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Tag Archives: digital-media

VideoAmp Celebrates More Than 30 Fortune 500 Brands Adopting Its…

Makes it Easy for Brands to Holistically Manage and Optimize Entire Linear TV, OTT and Digital Media Portfolios, Mapping Event-Level Spend to Business Outcomes (PRWeb October 31, 2018) Read the full story at https://www.prweb.com/releases/videoamp_celebrates_more_than_30_fortune_500_brands_adopting_its_marketing_investment_platform_with_over_10b_of_investment_optimized/prweb15882188.htm

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Audit Facebook and overhaul competition law, say MEPs responding to breach scandals

After holding a series of hearings in the wake of the Facebook - Cambridge Analytica data misuse scandal this summer, and attending a meeting with Mark Zuckerberg himself in May , the European Union parliament’s civil liberties committee has called for an update to competition rules to reflect what it dubs “the digital reality”, urging EU institutions to look into the “possible monopoly” of big tech social media platforms. Top level EU competition law has not touched on the social media axis of big tech yet, with the Commission concentrating recent attention on mobile chips ( Qualcomm ); and mobile and ecommerce platforms (mostly Google; but Amazon’s use of merchant data is in its sights too); as well as probing Apple’s tax structure in Ireland . But last week Europe’s data protection supervisor, Giovanni Buttarelli, told us  that closer working between privacy regulators and the EU’s Competition Commission is on the cards, as regional lawmakers look to evolve their oversight frameworks to respond to growing ethical concerns about use and abuse of big data, and indeed to be better positioned to respond to fast-paced technology-fuelled change. Local EU antitrust regulators, including in Germany and France, have also been investigating the Google, Facebook adtech duopoly on several fronts in recent years. The Libe committee’s call is the latest political call to spin up and scale up antitrust effort and attention around social media.  The committee also says it wants to see much greater accountability and transparency on “algorithmic-processed data by any actor, be it private or public” — signalling a belief that  GDPR does not go far enough on that front. Libe committee chair and rapporteur, MEP Claude Moraes, has previously suggested  the Facebook Cambridge Analytica scandal could help inform and shape an update to Europe’s ePrivacy rules, which  remain at the negotiation stage  with disagreements over scope and proportionality. But every big tech data breach and security scandal lends weight to the argument that stronger privacy rules are indeed required. In yesterday’s resolution, the Libe committee also called for an audit of the advertising industry on social media — echoing a call made by the UK’s data protection watchdog, the ICO, this summer for an ‘ ethical pause ‘ on the use of online ads for political purposes. The ICO made that call right after announcing it planned to issue Facebook with the maximum fine possible under UK data protection law — again for the Cambridge Analytica breach. While the Cambridge Analytica scandal — in which the personal information of as many as 87 million Facebook users was extracted from the platform without the knowledge or consent of every person, and passed to the now defunct political consultancy (which used it to create psychographic profiles of US voters for election campaigning purposes) — has triggered this latest round of political scrutiny of the social media behemoth, last month Facebook revealed another major data breach, affecting at least 50M users  — underlining the ongoing challenge it has to live up to claims of having ‘locked the platform down’. In light of both breaches, the Libe committee has now called for EU bodies to be allowed to fully audit Facebook — to independently assess its data protection and security practices.

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One Medical raises $350 million from Carlyle Group to help double up offices and offerings

One Medical has confirmed to TechCrunch it has closed on funding from the Carlyle Group for a new cash infusion worth $350 million. This announcement follows an earlier report this week One Medical was seeking to close a $200 million deal, on top of a possible $100 million in stock for the financing firm. However, we have since learned the deal is a tad higher, including $220 toward the primary equity investment and another $130 million in a secondary investment. CEO Amir Rubin tells TechCrunch the new funds will go toward a serious expansion for the company, including doubling it’s 72 offices throughout the seven states One Medical is currently serving and expanding into new markets. Rubin was coy about where those new markets might be for now but said we’d know soon enough. One Medical is a members-only technology platform offering an array of concierge medical services, including same-day scheduling, virtual doctor visits and reminders for important checkups. It started out as a direct-to-consumer model but has expanded in the last few years to offer medical care for employees at companies like Uber and Adobe. The funding will also help One Medical take on both dinosaur incumbents in the medical field as well as newer startups with a similar technology offering like Forward, an AI-based “medical office of the future.” To beat both, Rubin would like to use part of the new cash to beef up his company’s tech backend. One Medical’s platform is built on algorithms and machine learning to pull together new information and help patients have a better experience at the doctor’s office. Right now, getting all of your medical history in one place is a hard problem to solve in the U.S. healthcare system — only complicated by the many coded hurdles in dealing with insurance. Rubin would like his platform to quickly surf through the data and find procedures done elsewhere to ensure patients are better served by their medical team

