YouTube TV reportedly adding new channels and markets, but also raising its price

YouTube TV Android app

It sounds like some big changes are coming to YouTube TV, and while some are good, others are not so great.

YouTube TV will gain several new channels tomorrow, February 14, according to a BuzzFeed post that has since been deleted. These new channels will include CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, TBS, TNT, truth, and Turner Classic Movies.

Also coming to YouTube TV are nationally televised NBA games, the NBA All-Star Weekend, NBA Playoffs, the NBA TV channel, MLB postseason games, and MLB Network. UEFA soccer and PGA Championship golf are coming, too, and NBA League Pass and MLB.TV will be available for an extra fee.

Other good news for YouTube TV is that the service is expanding to 18 new markets. These are said to be Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, El Paso, Burlington, Plattsburgh, Richmond, Petersburg, Mobile, Syracuse, Champaign, Springfield, Columbia, Charleston, Harlingen, Wichita, Wilkes-Barre, and Scranton.

And then there’s the not so great news. YouTube TV will reportedly increase its monthly price on March 13 from $ 35 to $ 40. This pricing will only apply to new subscribers, though, so you should be able to sign up before then and keep your lower price.

YouTube TV is still a growing service in a market with lots of competition, so these new channels and new markets are good to see and are important if YouTube TV wants to compete against the likes of Sling and PlayStation Vue. As for the price increase, no one likes to see the price of a service go up, but at least YouTube TV is adding several new channels and keeping features like six user accounts and unlimited DVR while bumping up its price.

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ZipRecruiter is raising money for the first time in almost four years

The company is raising $ 50 million — and that’s likely just the start.

The job-posting website ZipRecruiter is returning to the fundraising well for the first time since 2014, authorizing a new round of financing that values the company at almost $ 1 billion.

The eight-year-old company is slated to raise around $ 50 million in new capital, according to a fundraising document, and it is in talks to possibly collect even more money beyond that. The current financing authorization would value the company at around $ 930 million, according to the November filing with the state of Delaware that was provided by Lagniappe Labs, creator of the Prime Unicorn Index.

The identity of the funder could not be learned, but it is believed to be a major financial institution as opposed to a venture capital firm. ZipRecruiter declined to comment.

The company was last valued at $ 300 million, according to PitchBook, after accepting $ 63 million in a round led by IVP. The company operated for four years without taking outside funding.

ZipRecruiter faces competition from platforms like Glassdoor, a possible IPO candidate, and Indeed, which has been acquired, but ZipRecruiter claims to have hosted 120 million job seekers. The Santa Monica-based company led by Ian Siegel has close to 1,000 employees.


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HQ Trivia is raising $15 million at a valuation of more than $100 million from Founders Fund

Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is leading the round.

HQ Trivia, the popular trivia gameshow app, plans to raise money in a new round of financing that values the company north of $ 100 million, according to multiple sources.

Founders Fund, the venture firm founded by billionaire Peter Thiel, is expected to lead the round of $ 15 million, these sources say. Founders Fund partner Cyan Banister is spearheading the investment for the firm, and plans to take a seat on the company’s board.

A spokesperson for Founders Fund declined to comment. Jeremy Liew, an HQ investor and board member who works at Lightspeed Ventures, could not be immediately reached for comment on Thursday.

HQ, which has garnered audiences of more than 1 million people for some of its twice-daily trivia shows, has been out fundraising since at least November, but it has had trouble raising money after investors learned of alleged bad behavior by one of the company’s founders, Colin Kroll.

Kroll and fellow co-founder Rus Yusupov also started the video app Vine before selling it to Twitter in 2012. Both founders were eventually fired from Twitter, and had garnered reputations for being difficult to work with.

Kroll’s time at Twitter was particularly troubling to some investors. As Recode first reported, Kroll had developed a reputation for exhibiting behavior that made female colleagues uncomfortable. That reputation turned off potential investors who considered an investment in the company late last year, and HQ ultimately paused the funding process to regroup.

