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Goldex, a trading app that claims to power so-called “ethical pricing” for retail gold investments, says it has now raised more than £1 million ($1.25 million) in a pre-Series A round led by a group of angels and institutional investors. Amongst those participating in the round are Prepaid Financial Services (a European payment card issuer); […] | 12/14/18
The European Central Bank said it would wind down new bond purchases under its quantitative easing program this month, ending a landmark policy that helped the bank achieve its inflation target but had uneven effects on other parts of the economy. | 12/14/18

Sondra Locke, Oscar-nominated actress and former partner of Clint Eastwood, died last month at the age of 74, according to the Los Angeles County Department of Public Health.

Locke earned her Oscar nomination in 1968 for her supporting role in the adaptation of Carson McCullers’ “The Heart Is A Lonely Hunter,” starring alongside Alan Arkin. It was Locke’s first acting role, which led to star turns in films like “Willard” and “The Second Coming of Suzanne,” the latter being her first title role.

Her career then took a big turn in 1975 when she starred alongside Clint Eastwood in “The Outlaw Josey Wales.” She played the love interest of Eastwood’s character and began dating him soon after. During their 14 year relationship, Locke and Eastwood made six films together, including the highest grossing installment of the “Dirty Harry” franchise, “Sudden Impact,” in 1983. Their relationship ended with a palimony suit in 1989 after Eastwood locked Locke out of their house, and was discovered to have fathered children with another woman during their relationship.

Locke and Eastwood reached a settlement in which Eastwood helped set up a development and directing deal at Warner Bros. in exchange for dropping the palimony suit. But Locke eventually sued Eastwood for fraud in 1995, asserting that the deal was a sham designed to destroy her career — Warner Bros, Locke said, had rejected every single project she pitched. She also sued Warner Bros. in a separate suit. Eastwood and WB both settled with Locke for undisclosed amounts of money, and the case has since been cited in law textbooks to illustrate of the legal concept of good faith.

Also Read: Bill Siegel, Oscar-Nominated Documentary Producer, Dies at 55

Eight years later, Locke wrote a tell-all book about their relationship titled “The Good, the Bad, and the Very Ugly.” In it, Locke accused Eastwood and other Hollywood stars and studio heads of manipulating and sabotaging her career.

“[Eastwood] is like the emperor,” Locke told TheWrap Editor-in-Chief Sharon Waxman in a 1997 profile for The Washington Post. “He always had his own company store. If you were in Clint Eastwood movies, you were in the Clint Eastwood movie business. You weren’t in the movie business. You weren’t part of Hollywood. This became clear early on; people stopped calling. They automatically assumed I was working exclusively with Clint.”

In 1986, Locke made her directorial debut with “Ratboy,” which starred her as a failed window dresser who tries to adopt a human-rat mutant she discovers while dumpster diving. While the film was a flop in the U.S., it became critically acclaimed in Europe. She went on to direct the 1990 crime film “Impulse” and the 1997 thriller “Do Me A Favor.”

In 1967, Locke married actor, sculptor and artist Gordon Anderson, her childhood friend. Anderson was gay and Locke described their relationship as essentially siblings. In 1996 during her lawsuit against Eastwood, she explained their relationship and why they married. “It’s funny the sort of cultural changes, but in those days males and females never lived together unless they were married,” she told the jury, according to the Los Angeles Times. Locke also said that Anderson was “more like a sister to me.”

Locke and Anderson never divorced and remained close throughout their lives.

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Zain (Zain Al Rafeea) is an abrasive, unkempt boy of either 12 or 13 years old. Neither he nor his parents quite know his age for sure. His parents’ neglect is only part of the reason why Zain wants to sue them for bringing him into this world without a care. He hopes to stop them from having any more neglected children like himself or his beloved sister, Sahar (Cedra Izam), who they sold into an early marriage. Yet this is still only the beginning of Zain’s sad story.

Nadine Labaki’s “Capernaum” is a brutally honest — sometimes difficult to watch — drama about neglected children. Some, like Zain, are the innocent victims of a bad situation, joining a big family already burdened with an absurdly small income. Others are the victims of circumstance, like when a hardworking, caring Ethiopian migrant, Rahil (Yordanos Shiferaw), is arrested for her expired (and forged) paperwork. She can say nothing of her baby Yonas (Boluwatife Treasure Bankole) at home, or she risks losing custody of the infant.

Despite his parents’ mistreatments, Zain tries to do the right things for his siblings. He’s especially protective of Sahar and tries to save her from being sold into marriage. When that fails, he runs away from home. He stumbles onto a dusty fairground where one of the workers, Rahil, takes pity on the forlorn-looking boy asking everyone for work. She takes Zain in and asks the boy to look after Yonas while she works.

Also Read: 'Capernaum' Director Left Out 'Shocking' Details About Kids on the Streets That Audiences Couldn't Handle

Unfortunately, as an undocumented migrant vulnerable to extortion, she’s unable to pay the high price to forge her papers and is arrested, leaving the two boys to fend for themselves. So the resourceful Zain does what he’s always done: survive. He figures out how to feed the baby without its mother’s milk, where to find alternative places to shower when they run out of water, how to create a carriage out of a stolen skateboard and pots and how to use what he learned working for his parents’ drug business to earn money. But every step towards survival is met with complications, and Zain’s growing frustration with this unkind world drives him to want to leave the country — potentially without Yonas.

“Capernaum” has garnered much attention for shining a light on the exploitation of children, migrants and refugees. The movie earned a rapturous debut at Cannes, and Lebanon selected the film as its Oscar contender for the foreign language film category. Labaki, whose previous film “Where Do We Go Now?” was also chosen as Lebanon’s Oscar submission in 2012, collaborated with cinematographer Christopher Aoun to look for beauty in this tragedy. They hone in on details like the sunlight brightly streaming into Zain’s messy home or in touching close-ups of Zain playing with Yonas.

Also Read: Do the Oscars Have an Asia Problem in the Foreign Language Film Race?

Labaki’s film hinges on the heartfelt emotions of a little boy struggling to survive, and she cast Al Rafeea, then a 12-year-old illiterate Syrian refugee, to carry the film’s extraordinary emotional demands. At times, the beatings and arguments in “Capernaum” can look frightful; I worried for the children in the scenes. Recently, the director shared that the boy and his family have resettled in Norway, which was similar to his character’s escape plan to go to Europe.

In the movie, Zain can be defiant, ready to curse or to fight anyone who crosses him or anyone in his care. But he’s not always a raw nerve looking for a brawl. In scenes of quiet desperation, Labaki’s camera focuses on the actor’s eyes and his defeated body posture to get a sense of the internal fight going on in his head. There’s a melancholy tone throughout the film, even in its most innocent moments, like when Zain is playing with Yonas in his crib.

Watch Video: 'Capernaum' Director Nadine Labaki Says Refugee Child Star Is Safe and Resettled

There’s no reprieve from the extreme poverty that fuels Zain’s parents’ abuses or that drives Rahil to risk everything to care for her child. Sadness isn’t just around every corner of this film; it is in the viewer’s face throughout its runtime.

In a handful of drone shots in the movie, Labaki extends her lens beyond the suffering of her characters. As the camera flies up, it loses track of the kids. The shot is now focused on the seemingly endless blocks and rows of rundown homes and crumbling apartments. The children’s suffering is lost in a sea of inescapable hardship. Days after watching the movie, I still have some reservations about how abuse is shown in the film, but it’s hauntingly effective. I haven’t been able to shake those images since.

