- Stephen Hawking's final research was just published — and it could help us find evidence for parallel universes
- LG's newest G7 'ThinQ' smartphone looks great, but it has a short list of features that makes it stand out
- DIGITAL ENGAGEMENT AND THE CONNECTED CAR: How cars are transforming into digital platforms and opening an entirely new channel for service providers
- Tesla hints at when its $35,000 Model 3 will actually arrive (TSLA)
- How to write LinkedIn recommendations that will make your coworkers love you and could even boost your own career
- Tesla says its days of burning cash are coming to an end (TSLA)
- Tesla is rallying after reporting a smaller-than-expected loss (TSLA)
- Spotify is tumbling after its earnings miss (SPOT)
- Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise interview with top publishers at the Rosewood hotel, where he told them everything was about to change (FB)
- CNN says it's being unfairly punished by advertisers
- Automakers are primed to become 'landlords of mobile real estate' — and it could net General Motors $1 billion (GM)
- LIVE: Spotify missed big on its bottom line (SPOT)
- Trump might be about to escalate his trade fight with China
- Google Maps has a new plan to cash in on the growing crop of delivery, gaming and ride-sharing startups (GOOG, GOOGL)
- Refinery29 is taking aim at live TV with it own lifestyle-focused channel
- Inside Mark Zuckerberg’s surprise interview with top publishers at the Rosewood hotel, where he told them everything was about to change
- DIGITAL HEALTH BRIEFING: Apple Watch shipments grow by double digits — Nokia settles on buyer for digital health business — Healthcare should mimic retail, CMS says
- Amazon could make Whole Foods cheaper than most grocery stores (AMZN)
- 'Infinity War' screenwriters say the deaths in the movie are 'real' and you should 'move on to the next stage of grief'
- Another window on a Southwest plane has failed, but airplane windows are stronger than you think (LUV)
Posted: 02 May 2018 02:14 PM PDT
That paper — titled "A smooth exit from eternal inflation?" — has now been published in the Journal of High Energy Physics. In it, Hawking and co-author Thomas Hertog lay out a theory on the origin of the universe that might settle a few lingering questions.
One popular understanding of the Big Bang suggests that our universe is one in a "multiverse" of infinite parallel universes. The paper posits that the other universes out there follow the same laws of physics that exist in our universe.
This makes the number of possible universes much more manageable and testable, since it's no longer an effort to understand infinite universes that could have different underlying rules of physics and chemistry.
"We are not down to a single, unique universe, but our findings imply a significant reduction of the multiverse, to a much smaller range of possible universes," Hawking said in a statement last fall.
The paper also implies that it might be possible to test this theory. Physicists could look for evidence of other universes using tools designed to measure ripples in spacetime — also known as primordial gravitational waves — that would have been generated by the universe's initial expansion from the Big Bang.
Inflation that never stops
Hawking helped develop the theory that led to the idea of infinite parallel universes.
That concept relies on something known as "eternal inflation." The thinking, in essence, is that after the Big Bang, the universe — or all the universes — started to expand, but that process never stopped in some places. Our universe, by that logic, is just one pocket where that exponential inflation stopped and stars and galaxies formed. (Our universe is still expanding, but not in that rapid way.)
"The usual theory of eternal inflation predicts that globally our universe is like an infinite fractal, with a mosaic of different pocket universes, separated by an inflating ocean," Hawking said in an interview last autumn, according to the University of Cambridge. "The local laws of physics and chemistry can differ from one pocket universe to another, which together would form a multiverse. But I have never been a fan of the multiverse. If the scale of different universes in the multiverse is large or infinite, the theory can’t be tested."
Hertog told Cambridge that the physics that would account for infinite parallel universes break down when applied to the theory of eternal inflation.
A boundary to eternal inflation
Hawking and Hertog's new paper relies on string theory, a branch of physics that tries to reconcile quantum physics with gravity and Einstein's theory of relativity. They came up with a new idea of eternal inflation that relies on a boundary at the beginning of time.
"When we trace the evolution of our universe backwards in time, at some point we arrive at the threshold of eternal inflation, where our familiar notion of time ceases to have any meaning," Hertog told Cambridge.
Starting from that boundary, the new theory predicts a finite structure of universes emerging from the Big Bang.
If this theory is proven true, it would suggest that other universes like our own could have emerged at that point. And there could even be primordial gravitational waves that match the inflation of the universe. But this new model is still far from proven, and physicists will need more data and a better understanding of string theory before that's possible.
The existing instruments used to look for gravitational waves are probably not sensitive enough to find evidence of this theory, according to Hertog. But planned future instruments like the European space-based LISA gravitational wave observatory might be.
If we can detect that evidence, we'll better understand how our universe and its laws came into being after the Big Bang — and we might know more about whatever other universes are out there.
NOW WATCH: How to survive an alligator attack
Posted: 02 May 2018 02:05 PM PDT
LG announced the G7 "ThinQ" smartphone on Wednesday, and it looks to be a solid, well-rounded, high-end device based on the brief amount of hands-on time I got to spend with it ahead of its unveiling.
Will it make you rush out to upgrade from last year's smartphones, or even two-year-old smartphones? Probably not, but that's ok. Pretty much every recent smartphone release, including Apple's iPhones and Samsung's Galaxy S9, haven't really offered major reasons to upgrade every one or two years.
