Pandora's Interactive Voice Ads Have Arrived, 'Say Yes to Learn More'

Pandora’s new interactive voice ads format is now live with limited test partners. Users can learn more by saying ‘yes’ after an advertisement.

The first round of advertisers on board for the new format include Doritos, Unilever, Wendy’s, Turner Broadcasting, Comcast, Nestle, and Ashley HomeStores.

Each ad begins with an explanation about what it is and how interactive ads work. The ad plays a short and simple message, followed by a question. Listeners can then respond yes for more info.

Pandora’s Voice Mode assistant powers the interactive voice ads. Voice Mode launched earlier this year and allows for hands-free control of the app. Pandora believes voice ads will be the future of advertising in a hands-free world. Voice ads are, by nature, more engaging than traditional radio ads.

Claire Fanning, Pandora Vice President of Ad Innovation, says early testing has been positive.

“Preliminary results from our alpha test show unprecedented engagement rates. My hypothesis is that this is partly due to the new and exciting environment, but also because the creative is incredibly powerful and driven by utility. Voice ad creative may set a new bar for ad effectiveness, although we have a lot more to test, and a lot remains to be seen.”

Pandora first announced its interactive voice ads in April. San Francisco-based Instreamatic is the start-up partner handling the implementation of the interactive ads.

With many users now familiar with , voice ads don’t feel out of place. Pandora correctly points out that tracking clicks leave out audiences who use their devices mostly hands-free. Voice ad engagement may help cover the gaps in those instances.

Amazon currently limits voice ads on its Echo devices for fear of customer alienation. Spotify has flirted with voice ads this year, but that was a limited test and not a widespread rollout.

Pandora’s voice ads don’t have to be interacted with, either. If the consumer doesn’t respond within a few seconds or says ‘no,’ music playback will begin again. For now, it appears as though this is a limited test among a subset of Pandora users.

Leonardo DiCaprio Responds To Accusations Of Bankrolling Amazon Rainforest Fire

The Amazon is burning and Brazilian president Jair Bolsonaro is making wild claims. The leader, ten referred to as the “Trump the Tropics,” wildly stated that actor and environmentalist Leonardo DiCaprio was paying rebels to burn the Amazon in order to raise more funding. As reported by DeadlineBolsonaro’s attacks on DiCaprio are believed to be tied to the arrest four volunteer firefighters earlier this week who were accused setting fire to a share the forest. They allegedly were attempting to encourage fundraising for an unnamed international non-governmental organization, or NGO, that was rumored to have ties with DiCaprio.

Bolsonaro first used Facebook to attack DiCaprio and then reportedly told supporters, “This Leonardo DiCaprio’s a cool guy, isn’t he? Giving money for the Amazon to be torched.” He also made a statement a Facebook live broadcast. “Leonardo DiCaprio, dammit, you’re collaborating with the burning the Amazon,” Bolsonaro said, stating that the actor was part an international “campaign against Brazil.” He fered no evidence to support his claims.

DiCaprio responded to the Brazilian president on Instagram. “While worthy support, we did not fund the organizations targeted,” he explained. “I remain committed to supporting the Brazilian indigenous communities, local governments, scientists, educators and general public who are working tirelessly to secure the Amazon for the future all Brazilians.”

Bill Gates Overtakes Jeff Bezos By This Much To Become World’s Richest Man

Biggie said “mo money, mo problems,” and if that’s true we just need to ask Bill Gates. The Microst founder has just earned the title world’s richest man, beating out Amazon founder Jeff Bezos. According to Bloomberg, Gates has a whopping net worth $110 billion while Bezos has approximately $109 billion. That’s stacks. Bill Gates has earned this title before, beginning in 1995 when he only had a net worth $12.9 billion.