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The European Central Bank cut its economic growth forecasts Thursday, highlighting the risks confronting Europe’s economy even as it ended its massive four-year stimulus program. | 12/13/18
The European Central Bank cut its economic growth forecasts Thursday, highlighting the risks confronting Europe’s economy even as it ended its massive four-year stimulus program. | 12/13/18
The journalist who led a probe into Europe's "cum-ex" tax scam has himself become the target of Hamburg prosecutors. At Swiss behest, Oliver Schröm is being accused of instigating betrayal of business secrets. | 12/12/18
As a delegation of 14 European ambassadors toured Sidon this week, in the wake of the recent clashes in the Mieh Mieh Palestinian refugee camp, business and community leaders in the southern city called for continued investment from the European Union.
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession. | 12/5/18
Italy’s populist government is looking for a route out of a fight with the European Union over its budget, as the financial fallout from the clash pushes the economy to the brink of recession. | 12/5/18
Longtime Accel partners Philippe Botteri, Sonali De Rycker, Luciana Lixandru and Harry Nelis took the stage at Disrupt Berlin earlier today, and unlike many London-based investors, who have downplayed how much Brexit could hurt their local economy, the team was frank about their sundry concerns over what happens if the U.K. leaves the European Union […] | 11/30/18
Via, a shuttle-based carpooling service and platform that partners with cities in the U.S. and Europe, could soon add scooters to its business. Via CEO and co-founder Daniel Ramot said onstage at TechCrunch Disrupt Berlin that the company is experimenting with the idea of adding scooters as a complement to its shuttle business. “We’re also adding scooters mostly, […] | 11/30/18

We’re accustomed to horror movies using creativity and artistry to cover up their low budgets; a filmmaker can create plenty of scares with one set and a cast of four. The low-budget musical, on the other hand, is expected to provide splashy razzle-dazzle and grandeur with the same economy of means, and it’s a tougher genre to make succeed on a dime. That said, if you’re willing to overlook a little scruffiness at the edges, it’s a Christmas miracle that the Scottish import “Anna and the Apocalypse” works so well as both a horror movie and a musical.

And “Christmas miracle” should be taken literally, because this is a holiday movie as well. And if you don’t think the undead mix well with musical numbers and gaudy Yuletide decor, “Anna” might be the movie to change your mind.

It’s a film that the protagonist of “Heathers” might call “teen angst with a body count”: High-school senior Anna (Ella Hunt), mourning the death of her mother, has put off telling her father, Tony (Mark Benton, “Eddie the Eagle”), that she wants to go to Australia rather than heading directly to university. Anna’s best pal John (Malcolm Cumming) pines for her despite those feelings not being reciprocal. Newspaper editor Steph (Sarah Swire, who also choreographs) has been dumped by her girlfriend and abandoned by her vacationing parents for the holidays.

Also Read: Zombie Musical 'Anna and the Apocalypse' Marks Orion Pictures' First Acquisition Since Relaunch

All these mini-dramas get shoved to the background, of course, when the zombies emerge. And while “Anna and the Apocalypse” doesn’t rewrite the rules of any of its genres — Anna and John sing the upbeat “Turning My Life Around,” oblivious to the carnage unfolding behind them, in a scene very reminiscent of “Shaun of the Dead” — it’s got a real spark of joy, even when the story turns grim. And while this might be a comic and tuneful zombie saga, it doesn’t mean that every likable character is going to make it to the final fade-out.

As musicals go, “Anna” is closer to “La La Land” or “The Last Five Years” than to “Moulin Rouge!”: There’s only one elaborate moment of group choreography (“Hollywood Ending,” a song about adolescent disappointment), with most of the songs involving just a handful of performers. But plenty of tonal flavors are represented, from upbeat (the aforementioned “Turning My Life Around”) to the yearning (“Break Away,” “Human Voice”).

Also Read: 'Aquaman,' 'Mary Poppins' Set to Lead Most Crowded Christmas Box Office in Years

Anna’s ex Nick (Ben Wiggins) gets to fancy himself a “Soldier at War,” as the zombie outbreak lets him put his bullying to practical use, and there’s even a saucy holiday song, “Christmas Means Nothing Without You,” which ups the innuendo ante from “Santa Baby.” (The music and lyrics are by Roddy Hart and Tommy Reilly.)

The main cast (including Marli Sui and Christopher Leveaux as a pair of high-school sweethearts) nimbly balance the film’s multitude of tones; Hunt, in particular, makes a forceful and empathetic leading lady, while Cumming charmingly steals scenes as the goofy BFF who’s never going to be the BF.

But Paul Kaye (“Game of Thrones”) goes overboard as the school’s power-mad headmaster, shooting for the kind of grand grotesque usually played by “Rocky Horror” creator Richard O’Brien. Compared to the rest of the performers, he appears to have wandered in from the Christmas panto show next door.

Also Read: What You Need to Know About That Talking Zombie on 'The Walking Dead'

There’s a fascinating story-behind-the-story to “Anna and the Apocalypse”: Filmmaker Ryan McHenry, the man behind the viral “Ryan Gosling Won’t Eat His Cereal” clips, made a “High School Musical”-inspired short called “Zombie Musical,” but he tragically died of bone cancer before he could make the feature.

His friends took up the cause, hiring John McPhail to direct the film; for someone working with limited means, and shooting on locations rather than sets, McPhail brings the film a cohesive look, less slick than “High School Musical” but more along the lines of songs breaking out in the midst of a European “Degrassi” knock-off.

Those charitable enough to watch a musical that doesn’t feature overhead cameras sweeping over hundreds of chorines may enjoy “Anna” for its humble charms. And if those assembly-line Hallmark flicks made you think there was nothing new in the world of Christmas movies, get ready for a breath of fresh air — one that smells like both pine needles and blood.

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European countries have already vowed to take significant steps to curb their effect on the climate, but they're now setting a more ambitious target. The European Union now hopes to achieve a "climate neutral" economy by 2050 -- that is, zero net gr... | 11/28/18
The European Union says it wants to become the first major economy to achieve net zero emissions by 2050. | 11/28/18

The British Parliament has confiscated Facebook confidential documents and emails between senior executives — including correspondence with chief executive Mark Zuckerberg — in an attempt to learn what led to the Cambridge Analytica scandal, The Guardian reported Saturday.

The newspaper said the documents are “alleged to contain significant revelations about Facebook decisions on data and privacy controls” that led to the scandal.

Investigators invoked a rarely used parliamentary power to force the founder of Six4Three, an American software company, to hand over the documents while on a business trip to London, the Guardian said. Parliament also sent a sergeant at arms to the founder’s hotel with a demand to comply within two hours, the newspaper said.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Says Stepping Down From Facebook 'Not the Plan'

When the founder did not comply, “it’s understood he was escorted to parliament” and told he could be fined and imprisoned if he didn’t provide the documents, the Guardian reported.

Damian Collins, who forced the founder to hand over the documents, is the chair of the parliamentary committee on culture, media and sport, as well as the chair of an inquiry into fake news.

“We are in uncharted territory. This is an unprecedented move but it’s an unprecedented situation,” he said. “We’ve failed to get answers from Facebook and we believe the documents contain information of very high public interest.”

“We have very serious questions for Facebook. It misled us about Russian involvement on the platform. And it has not answered our questions about who knew what, when with regards to the Cambridge Analytica scandal,” he added.

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

The move comes after attempts to force Zuckerberg to testify before Parliament. The Cambridge Analytica data leak left up to 87 million users vulnerable to having their profiles unknowingly accessed.

