tech in the spotlight

CES 2013 Watch: It's a Web, Web, Web, Web TV World

Posted by Barry Silverstein on January 8, 2013 11:16 AM

The annual International Consumer Electronics Show (CES) that's now underway in Las Vegas is not only the world's biggest trade show, but a snapshot of how the fast-moving world of technology innovation is impacting sectors. Witness automotive, such as Ford's just-announced mobile partnerships to enhance the brand's in-car connectivity platform as part of a bigger CES push by car manufacturers this year.

CES is also a soapbox for competitors to one-up one another as they spit out product announcements and flaunt new alliances. This year, the rivalry is particularly fierce in the web TV/digital streaming arena.

"As new Internet TV players look to invade the living room, some cable and satellite operators are stepping up their embrace of Web technology to jazz up aging interfaces and head off subscriber defections, the Wall Street Journal reports from the show.

CES attendees include DirecTV and Dish Network on the satellite side, Verizon (FiOS) and AT&T (U-verse) touting Telco TV, and U.S. multi-system operators including Comcast, Time Warner Cable and Cox Communications are at CES to recast themselves as web TV purveyors and shake off the dreaded "cable operator" moniker. No wonder the U.S. National Cable & Telecommunications Association is reportedly considering dropping "cable" and rebranding to the U.S. Internet and Television Association (but, oddly, keeping the NCTA acronym).

AT&T's U-verse platform is introducing "Screen Pack," a $5 per month addition to existing subscriptions which enables customers to stream some 1,500 on-demand movies. AT&T plans to add more content in the future in an effort to thwart the flood of video streaming competitors in the space.Continue reading...

executive decision

The Dish on America's Meanest Brand

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 4, 2013 04:49 PM

As America’s economy climbs back from some brutal years, plenty of folks are still looking for work. No matter how desperate they are, though, there are a few companies that they might want to avoid. 

One of them is satellite TV provider Dish Network. It already has 26,000 employees, but the word is that not too many of them are happy. Last August, 24/7 Wall Street named it the Worst Company to Work for in America. Now that’s an accolade to put on your LinkedIn profile.

What makes it so bad? “Long hours, lack of paid holidays, and way too much mandatory overtime,” Bloomberg Businessweek reports. And it’s all because of one man: the 59-year-old legendary founder and chairman of Dish, Charlie Ergen, who maintains 53.2 percent of the company’s shares and 90.4 percent of the voting rights.

Ergen has never met a penny he didn't pinch. And while that sometimes means making shrewd business decisions, it also means making such choices as installing fingerprint scanners at the doors to company headquarters that are rigged to send emails directly to HR if an employee is late. The company only put in the scanners after Ergen noticed that the key/badge system was being circumvented by employees badging in for coworkers.

And the renowned cable-hater certainly has an eye for such detail.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Netflix, GSK, Tesco and more

Posted by Dale Buss on December 5, 2012 09:05 AM

In the News

Disney and Netflix sign landmark agreement for the web streaming service.

GlaxoSmithKline begins assembling new global branding effort on its impact around the world.

Tesco bails out of Fresh & Easy venture in U.S.

AOL's Advertising.com group acquires Buysight.

Apple upgrades iTunes, secures USPTO patent for "retina."

Beer tax dispute heats up in Europe.

Blu Dot tests Twitter game of musical chairs.

BMW has US luxury auto sales crown in its sights.

Campbell Soup Company donates $500K to Salvation Army.

Citigroup announces 11,000 job cuts and $1B charge.Continue reading...

sports in the spotlight

AT&T Expands PGA Sponsorship to Another Golf Tournament

Posted by Mark J. Miller on December 4, 2012 04:01 PM

Somebody at AT&T likes to see the company's logo around town. Dallas was named as the location for its new headquarters in 2008 and, since then, the telecommunications giant has put its name on the AT&T Cotton Bowl Classic and the AT&T Performing Arts Center there. Now, they are adding another local sponsorship: the AT&T Byron Nelson golf tourney, which serves as a fundraiser for both Salesmanship Club Youth and Family Centers as well as the pocketbooks of a few big-name pro golfers.

This will actually be the second PGA tournament that AT&T will sponsor, having signed on with the inaugural big-bucks National event held in the D.C. area every Fourth of July weekend since 2007. AT&T will have to wait till 2015 to get its name on Byron Nelson, though, since HP has its name there till then (and has had it there since 2003), according to PGATour.com.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Apple/Samsung, Chrysler, GSK and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 26, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Apple adds new Samsung devices in patent lawsuit, acquires use of Lightning trademark in Europe from Harley-Davidson.

Chrysler named Marketer of the Year by Ad Age.

GlaxoSmithKline invests in India and Nigeria, responds to Washington Post criticism over pharma funding of drug trials.

Amazon and Pinterest add branded business pages.

Aston Martin draws tire-kickers including India's Mahindra & Mahindra.

Beneful launches playful online videos for dog food.

Casual Male rebrands for the big and tall shopper.

Diner's Club partners on movie promotion for Life of Pi.

Dunkin’ Donuts "best coffee" trademark application rejected by USPTO.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: BBC, Facebook, GM and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 22, 2012 09:02 AM

Happy Thanksgiving to our American readers! Businesses prepare for Black Friday rush as record number of US retailers (including strike-threatened Walmart, Kmart, Target and Toys R Us opening on Thanksgiving) and consumer sentiment remains "shaky." Google notes American Thanksgiving with homepage logo nod to Macy's parade (above) and a round-up of holiday links.

Apple must disclose HTC deal to Samsung.

BBC praised for appointing outsider — Royal Opera House CEO Tony Hall — as director general.

BlackBerry 10 prep revs up RIM outlook.

Coca-Cola enters F1 with Burn energy drink brand sponsoring the Lotus racing team.

Facebook proposes to ends voting that gives users a collective ability to nix privacy policy decisions.

GE retired CEO Jack Welch "unretirement" makes cover of Bloomberg Businessweek.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: HP, News Corp., Amazon and more

Posted by Shirley Brady on November 21, 2012 08:45 AM

In the News

HP CEO Meg Whitman pilloried over $8.8 billion start-up acquisition charge for Autonomy as stock plunges and former CEO comes out of woodwork.

News Corp. reportedly eyeing Simon & Schuster as add-on to HarperCollins and acquires 49% of YES Network as former newspaper execs charged with bribery. YES, meanwhile, extends Yankees TV rights through 2042.

Amazon unveils brand pages and looks to reinvent publishing model with Tim Ferriss book.

Apple products top kids' holiday wish lists, while spaceship-like campus delayed until 2016.

BlackBerry dropped by US agency over device reliability concerns.

Big Ten college sports conference brand could be diluted by eastern driven.

Darden CMO defects to Ruby Tuesday.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Hostess, Ikea, GM and more

Posted by Dale Buss on November 20, 2012 09:01 AM

In the News

Hostess Brands gets a stay of execution as company and union agrees to mediation today.

Ikea gets green light in India.

GM launches Springo sub-brand in China.

BMW shows off speed with tire-track promotion.

Best Buy posts loss as store sales drop.

Billabong Americas head considers buyout bid for company.

Campbell Soup builds giant Pinterest board out of classic green-bean casserole.Continue reading...

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