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How Amazon's decision to spend billions on video is paying off (AMZN)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:43 PM PDT

For $99 a year, Amazon Prime subscribers get exclusive access to all of its original video content and two-day shipping. The goal is to draw Amazon Prime subscribers in with content and then use the perks to turn those subscribers into consistent shoppers. "When we win a Golden Globe, it helps us sell more shoes," Bezos said at a 2016 technology conference.

In order to determine the entire cost of each in-house production to the company, Amazon considers the total amount spent on marketing and production for a show, and compares it to the number of new Prime subscribers who opted to watch that show first, according to internal company documents revealed by Reuters. The assumption is that these subscribers signed up for Amazon Prime primarily to access that show. 

As this chart from Statista shows, the result is a breakdown of the cost per first stream. Even though Amazon spent almost the same amount on production and marketing on the first seasons of "Grand Tour" and "Good Girls Revolt," the graph shows that the difference in cost per subscriber is vastly different.

Chart of the Day COTD

SEE ALSO: Snapchat's grip on teenage users is loosening, but the only real threat is Instagram

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: How a tiny camera startup is taking on Amazon and Google

The Marine Corps is relying on 3D printing for new parts as it scrambles to prepare for winter warfare

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:28 PM PDT

US Marines Norway snow winter bulldog

  • The Marine Corps is reorienting itself for operations in extreme cold, after years of operations in the Middle East.
  • This shift has required new training deployments and put new strains on their equipment.
  • The Corps has started to draw on 3D printing to supply new and replacement parts, as well as to augment standard supply chains.

The Marine Corps has, in recent months, started to shift its focus away from operations in the Middle East and begun to emphasize preparing to operate in extreme cold — like that found in northern Europe and northeast Asia.

US forces "haven't been in the cold-weather business for a while," Marine Corps Commandant Gen. Robert Neller said in January. "Some of the risks and threats there, there is a possibility we are going to be there."

That reorientation has placed new demands on Marines operating at northern latitudes in Europe and North America — and put new strains on their equipment.

The Corps has issued requests for information on a new cap and gloves for intense cold, and it plans to spend nearly $13 million on 2,648 sets of NATO's ski system for scout snipers, reconnaissance Marines, and some infantrymen.

But the transition to new climates hasn't gone totally smoothly. Marines in northern Norway in 2016 and early 2017 reported a number of problems with their gear. Zippers stuck; seams ripped; backpack frames snapped; and boots repeatedly pulled loose from skis or tore on the metal bindings.

US Marine Corps winter snowshoe

Now the service is increasingly drawing on new technology to keep Marines equipped in harsh environments.

Marines at the Mountain Warfare Training Center, working with the Marine Corps System Command team focused on additive manufacturing, which is also known as 3D printing, have come up with a method for same-day printing of new snowshoe clips, which keep boots locked into show shoes.

"If a Marine is attacking a position in the snow while in combat, and the clip on their boot breaks, it makes it difficult for the Marine to run forward with a rifle uphill to complete the mission," Capt. Matthew Friedell, AM project officer in MCSC's Systems Engineering and Acquisition Logistics, said in a release. "If he or she has a 3D-printed clip in their pocket, they can quickly replace it and continue charging ahead."

Th teams designed and printed the new clip, made of resin, within three business days of the request, and each clip costs just $0.05, the Marine Corps said in the release. The team has also 3D-printed an insulated cover for radio batteries that would otherwise quickly be depleted in cold weather.

"The capability that a 3D printer brings to us on scene saves the Marine Corps time and money by providing same-day replacements if needed," said Capt. Jonathan Swafford, AM officer at MWTC. "It makes us faster than our peer adversaries because we can design whatever we need right when we need it, instead of ordering a replacement part and waiting for it to ship."

US Marine Corps Marines snow shoe Japan

The Marines aren't the only ones working on 3D printing. The Navy is using it to make submersibles, and Air Mobility Command chief Gen. Carlton Everhart said in mid-2017 that the Air Force was looking at 3D printing to produce replacement parts.

But the Marine Corps has expressed particular interest in the technology.

A September 2016 message gave Marine unit commands broad permission to use 3D printing to build parts for their equipment. The force now relies on it to make products that are too small for the conventional supply chain, like specialized tools, radio components, or items that would otherwise require larger, much more expensive repairs to replace.

US Marine Corps Marines 3D printing

In June 2017, Marine Lt. Col. Howard Marotto, the Corps' lead for additive manufacturing and 3D printing, told Military.com that Marines were the first to deploy the machines to combat zones with conventional forces.

Marotto said several of the desktop-computer-size machines had been deployed with the Marine Corps crisis-response task force in the Middle East.

The Corps is developing the X-FAB, a self-contained, transportable 3D-printing facility contained within a 20-foot-by-20-foot box, meant to support maintenance, supply, logistics, and engineer units in the field. The service also said it wants to 3D-print mini drones for use by infantry units.

Marine officials have attributed much of the Corps' progress with 3D printing to its younger personnel, many of whom have taken initiative and found ways to incorporate the new technology.

"My eyes are watering with what our young people can do right now," Marine Corps Assistant Commandant Gen. Glenn Walters said at a conference in March, adding that 69 of the devices had been deployed across the force. "I have an engineering background, but I’m telling you, some of these 21- and 22-year-olds are well ahead of me."

SEE ALSO: US Marines are stationed in Norway to help deter Russia, and Norway may ask them to stay longer

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: The US Navy is now 3D printing submarines

Jeff Bezos says a secretive company in the Texas desert is his 'most important work' — and it has nothing to do with Amazon

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:17 PM PDT

jeff bezos blue origin amazon axel springer award 2018

  • In a recent in-depth interview, Amazon founder Jeff Bezos said that Amazon and his other businesses aren't nearly as important as Blue Origin.
  • Blue Origin builds, tests, and launches reusable rockets and spaceships in the desert of west Texas.
  • Bezos said he wants Blue Origin to help move all heavy industry into space and transform Earth into a residential and "very beautiful planet."

Jeff Bezos, the richest human on Earth, says Amazon and other lucrative ventures will never be as important to him as Blue Origin, his secretive aerospace startup in the Texas desert.

Bezos made the comments during a wide-ranging interview with Mathias Döpfner, the CEO of Axel Springer (Business Insider's parent company) on April 24 in Berlin.

His remarks came just days before Blue Origin successfully launched and landed its reusable New Shepard rocket for the eighth time.

new shepard rocket capsule launch blue origin jeff bezos

On Sunday, the liquid-fueled rocket shot a capsule designed for space tourists into a high arc more than 66 miles above Earth — beyond the edge of space, though not into orbit.

No people rode in the New Shepard capsule in the test, but a dummy called "Mannequin Skywalker" was inside, recording data about the flight from a cushy, leather-lined seat.

Beyond opening doors for space tourism, Bezos is spending billions to design, build, and launch a massive, fully reusable orbital rocket called New Glenn. The behemoth is designed to compete with SpaceX and its launch systems starting around 2020.

"This is super important to me, and I believe on the longest timeframe — and really here I'm thinking of a timeframe of a couple of hundred years, so over many decades — I believe and I get increasing conviction with every passing year, that Blue Origin, the space company, is the most important work I'm doing," Bezos told Döpfner.

Bezos' Blue Origin dreams

new glenn rocket launch flight moon earth illustration blue origin

Blue Origin is the rocket company that Bezos always dreamed about creating.