Most recently, Zuckerberg was called to testify before a first-ever “international grand committee” on Nov. 27 . He rejected that request.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg 'Didn't Know' Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

The U.K. also asked Zuckerberg testify on Cambridge Analytica earlier this year, but he said no. He did speak to the U.S. Congress and the European Union Parliament.

In his testimony to Congress in April, Zuckerberg apologized for the company’s slow response to fake news and protecting user data.

The New York Times reported on Nov. 15 that Facebook worked with Definers, a conservative opposition research firm, to orchestrate disparaging coverage of Apple CEO Tim Cook and financier George Soros, among others. Zuckerberg said he “didn’t know” of that business relationship.

In response to the report, Zuckerberg told CNN Business host Laurie Segall that stepping down as chairman is “not the plan.”

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The president of George Soros’ Open Society Foundations called Thursday for congressional “oversight” of Facebook after a report that Facebook used an opposition research firm to investigate Soros.

Facebook’s outgoing head of communications, Elliot Schrage, took responsibility Wednesday for using Definers, a right-wing political research firm, to look into whether Soros funded Facebook’s critics. Facebook chief Mark Zuckerberg said last week he and Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg “didn’t know” about Facebook’s use of Definers until he read about it in a New York Times report.

Open Society President Patrick Gaspard tweeted on Thursday that Facebook decided to “drop a turkey on Thanksgiving eve” by admitting “Definers was tasked by company leadership to target and smear George Soros because he publicly criticized their out-of-control business model.” Gaspard added: “Sorry, but this needs independent, congressional oversight.”

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg Says Stepping Down From Facebook 'Not the Plan'

So @facebook decides to drop a turkey on Thanksgiving eve, with admission that Definers was tasked by company leadership to target and smear George Soros because he publicly criticized their out of control business model. Sorry, but this needs independent, congressional oversight

— Patrick Gaspard (@patrickgaspard) November 21, 2018

Facebook did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment on Gaspard’s call for regulation.

Schrage, in his memo, said Facebook asked Definers to look into Soros after Soros called the company a “menace to society” at the World Economic Forum in Davos in January.

“We had not heard such criticism from him before and wanted to determine if he had any financial motivation,” Schrage said.

He said Soros had helped fund several members of “Freedom From Facebook,” a group critical of the company.

Also Read: Anti-Facebook Group Offers 'Safe Space' for Facebook Whistleblowers

“Later, when the ‘Freedom from Facebook’ campaign emerged as a so-called grassroots coalition, the team asked Definers to help understand the groups behind them,” Schrage continued. “They learned that George Soros was funding several of the coalition members. They prepared documents and distributed these to the press to show that this was not simply a spontaneous grassroots movement.”

Open Society Foundations did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment Thursday on whether it has financed Freedom From Facebook or individual members of the group. Freedom From Facebook also did not immediately respond to TheWrap’s request for comment.

Gaspard, in an appearance on CNN on Tuesday, said Soros had “nothing to do” with groups protesting Facebook. He added that “under-regulated” social media platforms posed a “threat” to the U.S. and other countries.

Also Read: Mark Zuckerberg 'Didn't Know' Facebook Worked With Opposition Research Firm

Soros has been a longtime target of conservatives and anti-Semites because of his contributions to left-leaning causes. He’s also been attacked in Europe, including his home country of Hungary, where Prime Minister Viktor Orban has spearheaded “Stop Soros” laws to thwart his activism.

In a Facebook post last week, Sandberg said anti-Semitic attacks on Soros are “abhorrent.”

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Anti-Facebook Group Offers 'Safe Space' for Facebook Whistleblowers | 11/22/18
Iran Wednesday praised European efforts to maintain business with Tehran despite U.S. sanctions, citing "constructive meetings" with British and French officials in Tehran this week on setting up a way to conduct non-dollar trade.
The European Union agreed to establish a framework for screening foreign investments in an attempt to safeguard strategic assets following a Chinese buying spree, though questions remain about the rules’ effectiveness. | 11/20/18

Filed under: Green,Honda,Crossover,Hybrid

It beats most conventional hybrid crossovers in America.

Continue reading 2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid fuel economy, more revealed for Europe

2019 Honda CR-V Hybrid fuel economy, more revealed for Europe originally appeared on Autoblog on Mon, 19 Nov 2018 16:20:00 EST. Please see our terms for use of feeds.

Permalink  |  Email this  |  Comments | 11/19/18

When Disney finally closes its deal to acquire 21st Century Fox’s film and TV assets early next year, the company will gain — among many things — ownership of Hulu, which has never before had just one company hold a controlling stake.

But with Disney also readying the launch of its own Disney-branded streaming service next year, it will now have ownership of two competing streaming services, which begs the question: How will Disney be able to launch Disney+ while allowing Hulu to continue to grow?

Analysts and experts who spoke to TheWrap believe that it will be possible for Disney to capably maintain Hulu while getting Disney+ off the ground, but acknowledge there could be some choppy waters ahead if all companies involved — namely Disney and Comcast — don’t play nice with each other. WarnerMedia and Comcast, which collectively own 40 percent of Hulu, declined to comment for this story.

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“Disney’s first priority must be to make Disney+ a winner right out of the gate,” said Todd Klein, partner at venture capitalist firm Revolution Growth. Disney is banking on five key brands for Disney+. They are Disney, Marvel, Lucasfilm, Pixar and National Geographic (which it’s getting from Fox).

“Any content — Disney, Fox, ABC, etc. — that more closely resembles the Fox brand and isn’t otherwise encumbered, will go to Hulu for the time being, so Hulu will actually get better,” Klein said.

During Disney’s fourth-quarter earnings call Nov. 8, CEO Bob Iger said Disney is committed to growing Hulu. “We aim to use the television production capabilities of the combined company to fuel Hulu with a lot more original programming, original programming that we feel will enable Hulu to compete even more aggressively in the marketplace,” he said.

Streaming video has become the next gold rush for media companies. Along with Disney and WarnerMedia, 2019 will see Apple and Walmart join a marketplace that is quickly filling up, as everyone is chasing Netflix. With so many more options, the battle for consumer dollars is only going to get more intense.

Also Read: Disney Smashes Earnings Expectations Ahead of Fox Acquisition

“If people are only going to subscribe to six services, if Hulu and Disney+ are two of those six, that’s a big win for them,” said Alan Wolk, co-founder and lead analyst at media consulting firm TV[R]EV.

But Wolk argues that Disney should have focused on expanding Hulu, which already has 20 million subscribers, rather than spending on a new service.

“If it was me, I would’ve probably put everything into Hulu,” he said.

Disney is betting that Hulu’s audience is different enough from Disney’s traditional audience to make both streaming services worthwhile. Hulu’s “The Handmaid’s Tale,” for example, doesn’t fit into the family friendly brand that Disney has cultivated for decades.

Klein said that owning 100 percent of its own streaming service is better for Disney than owning 60 percent of Hulu and sharing with a competitor.

Also Read: Fox Meets Q1 Earnings Estimates Ahead of Disney Merger

“Standing up a streaming service isn’t easy, and if they could take 100 percent ownership of an operating business with 20 million subscribers already, they’d much prefer that path,” he said. “Knowing this, I’d be surprised if Comcast would let go so easily, especially given how badly they wanted Fox and didn’t get it.”

Disney and Comcast have engaged in multiple bidding wars, first for the 21st Century Fox assets, which Disney won, and then for European pay-TV company, Sky PLC, which Comcast eventually won.

