Tag Archives: Live

From blue lipstick to Facebook Live, home shopping networks refine their pitch
August 15, 2018 12:00 pm|Comments (0)

WEST CHESTER, Pa. (Reuters) – The Home Shopping Network is getting an image makeover.

A studio set is seen at the QVC Studio Park in West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 4, 2018. Picture taken June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid.

A U.S. television network where shoppers can buy everything from electronics to kitchen gadgets, the Home Shopping Network is overhauling its lineup to offer more beauty products while adding streamed video content to win over shoppers without cable TV.

A division of Qurate Retail Group, the network is facing growing competition from Amazon Inc. and Evine Live Inc for consumers like 24-year old Erin Bounds, who regard buying products through TV shows a relic of the past.

“Someone who is 24 doesn’t have the time nor desire to watch an hour-long show about a piece of jewelry or a vacuum when they can get an answer and the product quicker and probably cheaper on Amazon,” said Bounds, a resident of Ellicott City, Maryland.

For decades, the main difference to shoppers between HSN and Qurate’s other shopping network, QVC, typically came down to variations in branding and merchandise, with HSN selling more electronics. Qurate acquired HSN in late 2017 for $ 2.1 billion so the two shopping networks could join forces to better compete against Amazon and its home-shopping-style online video promotions.

Qurate executives told Reuters they now are culling HSN’s core merchandise offerings to eliminate many higher-priced electronics and some home goods, such as vacuum cleaners and blenders.

Host Sloane Glass sells beauty products during a Facebook live event at the QVC Studio Park in West Chester, Pennsylvania, U.S., June 4, 2018. Picture taken June 4, 2018. REUTERS/Brendan McDermid

Instead, they are adding more niche cosmetic and apparel brands to help draw some distinction with QVC. They are also pushing both QVC and HSN to pursue younger shoppers with click-to-buy links on Instagram and Facebook Live for items such as earrings, shoes and Vince Camuto jeans, in a bid to spark a rebound in demand.

Second-quarter revenue at HSN declined 12 percent to $ 473 million from $ 533 million a year later the company announced Wednesday. Stock in the company, which counts media mogul John Malone as one of its largest investors, is down about 8 percent year to date, compared with a 14 percent increase for the Nasdaq index, and 64 percent increase for Amazon.com year to date.

“You’re seeing the impact of them digesting a large organization that is clearly not growing if you look at the numbers,” said Ben Claremon, partner and research analyst at investment firm Cove Street Capital, one of Qurate’s shareholders.

“There’s just not the degree of demand for home shopping products, and the desire to spend hours of the day watching them diminishes as you go down in age,” he said.

BALANCING BLUE LIPSTICK WITH BRACELETS

The new strategy is aimed at creating more distinction with the two cable channels after the merger, according to Rob Robillard, the new VP of Beauty Integration at Qurate.

In beauty, for example, one of HSN’s top selling products is Too Faced “Unicorn Tears” blue lipstick, which sells for roughly $ 22. One of QVC’s best products is the Doll 10 Nude lipstick with a price tag of around $ 25, noted Robillard.

Slideshow (20 Images)

“We were sort of hoping there would be this real big difference between HSN and QVC,” he said. “But the two are actually very similar.”

Qurate will partner with Robin Burns-McNeill, chairman of Batallure Beauty, a company specializing in brand strategy, product and package development, sourcing and manufacturing in the fragrance, cosmetics and skincare categories, to create a collection of proprietary beauty brands, the company told Reuters exclusively.

The first manufactured beauty products from this partnership are slated to launch in fall 2019 on QVC.com, and, if all goes well, the company said they would likely tap on Burns-McNeill’s shoulder to create proprietary brands for HSN as well.

They have a tall order. Amazon is the top online destination for beauty and the fifth-most-popular retailer for skincare and cosmetics, according to Coresight Research, behind leaders Walmart, CVS Health, Target Corp and Walgreens. QVC and HSN do not rank on the list.

In March 2016, Amazon launched “Style Code Live,” a daily live fashion show which has since gone off-air.

This June, Amazon unveiled Prime Wardrobe in the United States, allowing Prime members to try on clothing, shoes, and accessories before purchase. Customers have up to seven days to try their clothes on at home, and are charged only for those items they choose to keep.