That dream was seeded on his grandparents' large ranch in South Texas. Growing up, Bezos learned to work with, repair, and appreciate machinery, and also frequently visited the county library, where he filled up on science fiction novels about space travel.

These and other formative experiences fueled his passion for spaceflight, eventually leading Bezos to secretly found Blue Origin in 2000, after he'd become a billionaire through Amazon. The goal: help make travel to space cheap, routine, and frequent.

Blue Origin's headquarters are in Seattle, but Bezos needed a remote place to test and launch rockets.

So after some perilous searching, he spent some of his newfound riches on a 30,000-acre ranch outside of Van Horn, Texas in 2004. Bezos eventually purchased more than 330,000 acres in the region — more than half the landmass of Rhode Island — according to the book "The Space Barons" by Christian Davenport.

Blue Origin has been very secretive for most of its existence. Only recently, after earning millions of dollars in contracts for NASA, has Bezos opened up about what the company is doing.

What Blue Origin is working on

new glenn rocket launch flight moon earth illustration blue origin

One of Blue Origin's biggest projects — quite literally — is the New Glenn rocket: a reusable launch system that might help reduce the high cost of access to space.

Blue Origin has two designs in the works, according to a September 2016 announcement. The earliest version is a 270-foot tall, two-stage rocket. A more powerful 313-foot-tall, three-stage rocket will come later.

blue origin orbital rocket saturn v comparison labeled

The smaller rocket will send satellites and other payloads into orbit. The larger launcher could eventually help Bezos set up a commercial base on the moon or even Mars.

Bezos says the first New Glenn rocket should debut in 2020, and Blue Origin has built a 750,000-square-foot hangar in Cape Canaveral, Florida, to power that work. (Blue Origin has thus far declined Business Insider's requests to see inside the facility.)

It's not yet clear how much a New Glenn launch will cost, though the booster will take off and re-land like SpaceX's, allowing it to get reused for future launches. That would save Blue Origin tens of millions of dollars in the process, perhaps reducing rocket-launch costs more than 10-fold in the future.

Both systems will compete with SpaceX's Falcon Heavy and Big Falcon Rocket systems. As of March 2017, Blue Origin had at least one customer signed up to launch a payload on New Glenn.

What Bezos said about Blue Origin's ultimate future

jeff bezos blue origin amazon mathias doepfner axel springer award 2018

You can read the full transcript of Bezos's conversation with Axel Springer here, but here's what else Bezos said about his long-term vision for Blue Origin (his comments begin around the 37-minute mark):

Döpfner: So you'd say retail, e-commerce, publishing — that's all less relevant than the space project?

Bezos: Yes, and I'll tell you why. First of all, of course, I'm interested in space, because I'm passionate about it and I've been studying it and thinking about it since I was a 5-year-old boy. But that is not why I'm pursuing this work. I'm pursuing this work because I believe if we don't, we will eventually end up with a civilization of stasis, which I find very demoralizing. I don't want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in a civilization of stasis.

We all enjoy a dynamic civilization of growth and change. Let's think about what powers that. We are not really energy-constrained. Let me give you just a couple of numbers. If you take your body, your metabolic rate as a human — as just an animal, you eat food, that's your metabolism — you burn about a 100 watts. Your power, your body, is the same as a 100-watt lightbulb. We're incredibly efficient. Your brain is about 60 Watts of that. Amazing.

But if you extrapolate in developed countries, where we use a lot of energy, on average in developed countries, our civilizational metabolic rate is 11,000 Watts. So, in a natural state, where we're animals, we're only using a 100 Watts. In our actual developed-world state, we're using 11,000 Watts, and it's growing. For a century or more, it's been compounding at a few percent a year — our energy usage as a civilization.

Now if you take baseline energy usage, globally across the whole world, and compound it at just a few percent a year for just a few hundred years, you have to cover the entire surface of the Earth in solar cells. That's the real energy crisis. And it's happening soon. And by soon, I mean within just a few 100 years. So we don't actually have that much time.

So what can you do?

jeff bezos moon blue origin ap nasa svs business insider 4X3

Well, you can have a life of stasis, where you cap how much energy we get to use. You have to work only on efficiency. By the way, we've always been working on energy efficiency, and still we grow our energy usage. It's not like we have been squandering energy. We have been getting better at using it with every passing decade, and still we grow it. So, stasis would be very bad I think.

Now take the alternative scenario, where you move out into the Solar System. The Solar System can easily support a trillion humans. And if we had a trillion humans, we would have a thousand Einsteins and a thousand Mozarts and unlimited — for all practical purposes — resources and solar power and so on. That's the world that I want my great-grandchildren's great-grandchildren to live in.

And by the way, I believe that — in that timeframe — we will move all heavy industry off of Earth, and Earth will be zoned residential and light industry. It will basically be a very beautiful planet. We have sent robotic probes to every planet in this solar system now and believe me this is the best one.

Döpfner: But Jeff, when can I buy the first ticket to do a little space tour?

Bezos: The first tourism vehicle — we won't be selling tickets yet — we may put humans in it at the end of this year or at the beginning of next year. We're getting very close, we've been working on it for years. And we are building a very large orbital vehicle, we've been working on that for more than 5 years. It'll fly for the first time in 2020, and the key is reusability.

This civilization I'm talking about of getting comfortable living and working in space and having millions of people and then billions of people and then finally a trillion people in space? You can't do that with space vehicles that you use once and then throw away. It's a ridiculous, costly way to get into space.

SEE ALSO: The used rockets of billionaires just might save humanity from doom — here's how

DON'T MISS: Jeff Bezos just unveiled the capsule that his rocket company will use to launch tourists into space

Join the conversation about this story »

NOW WATCH: Jeff Bezos reveals what it's like to build an empire and become the richest man in the world — and why he's willing to spend $1 billion a year to fund the most important mission of his life

THE VOICE APPS REPORT: The issues with discoverability, monetization, and retention, and how to solve them

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 01:02 PM PDT

bii voice app skills growth over time

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

The voice app ecosystem is booming. In the US, the number of Alexa skills alone surpassed 25,000 in January 2018, up from just 7,000 the previous January, in categories ranging from music streaming services, to games, to connected home tools.

As voice platforms continue to gain footing in homes via smart speakers — connected devices powered primarily by artificial intelligence (AI)-enabled voice assistants — the opportunity for voice apps is becoming more profound. However, as observed with the rise of mobile apps in the late 2000s, any new digital ecosystem will face significant growing pains, and voice apps are no exception. Thanks to the visual-free format of voice apps, discoverability, monetization, and retention are proving particularly problematic in this nascent space. This is creating a problem in the voice assistant market that could hinder greater uptake if not addressed.

In this report, Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service, explores the two major viable voice app stores. It identifies the three big issues voice apps are facing — discoverability, monetization, and retention — and presents possible short-term solutions ahead of industry-wide fixes.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • The market for smart speakers and voice platforms is expanding rapidly. The installed base of smart speakers and the volume of voice apps that can be accessed on them each saw significant gains in 2017. But the new format and the emerging voice ecosystems that are making their way into smart speaker-equipped homes is so far failing to align with consumer needs. 
  • Voice app development is a virtuous cycle with several broken components. The addressable consumer market is expanding, which is prompting more brands and developers to developer voice apps, but the ability to monetize and iterate those voice apps is limited, which could inhibit voice app growth. 
  • Monetization is only one broken component of the voice app ecosystem. Discoverability and user retention are equally problematic for voice app development. 
  • While the two major voice app ecosystems — Amazon's and Google's — have some Band-Aid solutions and workarounds, their options for improving monetization, discoverability, and retention for voice apps are currently limited.
  • There are some strategies that developers and brands can employ in the near term ahead of more robust tools and solutions.