But now Comcast, which still has its 30 percent stake in Hulu, will have to play nice with Disney. Iger appeared to offer an olive branch on the call. “Anything we do with Hulu will be done with an eye toward being fiscally responsible to the other shareholders, even though they’re minority shareholders,” he said.

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In August, Iger hinted that Disney could offer Disney+, Hulu and its sports-themed ESPN+ for a discounted rate if subscribers buy all three.

Would Comcast and WarnerMedia be OK with Disney using Hulu to help funnel subscriptions into Disney+?

Klein argues that the data Comcast and Warner collect on Hulu consumers is valuable enough for them to stay on as minority shareholders — as long as Hulu isn’t burning a hole in their wallet.

“If the data is shared broadly and the burn rate is modest, Comcast and Warner are probably quite comfortable letting Disney build value in Hulu, because every dollar Disney invests benefits them disproportionately,” he said.

Plus, Comcast doesn’t have its own direct-to-consumer business yet. “Its going to be weird, they’ll have to figure it out,” said Wolk.  “In the ideal world, Disney and Comcast should try and get along.”

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Facebook, despite missing on Wall Street revenue estimates for the second straight quarter and reporting flat user growth in the U.S., saw its share price inch higher on Tuesday afternoon, after reporting better-than-anticipated Q3 earnings.

Facebook reported earnings of $1.76 per share and revenue of $13.73 billion, easily surpassing analyst earnings estimates of $1.47 per share but narrowly missing on sales estimates of $13.78 billion. Revenue increased 33 percent year-over-year. Facebook increased its profits 9 percent year-over-year, reporting $5.14 billion in net income.

The company also reported underwhelming user growth. Monthly active users moved higher, with Facebook adding 40 million MAUs to hit 2.27 billion overall. Daily active users crept upwards as well, hitting 1.49 billion DAUs, compared with 1.47 billion last quarter. Analysts had estimated 1.51 billion DAUs and 2.29 billion MAUs. And most of Facebook’s growth is coming outside the U.S. and Europe — the company’s two most lucrative markets. Facebook remained flat at 185 daily users in North America, and lost 1 million daily active users in Europe.

Also Read: Facebook Deletes 82 Iranian Accounts for Misinformation on Trump, Kaepernick

Shareholders didn’t appear to mind the lukewarm user growth — especially compared to smaller competitors like Snap and Twitter recently reporting a drop in users — with Facebook shares increasing about 2 percent in after-hours trading to $149 per share.

“Our community and business continue to grow quickly, and now more than 2 billion people use at least one of our services every day,” CEO Mark Zuckerberg said in a statement. “We’re building the best services for private messaging and stories, and there are huge opportunities ahead in video and commerce as well.”

Also Read: Facebook Inflated Video Views up to 900 Percent, Amended Lawsuit Says

The company declined to share specifics on Instagram’s user and sales growth, something Wall Street and investors have kept their eyes on as Facebook itself reaches a saturation point for user growth. The company did boast “more than 2.6 billion people now use Facebook, WhatsApp, Instagram, or Messenger each month” in its earnings statement. Facebook executives had warned last quarter the company could be entering a stage in its history where it doesn’t routinely post breakneck revenue and user growth.

It’s been a turbulent three months since Facebook last reported earnings. The company reported in July the dreaded combo of uninspiring user growth and a miss on Wall Street’s revenue expectations. (Facebook, even missing analyst estimates, posted its best quarterly revenue in its history.) The company’s stock, which had recovered from its Cambridge Analytica swoon earlier in the year, has since dropped about 20 percent, trading below $147 per share as markets closed on Tuesday. Facebook shares are down more than 15 percent since the start of 2018.

Following the Cambridge Analytica scandal, the company made a concerted media push to quell fears it was unable to securely protect user data. Those efforts were punctured earlier this month, when Facebook announced a breach of its security system. The breach left 30 million users vulnerable to having profile information lifted — including their contact information, location and recent search history.
The social network’s defense against fake news has also been tested in recent months. Facebook announced in August it had removed hundreds of accounts tied to Iran and Russia for spreading political misinformation. Another 82 Iranian-tied accounts — spreading fake news on a myriad of topics, from immigration to President Trump to Colin Kaepernick — were deleted last week, the company announced.

The company will hold a conference call at 5 p.m ET to discuss its earnings.

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This blog by Ira Magaziner, often called the "the father of ICANN," is part of a series of posts CircleID will be hosting from the ICANN community to commemorate ICANN's 20th anniversary. CircleID collaborated with ICANN to spread the word and to encourage participation. We invite you to submit your essays to us in consideration for posting. (You can watch the video interview of Magaziner done for ICANN’s History Project here.)

* * *

My story begins in ancient times when dinosaurs ruled the earth. It was a time when you could download a movie onto your desktop computer through your 56k dial-up connection if you had a few days. It was a time when more people were on the Minitel in France than on the Internet globally and when the Republic of Korea could fit all of its internet users into one small hotel room. I know because I met them all in that room.

In early 1995, then United States President Bill Clinton asked me, as his senior advisor for policy development, to help recommend what steps he could take if re-elected in 1996 to accelerate the long-term growth of the US economy. I suggested that we set a policy environment in the U.S. and globally that could accelerate the growth of the newly developed Internet, we could help fuel a global economic transformation.

I realized that the Internet had great potential, but that its future was very precarious, balanced on a knife’s edge between two extremes that could delay it or even destroy it. On the one side, if the Internet was too anarchic with no publicly accepted guidelines, it could engender constant lawsuits, scaring away investors and people who wanted to help build it. On the other side, if typical forces of bureaucracy took over with a mass of government regulations and slow intergovernmental governing bodies, the creativity and growth of the internet would be stifled.

We formed an inter-departmental task force and over the next few years: passed legislation and negotiated international treaties with other countries that kept Internet commerce free of tariffs and taxation; recognized the legality of digital signatures and contracts; protected Internet intellectual property; allowed the market to set standards rather than regulators; kept Internet telephony and transmission in general free from burdensome regulation; and empowered consumers to use the Internet affordably, among other measures. We aimed to establish the Internet as a global medium of communication and commerce that could allow any individual to participate.

As we did all of this, there was one problem that concerned us deeply: how could the technical coordination of the Internet succeed and scale in the face of the complex political and legal challenges that were already beginning to undermine the legitimacy of the Internet as it then existed?

At that time, IANA was housed in a small office at the University of Southern California (USC) and run by Jon Postel under a contract the University had with the U.S. Department of Defense/Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA).

From a small office filled with large stacks of paper and books on the floor, on tables, and hanging off of shelves on the walls, it was Jon who decided what the top-level prefixes were for each country, and who in each country should be responsible for administering the Internet.

The A-root server was run by a company called Network Solutions in Virginia under a contract with the U.S. Department of Commerce. It had a virtual monopoly to sell domain names. It worked with Jon to synch up numbers with names.

But, Jon and the leadership of Network Solutions did not get along. There were constant disputes. They were so frustrated with each other that on more than one occasion I found myself trying to referee disputes between them at the request of the Department of Commerce and DARPA who, as administrators of the contracts, were often caught in the middle.

Internet infrastructure was also insecure. I went on a tour to visit some of the servers that ran the Internet. Some were in university basements where I literally could have walked in and pulled the plugs on the servers. There was no security.

