brand news

In the News: GM, Mondelez, Diet Coke and more

Posted by Dale Buss on March 5, 2014 09:33 AM

In the News

GM sees CEO Mary Barra personally takes over ignition-switch recall.

Mondelez sees digital-startup investments bear fruit.

Diet Coca-Cola raises eyebrows with "You're On" references.

Chevron gets huge win from US judge.

Chrysler pledges to keep minivan production in Canada but wants lower costs as slow sales hit Dodge Dart output.

Famous Dave's management continues to unravel.

GE CEO Jeff Immelt reassures investors by personally buying company stock.

Intel CMO Deborah Conrad to leave after 27 years at the company. 

Jaguar plans compact sedan with aluminum underbody.Continue reading...

brand news

In the News: Boeing, Volkswagen, Adidas and more

Posted by Dale Buss on February 27, 2014 09:28 AM

In the News

Boeing designs self-destructing "Mission Impossible" smartphone.

Volkswagen cuts European worker bonuses on slump in demand and recalls almost 600,000 vans. 

Adidas to stop selling sexually-suggestive World Cup T-shirts after outcry. 

Barnes & Noble swings to profit on cost-cutting. 

Best Buy posts sales decline but returns to profit with cost cuts. 

Bitcoin falls in crosshairs of nations' regulators. 

eBay leads $133.7 million investment in Indian shopping site Snapdeal. 

European Union bans e-cigarette ads. 

Ford gets Mustang tie-up to Need for Speed and improves convertible top to take on German rivals. 

GM now faces federal investigation of its handling of recall.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix Cuts Deal with Comcast to Pay for "Excellent User Experience"

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 24, 2014 01:58 PM

Plenty of consumers complain each month about the amount of money they pay out to America's largest cable provider, Comcast, and now you can add Netflix to that list.

As a result of changes in net neutrality rules, Comcast has the ability to slow down video streams from any source it wishes. That’s bad news for a company like Netflix, whose millions of customers stream hundreds of bandwidth-sucking movies and TV series at all hours of the day. Recently, Netflix subscribers have been complaining of poor and slow connections, especially those who get their high-speed Internet from Comcast and Verizon's FiOS broadband networks.

In order to keep its own customer satisfaction high, Netflix and Comcast on Sunday confirmed last week's rumor that the companies had reached an undisclosed financial deal with a press release titled, "Comcast and Netflix Team Up to Provide Customers With Excellent User Experience."

The agreement will ensure Netflix's load time won't be slowed by Comcast's broadband nodes, a so-called "peering" deal that may likely be felt in US cable customers' bills down the line. It also got Net Neutrality crowd out in full force, on both sides of the debate.Continue reading...

video killed the _____ star

Netflix's Biggest Foe isn't HBO, It's the Internet Providers that Move Its Content

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 19, 2014 07:32 PM

As the battle between Netflix and major internet service providers rages on, consumers are paying the price with degraded service.

The complicated plumbing required to deliver a Netflix video to a consumer’s computer or TV is near invisible to users, who are unaware of the bandwidth that companies have to put out in order to transmit such content. The actual data transfer occurs at global “interconnection” hubs, aka, “telecom carrier hotels” where companies like Time Warner Cable, Verizon and AT&T share space. Born in the days of high volume landline telephone traffic, the telcos shared amiably enough, but with the addition of high-bandwidth services like Netflix creating a drain, those relationships have broken down. And now broadband companies are increasingly charging "tolls" to third-party intermediate players like Level 3 and Cogent. 

“This is a scenario that open Internet advocates have been warning about for years," Time notes. “It’s no secret that the big telecom and cable companies resent the fact that they are obliged to deliver high bandwidth content like Netflix—which competes against their own video offerings—in addition to less bandwidth-intensive traffic like emails and chats.”Continue reading...

Comcast, Time Warner Cable Merger Could Spell Big Problems for Netflix, Consumers

Posted by Mark J. Miller on February 13, 2014 12:07 PM

Following a failed takeover bid by Charter Communications, Comcast announced it would acquire Time Warner Cable in an all-stock deal for $45.2 billion. If the merger is approved by regulators, Comcast will return to its top spot as the largest cable operator in the world. 

