.S. And 80-Plus Other Countries
Vizio launched five new apps for SmartCast TVs. Source: Cord Cutters News > VIZIO Announces 5 New SmartCast TV Apps
The headline on 03 Feb 2020
LBI Media has changed its name to Estrella Media, effective immediately. Source: LBI Media Rebrands as Estrella Media