The tenuous nature of these arrangements led to significant concerns which came to a head one fateful week in early January 1996. During this week, the following events occurred:

  • The head of DARPA called me saying that it would no longer oversee the contract for IANA when it expired because there was too much controversy.
  • The President of USC called saying that they could not take the lawsuits being directed against them and wanted out of their contract.
  • Our legal counsel visited and described more than fifty lawsuits around the world challenging the validity of the Internet technical governance that could tear the Internet apart.
  • The International Telecommunication Union approached me demanding to take over the Internet after a decade of opposing the adoption of the Internet protocols.
  • A delegation of U.S. Congressmen and Senators visited and insisted that the U.S. Government had created the Internet and should never give up control of it.
  • Several delegations of representatives from over 100 leading IT and media companies, and 10 trade associations visited saying that Internet technical coordination and security had to be brought into a more predictable global environment before they would invest any further in it.
  • A European Union delegation spent two hours telling me that they would pursue their own regulation of the Internet routing system for Europe.
  • Representatives from the Internet Society told me that the Internet Society governed the Internet and they would resist any attempts by others to take control.
  • The US government security task force on the internet delivered a report saying that the internet was in danger of fracturing from the lawsuits and lack of agreed upon coordination mechanisms.

It was quite a week. We clearly had to do something.

I went home that Sunday, and while watching my favorite U.S. football team lose terribly on the television, I drafted the first concept memo of what an organization could look like that could successfully solve the current and potential challenges.

The idea of setting up a global, private, non-profit, apolitical institution, staffed by technical experts, that would be a grassroots organization accountable to Internet users and constituencies, while also being recognized by governments, was unprecedented and risky. When I discussed it with my interdepartmental taskforce, we knew it would be difficult and somewhat messy to implement, but we felt it offered the best chance to allow the Internet to grow and flourish.

The organization would have a government advisory group that could ensure the views of the collective governments were at the forefront, but that the governments would not control it. The organization would provide a strong focal point recognized by governments to combat any lawsuits. It would be flexible enough to evolve as the Internet evolved. It would generate its own independent funding by a small fee on each domain name registration, but it should never get too big. It would be stakeholder-based, and its legitimacy would have to be renewed regularly by its ability to persuade the various Internet constituency groups that it remained the best solution.

After two years of consultation, vigorous debate and many helpful suggestions and excellent modifications, the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) was born in 1998.

Grassroots democracy is by its nature contentious and there have been bumps along the way. Overall, thanks to the efforts of many people who have played pivotal roles like Becky Burr and Andy Pincus who worked with me in the U.S. Government to establish ICANN, Esther Dyson, Vint Cerf, Mike Roberts and Steve Crocker who guided ICANN at key points, and the efforts of many others too numerous to mention who did the hard work of building the organization, ICANN has succeeded.

The political, policy and technical controversies that threatened to stifle or even destroy the Internet in its infancy in the late 1990s did not do so. The Internet is alive and well.

Billions of people now use the Internet. It accommodates a myriad of languages and alphabets. Wi-Fi, mobile devices, applications, and the “Internet of Things,” have all been incorporated. Despite almost unimaginable amounts of data and more addresses and domain names than we ever contemplated, one never reads about technical or legal problems that caused the Internet to break down.

While serious issues of privacy, security and equity must be addressed, no one can doubt that the Internet has created a positive transformation in the way the world communicates and does business. The Internet economy has grown at ten times the rate of the regular economy for more than twenty years now.

Congratulations to all of the people who have made ICANN a success over the past twenty years and to those of you working with ICANN today who will ensure its success over the next twenty years.

Written by Ira Magaziner | 10/25/18
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By Matt Young, VP and Industry Lead, Entertainment, Oath

When’s the last time you felt caught up on the season’s hit TV shows? Last summer? Ten years ago? In an era of competing and diverse content providers, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the vast choices available. In fact, last year, the number of TV shows released in the U.S. hit a new high, up to 487 compared to 455 in 2016.

This swell in TV programming combined with the massive growth of over-the-top (OTT) and trend of cord-cutting– which, according to eMarketer, will jump 32 Percent this year–begs the question: what does this mean for TV marketers and how can they keep up?

They adapt. Innovations in Advanced TV and mobile advertising have opened doors for advertisers to go beyond the large-scale TV ad buys and focus more on targeted advertising that makes an impact. As our watch lists continue to grow and more and more consumers cut the cord, we need a new playbook for TV marketers looking to cut through the entertainment clutter and capture consumer attention. Here are four ways to navigate the new landscape of TV.

Also Read: Oath CEO Tim Armstrong Stepping Down Next Month

Lean into Advanced TV

In today’s fragmented landscape, where viewers turn to alternative methods for traditional TV content, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to reach audiences in one place. There are too many ways to reach consumers and at too many times throughout the day. Advanced TV ditches the one-size-fits-all approach of getting in front of broad audiences to help marketers connect with consumers at the right place and the right time through addressability and interactive ads.

Recent innovations in addressable TV are putting advertisers in the driver’s seat with more sophisticated models for targeting. Leveraging first-and-third-party data, marketers now have the ability to show different ads to different households during the same TV program, and it works! A study from Forrester reported a 19 percent increase in overall brand efficiency, 39 percent increase in overall brand awareness and 67 percent ad recall in addressable TV ads versus traditional TV ads.

For a more engaging experience, consider leveraging interactive TV ads, such as overlays with clickable video, or ACR-powered ads on connected TVs that drive engaged viewers to a website or send promotions to viewers’ smartphones. Interactive ads offer a cross-device experience that connects the dots between TV and mobile.

Another benefit to advanced TV? The medium allows marketers to close the loop on reporting. Advanced TV allows precise measurement after a campaign airs, so that brands can measure their ROI with precision.

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Don’t Ignore OTT

Speaking of the changing living-room and viewer consumption habits, OTT advertising shouldn’t be forgotten. Advertising on these platforms, like Xbox, offers marketers a unique opportunity to connect with engaged viewers. And, results are not only measured by the number of viewers reached, but also on how audiences are engaging with the ad.

What can marketers do? Take advantage of the personalization available with OTT advertising and connect with viewers in a compelling and customized way. Whether it’s transactional video on demand (TVOD), subscription video on demand (SVOD) or ad-supported video on demand (AVOD), consumers continue to spend time with OTT video services. According to a recent Oath study on video consumption, 51 percent of video viewers use an OTT video streaming service to watch TV shows or movies. Earlier this summer PwC released its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2018-2022, which forecasts that OTT will show an average of 10 percent growth for the next five years.

Diversify your video advertising spend

The need to diversify video advertising spend has never been more apparent. According to Forrester’s recent Video Advertising Forecast, TV Everywhere is expected to grow from 89 million users in 2018 to 111 million in 2023, and virtual multichannel video programming distributor users will grow from 24.2 million this year to 44.3 million in 2023.

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Close to a quarter of video viewers now use an app to watch TV shows or movies from a cable, satellite, telco TV service or TV network with higher levels among Millennials (33 percent) and Gen Z (31 percent) according to the same video consumption study from Oath. What’s more, when it comes to watching free, ad-supported content, consumers are in — particularly GenZers, who are more open to learning about new products that are relevant.

This presents a massive opportunity for marketers to put their money where consumer eyeballs are. The key is ensuring your strategy integrates both TV and digital video so you have a consistent message across every touchpoint.

Invest in mobile video to capitalize on OTT and all-access apps

U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours a day on mobile, and it shows no signs of slowing down. From social media to news, consumers are turning to their phones to stay connected — and that also means making their phones a second screen for TV shows and video content. With the rise of OTT and all-access apps, the opportunity for mobile video advertising continues to grow. But to effectively engage consumers via mobile video, creating a personalized experience that works seamlessly is critical.