The merger, which could send waves through various television networks, national sports markets, TV technology and streaming companies is already a cause for concern among consumers and other pay TV companies, including satellite television networks, as well as AT&T, Verizon and Google, all of whom have made inroads into the cable and internet-providing business. 

At about $159 per share, Comcast stands to adopt Time Warner Cable's 11 million pay TV customers, highly concentrated in Manhattan and Los Angeles, where it owns two sports networks and has lucrative deals with local sports teams. As part of the deal though, Comcast said it will divest about 3 million of TWC's customers to appease regulators. 

As far as Comcast is concered, gaining regulatory approval from the federal government, including the FCC, shouldn't be too hard since Comcast and TWC aren't actually direct competitors (as far as carved-up cable provider boundaries go). The approval would follow Comcast's nearly $17 billion buyout of NBCUniversal from GE last year.Continue reading...

brands with a cause

Apple for the Teacher: Tech Brands Support US ConnectED Schools Plan

Posted by Sheila Shayon on February 4, 2014 01:56 PM

President Obama has scored some major progress on his ConnectED initiative thanks to a little help from some major brands. The program, which was launched in June, advocates for high-speed internet and education technology in every classroom, as well as training teachers on the benefits of tech in the classroom by 2017. 

The President has challenged the FCC, Federal agencies, Congress, the private sector and communities to rise to the test. As announced today as part of the White House's ConnectED (or #ConnectED) initiative, US companies are answering the call by committing more than $750 million to deliver cutting-edge technologies, devices, free software, teacher professional development, and home wireless connectivity.

“Today, fewer than 30 percent of schools have the broadband they need to teach using today’s technology; under ConnectED, 99 percent of American students will have access to next-generation broadband by 2017. That connectivity will be the bedrock of a transformation in the classroom experience for all students, regardless of income," the White House said in a press release.Continue reading...

follow the money

T-Mobile's Next Frontier? Your Bank Account

Posted by Mark J. Miller on January 29, 2014 04:46 PM

The mobile market is an industry full of intense competition and some larger than life personalities (we're talking to you, John Legere). And so while Verizon and AT&T jockey over who has the fastest speeds and lowest prices, T-Mobile and Sprint are taking the battle in a whole different direction. In fact, they're taking it to a whole different industry: banking. 

Falling under its "Un-Carrier" campaign, T-Mobile recently launched "Mobile Money," a full-fledged banking service that allows consumers to “do their banking via mobile app and also in the company's 3,000 storefronts” while not charging monthly maintenance or purchase fees and requiring no minimum balance. 

"Millions of Americans pay outrageous fees to check cashers, payday lenders and other predatory businesses–just for the right to use their own money,” John Legere, chief executive officer of T-Mobile, said in a statement, according to The Street. “Mobile Money shifts the balance of power for T-Mobile customers and keeps more money in their pockets."Continue reading...

privacy alert

Brands Win Initial Transparency Battle as US Government Agrees to More Disclosure

Posted by Sheila Shayon on January 28, 2014 10:52 AM

Following months of back and forth after whistleblower Edward Snowden revealed widespread data collection by the US National Security Agency, the US government and leading internet and communication companies have reached an agreement on what companies can disclose to consumers. 

Bowing to pressure from Facebook, Google, LinkedIn, Apple, Microsoft and Yahoo over the controversial NSA Prism surveillance program, the government will now allow companies to reveal more details about the "administrative subpoenas" issued by the Justice Department that require tech companies to hand over reams of data on users. 

US Attorney General Eric Holder and Director of National Intelligence James Clapper said in a joint statement:

"The administration is acting to allow more detailed disclosures about the number of national security orders and requests issued to communications providers, and the number of customer accounts targeted under those orders and requests including the underlying legal authorities. Permitting disclosure of this aggregate data resolves an important area of concern to communications providers and the public.”Continue reading...

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