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09.23.16 | 5:40 am

Facebook has been overestimating the average time users spent watching videos for two years

The social media network revealed in a post on its advertiser help center that for two years its metric for the average time a user spent watching videos on the service was artificially inflated, reports the Wall Street Journal. The inflated figures arose from the fact that Facebook didn't count video views of less than three seconds. Publicis Media, an ad buying agency who purchased $77 billion in ads on behalf of marketers around the world in 2015, said Facebook told them that it likely overestimated average time spent watching videos by between 60% and 80%.

The revelation will come as a huge embarrassment for Facebook as it's been heavily touting that video is the future of the platform for years now. If reaction on Twitter is anything to go by, Facebook's revelation is being treated both with disbelief and disdain.

[Image: Facebook]

12.07.16 | 10:00 pm

Windows 10 is coming to Qualcomm mobile devices

The biggest operating system on PCs will soon work with silicon from the biggest chipmaker for mobile devices. Microsoft and Qualcomm just announced that Windows 10 will run on Qualcomm's newest chips, starting with the upcoming Snapdragon 835. Details are a bit scarce, though: Qualcomm says only that Windows will run on "cellular PC devices" running on its ARM-based chips instead of Intel's and AMD's x86-style processor architecture. Qualcomm expects the first gadgets to arrive in the second half of 2017.

New phones wouldn't be exciting: Windows Phone edition devices have flopped going against Android and Apple—with less than 2% market share. But cheap, power-sipping desktops or laptops, or entirely new types of gadgets—all with Snapdragon's gigabit cellular radio and artificial intelligence capabilities—could be in the works. (Microsoft already has a version of Windows for "internet of things" devices, such as home-automation systems, that runs on ARM-based chips including Qualcomm's current versions.)

This isn't the first time Microsoft has ported Windows to ARM devices. In 2012, it introduced Windows RT, which looked like regular Windows, but couldn't run standard Windows software—leading to confused and peeved customers. Microsoft's Surface tablets using Intel processors and a full version of Windows have done okay in sales, though nothing like the rival iPad. Building Surface-style devices on ARM chips could get Intel and Qualcomm to compete for Microsoft's business. It's a potential win for Qualcomm, too. While the PC market isn't booming, it's still an extra source of revenue for a company trying hard to not get pigeonholed into the mobile phone and tablet markets, which are no longer proceeding at a gallop, either.

12.07.16 | 6:34 pm

One Drop now offers subscription-based supplies, monitoring, and coaching for people with diabetes

One Drop, one of a growing number of diabetes-technology startups, is now offering unlimited test strips, mobile behavioral coaching, and continuous glucose monitoring hardware by subscription. 

One Drop's hardware sells for $79.95 ($20 less than normal) if the user buys additional services for $39.95 per month, which includes supplies and virtual coaching with certified diabetes educators. The challenge for One Drop, and competing startups like Livongo Health, is that many patients remain hooked on the brand their insurer has covered for some time (and often get supplies or the device for free), says Amy Tenderich, founder of DiabetesMine. But Tenderich sees the coaching services as an exciting development that might tempt some to make the switch. 

12.07.16 | 6:23 pm

Consumer VR software could be worth $14B by 2020 despite slow start

Consumer virtual reality isn't going quite as well as expected so far, which means there's still a whole lot of upside. One recent study, by Greenlight Insights and Road To VR, concluded that the entire VR ecosystem could be worth $38 billion by 2026—and now, despite slower than predicted sales of some major VR hardware, notably Sony's PlayStation VR, SuperData Research is saying content alone will be worth as much as $14 billion a year by 2020, reports VentureBeat.

That seems soon for such a big number given that SuperData says consumer VR software sales will come in at $417 million this year. But analyst Stephanie Lamas announced the expectation at the VRX conference in San Francisco today. She also said that Google's Daydream View would sell 261,000 units this year, VentureBeat wrote, while HTC's Vive would move 420,000 units, Oculus's Rift 355,000, and Samsung's Gear VR will come in at 2.3 million total. All told, she said at the conference, there will be 16 million users of virtual reality by year's end.

12.07.16 | 5:59 pm

Evening intel: CNN sued, Snapchat boggles, Trump infuriates

• Turner-owned cable networks—CNN, TBS, and TNT—are facing a lawsuit from black employees who say they were systematically passed over for promotions and unable to advance at the media company.

Digiday has an interesting story about how difficult it is to get certain user metrics out of Snapchat, which is gearing up for an IPO next year. The company did share age data, and it turns out 20% of its users are over 35—not sure if that's high or not.

• Environmental advocates are not happy with Donald Trump's pick to lead the EPA. Scott Pruitt is not only a little too cozy with the fossil fuel industry, he's also a fierce critic of the very agency he is being tapped to run.

• Following a DOJ investigation, a Bumble Bee executive has pled guilty to charges that he conspired to fix the price of tuna. Please take a moment to let the term "tuna price-fixing" sink in.

And finally, the VR industry has its own trade association, and you don't need goggles to see it

12.07.16 | 2:48 pm

AMC Networks hit with stock downgrade for an over-reliance on “Walking Dead”

It's been a while since AMC has had a breakout hit to match the buzz of its Breaking Bad and Mad Men era. Granted, it still has the Walking Dead franchise, but analysts are growing more and more concerned that the zombie well will eventually run dry. The problem is compounded by the fact that AMC has no corporate cushion to soften the blow: It's not part of a larger media conglomerate like, say, Fox broadcasting was when it when it relied too heavily on American Idol a few years ago. 