In December, Liew, an investor from a previous round, conducted his own investigation into the allegations.

“We heard back from a couple of firms that they were not going to move forward, specifically because of rumors of what was characterized as womanizing on Colin’s part,” Liew told Recode in December. “I was concerned that this might be code for sexual harassment. So in my capacity as a board member, I conducted an investigation to find out what actually happened. I spoke to about a dozen current and former Twitter execs. The investigation was exhaustive and included the most knowledgeable primary sources. I found a good deal of negative sentiment about Colin and the Vine team and some discomfort with his behavior, but I did not find evidence that warrants his removal from the company.”

Investor interest in HQ was high before the founders’ behavior became public — HQ was the app of the moment late last year, luring in hundreds of thousands of users twice a day thanks to a catchy trivia host and cash prizes.

Even after Recode’s story detailing the founders’ reputation, many investors were still interested in the deal but worried about the optics of leading the funding, numerous sources said. Multiple venture funds said they were eager to join the round as long as they did not have to lead it given the potential for negative publicity.

Given the recent and frequent allegations of sexual harassment against influential men in numerous industries, Silicon Valley investors are being more being more careful about which founders they support. Some firms that considered the deal did their own investigations into the founders’ history, including Founders Fund, the sources said.

It is notable that Banister, a female investor, is ultimately leading the round.

The deal, which came together in just the last couple of days, has not yet closed. But the new funding is needed. HQ’s cash prizes have increased, and on special occasions can be as high as $ 10,000 per game. The app also suffers from constant technical issues, and the games are often delayed while the company gets the video stream up and running. New funding should help in both cases.

The company had previously raised $ 8 million in funding to build other apps, including a separate mobile video app called Hype. None caught on. Kroll and Yusupov pivoted the business to the HQ Trivia app in late 2017.


Recode – All

Amazon is raising the price of Prime monthly memberships by nearly 20 percent

From $ 10.99 to $ 12.99.

Amazon Prime memberships are getting more expensive for those customers who want the flexibility to pay for the speedy shipping and media streaming program on a monthly basis.

The company is announcing on Friday that the Amazon Prime monthly fee is increasing from $ 10.99 to $ 12.99 in the U.S., an increase of 18 percent. The new price works out to nearly $ 156 a year.

The increase comes less than two years after Amazon first introduced the monthly payment option as a way to attract new Prime members who either couldn’t afford the annual membership of $ 99 (which is not increasing), or didn’t want to commit to using the service continuously.

As I wrote this summer:

The monthly payment option was seen as a way to attract lower-income customers — the type of shopper who might otherwise prefer, say, Walmart — who could not cough up $ 99 at one time. Since then, Prime membership growth has been the strongest among households making less than $ 50,000 annually, an R.W. Baird study found.

Prime is the engine at the center of the Amazon commerce machine — Prime members buy from Amazon more frequently than non-Prime members and also spend more, hence why Amazon introduced the monthly option to lure new members. So, if the company is raising the fee, you can bet that it discovered that the current $ 10.99 was just not sustainable.

“Prime provides an unparalleled combination of shipping, shopping and entertainment benefits, and we continue to invest in making Prime even more valuable for our members,” the company said in a statement. “The number of items eligible for unlimited Free Two-Day Shipping increased in recent years from 20 million to more than 100 million items. We have expanded Prime Free Same-Day and Prime Free One-Day delivery to more than 8,000 cities and towns. We also continue to introduce new, popular and award-winning Prime Originals … Members also enjoy a growing list of unique benefits like Prime Music, Prime Reading, exclusive products and much more.”

Translation: This stuff is really expensive.

The price of Amazon’s monthly Prime program for students, which just launched this past fall, is also jumping 18 percent — from $ 5.49 to $ 6.49.

At the same time, the cost of a monthly Prime Video membership, which doesn’t include shipping benefits, will remain at $ 8.99; the monthly Prime membership option for customers on government assistance will also remain unchanged at $ 5.99.


Recode – All