Posts Tagged ‘tech’

Yahoo Shutters Screen, Scales Back Original Series

January 4, 2016  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Just four days into 2016, Yahoo is making good on a plans announced at the end of 2015. The struggling tech giant has shut down Yahoo Screen, a 5-year-old digital video platform that housed its original series, its first livestream of an NFL game, and old episodes of Saturday Night Live. The remaining video properties on Yahoo Screen will be moved to the company's digital magazines, so like-minded content will exist side by side. "At Yahoo, we're constantly reviewing and iterating on our products as we strive to create the best user experience," said a Yahoo rep. "With that in mind, video content from Yahoo as well as our partners has been transitioned from Yahoo Screen to our Digital Magazine properties so users can discover complementary content in one place." The shutdown of Yahoo Screen, first reported by Variety, comes after a year in which the tech giant attempted to break into original content with the revival of NBC sitcom Community, the NBA-themed series Sin City Saints, and sci-fi comedy Other Space (from Ghostbusters director Paul Feig). It's a blow to the tumultuous tenure of CEO Marissa Mayer, for whom original video had been a priority. Despite the three original series, as well as a licensing deal with Viacom for Comedy Central shows and the entire catalogue of Saturday Night Live, Yahoo simply couldn't compete with streaming giants Netflix, Amazon Prime and even Hulu. Yahoo's originals contributed to a $42 million write down for the company last year. CFO Ken Goldman admitted at the time he "couldn't see a way to make money over time" on pricey original series

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Will Programmatic Advertising Take Over TV?

June 24, 2014  |  Media Week  |  No Comments

Illustration: Alvaro Dominguez YES Who needs ratings when you can buy TV impressions? All you need is a defined audience, the ability to deliver an ad wherever a person is viewing and automation to deliver that ad millions of times across multiple channels. Those are the basics of a programmatic vision for television—a vision that doesn’t care which show a viewer is tuned to but only who that viewer is. Programmatic is eating the media world , and that means television, too. Media buyers, advertisers and tech companies are preparing for a future that’s platform agnostic, that distributes digital video spots across screens whenever a person fires up a smartphone, tablet, connected TV or cable box. The question “Will TV embrace programmatic?” misses the reality: The medium already embraces it. Just last week, Clypd launched a software interface for ad buyers to place automated orders for TV ad space

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Prime Focus Technologies to Acquire DAX

March 11, 2014  |  Variety  |  No Comments

Prime Focus Technologies, the tech arm of Prime Focus, announced Monday that it has inked a deal to acquire DAX, whose services include cloud-based production workflow and media asset management applications. PFT will acquire all DAX assets for $9.1 million, in addition to performance-based payouts.  Cash flow from North American operations will support the payment.... Read more

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Join NYC Talks for Our First Networking Event of 2014

Join NYC Talks for Our First Networking Event of 2014

Super Bowl Gathering
January 22, 2014  |  Blog, Engage, Networking, Talk NYC Events  |  No Comments

We are excited to announce our first networking event of 2014! Mark your calendars for January 29th at the Ainsworth and start Super Bowl weekend a little early this year! Come for the free happy hour and to network with New York's top innovators and thought leaders in the digital sphere, and stay to learn more about the Talk NYC ENGAGE: Digital Storytelling Conference in April.

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Top Products in Two Decades of Tech Reviews

December 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

This is my last column for The Wall Street Journal, after 22 years of reviewing consumer technology products here. So I thought I’d talk about the dozen personal-technology products I reviewed that were most influential over the past two decades. Obviously, narrowing so many products in the most dynamic of modern industries down to 12 is a subjective exercise and others will disagree. Though most were hits, a couple weren’t blockbusters, financially, and one was an outright flop. Instead, I used as my criteria two main things. First, the products had to improve ease of use and add value for average consumers. That was the guiding principle I laid down in the first sentence of my first column, in 1991: “Personal computers are just too hard to use, and it’s not your fault.” Second, I chose these 12 because each changed the course of digital history by influencing the products and services that followed, or by changing the way people lived and worked. In some cases, the impact of these mass-market products is still unfolding. All of these products had predecessors, but they managed to take their categories to a new level. Some readers will complain that Apple is overrepresented. My answer: Apple introduced more influential, breakthrough products for average consumers than any other company over the years of this column.