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Tencent spinoff China Literature to buy New Classics Media for $2.2B in content consolidation play

As the consumer appetite for digital entertainment in China continues its rapid growth , two companies are combining forces to step up their game in the space. Today, China Literature — the Tencent e-publishing venture that went public with a $1 billion IPO last November — announced that it would acquire Chinese digital production company New Classics Media for around $2.2-2.3 billion (RMB15.5 billion). This is a consolidation of sorts not just in digital media, but in Tencent’s content interests: New Classics Media had been eyeing up an IPO of its own but instead  picked up Tencent as an investor just in March of this year, when the Internet and messaging giant paid existing backer Chinese VC Enlight Media $524 million for a 27.64 percent stake in the company. That deal valued NCM at about $1.9 billion. In other words, this represents a small but clear return for Tencent, which it most notably owns messaging giant WeChat but is also an investor in Snap, Uber and a number of other companies and is sometimes called the “Softbank of China”. China Literature already was a strong content partner of Tencent’s using its Tencent Video, WeChat and other channels to distribute China Literature content; now it will ramp that up with more video based on China Literature’s material from a partner that has a string of successful blockbusters — titles include  Some Like It Ho t ,   Never Say Di e  a nd Goodbye Mr. Lose r  — as well as TV and web shows such as  The First Half of My Lif e ,  White Deer Plai n ,   The Kit e ,   The Imperial Doctres s  a nd  Yu Zu i .   Indeed, the deal is bringing together one of the bigger original content developers (China Literature) with one of the bigger video content producers (NCM) in the region. China Literature, according to its half-year results also out today , said that its monthly active users are up 11.3 percent to 213.5 million, with 7.3 million writers on its platform. The company’s revenues are up 18.6 percent to $345 million (RMB2.3 billion), with gross profit at a 52.4 percent margin at $180.8 million.

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Viacom acquires Gen Z digital media company AwesomenessTV

Viacom today confirmed it’s acquiring digital media company AwesomenessTV, whose network reaches 158 million subscribers and approximately 300 million monthly views. The news follows a report from earlier this week that said the two were in talks about an acquisition, which priced the deal at “well below $300 million,” according to Variety . Viacom did not confirm the deal terms, but an under $300 million price point would be less than half of AwesomenessTV’s previous $650 million valuation, cited by Bloomberg. Prior to this, AwesomenessTV was majority owned by Comcast/NBCUniversal which has a 51 percent stake in the company; Hearst and (TechCrunch parent company by way of Oath), Verizon, are minority shareholders with 24.5 percent stakes. When Verizon acquired its stake two years ago, it spent around $159 million, which valued the business then at the $650 million price point, or double its valuation at the time Hearst invested in 2014. “Awesomeness has done an incredible job building their brand into a digital media powerhouse for today’s most sought-after and hard-to-reach youth audiences,” said Kelly Day, President of Viacom Digital Studios and former Chief Business Officer of AwesomenessTV, in a statement about the deal. “The team brings strong digital expertise, deep connections with top talent and influencers, a world-class television and film studio, and a robust branded content team and creative agency that will accelerate the growth and scale of Viacom Digital Studios.” Viacom’s interest in the property has to do with its ability to reach young viewers – specifically “Gen Z” viewers who are growing up watching YouTube, not traditional TV. AwesomenessTV has reach into this market by way of its 158 million total subscribers and over 6 million YouTube subscribers. Viacom sees its youth focus as a natural fit that falls in between its younger Nickelodeon and older MTV audiences. AwesomenessTV’s studio has put out Emmy-winning content, and has developed a library of over 200 hours of long-form TV series and feature films, which it brings to Viacom. It also has connections with those in the digital-native talent and influencer space of value. And it has established relationships with advertisers catering to this youth market, including Hollister, Gatorade, Invisalign, and Kraft, which Viacom took into consideration when making this deal. Following the deal’s close, AwesomenessTV will be integrated into Viacom’s Digital Studios division led by president Kelly Day, while its existing CEO Jordan Levin will depart. Levin will remain during a transition period only, we understand.

