Facebook snags former Vine GM to run product for its new experimental app division, NPE Team


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Is Facebook preparing to launch a serious competitor to TikTok? If so, the company just picked up some key talent to make that happen. Last week, Facebook announced plans for a new division, called the NPE Team, which will build experimental consumer-focused apps where it will try different ideas and features, then see how people react. Now, Facebook has picked up former Vine GM Jason Toff to join the NPE team as a Product Management Director.

Toff’s experience also includes time spent at Google, most notably as a Product Lead for YouTube before exiting to Vine in

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The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


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VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019


This post is by Eric Peckham from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




VidCon, the annual summit in Anaheim, CA for social media stars and their fans to meet each other drew over 75,000 attendees over last week and this past weekend. A small subset of those where entertainment and tech executives convening to share best practices and strike deals.

Of the wide range of topics discussed in the industry-only sessions and casual conversation, five trends stuck out to me as takeaways for Extra Crunch members: the prominence of TikTok, the strong presence of Chinese tech companies in general, the contemplation of deep fakes, curiosity around virtual influencers, and the widespread interest in developing consumer product startups around top content creators.

Newer platforms take center stage

GettyImages 1161447217

Photo by Jerod Harris/Getty Images

TikTok, the Chinese social video app (owned by Bytedance) that exploded onto the US market this past year, was the biggest conversation topic. Executives and talent managers were curious to see where

Continue reading “The need-to-know takeaways from VidCon 2019”

App revenue tops $39 billion in first half of 2019, up 15% from first half of last year


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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App store spending is continuing to grow, although not as quickly as in years past. According to a new report from Sensor Tower, the iOS App Store and Google Play combined brought in $39.7 billion in worldwide app revenue in the first half of 2019 — that’s up 15.4% over the $34.4 billion seen during the first half of last year. However, at that time, the $34.4 billion was a 27.8% increase from 2017’s numbers, then a combined $26.9 billion across both stores.

Apple’s App Store continues to massively outpace Google Play on consumer spending, the report also found.

In the first half of 2019, global consumers spent $25.5 billion on the iOS App Store, up 13.2% year-over-year from the $22.6 billion spent in the first half of 2018. Last year, the growth in consumer spending was 26.8%,

1h 2019 app revenue worldwide
1h 2019 app downloads worldwide
1h 2019 game revenue worldwide

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TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles children’s data and safety


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TikTok is being investigated in the U.K. for how it handles the safety and personal data of underage users. According to the Guardian, information commissioner Elizabeth Denham told a parliamentary committee that the probe started in February, after the U.S. Federal Trade Commission levied a $5.7 million fine against TikTok for breaking children’s privacy law.

Denham told the Guardian that the commission is examining how TikTok collects private data and concerns about the open messaging system, which may allow adult users to contact children. “We are looking at the transparency tools for children. We’re looking at the messaging system, which is completely open, we’re looking at the kind of videos that are collected and shared by children online. We do have an active investigation into TikTok right now, so watch this space,” she said.

The investigation will also examine if the popular app, owned by ByteDance,

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China silences podcast and music apps as online crackdown widens


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Audio apps are flying high in China. In 2018, online listeners in the country grew 22.1% to surpass 400 million, at a rate far exceeding that of the mobile video and e-reading populations, according to market researcher iiMedia.

But the fledgling sector is taking a hit. On Friday, a total of 26 audio-focused apps were ordered to terminate, suspend services, or have talks with regulators as they were investigated and deemed to have spread “historical nihilism” and “pornography,” according to a notice posted by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

The clampdown has, in a way, been foreshadowed by a recent attack of user-generated audio content. Last month, Apple restricted Chinese users from accessing podcasts that aren’t hosted by its local partners, effectively preventing those with a Chinese Apple account from consuming content unchecked by Chinese censors.

