It’s official: YouTube is entering the cable cord-cutter business

It’s official: YouTube is entering the cable cord-cutter business

Here at YouTube’s sprawling Los Angeles facility, the company is holding an event to announce YouTube TV—its streaming service that will offer conventional TV channels streamed across the net to phones, tablets, PCs, and TVs. The company is only saying it will be available in “the coming months.”

But it’s disclosing most of the other vital facts about what the service will offer, and on paper, at least, they sound like a serious rival to existing services such as Sling TV, DirecTV Now, and PlayStation Vue:

• 40 networks in all: the major broadcast networks, plus channels such as ESPN, Fox Sports, USA FX, E!, Bravo, Disney, MSNBC, Sprout, local channels, and (for an additional fee) Showtime—but not those owned by cable behemoths Time Warner and Viacom

• YouTube’s own original content, such as the shows and films that are part of its YouTube Red service

• Unlimited ability to record shows for later watching via a cloud-based DVR

• Google-like search for specific shows or themes such as “time travel”

• A cost of $35 a month for six accounts

[Photo: Unsplash user Sven Scheuermeier]

03.02.17 | 4:07 pm

50 million people now pay for Spotify

Despite the ever-growing competition, Spotify is checking off another milestone this afternoon: The music streaming service now has 50 million paying subscribers. That means that Spotify has about half of the music subscription market, which hit 100 million total subscribers earlier this year. Apple Music follows with about 20 million subscribers, while new entrants like Tidal, SoundCloud, YouTube Red, and Amazon Music Unlimited are all fighting for a subscriber count worth bragging about. Spotify, which is a freemium service, boasts 100 million listeners overall.

03.02.17 | 1:56 pm

Here’s what we paid attention to at the Oscars—besides that big screwup

The folks at Dstillery, an ad-tech firm, sent me a pretty cool “attention graph” that maps out what we paid attention to during Sunday night’s Oscars telecast. The chart below shows ad bids generated by people’s mobile devices. It’s inverted, so the spikes represent the moments where those bids decreased—meaning people stopped fiddling with their phones and paid attention to their TVs.

Clearly, there’s a huge spike at the end of the night when La La Land was erroneously crowned Best Picture. But some of the other spikes are interesting too. The second largest comes a little before 9:00 p.m. ET, right around the time Moonlight’s Mahershala Ali was named Best Supporting Actor. Another interesting detail is how device activity jumps back up again right after the big events—showing how people are grabbing their phones and posting on social media about what they just saw.

Credit Dstillery’s chief scientist, Claudia Perlich, with figuring out this neat trick for measuring attention. I spoke with her last year about how she did a similar thing for the Super Bowl.

[Image: Dstillery]

03.02.17 | 1:25 pm

Uber has a pretty lame excuse for not signing the “friend of the court” brief in support of a transgender student

As we reported this morning, 53 companies from Apple and Airbnb to Yelp and Zendesk, signed the “friend of the court” brief today in support of Gavin Grimm, who is fighting for the right to use the boys’ room at his school in Virginia. Missing from the list of signatories were some high-profile names such as Uber, Facebook, and Google. The latter two declined to comment when contacted by Politico‘s Morning Tech newsletter. Uber’s excuse: “it wanted to sign but didn’t because it missed the deadline.”

03.02.17 | 1:12 pm

Blame a typo for that Amazon Web Services outage that wreaked havoc across the internet

Amazon has offered more details on the AWS service disruption that affected large swaths of the internet on Tuesday. The company posted a dense, five-paragraph explanation on its website. Have a look at it if you dare—it’s loaded with technobabble terms like “PUT request” and “S3 subsystem.” An astute security editor from ZDNet picked up on the fact that Amazon basically attributed the problem to commands that were incorrectly inputted—also known as human error.

Timberland gets eco-friendly with a collection made from plastic bottles

Timberland is partnering with Thread, a Certified B Corp, that is transforming plastic bottles from the streets and canals of Haiti into fabric. Timberland is using this recycled material in a collection of T-shirts, shoes, and bags that is launching today. Each yard of fabric made will be tracked from bottle collection to manufacture to ensure total transparency.

The project is eco-friendly, but it is also community-oriented, as it creates job opportunities for more than 1,300 Haitian people to collection the bottles littering their streets. 

03.02.17 | 11:19 am

Tom Hanks just sent a coffee machine to the White House press corps with this amazing note

The Oscar-winning actor sent the caffeine-refueling apparatus with a note that included an etching of American soldiers returning from war and that read: “Keep up the good fight for Truth, Justice, and the American Way. Especially for the Truth part.”

03.02.17 | 11:14 am

This startup wants you to make your own shoes

Alterre, a New York-based shoe startup, has just launched a line of modular shoes. You can buy shoe bases–platform heels, sandals, pumps–and dozens of straps to create hundreds of different combinations of different looks.

The brand is eco-friendly, allowing women to change their looks frequently without a lot of waste. But they’re also popular with women who travel a lot and want shoes that match different outfits without creating too much bulk.

Read my full story here

Read the “friend of the court” brief from tech giants supporting transgender student Gavin Grimm

Dozens of tech giants—from Apple and Airbnb to Yelp and Zendesk—joined a “friend of the court” brief today in support of Gavin Grimm, the Virginia high school student at the center of a legal fight over the use of school bathrooms by transgender students. The court filing was announced today by Human Rights Campaign, which said the 53 companies represent more than 1.3 million employees and $613 billion in revenue. Read the full document here.

03.02.17 | 8:50 am

Here’s how Snap’s IPO measures up against some of the great tech stock debuts

There’s a new ticker symbol in town. When the bell rings at the New York Stock Exchange this morning, Snapchat’s parent company, Snap Inc., will start trading at $17 a share. At an estimated valuation of $24 billion, the millennial-focused messaging app ranks among some of the all-time great tech IPOs in recent history—dwarfed only by Facebook in 2012 and Alibaba in 2014.

03.02.17 | 8:44 am

UberEats launches analytics for restaurants to stake its claim to delivery

The on-demand food delivery market is getting more and more crowded and the highly competitive Uber wants to dominate it. The company is launching analytics for the 30,000-plus restaurants it works with around the globe. The new interface will give restaurateurs three things:

1)  Information around bills and how they’re performing.

2) How efficiently they’re running their in-store operations.

3) Metrics on customer satisfaction.

Because there are so many delivery services these days, the way to prove valuable to clients is by giving them data and tools they don’t have. Of course, one of the biggest providers of take out, Seamless/GrubHub, has had analytics out for a few years. But UberEats’s aggressive push into 60-plus markets makes it a formidable competitor even against legacy delivery series. The app has roughly 8 million monthly active users, according to mobile analytics firm Apptopia.

[Photo: Uber]

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