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With Microsoft CEO Race in Home Stretch and Mulally Fading, Here’s My Dark-Horse Pick: VMware’s Gelsinger

December 12, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

A few weeks ago, I wrote a piece about the possibility of an outsider dark-horse candidate emerging in the race to become CEO of Microsoft. Now it might be more of a possibility than ever before, tracking on sources inside the company that have consistently said that there is a male tech executive in the running who has not been named publicly as yet. Said one person about this candidate: He is “in tech, someone folks are excited about, but not a done deal.” By definition, the term “dark horse” is meant to describe a come-out-of-nowhere winner, or, as Wikipedia notes , “a race horse that is not known to gamblers and thus is difficult to place betting odds on.” And make no mistake, this CEO search has turned into a race, with the variety of candidates pulling ahead and then falling behind, with all of them jockeying for position, as the crowd of investors and insiders have also tried to put their own fix in. At the time of my post in mid-November, Ford CEO Alan Mulally was the clear front runner of the process to replace outgoing CEO Steve Ballmer. Also in that mix: Enterprise chief Satya Nadella; COO Kevin Turner; strategy exec Tony Bates (whom I have dubbed the Silicon Valley choice); and Nokia exec Stephen Elop. Elop was considered the top contender (by me, at least), after Microsoft bought the mobile phone division of Nokia. But — for a variety of reasons — he soon fell behind two other internal candidates, Bates and Nadella. And further back still, Turner. Among the outsiders, Mulally — who has done a lot of deft lobbying for the job, after helping Ballmer in his efforts to restructure Microsoft — has always been in the forefront of the choice

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While Mulally/Nadella Remain the Favorites, Bates Is Silicon Valley’s Choice for Microsoft CEO

November 29, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Tony Bates About 10 days ago, AllThingsD reported once again that Ford CEO Alan Mulally was in the lead position to take over as CEO of Microsoft, with one internal exec as the No. 2 choice. As I noted in a post on November 19 : “Ford CEO Alan Mulally remains in the pole position for the job, with the idea that he will be more a ‘caretaker’ type CEO, whose deep experience and inspirational charisma will get the company on the right path, while also training up a number of internal candidates to eventually take over from him. The top pick among the possible heirs inside for that princeling role: Enterprise chief Satya Nadella.” Bloomberg reported similarly that Mulally and Nadella were the two top candidates yesterday. In the story, it noted that the Microsoft talent search documents are calling for someone with an “extensive track record in managing complex, global organizations within a fast-paced and highly competitive market sector; track record of delivering top and bottom line results. Proven ability to lead a multi-billion dollar organization and large employee base.” Let’s be clear, none of this is new. ATD and others reported in September that Mulally was the leading name in the race to run the software giant. The Mulally/Nadella scenario is both intriguing and also makes basic sense, along with another newer scenario in which a board member — like Seagate’s CEO Stephen J. Luczo — becomes the CEO (inside the company, this is being jokingly called “pulling a Dick Cheney”). But more than a dozen tech leaders in Silicon Valley, as well as several top Microsoft execs, I have talked to over the last week have one single choice to lead the company: Tony Bates. Having the love of Silicon Valley, of course, is perhaps a little dicey for anyone from Microsoft, despite years of bridge-building done by many company execs, including the British-born Bates, after decades of hostility. But those I spoke to said Bates had all the right assets, making him “the best candidate across all of the various criteria,” said one source. “Tony is a bold choice that would say a lot to the rest of the tech world that Microsoft is ready to engage,” said another source close to the company. “Mulally makes sense only if the board wants a transitional figure, which means it basically doesn’t know what to do yet.” Among Bates’s pluses, according to these sources: Scale management experience from his time as an exec at Cisco, where he managed about 12,000 global workers and was responsible for more than $20 billion in revenue. Technical ability, although Bates does not have a technical degree (he dropped out of mechanical engineering program in Britain). But, at Cisco, he was in change of development of a complex networking product, and he also holds many patents related to the area.

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SurveyMonkey Launches an Enterprise Version

November 19, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

For years there’s been a well-established tradition among certain distinctive tech companies that goes a little like this: A company launches and builds up a successful product or service. People like it so much they start using it at work, even though the corporate IT policy doesn’t officially support it. Examples that come to mind over the years include the original PalmPilot and, more recently, the cloud file storage service DropBox. It’s a common enough occurrence now that the tech industry has created a phrase to describe the phenomenon — the consumerization of enterprise IT. It’s a term so over-used in recent years that I try to avoid using it entirely, although it’s a rare company that can really claim have done it effectively. Here’s one that seems to have done it, but one that you probably wouldn’t necessarily think about in that way: SurveyMonkey. It turns out that SurveyMonkey, a 14-year old company that specializes in doing Web-based surveys and questionnaires, has never had an enterprise-class product. Now it does and it is called SurveyMonkey Enterprise, an enterprise-grade version that tracks how everyone in a company has been using it, and aggregates all their account data — including the historical data from past surveys — in one place