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Pre-roll video and native video ads are some of the most effective video formats on mobile because they provide an uninterrupted video viewing experience. And research shows that native video ads between 15-22 seconds in length on mobile are significantly more engaging than desktop ads. This is great news for advertisers; 15-22 seconds gives marketers more opportunity to engage consumers in a personalized and meaningful way. Finally, if you’re looking to reach specific audience segments, consider going programmatic. Combining the data and targeting of programmatic advertising with the creativity of native video ensures you’re reaching viewers on smartphones with meaningful content that is tailored to their interests.

As we move further away from primetime and closer to TV everywhere, the video advertising landscape is ripe for innovation. Marketers need a new playbook that incorporates these strategies to ensure they’re making the most out of their TV and video ad spend.

Also Read: Major Facebook Investors Push for Mark Zuckerberg to Step Down as Chairman

About the author:

Young has been growing new, scalable and profitable businesses in the technology and media space for the last 15 years. Currently, as the VP, industry lead for Entertainment, Media and Gaming at Oath, he oversees industry advertising revenue for all of Oath’s content and ad tech products. Prior to Oath, Young led the programmatic initiatives for the field sales team at Yahoo! (acquired by Verizon for $4.48B in 2017) and held various leadership positions in mobile and programmatic at BrightRoll (acquired by Yahoo! for $640M in 2014). Early in his career he worked on the content and production side of media, starting as a journalist in South America, and then running his own entertainment company in Los Angeles.
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Gaining clarity on the NTIA-Verisign Cooperative Agreement.

Prior to November 30th of this year, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) must decide whether to renew or allow to expire its Cooperative Agreement with Verisign, the private-sector corporation that operationally controls the root of the Internet.

Addressing Competition Concerns vs. Internet Governance

The Cooperative Agreement is unusually obscure, especially considering its central role in the operation of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). In fact, the original document is strangely unavailable. It is possible to determine that it, historically, has contained provisions governing the DNS. However, over the years, various amendments have made obsolete most, if not all, of those provisions. Today, the only component remaining of any consequence is NTIA's unilateral right to review and amend the .COM registry agreement for purposes of promoting competition and consumer choice in the DNS.

The nature and scope of NTIA's wide-ranging authority to regulate competition are often misperceived. But, historically, any issue pertaining to the .COM registry agreement was deferred to NTIA for final approval. For example, many remember, in 2012, when NTIA acted unilaterally to limit the wholesale pricing of .COM registrations to $7.85. But far fewer are likely to remember that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) deferred to NTIA for final approval of its' 2006 settlement agreement with Verisign — pertaining to competition concerns involving Verisign's 2003 SiteFinder initiative — saying in a press release at the time, that the settlement:

...will now proceed to the U.S. Department of Commerce for final approval, and the entire settlement is dependent upon this approval before it is finalized. USDOC approval is required due to the unique history of the .COM generic top-level domain and it is the only gTLD which requires such approval. (emphasis added)

Investment Indicates Importance

Verisign has a demonstrated track record of excellence at performing a focused set of essential functions that don't require breakthrough innovation nor competitive proficiency. One of the biggest risks to the Verisign-run Internet infrastructure are Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, which are mitigated by maintaining enough available network resources to absorb the attack. With 21 years of uptime, Verisign is so confident in their massive overprovisioning that they even sell DDoS mitigation as a service.

A review of several years of publicly available financial reports reveals this: the world's leading provider of key Internet infrastructure and services — the entity more responsible than any other for the integrity of the root zone of the global Internet — allocates less than 7% of free cash flow to reinvestment in core infrastructure and pockets the rest in the form of stock buybacks.

Getting to the heart of the matter, if Verisign requires so little of the money they make from "the public interest" to maintain the critical Internet infrastructure with which they are entrusted - then why is it permitted to maintain such extraordinary margins?

Inaction Risks Corrosive Consequences

To be sure, this makes Verisign a Wall Street darling, and a favorite of Warren Buffett whose Berkshire Hathaway holds 14% or more of the company in its portfolio.

Mr. Buffet's enthusiasm is understandable when you consider that, in 2017, the company generated free cash flow of $703 million on $1.17 billion in revenue — that's more than 60% margin. But it keeps getting better — this year's forecast predicts profit margins approaching 68%.

But how much time will elapse before ICANN, facing a budget shortfall, remembers that it also represents the public interest and is justified in receiving extra financial assistance from its largest ratepayer?

The answer to this doesn't require a crystal ball — it's already happened. The 2011 registry agreement renewal of .NET included a provision creating a "special development fund" to collect $0.75 per domain name registration per year. The funds are placed into ICANN's general treasury with no required reporting or audits. So far, it's generated more than $80 million in unaccountable cash payments to ICANN from its largest ratepayer — the same thing applied to .COM would have generated more than $800 million since 2011. That is a transformative number for ICANN, yet would be written off — literally a tax deduction - as the cost of doing business by its' largest ratepayer.

In 2011, when the .NET registry agreement was renewed, a senior Verisign executive was quoted saying, "Except with respect to the need for Department of Commerce approval under the Cooperative Agreement, the terms governing the renewal of both the .net and .com agreements are similar." Because of the "special development fund" this statement was not entirely true. This underscores the critical nature of NTIA's right to review and amend the .COM registry agreement as an essential regulatory tool and effective accountability safeguard.


This matter pertains to regulatory activities that address competition concerns regarding an Internet infrastructure company — not strictly an Internet governance issue. Modifying the price restriction and/or other possible regulatory actions are domestic concerns. Nobody claims that the European Union can't bring enforcement actions against Internet businesses nor argues that ICANN should launch stakeholder working groups to settle specific competition concerns.

As I've suggested in comments previously submitted to NTIA, a consent decree could be an effective solution that would transition oversight from NTIA to the U.S. Department of Justice which has an Antitrust Division with the requisite expertise. If this avenue isn't available, then the Cooperative Agreement should be renewed for another full term with NTIA committed to a full review and vigorous oversight that protects "the public interest."

The data used here is publicly available for anyone to review and draw their own conclusions. I encourage anyone interested to examine the data and draw their own conclusions.

Written by Greg Thomas, Managing Director of The Viking Group LLC | 10/19/18

The “Today” is facing pushback after dedicating time Wednesday to an interview with Patrick Casey, executive director of the white “identitarian” group Identity Evropa.

“We are telling this story to pull back the curtain so parents and college students are aware that these groups are out there,” said NBC correspondent Peter Alexander. “The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Identity Evropa one of the most active new hate groups in America. There members are clean cut, they are conservatively dressed and they’re recruiting on a campus near you.”

In the interview, Casey, whose organization only accepts white members and marched in the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, laid out his case matter of factly.

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“Ethnic diversity has been proven time and time again, it’s not a good model for society,” he said. “We do want to return our immigration laws to what have historically been America’s immigration laws — which are laws that favor European immigrants.

“I do think that we need to maintain a supermajority in this country,” he added.

Reps for “Today” did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.

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Despite Alexander’s assertion that his intent was service journalism, many people on Twitter slammed “Today” for giving Casey a “platform,” arguing that by doing so he would help the group gain attention and recruit members.

This is bizarre. NBC gave a white nationalist group a huge platform for recruiting with this interview.

— Will Sommer (@willsommer) October 17, 2018

Way to go with the softball interview to a white nationalist group, Today Show

— Scare-ed Holt ???? (@jaredlholt) October 17, 2018

holy fucking shit this is a straight up nazi recruitment video on the dang Today show. fuck this.

— YOUNG SOBRIQUET (@NathanMc) October 17, 2018

Problem with these interviews is, partly because journalism continues to treat questions of race as a competing set of feelings, so many assertions that are blatantly false here are allowed to go unchallenged.

