How Facebook’s Libra Will Turbo-Charge Its Ad Empire, Minute Media Raises $40M To Invest In Tech, Acquisitions and other top news

Few key things that happened around the Ad Tech & Media Tech world this week

How Facebook's Libra Will Turbo-Charge Its Ad Empire

Facebook has revealed the details of its Project Libra crypto coin, an ambitious plan to bring digital currency like Bitcoin to billions of people worldwide. The plan will be carried out with dozens of partners, including Uber and MasterCard, and could remake the global payment industry. Facebook will be able to use Calibra, its new digital wallet, to compete with the likes of PayPal’s digital payment app Venmo, while also offering cheaper cross-border payments. Facebook’s new currency, called Libra, could also help the company save on transaction costs. But if you had to guess Facebook’s main motive, the best answer is that Project Libra will help the social network do what it does best: collect data and sell advertising.

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Game streaming site Twitch buys social network Bebo

Twitch, the Amazon-owned videogame streaming site, has bought Bebo, once the UK’s largest social network, the company confirmed on Tuesday. Terms of the acquisition were not disclosed, but the industry site TechCrunch reported that the sale price was $25m (£19m), after a small bidding war with the gaming chat app Discord. After a series of pivots, Bebo has, since 2017, produced software that lets users stream themselves playing games to Twitch. Founded in 2005 by the Anglo-American couple Michael and Xochi Birch, Bebo briefly rose to become the most popular social networking site in the UK and Ireland. At its peak, it claimed more than 10 million registered users in the brief interregnum between MySpace’s early growth and Facebook’s domination of the market. The social network’s unique selling point was the “whiteboard”, which let users post crude mouse-drawn images on each others pages alongside more conventional text and photo posts. In 2008, AOL acquired the company for $850m, before declaring just two years later that it would shut down the site if it couldn’t find a buyer, citing a lack of profitability of the rapidly declining service.

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Why streaming gaming will change the video game industry

Streaming has upended the movie and music industries. Now, it’s spreading to the video game business. Several video game publishers announced titles coming to Google’s cloud system, Stadia, during last week’s E3 conference, and Microsoft showed off its own Project xCloud in a demo. The companies promise that very soon, through the cloud, it will be possible for many people around the world to play high-end video games on a tablet or phone without the need to lug around a console or PC. Once video games become easily accessible, companies are hoping it will attract new gamers, while making mobile games more sophisticated. Unlike traditional video game consoles, which do all of their computing on their own, most of streaming games’ computing takes place on massive computers in faraway server farms. Players can sign up for a cloud service that allows them to stream and play the games directly on a phone, tablet or TV

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Minute Media Raises $40M To Invest In Tech, Acquisitions

Two months after acquiring The Big Lead from Gannett, digital publishing platform Minute Media has announced it raised $40 million in a recent funding round. This brings Minute Media’s total funding to $120 million. Going forward, the company is “focusing investment on the deepening of our publisher product and tech offering — a part of our business that is rapidly expanding,” Asaf Peled, founder-CEO of Minute Media, stated. The funding will also be used for future mergers and acquisitions of publishing brands “across new content verticals and within new markets,” he added. Minute Media operates and licenses a digital publishing platform and media solutions. Revenue for the company is growing “100% year-on-year,” according to Peled. Minute Media’s properties reach over 140 million monthly and feature original content in 12 languages, per the company.

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IMDb streaming service gets a content makeover

Amazon’s IMDb TV is stepping up its content game. The free streaming service, formerly known as FreeDive, will triple its content selection to include thousands of hits like Captain Fantastic and La La Land, the company said Monday. IMDb TV recently brokered deals with studios such as Warner Bros., Sony Pictures Entertainment and MGM Studios to bring more hits to the ad-supported service. Starting July 1, users can access Academy Award-winning titles such as Sense and Sensibility, starring Emma Thompson, as well as movies like A Knight’s Tale, featuring Heath Ledger. The service will also launch in Europe later this year. Viewers can access content via the IMDb website and the Prime Video app. The channel is also available on Amazon’s Fire TV streaming devices, with over 34 million active users worldwide. Marc Whitten, vice president of Fire TV, said usage of free apps has grown by more than 300% in the past year. The company said the service, which launched earlier this year, “has quickly become one of the top ad-supported apps on Fire TV.”

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