It's way too early to make a final conclusion on the LG G7, as I have yet to fully test its performance, camera, and feature set (a full review will be coming soon). But for now, check out the LG G7's design, what it offers, and what features it has that you don't get on other smartphones:
Here it is, folks: The LG G7.
In many respects, the LG G7 isn't that much different than most other high-end Android devices of late. You get:
- A 6.1-inch quad-HD display.
- A nice design with slim bezels.
- A fingerprint sensor.
- Water resistance.
- The latest Snapdragon 845 processor from mobile chip maker Qualcomm.
- 4GB of RAM.
- 64GB of storage.
- A 16-megapixel dual-lens rear camera.
- An 8-megapixel selfie camera.
- An incredibly loud speaker, but it's not in stereo.
- A 3,000mAh battery.
- Wireless charging and fast charging.
- Android 8.0
- A headphone jack (some Android phones have it, like the Galaxy S9. Others, like the Google Pixel 2, don't).
What the LG G7 offers that you won't find on most high-end Android devices.
If you choose the LG G7, you'll get these specific features that you won't usually find on other high-end Android smartphones:
- An audio DAC for higher quality music through headphones than most other smartphones.
- A camera that uses LG's "ThinQ" AI, which recognizes objects you want to shoot and automatically adjusts the camera settings for the best photo.
- A rear camera lens that acts as an ultra-wide lens that spans 170-degrees. The regular wide lens spans 71-degrees, which is in-line with most other smartphone cameras. Most other smartphones with dual-lens cameras also use their second lens for different features, like enhanced zooming.
LG's "ThinQ" AI camera worked pretty well, and I'm excited to test it further.
LG's "ThinQ" AI will adjust the camera settings depending on what object or setting you're shooting, and it seemed to work pretty well during the demo event I attended. I got reassuring words that floated on the screen telling me how the phone was correctly interpreting the object I was shooting.
For the plant I was aiming at with the camera, the LG G7's "ThinQ" was telling me "leaf," "green," and "close-up," which is all pretty accurate. I can't show you the photo it took, but it looks pretty good from my short test. I'll be testing the ThinQ AI more with different scenarios when I get my hands on a review unit.
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Posted: 02 May 2018 02:01 PM PDT
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.
Media consumption is at a saturation point. After rising for much of the last decade, total digital time spent has been nearly static since the start of 2015. As a result, it's increasingly difficult for content producers to win over minutes of consumers' time.
One platform, though, is poised to move the needle and provide a new avenue to boost digital time spent: the connected car. Consumers will spend more time in cars that offer a range of connectivity options, giving them the chance to use the services they know and love in the car.
The key question for service providers is how to take advantage of the connected car by integrating their services into this growing platform.
In a new report from Business Insider Intelligence, we provide a roadmap for service providers looking to offer their services in the car. We analyze media consumption and overall digital time spent trends, and then forecast the growth of the connected car market in relation to the digital time opportunity. Finally, we propose potential routes that service providers can take to get into connected cars and ride-hailing vehicles.
Here are some of the key takeaways:
In full, the report:
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:56 PM PDT
In the report, Tesla said it expects to start making around 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week "in about two months," so around July. After the company reaches that threshold, it said it will make new options available to Model 3 customers.
"After achieving a production rate of 5,000 per week, we will begin offering new options such as all-wheel-drive and the base model with a standard-sized battery pack," the company said.
Tesla states on its website that it would roll out the option for the standard battery Model 3 in late 2018, but it was unclear when the company would actually begin production given the delays.
The Model 3, which launched in July, is touted as a more affordable alternative to Tesla's high-end sedan, the Model S, with a $35,000 base price that would make it competitive with mass-market electric vehicles like the Nissan Leaf and Chevy Bolt. But customers who have the option to configure their Model 3 can only purchase the long-range version with rear-wheel drive, which starts at $49,000.
In April, Tesla CEO Elon Musk said the company would likely start producing the dual-motor, all-wheel-drive, version of the Model 3 in July. Musk was responding to a Twitter user who claimed his Model 3 "has been sitting in the configuration for months waiting on" the dual-motor option and asked when Tesla would start producing it.
Tesla had planned to make 5,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of 2017 when it launched the vehicle in July, but it adjusted that goal after making just 2,425 Model 3s during the fourth quarter. The company achieved a significant increase in its Model 3 production rate during the first quarter of 2018, but failed to reach its goal of 2,500 vehicles per week. In an April letter to Tesla employees, Musk said he expected the company to be able to produce 6,000 Model 3 vehicles per week by the end of June.
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:45 PM PDT
At some point in your career, a coworker may ask you to write them a LinkedIn recommendation. And believe it or not, the stakes for such a request can be pretty high.
Unlike traditional letter or phone recommendations, LinkedIn recommendations are public. That means anyone who goes on your profile can see what you wrote about your boss, coworker, employee, or client.
What's more, the person you're giving the recommendation to is relying on you to give a powerful statement on their qualifications — one that may or may not help them land their dream job.
And if you nail it, the recommendation you write could even end up helping you in the long run. "If you write a great recommendation, great recommendations are gonna come back to you," LinkedIn consultant Loribeth Pierson told Business Insider.
No pressure, though.