Celebrity-driven shows and videos on QVC still have their upside, according to vendors such as Xcel Brands Inc Chief Executive Robert D’Loren. A QVC apparel vendor for more than six years, D’Loren cites on-air appearances of fashion designer and QVC host Isaac Mizrahi – D’Loren’s largest, most successful brand on QVC – as strategic advantage for the home shopping network.

D’Loren thinks Qurate, which currently accounts for 60 percent of Xcel’s brand volume, is well-positioned to take on competitors Amazon.com and video retailer Evine, and that it’s “only a matter of time” before millennials like Bounds give Qurate’s QVC and HSN a shot.

“There is something to tuning in, watching, having product fully demonstrated to you that is unique and has great value, and I haven’t seen that anywhere else in the market,” he said.

Editing by Vanessa O’Connell and Edward Tobin

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Technology Meant to Make Bitcoin Money Again Just Went Live
March 15, 2018 6:32 pm|Comments (0)

A version of the technology that’s meant to make cryptocurrency payments faster and cheaper went live Thursday.

The software, called Lightning Network, can now be used for Bitcoin payments after more than a year in which thousands of developers tested it. Lightning Labs, one of the firms developing the technology, released this initial version, which is compatible with networks being developed by other groups, such as Blockstream and Acinq.

Bitcoin has become digital gold — or a viable investment alternative — to many, but it has been harder for it to fulfill its original purpose of becoming digital money, as transaction fees have skyrocketed to as high as $ 50, while confirmation times took as long as a week at their peak. Enthusiasts say the Lightning Network will solve these problems with fees at a fraction of a cent and instantaneous transactions.

The Lightning Network rolls out, another technology meant to speed up transactions, Segregated Witness, gains traction, with the number of transactions using it doubling to more than 30 percent of total Bitcoin transactions in the past month. Bitcoin transaction fees have plummeted in part thanks to this, but the total number of transactions has also declined. Lightning Network is also meant to help lower fees on the main Bitcoin network.

The Lightning Network allows Bitcoin users to open payment channels between each other. The parties can than conduct transactions without having to post them to the Bitcoin blockchain, avoiding delays and costs that result from recording those transactions each time. Once the channel is closed, only the resulting balances are recorded on the blockchain, not the full transaction history of the channel, and only then are Bitcoin fees paid. There is no required time or transaction limit required to close a payment channel, so they can potentially remain open for months of years.

Elizabeth Stark, Lightning Labs founder and chief executive officer, says merchants and especially online businesses will be the most likely users as it facilitates a high volume of payments and its near-zero fees allow for micropayments. Cryptocurrency exchanges could also use the software to accelerate deposit and withdrawal of funds, she said.

The network is currently able to process transactions in the low thousands per second, according to Stark, which is still far from Visa Inc.’s maximum of 56,000, but an improvement on Bitcoin’s five transactions per second. More than 4,000 payment channels have been opened since the technology was released in January 2017, and even though it was in testing, some merchants already started using it. Block & Jerry’s, an online ice-cream store playing on American ice-cream brand Ben & Jerry’s, is one.

“Bitcoin enthusiasts have gotten excited about this, merchants are excited about this,” Stark said. “It feels like we’re right on the edge of mass cryptocurrency adoption.”

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Momo Vs. YY, The Battle Of The Chinese Live Streaming Platforms
December 16, 2017 12:46 pm|Comments (0)

Here we compare two of the (more or less) pure plays in the hot Chinese live streaming sector, Momo (NASDAQ:MOMO) and YY (NASDAQ:YY). The fortunes of their share prices have skyrocketed in a hardly fathomable way the last five years.

While YY’s shares haven’t exactly done badly with a five-year return of over 600%, earlier this year MOMO was up a stunning 22,500% or so and that in a mere 3.5 years. However, lately the going hasn’t been so good and YY has basically taken back some lost terrain.

At the minimum, these graphs show that stocks in social media can make fortunes, but given Momo’s travails of late, things can also go south. We sort of warned about this in the article we wrote about this name at the end of August.

Social Platform Economics

But let’s concentrate first on the potential upside, which lies in the business model of platform economics in general, and social platform economics in particular:

  1. Social platforms (platforms in general) have powerful network effects.
  2. Social platforms have little content cost.
  3. Social platforms (platforms in general) have large economies of scope.
  4. Social platforms + machine learning creates powerful increasing returns.

