Digital Daily Dozen: 4/6/16

MECLABS Study Points to Major Opportunity for Online News Subscriptions (Media Shift)  

The study by MECLABS Institute found that 41 percent of adult news consumers (aged 25 and older with household incomes greater than $40k) are willing, to some degree, to consider purchasing a digital news subscription. That still amounts to a minority of all news consumers. 

Starz Launches Standalone Streaming Service (Variety) 

Starz has joined HBO and Showtime in going over the top with the launch today of a standalone streaming app that also allows users to download most of the available programs. Starz is offering the app in partnership with Apple and Google. The service costs $8.99 a month, $2 less than Showtime’s $10.99 offering.   

Sony Music Files Fraud Lawsuit Against Radio Executives Over Pandora Deal (Hollywood Reporter) 

In a new lawsuit, Sony Music alleges it was defrauded of millions when the on-demand service Rdio came to agreement with Pandora and subsequently filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy last November. The first big bust in the era of streamed music, Rdio sold its key assets to Pandora for $75 million.    

Twitter Beats Amazon, Verizon for Global NFL Streaming Deal (Recode) 

Surprise finish to the fight for NFL streaming rights: They’re going to Twitter. The social media company beat out heavyweights including Amazon and Verizon for global rights to stream the Thursday night games the league will host next fall, according to people familiar with the bidding.   

How sports could help revive sagging web giants (Media Life Magazine)  

Twitter launched 10 years ago at the start of the social media boom. At first it grew quickly, ranking second only to Facebook in social networking users and becoming a top-10 destination on the web, while also more than doubling its advertising revenue in its first two years of offering ads. But then came the growing pains. 

Senator presses FTC to reopen Google antitrust case as EU Commissioner comes to town (Recode) 

As European regulators dangle the antitrust hammer above Google’s head, the search engine’s rivals are trying to stir up similar charges in the US. Case in point: At a Senate Judiciary hearing, Sen. Richard Blumenthal pushed for the FTC to crack open a new case against Google for preferential treatment of its own content in search results. 

Time Warner and Nielsen Will Study How Virtual Reality Affects the Subconscious (Ad Week) 

Time Warner and Nielsen are partnering up to study how video content affects the actual hearts and minds of those viewing short-form video and virtual reality. The three-year partnership between Time Warner and Nielsen will allow the companies to study how video content registers with viewers at a subconscious level.   

Ad Blocking Is a Fad, and Other Thoughts From Ad-Block Talk at Ad Age’s Digital Conference (Ad Age) 

The ad blocking panel at Ad Age’s Digital Conference agreed on one thing: It’s an issue in the short-term, and better content might be one way to combat it. But give it five years and there may not even be an issue at all. “Ad blocking will still exist, but I think it’s a fad,” said Shenan Reed, president of digital for WPP’s MEC.   

FCC’s Wheeler: Spectrum Auction Could Extend Into FY 2017 (Broadcasting & Cable)  

FCC chair Tom Wheeler told a Senate subcommittee that one of the reasons the FCC is seeking $11 million more in funding for the broadcast incentive auction is that there is no guarantee it won’t extend into fiscal year 2017 (which starts in July). The FCC is hoping the bidding will be done by the third quarter of this year.    

Limelight: Mobile Phones Tops Among Devices for Digital Downloads (Broadcasting & Cable) 

A new study from content delivery network Limelight Networks shows smartphones have become to dominant device when it comes to digital downloads and content consumption, beating out PCs for the first time. With 73% of consumers worldwide owning a mobile phone, Limelight’s data makes sense.   

THE LIFELINE COMPROMISE THAT WASN’T  (Public Knowledge- Commentary)

Much has been made of the political theatre that surrounded the FCC’s recent vote to modernize the decades-old Lifeline program. A minority on the Commission is pushing a narrative with all the appeal of a particularly wonky House of Cards episode (without the sex and murder): frantic negotiation, last-minute compromises, the works.   


Taking on one of the most pressing issues facing the current FCC, the Consumer Federation of America released a study that estimates that large incumbent phone companies have engaged in abusive pricing practices for high-speed broadband “special access” services, with overcharges totaling $75 billion over just the past five years.    


Under Travis LeBlanc’s leadership, the FCC’s Enforcement Bureau has been very aggressive in bringing enforcement actions involving privacy and data security and obtaining settlements in the tens of millions of dollars. The new privacy Notice of Proposed Rulemaking would significantly expand the scope of enforcement.