Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)

Smart speakers like Amazon Alexa and Google Assistant are rapidly gaining in popularity, but use of news on the devices is lagging, according to a report released Wednesday night by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism. Use of the devices for music and weather is still far ahead of news use. And among consumers’ complaints about news briefings: They’re too long. Luckily, there’s time for news publishers to catch up, finds Nic Newman, a senior research associate at RISJ, who did his research via in-home interviews and focus groups, online surveys, and publisher interviews. (He also tapped Amazon, Apple, and Google for whatever data they were willing to share — which, unsurprisingly, wasn’t a lot; none of the companies would share data on how many devices they’ve sold or discuss trends in how news is consumed on them.) Smart speakers are still devices for early adopters:
Continue reading "Consumers love smart speakers. They don’t love news on smart speakers. (At least not yet.)"

Pandora wants to map the “podcast genome” so it can recommend your next favorite show

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 185, published November 13, 2018. Pandora’s Podcast Genome Project enters the wild. Sydney Pollack had a great line in Michael Clayton where he wags his finger at George Clooney’s down-in-the-dumps fixer protagonist saying: “Fer chrissakes, Michael, you’ve got something everybody wants! You have a niche!” That line popped into my head when I first heard that Pandora was planning to graft its famed Music Genome Project onto the podcast universe. I mean…it makes sense. If the company was going to start properly distributing podcasts, this would be the way in. It’s great to have a niche, a thing only you have in the world. If you were born with a hammer for an arm, why wouldn’t you smash everything? This morning, Pandora’s podcast offering, powered by the “Podcast Genome Project,” begins rolling out beta access to select Continue reading "Pandora wants to map the “podcast genome” so it can recommend your next favorite show"

Snapchat is doing badly, and publishers are getting out

The novelty of Snapchat appears to be wearing thin for publishers. Nestled in this Bloomberg piece about Snapchat’s bad (its number of daily users fell for the second straight quarter) earnings report:
Condé Nast is discontinuing its Snapchat channels for Vogue, Wired and GQ brands, and letting go of employees who were brought in to produce them, according to people familiar with the matter. The publishing company, which is also a Snapchat advertiser, is keeping its Teen Vogue and Self channels. Condé Nast declined to comment.

Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls on Bloomberg to Retract Report on Chinese Spy Chip: ‘No Truth in Their Story’

Two weeks ago, Bloomberg Businessweek released a stunning report on Chinese spies planting tiny chips on servers with the purpose of creating a “stealth doorway into any network that included the altered machines.” Their report revealed that this affected 30 U.S. companies, including Apple:
Apple was an important Supermicro customer and had planned to order more than 30,000 of its servers in two years for a new global network of data centers. Three senior insiders at Apple say that in the summer of 2015, it, too, found malicious chips on Supermicro motherboards. Apple severed ties with Supermicro the following year, for what it described as unrelated reasons.
Apple gave Bloomberg a statement denying it, though the report says, “The companies’ denials are countered by six current and former senior national security officials, who—in conversations that began during the Obama administration and continued under the Trump administration—detailed the discovery Continue reading "Apple CEO Tim Cook Calls on Bloomberg to Retract Report on Chinese Spy Chip: ‘No Truth in Their Story’"

Here’s What to Look For at Today’s Big Apple Event

Today at 1pm Eastern, 3pm Apple Time, Apple CEO Tim Cook will take the stage at the biggest Apple event of the Apple year, the annual fall product reveal. This years big news? Big iPhones. BIG ones. And big prices. BIG ones. Apple Day, as users call it, involves new product launches or product upgrades every fall. This year, new iPhones and a new Apple Watch, as well as possible upgrades to Macbook and more are on deck. CNN’s Brian Stelter, reporting from Cupertino, talked about the price and updates. “I don’t think these pro products ever really get cheaper, unfortunately,” Stelter joked, “But they do get better. That’s what apple says. It is Apple day once again. They’re launching a bunch of new phones here at the Steve Jobs theater later today.” “They will be pushing the price a little higher on the top of the line iPhone,” Continue reading "Here’s What to Look For at Today’s Big Apple Event"

Apple Faces Backlash on Day of Big Product Launch As User Whose iTunes Purchase Disappeared Goes Viral

If you’ve ever bought a movie on iTunes, you may think you permanently own it. But as with so many things, and particularly Apple things, you probably should have read the user agreement. That’s what Twitter is finding out right now when it comes to digital ownership. A tweet has gone viral lamenting the disappearance of previously purchased movies from a Canadian user’s library. It includes a screenshot of the response from Apple explaining that the purchased movies aren’t actually owned by the purchaser. Here’s some text from that screenshot:
I see that you are unable to Continue reading "Apple Faces Backlash on Day of Big Product Launch As User Whose iTunes Purchase Disappeared Goes Viral"

A big shakeup at Audible has left the audiobook giant’s podcast strategy unclear

Welcome to Hot Pod, a newsletter about podcasts. This is issue 172, published August 7, 2018. Huge shakeups at Audible Originals. I can confirm that the Amazon-owned audiobook giant announced internally last Thursday that it was eliminating a considerable number of roles within its original programming unit. Sources within the company tell me that the role eliminations span a number of different teams within the unit, but most notably, they include nearly the entire group responsible for Audible’s shorter-form podcast-style programming, like the critically acclaimed West Cork, The Butterfly Effect with Jon Ronson, and Where Should We Begin? with Esther Perel. That group was previously led by former NPR executive Eric Nuzum and his deputy, the public radio veteran Jesse Baker. NPR’s Neda Ulaby first reported the development in a newscast on Friday evening. In the spot, Ulaby noted that about a dozen employees were affected and that the changes Continue reading "A big shakeup at Audible has left the audiobook giant’s podcast strategy unclear"