Let’s discuss these briefly. A platform is more useful when others use it, setting off network effects and a scramble to appropriate the first-user advantage.

However, the streaming media platforms like Momo and YY have low barriers to entry, hence a multiple of these have emerged. A Chinese crackdown has served as a significant cull (as we described in our article about YY), and others are likely to have failed anyway unable to obtain a minimum viable scale. This isn’t surprising, given the significant upfront investments required.

Yet, multiple platforms still exist, like those of Momo and YY (but also Tencent (OTCPK:TCEHY) and others). So this is not a winner-take-all market, the network effects are not all consuming like other social platforms, most notably Facebook (FB).

Indeed, there is little in the way of content cost, but these streaming media platforms have other significant cost to contain, stemming from the fact that the network effects are not all consuming and no real dominant player has emerged. This sets the platforms in competition against one another, and this involves a lot of cost:

  • Marketing and sales cost, the cost to entice new users to your platform, instead of competing platforms.
  • Revenue sharing to incentivize top contributors to stay.
  • R&D: The cost to improve the possibilities of the platform for users and open up different revenue streams for them so they’ll contribute to your platform rather than the competition.
  • Development cost, the cost to help contributors to improve (in theory this is win-win, at least if successful).

These are just the most obvious costs, and we’re sure there are more.

The history of these platforms is a nice illustration of the economies of scope. Momo started as a dating site. YY started as an online gaming site. Both morphed into something else, as once you have a lot of eyeballs accumulated, a platform simply provides you the opportunity to add new functions, bells and whistles.

We see this in business platforms all the time, where the likes of Workday (WDAY), Tableau (DATA) and Ellie Mae (ELLI) are adding features all the time.

All this potentially gets to a whole new level when machine learning is added. What machine learning does is tailor content to individual users. These users will become more engaged that way and contribute even more.

By contributing even more, they produce more data for the machine learning, enabling even better tailoring, creating a virtuous cycle. But the same virtuous cycle works with advertising (or, as we have seen with Facebook where the lines between content and advertisement are blurred, with political propaganda).

So in theory these are very powerful business models, especially with the addition of machine learning. And indeed Momo has been improving the algorithms that drive what content get maximum exposure (from the Q2CC):

The higher the content quality is the greater level of user exposure that piece of content can get on the platform… Regarding the question about personalized recommendation logic and content tagging logic, I think our system is pretty much based on what is called collaborative filtering. This is a rather complicated and sophisticated mechanism. To put it simple, the system will assign different interest tax to users according to their respective interest graph and then what you are going to see – what you are more likely going to see on the platform is largely determined by the type of content that other users with similar interest tied to you gravitate toward, and that gravitation is further defined by user actions such as clicking through liking or other type of engagement.

We haven’t found a similar quote from YY, but we’re pretty sure it’s doing something similar. It wouldn’t be able to survive for long without it.

Diverging fortunes?

As SA contributor Justin Giles explained, Momo’s shares sold off despite a solid top and bottom line beat in Q3 because of softer Q4 guidance and this:

However, for the second consecutive quarter, live paying users remained stagnant at 4.1 million. If Momo cannot get more users to start spending money on its platforms, it will be tougher for the company to remain a growth story as investors start looking at it from more of a value side.

Curiously enough, we ventilated our skepticism about the staying power of paying customers in our YY article published earlier in the week. Justin also noted the following:

On the flip side, while live paying users remained unchanged at 4.1 million, average revenues from those users jumped. Total paying users from value-added services also increased from 4.5 to 4.8 million with the Company seeing an increase in the average revenues per paying user.

The company’s cash position continues to climb jumping more than $ 100M from the second quarter. As of September 30, 2017, Momo’s cash, cash equivalents and term deposits totaled $ 949.7 million, compared to $ 846.3 in the second quarter and $ 651.3M from a year ago.

The shares of Momo are off from their highs by a great deal whilst YY’s haven’t suffered from a similar bout of investor angst, at least not yet. Is the skepticism towards Momo justified (in relation to YY)?

Growth

While YY is still selling 30%+ more, Momo is actually catching up. Indeed, revenues have grown way faster the last five years.

And Momo is still growing four times(!) as fast this year.

Margins

At first sight, one would argue a resounding no.

While Momo’s (GAAP) margins are trending down, they are still substantially higher compared to those of YY.