In full, the report:

  • Sizes the current voice app ecosystem. 
  • Outlines the most pressing problems in voice app development and evolution in the space by examining the three most damning shortcoming: monetization, discoverability, and retention. 
  • Discusses the solutions being offered up by today's biggest voice platforms. 
  • Presents workaround solutions and alternative approaches that could catalyze development and evolution ahead of wider industry-wide fixes from the platforms.

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This is the Javelin anti-tank missile system that the US just sent to Ukraine

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:58 PM PDT

Soldiers Javelin anti tank us army soldiers training

The US has delivered the Javelin anti-tank missile system to Ukraine, a State Department official confirmed to Radio Free Europe/Radio Liberty on Monday

"They have already been delivered," the official told RFE/RL. 

The Trump administration announced in December that it had approved a $47 million deal for 210 Javelin anti-tank missiles and 37 Javelin launchers. But the State Department official didn't disclose to RFE/RL when and how many launchers and missiles arrived, or if Ukrainian troops have begun training on them.

The deal was intended to deter Russia, which has opposed the sale since its inception, despite denying any real involvement in the conflict. Former President Barack Obama, as well as France and Germany, opposed arming Ukraine out of concern that it may inflame the conflict.

Trump's national security advisers eventually convinced him to sign off on the deal, but the president also told them to not publicly talk about the deal, fearing that it might agitate Russian President Vladimir Putin, NBC News previously reported

"[Trump] doesn't want us to bring it up," a White House official told NBC News in March. "It is not something he wants to talk about."

Here's what the Javelin can do:

SEE ALSO: This is the famed Russian tank corps that Putin is sending to NATO's borders

Developed by Raytheon and Lockheed Martin, the FGM-148 Javelin anti-tank missile system first entered US service in 1996.

Raytheon and Lockheed Martin are two of the largest defense contractors and political donors in the US. 

It's a portable, shoulder-mounted missile system that's about four feet long and weighs about 33 pounds.

Source: army-technology.com

The reusable Command Launch Unit fires a high explosive anti-tank, infrared guided missile up to about 8,200 feet.

It also has fire-and-forget technology, meaning the operator can pull the trigger and then take cover, not having to make adjustments to the missile flight after firing. 

Source: army-technology.com, military.com

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Google Tasks is the perfect app for organizing your life — and it doesn't cost a cent (GOOG, GOOGL)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:50 PM PDT

Google Tasks

Google recently made its first significant refresh to Gmail in years and added a new standalone app to its lineup: Google Tasks. 

Before now, Tasks worked as a to-do list built into Gmail. And while Tasks still works with Gmail — and Google Calendar, too — it now has its own app for those who just want to easily organize their lives. 

Now, I'm a big believer in to-do lists and have dabbled with productivity apps in the past. While those apps work great for me at first, I've never found the perfect one. 

So I was curious to see if I would like Google Tasks, especially since I'm about to move into a new apartment and have a lot of organizing to do.

The verdict: if you use a lot of Google products, Tasks is the best to-do app for you.

Here's what it's like to use Google Tasks: 

SEE ALSO: 24 essential tips and tricks to help you get the most out of your Mac

Google Tasks looks a lot like other Google apps, so if you frequently use Calendar, Gmail, or Drive, it will be super-simple to use.

Google Tasks lets you add items to a general list, or create separate lists for specific topics. For me, it was helpful to be able to organize items that were related to my upcoming move into one standalone list.

When you start adding tasks, your list will look like this. Google Tasks has a clean, minimalist layout that's perfect for Type-A people like me.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Fortnite creators just confirmed the game is changing tomorrow — here’s what to expect from ‘Season 4’

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:45 PM PDT

Fortnite season 4 poster

  • Tomorrow marks the beginning of the fourth season in Fortnite: Battle Royale, the most popular video game in the world.
  • Meteorites, conspiracy theorists' campsites, and emergency broadcasts have been spotted in Fortnite as the game wraps up season three and players await the beginning of season four.
  • The series of cryptic clues has caused players to speculate that a cosmic event could mean an uncertain future for Fortnite and the game map.
  • Now, the game creators at Epic Games have confirmed at least one of their theories: "Impact is imminent!"


Tuesday will be the first day of Fortnite: Battle Royale's fourth season, which means today is the end of an era, and — potentially — the game as we know it. 

A large shooting star first appeared in the Fortnite sky a few weeks ago; it's since been dubbed the #FortniteMeteor. Since then, a series of in-game cryptic clues including Morse code messages, conspiracy theorists' campsites, and emergency TV broadcasts have been hinting at an imminent change in the game's near future. 

Now, we've reached the end of season three, Fortnite creators have confirmed on Twitter that a cosmic event is coming:

It's all come down to this.

Will a massive meteor take out Tilted Towers, the most densely-populated area of the Fortnite island, tonight, like so many have speculated? 

Will the new season's theme be inspired by the events that unfold?

Will Fortnite ever be the same? (Oh, the humanity!)

Here's what we know:

SEE ALSO: 7 reasons you should play PlayerUnknown's Battlegrounds, or PUBG, instead of Fortnite

This morning, Epic Games also posted this image from the official Fortnite Twitter account, with the caption "Brace for impact!"

The poster appears to depict Fortnite-style characters — some of which we've never seen before — emerging from a crater that we can only assume was caused by the meteor.

I'm not sure how much more clear they could be than a cosmic event is on the horizon.

Over the weekend, Epic also posted a few versions of this promotional image for Season Four, adding a new character to the image with each update.

This poster doesn't offer any hints as to the future of the meteor, but the comic-book art style has lots of fans speculating that it could be indicative of the game adopting a superhero theme for season four, according to fan blog Fortnite Intel.

For those who still aren't on this bandwagon, the current season has an unofficial "spaceman" theme, demonstrated by astronaut suits and other cosmetic accessories for the playable characters. 

Last week, a few dedicated fans went so far as to open up the game's code, searching for clues in the game's latest update. Data miners successfully found a series of new sound effects tucked in a folder titled "Meteor."

Fortnite Intel compiled a video with all the sound effects and their labels, for those who are curious.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

Tesla is burning through billions — and it's revealing an ugly reality about the company's financial situation (TSLA)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:24 PM PDT

elon musk

Bloomberg reports that Tesla is burning through $6,500 a minute.

That's alarmingly impressive for a relatively small, young carmaker that's preparing to announce first-quarter earnings that are expected to be staggeringly negative. 

For the record, all car companies blow though huge piles of cash. It's the nature of the business. But they don't tend to perpetually lose money; Tesla hasn't posted a yearly profit since its 2010 IPO.

All eyes are on Tesla's prospects of actually running out of cash before the end of year. The company has about $3.5 billion on hand, plus lines of credit. CEO Elon Musk says no capital raise is coming and that Tesla will start to bring in more than it spends later in 2018.

