CenturyLink buys Level3; Implications for Comcast

Tom Paine

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Level3 campus

CenturyLiink's proposed $34 billion (including assumption of debt) acquisition of internet backbone provider Level3 Communications has implications for Comcast, from both sides.

In July, Comcast was widely rumored to be considering buying Level3, but those turned out to be just rumors. Not that it might not have been on Comcast's radar.

Broomfield, Colorado-based Level3 is a Tier 1 provider of core transport, IP, voice, video, and content delivery. Its a major carrier of traffic to and from Comcast's network.

Level3 also could have also strengthened Comcast's business communications services capabilities for large enterprises, and added to its fiber network for wireless backhaul.

Monroe, La-based CenturyLink, which also has an extensive fiber network, had its roots in the local telco business. CenturyLink also has a pay TV service called Prism, with only 311,000 subscribers, which competes with Comcast in some areas. CenturyLink has also been conducting a pilot for a skinny bundle over-the-top service called Prism Stream.

Comcast and Level3 had a long-running dispute over peerage costs, and Level3's complaints that Comcast was discriminating against traffic from Netflix, a major Level3 customer. But things have been relatively peaceful since the two firms reached a long-term agreement last year.

The combination would increase CenturyLink's fiber network in the United States to 450,000 miles from about 250,000.

Links 10/31: Study: AWS has 45% share of public cloud infrastructure market — more than Microsoft, Google, IBM combined; Marketo has enlisted former SAP exec as new CEO

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CenturyLink to Buy Level 3 for $34 Billion in Cash, Stock (Bloomberg)

Apple Encouraged To Bid For Time Warner As TV Strategy Falters (Investor's Business Daily)

Networking Gear Maker Brocade Is In Advanced Acquisition Talks (Fortune)

iPhone 8 with OLED display may have just been confirmed by an unlikely source (BGR)

ESPN Is Both Right and Wrong About its Terrible Subscriber Numbers (Fortune)

Verizon fell short on 22,422 homes with FIOS, city says (Philly.com)

Study: AWS has 45% share of public cloud infrastructure market — more than Microsoft, Google, IBM combined (GeekWire)

Baltimore is making a $5 billion bet that entrepreneurs can revive the city (CNBC)

Marketo Has Enlisted This Former SAP Exec as Its New CEO (Fortune)

Sunday Highlights: CRM views; Why AmerisourceBergen shares were hammered on Friday

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Why the Lehigh Valley is full of fulfillment centers (Philly.com)

SAP’s CEO on Being the American Head of a German Multinational (Harvard Business Review)

CRM Startups Staff Up As Larger Rivals Fight

Should Salesforce Buy NetSuite? (Denis Pombriant / CRMBuyer)

Customer Relationship Automation Is the New CRM (Harvard Business

Drug wholesalers are getting slammed after McKesson warned that cost scrutiny is hurting its business (Business Insider)
Why AmerisourceBergen shares were hammered on Friday.

Wolff: Business theory behind AT&T-Time Warner deal is twisted (USA Today)

Comcast Q3 Earnings: Give thanks to Rio, and other takeaways

Tom Paine

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Comcast's 3rd quarter results, announced Wednesday, look a bit more like those of a growth company: Revenue increased 14.2%, operating income 11.0%, operating cash flow 10.5%, and EPS 15%. This likely isn't sustainable at that level, as the Olympics and other non-recurring factors contributed to the spike. But the momentum in Cable, in terms of video (subs increased by 32,000, the best third quarter result in 10 years) and high speed internet (subs increased by 330,000, the best third quarter result in 7 years), is real.

On the cost side, Comcast Cable is still dealing with double digit programming cost increases, expected to decline gradually, and increased capex due to the X1 rollout and other new technologies, putting some slight pressure on margins. And the cost of a wireless entry hasn't been specified yet.

Rather than breakdown Goliath's numbers, which you can look at if you want to, I will try to highlight a few interesting points (earnings call transcript from Seeking Alpha).

Responding to a question about whether Comcast can make money from its MVNO (wireless) relationship with Verizon, CEO Brian Roberts said in part:

"We fundamentally believe we can make money for the shareholders through a wireless offering with the unique relationship that we have with the Verizon MVNO. We can't go into detail about that relationship for obvious reasons, but we have the ability to do things that we think put us in a position to make that statement come true and create real value for our shareholders along the way."

Which seems to imply that the Verizon MVNO is something more complex than a straightforward wholesale arrangement.

