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Netflix is proving to be a tough act for copycats to follow

Published: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 4:28 PM
Updated: Monday, April 16, 2018 @ 4:27 PM


            FILE- In this Nov. 4, 2017, file photo, the logo of American entertainment company Netflix is pictured at the Paris games week in Paris. Netflix, Inc. reports earnings Monday, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)
FILE- In this Nov. 4, 2017, file photo, the logo of American entertainment company Netflix is pictured at the Paris games week in Paris. Netflix, Inc. reports earnings Monday, April 16, 2018. (AP Photo/Christophe Ena, File)

Netflix's video-streaming service has been thriving for so long that other companies are striving to duplicate its success in other kinds of digital entertainment and content.

Spotify's music-streaming service has emerged as the most celebrated of the aspiring clones, despite significant challenges that will make it difficult to keep growing at the same pace as Netflix has been in video streaming.

The biggest difference between Netflix and Spotify boils down to their ability to separate themselves from the rest of the pack.

Netflix has firmly established its service as a staple in tens of millions of households around the world by pouring billions of dollars into a slate of original programming that can't be watched anywhere else.

Popular shows such as "Stranger Things," ''House of Cards," and "Black Mirror" have enabled Netflix to keep attracting millions more subscribers each year while cultivating enough customer loyalty to be able to gradually raise its prices. That leverage allows Netflix to spend more to acquire the rights to TV series and films while also remaining profitable.

In contrast, Spotify is selling consumers access to an extensive catalog of digital music that is largely the same as the libraries available at the same $10 monthly price on rival music streaming services from Apple, Google and Amazon, three larger companies with far more resources.

Netflix demonstrated how well its formula works again Monday with the release of its first-quarter earnings. The Los Gatos, California, company added another 7.4 million video-streaming subscribers during the first three months of the year, ending March with 125 million throughout the world, including nearly 57 million in the U.S.

The performance exceeded management and analyst projections to the delight of investors. Netflix's stock climbed more than 5 percent to $324.10 in extended trading.

Spotify eventually could build a unique collection of content too, but there is no clear path for the Swedish company to do that because major recording labels so far are licensing all their music to any service willing to pay them. Even if a recording label offered exclusive rights to some of its popular songs, Spotify would have trouble outbidding its far wealthier levels.

The similarities among the major music-streaming libraries already appear to be undermining Spotify. The company's average revenue per paid subscriber fell to $5.32 per month last year, down from an average of $6.84 per month in 2015, according to an analysis by consumer research firm ValuePenguin .

The decline primarily stemmed from discounts that Spotify gave for its family packages and students, helping to increase its paid subscribers from 28 million in 2015 to 71 million at the end of last year — nearly twice as many as Apple Music, its biggest rival.

The decrease in Spotify's average price per subscriber will make it more difficult to turn a profit, something that the company has never done since its inception in 2007.

Meanwhile, Netflix has raised its U.S. streaming prices twice since 2014. In the first quarter of this year, Netflix's average revenue per paying subscriber worldwide stood at $10.10 per month, up 14 percent from $8.89 per month at the same time last year.

"You have to earn it first by having spectacular content that everybody wants to see," Netflix CEO Reed Hastings said Monday during a discussion of the company's first-quarter results. "But if you do that you can get people to pay a little bit more."

The pricing upturn is one reason Netflix's first-quarter earnings climbed 63 percent from last year to $290 million, or 64 cents per share.

Many investors still believe Spotify has a chance to become the Netflix of video streaming. Those hopes are a big reason why Spotify has a market value of $26 billion two weeks after its debut as a publicly traded company. But Spotify's stock has declined 15 percent from its trading high of $169 per share, reflecting doubts that it will ever come close to copying Netflix, which boasts a market value of more than $130 billion.

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Newest cellphone is only that -- a phone

Published: Friday, March 09, 2018 @ 9:54 AM

FILE PHOTO (DTL/Morguefile.com license https://morguefile.com/license)
DTL/Morguefile.com
FILE PHOTO (DTL/Morguefile.com license https://morguefile.com/license)(DTL/Morguefile.com)

Your kids are begging for the latest and greatest cellphones to hit the market.

They may not like a new one that’s being introduced, but you sure will like them to have it.

It is called  Light Phone 2 and it has only a few functions. First and foremost is a phone, ABC News reported.

It can call and it can text. But it cannot use Facebook, Snapchat, Instagram or any other social media.

>> Read more trending news 

Light Phone 2 can also message, use maps and call for an Uber, the Telegraph reported.

Basically, it’s an old-fashioned flip phone without the flip phone look.

It also uses E-Ink for the display and operates on a modified version of the Android operating system, the Telegraph reported.

“Unlike a flip phone, however, to children the Light Phone is seen as ‘cool’ amongst their peers,” Joe Hollier, co--founder of Light told “Good Morning America.” “We have been working with parents on the idea of a parental app to support their child’s Light Phone 2 as well.”

Light launched it’s first phone in 2016. It could only make calls and store nine numbers, the Telegraph reported. The company sold 10,000 devices, but they were too simple for many and were not practical for some, the Telegraph reported.

Light Phone 2 are expected to ship next year and will cost about $250, the Telegraph reported.

If you want to get in on the new technology, the company launched an IndieGoGo campaign to raise $250,000. So far it has exceeded that amount by 335 percent and has more than $836,000 pledged from supporters.

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This man bit into an iPhone battery and it exploded in his face

Published: Thursday, January 25, 2018 @ 5:13 AM

Apple Admits To Slowing Phones Down As Their Batteries Age

If you needed a reason not to bite your iPhone battery, here it is.