That's optimistic. Here's what could go wrong:

SEE ALSO: Tesla is about to report earnings and it could get ugly — here's what to expect

Customers bailing out on Model 3 deposits.

The Model 3 was sold to an eager public as a $35,000 all-electric vehicle that could get more than 200 miles on a single charge. 

But thus far, Tesla has managed only to build and sell the $44,000-and-up version. Anyone of the 400,000 or so customers who put down $1,000 each for a pre-order could purchase that trim level if they have the means. 

But a lot of reservation holders would probably like to spend ten grand less and get the base model they were told was coming. 

Tesla keeps telling them it's coming, and they shouldn't be surprised: the company likes to start with expensive versions of its vehicles and work its way down to cheaper ones. 

That bolster revenues, but it means Tesla's mass-market buyers continue to wait for their cars. The company is betting that they'll be patient, but it's a big bet.

And as Tesla nears the point at which it will have sold too many vehicles (200,000) in the US for buyers to qualify for a $7,500 federal tax credit. Losing that will make a Model 3 a stretch purchase for some buyers. They could decide to ask for their $1,000 back, and Tesla would have to comply.

A capital raise that doesn't boost the stock price.

Tesla has said before that it wouldn't need to raise money — and the company has gone ahead a raised anyway. 

Investors have typically welcomed the raises, sending the stock higher. When Tesla raised over a billion in equity 2017 and later offered almost $2 billion in junk-debt issue, the stock spent much of the year well above $300. 

The markets have typically seen Tesla's capital appetites as a way to assess investors confidence. The usual drill is that the raise is announced, a level is set, and Tesla then exceeds expectations. Presto! Stock rallies.

Why would it be different this time? Because Musk said that Tesla would turn the money drain around by the middle of the year, get the Model 3 decisively back on track, and be able to ride out 2018 with the roughly $3.5 billion the company has in the bank, along with its credit lines. (And end up, in fact, with the $1 billion in cash that the automaker likes to maintain on the balance sheet.)

Reversing that would signal poor capital management and a cost structure imposed by sluggish Model 3 production that could be terminal. Coupled with what will likely be huge losses in the first and second quarters, that could cause investors to run for the exits.

Continued negative return on investment.

Tesla level of spending isn't unusual for a car company. What is unusual is Tesla's level of spending for a carmaker that only sold 100,000 vehicles in 2017 and only brought in about $3.3 billion revenue.

General Motors spent close to $8.5 billion 2017, but it converted that spending into roughly $150 billion in revenue and a profit of nearly $13 billion.

GM shares were handily surpassed by Tesla shares in 2017, as far as market performance goes, with Tesla's market cap at one point topping GM's. But GM also returned billions to investors via share buybacks and dividends. 

Tesla can't continue to ask investors to stay the course if it can't figure out a way to turn billions in capital incineration into billions in profits. Markets are nervously eyeing the Model 3 in this context because even if Tesla can hit ambitious production targets — 5,000 per week by June — it's unclear whether the car will achieve an appealing profit margin.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider

An American Airlines passenger said police were called on her 'for flying while fat & black' (AAL)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:18 PM PDT

Boeing 787 American Airlines

  • American Airlines passenger Amber J. Phillips recounted a flight on which police "were called on me for flying while fat & Black" in a Twitter thread last week.
  • The woman sitting next to Phillips allegedly spent much of the flight complaining about the amount of space Phillips was taking up.
  • After the flight, Phillips said she was pulled off a shuttle bus after the woman instructed a flight attendant to call the police.
  • The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police told Business Insider that no charges were filed against Phillips or her seatmate.

American Airlines passenger Amber J. Phillips recounted a flight on which police "were called on me for flying while fat & Black" in a Twitter thread last week.

Phillips was on flight 5580, which was operated by PSA Airlines, from Raleigh-Durham to Washington D.C. on Thursday. The woman sitting next to her allegedly spent much of the flight complaining about the amount of space Phillips was taking up.


"This white woman literally spent the entire 45 minute flight making an active scene bc my arm was touching hers. Loudly asking if I could 'move over' on a plane so small everyone's carryon bags had to be valeted. It was awful!" Phillips wrote.

Near the end of the flight, Phillips wrote that the woman sitting next to her "was able to sit back comfortably without touching me," after putting her tray table up.

Phillips was pulled off a shuttle bus to talk to police

Phillips took a video of her and her seatmate to document the incident. After leaving the aircraft, Phillips said she was pulled off a shuttle bus after the woman instructed a flight attendant to call the police. 

"While I'm on the shuttle, this woman LIED that I assaulted her and the @AmericanAir flight attendant called the cops to remove me from the shuttle bus," Phillips wrote.

"She knew she was wrong. She knew I was going to hold her accountable with my pictures and that's when she decided to pair up with the white @AmericanAir flight attendant to call the cops on me after I was already off the plane and on the shuttle to go home."

Phillips wrote that she asked another passenger on the shuttle to take her number and record her interaction with the police if she was harmed. According to Phillips, the first police officer who interacted with her was rude.

"He asked for my ID. As I looking for my ID, I asked if he asked for the other woman's ID," she wrote. "He aggressively responded to me by saying 'I'm not dealing with your abuse! Give me your ID!' I handed him my passport and he yanked it out of my hand."


"I then asked, 'Would you like to know what happened?' Aggressive again he said 'NO! I'm investigating this as an assault!' I very calmly said 'Wow, ok.' I backed up and made sure my hands were visible which upset the officer as well and he called in for an additional cop, yall!!!"

No charges were filed against Phillips or her seatmate

The Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police told Business Insider that no charges were filed against Phillips or her seatmate. The agency gave the following statement:

"At approximately 8:05pm on April 26, the Metropolitan Washington Airports Authority Police responded to a request for assistance from an American Airlines flight attendant on American Eagle flight 5580. Assistance was requested following an in-flight incident involving two passengers, which continued on an American Airlines shuttle bus at Reagan National Airport. Upon arrival on the scene, Airports Authority police asked both passengers to exit the shuttle to protect their privacy and to allow for an investigation. Both passengers complied with police requests and it was determined that there was no immediate threat to passenger safety. There were no arrests, no charges were filed and both passengers continued on their way."

American Airlines told Business Insider "two passengers seated next to each other engaged in a verbal altercation" on Flight 5580. An airline representative said "one of the passengers requested the flight attendant contact law enforcement" after the flight landed.

The NAACP had previously issued a travel warning for American

In October, the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP) issued a national travel advisory warning African Americans about flying on American Airlines due to "a pattern of disturbing incidents."

"The series of recent incidents involve troublesome conduct by American Airlines and they suggest a corporate culture of racial insensitivity and possible racial bias on the part of American Airlines," the organization wrote.

After the warning was announced, American Airlines CEO Doug Parker responded in a memo to employees.

"The mission statement of the NAACP states that it seeks to remove all barriers of racial discrimination," Parker said. "That's a mission that the people of American Airlines endorse and facilitate every day — we do not and will not tolerate discrimination of any kind."

BuzzFeed reported that the NAACP announced another travel advisory for American Airlines starting on Tuesday. The NAACP did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

SEE ALSO: An American Airlines passenger found a dead rat in her luggage after a flight and says she was told to burn the bag because of bubonic plague concerns

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How to get a billion views on YouTube

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:13 PM PDT

Five billion videos are watched on YouTube every day, but only a certain few of those rack up enough views to crack the one billion mark. We wanted to see if there was a definite way to break into the top of the YouTube charts. Turns out there's no definite formula, but there are certain things you can do to increase your odds of a hit video. Following is the transcript of the video.