Neil Smit (CEO, Comcast Cable) adds: "We are going to have to include handset procurement as part of it, but we built that in the model."

Steve Burke (CEO,NBCU) on advanced, addressable advertising ( targeted to households or individuals across, ideally, different devices and media):

"Advanced advertising has been around – people have been talking about it for a long time. It's not easy. It's hard to develop these products, but it's clear what advertisers want. They want to combine the data intensity of Internet advertising with the clear value and ability to change people's perceptions that you get with a television ad. So, it's a pretty important part of Neil and my agenda, and I think we're at the head of the pack in terms of delivering on it. But there's still work to do."

Perhaps further complicated by recently instituted FCC privacy rules, (set to take effect in about a year), though there's debate about that.

Steve Burke on rising OTT competition, such as the soon-to-be DirecTV Now: "I think we all have a healthy degree of skepticism that these new over-the-top entrants are going to create millions and millions and millions of subscribers any time soon."

Neil Smit on how X1 (now rolled out to 45% of residential customers) is helping to reduce churn, a key factor in sub growth: "Retention has improved for 32 consecutive month."

Smit on the IP (Internet Protocol) transition: "Well, as you mentioned, we'll be going to an IP-based video solution over the next, let's just call it, couple years. We have the product in the lab. It's working well."

Smit on Business Services, which grew 15%:

"We are doing hyperbuilds now where we go in – we used to go into an industrial park and we had to sign up the customers before we pulled the fiber in. Whereas now we know in these industrial parks we're going to get the customers. It's just a question of time before we get them on that and so we're building in, assuming we're going to get the customer base. It's a little bit more aggressive stance."

Smit on XFINITY Home: "About a year and a half ago, we announced we passed 500,000 customers and it's grown significantly from there."

(So no new numbers.)

Saturday Highlights: Report: DraftKings, FanDuel close to merger; QVC looking for shop space on NY's 34th Street

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Sources: DraftKings, FanDuel merger 'imminent' (ESPN)
Local investor interests in FanDuel, particularly Paul Martino (Bullpen Capital, a FanDuel board member) and Comcast Ventures.

Lineup for AT&T's streaming DirecTV Now includes channels from HBO, Disney, Viacom (Dallas Morning News)

Report: Alphabet Taps Fiber Troubleshooter (Multichannel News)

QVC, HSN shop for ‘touching’ space (NY Post)

Links 10/28: Comcast put down a $1.8B deposit for the FCC’s wireless incentive auction, analysts say

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Comcast put down a $1.8B deposit for the FCC’s wireless incentive auction, analysts say (FierceCable)

Telecoms’ Ambitions on Targeted Ads Seen Curbed by F.C.C.’s New Privacy Rules (NY Times)

Apple debuts “TV,” a TV guide and watchlist app for Apple TV, iPhone and iPad (TechCrunch)

Why AT&T Is Making a Huge Mistake by Acquiring Time Warner (Fortune)

Moffett: DirecTV ‘Playing a Dangerous Game’ With OTT-TV Service (Multichannel News)

This NetSuite Shareholder Says Oracle Should Raise Its Bid
(Reuters via Fortune)
Given Ellison's close to controlling stake, can NetSuite really shop itself around to others? Doubt it.

How SAP Engaged Its Best Customers to the Close of $27 Million (MarketingSherpa)

Corporate research moving in at Pennovation complex (Philly.com)

Blackline surges 40% in software IPO (TechCrunch)
Before starting Blackline 15 years ago, Therese Tucker served as CTO of SunGard and SunGard Treasury Systems.

Links 10/27: AT&T’s Vision of Ultrafast Wireless Technology May Be a Mirage; Senate calls the wrong Time Warner CEO to testify

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AT&T’s Vision of Ultrafast Wireless Technology May Be a Mirage (NY Times)

The Big Deal: Senate calls the wrong Time Warner CEO to testify (Marketwatch)

CenturyLink, Level 3 Stocks Spike; Merger Of Equals? (Investor's Business Daily)

Amazon earnings: 52 cents per share, vs. expected EPS of 78 cents (CNBC)
AWS reports $3.2 billion in revenue in Q3 2016, up 55% over last year

Surprise, surprise: AWS is making boatloads of money for Amazon (The Register)

Amtrak to Pay $265M for Philadelphia Crash That Killed 8 (Bloomberg)
Was the engineer ever charged with anything?