— Astead (@AsteadWesley) October 17, 2018

What the hell is wrong with you @TODAYshow? Reporting on white nationalism is one thing, but giving them a platform for their racism is irresponsible.

— Christian Picciolini (@cpicciolini) October 17, 2018

When you are so accustomed to doing 'objective' both-sides journalism, this is the kind of puff piece you churn out when covering white nationalism.

— Justin Baragona (@justinbaragona) October 17, 2018

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Right now, data compliance is top of mind for practically every South African business, and for good reason. The European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force earlier this year, and by this time next year, our own POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) will almost certainly be in place. POPIA is based [&hellip

Fox has its own version of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” picking up “Big Bounce Battle,” an obstacle course competition series based on a European format.

The reality competition series will be produced by Endemol Shine North America. Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre and Michael Heyerman will executive produce.

Originally created by Endemol Shine Netherlands and co-developed with Endemol Shine Germany for RTL, “Big Bounce Battle” features trampoline obstacle courses that contestants have to complete as fast as they can. The trampoline tracks become more difficult as the series progresses toward the final where the fastest contestant wins a cash prize.

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The format made its debut earlier this year, under the name “Big Bounce — Die Trampolin Show,” on Germany’s RTL. TF1 has also commissioned a version of “Big Bounce Battle” in France.

“Big Bounce Battle” joins “Mental Samurai,” “Spin the Wheel” and “The Masked Singer” (also produced by Endemol Shine North America) is new unscripted formats picked up by Fox.

You can get a taste of “Big Bounce Battle” by watching the trailer for the German version below:

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Amy Kuessner is the senior vice president of Content Partnerships for Pluto TV, where she is responsible for acquiring content, curating programming and developing channel strategy for the free streaming television service. During her tenure, she has negotiated more than 75 deals with major Hollywood studios, TV networks, production companies, digital media, news, and publishing outfits. Kuessner has spent more than two decades in entertainment, specializing in creating distinctive content experiences and strategic programs within emerging digital technologies to include SVOD, OTT, MVPDs and digital cinema.

Prior to Pluto TV, Kuessner held marketing and business development roles at reputed companies including NBC, Liberty Media, Sony, TBS and Directv, as well as startups including CineMedia/Fathom Entertainment and By Experience.

This week we caught up with Kuessner to discuss her thought process when searching for content and what Pluto’s recent integration with Facebook’s VR app, Oculus TV, means for the streamer’s future programming decisions.

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VideoInk: How important is data when deciding what content will be a good fit for Pluto TV?  

Amy Kuessner: Pluto TV has a comprehensive programming/channel strategy that naturally determines what types of premium content we are seeking and from whom. We are unique in that we curate 90 percent of our channels and there is a great deal of time, effort, and strategy that goes into channel conception/creation/programming. Data is critical to guiding us as to what is working on the platform and what is not. Using data to aid in content selection/programming our channels helps us cater to consumer preferences and make more informed choices.

How do you measure the success of programming on your platform and which metric are you most focused on improving?  

Pluto TV uses a variety of metrics when measuring success on our platform with the two most critical being session duration (the length of time they are watching – are they enjoying the programming) and frequency (how many times they return – do they want to come back for more).

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Pluto TV was recently made available on Facebook’s Oculus VR headset via Oculus TV. Will this new partnership lead to Pluto TV one day offering interactive content geared for a VR experience? 

Pluto TV has many factors contributing to our success, content/programming and distribution being two of our key tenets. Being named an official launch partner for Oculus GO was a huge coup for us. We often work in concert, internally, to identify ways that we can marry content and distribution to create truly unique, state-of-the-art, entertainment options for our audiences. We embrace innovation as a whole, rule nothing out and are continually seeking ways to optimize and deliver content designed to deliver the maximum viewing experiences – no matter the medium.

“Starship Troopers,” a cult classic, was recently made available on Pluto TV via a distribution deal with Sony Pictures. What levels of engagement does cult classic content like this experience versus newer films?

With over 100+ channels on Pluto TV, we strive to offer the best of both worlds with a lineup that marries mainstream with niche channels and programming. Cult classic films are one example where we are able to generate crossover appeal by programming across multiple themed and movie channels, throughout our licensing window.  Pluto TV’s focus on curation and original channels allows us the opportunity to evaluate titles, library and new, with a different perspective and opportunity by focusing on category, theme and genre vs. production and release dates.

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When working out the details of a content partnership, which holds more value in your eyes: film or TV series? Why?

Both are equally important and strategic to Pluto TV, enabling us to create the ultimate lean back, entertainment viewing experience. We curate entertainment channels and lineups thematically designed to be diverse and appealing to both broad and niche audiences. We program our channels with genre over format in mind, with both TV and movies being instrumental to our success. Big budget films help to drive instant brand recognition, while TV series allow us to capitalize on habitual viewing patterns. Together, they enable us to deliver the most comprehensive and robust offering that is designed to attract mass appeal and provide entertainment for everyone.

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Bethenny Frankel has a new man in her life!

The Real Housewives of New York City star was in Boston over the weekend, when she was spotted getting affectionate with a mystery man, according to photos obtained by TMZ.

On Sunday, Frankel was photographed holding hands with a man while waiting at a crosswalk in Boston. He sported an all-black outfit with sneakers while she kept it casual in a cream sweater, dark grey pants and high heel sneakers. A day later, the mother of one was snapped kissing him on Monday morning near Boston College, where she grasped his face with her left hand as he leaned in for a smooch.

According to Daily Mail, the man is 29-year-old tech startup investor and advisor, Ben Kosinski, who Frankel, 47, follows on Instagram. Kosinski graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in economics in 2011 and is a managing partner at Kosinski Ventures, his LinkedIn profile states.

Frankel’s rep had no comment and PEOPLE is out to Kosinski for comment.

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The Skinnygirl mogul documented her trip to Boston and Boston University on her Instagram Story Monday, including Warren Towers, the residence where lived. “I lived here! This is Warren Towers! I went to B.U. for two years and so did Andy Cohen. Andy Cohen and I both lived in this building. This is it! Hi Boston, hi B.U. Look at this,” she said.

She also shared footage of the bar where she worked as a cocktail waitress. “I was always in the cocktail business. Who knew? Midnight to 2 a.m., you could make like almost $1,000 because there were so many European, international, wealthy people ordering sex on the beach shots. That’s how I was able to bring money to live in France for a semester,” she explained about her “old stomping grounds.”

While driving, Frankel drove past a restaurant called Papa Razzi. “How about we not eat at that restaurant today? Would that be a good idea?” she said on her Instagram Story. She then added with a smile, “I didn’t even know they had paparazzi in Boston,” possibly hinting at the photos captured over the weekend.

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Her new romance comes nearly two months after Frankel’s late boyfriend Dennis Shields was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment at age 51.

It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so. It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories. Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo

— Bethenny Frankel (@Bethenny) August 26, 2018

“It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so,” she tweeted, 16 days after his Aug. 10 death.

“It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories,” wrote Frankel. “Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo.”

His death has also taken a physical toll on Frankel, who confirmed that she’s lost weight as a result of the grieving process.

Responding to a fan last month who asked “how/are you losing weight?” the reality star replied, “Death will do that to a person.”

“#griefdiet I don’t recommend it,” added Frankel, who revealed over the weekend that she accidentally texted her late boyfriend. | 10/9/18

Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Canada. It's a time of year when the harvest is in, the weather grows colder and families gather to give thanks for all they have.