Luckily, career experts shared with us tips and samples for writing a stellar recommendation on LinkedIn.
If you can't give them a rousing recommendation or haven't worked with them in a while, turn them down
"Recommendations should be authentic and truthful," Vicki Salemi, career expert for Monster, told Business Insider. "Your name is on it. You don't want to endorse people who could be a poor performer."
If you're comfortable taking a direct approach, you could respond to a request with the following:
"Hello, X. I hope all is well. As you know, there were performance issues while you were an employee here. I don't think I'm the best person to be your advocate. Thank you for reaching out, and best of luck during your job search."
Or, to simply side-step the request without mentioning rough patches from the past:
"I'm sorry, but I don't have the time right now. I think you should ask someone who can put the attention to this that it deserves."
If you're okay with recommending them, ask for what they'd like you to include
Your former employee, coworker, or boss probably has an idea for what they want to see in the recommendation.
If you didn't speak to them directly, you should send them a note like this to make sure your testimonial fits their needs:
"Hi, X. I would be happy to write you a LinkedIn recommendation. Is there anything in particular you want me to include? I want to make sure I'm writing the best recommendation for your LinkedIn profile."
Begin your recommendation by explaining your relationship
Defining how you two worked together gives the context that the reader will need to understand the rest of your recommendation.
Begin by explaining how you know the person:
"Anna was my boss for three years at Software Corp., where her leadership, communication, and creative ideas always motivated our team."
"I was lucky to be one of Jordan's clients when he was a salesperson at Cute Pants, Inc."
See the rest of the story at Business Insider
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:34 PM PDT
Tesla on Wednesday reported a smaller loss than analysts had expected during the first quarter even as it ramped up production of its Model 3 sedan.
Tesla said it aimed to achieve profitability and a positive cash flow by the third and fourth quarters, turning around an era of cash burn that has fueled skepticism about the electric-car and solar-panel maker.
The company reported an adjusted loss per share of $3.35 on revenue of $3.41 billion. Analysts had forecast an adjusted loss of $3.42 on revenues of $3.32 billion, according to Bloomberg.
Tesla had $2.67 billion in cash on hand at the end of Q1, down from $3.37 billion at the end of last year. It burned through $1.05 billion in the first quarter.
Tesla said it aims to produce 5,000 Model 3 sedans per week by July, and acknowledged that meeting its forecasts has historically been difficult. The earnings release showed Tesla produced 2,270 Model 3s per week in April.
The company's earnings came after a slew of headlines that have hurt its stock price this year, including a fatal crash and subsequent NTSB investigation, "production hell" for its Model 3 sedan, and an exposé of dangerous factory floor conditions.
The earnings were also a test for short sellers, who had piled on record bets that Tesla's stock price will fall. As of Wednesday, 39.42 million Tesla shares were borrowed for short bets, representing 31% of the shares available for trading, according to the financial-analytics firm S3 Partners.
Tesla shares gained nearly 3% in volatile after-hours trading. The stock rose to as high as $306.85 per share in regular trading, breaching the key $300 resistance level.
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:32 PM PDT
Tesla on Wednesday reported first-quarter earnings results that were better than Wall Street analysts had expected.
Here are the key numbers:
The stock initially popped as high as 3% before giving up some of those gains, and was hovering near 1% at the time of writing.
Tesla produced 2,270 Model 3 sedans per week in April, it said in the earnings release. The auto-news website Electrek reported last month that Tesla was aiming to produce 6,000 Model 3 cars per week by the end of June to hit its weekly target of 5,000 after accounting for a margin of error.
The company also said it aimed to achieve profitability and a positive cash flow by the third and fourth quarters.
Tesla's latest earnings come after a slew of headlines that have hurt its stock price this year, including a fatal crash and subsequent NTSB investigation, "production hell" for its Model 3 sedan, and an exposé of dangerous factory floor conditions.
The earnings are also a test for short sellers, who have piled on record bets that Tesla's stock price will fall. As of Wednesday, 39.42 million Tesla shares were borrowed for short bets, representing 31% of the shares available for trading, according to financial analytics firm S3 Partners.
Wednesday's after-hours gains bring Tesla's stock price back above a key $300 resistance level that it has been flirting with throughout 2018.
Akin Oyedele contributed to this report.
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:31 PM PDT
Spotify is falling 7% to just above $158 a share in post-market trading after reporting an earnings miss Wednesday afternoon.
The streaming-music giant reported earnings-per-share of -1.01 euros, badly missing the Wall Street consensus of -0.23 euros per share. Revenue came in at 1.14 billion euros, in line with analyst expectations.
Spotify went public in early April through a direct public offering. Unlike a traditional IPO, Spotify skipped having an investment banker and didn’t have a set price at which the shares hit the public market.
Wednesday afternoon marks the first time Spotify reported its results as a public company.
Spotify is up 7.19% since its public offering.
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:20 PM PDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a surprise interview Tuesday to a bunch of editors and executives from publications across the country.
The media executives — from Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Time Inc, CNN, Buzzfeed and more — were gathered at the Rosewood hotel in Silicon Valley for a conference called OTR.
"OTR" stands for "off the record," and we were all told that's what yesterday's meeting with Zuckerberg was supposed to be.
But then, just after 4:00 PM local time, the world's most powerful 33-year-old walked into a sunny conference room, shook everyone's hand, sat down and announced our conversation would be on the record.