Narrator: 5 billion. That’s how many times videos are watched on YouTube every single day. With the platform helping thousands of creators “go viral,” we wanted to see if there was a set formula to making a hit video.

To figure out what works on Youtube, let’s look at the 10 most-watched videos. 9 out of 10 are music videos. And that trend continues. Music videos make up 94 out of the top 100. And this isn’t some strange coincidence. People spend more time listening to music on YouTube than Spotify, Apple Music, and Tidal combined.

Chris Molanphy: YouTube has become a popular destination for music because it's just so easy. 

Narrator: That’s Chris Molanphy. He’s a pop chart analyst and host of the Hit Parade podcast, which dissects how the top hits made its way up the charts

Chris Molanphy: the reason why music video, in particular, has taken off is the length, the fact that it's professionally produced content. It just right for consumption on a platform like YouTube.

Narrator: Back in the day MTV was the primary way to watch music videos. You would have the channel on and wait for your favorite music videos to play. Now we have the ability to play any music video, whenever we want.

Since the most popular videos are almost all music videos, it seems the fastest way to a billion views is a music video. But, before you have a music video, you need a song millions of people will want to listen to.

Nate Sloan: Right now rhythmically, there is this trend towards the rhythm that you might call the Dembow rhythm and this is something you can hear in a lot of top 40 and pop songs, and a lot of the top YouTube videos. It’s a rhythm that you will probably recognize, it sounds something like this.

Highly syncopated, immediately kind of makes you want to nod your head and tap your feet, and for at least the present moment right now this Dembow rhythm seems a sure fire way to get yourself a top song.

Narrator: That’s Nate Sloan. He’s a musicologist and host of “Switched On Pop”. A podcast about the making and meaning of popular music.

Nate Sloan: If you look at some of the top YouTube videos. They have global elements within them.

Ed Sheeran's "Shape Of You", for example, is all constructed around the sound of a kalimba, which is an African thumb piano.

The top youtube video of all time right now, "Despacito", features a Puerto Rican guitar in the intro. This very characteristic Caribbean sound.

And “Gangnam Style” which has no English lyrics whatsoever, except for the titular chorus is a huge hit and that's because we are more and more interested in global sounds. We are not just confined to the music of our own culture today.

Narrator: YouTube is accessible to anyone around the world. So if you expand your sound to be more global and inclusive, your chances of a hit song may increase.

Nate Sloan: More and more today it seems if you want a viral hit, you're going to have to reach beyond your immediate culture.

Narrator: Okay, so we’ve got some of the ingredients needed for the song. What about the video?

Chris Sloan: If there were a formula for success on YouTube I'm sure someone would have patented it by now. I'm not sure that there is a totally clear pattern.

To sound a bit old school about it, talent still matters. And the ability to present yourself or to present what Simon Cowell would famously call "The X Factor"  - the qualities of a star both in terms of your ability to play, your ability to sing, your ability to present yourself compellingly. These factors all matter the same as they always have.

Narrator: Even if your video doesn’t hit a billion views — and odds are it won’t — don’t get discouraged.  The video is still going to represent you and your music.

Chris Sloan: Some artists that have succeeded because of YouTube have done it not so much by creating their own music videos but using YouTube in effect as an audition reel. A & R teams now scour YouTube looking for the next major poster. Your video doesn't necessarily have to be polished to make you a YouTube star.

Narrator: That’s for sure. Justin Bieber’s first video was just him singing on his couch. It led to him being discovered by Usher and becoming a worldwide pop star.

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Twitter is popping after announcing a partnership with Disney's ESPN (TWTR, DIS)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:03 PM PDT

Screen Shot 2018 04 30 at 2.27.19 PM

Twitter shares are popping, up more than 4% Monday, after the social-media company announced an advertising and live-content partnership with Disney's ESPN.

The partnership would put some of Disney's sports content on the Twitter platform. The specifics of the advertising revenue arrangement are not yet clear. Twitter and ESPN will roll out which specific live sports shows will be aired on the platform over the next couple of days.. 

"To innovate at this scale with The Walt Disney Company is a huge step forward in expanding the depth and breadth of video content we offer to leaned in, engaged consumers on Twitter," Twitter Global VP of Revenue and Content Partnerships Matthew Derella said in a press release.

He added that "The Twitter sports community is the digital roar of the crowd, so there is no better place to start than with ESPN to deliver credible, premium content to enrich that conversation."

The move is part of a broader strategy for social media companies, including Twitter, to cash in on sports content. Twitter and Major League Baseball recently announced a partnership in which Twitter will stream some MLB games

Twitter shares are up 24.02% on the year. 

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Disney just said it's going to stream live shows on Twitter, and Twitter's stock is popping (DIS, TWTR)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 12:02 PM PDT

Bob iger jack dorsey twitter disney

  • On Monday, Walt Disney Company announced a partnership with Twitter to host live content and advertising on the social media platform.
  • The news sent Twitter's shares up roughly 5 percent in midday trading.
  • The partnership includes live content across various digital properties.
  • At this week's Digital Content NewFronts, Twitter and Disney-owned ESPN will specifically announce which live shows are in development.

Walt Disney Company announced a partnership with Twitter on Monday that will entail launching live content and advertising from various Disney companies on the social media platform.

The news sent Twitter's shares up roughly 5 percent in midday trading. 

In a press release from ESPN, a network owned by Disney and one of the participating Disney companies, the sports network said it and Twitter at the NewFronts meet this week will announce new live shows that specifically will be available on Twitter. 

A Twitter spokesperson told Business Insider that the partnership includes live content across various properties.

Other participating Disney companies include ABC, Disney Channel, Freeform, Marvel, Radio Disney, Disney Digital Network and Walt Disney Studios Motion Pitcures. 

Until January of this year, Twitter CEO Jack Dorsey sat on the Walt Disney Company's board before leaving due to potential conflicts of interest. Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg also left the board at the same time.

Disney announced its own streaming service would arrive in 2019, creating an issue for both Twitter and Facebook which have both been labeled as media companies in addition to technology giants. 

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The unconventional comedy of 'Thor: Ragnarok' prompted rewrites of 'Avengers: Infinity War'

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:55 AM PDT

thor avengers

  • Thor was originally supposed to be a more serious character in "Avengers: Infinity War."
  • Actor Chris Hemsworth voiced concerns after "Thor: Ragnarok" portrayed the character's funnier side.
  • "Infinity War" writers Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely told Vulture that they turned to "Ragnarok" director Taika Waititi for input.
  • They then made rewrites to Thor's character and his storyline in "Infinity War."

Thor could have been a much different character in "Avengers: Infinity War" if not for "Thor: Ragnarok."

In an interview with Vulture, the "Infinity War" writers — Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely — revealed that Thor was originally supposed to be a more serious counter to the funny Guardians of the Galaxy.

But Thor actor Chris Hemsworth realized how humorous the character had become in last year's "Thor: Ragnarok," which prompted rewrites.

"We changed a few scenes early on because Hemsworth had just done 'Thor: Ragnarok' and was concerned," McFeely told Vulture. "He was like, 'Listen, guys, I’ve been in Australia and we’re doing crazy stuff!'"

