Digital media

Hannah Kuchler

The much-anticipated Twitter IPO (TwIPO?) has arrived. Twitter chose to announce it, of course, on its own site:

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Mark Zuckerberg accused the US government of bad PR, saying it failed to communicate the balance of security and economic interests behind its internet surveillance efforts – in turn creating a massive PR problem for Facebook.

“I think the government blew it,” he said at the TechCrunch Disrupt conference in San Francisco on Wednesday. “It’s my job and our job to protect everyone who uses Facebook and the information they share with us. It’s our government’s job to protect all of us and also to protect our freedoms and protect the economy and companies. And I think they did a bad job of balancing those things.” Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Photo: Pandora

Pandora has just appointed a veteran of Microsoft’s advertising technology business as its new chairman, president and chief executive.

Brian McAndrews left his role at Seattle’s Madrona Venture Group, once a seed investor in, to join the internet radio service as it braces for new competition from Apple’s iTunes Radio. He replaces Joe Kennedy, who is retiring after leading Pandora since 2004. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Snapchat’s investors were betting on growth first, monetisation later when they put $60m into the pioneer of ephemeral messaging.

That growth is continuing apace, Snapchat’s co-founder and chief executive Evan Spiegel said on Monday, with 350m “snaps” sent every day last month, up from 200m in June.

But the LA-based company is slowly starting to think about ways to make money, too, saying that Chinese internet giant Tencent – which makes much of its income from in-app purchases – was a “role model” for Snapchat. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It doesn’t seem so long ago that many people thought social networking was done, and that anything that wasn’t Facebook would become a feature, app or acquisition of the social juggernaut.

In the past year, however, that’s started to change. Snapchat brought ephemerality to photo sharing, Nextdoor is reconnecting real-world neighbours and Whatsapp, WeChat and Line are fighting for mobile instant-messaging dominance.

Now, backed by some of Snapchat’s original investors, comes Whisper – an app for sharing (and viewing) secrets, posted anonymously. Read more

Robert Cookson

A disgruntled British Airways passenger has bought adverts on Twitter to complain about the airline’s customer service, in an unusual reversal of the way that big brands use social media.

Hasan Syed, a businessman who goes by the Twitter username @HVSVN, took the action on Monday out of frustration with the way that British Airways was handling his father’s lost luggage. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Four billion check-ins later, Foursquare is finding new ways to use all the location data that users have shared with the four-year-old smartphone app.

That includes both new features for users – and new ways to make money from the body of data it’s collected, with third parties. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Many thought that Instagram’s addition of 15-second videos to its photo-sharing app would kill Vine, Twitter’s fledgling video app.

Apparently not.

Twitter on Tuesday said that 40m people have signed up to watch and share six-second videos on Vine. Read more

It takes some nerve to sell a company for $850m and then describe it as “the biggest repository of online cock and balls ever recorded”.

Step forward Michael Birch, founder of social network Bebo, who, after repurchasing the site for $1m in July, has now launched a spoof video to promote its impending relaunch. Read more

Robert Cookson

It’s personal, attention-grabbing, and highly effective: email is one of the most important ways that companies market their products to the masses.

So no wonder that email marketers are concerned that Google has redesigned Gmail in a way that filters deals, offers and promotional messages into a less prominent part of the inbox.

How worried should marketers be? To answer the question, FT Tech Blog has rustled up some striking data about how Gmail users are behaving following the changes. Read more

Robert Cookson

German publishers just can’t seem to make their minds up about Google.

Publishers such as Axel Springer pushed hard this year for a new law that only allows Google to include snippets of their articles in Google News if they have explicitly opted in to the service.

That law was introduced today – but nothing has changed. Rather than withholding their content, Germany’s top publishers have given Google News permission to continue as before. Read more

The world of video gaming used to be dominated by the big publishers releasing games on consoles and the PC. But the rise of smartphone and tablet gaming and new digital distribution channels has led to a big increase in successful indie games. Reaching a large audience used to be about having the biggest budget or the most successful franchise. That isn’t the case today, writes Daniel Garrahan. Read more

Sarah Mishkin

Alibaba, China’s ambitious internet conglomerate, has spread its reach from e-commerce to finance, and now to internet television. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

It is three months since Apple announced a whopping $100bn return of cash to investors, topping up its existing $45bn dividend plans with what it billed as the biggest share buyback scheme in American corporate history.

In the weeks that followed that announcement, Apple’s shares soared, finally emerging from the months-long funk that saw them dip below $400. But that rally went into reverse as soon as Apple paid its next dividend on May 9.  Read more

Tim Bradshaw

Dropbox chief executive Drew Houston didn’t mention iCloud once during his presentation at the cloud storage company’s first ever developer conference on Tuesday. But as Dropbox rolls out its new platform tools – allowing apps to synchronise not just files and folders but progress in games, realtime sketches or any other kind of data from one device to another – it’s clear that Apple was the unnamed competitor that Mr Houston has to take on. Read more

Bids are expected by the end of this week for Hulu, the online video site owned by Disney’s ABC, News Corp’s Fox and Comcast’s NBC that is said to be looking for a price tag around the $1bn mark.

Its status as an aggregator of some of the most popular professionally-produced content on the web has reportedly attracted a host of suitors, from traditional distributors such as DirecTV to Peter Chernin, who helped found Hulu while at News Corp, and Guggenheim Digital Media, the well-funded Guggenheim Partners offshoot run by Ross Levinsohn, formerly of Yahoo. Some seem to be talking the price down, claiming unhappiness about the sellers’ terms.

Guggenheim has also been eyeing another of the biggest digital video properties, Vevo. It is more than two months since it was reported to be in negotiations about taking a controlling stake, but talk about Vevo’s future has since gone rather quiet. Read more

To Tim Westergren, Pandora’s co-founder, Apple’s iTunes Radio is just another “Pandora-killer” that will be less deadly than it first appears. A once wobbly Wall Street now seems to agree: Pandora’s shares have doubled this year – and were up another 8 per cent on Monday morning – as investors focus not on competitive threats or grumbling artists but on growth opportunities such as integrating its internet radio service into cars. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

For such a simple little app, Snapchat provokes some strong opinions.

Much of the reaction to its fundraising, announced on Monday, was one of amazement that the two-year-old ephemeral messaging app could be worth $800m. After all, that’s more than Facebook paid for Instagram last year ($715m after Facebook’s stock slumped from the time of its initial $1bn offer). Read more

By Andrew Edgecliffe-Johnson, FT media editor

Most marketers see the “second screen” (the smartphone or tablet catching your eye as you watch television) as a valuable second opportunity for engaging viewers, rather than a distraction from their expensively-crafted messages on the first screen. But in spite of this, some experimentation in how to make this extra channel pay its way is starting to take place. Read more

Tim Bradshaw

No wonder Tim Cook has escalated Apple’s position on the television market from “hobby” to “area of intense interest” in recent months. New figures from Apple suggest that it’s making at least $3m a day from TV and movie downloads. Read more