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Chinese Tech Giant Tencent Seeks to Purchase a Stake in Warner Music

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While much of the focus in TikTok’s meteoric rise has been on the competition that the app has brought to Facebook, Instagram and Snapchat, many have overlooked the app’s rivals in China, which are also seeking to stifle its growth and fend off competition.

Tencent is chief among them. Tencent is essentially the Facebook of China, with its most popular app WeChat ​dominating the market, with over 1.2 billion monthly active users. But ByteDance, which owns TikTok and its Chinese variant Douyin, is on the rise. In fact, in 2019 ByteDance overtook both Baidu and Tencent to become China’s second-largest earner of digital advertising revenues, only trailing Alibaba Group. 

And now Tencent, much like Facebook, is seeking ways to quash its growing rival.

Tencent has already tried the traditional Facebook replication tactic, launching several TikTok-like apps, and similar tools within WeChat, in order to keep users from straying. But ByteDance has continued to grow. Which is why Tencent’s latest moves are particularly interesting.

This week, The Wall Street Journal has reported that Tencent is seeking to purchase a $200 million stake in Warner Music as part of Warner’s IPO next week.

As noted by WSJ:

“The Warner investment would further reinforce Tencent’s growing presence in the music industry. It swapped stakes with Spotify in 2017 ahead of the music-streaming giant’s listing, while Vivendi SA sold a 10% stake in Universal Music Group to Tencent for $3.36 billion late last year, valuing the world’s largest music company at more than $33 billion.” 

When Tencent made that investment in Universal last year, analysts predicted that Tencent would eventually look to use its sway within the music giant to influence future licensing negotiations between Universal and Bytedance, which could restrict the use of Universal music in TikTok clips.

TikTok signed new licensing deals with UniversalWarner and Sony earlier this year, but all of those deals were ‘shorter-than-usual’, based on industry norms. That means that TikTok’s licenses will be up for review relatively quickly, and if Tencent is able to influence the decision-making on such within two of the three main players, that could be a big problem for ByteDance, and by extension TikTok.

If TikTok were unable to allow users to add popular music to their clips, that could cripple the short-form video app. Music is central to how TikTok functions, and while it would be stretch for Tencent to stop TikTok using music content entirely, it could force significant impositions on any future deals.

And that’s not the only front on which Tencent is looking to hit TikTok.

Earlier this week, we reported that short-form video app Zynn has seen a massive surge in the US App Store charts, less than a month after its launch. Chinese-owned Zynn is essentially a TikTok clone, with the added lure of paying users for engaging within the app, and getting their friends to sign up.

Zynn

So what’s that got to do with Tencent?

Zynn is funded by Kuaishou, which is the main rival for Douyin, the Chinese version of TikTok. In December last year, Tencent invested $2 billion in Kuaishou, in the hopes of using it to blunt the growth of ByteDance.

And now, it’s seeking to hook western users as well, with the strong lure of essentially paying users to watch video clips. And it’s working – as noted, Zynn hit the top of the App Store charts in the US this week, and with more people out of work due to COVID-19 restrictions, and with more time on their hands due to the same, it could well be the perfect time to attack TikTok’s presence, particularly in the US.

At present, TikTok remains in a relatively good position, but these indicators show that it will face an increasingly tough path as it looks to advance to the next stage of growth. TikTok’s looking to add in more revenue generation tools for influencers, in order to keep them around, while it’s also seeking to further ingratiate itself with Western audiences by partnering with celebrities and donating to charitable causes. It’s also looking to distance itself from its Chinese roots in order to avoid regulatory scrutiny – but the arrival of Zynn could cause significant challenges, in each respect, while Tencent’s interest in music providers could also, eventually, become a key sticking point. 

That’s not to say that TikTok won’t win out, but like Snapchat, its path to expansion could become a lot tougher, especially if bigger rivals continue to copy its key functions and bring them to their larger audiences.

Basically, while TikTok is the darling right now, it’s worth noting that its whale competitors are circling, And that could spell danger for the platform moving forward.

Socialmediatoday.com

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Novak Djokovic, Rafael Nadal and Roger Federer: Born or made great?

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The Big 3 have won a total of 56 Grand Slams in their career.

Ecogastronomy, puppet arts, viticulture and enology, influencer marketing, or bakery science. In 2022, you can become anything you want and there are even specialized undergraduate degrees to help you gain all the relevant skills at university. Essentially, you can now be academically trained in any subject and learn practically everything you need to excel at your job.

In the context of sports, and particularly tennis, this is no different. There are plenty of degrees you can pursue to complement your career as an athlete, physiotherapist, or coach with useful knowledge about the human body, anatomy, and health.

This basically means that professional tennis players of the 21st century can complement their extraordinary talent and training routine with a relevant education and an elite team of professional and eminent physiotherapists, coaches, PR, and strategists. Ultimately, players have countless tools that can help them win matches, stay healthy, and be well-liked by the press and the fans.

You can find these ‘A teams’ all around the tour nowadays: players of the former next gen have taken advantage of their early success to incorporate experts on every specialty into their team and others like Carlos Alcaraz or Holger Rune have come directly in the tour alongside first-class teams headed by former World No. 1 and Slam champion Juan Carlos Ferrero and respected coach Patrick Mouratoglou respectively.