"Ragnarok" was much funnier than previous "Thor" movies, and director Taika Waititi created an almost slapstick sci-fi adventure that took full advantage of Hemsworth's comedic talents. Markus and McFeely turned to Waititi for input when rewriting Thor in "Infinity War."

According to Vulture, they "flew Waititi out for two days to pick his brain, then revamped Thor and his 'Infinity War' arc" to reflect the more comical side of the character audiences saw in "Ragnarok."

"Avengers: Infinity War" is currently in theaters.

More on "Avengers: Infinity War":

SEE ALSO: How much money ever Marvel Cinematic Universe movie made opening weekend, including 'Infinity War'

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How to survive an alligator attack

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:53 AM PDT

Alligator attacks don't happen often, but when they do, they can be fatal. According to the Florida Fish & Wildlife Commission, there have been 23 fatal alligator attacks since 1973. So, what should you do if you find yourself face-to-face with one of these apex predators? 

We talked to wildlife expert Corbin Maxey, who owns two alligators. Maxey told us that even though alligators can get aggressive, they are likely to leave you alone as long as you don't disturb them. He has some simple instructions for what to do if something goes wrong. Following is a transcript of the video. 

Graham Flanagan: For years, Hollywood movies have shown humans at war with alligators. And their crocodilian cousins. Either they're attacking us, or we're attacking them.

Alligators don't often attack humans. But it does happen, and if one attacks you, what should you do? And perhaps more importantly, what shouldn't you do? American alligators have been around for over 150 million years, since the age of the dinosaurs. But alligators stuck around. There are nearly five million alligators in the United States. They live throughout the southeast, from Texas to North Carolina. But most of them are concentrated here, in Florida. In fact, the sunshine state is home to around 1.3 million alligators, And that's where the majority of alligator attacks take place. The first fatal alligator attack recorded in the United States occurred in 1973 near Sarasota. Since then, 23 more deaths have been reported.

Corbin Maxey: You're more likely to be attacked by a dog, or even killed by a cow than have an encounter, a negative one, with an alligator.

Flanagan: Corbin Maxey is a biologist, wildlife expert, and owner of two alligators.

Maxey: Alligators, they can be dangerous, but just like with wildlife, if you leave them alone, they will more than likely wanna leave you alone.

Flanagan: Sure, alligators can be vicious, technically they're apex predators, albeit very patient ones.

Maxey: They're ambush predators, usually all you'll see, if you're really even lucky to see, 'cause they're so good at camouflage, are the little eyes above the water. They would be eating mammals like raccoons, waterbirds, turtles, and deer on occasion. And they literally will sneak up to their prey and then whack! The prey won't even know usually what gets it, but they are incredibly fast.

Flanagan: Alligators are usually pretty chill, as long as you respect their space.

Maxey: There are rare instances of course, where females might be guarding a nest, and if you're in Florida, or you're in an area where alligators are found, and you come across a nest with a female, she is going to be angry, and she will come after you.

Flanagan: If an alligator charges after you, the first step you should take, is to run. Alligators are quick, and can run up to a speed of 11 miles per hour, but they can't sustain that very long. But what if it's too late? And that gator sinks it's teeth into you? Fight back!

Maxey: You wanna fight back, you wanna give it your all, because that will more than likely allow the alligator to release you, they're gonna realize, oh gosh, I don't wanna deal with this.

Flanagan: Don't try to pry open the jaws. You're dealing with a bite force of three thousand pounds. Some experts say that while fighting back, you should smack the gator's sensitive snout, and also try to gouge the gator's eyes.

Maxey: I feel like that's easier said than done. When you have something sudden happen to you, it's gonna be very hard to be like, oh wait, where are the eyes, you know? So I think the best thing to do would be to fight back, put up a fight, definitely don't play dead. If you play dead, you might become dead.

Flanagan: So, in review, if you're attacked by an alligator, run away. If it's too late, fight back, don't try to pry open it's jaws. Attack the sensitive snout, and gouge the eyes, and definitely do not play dead. But perhaps most important, stay out of their territory.

Maxey: When alligators do attack humans or bite them, it's mainly by mistake, and then usually they'll let go, 'cause they'll realize, ah, this isn't a deer, this isn't a raccoon, this is foreign object, this is not something that I would want to eat.

Flanagan: Lucky us.

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Here's what Apple could do with its huge cash pile (AAPL)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:28 AM PDT

Tim Cook

  • Apple has the financial strength to ramp up its buyback program, according to RBC Capital Markets analyst Amit Daryanani.
  • Apple could buy back $25 billion of its own stock over the next five years.
  • Apple reports earnings after Tuesday's closing bell.
  • Watch Apple trade in real time here.

Apple reports earnings after Tuesday's closing bell, and investors are eager to see by how much the tech giant's massive cash pile has grown.  

At $261 billion, Apple has the largest cash pile of any US company, and a large chunk of that is stashed overseas. President Donald Trump's Tax Cuts and Jobs Act incentivizes companies to repatriate overseas cash, with the hopes they will use it to stimulate business investment and subsequently economic expansion.

But companies have several choices for how to use that cash, and capex isn't always at the top of the list. They could use their overseas cash on employee compensation, share buybacks, or increased dividends. 

And RBC Capital Markets senior analyst Amit Daryanani thinks share buybacks will be the route the company takes. 

"We think AAPL's solid free cash flow and $163B net cash balance will result in a meaningful step-up in capital allocation next quarter," Daryanani wrote. Apple's net cash, or cash available for spending after subtracting current liabilities, is $163 billion.

Apple could accomplish $25 billion in buybacks over the next five years, Daryanani suggested, which would reduce the number of shares on the market by approximately 1.6 billion. That would be more than 20% of 4.59 billion shares that are available on the open market. 

Daryanani's price target is $203 a share, about 23% above the stock's current levels. His bullish position is supported by a few key factors he says investors should watch out for in the report.

One factor is its iOS system. Apple's superior iOS should attract more application developers, and therefore more users, Daryanani said. "AAPL’s true differentiation is its unique computing ecosystem: iOS."

He says Apple's iOS "will be difficult for competitors to replicate in scale." 

Apple also has a unique opportunity over its competitors through its ability to develop its own operating system, Daryanani says. "Rather than just targeting the hardware layer, AAPL is able to capture incremental profits by also being the OS developer, processor manufacturer, and in some instances the retailer of the product," he wrote. 

Wall Street expects Apple to earn $2.65 a share on revenue of $60.91 billion, according to Bloomberg data. 

Apple shares are down 4.06% this year. 

Screen Shot 2018 04 30 at 2.16.56 PM

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The artist who once sold a photo of a potato for $1 million just sold a cryptocurrency-inspired artwork called 'YELLOW LAMBO' for more than the price of an actual Lamborghini

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:18 AM PDT

rich poor Lamborghini homeless

  • Conceptual artist and photographer Kevin Abosch recently sold a blockchain-inspired artwork called "YELLOW LAMBO" for $400,000.
  • The artwork is inspired by the hashtag #lambo, which is often used in cryptocurrency forums online. 


Kevin Abosch's technology-inspired artwork and photography challenge the traditional perceptions of value.

In 2016, Abosch sold a photograph of a potato for more than $1 million.

In February, a group of 10 collectors purchased his virtual artwork "Forever Rose" for $1 million in cryptocurrency.