It’s not uncommon

li zhi

Continue reading “China silences podcast and music apps as online crackdown widens”

China silences podcast and music apps as online crackdown widens


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


Click here to view on the original site: Original Post




Audio apps are flying high in China. In 2018, online listeners in the country grew 22.1% to surpass 400 million, at a rate far exceeding that of the mobile video and e-reading populations, according to market researcher iiMedia.

But the fledgling sector is taking a hit. On Friday, a total of 26 audio-focused apps were ordered to terminate, suspend services, or have talks with regulators as they were investigated and deemed to have spread “historical nihilism” and “pornography,” according to a notice posted by the Cyberspace Administration of China (CAC).

The clampdown has, in a way, been foreshadowed by a recent attack of user-generated audio content. Last month, Apple restricted Chinese users from accessing podcasts that aren’t hosted by its local partners, effectively preventing those with a Chinese Apple account from consuming content unchecked by Chinese censors.

It’s not uncommon

li zhi

Continue reading “China silences podcast and music apps as online crackdown widens”

Nielsen reports a record half a trillion on-demand music streams in U.S. so far this year


This post is by Sarah Perez from TechCrunch


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Music streaming services have already delivered a new high of half a trillion (507.7 billion) on-demand streams in the first half of 2019, according to Nielsen’s mid-year Music Report released this week. This record number — an increase of 31.6% over the first half of last year — was attributed to the success of singles and albums from Ariana Grande, Billie Eilish, Halsey, Khalid, BTS, Lil Nas X, and Bad Bunny, among other factors.

For example, the report also noted the outsized impact of TikTok and its global audience of 500 million monthly users.

“No emerging app helped break more songs in 2019 than TikTok,” Nielsen said.

It then pointed to various TikTok hits like 2019’s year’s most-consumed on-demand song, Nil Nas X’s “Old Town Road,” which saw 1.3 billion total on-demand streams year-to-date; as well as Ava Max’s “Sweet But Psycho,” which snagged 310 million on-demand

Screen Shot 2019 06 28 at 10.32.29 AM
Screen Shot 2019 06 28 at 10.23.30 AM

Continue reading “Nielsen reports a record half a trillion on-demand music streams in U.S. so far this year”

TikTok hit $9M in in-app purchases last month, up 500% over last year


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Popular short-form video app TikTok has been slowly ramping up its advertising strategy this year as it increases its focus on monetization. However, the company still generates a smaller of its revenue from in-app purchases — and that number hit a high of $9 million in May, according to a report from Sensor Tower. That represents 500% year-over-year growth from the $1.5 million spent in May 2018, and 22% growth from April’s $7.4 million.

Arguably, TikTok’s hasn’t put much emphasis on its in-app purchase strategy. For now, the Beijing-based app owned by ByteDance is more heavily focused on driving user growth. It knows that putting some of its best features behind a paywall could potentially limit user adoption and engagement — especially as TikTok looks for growth in emerging markets like India, where it recently said it has 200 million users, 120 million who are monthly actives.

Continue reading “TikTok hit $9M in in-app purchases last month, up 500% over last year”

Report: Chinese spend nearly 5 hours on entertainment apps daily


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Like the rest of the world, China is getting more glued to smartphones that can perform an endless list of tasks, from talking to workmates, shopping for groceries, all the way to getting a dose of dopamine through games. Chinese internet users now spend an average of 4.7 hours on their handsets a day just for entertainment purposes, according to new data (in Chinese) collected by research firm QuestMobile.

The number is up from the 4.1-hour average from a year ago. By ‘entertainment’, QuestMobile is counting services like e-reading, music streaming, online karaoke, video streaming, mobile gaming, live streaming, and of course, short videos that are taking the world by storm. The total screen time could be much higher given the country now prefers taking QR code payments instead of cash, not to mention eyeball time contributed by children using smartphones to do their homework and housewives

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Instagram one-ups TikTok with karaoke lyrics


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Lip-syncing jumpstarted TikTok’s to the center of teen culture, arguably displacing Instagram . Now the Facebook-owned app is striking back with a new feature that lets you displays lyrics on your video Story synced to a soundtrack you’ve added with the Music sticker. Lyrics could help creators and their fans sing along, and the visual flare could make the amateur MTV content more watchable.