Bill Gates Overtakes Jeff Bezos By This Much To Become World's Richest Man
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Gates has actually been more focused on philanthropy in recent years as opposed to getting paper, but the paper keeps rolling in anyways. Bill sold approximately $35 billion worth in Microst stocks for his Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation which does incredible work worldwide. Still, the billionaire owns large amounts Microst stocks, and the stock is up, so he is getting that guap. As June 22nd, Microst stocks were valued at $136 and now they’re sitting just under $150. Jeff Bezos took a couple financial hits this year, with possibly the most scandalous being his widely covered and expensive ($35 billion) divorce to his ex-wife Mackenzie Bezos. Now Gates sits on the throne as the richest man in the world, but he spends his time committed to doing good for others. Props to Bill Gates.

Deezer Might Have an IPO In the Next 12-15 Months, CEO Says

Hans-Holger Albrecht, who is the CEO of the music streaming service Deezer, once again signaled his plans for an IPO.

He says that the company will go public sometime in the next 12-18 months, with the exact time being dependent on market conditions.

In 2015, Deezer was planning an IPO that it hoped would raise close to $330 million for the company. But it backed out of it after failing to convince investors.

In an interview with The National, Albrecht pointed to other successful music IPOs, including that of Spotify, which in April of last year received a valuation of more than $26 billion. He believes that Deezer is “the right size” to issue an IPO “if everything goes well.”  Exactly what that means is unclear.

Deezer has some big investors, including Saudi Prince Alwaleed bin Talal, who in August of last year invested 1 billion Saudi riyals ($270 million) in the company. Warner Music, Sony, Universal as well as telecommunication company Orange and French tycoon Xavier Niel also have interests. At the time of Alwaleed’s investment, the company was valued at about $1.1 billion.

Albrecht insists that the company does not need to raise more money at the moment, but he also insists that they could if they wanted to.  He categorized Deezer as being “well-funded” and in “a very fortunate situation.”

Deezer began operations way back in 2007. It currently has 14 million active monthly users spread across 185 countries. The company’s catalog includes over 56 million songs as well as other content.

Last October, Deezer entered both North Africa and the Middle East, and they are expecting significant growth in the coming months from countries such as Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the UAE.  It is in markets like these — markets that are small for Spotify, Apple and Amazon — that the company sees itself succeeding.

Derrick Rose Details Jimmy Butler’s Strange Antics During Bulls Tenure

Throughout his NBA career, Jimmy Butler has always been known to get into altercations and arguments with his teammates. When Butler was playing for the Minnesota Timberwolves, there were times where he got into full-blown screaming matches with teammates during practice and eventually, he was traded to the Philadelphia 76ers.

Derrick Rose got to play with Butler in Minny and even played with him in Chicago. In Rose’s new book called “I’ll Show You,” he speaks to some the issues Butler had in Chicago and even reveals how he used to get into arguments with Joakim Noah.

Derrick Rose Details Jimmy Butler's Strange Antics During Bulls Tenure

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Per Rose:

“Lots weird stuff was going on, though. I wasn’t sure what it was about, but Jimmy didn’t dress with us. That season he was always dressing with the coaches, didn’t stay in the locker room. Got to say, I never did see that before. To separate yourself from the team. How the hell do you think we’re a team when that’s going on?

Of course, I got the blame. But Jo saw it, he and Jimmy were at it. There was a lot fracturing.”

For the first time in his career, Butler will become the number one option in Miami so it will be interesting to see how he interacts with his teammates in that capacity. He’s a hard man to please and if any the young guns have questionable performances, there could be some trouble brewing.

Leonardo DiCaprio Pledges To Donate $5 Million To Amazon Aid Efforts

Leonardo DiCaprio plans to donate $5 million to the emergency Amazon Forest Fund. The fund was started by Earth Alliance, the organization that DiCaprio co-founded with Laurene Powell Jobs and Brian Shethe.

The money is used to kickstart what DiCaprio says will be focusing “critical resources for indigenous communities and other local partners working to protect the life-sustaining biodiversity the Amazon against the surge fires currently burning across the region.”

Earth Alliancejoinslocal groups that have been working against the wildfires that have ravaged the forest recently. Such organizations include the Coordination the Indigenous Organizations the Brazilian Amazon, Instituto Associacao Floresta Protegida, Instituto Kabu, Instituto Raoni, and Instituto Socioambiental. 

