Plex, a streaming media firm, secures new investment as profitability approaches

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Plex CEO Keith Valory confirmed the round closed this month, but was unable to disclose Plex’s new valuation. Recently, the company has been developing social features, as well, allowing Plex users to opt into a feature that tracks their viewing and shares it with friends. To date, however, it’s Plex’s ad-supported streaming that’s been helping Plex grow its revenue. And we’re in, at least, the top five if not higher in this space, and we feel like we’re doing really, really well,” he said. As a result of Plex’s ability to track users’ media discovery behavior and consumption across platforms and services, the company has a unique perspective from a data standpoint.

Collaboration between OpenAI and Common Sense Media: Crafting AI Guidelines for Ethical Practices

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Case in point, OpenAI today announced a partnership with Common Sense Media, the nonprofit organization that reviews and ranks the suitability of various media and tech for kids, to collaborate on AI guidelines and education materials for parents, educators and young adults. As a part of the partnership, OpenAI will work with Common Sense Media to curate “family-friendly” GPTs — chatbot apps powered by OpenAI’s GenAI models — in the GPT Store, OpenAI’s GPT marketplace, based on Common Sense’s rating and evaluation standards, OpenAI CEO Sam Altman says. Common Sense’s framework aims to produce a “nutrition label” for AI-powered apps, according to Common Sense co-founder and CEO James Steyer, toward shedding light on the contexts in which the apps are used and highlight areas of potential opportunity and harm against a set of “common sense” tenets. An Impact Research poll commissioned by Common Sense Media late last year found that 58% of students aged 12 to 18 have used ChatGPT compared to 30% of parents of school-aged children. “Together, Common Sense and OpenAI will work to make sure that AI has a positive impact on all teens and families,” Steyer said in an emailed statement.

Cruise unveils government investigations and internal report on pedestrian collision

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Cruise lost the permits it needed to operate commercially in the state of California and has since grounded its fleet elsewhere. Problems with Cruise began almost immediately after the company received the last remaining permit required to operate its robotaxi service commercially throughout San Francisco. On that day, a pedestrian crossing a street in San Francisco was initially hit by a human-driven car and landed in the path of a Cruise robotaxi and run over. Even after obtaining the Full Video, Cruise did not correct the public narrative but continued instead to share incomplete facts and video about the Accident with the media and the public. This conduct has caused both regulators and the media to accuse Cruise of misleading them.”This story is developing …

The Discovery: A Malfunctioning Glitch Led to Multiple Posts Being Incorrectly Tagged as ‘Sensitive Material’

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A bug on X, formerly Twitter, was causing numerous posts over the weekend to be flagged as “Sensitive Media,” thwarting the company’s own attempts to make its platform more approachable to advertisers. Today, a bug in our system caused X to incorrectly label numerous posts as Sensitive Media. — Safety (@Safety) January 21, 2024“Sensitive media” is a label X uses to denote content that others may not wish to see, like violence or nudity. X asks its users who want to regularly post such items, to adjust their media settings to appropriately mark their images. This is being fixed.” An hour later, he reposted the message from the X safety team which referred to the issue as a bug.

Sony orders the termination of the $10 billion Indian merger with Zee

Sony called off the merger between its India unit and Zee Entertainment on Monday, ending a two-year acquisition deliberation that would have created a $10 billion media powerhouse in the South Asian market. Sony said in a statement that it has sent a termination letter to Zee after the Indian firm failed to meet the conditions, despite a 30-day extension. Sony also sought for Zee to improve its finances, something that has only grown worse in recent quarters. The deal would have created a $10 billion media powerhouse in India, where billionaire Mukesh Ambani is increasingly flexing his wealth and reach. Zee and Sony have been important fixtures in the Indian TV industry for the last 25 years.

Plex to Launch New TV and Movie Rental Services in Upcoming Month

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Media streamer Plex’s long-delayed plans to launch a marketplace for TV and movie rentals are finally being realized after multiple false starts. The media startup originally announced its plan to expand its streaming service to include rentals just ahead of the Covid-19 pandemic, which impacted launch plans alongside other technical concerns. Then, at CES a year ago, Plex said the rentals market was due for a second-quarter launch. With those headaches behind it, the rentals service is finally nearing launch — for real this time, Plex says. In addition to the TVOD store, the report noted Plex’s plans for the year ahead included a redesign and additional social features, too.

Google is eliminating seventeen “underutilized” Assistant functions

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Google is removing 17 “underutilized” features in Google Assistant to focus on “quality and reliability,” the company announced on Thursday. The news comes as Google is laying off hundreds of employees in its Google Assistant, hardware and other divisions. Setting or using media alarms, music alarms, or radio alarms on Google Assistant enabled devices. You can use Google Assistant to search for recipes across the web and YouTube. Using App Launcher in Google Assistant driving mode on Google Maps to read and send messages, make calls, and control media.

Newsletter “Tech Insider Bulletin”

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Called Verify, Fox and Polygon are pitching the protocol as a means for outlets to protect their IP while letting consumers verify the authenticity of content. “The Verify protocol establishes the origin and history of original journalism by cryptographically signing individual pieces of content on the blockchain,” Melody Hildebrandt, Fox’s CTO, told TechCrunch in an email interview. In August, Fox launched a beta version of Verify, co-developed with Polygon, to coincide with the GOP primary debate on Fox News. But Fox has released its own tool that can be used to verify uploaded images or articles (via a URL) that match assets registered with the Verify protocol. Using Verify, publishers can enforce controls to ensure that they’re properly compensated depending on how a vendor decides to implement their content.

Judge Allows Lawsuit Against Snap for Fentanyl Deaths to Move Forward

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A lawsuit blaming Snapchat for a series of drug overdoses among young people can proceed, a Los Angeles judge ruled this week. A group of family members related to children and teens who overdosed on fentanyl sued Snapchat maker Snap last year, accusing the social media company of facilitating illicit drug deals involving fentanyl, a synthetic opioid many times deadlier than heroin. In the ruling on Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Lawrence Riff rejected Snap’s effort to get the case dismissed. Riff did dismiss four counts against Snap but overruled the company’s efforts to throw out more than 10 others, including negligence and wrongful death. The depth of disagreement is revealed by the parties’ inability jointly to label Snap’s social media presence and activities: “service,” “app,” “product”, “tool,” “interactive course of conduct,” “platform,” “website,” “software” or something else.

Previewing 2024: Anticipating a Decrease in Venture Capitalists by Equity Experts

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Hello, and welcome back to Equity, a podcast about the business of startups, where we unpack the numbers and nuance behind the headlines. And that means it’s time to brush the dust off of an Equity tradition that stretches back many years: Our predictions episode! As we try to every year, we brought in a number of voices to ensure that we covered enough ground. This time around, we have Alex Wilhelm, Mary Ann Azevedo, Kirsten Korosec and Becca Szkutak — the people you heard the most on the podcast this year! We had other themes mixed in as well, so find your headphones and get ready for some Hot Takes, yeah?