News

YouTube Removes Kardashian Deepfake For Copyright Violations, Not Fake News

As A.I. enables the creation of more fake content, social media platforms risk a loss of credibility with their users who will find other websites to visit, or disconnect entirely, if they can’t trust what they are viewing. Days...

Socially Responsible No More: S&P Drops Facebook From Its ESG List

After a series of privacy concerns and data scandals, it’s official: Facebook has been removed from the S&P 500’s socially responsible companies list. S&P 500 Environmental & Socially Responsible Index, launched at the end of April, tracks companies on...

From Automating Arabic News to U.S. Financial Industry: How Narrativa Is Disrupting Natural Language Generation

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. David Llorente wasn’t happy. Day in and out his writers were grinding out repetitive online gaming news in their Tallinn, Estonia, office and no time...

Zuck Getting Schooled by Deepfake Video Shows New Social Media Concerns

Facebook’s response to fake videos has been tested again, this time with a 20-second AI-generated video of Mark Zuckerberg published on Instagram over the weekend. The social network has again decided to leave it up for the public while flagging as doctored.

‘It’s not enough to say a thing.’ Simon Kelly on Impact and ESG Messaging

Impact investment funds and ESG strategists often struggle to distinguish between good intentions and good marketing. It’s not a new idea: tobacco firms once pushed menthol cigarettes as a healthy alternative, and to this day some people believe in so-called “clean coal."

Meet Iranian Founder Who’s Looking to Disrupt U.S. Edutech Startup Market

Martin Basiri, CEO of ApplyBoard, started the company as an international student from Iran in 2015. ApplyBoard, an Ontario-based edutech company, snagged $55 million in series B funding. As more money is pouring into artificial intelligence-powered college counseling startups,...

Apple News+ Dilemma Stalking Big Media: Matt Lindsay

It’s been nearly two months since Apple launched its $9.99 a month Apple News+, but the debate over its offering to media companies and the public at large is far from over. In exchange for allowing Apple News+ to...

Two Women at Rice University Are Shaking Up Academia with Entrepreneur Education

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Despite the growing importance of the startup culture in keeping the US economy competitive, academia lags behind, preferring the tranquil process of turning out employees for corporations...

Trevor Butterworth: “People have become increasingly aware that the entire technology world is problematic.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. The tech industry has long maintained that the protection of personal data should be self-regulated and that a macro regulatory approach like the European Union’s General Data...

Streamroot’s Tech Aims to Improve “Viewing Experience”, Reach Wider Audiences

Delays and interruptions in the delivery of content  mean the loss of viewers, which can deeply hurt the financial performance of media companies. But Streamroot believes that its video-delivery systems can eliminate these problems and improve streaming quality...

Frank Barbieri: “Ad buyers in general are dying to buy something other than Google and Facebook.”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. When Sizmek filed Chapter 11 in late March, concerns expressed privately for years by many investors in the ad tech space broke into the open: Sizmek was...

Sizmek, Once an Ad Tech High Flier, Bellyflops into Chapter 11

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. In a twist of that old saying, “You can’t fight City Hall,” ad tech pioneer Sizmek announced that its efforts to compete with Google’s DoubleClick platform have drained it of cash...

Peter Cosco: “Frothy Environment” Continues for Deal-Making in Media Startups

Strategic Investors: Profiles of investors with strategies to consider. As an investment bank specializing in the media sector, Palazzo is navigating stormy seas. M&A activity is brisk and there has been no shortage of IPO activity, with both Pinterest and Zoom going public in April. Yet, the...

Bob Sullivan on Data Breaches: “Not every incident has to be so existentially threatening”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Marriott International – which revealed last year, just after it acquired the Starwood hotel chain, that some 500 million guests accounts created in its SPG membership database...

Merrill Brown: Ads Won’t Save Media Companies, But They’re Still Part of a Diversified Revenue Play

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. The cannibalization of journalism and digital media sites by major technology companies has undermined the old advertising revenue model, but new business strategies are emerging. Merrill Brown, CEO...

Sarah Brandt: NewsGuard “had the idea that the best way to solve a journalistic problem was by using journalism”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. The manipulation of personal data and proliferation of ‘fake news’ during the 2016 U.S. election cycle have led to serious damage to the reputations of some of technology’s biggest names, particularly...

Great Hill Swallows The Onion and Gizmodo as Univision Returns to Roots

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Univision Communications Inc., America’s largest provider of Spanish-language content, has abandoned its plans to expand into English-language markets. On Monday, the New York-based firm sold the Gizmodo Media Group and satirical website The...

Sale of AMI’s Tabloids Will Test National Enquirer’s Political Relevance

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. American Media Inc. (AMI), owner of the scandal-ridden National Enquirer, Globe, and the National Examiner, has put the controversial tabloids up for sale. A handful of potential buyers have been mentioned,...

Bumble Doesn’t Think Print Is Dead

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. The specter of magazine publishing may be haunting advertisers, but millennial-centric apps like Bumble and Airbnb are not perturbed. More than startups, these digital-first companies are symbols of a millennial lifestyle of...

Intel Backs AI Startup SambaNova in $150M Funding Round

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Intel Capital led a $150 million Series B funding round for SambaNova Systems, adding its name to the list of big-league backers of the startup building a systems platform for the...

Onfido Raises $50 Million in Latest Funding Round

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Identity verification provider Onfido raised $50 million in late-stage funding from several high-profile venture capital firms, underscoring the strong demand for cybersecurity products and services, including new ways to conduct background...

Tastytrade’s Tom Sosnoff: “We’ve chosen the non-traditional marketing direction: the good faith model. And it’s worked.”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. Tom Sosnoff, Founder and Co-CEO of the online financial network tastytrade, says he holds out little hope for those media companies still trying to survive with a revenue stream based on advertising....

Qutoutiao Lands $117M Loan From Alibaba

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Qutoutiao Inc., a Chinese mobile content aggregator, landed a $117 million loan, fully convertible, from the international conglomerate Alibaba on March 29. The loan will net Alibaba some 4% ownership in Qutoutiao. Details...

Epsilon Unit Attracts Publicis, Goldman

On Our Radar: Deals we are paying attention to for their impact on industry. Alliance Data Systems Corp.’s Epsilon marketing unit has one confirmed and one reported bidder, and the Plano, Texas-based firm could choose one as early as this week, according to a Bloomberg report. The...

Philip Balboni: “There will never be advertising on DailyChatter. People hate it.”

Sound Businesses: Profiles of companies and business models we are keeping an eye on. As business models for news continue to evolve, the pursuit of a lasting and profitable model for digital content publishers continues to quicken. Philip Balboni has long been an innovator in quality...

Frank Barbieri: “The future of customer service is one AI negotiating with another AI…”

Perspectives: Opinions from our network of advisors, investors, operators and analysts on the risks and opportunities they see. Frank Barbieri, an investor and co-founder of the San Francisco startup consultancy Ecolese, has worked in senior positions at Microsoft, InfoSpace and other technology firms and guided...

Stifling Fake News with Modern ID Management

KEY TAKEAWAYS User-created content has revolutionized how we create and view content, but control and monetization of that content remains centralized in the hands of a very few platforms. Total global media deal volumes were slightly down to $19.6B compared to to the $20.23B...

Nokia: An Unexpected Pioneer of 5G Technology

KEY TAKEAWAYS User-created content has revolutionized how we create and view content, but control and monetization of that content remains centralized in the hands of a very few platforms. Total global media deal volumes were slightly down to $19.6B compared to to the $20.23B...
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