Evolve IP acquires King of Prussia-based cloud company as M&A strategy ramps up (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Google's CFO just denied it's ditching Google Fiber, saying the unit is still 'very active (Business Insider)

Oracle Cloud Chief Shawn Price (ex-SAP) Dies at 53

Oracle Cloud Chief Shawn Price Dies at 53 (Fortune)

Prior to Oracle, Price was executive vice president at SAP. He had previously served as president of Zuora and chief executive of Savvion.

Links 10/26: Campbell Soup backs nutrition venture; Brickwork raises $5M in Series A Funding, led by Safeguard Scientifics

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AT&T/Time Warner seems headed for FCC review, whether AT&T likes it or not (Ars Technica)

Verizon is buying Jason Kilar's video startup Vessel and shutting it down (Recode)

Apple is launching its new TV guide tomorrow — but Netflix won’t be a part of it (Recode)

Sling’s Lynch on competing with DirecTV Now: ‘Our strategy isn’t to recreate the big bundle of channels’

Campbell Soup backs nutrition venture (Courier-Post)

NY, Canada buyers invests $150M+ in Delco's Pilot Freight (Philly.com: Philly Deals)

Brickwork Raises $5M in Series A Funding, led by Safeguard Scientifics (FINSMES)

Groupon says it will acquire LivingSocial, shares drop (Chicago Tribune)
I hadn't heard much about LivingSocial lately, but it has shrunk to the point where Groupon called it "not material" to its overall
financial position. Comcast-backed Atairos Group has a minority stake in Grouopon.

Judge Group opens new Wayne headquarters (Update: Liberty Property Trust sells building)

Tom Paine

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The entire Judge Group HQ staff in front of the new headquarters /
courtesy The Judge Group

The Judge Group, a global professional services firm specializing in technology, talent & learning solutions, opened its new headquarters earlier this month in Wayne, in a newly renovated building located on South Warner Road in Upper Merion Township. It was previously headquartered in West Conshohocken. On Monday, October 10th, Judge officially opened the headquarters building with a ribbon cutting ceremony, featuring the 250+ employees that will work from the new building, along with several local dignitaries.

The Judge Group has about 530+ full time Judge employees across all locations, and places over 4,500 professionals annually, the company told me.

Founded in 1970 by Martin Judge, The Judge Group has grown from a single office in North Philadelphia, to an international company with over 35 offices in the United States, Canada, China, and India. But this is the first time it will have dedicated, single tenant headquarters.

Founder and CEO Marty Judge, Jr. and COO Katy Wiercinski cutting the Ribbon to the new building /
courtesey The Judge Group

The Judge Group has been instrumental, as a leading tech recruiter and staffing firm, in the growth of the software & IT industries in the Philadelphia area.

In 1997, Judge completed an initial public offering and became publicly traded on the NASDAQ. After seven years as a public company, Marty Judge bought back The Judge Group and reverted to private ownership. Judge has experimented with several related businesses; in the 1980s and early 1990s, it actually manufactured IBM-compatible PCs. In recent years, it has focused more on global expansion.

The new office will also serve as the global headquarters for AFL Global, the parent company of the China American Football League, founded by Martin Judge, which kicked off their inaugural season Saturday, October 1st, in Beijing.

“I am thrilled to see the business, which I started 46 years ago, grow from the small office I had in North Philadelphia, to a 90,000 square foot facility, which now serves as the global headquarters of The Judge Group,” said Judge. “The company has come such a long way, and I am extremely proud that Judge continues to be headquartered in the Greater Philadelphia area."

Update 11/12: Liberty Property Trust sold building to German investment firm.

Links 10/25: QVC to launch network dedicated to selling beauty products; AT&T will offer $35 subscription with 100 channels, including mobile streaming

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I'm Still Not Convinced by The AT&T-Time Warner Deal (Alan Murray / Fortune )

AT&T will offer $35 subscription with 100 channels and includes mobile streaming (TechCrunch)

Comcast Earnings On Tap Amid AT&T-Time Warner Deal (Investor's Business Daily)

Alphabet Cutting Jobs in Google Fiber Retrenchment (Bloomberg)

QVC to launch network dedicated to selling beauty products (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Phillies hiring to expand analytics department (Morning Call)

The definitive guide to making a successful SAP S/4 HANA business case (Denn Howlett/Diginomica)

As Harrisburg legalizes Uber & Lyft, the PPA ruminates on how to regulate them (Philadelphia Business Journal)

Uber’s new self-driving Volvo SUVs have been spotted in Pittsburgh (The Verge)

Unisys Says Turnaround Remains On Track Despite Q3 Sales, Earnings Declines (CRN)

Move towards OTT causing upheaval in content, telecom markets; Comcast in the middle of it all

Tom Paine

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Media convergence (an overused term), you might call it, seems to be reaching a fever pitch. Mostly, its pushing content companies together with more technology oriented enterprises.