Other finances

As you can see below, Momo has almost caught up with YY in terms of EBITDA on an absolute basis, but considering YY’s larger revenues (and market capitalization) it has already caught up with YY on a relative basis.

And here is another telling figure, Momo is generating way more cash, and the difference is widening rapidly.

Neither company has debt, and both companies are mildly diluting (YY embarked on a substantial $ 442.2M secondary offering earlier in the year).

Valuation

The following figures are GAAP figures and backwards looking:

But they show that YY, despite growing much slower, has closed its earnings valuation gap and even overtaken Momo, as it has with the other valuation metrics.

Conclusion

The selloff of Momo is not easy to explain in isolation, but compared to one of its rivals, YY, it becomes harder still. Momo is doing better on a raft of metrics like growth, cash generation, and margins, often substantially so.

Yet the valuation gap has continued to narrow, and the selloff in Momo has been such that YY has even overtaken Momo on a valuation basis. It really is difficult to argue that Momo’s shares are expensive.

While we have some reservations about the sector (it could be a bit of a fad, and part of the earnings stream seems to be fairly uncertain to us), if you don’t have these qualms like we do, then the choice is pretty clear.

Disclosure: I/we have no positions in any stocks mentioned, and no plans to initiate any positions within the next 72 hours.

I wrote this article myself, and it expresses my own opinions. I am not receiving compensation for it (other than from Seeking Alpha). I have no business relationship with any company whose stock is mentioned in this article.

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2017 Preakness: TV Coverage, NBC Live Stream and Purse Payout Info
July 25, 2017 9:55 am|Comments (0)

… top Kentucky Derby rivals (Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Lookin At Lee) and talented new shooters (Cloud Computing and Conquest Mo Money).

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2017 Preakness: TV Coverage, NBC Live Stream and Purse Payout Info
May 20, 2017 6:55 pm|Comments (0)

… top Kentucky Derby rivals (Classic Empire, Gunnevera and Lookin At Lee) and talented new shooters (Cloud Computing and Conquest Mo Money).


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Watch Gorillaz Break Into The Real World With Their First Live Interview
April 22, 2017 3:50 pm|Comments (0)

Murdoc and 2D from Gorillaz gave their first live on-camera interview with BBC Radio 1 to discuss the band’s new album, Humanz.

Source: http://www.mtv.com/news/3005039/gorillaz-first-live-interview-bbc/

Asia Argento Aubrey ODay Audrina Patridge Autumn Reeser Avril Lavigne Bali Rodriguez


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The 13 Best Quotes About Silicon Valley & The People Who Live In It
October 18, 2016 6:10 am|Comments (0)

Love it or hate it, Silicon Valley continues to be the home of innovation and insanity. Elon Musk, Temple Grandin et al. tell us why.


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Mom discovered twin daughters’ bedroom being streamed via Live Camera Viewer app
August 14, 2016 5:35 pm|Comments (0)

If you were considering potential vacation locations, then the Android app Live Camera Viewer for IP Cams is purportedly “for travelers to have a spy sneak peek at travel destinations.” Yet children’s bedrooms would never occur to me as a travel destination. A heartsick mom in Texas found out her kids’ bedrooms were being live-streamed via the app.

ABC News recounted a story which started with a mom and son duo from Oregon; they had been surfing satellite images of Earth. The Oregon mom found the Live Camera Viewer app while looking for more satellite feeds. That’s when she saw a broadcast from Houston, Texas, of a little girl’s bedroom.

To read this article in full or to leave a comment, please click here


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Lady Gaga – Born This Way (Gaga Live Sydney Monster Hall)
August 3, 2016 3:35 am|Comments (0)

Born This Way (Gaga Live Sydney Monster Hall)

  • Artist: Lady Gaga
  • Label: Streamline/Kon Live/Interscope
  • Director: Bernie Zelvis

Source:
http://www.mtv.com/overdrive/?artist=3061469&vid=742469

Amanda Bynes Amanda Detmer Amanda Marcum Amanda Peet Amanda Righetti Amanda Swisten

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Hays County, Texas Goes Live with Industry Leading Land Records…
July 18, 2016 5:00 pm|Comments (0)

Hays County Records Division has a new Land Records management system that will enhance the County’s ability to serve its citizens.

(PRWeb July 18, 2016)

Read the full story at http://www.prweb.com/releases/2016/07/prweb13559187.htm


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