>> On AJC.com: How to tell if Apple is slowing down your iPhone — and how to fix it

According to Taiwan News, a man entered an electronics store in China hoping to purchase a replacement battery for his iPhone.

>> Read more trending news 

In an attempt to test its authenticity, the customer reportedly bit into the battery and as he removed it from his mouth, the product ruptured, exploding in his face.

Luckily, no one was injured.

>> Apple admits to throttling iPhone CPU speed as battery ages

CCTV posted footage of the bizarre incident to Miaopai.com, and the video eventually made its way to YouTube.

The episode came soon after outrage over Apple’s admittance to slowing down older iPhone models with aging batteries led to big discounts on replacement batteries around the globe, including in China.

>> Apple faces multiple lawsuits over iPhone battery speed

“However,” Taiwan News reported, “Chinese electronics stores are notoriously replete with fake goods, thus the man was in his own – but obviously wrong – way trying to test its authenticity.”

Lesson of the story: Don’t bite into your iPhone battery

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Apple faces multiple lawsuits over iPhone battery speed

Published: Friday, December 22, 2017 @ 11:09 AM

Apple Admits To Slowing Phones Down As Their Batteries Age

Soon after news emerged that Apple admitted to slowing down iPhone performance as the devices’ batteries age, multiple lawsuits have been filed against the company.

CNBC reported that Stefan Bogdanovich and Dakota Speas filed a class-action lawsuit in U.S. District Court for the Central District of California against Apple, claiming the company never asked for consent from them to alter the performance of their phones.

>> Read more trending news 

The lawsuit says Apple breached the implied contracts with Bogdanovich and Speas “by purposefully slowing down older iPhone models when new models come out and by failing to properly disclose that at the time that the parties entered into an agreement,” according to WCBS.

The complaint also says that the two are entitled to compensation because the slowdown of their devices cause them to suffer “economic damages and other harm.”

Related: Apple admits to throttling iPhone CPU speed as battery ages

“Our goal is to deliver the best experience for customers, which includes overall performance and prolonging the life of their devices. Lithium-ion batteries become less capable of supplying peak current demands when in cold conditions, have a low battery charge or as they age over time, which can result in the device unexpectedly shutting down to protect its electronic components,” Apple said in a statement to The Verge about performance of the devices.

“Last year we released a feature for iPhone 6, iPhone 6s and iPhone SE to smooth out the instantaneous peaks only when needed to prevent the device from unexpectedly shutting down during these conditions. We’ve now extended that feature to iPhone 7 with iOS 11.2, and plan to add support for other products in the future,” Apple said in the statement.

Apple is being sued after it said it slowed down the performances of older iPhones as the batteries in the devices age.(Sean Gallup/Getty Images/Getty Images)

Bogdanovich and Speas are trying to get the case certified to cover all U.S. owners of iPhones older than the iPhone 8, according to CNBC. Their suit is not the only one against Apple since the company released its statement about iPhone battery speed. WCBS reported that a second class-action lawsuit was filed in Illinois on Thursday night.

The Chicago Sun-Times reported that the suit was filed in Chicago by two people in Illinois as well as by Ohio, North Carolina and Indiana residents with iPhone models 5 through 7.

The suit says Apple “needlessly subjects consumers to purchasing newer and more expensive iPhones when a replacement battery could have allowed consumers to continue to use their older iPhones.”

Unspecified damages are being sought in the suit.

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Obama had the most-liked tweet of 2017; here's what it said

Published: Sunday, December 10, 2017 @ 1:44 AM

Obama’s Tweet about Charlottesville Most-Liked Tweet of All Time

Twitter has released its end-of-year stats and revealed that former President Barack Obama had the most-liked tweet of 2017.

>> Read more trending news

His tweet, sent in August after white nationalists marched on Charlottesville, Virginia, has been liked 4.6 million times. The tweet reads, “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion,” accompanied by a picture of him looking up at a group of children.

The tweet, a portion of a quote from late South African President Nelson Mandela, was followed up by two more tweets from Obama, which finished the quote.

>> See the tweet here

 “No one is born hating another person because of the color of his skin or his background or his religion. People must learn to hate, and if they can learn to hate, they can be taught to love. For love comes more naturally to the human heart than its opposite,” the quote, in whole, reads.

>> Obama's Charlottesville response becomes most-liked tweet of all time

Obama’s tweet following the Charlottesville march wasn’t his only top tweet. He also took the third spot for most-liked, and the second, fifth, and eighth spots for most-retweeted tweets.

His other top tweets included his tweet to Sen. John McCain after the Arizona Republican was diagnosed with cancer; the final line of his presidential farewell address in Chicago; and his farewell after leaving the Oval Office for the last time.

Other top tweets included Ariana Grande’s tweet after the bombing at her Manchester, England, concert; LeBron James’s tweet when he called President Donald Trump a “bum"; a tweet promising to donate 6 pounds of dog food to Houston dogs affected by Hurricane Harvey for every retweet it received; another tweet asking for retweets to raise donations for Houston;, a photo from Linkin Park of its former frontman, Chester Bennington, after he committed suicide earlier this year; the number to the suicide hotline tweeted by social media star Seth Joseph; and finally, the most-retweeted tweet of the year came from 16-year-old Carter Wilkerson begging for retweets so he could win free chicken nuggets from Wendy’s for a year.

While Trump didn’t win a top spot for any of his own tweets, he was the most-tweeted-about world leader.

President Trump And Twitter

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