Over the next hour or so, Zuckerberg launched into a freewheeling discussion about Facebook's relationship with the media and Facebook's role and responsibilities as the world's most most visible platform for news and journalism.
Click here to subscribe to BI PRIME and read the full account of Zuckerberg's special meeting with media executives.
NOW WATCH: How Amazon gets away with not paying taxes
Posted: 02 May 2018 01:15 PM PDT
CNN is trying to make the point that bad news, or scary news, or just plain crazy news, is not the same as fake news.
And no matter how divided America is at the moment, or however volatile the world becomes, news is brand safe.
Meredith Artley, SVP & Editor In Chief for CNN Digital Worldwide, said that too many advertisers are painting news content with the same brush as web content that has been deemed unsafe, whether that's ads next to hate videos on YouTube or alongside fake news articles on Facebook.
The executive called for a new definition of brand safe content, one that includes CNN's hard news stock in trade, during a keynote at the Collision Conference in New Orleans on Wednesday.
"In these turbulent times, advertisers might not want to be associated with news that is just bad," she said. "You can kinda understand that."
"But it's problematic for CNN and for many other news organizations," she said.
Thus Artley urged advertisers to rethink brand safety. "It's not about marketers wanting to not be next to so-called bad content," she said. "It's about marketers wanting to be inside the umbrella of a trusted news brand."
A trusted news brand might feature debate and disagreements. "It's not something affirming your beliefs that you'll find in your feeds in the filter bubbles we all live in these days," she argued.
It won't be easy to change brands' minds. Given the divisive political environment in the US, many marketers have been burned badly by ending up associated with political and social issues, whether they intended to or not.
Thus, some brands and ad agencies have taken to steering their ads away from news content entirely.
Artley wants to help change that. During her keynote, she rattled off a flurry of statistics showcasing CNN's recent growth. It's among the biggest sites on the web, and tops among millennial news consumers, for instance.
Her overall point: Consumers are exhibiting rabid interest in news in 2018, and they're seeking established news organizations to feed that interest. And brands should want to be part of that.
Artley warned against expecting consumers to pay to fund all digital news through subscriptions.
"You really don't want a situation where advertisers want to be up against good news and nothing else, and the rest, everything else needs to be put behind a paywall," she said. "Then it becomes less accessible to the people who might need it most."
Posted: 02 May 2018 12:51 PM PDT
Amazon delivering packages to customers' cars is only the beginning of what could be a massive evolution of automakers as we know them.
As cars become more connected and autonomous, Morgan Stanley has some ideas for how manufacturers can unlock their value as mobile real estate, much like Amazon did by partnering with GM to deliver packages directly into customer's cars wherever they are parked last week.
"We believe that investors do not fully grasp the potential for auto companies to monetize their position as "landlords" of mobile real estate and the primary owners of vehicle and passenger data," analyst Adam Jonas told clients Wednesday morning.
General Motors, for example, could theoretically add $1 billion to its EBITDA and 20% to its share price for every $1 of monthly subscription revenue per vehicle that it brings in, Morgan Stanley estimates.
To get to that point, however, automakers are going to need to start thinking more like tech companies than manufacturers.
"Our view of the end state of the connected car business model is that car companies are highly incentivized to keep as many cars switched "on" as possible," said Jonas. "We believe that vehicle owners and passengers will likely need to "opt out" of connected car services from an OEM as opposed to "opting in."
Here's some of the services Morgan Stanley says automakers could offer as subscription products:
It's all very theoretical at this point, but GM's partnership with Amazon ast week shows the possibility is quickly becoming more feasible.
"We see numerous areas for GM to collaborate with firms such as Amazon, including in-vehicle storage/micro warehousing collaboration, final-mile delivery fulfillment,edge computing, digital content,and other customer engagement opportunities," said Jonas.
Shares of GM have fallen 13% since the beginning of 2018 as the automaker struggles to regain its footing in a contracting US car market.
Posted: 02 May 2018 12:28 PM PDT
In its first quarterly report since becoming a public company, Spotify had disappointing news: a loss that came in much bigger than expected.
Investors sold the stock on the news. In recent after-hours trading, shares in the streaming music company were down $14.30 a share, or 8.41%, to $155.70
The streaming music company's number of paying subscribers grew to 75 million during the first three months of the year, in line with expectations and maintaining Spotify's lead in a heated battle with Apple Music, which has 40 million paying subscribers.
But diminishing revenue-per-user, as Spotify races to boost its membership through discounted family and student plans, took a toll.
Spotify announced its first-quarter results after Wednesday's closing bell. The report follows its unorthodox "direct" initial public offering last month.
Here's what the company reported and how those results compared with Wall Street expectations and its prior results.
The Luxembourg-based company's results were weighed down by a sequential decline in advertising revenue and slow growth in subscription revenue. Spotify saw €102 million in revenue from its ad-supported offering in the first period, which was down 22% from the fourth quarter.
Interestingly, although the total number of premium subscribers grew 7% from Q4, the revenue from subscriptions only grew 2% sequentially, to $1.04 billion. The disparity may owe to the company's popular family plans, which help Spotify increase its user base but bring in less revenue per subscriber.