With his pledge, DiCaprio also made a call to action, asking supporters to donate their own share as well.

“100 percent your donation will go to partners who are working on the ground to protect the Amazon,” he penned in an Instagram caption.”Earth Alliance is committed to helping protect the natural world. We are deeply concerned about the ongoing crisis in the Amazon, which highlights the delicate balance climate, biodiversity, and the wellbeing indigenous peoples.”

The fires in the Amazon are believed to be attributed to the popularized slash-and-burn method deforestation taking place throughout Brazil. As a result, the Amazon is expected to start emitting larger amounts carbon dioxide, potentially speeding up the global warming process.

Diddy & His Kids Deliver Emergency PSA On The Amazon Wildfire

If you were unaware, there’s been a massive wildfire burning down the Amazon rainforest over the past few weeks that sadly the Brazilian government can’t control. The fire is burning at a record rate and damaging the rainforest right before our eyes, yet most Americans haven’t heard a thing about it. Well one person that’s trying to change that is Diddy and his kids, who decided to draw attention to the crisis today by uploading a PSA warning people the emergency at hand.

“The Amazon has been burning for weeks, but we are just now hearing about this. The Amazon is the largest rainforest on the planet and contains 20% our worlds oxygen. The fires are burning at one the fastest paces in years. We only have one planet and we have to take care it,” he says in the clip on IG.

Reports say that the fire is still raging but that thunderstorms are in the area for later today, so hopefully this fire can slow down or come to halt finally.

Check out Diddy & his girls’ PSA (below) and read more on the wildfire right here if interested.

Amazon Delivery Drivers Reportedly Involved In $10 Million Theft Ring

If by chance any your Amazon returns have been taking a long time it may or may not have to do with a possible inner theft ring that’s been going on. According to NBC, the scam has been going on for the past six years due to two Amazon delivery drivers who have been taking advantage their job. As the claims go, the two drivers are hired to drive to the Seattle-Tacoma International Airport to pick up items being returned to the company to then bring to the Amazon warehouse south Seattle to later be brought to the post fice. 

Amazon Delivery Drivers Reportedly Involved In $10 Million Theft Ring
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However, these two men (who are said to be roommates, as well) routinely brought the items to pawnshops to be sold. An unnamed driver was arrested but later released so it wouldn’t disturb the larger scale the investigation. One the drivers, identified as Abbas Zghair, reportedly stole $100,000 worth property while the other unidentified man is accused  $100,000 USD.

“When we learned there was an investigation into two contracted drivers, we cooperated with law enforcement by providing them the information they requested. Additionally, we strictly prohibit inauthentic or stolen goods from being fered in our store and take action when sellers do not comply,” Amazon wrote in a statement.

Sonos Dramatically Narrows Its Losses as Ikea Speakers Pay Off

Sonos’s recently posted Q3 2019 fiscal-year results are encouraging, with sales growth (relative to the same period last year) having climbed by more than 25 percent.

And with revenue at $260 million for Q3 2019, Sonos was able to cut its losses to just $14 million — much less than many financial professionals anticipated, and nearly half of Q3 2018’s $27 million in losses.

The Santa Barbara-based company endured a long and difficult journey to achieve these results. Since debuting on the stock market (under symbol SONO) in 2018, Sonos saw its stock tumble by roughly 50 percent; industry experts cited lackluster finances and, more specifically, an inability to effectively license and sell Sonos products, as the causes of the downturn.

Now, with these unexpectedly positive figures attracting the interest of investors, the corresponding stock has broken past $10 once again.

The may well have been the biggest contributor to this turnaround. The companies’ low-cost speakers, released under “The Symfonisk” name, represent a shift away from higher-end, higher-cost speakers, both of which seem increasingly incongruent with mainstream consumers.

Moreover, it should be emphasized that these products were made available on August 1st, 2019, and if present sales rates are any indication, Sonos’s value may continue to climb for quite a while to come.

Ikea is a Swedish-based producer of furniture, household goods, and countless other products. The company, which was founded in 1943, is worth more than $40 billion, and its resources and production capabilities seem ideal for maximizing the reach and success of Sonos’s intellectual properties.