"AMC Networks is on the cusp of experiencing this type of chaos due to an over-reliance on The Walking Dead and appears to have few tools, except an outright sale, to save them from further multiple compression," media analyst Michael Nathanson wrote in a research note today. 

Nathanson's firm, MoffettNathanson, downgraded AMC's stock from Neutral to Sell, citing ratings for Walking Dead that are "sequentially eroding at an alarming pace."

[Photo: AMC]

12.07.16 | 2:14 pm

Fitbit and Medtronic team up to develop an app for people with diabetes 

Diabetes has been the target of many recent collaborations between health and technology companies, in part because management of the disease today requires a lot of manual, educated guesswork. With the advent of sophisticated algorithms and sensors, the hope is that much of the work will be automated.

The latest partnership is between Fitbit and Medtronic, maker of medical devices for people with diabetes including continuous glucose monitors. The companies developed a mobile app — iPro2 myLog — for patients to see their glucose levels and physical activity data in one place. The goal is to demonstrate the value of lifestyle changes for some 29 million people in the U.S. alone living with Type 2 diabetes. 

12.07.16 | 1:55 pm

VR leaders form trade association to boost industry’s growth

Given the amount of hype about virtual reality over the last couple of years, you'd think the industry was dominating, bringing in huge profits, and getting ready for giant sales this holiday season. The actual reality is that, although early adopters love VR, hardware sales have been tepid and content development is slower than a lot of people would like. 

Now, some of the industry's leading players–companies like Facebook-owned Oculus, Google, HTC, Samsung, Sony, and Acer Starbreeze–have gotten together to form the Global Virtual Reality Association, a nonprofit that aims to "develop and share best practices for industry and foster dialogue between public and private stakeholders around the world." 

The companies behind the new association know that they've collectively created something that can change entire industries–fields like education, gaming, health care, manufacturing, and so on–and they don't want to lose momentum as VR technology evolves. The question is, can the nonprofit help speed up content development as well as bring product costs down fast enough to get consumers on board in time for rosy predictions such as VR being a $38 billion business by 2026?

12.07.16 | 1:15 pm

Survey: VCs prize “management team” above all when making investment decisions

"Management team," more than business model, product, or market, is the most important factor in investment decisions for over half of institutional venture capitalists, according to a survey released as part of an economics working paper. For the purposes of the survey, researchers defined "management team" as comprising managerial experience, industry expertise, and passion. 

VCs' bias toward management over other investment considerations might be contributing to the well-documented issues around founder diversity

12.07.16 | 12:52 pm

Among banks, Citigroup, Banco Santander, and Goldman Sachs are the most active fintech VCs

Investment in fintech startups is in decline overall, but large banks are still writing checks. Over the last five quarters, according to CB Insights, Citigroup and Banco Santander have each made eight investments in VC-backed fintech companies, while Goldman participated in seven deals. Other leading banks, including Wells Fargo and JPMorgan Chase, made just one fintech investment over that same time period.

12.07.16 | 12:39 pm

Afternoon intel: Peter Thiel reigns over Trump team, Apple faces yet another tax controversy

• PayPal cofounder Peter Thiel continues to influence the incoming Trump administration, with Zenefits CFO Mark Woolway and Thiel Capital managing director Kevin Harrington expected to join the Treasury's transition team and the Commerce department, respectively. 

Bloomberg reports that Apple is being paid by the U.S. to tax-shelter corporate profits: "Apple stashed much of its foreign earnings—tax-free—right here in the U.S., in part by purchasing government bonds … in return, the Treasury Department paid Apple at least $600 million," writes Andrea Wong

• Russia and the U.S. could be going head-to-head over what their respective diplomats have the ability do in each country if a pending U.S. bill with travel restrictions for Russian diplomats gets signed into law, Reuters reports. 

• The New York Times today published an inside look into the violent anti-drug measures being taken in the Philippines at the call of the country's President Rodrigo Duterte

• And here's something for your holiday wish list: A new futuristic lamp from GE with Amazon Alexa built right in. 

12.07.16 | 12:21 pm

Headspace users flocked to “SOS” meditation sessions after the election  

In the aftermath of a hectic presidential election, some people are turning to meditation for solace. Meditation app Headspace says it saw a bump in the use of its "SOS" content—two-minute meditation sessions that are supposed to diffuse "meltdown moments."   

"We saw a 44% increase in our SOS content usage in the week following the election," a Headspace representative told Fast Company

How are you coping with the post-election political climate? Tweet me @ruthreader

[Photo: AMC]

12.07.16 | 12:14 pm

Trump adds more members of Peter Thiel’s brain trust to his transition team

Legendary investor Peter Thiel's influence in the Trump administration continues to grow. The PayPal cofounder and Facebook board member is playing a big role in the transition effort and many of his colleagues and friends have been appointed to key positions in recent weeks. Last month, Trump appointed Trae Stephens, a principal at Thiel's Founders Fund venture capital firm, to oversee appointments at the Pentagon. And today, the president-elect is expected to name two more executives close to Thiel to the transition team, reports Forbes: Zenefits CFO Mark Woolway will join the Treasury Department's transition team and Thiel Capital managing director Kevin Harrington is going to join the Commerce Department.