Spotify did show improvement on its costs, though. Its gross profit margin, which represents the portion of its revenue it has left after paying the direct costs of providing its services, came in at 24.9% for the quarter. That was up from 24.5% in the fourth quarter and 11.7% in the year-ago period.
Many analysts and investors have bet that Spotify will become a significantly profitable company in the future and are betting that one way it will improve its bottom line is by increasing its gross margins.
But the company also kept its operating costs in line. It had €324 million in operating expenses in the period, which was down from €369 million in the fourth quarter. A big cut in marketing expenses helped the company lower its overall costs.
Posted: 02 May 2018 12:06 PM PDT
The Trump administration may limit some Chinese cell phone producers' ability to sell devices in the US, according to a new report, in a move that would raise trade tensions with China.
According to the Wall Street Journal's John McKinnon, the Trump administration is mulling an executive order that would halt the sale of Chinese telecom devices into the US on national security grounds.
The Department of Defense has ordered that Chinese-made cell phones not be sold at retail locations on military bases for fear that the Chinese government could hack the devices.
The escalation would be a blow to Huawei and ZTE, two of China's largest telecom companies. The two companies have made assurances that the government would never use their devices for intelligence gathering.
According to the Journal, President Donald Trump may limit the sales via executive order in the next week. No final decisions have been made. One option, the report said, is to order companies with US government contracts to limit the use of Chinese-made parts in their devices.
The move would be another blow in the escalating trade conflict between the US and China. A significant amount of focus in the trade fight has been on emerging technologies, like new fifth-generation cellular networks.
Trump's tariff on Chinese goods focused on tech products. Reports over the past month indicate that the administration is looking at other ways to crack down on Chinese investments into US tech companies. The Justice Department has also gone after ZTE for alleged violations of Iranian and North Korean sanctions.
China's government has promised to retaliate in kind if these types of actions continue from the Trump administration.
While tech has been a particular focus, the two countries are also engaged in a broader back and forth over trade restrictions.
Four top trade officials from the US — Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin, Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross, US Trade Representative Robert Lighthizer, and White House National Trade Council Director Peter Navarro — will be in China for meetings with top Chinese officials on Thursday.
Posted: 02 May 2018 12:01 PM PDT
For the past few months, Google Maps has quietly been offering special features designed to aid ride-sharing, delivery and gaming companies among others.
On Wednesday, the company announced that this is all part of a new initiative called the Google Maps Platform. The new platform will make it easier for any company to incorporate Google Maps into their products, and it marks an important step in Google's plans to turn its mapping technology from a popular app into a money-making business.
Google said it has streamlined the process of embedding Google Maps into apps. Where once the service offered 18 APIs, the new system is condensed into three main areas: Maps, Routes, and Places. Google also scaled back the price for using the service to a single pay-as-you-go plan.
“One of our goals is to evolve our core APIs to make them simpler, easier to use and scalable as (companies) grow,” the company said in a statement.
For a long time, Google Maps appeared to be just whiz-bang technology that lacked a discernible way to generate revenue. Obviously, Google appears to be looking for ways to cash in on the service as well as extend its enterprise offerings.
Google already has customers. In October, Lyft announced that it had replaced the ride-sharing company’s old navigation software used by drivers with Google Maps. Google is also working with MyTaxi.com. A Google spokeswoman confirmed that these deals are part of the new service.
Google Maps also wants to help game developers create augmented reality games. In March, Google managers announced that they brought Google Maps to the Unity game engine to assist game designers to digitally transform models of the physical world into game environments.
Google said that starting on June 11, customers will need a valid API key and a Google Cloud Platform billing account to access the Google Maps Platform.
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:59 AM PDT
Turns out, more digital media publishers want to take a page from video startup Cheddar's playbook.
Refinery29, the female-focused digital media company, plans to launch its very own live and on-demand lifestyle channel. The company timed the announcement with its presentation at the Interactive Advertising Bureau's annual Digital Content NewFronts conference on Wednesday.
"Channel 29" will go live in the fourth quarter of 2018, bringing together video, events and shopping on a single destination, across a variety of connected devices as well as the company's existing digital platforms.
"Everything that we do is rooted in what our consumers want," Sarah Personette, Refinery29’s chief operating officer, told Business Insider. "Channel29 will take the best of Refinery29, and bring it to our audiences in the way they want it."
In a digital ad market that continues to be dominated by Google and Facebook, publishers have been trying to figure out sustainable business models. Refinery29 is no different, and was forced to trim 7.5% of its staff back in December 2017.
In such a climate, the move is a bid by Refinery29 to expand its core businesses and deepen the relationship it has with its audience. The publisher was encouraged by video engagement and viewership growth across its platforms. Over the past year, for example, time spent on Refinery29 video has reached 4.1 billion minutes.
"We've been watching this audience and how consumer appetite for OTT content has grown," said Amy Emmerich, Refinery29's chief content officer. "And we’ve always been in playing in the livestreaming space — the only difference is how we stay focused on a specific channel versus doing multiple programs."
Channel 29's content will be a mix of both short-form premium digital content as well as two hours of live programming daily, focusing on everything from pop culture and entertainment to home and travel
It will also make a conscious effort to feature "radically inclusive content that subverts category norms," bringing new perspectives to trending news, fashion, beauty, shopping and wellness, according to the company.
