tech in the spotlight
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...
Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 3, 2013 02:55 PM
It’s the kind of headline you can’t make up, but the New York Times got the scoop on Current TV's sale: “Al Jazeera Seeks a U.S. Voice Where Gore Failed.”
Since 2006, Al Jazeera, the pan-Arab news giant, has been struggling to convince Americans its English-language 24/7 news channel is legitimate, not a mouthpiece for Middle Eastern propaganda (or worse), and their acquisition of Al Gore’s ill-fated, left-leaning and user-generated Current TV, just bought them 40 million homes. Never mind that it has picked up a raft of awards including a Columbia Journalism Award, a DuPont award, and a George Polk award.
Financed by the government of Qatar, Al Jazeera, once despised for broadcasting videotapes from Al Qaeda members and sympathizers, Current will be rebranded Al Jazeera America at a cost of about $500 million (including a $100 million payout for Gore, who owned a 20% stake in the media property). The burning question, with Americans focused on domestic issues and the economy, will U.S. viewers watch Al Jazeera's take on global news and current affairs?Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on January 3, 2013 09:01 AM
Al Jazeera buys Current TV from Al Gore, prompting Time Warner Cable to drop channel.
Hormel Foods branches out as it buys Skippy peanut butter brand from Unilever.
Toyota declares a rebirth.
5-Hour Energy sees ad claims rebutted (again).
AB InBev plans to launch stronger U.S. version of Budweiser this year.
Amazon wins dismissal of App Store false-ad claim by Apple.
Apple "bet" energizes AT&T.
China recovery confidence spurs Hong Kong luxury sales.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on December 4, 2012 09:01 AM
Microsoft denied "Killer Instinct" trademark, as Microsoft-Google patent fight rests on "fairness" definition and Motorola is denied injuction against Microsoft in patent suit. Microsoft-Intel push to combat Apple in tablet space, meanwhile, seen as "sputtering."
American Suzuki forges ahead with incentives amid US wind down.
Apple wins six new design patents, sees increasing pricing tension with retailers and Steve Jobs bio pic starring Ashton Kutcher heading to Sundance.
Applebee's plans to open "green" restaurant in New York's Harlem where Hot Bread Kitchen is a rising local brand.
Balenciaga hires designer Alexander Wang as creative chief.
Baxter agrees to buy medical-equipment maker Gambro in company's biggest acquisition.Continue reading...
Posted by Dale Buss on November 6, 2012 09:02 AM
The most expensive presidential election in U.S. history comes to a close as America heads to the polls.
Suzuki to end U.S. auto sales and file Chapter 11.
Netflix adopts poison-pill defense and Carl Icahn slams it.
Apple is said to be considering switch from Intel for Mac and may be seeing tablet dominance come to an end, as EU reportedly ready to stike a deal on e-books.
Balenciaga parts ways with longtime creative director Nicolas Ghesquière.
BMW shrugs off high costs as profit rises.
CBS signs multi-year deal with Hulu.
Eight O'Clock Coffee sends "superfans" on junket.
GM bolsters its credit line against European losses and pension costs.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on September 20, 2012 08:55 AM
Samsung mocks iPhone 5 buyers in latest commercial.
Chick-fil-A backs down and vows to stop donating to anti-LGBT groups.
Visa shifts global creative duties back to BBDO.
AOL names female CFO.
AT&T faces backlash over Apple FaceTime restrictions, while CEO explains anti-texting and driving push.
Bed Bath & Beyond beats the odds.
Citibank credit card is coming to China.Continue reading...
Posted by Shirley Brady on May 16, 2012 05:06 PM
Apple's next iPhone will have a bigger screen, sources tell Reuters.
JPMorgan faces FBI probe as shareholders sue the company and CEO Jamie Dimon over $2B loss.
Time Warner Cable and Viacom settle iPad dispute.
Air Pacific returns to Fiji Airways branding.
Ben Silverman's Electus details programming for YouTube's new food-centric Hungry channel.
Chevron benefits from Japan's shift away from nuclear.
Comcast launches Skype in select U.S. markets.Continue reading...
Posted by Barry Silverstein on March 28, 2012 01:03 PM
The Los Angeles Dodgers brand has seen better days. Last April, a controversy exploded over the team's ownership. Not since the legendary baseball team picked up and left its beloved Brooklyn fans in the dust had the Dodgers been so battered by bad press.
It seems then-owner Frank McCourt had run afoul of Major League Baseball (MLB), who was questioning McCourt's management of the team and its finances. In fact, McCourt had a very public dispute with his wife Jamie, whom he fired in 2009 as CEO of the Dodgers. A week later, Jamie filed for divorce. A California court told the McCourts they would have to work out their Dodger dealings outside of divorce court. The whole mess went into extra innings when it was later learned that the IRS was investigating the odd couple for money they took from the team without paying taxes.
Through it all, Frank McCourt remained a Dodger stalwart. On April 27, 2011, he proclaimed, "I took my life savings and invested it into the Los Angeles Dodgers. No one handed me the Dodgers and no one is going to take it away. I'm not going anywhere." A nice sentiment, perhaps, but it didn't stop the team from entering bankruptcy in June. The MLB promptly put a monitor in place to keep a watchful eye on the Dodgers, which McCourt claimed was tantamount to a "hostile takeover."
Well, Frank, as the umpire famously screams, "Yer OUT!" On April 27, 2012, exactly a year after his infamous "I'm not going anywhere" speech, McCourt agreed to sell the Los Angeles Dodgers for $2.15 billion to another ball player, none other than LA Lakers basketball superstar Magic Johnson, heading his own team of buyers. In addition to Magic Johnson, the Dodgers' new owners will include financial services firm Guggenheim Partners, Peter Guber, head of film company Mandalay Entertainment, and Stan Kasten, former president of the Atlanta Braves and Washington Nationals. A judge needs to approve the deal, but if it goes through, the Dodgers will be sold for more money than any other professional sports team.Continue reading...