And just last week, Abosch sold another digitally-inspired artwork called "YELLOW LAMBO" to former Skype COO Michael Jackson at the San Francisco art fair "If so, What" for $400,000  more than the starting price of an actual Lamborghini.

Yellow lambo

The artwork is composed of 42 inline alphanumerics in yellow neon representing the blockchain contract address for a crypto token called YLAMBO, which Abosch also created. Abosch named the artwork after the hashtag #lambo, which cryptocurrency enthusiasts often use in online forums. 

"When I first became aware of the use of #lambo on social media, it struck me as vulgar," Abosch told Business Insider. "But the more I thought about it, I realized that it's actually just a declaration acknowledging the insanity around the crypto zeitgeist."

The coveted Italian luxury car is a prized commodity in the cryptocurrency community, and in recent years, it's become a symbol for easy, cryptocurrency-acquired affluence. It's the Lamborghini's symbolic trappings that inspired Abosch to create a conceptual artwork which he describes as a meditation on value. 

"Depending on who you speak to, one person might ask, 'Why would someone spend $400,000 on bitcoin?' Another person might ask, 'Why would someone spend $400,000 on a car or a piece of artwork?'" said Abosch. "It's a cause for discussion on why and how we value anything at all."

After Abosch sold his blockchain artwork "Forever Rose" earlier this year for what is thought to be the largest sum ever paid for a piece of virtual art ("Forever Rose" is an ethereum-based token called ROSE that's inspired by a photograph Abosch took of an actual rose), Absoch said he received several confused inquiries regarding the nature of the piece. 

"There is no physical or visual manifestation of the work," said Abosch. "Someone asked me, 'How is it possible that something that you can't see or touch can have value?" Abosch's answer: "I have to wonder whether or not people who ask this question have an unhealthy relationship with material things."

In May, Abosch will present another blockchain-inspired artwork at the Hermitage Museum in Saint Petersburg.

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Google founder: The beginning of 'A Tale of Two Cities' is a great way to describe the tech industry today (GOOGL)

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:14 AM PDT

sergey brin skydiving

  • Sergey Brin, a cofounder of Google and president of Google's parent company Alphabet, wrote and published Alphabet's annual Founders Letter on Monday.
  • Brin started the letter with a quote taken from Charles Dickens' famous work "A Tale of Two Cities," calling it "a great articulation of the transformative time we live in."


Sergey Brin was responsible for writing Alphabet's Founders Letter this year. Alphabet, for those unfamiliar, is the parent company of Google.

Alphabet's annual Founders Letter is designed to be an update on the state of the company's various businesses, including Google, and a general guide on where it's looking next.

This year, though, Brin kicked off the Founders Letter with a quote taken from the very beginning of "A Tale of Two Cities," a book written over 150 years ago by Charles Dickens — a historical fiction about the French Revolution.

Here's the beginning of Brin's Founders Letter (emphasis ours):

"It was the best of times,
it was the worst of times,
it was the age of wisdom,
it was the age of foolishness,
it was the epoch of belief,
it was the epoch of incredulity,
it was the season of Light,
it was the season of Darkness,
it was the spring of hope,
it was the winter of despair ..."

So begins Dickens’ "A Tale of Two Cities," and what a great articulation it is of the transformative time we live in. We’re in an era of great inspiration and possibility, but with this opportunity comes the need for tremendous thoughtfulness and responsibility as technology is deeply and irrevocably interwoven into our societies.

This theme of balancing innovation and responsibility was consistent through the Founders Letter. For example, Brin uses part of the letter to describe all the ways in which we're living in a technology renaissance, but then plays devil's advocate in the following paragraph:

"Such powerful tools also bring with them new questions and responsibilities," Brin wrote. "How will they affect employment across different sectors? How can we understand what they are doing under the hood? What about measures of fairness? How might they manipulate people? Are they safe?"

The rest of the Founders Letter goes into more detail on Google's work in artificial intelligence, machine learning, and automation, the need for powerful processors, and Alphabet's need to evolve to meet the global challenges of the 21st century. You can read the full Founders Letter from Brin, as well as our analysis on what it all means, right here.

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THE MOBILE CARRIER LANDSCAPE: How AT&T, Verizon, T-Mobile, and Sprint are overcoming slow user growth amid a fierce price war

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:03 AM PDT

bii big four carrier revenue

This is a preview of a research report from Business Insider Intelligence, Business Insider's premium research service. To learn more about Business Insider Intelligence, click here.

It hasn't been smooth sailing for telecoms in recent years. Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top (OTT) apps, like Facebook Messenger, WhatsApp, and Viber — and they're losing.

A fierce and ongoing price war among the Big Four carriers is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing. The consequent resurgence of unlimited data plans is straining carriers' networks, and revenues are suffering.

Nevertheless, telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives. Consumers spend more than half of their digital time on smartphones, compared with a third on PCs. This shift has effectively placed telecoms at the front door of consumers' digital experience.

In a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, we examine where the wireless industry stands as a result of the price war and uptick in data demand from consumers. We also look at how technological advancements and the adoption of new product lines could incentivize the next wave of revenue growth for telecoms. Finally, we explore potential barriers to carriers' growth, and examine which of the Big Four carriers are poised to lead the pack.

Here are some of the key takeaways from the report:

  • Native voice and messaging services, which once accounted for the vast majority of telecoms' subscriber revenue, are struggling to compete with over-the-top apps.
  • A fierce ongoing price war among the Big Four is only compounding the pressure telecoms are facing.
  • Still, consumers' growing dependence on smartphones and data means telecoms are now better positioned than ever to play a bigger role in their subscribers' lives.
  • As digital continues to reshape the wireless industry, telecoms are preparing for the next wave of disruption, including connected cars, augmented reality, and 5G.
  • Despite a plethora of opportunities, several existing and emerging threats could impede telecoms' growth and expansion efforts.

In full, the report:

  • Describes how the US wireless carrier is shaping up.
  • Explores the effect of the fierce pricing wars taking place, and the methods carriers are using to retain their subscribers.
  • Highlights the new technology carriers are using to drive growth and revenue. 
  • Looks at the potential barriers that could limit carriers' growth and examines who's best positioned to come out on top.

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DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: FDA aims to expand digital health oversight — Fitbit, Google partner for health — American Well will buy Avizia

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 11:00 AM PDT

Welcome to Digital Health Briefing, the newsletter providing the latest news, data, and insight on how digital technology is disrupting the healthcare ecosystem, produced by Business Insider Intelligence.

Sign up and receive Digital Health Briefing free to your inbox.

Have feedback? We'd like to hear from you. Write me at: lbeaver@businessinsider.com

FDA EXPANDS OVERSIGHT FOR AI, DIGITAL THERAPEUTICS IN HEALTHCARE: In an effort to catch up with rapid digital innovation in the healthcare industry, the US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) is expanding its pre-certification program and establishing a new incubator for digital health technology. The FDA introduced the pre-certification program in 2017 to streamline the regulatory process of bringing digital health products to market.

The expansion dovetails with the FDAs efforts to increase its control over new digital health products. While it will help to accelerate the introduction and marketing of innovative products, it will also give the FDA oversight of software solutions that historically sit outside of its authority, FDA regulation expert Bradley Merrill Thompson told POLITICO. It could also pave the way for the agency to gather more insight into these companies’ records and processes — a potential requirement for the precertification process.