The channel will initially be streamed on the publisher's own redesigned website, Facebook Live and YouTube Live, as well as on connected devices such as Apple TV and Roku.
"We want to flip traditional TV on its head," said Emmerich. "Our goal is to break up the clock — and not stick to 22 minutes or 40 minutes of programming. Our ideal block would be six to 15 seconds in length."
Refinery29 does not have plans to monetize the channel by selling traditional pre-roll or mid-roll ads, at least not initially, and is instead seeking out brand partners for native integrations with its programming. A beauty brand, for instance, could theoretically sponsor a live segment on the latest contouring trend.
The company is in sponsorship discussions with several of its current brand partners already, said Emmerich. The hope is that its NewFronts presentation will help close some of those deals as well as generate more excitement and buzz, according to Personette.
Refinery29 is not the only publisher eyeing expansion in over-the-top (OTT) streaming. Condé Nast too announced that it was expanding its OTT offerings, with channels for Wired, Bon Appétit and GQ at its NewFront presentation this week.
But Refinery29 believes it has an edge over its competitors.
"Our differentiator is that we're bringing live events, shopping and premium content all together," said Personette. "Through our insights into our audience and who they are today, we're able to authentically integrate them into our brand experiences."
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:36 AM PDT
Facebook CEO Mark Zuckerberg gave a surprise interview Tuesday to a bunch of editors and executives from publications across the country.
The media executives — from Business Insider, the Wall Street Journal, the New York Times, Time Inc, CNN, Buzzfeed and more — were gathered at the Rosewood hotel in Silicon Valley for a conference called OTR.
“OTR” stands for “off the record,” and we were all told that’s what yesterday’s meeting with Zuckerberg was supposed to be.
But then, just after 4:00 PM local time, the world’s most powerful 33-year-old walked into a sunny conference room, shook everyone’s hand, sat down and announced our conversation would be on the record.
From there, Zuckerberg hit most of the talking points he and the company have been trumpeting since a few months ago when they realized how angry the world is at them.
I’ve been reporting on Zuckerberg’s career since the beginning. He used to look extremely uncomfortable in situations like these. One time years ago he soaked a hoodie with sweat on a conference stage.
Zuckerberg nailed eye contact and made jokes. He looked comfortable in his own silence as he contemplated answers to hard questions.
The gist of the group interview was: For its first ten years, Facebook believed it was enough to set up tools for expression, then let the world use them essentially unchecked.
This was great for connecting the world (and growing Facebook to 2 billion users) but it led to fake news that polarized the electorate, a media industry that’s done the same, and hate speech that creates real-world violence. Also it allowed foreign powers to influence a presidential campaign with illegal ads.
Now Zuckerberg knows better.
And, as he said before Congress a couple weeks ago, Facebook is committed to doing better.
That means hiring 20,000 people (and then more) to review viral user posts for hate speech. It means hiring another 3,000 to 4,000 people who will verify every campaign ad on the platform. Zuckerberg said Facebook will develop artificial intelligence to help deal with both issues too.
The initiatives will cost “billions of dollars” and hurt Facebook’s bottom line. The company will “essentially lose money” taking political ads at all.
But Zuckerberg says he’s already warned shareholders and that “it’s the right thing to do.”
(He can make that kind of decision almost unilaterally because of his hold on Facebook’s voting shares. Given Facebook’s influence on the daily lives of billions of people, some call Zuckerberg the world’s most powerful person without a nuclear arsenal.)
Zuckerberg also told the editors and media executives around the table that Facebook’s newfound sense of responsibility meant changing how his company works with theirs.
The first change has been to algorithms that sort what Facebook users see in their News Feed. It increasingly features news from “trustworthy” outlets.
Zuckerberg repeated a stat media organizations have heard for a quarter now: that because of this change, their traffic from Facebook would decline about 20% — going from 5% of what appears in a user's news feed down to 4%.
But he said Facebook also believes it has a responsibility to help users find “common ground” and a shared set of facts about the world. That way we can have a “coherent debate” about politics and more.
To achieve that, Facebook will present users looking at a news story related articles from across the political spectrum.
This kind of algorithmic scoring of a publications’s political ideology freaked out a few people in the room — particularly The New York Times' Managing Editor, Joe Kahn.
He and others argued that their publications aren’t on a political spectrum. He said they are institutions designed to report the truth.
Zuckerberg said that may be how news media organizations view themselves, but Facebook and its users believe opinion has gotten mixed in with news.
(Many of the editors later complained that this exchange indicated Zuckerberg doesn’t understand what they do. This was surprising to me, as it seems like normal people view “objective” reporting from almost all publications as being characterized through some particular lens on the world, political or otherwise.)
Finally, Zuckerberg said that the company plans to invest millions of dollars to create news programs for its video tab, Watch, that can help users find “common ground.”
Facebook has funded lots of journalism and media experiments over the past couple years, including from Business Insider.
The problem for media companies can be that these experiments — and the funding behind them — is not permanent and it can be hard to tell how long the revenue stream will last.
Sometimes, Facebook will toss a publisher millions of dollars to try something only to shut the project down a year or so later.
(Remember all those Facebook Live videos you used to see? They are gone because Facebook’s funding for them disappeared late last year.)
This kind of unpredictability can make it hard for media executives to staff their companies properly.
