Russia Moves to Tax Apple, Google and Netflix (Hollywood Reporter)
An initiative to slap taxes on digital sales by Apple, Google Play and Netflix, overwhelmingly supported by local online video services, has been approved by the Russian government and is expected to be implemented as of 2017. President Vladimir Putin ordered that relevant state agencies prepare changes to the country’s legislation.
ESPN Signs Digital Distribution Deal With Chinese Internet Giant Tencent (Hollywood Reporter)
ESPN has reached a landmark digital distribution deal with Chinese internet giant Tencent. The strategic partnership will localize and integrate the Disney’s subsidiary’s popular sports content across Tencent’s myriad digital platforms and services.
Sports are a pretty intuitive place for augmented reality: we already watch them with a bevy of numerical overlays, replays, and commentary. So Microsoft’s “future of football,” featuring its HoloLens headset, unsurprisingly makes a lot of sense.
Sen Orrin Hatch has moved to speed passage of a key privacy bill that is linked to several transatlantic data sharing agreements. The so-called Judicial Redress Act would give European Union citizens the right to challenge misuse of their personal data in a US court, a right US citizens already enjoy in Europe.
COMCAST ON A GIG (Washington Post)
In early 2016, Atlanta and Nashville will be the first cities to take advantage of a new technology that enables gigabit speeds over traditional cable connections. That will be followed in late 2016 by gigabit cable service in Chicago, Detroit and Miami, Comcast said.
INSIDE FACEBOOK’S BATTLE IN INDIA (Medium)
If you wanted to get a glimpse of how hard Facebook can fight when pressed against the wall — a hint of its war chest, the scope of its ambition to access and connect the developing world — take a drive around Mumbai, India’s financial capital, as 2015 turned into 2016. Everywhere: the billboards.
Remember the “digital divide”? Well, forget it. These days, the key divide isn’t between the digital “haves” and “have nots.” It’s between the fully-connected — people who enjoy multi-device home broadband and wifi — and the not-quite-fully-connected, who don’t. New research shows that basic Internet access is nearly universal.
Cutting the Cord: CBS is streaming the big game (USA Today)
The team with the best winning streak going into the Super Bowl? The cord cutters. This will be the fourth year that the Super Bowl has been streamed online for free. This year, CBS is expanding the variety of devices you can stream the Super Bowl using the CBS Sports app to include Apple TV, Google Chromecast and Roku players.
The FCC’s Cynical Set-Top Box Play (The Hill- Commentary)
The FCC recently announced that it intends to vote this month on a Notice of Proposed Rulemaking aimed at creating a competitive retail market for video set-top boxes, a move that gives clear meaning to the biblical proverb “as a dog returns to his vomit, so a fool repeats his folly.”
Brands will spend a record $5 million for a TV ad during CBS’s broadcast of this year’s Super Bowl, but with most of the chatter about the game happening online, Big Game marketers are also pouring big money into digital advertising. Expect more brands to “ambush” this year’s game with digital-heavy campaigns that are cheaper.
In acknowledgement of the extreme popularity of streaming music online, the Recording Industry Association of America announced that it will now count streams toward the coveted gold and platinum awards for popular albums. The RIAA previously counted streams toward a “digital” single award.
Traditional Media Growth Dips as Digital Grows (Broadcasting & Cable)
Usage of traditional media in the U.S. dropped 2.4% in 2015 while digital media use jumped 33.5%, according to a new report from PQ Media. The drop puts traditional media usage at 46.8 hours a week and PQ Media predicts it will continue to decline at a 2.1% compounded annual rate through 2019.
Adblock’s Williams: Blocking Is ‘Opportunity for Innovation’ (Broadcasting & Cable)
Last year ended with a lot of blowback against ad-blockers. This year has started much the same. As digital content, especially video, keeps gaining views, the billions of ad revenue lost to blocking are ratcheting up industry angst levels.