Understandably, tennis legends who have been on tour for almost two decades have progressively adapted to the quest for perfection too. You must remember Novak Djokovic’s radical diet change mid-career or Rafael Nadal’s loyal sports doctor for most of his injury-prone career.

21st-century professional tennis players have learned it all as far as tennis skills are concerned. In fact, objectively any top-100 player can produce Djokovesque cross-court backhands or Nadalese down-the-line forehands any time – we have seen rallies of the highest level in practices, Challengers and junior tournaments.

So, one must think that if every player on the tour can produce top-level tennis and is surrounded by the perfect team, what is stopping them from winning 20+ Grand Slam titles like Nadal, Roger Federer, and Djokovic?


Nadal, Federer and Djokovic — the Big 3

Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.
Roger Federer, Rafael Nadal and Novak Djokovic in discussion at the 2022 Laver Cup.

The Big 3 — Rafael Nadal, Roger Federer and Novak Djokovic — are living proof that in life there are things you just can’t learn, despite our self-help books saying otherwise. Tennis is different from other mainstream sports in that it remains an individual and extremely mental sport.

These three players belong at a higher level than anyone else, and it is not only the 63 combined Slam titles that separate them from their opponents. It is clearly not their physical form either, quite the opposite currently. It is the ability to remain serene, focused, confident, and indifferent to the crowd, pressure, and expectations, to play one point at a time, whether it is a break or a championship point, and to extract it from the surrounding context.

Being the best of all time does, however, not imply being the better player in all matches. We don’t have to go far back to find an example of a time when Nadal and Djokovic were the clear underdogs in a match. For instance, in Wimbledon 2022 we saw Nadal win a match with an abdominal tear and an average 80-mph serve speed (on a grasscourt!) against Taylor Fritz, a top American player in his best-ever season.

In essence, the three GOATs have had the ability to know how to win even when they are the worst players on the court, and if that greatness is something we all could learn or train for, it would stop being called so and we would see it more often.

Whether it is the experience, intelligence or just intrinsic and unique talent that has led to Big 3’s unprecedented achievements we won’t ever exactly know and, I am afraid, they are giving no opportunity to the so-called Next Gen to even dream of replicating their record book and help us make sense of what it takes to become a tennis master.

In any case, we can only feel extremely fortunate to have lived on the same timeline as the greatest trivalry in sports history. All of us, but the Next Gen, can only hope Nadal and Djokovic do not follow Federer’s retirement path anytime soon. And one only needs to watch their last matches against each other to (rightfully) assume that might not happen anytime soon.

What is the foot injury that has troubled Rafael Nadal over the years? Check here

Poll : Who will end up with most Grand Slam titles?

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

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Meta Could be Exploring Paid Blue Checkmarks on Facebook and Instagram

It seems like Elon Musk’s chaotic management approach at Twitter is having some broader impacts, with more companies reportedly considering lay-offs in the wake of Musk culling 70% of Twitter staff (and keeping the app running), and Meta now apparently also considering charging for blue checkmarks in its apps.

Yes, the Twitter Blue approach to making people pay for verification, which hasn’t proven overly popular on Twitter itself, is now also seemingly in consideration at Meta as well.

According to a new finding by reverse engineering pro Alessandro Paluzzi, there’s a new mention in the codebase of both Facebook and Instagram of a ‘paid blue badge’.

Paluzzi also shared a screenshot of the code with TechCrunch:

That does appear to refer to a subscription service for both apps, which could well give you a blue verification badge as a result.

Mets has neither confirmed nor denied the project, but it does seem, at least on the surface, that it’s considering offering checkmarks as another paid option – which still seems strange, considering the original purpose of verification, which is to signify noteworthy people or profiles in the app.

If people can just buy that, then it’s no longer of any value, right?

Evidently, that’s not the case, and with Twitter already bringing in around $7 million per quarter from Twitter Blue subscriptions, maybe Meta’s looking for a means to supplement its own intake, and make up for lost ad dollars and/or rising costs of its metaverse development.

It seems counter-intuitive, but I guess, if people will pay, and the platforms aren’t concerned about there being confusion as to what the blue ticks actually mean.

I guess, more money is good?

Meta has, in the past, said that it won’t charge a subscription fee to access its apps. But this, of course, would be supplemental – users wouldn’t have to pay, but they could buy a blue checkmark if they wanted, and use the implied value of recognition for their own purposes.

Which seems wrong, but tough times, higher costs – maybe every app needs to start digging deeper.

Meta hasn’t provided any info or confirmation at this stage, but we’ll keep you updated on any progress.



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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta’s Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

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YouTube Shorts Exceed 50B Daily Views, Meta's Reels Doubles Plays 02/03/2023

YouTube Shorts and Meta’s Reels are both making
headway in the intensely competitive video shorts sector.  

During Alphabet’s Q4 earnings call on Thursday, CEO Sundar Pichai reported that YouTube Shorts has surpassed 50 billion
daily views. That’s up from the 30 billion reported in Q1 2022.

However, it still …



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