Instagram scored a big endorsement from teen scare-pop phenomenon Billie Eilish who’s featured in the demo video for Story lyrics.

To play with the feature, first select the Music lens type (amidst Boomerang and other options) before you shoot or the Music sticker after. Once you pick a song, you’ll see lyrics pop up which can help you cue the segment of the music you want to play. Then you can cycle through a bunch of animation styles like traditional karaoke teleprompter, a typewriter version that preserves

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China says apps should get user consent before tracking


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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Chinese regulators might follow the European Union’s lead to make life harder for internet companies such as TikTok that closely track behavior of their users in a move that could significantly hurt their revenue.

Last week, Beijing proposed a new set of measures to enforce data security for individuals and the nation overall. According to Article 23 of the draft (see translation from China Law Translate), companies that are “using user data and algorithms to deliver news information or commercial advertisements shall conspicuously label them with the words ‘targeted’ and provide users with functionality to stop receiving information from targeted delivery.”

This is good news for users in China, who could potentially take more control over what they are shown and what tech companies collect about them.

On the flip side of the coin, stepped up data protection will “definitely have an impact” on companies that rely heavily on

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Alibaba pumps $100 million into Vmate to grow its video app in India


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Chinese tech giant Alibaba is doubling down on India’s burgeoning video market, looking to fight back local rival ByteDance, Google, and Disney to gain its foothold in the nation. The company said today that it is pumping $100 million into Vmate, a three-year-old social video app owned by subsidiary UC Web.

Vmate was launched as a video streaming and short video sharing app in 2016. But in the years since, it has added features such as video downloads and 3-dimensional face emojis to expand its use cases. It has amassed 30 million users globally, and will use the capital to scale its business in India, the company told TechCrunch. Alibaba Group did not respond to TechCrunch’s questions about its ownership of the app.

The move comes as Alibaba revives its attempts to take on the growing social video apps market, something it has missed out completely in China. Vmate could

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TikTok parent Bytedance is reportedly working on its own smartphone


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It’s been a busy couple of months for Bytedance, one of the world’s most valuable startups and the operator of globally popular video app TikTok. The Beijing-based company has continued to grow its list of apps to include the likes of work collaboration tool Lark, an instant messenger called Feiliao as well as a music streaming app, and now it appears to be taking a bold step into the hardware realm.

Bytedance is planning to develop its own smartphone, the Financial Times reported (paywalled) citing two sources. A spokesperson from Bytedance declined to comment on the matter, but the rumor is hardly a surprise as smartphone pre-installs have long been a popular way for Chinese internet companies to ramp up user sizes.

There’s also urgency from Bytedance to carve out more user acquisition channels. After a few years of frantic growth, Bytedance failed to hit its revenue target for

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Tencent’s latest education push is a nod to new collaborative structure


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When Tencent announced it had formed a new education brand this week, the internet giant wasn’t just flexing the muscles to conquer China’s booming online education sector. The new initiative is also an early result of Tencent’s long plan to foster more internal collaboration at a time when its core businesses, the lucrative video gaming segment and the billion-user WeChat, are under attack.

Called ‘Tencent Education’, the new brand consists of 20 products across all six of the firm’s business groups, announced executive senior vice president Dowson Tong at the company’s annual ecosystem summit on Wednesday. According to Tong, Tencent has over the years served some 15,000 schools and 70,000 educational institutes, giving it a reach of over 300 million users in the sector.

What this means is when it comes to making education products, there will be more teamwork among Tencent divisions, from the one overseeing WeChat to the

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Instagram’s IGTV copies TikTok’s AI, Snapchat’s design


This post is by Josh Constine from TechCrunch


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Instagram conquered Stories, but it’s losing the battle for the next video formats. TikTok is blowing up with an algorithmically suggested vertical one-at-a-time feed featuring videos of users remixing each other’s clips. Snapchat Discover’s 2 x infinity grid has grown into a canvas for multi-media magazines, themed video collections, and premium mobile TV shows.