The FDA’s announcement addresses three areas that will impact the future of healthcare in the US and aims to ensure the regulatory oversight of the digitization of care delivery.

  • Expanding the purview of the pre-certification for medtech. Many new and existing health products have multiple functions, some that are covered by the FDA’s oversight, and some that aren’t. The agency is putting draft provisions in place that will address the gap in tools that have multiple functions, and describe how and when the FDA intends to look at non-regulated functions and services.
  • Encouraging and preparing for the development of health products and services that incorporate artificial intelligence (AI). AI is increasingly being incorporated into new health tools and products. The FDA is working to facilitate the inclusion of AI in digital health tools by looking into how it can apply its pre-certification program for tools based on AI.
  • Exploring how digital health tools and services could be better integrated with prescription drugs. The use of data and smartphone apps to complement prescription medication, known as digital therapeutics, is a fast-growing segment of health. The FDA is investigating how to best include these offerings in the pre-certification program with the goal of adding the framework by the end of 2018. The agency also launched the Information Exchange and Data Transformation (INFORMED) incubator that will focus on tools to improve cancer treatment and drug development.

The Top 5 Trends Shaping the Future of Digital Health: FREE Report

FITBIT TO USE GOOGLE’S HEALTHCARE CLOUD OFFERING: Wearables maker Fitbit announced Monday that it will be using Google’s Cloud Healthcare API to make it easier for the doctors to access wearable data. Google introduced its dedicated healthcare cloud offering during the HIMSS 2018 conference in March. The product aims to facilitate health data interoperability by automating the process of collecting and storing patient data and then making it easier for physicians to pull actionable insights gleaned through machine learning algorithms. For Fitbit, the move will be a step forward in its efforts to become further entrenched in healthcare delivery. The company has been looking to the health industry to help generate revenue as shipments of its fitness trackers falter. Fitbit’s troves of health data are also becoming increasingly valuable to payers, research institutions, and hospital networks, looking to glean consumer health insights. Lastly, although device shipments fell YoY, Fitbit's community of active users rose 9% YoY during Q4 2017, from 23 million to more than 25 million users. This is the second cloud health deal Fitbit has made this year, following its acquisition of Twine Health in February. Twine’s HIPAA-compliant platform connects consumers diagnosed with chronic illnesses, like diabetes and hypertension, with doctors and coaches. These healthcare professionals can develop lifestyle strategies and programs to help patients monitor and manage their illnesses. The addition of Google’s Cloud Healthcare API and its machine learning processes will make Fitbit’s health data that much more valuable to researchers, physicians, and insurers looking to leverage insights to improve healthcare delivery and accelerate precision medicine offerings.bii fitbit global shipments

AMERICAN WELL ACQUIRES AVIZIA, MOVING INTO HOSPITAL-BASED TELEMEDICINE: US telehealth provider, American Well is buying acute care telehealth provider Avizia, the company announced during the American Telemedicine Association 2018 (ATA2018) conference in Chicago. American Well’s existing platform connects patients with doctors from a home setting. The acquisition will provide American Well with an acute care platform, allowing clients to access doctors and specialists from around the world within hospitals, meaning the service will be able to support more urgent care cases. The announcement comes as American Well accelerates its efforts to broaden the reach of its telehealth services. In January, the company partnered with Philips to embed its solutions with Philips digital health products. And during its January funding round, American Well received more than $59 million from insurer Allianz to build its telehealth platform. The company also partnered with Apple and Stanford Medicine to power the Apple Heart Study. Telemedicine services have grown rapidly over the past few years as health systems look to tech to boost hospital efficiency and drive customer growth and retention. In 2017, around 75% of US health systems either already were, or intended to implement a telehealth offering, according to a survey by Foley & Lardner. That’s a significant shift in sentiment compared to findings in the first survey in 2014 when 87% of respondents said that patients wouldn't want virtual care services in 2017. As acquisitions and expansion efforts increase, we expect 2018 to be the tipping point for telehealth in the US — by 2023 telehealth offerings will be used by around 57% of the US population, representing an annualized growth rate of 75% over the next five years.  bii US telehealth forecast

SMARTPHONE-BASED GP AT HAND IS PLANNING EXPANSION: Just months after launching in Fulham, UK, GP at Hand, a smartphone solution that allows patients to consult with their general practitioner (GP) via a video link, is planning to expand to two more areas by end of year, according to Digital Health. Early adoption of the offering has been strong, and the 24-hour service could eventually provide more than 3 million patients across the greater London area access to a video consultation within two hours after a user inputs their symptoms. Virtual consultations are on track to become a much larger part of the healthcare system in the UK, not only because they appear to be popular with patients — in Fulham, where GP at Hand was trialed, 90% of patients gave the service a five star rating, according to the Daily Mail — but also because major resources are going into building out the digital health capability. For example, in October the National Health Service (NHS) launched a £45 million ($59 million) fund that will be used to launch digital consultation services. 

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15 of the coolest small businesses in the US right now

Posted: 30 Apr 2018 10:49 AM PDT

away jen rubio

  • Cool small businesses emerge every day across the US.
  • We put together a list of 15 small businesses that make people healthier, wealthier, smarter, or happier.
  • Those small businesses include the independent bookstore Books are Magic and the beach-bound shuttle service The Free Ride.

Across the US, new small businesses are popping up every day. And they're rapidly revolutionizing areas like transportation, food, fashion and beauty, and gaming.

We scoured the web and asked our readers to identify some of their favorite small businesses (which the US government defines as employing 500 people or fewer). Below, we've listed 15 of the most innovative.

Since we're largely highlighting reader-nominated businesses, the companies on the list below aren't definitively the coolest small businesses in the country, but they are some of the coolest. Our criteria for inclusion, aside from having fewer than 500 employees, was that the companies had to improve society at large, meaning they make people healthier, wealthier, smarter, or happier. The businesses are not ranked.

Read on to learn about the small businesses that are making the world a better place to live.

SEE ALSO: A physics PhD and startup founder explains how entrepreneurs can get the most basic business advice all wrong


What it does: Helps students navigate the college financial-aid process. Trained college students provide assistance to college applicants via text message.

Why it's cool: The graduating class of 2016 owed an average of $17,126 in student debt (in New Hampshire, that figure shot up to $27,167). But many students aren't necessarily aware of the financial burden they're taking on when they apply. NextGenVest is a way to get timely and accurate information in their hands.

Read more about NextGenVest here.

The Free Ride

What it does: Offers passengers free rides to some beaches in the Hamptons, the Jersey Shore, Santa Monica, and San Diego. How? Electric cars eliminate the cost of fuel and the service is sponsored by advertisers (like JetBlue, seen in the photo).

Why it's cool: Beach-goers no longer have to drive themselves crazy looking for (and paying for) a few hours of parking. Plus, electric cars mean the service is environmentally friendly.

Read more about The Free Ride here.

Eu'Genia Shea

What it does: This mother-daughter-run business sells high-quality shea-butter products while supporting fair wages for the female workers in Ghana who make those products.

Why it's cool: Eu'Genia Shea donates 15% of its profits back to their female workers in Ghana, either in the form of a retirement fund or an education fund for their children. Each product comes with a personal touch — Akuete and her mother package them themselves in her Brooklyn apartment.

See the rest of the story at Business Insider