Sonos is younger — and far smaller — than Ikea, having been founded in 2002. The company specializes in smart speakers and voice-activated technology, and its has been the subject of numerous lawsuits. Partially as a result of these patents, Sonos has worked with many prominent music-streaming companies, including Pandora, Spotify, and Amazon Music.

Arrest Made After Capital One Data Breach Affects 100 Million People

It’s seemingly scamming season. First Iggy Azalea calls out a Las Vegas hotel for scamming her by selling her a $50 grilled cheese, then a woman gets booked for stealing Taraji P. Henson’s identity and now Capital One has admitted to it’s “biggest ever” data breach. According to CNN, the hacker tapped into 100 million Capital One customers’ accounts and credit card applications in both Canada and America. 

Arrest Made After Capital One Data Breach Affects 100 Million People
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Thirty-three-old Paige Thompson has also been arrested and accused gaining “140,000 Social Security numbers, 1 million Canadian Social Insurance numbers and 80,000 bank account numbers.” According to the publication, Paige attempted to share the information with fellow hackers online. The hack is assumed to have taken place back in March and Capital One says it’s “unlikely that the information was used for fraud or disseminated by this individual.” 

“I sincerely apologize for the understandable worry this incident must be causing those affected and I am committed to making it right,” Capital One CEO Richard Fairbank said in a statement. All users the credit card will get free identity protection and credit monitoring. Paige reportedly worked as a stware engineer for Amazon Web Services which made her hacking skills on point for such a historical hack for Capital One.

Amazon’s Jeff Bezos & Wife Mackenzie Finalize Divorce With $38 Billion Settlement

Amazon CEO Jeff Bezos recently finalized his divorce to his wife Mackenzie and the resulting settlement is enough to make you spit your water. It is no secret that Bezos has amassed a great amount wealth from his business savviness and the rise Amazon as an empire along the years. And now, the billionaire has to split up his assets with his wife more than 25 years. As such, the arrangement underlying the divorce settlement, approved by a Washington State judge, grants Mackenzie with 19.7 million shares Amazon.com which easily totals at more than $38 billion dollars. Surprisingly, even though Jeff is splitting his assets and losing a large part them, he will still remain the world’s richest person. Though his divorce will make his now ex-wife the third richest woman in the world. Now, that’s surely a nice way to part ways with someone. 

Jeff and MacKenzie first met when he was the VP a hedge fund in NYC, in the least romantic (or most) romantic settings. Jeff unknowingly interviewed MacKenzie for a job, before “ficially” flirting with the idea coupledom under markedly different pretenses. Within 6 months, they were married and f to Seattle where Jeff would open the first Amazon storefront, which used to only be a small bookstore.

This Year’s "Amazon Prime Day" Special Set To Be Longest Ever

The fifth installment “Amazon Prime Day” is around the corner, and this time around, it’s set to be the longest-running variation thus far. Should you be unaware what “Prime Day” entails, picture a “Black Friday” sorts, strictly for Amazon Prime users. Beginning on Monday, July 15th, “Prime Day” will be fering up over one million deals, according to CNN. Apparently, Alexa devices will be massively discounted, so should you be looking to engage in a few “Her”-esque fantasies, mark your calendars accordingly.

This Year's "Amazon Prime Day" Special Set To Be Longest Ever

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Unlike previous installments the discount extravaganza, this year’s “Prime Day” will extend for a solid forty-eight hours. Be sure to prepare your credit cards accordingly, and should you be on the fence joining Prime, let this be the wake-up call you need. With the company already calling it the “biggest global shopping event ever,” you’d be unwise to sleep on some the imminent deals.

Not to mention, the massive success “Prime Day” comes complete with ripple-effect benefits. In efforts to meet the competition, many additional retailers have moved to match Amazon with deals their own. Yet Amazon remains a true sales juggernaut, and the numbers, while undisclosed, cast a looming shadow all the same. Are you looking forward to this year’s 48-hour Prime Day? 