It is in this moment of gratitude that I want to highlight one of the most valuable and unique offerings in our industry: the ways in which country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) give back. Canadians who choose to use a ccTLD, which for us is .CA, help contribute to investments in the internet community.

CIRA believes that it is important to give back to the internet, whether that be the Canadian internet community or the global internet in which we operate the .CA TLD and participate as a strong contributor. Further, as a not-for-profit organization, CIRA invests its resources into our aspirational goal of building a better online Canada. In fact, we believe so much in this goal that we've invested $6 million dollars over the last five years toward this goal, outside of the investment in our core mandate of bringing .CA to more Canadians and operating a safe, secure and trusted top-level domain.

Many of our ccTLD peers contribute to the internet ecosystem as well. While each organization's program is a little bit different, the intent is the same: to invest in a purpose greater than profit with a return on investment that benefits the communities we serve.

With the exception of a handful of generic TLDs, you won't find this from our more profit-driven peers.

It's a cycle: From community to ccTLD and back

At CIRA, we hold ourselves to high standards in stewarding .CA, which includes providing a safe, secure and stable .CA and underlying domain name system (DNS). We make every effort to provide the best service possible for our customers — .CA holders and others who subscribe to our cybersecurity services.

A portion of the revenue we make, thanks to our customers' trust in us, is funneled back into the Canadian internet community. Here's how:

  • We invest in internet exchange points (IXPs) that provide greater resiliency, data sovereignty and a higher-performing internet in our country. There are 10 IXPs across Canada and we've recently been a catalyst to an additional one in development in the Arctic community of Iqaluit, Nunavut. This will revolutionize the internet there, where right now the community is reliant on satellite connections resulting in slow and expensive internet service.
  • Through our Community Investment Program, we provide grants to organizations across Canada working on the frontlines of the internet. We've contributed $5.45 million over five years through that program. This has included 130 projects from across Canada including one underway now through an organization called Compucorps that will work with Indigenous women to increase their knowledge of website building and online branding to help them engage more in e-commerce. Or the Ragged edge community network stabilization and expansion project that focused on internet infrastructure in Northern Vancouver Island.
  • We're developing and investing in innovative products and services that secure the internet for its users, including our cybersecurity services (our D-Zone suite of products) that keep Canadian schoolchildren safe and add layers of protection to critical healthcare and municipal infrastructure.
  • We encourage Canadians to learn more about their internet by testing its speed and performance through CIRA's Internet Performance Test. There have been over 100,000 tests conducted across the country.
  • We fund, organize and participate in events and forums in Canada and globally where important topics are discussed, which influence internet policy, including an upcoming Canadian Internet Forum, a multistakeholder event being organized for early 2019.

All of that investment improves and expands the internet, gets more Canadians online, safely and securely, and makes it easier and more practical for them to participate in the digital economy. It also creates more opportunities to choose a .CA. Thus, the cycle starts again.

And it's global. We've long shared "giving back" experiences with our European peers — but examples are found around the globe. A recent visit to Brazil showed me a ccTLD highly committed to this cycle of giving back. I was impressed with all they do with their resources and encourage others to learn more from them.

Thanks for making a choice to give back

In Canada, as we gather around the dinner table for our Thanksgiving dinners, I want to give thanks to CIRA's customers for making it possible for our organization to give back. Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to domain names. They can choose to go with .com or .net, or one of nearly a thousand new domain extensions. But what sets CIRA apart, alongside some of our ccTLD peers, is the determination to give back to the internet ecosystem in our countries. To invest what we earn into a higher purpose.

Thank you to those consumers who chose a ccTLD over others — because of you we're getting closer to a stronger, higher performing and more secure internet every day.

* * *

There are several ccTLDs that give back to the internet community. Here are a few examples.

Sweden: The Internet Foundation in Sweden, IIS invests funds to improve the stability of internet infrastructure in Sweden and to promote internet-focused research, training and education. For example, IIS invested 1 million SEK (about $145,000 CAD) roughly one year ago into Foo Café, a meeting place for developers, which sponsors meetups and events to help developers grow their competence and share knowledge.

Brazil: The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee — a multi-sectoral configuration of 21 members from civil society, the government, the business sector and the academic community — guide the healthy growth of the network in Brazil. One of their initiatives is the Web Technologies Study Center (, created to help the Brazilian public participate in the global development of the web and public policymaking.

The Netherlands: SIDN not only operates .nl, it also provides funding support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. For example, SIDN funded AI for GOOD, a project that aims to use artificial intelligence to improve the world. This online platform presents AI programming challenges to students, start-ups, hackers and developers to solve.

United Kingdom: Nominet funded a granting program for 10 years under the name Nominet Trust. In 2017, that fund began independent operation as the Social Tech Trust and Nominet is now focusing funding on connection, inclusivity and security. For example, they are working with Scouts UK to develop a cybersecurity curriculum and with the Prince's Trust on a digital platform to mentor troubled youth online.

Written by Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA | 10/4/18
Business groups criticise a proposed crackdown on "low-skilled" migrants from Europe. | 10/2/18

The economy of Europe comprises more than 731 million people in 48 different states. Like other continents, the wealth of Europe's states varies, although the poorest are well above the poorest states of other continents in terms of GDP and living standards. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen in a rough East-West divide. Whilst Western European states all have high GDPs and living standards, many of Eastern Europe's economies are still rising from the collapse of the communist Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. Throughout this article "Europe" and derivatives of the word are taken to include selected states whose territory is only partly in Europe – such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation – and states that are geographically in Asia, bordering Europe – such as Armenia and Cyprus. Europe was the first continent to industrialize – led by the United Kingdom in the 18th century – and as a result, it has become the richest continent in the world today and the nominal GDP in 2010 is $19.920 trillion (32.4% of the World). Europe's largest national economy is that of Germany, which ranks fourth globally in nominal GDP, and fifth in purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP; followed by France, ranking fifth globally in nominal GDP, followed by the United Kingdom, ranking sixth globally in nominal GDP, followed by Italy, which ranks seventh globally in nominal GDP, then by Russia ranking tenth globally in nominal GDP. These 5 countries are all ranking in the world's top 10, therefore European economies account for half of the 10 wealthiest ones. The end of World War II has since brought European countries closer together, culminating in the formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency – the euro. European Union as a whole is, by far, the wealthiest and largest economy in the world, topping the US by more than 2.000 billions at a time of great economic slowdown– see List of countries by GDP. In 2009 Europe remained the world's wealthiest region. Its $32,7 trillion in assets under management represented more than one-third of the world’s wealth. Unlike North America ($29,3 trillion) it was one of few regions where wealth surpassed its precrisis year-end peak. Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue, 184 have their headquarters in Europe. 161 are located in the EU, 15 in Switzerland, 6 in Russia, 1 in Turkey, 1 in Norway. 19 out of the top 26 nations in the world with the highest nominal GDP per capita are in Europe as of 2010. nr 1 Monaco $203,900 nr 2 Liechtenstein $136,864 nr 3 Luxembourg $104.390 nr 4 Norway $84,543 nr 6 Switzerland $67,074 nr 7 Denmark $55,112 nr 8 San Marino $50,670 nr 10 Sweden $47,667 nr 13 Netherlands 46,418 nr 15 Ireland $45,642 nr 16 Austria $43,723 nr 17 Finland $43,133 nr 19 Belgium $42,596 nr 21 Andorra $41,130 nr 22 France $40,591 nr 23 Germany $40,511 nr 24 Iceland $39,562 nr 25 UK $36,298 nr 26 Italy $33,828

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