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Facebook Profit Nearly Triples on Mobile Ad Sales and New Users

The New York Times reports “Facebook’s growth appears to know few limits. And even when one source of growth is set to slow down, the social network is ready with another.

The Silicon Valley company on Wednesday reported blockbuster second-quarter earnings, with strong increases across almost every measure. Facebook said sales totaled $6.44 billion for the quarter, up 59 percent from a year ago, while profit almost tripled to $2.06 billion.”

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Jaunt’s new VR film series explores e-sports tournaments

The Verge reports “Jaunt, one of the bigger names in virtual reality filmmaking right now, has partnered with the e-sports league ESL to film a series of short 360-degree documentaries about its biggest tournaments. The first of those documentaries is called CLG: Win Everythin’(typo intentional) and follows the team Counter Logic Gaming during a League of Legends competition. The documentary is just over five minutes long and is available now through Jaunt’s apps and on the web.”

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CBS Corp. Increases Dividend, Stock Buyback Program

The Hollywood Reporter reports “CBS Corp. is increasing its quarterly dividend and stock buyback program. The company run by CEO Leslie Moonves announced the news Thursday before the stock market opened.

The company’s dividend will rise by 20 percent to 18 cents per share, compared with 15 cents so far. The new rate will take effect on the next scheduled quarterly dividend payment date of Oct. 1, 2016 and be in effect for shareholders of record as of Sept. 9.

CBS Corp. also said that it was increasing its stock buyback program to $6 billion from a remaining authorization of $1 billion, under its previous program, as of mid-year.”

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Global mobile gaming market re-energized by Pokémon Go

VentureBeat reports “The global gaming market was stuck in neutral with market saturation for apps and smartphones. But Pokémon Go has given it a new burst of energy, and opened up new opportunities in the augmented reality market, according to a new report by market researcher Frost & Sullivan.

The report showed plenty to worry about, with an impasse in mobile games due to saturation, heavy consolidation, and declining smartphone shipments. Strong game companies such as Supercell and Mixi came to dominate the industry, forcing smaller players out. And emerging markets were stalled by the lack of payment options on mobile.”

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Minecraft will get Oculus Rift support in next few weeks

The Verge reports “Minecraft for Windows 10 will be adding support for the Oculus Rift VR headset in the “next few weeks.” Microsoft and Mojang announced the news on the one-year anniversary of Minecraft’s release on Windows 10, confirming that it will be a free update. Windows isn’t the first platform to enable Minecraft in virtual reality — that would be the Samsung Gear VR, where a VR edition of the game launched in April. But the Oculus Rift, which features things like external camera tracking, will allow for a different and possibly more comfortable experience.”

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Samsung reports highest profit for 2 years thanks to strong Galaxy S7 sales

TechCrunch reports “Earlier this month Samsung forecast its most profitable quarter for two years, and today it delivered on that promise with its Q2 2016 results.

The Korean tech giant reported a 8.14 trillion won ($7.22 billion) operating profit on revenue of 50.94 trillion won ($45.2 billion). That profit figure is up 18 percent year-on-year, while the quarter’s revenue represented a five percent annual increase.”

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The Inaugural RightsTech Summit: Forward-Thinking Optimism, With Few Music Publishers In Sight

Forbes reports “Dozens of technology, law and music professionals gathered at the Japan Society in New York on Tuesday for the inaugural RightsTech Summit, determined to brainstorm how partnerships between tech companies and content creators could drive smarter rights management and monetization. The resulting debates were notable as much for their innovation and optimism as for who was absent.

During his keynote, Benji Rogers, Chief Strategy Officer at PledgeMusic and founder of the Dot Blockchain Music Project, asked the music publishers in the audience to raise their hands. Only a few people budged—which alluded to a larger, more urgent question raised throughout the summit: how can we build these new technologies if publishers see no incentive in taking part?”

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A Soundcloud Demise Would Create A Void For Indie Artists

Forbes reports “SoundCloud has sometimes been compared to an audio version of YouTube in that it’s basically a free service for user generated content, most of which is posted by indie music artists. It’s been good for that niche in that it’s easier and cheaper to post a music file to SoundCloud than to host on the artist’s private website or social media network. That said, the company was never going to earn enough revenue just from usage fees by artists, and it’s really not much of a draw for music fans when compared to any of the sites like Apple Music or Spotify that feature commercial music from label-signed artists. It may have 175 million users a month, but most are not high-volume listeners like on the larger services.

But what really hurt SoundCloud’s prospects for turning a profit is the fact that it was forced to sign expensive licensing deals with the major networks in order to avoid pending copyright issues, and to clear the way for the service to offer a subscription tier in an effort to finally increase revenue. While that sounds good on paper, the biggest distinguishing feature of SoundCloud is its indie artists, and that hasn’t proved to be enough of a draw when its free, so it’s difficult to imagine how it could work for a monthly fee.”

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NBCUniversal Second-Quarter Earnings Hit by Lower Film Results

The Hollywood Reporter reports “Cable giant Comcast on Wednesday reported its second-quarter financials, including lower profit figures for its entertainment arm NBCUniversal amid tough box-office comparisons and its smallest second-quarter pay TV subscriber decline in more than a decade.

Kicking off earnings season for big Hollywood players, NBCUniversal posted operating cash flow, the profitability metric the company uses, of $1.69 billion, down 6.4 percent on a pro forma basis from the year-ago period. The figure was down only 0.2 percent when excluding the financials from the recently acquired 51 percent stake in Universal Studios Japan from the year-ago figures.”

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Warner Bros. to Expand Korean Film Production

Variety reports “Korean-language movies “Bad Lieutenant” and Lee Byung-hun starring “A Single Rider” are next up on the local language slate of Warner Bros.

The Hollywood studio’s Korean production drive is poised to get off to a dramatic start with Kim Jee-woon’s “The Age of Shadows,” which has its commercial release in South Korea in September and will bow at the Toronto festival.

The studio is seeking to expand its local-language production initiatives in the country and appointed local executive Jay Choi as head of local production in 2015.”

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Apple Shares Rise After Beating Earnings Projections

Billboard reports “Apple shares rose after the closing bell when it posted quarterly earnings that slightly beat analysts’ expectations on Tuesday.

The tech giant said it earned $1.42 per share on $42.4 billion in revenue, while Wall Street expected the new-media behemoth to post $42.2 billion in revenue and $1.40 in per-share earnings in its fiscal third quarter.

Analysts also expected Apple to sell 40 million iPhones in the quarter, and it sold 40.4 million.”

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Wanda to Buy Chinese Movie Website Mtime for $350M

The Hollywood Reporter reports “Chinese conglomerate Dalian Wanda Group, led by Asia’s richest man Wang Jianlin, has agreed to acquire Beijing-based film marketing and media company Mtime for $350 million.

The deal, to be announced in Beijing late Wednesday, will add an array of digital services to Wanda’s expanding global film empire. China’s leading online destination for movie news and reviews, Mtime’s business areas also comprise film marketing and a fast-growing e-commerce platform targeting the country’s burgeoning movie merchandising sector.”