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The biggest tech and digital media stories of 2019

Listed here are the traits that captured headlines this yr – from the rise of the streaming wars and podcasting, to digital-media consolidation and the rising backlash towards Large Tech.

1. Large-media streamers assemble

The brand new multibillion-dollar battle fronts in streaming video turned sharply drawn in 2019. Disney roared the loudest, with the debut of Disney+ – snagging an estimated 24 million customers in lower than three weeks due to aggressive pricing, Verizon’s one-year-free promo and meme-ready breakout celebrity Child Yoda. Disney additionally inked a pact with Comcast to regulate Hulu (future house to FX’s streaming originals) and is ready for a giant worldwide streaming foray subsequent yr. Apple TV+ arrived with a extra boutique play, together with awards contender The Morning Present. The sphere, led by Netflix, will get extra heavy artillery in 2020 with the rollouts of AT&T/WarnerMedia’s HBO Max, Comcast/NBCU’s Peacock and Quibi, Jeffrey Katzenberg’s wager on premium cellular video.

2. “Techlash” depth grows

Silicon Valley was as soon as the poster little one for American innovation and enterprise management. In 2019, the refrain blasting massive tech corporations as dangerously highly effective and even a menace to democracy grew louder – with critical requires the US authorities to dismantle them. In opposition to that backdrop, regulators stepped up their makes an attempt to brush again the behemoths. The DOJ rattled its saber with new antitrust probes. Fb absorbed a record-breaking US$5bil (RM20bil) FTC wonderful over alleged privateness violations (although buyers did not even flinch), whereas YouTube was slapped by the FTC for gathering information on youngsters underneath 13 and was compelled to implement main adjustments in the way it treats kid-targeted movies. TikTok, owned by Chinese language Web big ByteDance, drew scrutiny over privateness and safety fears (and entered into its personal FTC settlement) after exploding as probably the most common social-video apps.

3. Digital media gamers get urge to merge

In search of energy in numbers amid income shortfalls and fragmenting audiences, digital-media publishers went by a wave of consolidation. Vice snapped up Refinery29, trying to forge a stronger presence with millennial girls; Vox Media acquired New York Media, as a rising variety of print-centric manufacturers landed new house owners; and Discovery-backed Group 9 purchased female-focused PopSugar. It isn’t sure how effectively the tie-ups will fulfill their synergy targets, but it surely’s protected to count on extra M&A on this sector in 2020.

4. Skinny bundles get fatter and pricier

Over-the-top TV suppliers promised to present cable-weary shoppers cheaper, extra versatile methods to get subscription TV. However the financial realities of the pay-TV biz got here house to roost, as each participant within the sector carried out important worth hikes in 2019 whereas additionally augmenting their programming lineups. Dish simply raised Sling TV’s charges 20%, after Hulu kicked up the price of its reside TV service by 22% final month, following worth will increase for AT&T Now (previously DirecTV Now), Google’s YouTube TV and FuboTV. Sony threw within the towel, concluding it could not make cash on OTT pay-TV, asserting that it’ll shut down PlayStation Vue in January.

5. Podcasting pops

After over a decade of regular progress, podcasting turned a nook this yr with a flood of latest investments and initiatives. Podcast mainstays like NPR, Joe Rogan and iHeartMedia’s How Stuff Works had been joined within the podcast gold rush by everybody from Conan O’Brien to the Obamas. Spotify planted its flag in podcasting with a spate of acquisitions (together with shopping for studio Gimlet Media) and increase a slate of originals, and Sony Music entered the fray. In the meantime Apple is poised to make noise in podcasting in 2020. In 2019, an estimated 90 million US shoppers had been listening to podcasts month-to-month, up 23% from 73 million final yr, per Edison Analysis and Triton Digital. – Selection/Reuters

Article kind: free

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