One example: After betting big on short form video for Facebook’s News Feed in 2016 and 2017, Vox Media laid off dozens of staffers from that team in early 2018.
Zuckerberg did not apologize for the instability.
Instead, he said Facebook plans to iterate and that partners should be forewarned.
Whatever way Facebook and its media partners work together now, said Zuckerberg, “I can guarantee it will change.”
He took a couple more questions. He ignored one about whether Facebook is a media company.
Then, almost exactly an hour after he sat down, Zuckerberg stood up, said a friendly goodbye, and left.
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:30 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.
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APPLE WATCH SHIPMENTS GROW BY DOUBLE DIGITS, SPEARHEADING APPLE’S HEALTH EFFORTS: Global shipments of the Apple Watch grew by double digits during Q1 2018, according to the company's quarterly earnings. While Apple doesn’t break out details about wearables, growth in Watch shipments signals a positive outlook for the company’s healthcare initiatives — CEO Tim Cook called the development a “major strategic thrust of ours.”
The Apple Watch spearheads the company's healthcare efforts, boasting several partnerships with researchers and health systems. For example, Apple is using consumer data collected from the Apple Heart study to seek FDA approval for a new “investigational device.” A consent form sent to study participants noted that some de-identified user data would be a part of the company’s FDA submission. MobiHealthNews says it confirmed that the “device” was the Heart Study app itself, which likely includes the algorithm used to identify heart arrhythmia. The Apple Heart Study launched in November 2017 in conjunction with Stanford Medicine and telehealth firm American Well.
Although the Apple Watch is leading Apple’s health strategy, it isn't the company's sole health-focused offering:
NOKIA TO SELL DIGITAL HEALTH BUSINESS BACK TO WITHINGS CO-FOUNDER: Nokia will sell its digital health offering to Eric Carrer, the co-founder of Withings — the company that Nokia bought its health offerings from in 2016, according to TechCrunch. The segment is a part of Nokia Technologies that includes its line of wearables, connected thermometers, and scales as well as its health app. While Nokia Technologies revenue grew substantially in Q4 2017 — 79% year-over-year (YoY) — the digital health business was a deadweight, dragging down revenue expectations of Nokia Technologies, according to the company’s earnings report.
Nokia’s exit from the smart health industry doesn’t necessarily indicate a full exit from the digital health market. The company’s foray into healthcare wearables opened the door to multiple relationships with healthcare companies and provided Nokia with a “new perspective” on the healthcare space, Nokia chief strategy officer Kathrin Buvac said. As we reported in February, if Nokia opts to stay in healthcare, it’ll likely position itself as a business-to-business and licensing company. This has been successful for the company in the telecom and mobile tech space — Nokia reported around $28 billion in revenue in 2017. Within healthcare, Nokia could offer IoT and wireless solutions for hospitals and healthcare systems.
CMS CHIEF WANTS HEALTHCARE TO TAKE A PAGE FROM RETAIL’S BOOK: The healthcare industry needs to begin replicating the transparency of the retail industry, US Centers for Medicare and Medicaid Services (CMS) Administrator Seema Verma said Monday during World Health Care Congress, according to CNBC. Health systems should start by posting their prices online, before enabling easy consumer access to health records. Verma noted that across many other industries, such as retail and finance, operational transparency was par for the course, however, healthcare lags. The interoperability and transparency of healthcare is a core focus for the CMS. Verma announced several new interoperability initiatives in March with the aim of developing a free-flowing healthcare ecosystem that gives patients greater control over their data. For instance, at the conference, the CMS unveiled MyHealthEData, which ensures that patients receive a copy of their entire health record electronically. Meanwhile, healthcare firms are working to improve data interoperability to ensure they’re prepared for the reimbursement shift to value-based care from fee-for-service. More than 70% of healthcare financial executives say they must improve data interoperability within the next three years to ensure the success of value-based care, according to a Healthcare Financial Management Association survey.
HEALTH SYSTEM DRIVES 2000-TO-1 ROI WITH BIG DATA ANALYTICS PLATFORM: Texas-based University Health System is using big data analytics to target and engage with potential mammogram patients, yielding significant returns, according to Healthcare IT News. The health system partnered with data management firm Tea Leaves Health, which uses patient-relationship management (PRM) software to identify and contact eligible patients for mammogram screening services. Tea Leaves Health combines patient records with demographic and social media data to provide healthcare organizations with patient profiles that inform healthcare provision and outreach strategies. The platform facilitates patient engagement through targeted ads, e-mail, and traditional mail. Early results of the program resulted in a 2,000-to-1 return on investment for University Health System, reflecting how big data analytics tools can enable organizations to utilize available information on healthcare trends and tap substantial revenue opportunities. Combining the increased use of big data with patient outreach tools provides hospitals with revenue opportunities by increasing the awareness and usage of specialty medical services and avoiding costly urgent care visits by promoting preventative care. Health systems’ use of big data is likely to become more common. Seventy-six percent of global healthcare executives plan to accelerate their investments in big data in the next two years, according to SAP.
IN OTHER NEWS:
Business Insider Intelligence research associate Nicky Lineaweaver contributed to this briefing.
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:25 AM PDT
Amazon's plan to offer a 10% discount on Whole Foods items to Amazon Prime members is a "meaningful signal about AMZN's laser focus on taking share in the $800 billion US grocery industry," Morgan Stanley analyst Brian Nowak wrote in a note to clients out Wednesday.