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Adventures in Google Self-Driving Cars: Pizza Delivery, Scavenger Hunts, and Avoiding Deer

November 18, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

After 500,000 miles of road tests, Google’s self-driving car team gave New Yorker writer Burkhard Bilger unusually deep access for a profile this week . It’s still unclear whether the larger idea of autonomous cars will work at all — the most optimistic estimate seems to be that they will come to market in five to 10 years. But self-driving cars are what put Google on the map as a company that tries to make science fiction into reality, so the tale of how they came to be is compelling. The hero of Bilger’s story is 33-year-old engineer Anthony Levandowski, who joined Google after building a self-driving motorcycle for the DARPA Grand Challenge (though it sounds like that didn’t work all that well). Levandowski was toiling away on Google Street View with the more-famous inventor/professor Sebastian Thrun before the two of them got the go-ahead from Google co-founders Larry Page and Sergey Brin to start working on self-driving cars. What made the difference? A TV show producer’s wacky idea for a stunt, believe it or not. From Bilger’s piece: “In February of 2008, Levandowski got a call from a producer of “Prototype This!,” a series on the Discovery Channel. Would he be interested in building a self-driving pizza delivery car? Within five weeks, he and a team of fellow Berkeley graduates and other engineers had retrofitted a Prius for the purpose. They patched together a guidance system and persuaded the California Highway Patrol to let the car cross the Bay Bridge—from San Francisco to Treasure Island. It would be the first time an unmanned car had driven legally on American streets.” The successful bridge crossing earned Page and Brin’s go-ahead within a few months, according to Thrun. Then the two Google co-founders, “like boys plotting a scavenger hunt,” gave the self-driving car team a set of 10 100-mile itineraries. “The roads wound through every part of the Bay Area— from the leafy lanes of Menlo Park to the switchbacks of Lombard Street. If the driver took the wheel or tapped the brakes even once, the trip was disqualified.” The team completed all 10 in a year and a half. There’s a lot more to the story, but the real question is, what’s next for the self-driving car? There are challenges on multiple fronts, now that the scavenger-hunt phase is over. 1) Jumping over legal hurdles. 2) Figuring out how to bring the cars to market, given carmakers are allergic to the word “self driving” (though they’re OK with smaller and subtler tweaks, where machine smarts help drivers out). And 3) Making next technological leaps forward in sensors and machine learning.

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Dear Mayor-Elect de Blasio …

November 7, 2013  |  All Things Digital  |  No Comments

Tony Fischer Photography via photopin cc Congratulations on your election as Mayor of New York City. When you take office on January 1, the technology sector in New York will be larger and more vibrant than ever. This is good news, since technology-based innovation has become not only America’s new engine of prosperity and job creation, but inarguably New York City’s as well. Each new high-skilled tech job leads to five additional new jobs in the local economy. As Executive Director of the New York Technology Council (NYTECH), I can assure you that tech is not only an innovative sector in its own right, but also a leading force behind innovation in many other sectors of the New York economy, including finance, advertising, media, publishing, retail, entertainment, fashion, transportation, health care and education. As mayor, one of your priorities must be helping grow the tech sector, aiming to make NYC the best environment in the world for technology businesses of all ages and sizes. Here are ten ways you can help improve the environment for tech and tech businesses to flourish in NYC: Actively promote NYC as the leading center for tech-based innovation Further encourage entrepreneurship so that NYC becomes even more of a magnet for the most creative talent in the world Support the NYC Tech Campus projects and encourage closer ties between business and academia Develop and support programs to increase the diversity of the tech workforce in NYC Improve and promote STEM education at all levels Work with industry to improve broadband wireline and wireless connectively citywide Improve public transportation and help keep NYC affordable for its workforce Improve public education so highly-skilled workers won’t leave for the suburbs as they start families Reduce bureaucracy and red tape for businesses of all sizes Advocate on behalf of issues that matter to the tech community, such as comprehensive immigration reform Beyond helping the technology sector to prosper, you could and should use technology and the tech community to help reduce inequality among New York City’s people. More specifically, tech can reduce the digital divide, the economic divide and the divide between citizens and their government. The members of NYTECH, who range from individuals to startups to some of the largest corporations in the United States, stand ready to help you ensure that New York City is the greatest and most tech-savvy city in the world. Erik K. Grimmelmann is the executive director of the New York Technology Council (NYTECH), which is a membership-driven, nonprofit organization focused on developing and promoting the technology industry in New York City.

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