Apple snags drama series based on Kevin Durant’s childhood

Apple's slate of original shows keeps growing and growing and the latest addition is a drama based on the early life of Kevin Durant. Swagger will focus on youth basketball players, their families and their coaches and will draw on Durant's experienc…
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Netflix snags ‘Glee’ creator’s comedy series ‘The Politician’

The name Ryan Murphy may not ring a bell, but you've undoubtedly heard of the big-name TV shows he created. From Glee to American Horror Story, Nip/Tuck and others, Murphy has a solid track record when it comes to television. Deadline reports Netflix…
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YouTube snags Eminem-produced satirical rap film Bodied

Bodied, a satirical hip-hop film produced by rapper Eminem, will get a public release on YouTube. The company announced its acquisition of the movie today, along with a preview of the film at the Sundance Film Festival on January 21st. A theatrical release will follow later in 2018, and Bodied will also play on YouTube Red, the company’s streaming subscription service.

Bodied director Joseph Kahn emerged from the commercial world, and has an extensive body of high-profile music videos made with artists including Taylor Swift, Lady Gaga, Eminem, and Katy Perry. (He later had a public falling out with Lady Gaga over the direction of the video for her song “The Edge of Glory.”) His previous films include the 2011 horror movie Detention and…

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David Letterman’s Netflix talk show snags Obama as the first guest

While Chelsea Handler's talk show on Netflix is on its way out, the company is taking a different approach with a new attempt featuring David Letterman as shown by its first trailer. My Next Guest Needs No Introduction is scheduled for six 60-minute…
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Apple Music snags Major Lazer concert documentary “Give Me Future”

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In March 2016, Barack Obama became the first U.S. President to visit Cuba in 88 years, marking an easing of political tension between the world power and the small island republic. That same month, electronic music group Major Lazer self funded the first major Cuban-American concert in Havana, an event that drew nearly half a million attendees.
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Netflix snags a new exec to tackle policy challenges in Europe and around the world

It’s poached Monique Meche from Amazon

In the words of Netflix CEO Reed Hastings, the streaming giant is “just getting started” when it comes to expanding in Europe and beyond.

But the streaming giant’s international growth spurt also includes the realm of politics, as Netflix is announcing today that it’s hired Monique Meche as its new vice president of global public policy.

The role will see Meche lead Netflix’s government affairs operation across 190 countries, including the United States — an assignment she knows well after serving as a top executive at Amazon’s global policy unit. Her resume also includes similar work for Cisco and Intel.

Much of Netflix’s gains in recent months have come from abroad: The company now boasts 52 million international subscribers, according to its latest earnings numbers. With it, Netflix has plopped down more than $ 1.75 billion to invest in European content alone.

As it expands, though, Netflix increasingly must contend with greater regulatory scrutiny. That’s particularly the case in the European Union, where policymakers are weighing whether to force streaming giants like Netflix to devote upwards of 20 or 30 percent of their online catalogues to European-made content. Netflix has opposed such quotas.

Meanwhile, the region’s regulators have also explored levying new taxes on tech giants like Amazon, Facebook and Netflix. That’s part of a broader EU crackdown on U.S. tech giants for their business practices.

In Asia, meanwhile, Netflix has struggled in many countries to obtain programming rights. And in China, specifically, regulators had blocked the company from operating at all — until it brokered a deal this year with a subsidiary of Baidu.

One of Netflix’s longest wars, however, is in the United States: The streaming giant and its tech allies are still battling at the Federal Communications Commission over net neutrality. Netflix has urged the telecom agency to keep rules in place that treat internet providers similar to utilities.


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Netflix snags an Alan Arkin, Michael Douglas comedy series

Netflix may have lost Disney, but it has been bringing in a ton of big names the past couple of weeks. The latest project to be announced is a comedy series starring Michael Douglas and Alan Arkin. Entitled The Kominsky Method, the series will be wri…
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Amazon snags rights to Lucille Ball movie starring Cate Blanchett

Amazon isn't done seeking Hollywood glory just because it has a couple of Oscars under its belt. The internet giant's studio wing has snapped up Luci and Desi, a high-profile biographical flick covering the relationship between I Love Lucy co-creato…
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Wiz Khalifa snags the YouTube crown from ‘Gangnam Style’

For a while, it looked as if Psy's "Gangnam Style" would have an unassailable lead as the most-viewed YouTube video. After all, the catchy K-Pop tune was so popular that it broke YouTube's view counter. However, it's time to crown a new champion. As…
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Artificial intelligence company SparkCognition snags $32.5M Series B

SparkCognition, an AI-based cyber security analytics company closed a $ 32.5M Series B funding round led by the returning investor Verizon Ventures. The Boeing Company, through its Boeing HorizonX unit, also participated. The company plans to use the proceeds to expand operations and boost sales.

The company’s three core products are SparkArmor, SparlPredict, and SparkSecure.

SparkArmor is a machine-learning based anti-malware software which the company has trained on millions of malicious and benign files to help spot such threats when they appear. SparkArmor’s technical specification sheet reads that “its architecture consists of a small endpoint agent that integrates with the cloud-based cognitive engine and threat intelligence platform. The agent, designed to protect the client, server, mobile, and IoT devices, prevents malware and advanced persistent threats, independent of signatures”.

SparkPredict can be used to predict asset/machine failure. SparkSecure is a cloud-based application that collects security data to detect cyber threats. The startup leverage IBM’s Watson platform to train it on a large corpus of security content and relevant product data.

The three solutions can be implemented in a variety of environments, including IT, OT and industrial IoT.

It primarily serves the Fortune 1000 companies operating in the energy, oil and gas, manufacturing, finance, aerospace, defense, telecommunications, and security sectors. In 2017, the company was ranked #20 on the CNBC Disruptor 50 list and is led by Amir Husain, founder, and CEO of SparkCognition.

The investors who participated in the company’s previous funding rounds include CME Ventures, Alameda Ventures, The Entrepreneur’s Fund, and Michael Dell’s private equity arm, MSD Capital. Previous investments totaled approximately $ 16M. “SparkCognition is at the forefront of a technological shift in machine learning and artificial intelligence which will revolutionize every aspect of the industry,” said Greg Hyslop, Boeing chief technology officer.


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