The 10% discount will also apply to "already discounted" items at Whole Foods stores, Nowak said. Amazon has already been slashing prices at Whole Foods as it continues its effort to transform perception from the high-end grocer it once was to the grocer-for-the-masses it may be in the midst of becoming.
"These reductions have been important to driving traffic," Nowak wrote. "These incremental reductions could make Whole Foods cheaper than conventional grocery stores for Prime members."
And the price cuts are also a great way for Amazon to reel in more Prime customers, which was one of the main synergies Amazon had envisioned when it bought Whole Foods. The "5-10% savings on groceries (and free shipping) can go a long way toward justifying Prime membership...even at $120 per year," Nowak said.
And Nowak thinks Amazon's ownership of Whole Foods has fundamentally created room for more Prime subscription growth as only about 62% of Whole Foods shoppers are currently Prime members.
Amazon has been causing a raucous in groceries since it acquired Whole Foods for $13 billion in the summer of 2017. When the acquisition was announced, grocery stocks were hit hard with Kroger, Walmart, Target, and Sprouts Farmers Market falling as much as 8%. Those stocks tumbled again when Amazon slashed prices at Whole Foods.
Now, with Amazon starting to run Whole Foods like just another one of its e-commerce businesses, the rest of the industry has to adapt in order to survive. Amazon's tech-minded approach is forcing other grocers to focus on delivering food to customers through apps and online orders.
Nowak has a $1,700 per share price target on Amazon, about 8% above its current levels.
Amazon is up more than 35% this year.
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:21 AM PDT
Warning: Major spoilers below if you haven't seen "Avengers: Infinity War."
Yeah, the ending of "Avengers: Infinity War" was pretty heavy.
And according to the movie's screenwriters, you should just deal with the fact that some your favorite Marvel Cinematic Universe characters aren't coming back for the sequel.
In an interview with BuzzFeed, Christopher Markus and Stephen McFeely made a point to say that the fourth "Avengers" movie — which is also the conclusion to what took place in "Infinity War" — will be different.
The next movie "doesn't do what you think it does," Markus said, describing the deaths in the movie as "real."
"I just want to tell you it's real," he said, "and the sooner you accept that, the sooner you will be able to move on to the next stage of grief."
McFeely added: "I think ['Infinity War'] is a fairly mature movie for a blockbuster. It's got a lot of fun in it, obviously, but boy, it gets very mature. The second one is also mature. We're going to own these choices, and hopefully surprise and delight you and get you invested. It's by the same studio, the same filmmaking team. They were written at the same time, shot at the same time. They're clearly connected, but they are definitely two different movies, one of which is dependent on what happened previous."
Obviously, the writing duo didn't want to give away what happens in the next movie, but you have to wonder now if some (or all) of the heroes who faded away at the end of the movie aren't coming back. Those who perished before the end — Loki, Heimdall, Gamora, and Vision — are almost certainly not coming back.
But if you weren't already freaking out that Black Panther, Groot, Spider-Man, Star-Lord, Bucky, and the rest won't be back to take on Thanos in the next movie, these comments are going to throw you for a loop.
In the comics, things are brought back to normal. But perhaps it won't be that simple in the movies.
Markus and McFeely also said there was a reason that beloved characters like Captain America and Black Widow were not featured heavily in "Infinity War."
"Some characters were better served in movie two after this event," McFeely said. "We were making some choices based on some characters we knew were going to leave us at the end of the first movie, so they got highlighted in the first movie. And some who were going to be in the second movie more maybe got less attention or less screen time [in 'Infinity War'] — I'm thinking of Cap and Natasha, specifically. It's about the story we wanted to tell in movie two, mostly."
We'll see how everything plays out and who's really dead when the next "Avengers" movie comes out next year.
Posted: 02 May 2018 11:15 AM PDT
On Wednesday, Southwest Airlines Flight 957 was forced to divert to Cleveland after the outside pane on one of its windows failed.
The incident comes on the heels of Southwest Airlines Flight 1380 which made an emergency landing in Philadelphia after an uncontained engine failure blew out one of the Boeing 737's windows on April 17. The resulting decompression nearly sucked a passenger out of the window. That passenger, Jennifer Riordan, later died from her injuries.
Fortunately for Flight 957, the aircraft did not depressurize and no injuries have been reported.
This leads us to ask the question: What is an airplane window made of and what kind of forces can it take?
The windows on a modern airliner are actually made up of multiple layers, usually three, of acrylic with a plastic inner cover. The three layers are gapped and vented. This is to allow for pressure equalization and to prevent the windows from fogging. The material used to make the windows is rather durable and, following federal regulations, won't splinter when damaged.
It's unclear what caused the window to fail on Flight 957.
As for Flight 1380, investigators from the National Transportation Safety Board believe the failure occurred when a titanium alloy fan blade snapped mid-flight. The damage to the window and fuselage may have been the result of shrapnel caused by the disintegrating engine cowling forced out by a rogue fan blade spinning near the speed of sound.
Since the windows are essentially made from plexiglass, they aren't bulletproof. However, they rarely fail. And even if they do, modern airliners such as the Boeing 737 used to operate Flight 1380 can survive and land after most depressurization events.
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