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Amazon Shares Official Trailer For "#FreeMeek” Documentary: Watch

During the airing last night’s BET Awards, Amazon decided to roll out the ficial trailer for Meek Mill’s anticipated docuseries, #FreeMeek. Set to debut on Amazon Prime August 9th, the 5-part docuseries will give fans an inside look at both Meek’s specific battle against the legal system and its widespread shortcomings that have negatively affected so many others. “Free Meek] explores my life and the flaws in the criminal justice system that have haunted me and others like me,” Meek said the doc, which counts JAY-Z as one its executive producers.

The investigative series will follow Meek and his supporters as they attempt to uncover the different facets corruption that kept him under the thumb Philadelphia’s criminal justice system for over a decade, and will feature new information uncovered in the investigation by Quest Research & Investigations LLC (QRI).

Watch the first ficial trailer (below), which includes some words from Jay Z himself, and be sure to tune in entirely on August 9th.

Amazon Music Will Now Come to Comcast Xfinity X1 Set-Top Boxes

Amazon Music has scored its first major cable TV deal.

The e-commerce company’s music service has confirmed Comcast will launch its music streaming service on high-end Xfinity X1 set-top boxes.  This marks its first pay-TV distribution deal and comes only six months after the cable provider first launched Amazon Prime Video on X1.

Current Amazon Music subscribers will have access to the service’s full music library.  Comcast will slowly roll out the music service on the set-top boxes over the next few weeks.

Prime members who only have access to Prime Music won’t be left behind.  The cable provider confirmed users can also stream Prime Music’s limited song catalog as well.

Speaking on its expanded partnership with Amazon, Nancy Spears, Comcast’s Vice President of Business Operations, explained Prime Video quickly became one of the most-used apps on the service.  The new partnership also marks the cable provider’s strategy of serving as a “one-stop-shop” for media and entertainment as a way to stop bleeding customers to cord-cutting.

We want to build a unique and differentiated experience to integrate the best entertainment services in one place.

Xfinity X1 set-top boxes also allow users to stream music and video from YouTube, Netflix, Pandora, iHeartRadio, NPR One, Tubi, CuriosityStream, and Music Choice.

Whether Spotify and Apple Music will ever come to Comcast remains unclear.

Spears added, however,

We’re always open to new partnerships.

Under the new partnership, subscribers to Xfinity Flex, its $5-per-month streaming TV offering, can now access Amazon Music.  Currently, Flex users can stream content from HBO, Netflix, Prime Video, YouTube, and Pandora, among other services.

As with the rest of the cable industry, Comcast continues losing a significant amount of subscribers to cord-cutting.

In the first fiscal quarter of 2019, the cable provider lost 107,000 residential video subscribers.  Comcast has around 20.85 million, two-thirds of which are on X1.

Speaking about the partnership with Comcast, Ryan Redington, Director of Amazon Music, concluded,

We’re always looking for ways to extend the reach to our customer base and give them new options to engage our music service.

 


Featured image by Amazon Music.

Amazon Unveils Full Trailer To Dark Superhero Series "The Boys"

Amazon recently released a full-length trailer for its new, upcoming series The Boys. The series is produced by famed actor Seth Rogan and Evan Goldberg. It is also based on Garth Ennis’ best-selling comic books. The show follows the journey Billy Butcher, a Karl Urban’s CIA operative, to recruiting a team  uncommon characters known as The Boys to fight f a corrupted gang superheroes called The Seven. The series differs from the typical superhero tale and takes on a more comical and villain-focused perspective. The two-and-a-half minute trailer shared finds Billy Butcher amidst the recruiting process as we are introduced to the members The Boys. Moreover, a short snippet superheroes killing innocents and abusing their powers reveals the nefarious undertakings The Seven. The latter includes a Flash-like superhero carelessly running through a girl and killing her instantly. 

The Boys consist Butcher, Frenchie, Mother’s Milk, and Female. They are quite violent, precisely “eye-gouging” in their methods. We also get a preview the showdown between The Boys and The Seven which comically occurs as a song by the Spice Girls plays in the background. You may expect to watch the series upon its release date on July 26th on Amazon’s Prime Video service.