Instagram’s IGTV…feels like a flop in comparison. Launched a year ago, it’s full of crudely cropped & imported viral trash from around the web. The long-form video hub that lives inside both a homescreen button in Instagram as well as a standalone app has failed to host lengthier must-see original vertical content. Sensor Tower estimates that the IGTV app has just 4.2 million installs worldwide with just 7,700 new ones per day — implying less than half a percent of Instagram’s billion-plus users have downloaded it. IGTV doesn’t rank on the overall charts and hangs

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TikTok owner ByteDance’s long-awaited chat app is here


This post is by Rita Liao from TechCrunch


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In WeChat -dominated China, there’s no shortage of challengers out there claiming to create an alternative social experience. The latest creation comes from ByteDance, the world’s most valuable startup and the operator behind TikTok, the video app that has consistently topped the iOS App Store over the last few quarters.

The new offer is called Feiliao (飞聊), or Flipchat in English, a hybrid of an instant messenger plus interest-based forums, and it’s currently available for both iOS and Android. It arrived only four months after Bytedance unveiled its video-focused chatting app Duoshan at a buzzy press event.

Screenshots of Feiliao / Image source: Feiliao

Some are already calling Feiliao a WeChat challenger, but a closer look shows it’s targeting a more niche need. WeChat, in its own right, is the go-to place for daily communication in addition to facilitating payments, car-hailing, food delivery and other forms of convenience.

Feiliao,

?

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TikTok tops the iOS App Store for the fifth quarter in a row


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Despite a $5.7 million FTC fine and changes to restrict its use by under 13-year-olds, TikTok retained its No. 1 position as the most downloaded app on the Apple App Store for the fifth consecutive quarter, according to a new report from Sensor Tower. The app saw more than 33 million App Store downloads during Q1, and was followed by YouTube, Instagram, WhatsApp, and Messenger to round out the top five.

The No. 16 top app, Twitter, also had a good quarter, the app store intelligence’s report noted.

With 11.7 million App Store downloads, it saw its biggest quarter in terms of downloads since Q1 2015 — and a year-over-year increase of 3.6 percent. Of course, these figures won’t necessarily translate to an increase in active users, though, as installs aren’t a direct correlation to usage.

But while TikTok was again topping the App Store, it wasn’t

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Tencent promises its technology will ‘do good’


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Tencent, one of Asia’s most valuable companies with a current market cap of around $460 billion, has introduced a new motto after co-founder and CEO Pony Ma said this week he wanted ‘tech for good’ to be part of the company’s vision and mission in the future.

The company has not yet officialized the new corporate philosophy and it’s unclear how the “don’t be evil”-like slogan will manifest in Tencent’s business strategy. Nor do we know if it will replace the old mission, which is still emblazoned on its website:

Tencent’s mission is to “improve the quality of life through internet value-added services”. Guided by its “user oriented” business philosophy, Tencent achieves its mission via the delivery of integrated internet solutions to over 1 billion netizens.

Episodes of recent events can probably provide some hints to what the new slogan might entail. The old mission, which focuses on the

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Indian court lifts ban on TikTok in India


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An Indian state court has reversed its ban on TikTok, allowing the short video app to return to both Apple and Google’s app stores, according to a report this morning from Reuters. Earlier this month, India’s Ministry of Electronics and Information Technology had ordered TikTok be removed from app stores, after a High Court in Madras determined the app was encouraging pornography and other illicit content.

Though the removal only affected new users who were looking to download TikTok’s app to their devices for the first time — not those who already had it installed — the ban was a major blow to TikTok’s Chinese owner Bytedance. The company said in a court filing the ban was resulting in a $500,000 daily loss, and was putting more than 250 jobs at risk.

India had become a large and growing market for TikTok, with nearly 300 million users in the

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