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Announcing TechCrunch meetups in Buenos Aires and Santiago next week

TechCrunch is heading to Latin America for the first time and staging its first ever Startup Battlefield Latin America on Nov. 8 in São Paulo to find the next wave of early stage startups tackling big ideas! To spread the word, TechCrunch’s Jon Shieber and Anna Escher will visit Buenos Aires and Santiago next week to meet with the startup community and hold meetups for anyone interested in learning more about the Startup Battlefield. They’ll also spend time explaining how to apply . Tickets to the meetups are free, but they will go fast so sign up now. Here are the details: Buenos Aires Tuesday, July 24th, 7:00pm – 9:00pm Innovation Lab Buenos Aires from Facebook @ Av. Cnel. Niceto Vega 4866, C1414BEF C1414BEF, Buenos Aires, Argentina Register here. Santiago Thursday, July 27th, 5:00pm – 7:00pm Startup Chile @ Monjitas 565, Santiago, Región Metropolitana, Chile Register Here. At the meetup, Founders will learn how to apply for Battlefield and investors will learn how to refer companies in their portfolio. TechCrunch will provide a brief presentation on Startup Battlefield and answer questions. Application close next month, and when they do, our editors will choose 15 companies to compete, and one will win $25,000 and a free trip to the next Disrupt SF.  All the companies, however, will receive global exposure, winners or not, because video from their pitches on stage in front of top tier judges will be posted on TechCrunch. (And in case you missed it , TechCrunch COO Ned Desmond is in São Paulo and Mexico City this week hosting meetups and briefings for TechCrunch Startup Battlefield Latin America.) Startup Battlefield is the world’s premier startup launch competition

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Security, privacy experts weigh in on the ICE doxxing

In what appears to be the latest salvo in a new, wired form of protest, developer Sam Lavigne posted code that scrapes LinkedIn to find Immigration and Customs Enforcement employee accounts. His code, which basically a Python-based tool that scans LinkedIn for keywords, is gone from Github and Gitlab and Medium took down his original post . The CSV of the data is still available here and here and WikiLeaks has posted a mirror . “I find it helpful to remember that as much as internet companies use data to spy on and exploit their users, we can at times reverse the story, and leverage those very same online platforms as a means to investigate or even undermine entrenched power structures. It’s a strange side effect of our reliance on private companies and semi-public platforms to mediate nearly all aspects of our lives. We don’t necessarily need to wait for the next Snowden-style revelation to scrutinize the powerful — so much is already hiding in plain sight,” said Lavigne. Doxxing is the process of using publicly available information to target someone online for abuse. Because we can now find out anything on anyone for a few dollars – a search for “background check” brings up dozens of paid services that can get you names and addresses in a second – scraping public data on LinkedIn seems far easier and innocuous. That doesn’t make it legal. “Recent efforts to outlaw doxxing at the national level (like the Online Safety Modernization Act of 2017) have stalled in committee, so it’s not strictly illegal,” said James Slaby, Security Expert at Acronis . “But LinkedIn and other social networks usually consider it a violation of their terms of service to scrape their data for personal use. The question of fairness is trickier: doxxing is often justified as a rare tool that the powerless can use against the powerful to call attention to perceived injustices.” “The problem is that doxxing is a crude tool. The torrent of online ridicule, abuse and threats that can be heaped on doxxed targets by their political or ideological opponents can also rain down on unintended and undeserving targets: family members, friends, people with similar names or appearances,” he said. The tool itself isn’t to blame. No one would fault a job seeker or salesperson who scraped LinkedIn for targeted employees of a specific company.

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Canaan Partners gives $20 million to its two youngest employees to invest in consumer startups

Canaan Partners, the venture capital firm that has backed companies like Skybox Imaging, Match.com and Lending Club, has a new investment strategy. Called Canaan Beta, it entails setting aside $20 million of its $800 million fund to its two youngest employees, and then empowering them to make their own investment decisions as a duo. The bet is that, just how Jeremy Liew found out about Snapchat from his teenage daughter , Canaan’s youngest staffers will find other potentially lucrative opportunities. As the speed of technological innovation continues to increase, the barriers to starting a tech company decline and the demographics in the U.S. go in the direction of non-white, Canaan envisions its Beta program being potentially game-changing for the firm. Since January, Hootan Rashidifard (28 years old) and Adina Tecklu (27 years old) have invested in five seed stage startups, with checks ranging in size from $250,000 – $500,000 each. Before Canaan Beta kicked off, Rashidifard and Tecklu worked as analysts at Canaan, where they have supported partners and founders but have not been autonomous check writers.  By empowering its two youngest employees with decision-making power, Canaan hopes to better tap into the non-white, younger consumer market. Rashidifard and Tecklu, both people of color, have joined an industry where 73 percent of investment professionals are white, according to a report from the Kapor Center for Social Impact . Meanwhile, just 12 percent of all investment professionals are women. “We can use our backgrounds and our perspectives to see opportunities that others might overlook, which is really awesome,” Rashidifard told TechCrunch. “We might be seeing something that other people aren’t.” More specifically, Rashidifard and Tecklu are looking at companies in blockchain, gaming, digital media, social and digital health

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