Exhibit A is AT&T's approach to Time Warner, which resulted in an agreement this weekend under which AT&T would acquire Time Warner for $85 billion. AT&T was said to want to push the process quickly to a conclusion to keep Time Warner out of the arms of others (maybe Google, even Apple perhaps).

At&T acquired DirecTV for $49 billion last year, but is said to be planning to phase out the satellite business in 3 to 5 years and banking its future distribution on a large-scale OTT service, DirecTV Now, to be launched by the end of this year (actually November).

AT&t also appears to be deemphasizing its U-verse wired broadband service. What its ultimate network technology strategy will be - some combination of wired and wireless presumably - is not clear now.

As Fortune reported, "the logic behind AT&T acquiring Time Warner would likely be to counteract moves by Comcast, the cable giant that also owns NBC Universal, some analysts said."

Meanwhile, Comcast doubled its bet on new media darling BuzzFeed, according to Recode, increasing its investment from $200 million to $400 million. BuzzFeed is seen as a vehicle for Comcast's ambitions in non-linear video, on YouTube and other platforms outside the traditional cable stack. BuzzFeed's valuation for the deal is $1.7 billion, slightly more than it was for Comcast's first investment. There were reports, unconfirmed, that BuzzFeed badly missed its revenue targets last year.

But Sam Landman, a managing director at Comcast Ventures, is holding off on backing some recent media start-ups he’s seen, according to an LA Times article, until they demonstrate more revenue-generating ability.

Google has gained rights to all of CBS' content for its OTT service, including live NFL games, Reuters and the Wall Street Journal reported last week. The new "Unplugged" OTT service, scheduled for an early 2017 launch, will be part of Google's YouTube platform.

Also, reports last week suggested that NBCU is close to coming on board with Google's Unplugged, for much if not all of its content.

Last week also saw Comcast announce its new Comcast Technology Solutions division, a combination of its Comcast Wholesale, thePlatform and This Technology business units. Comcast Technology Solutions encompasses an Ad Platform, Video Platform and Wholesale Platform. The new unit will support the market for third-party OTT platforms and related media technology services; publisher Time Inc. is an initial client.

Verizon's results last week underscored the impact of increased wireless pricing pressures and slowing growth, and also was a reminder of its relatively weak position in content. I'll be contrarian, however, in taking the position that owning tons of content may not be an optimal course for a telecom company, and that Verizon may not be off track in its strategy.

From AT&T's point of view, however, some of the thinking behind the Time Warner deal is that the more valuable content you own, the more reciprocal power you have in negotiating for rights to other's content.

Links 10/24: Moffett: Comcast Verizon MVNO plans could be good for both companies; T-Mobile jumps 9% on speculation

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Moffett: Comcast Verizon MVNO Plans Could Be Good for Both Companies (Telecompetitor)

AT&T/Time Warner deal could be approved without any FCC merger review (Ars Technica)

AT&T Exec Blogs Case for Time Warner Merger
(Multichannel News)

Michael Wolff on AT&T's Time Warner Deal and the Coming Game of Dominoes (Hollywood Reporter)

AT&T Clarifies Its Intent to Buy Time Warner (Not a Similarly Named Cable Company) (Hollywood Reporter)

T-Mobile Jumps 9%. Could It Be Bought?

76ers lab chooses a fantasy sport site as first startup (Philly.com)

Fantasy Sports Companies Near Settlement With New York State (NY Times)
Both FanDuel and DraftKings are reportedly close to running out of cash, though in the past they've always been able to gin up more when needed.

TD Ameritrade faces scrutiny over Scottrade purchase (Reuters)
TD Bank also buying Scottrade banking business.

NetSuite reduces loss, but revenue outlook withdrawn (Diginomica)

Chance encounter with an AT&T DirecTV distributor

Tom Paine

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I happened to run into a DirecTV contractor (I assumed he was an independent, as most are), quite by chance this weekend.

When I mentioned to him that AT&T (which acquired DirecTV last year for a mere $49 billion) was acquiring Time Warner for $85 billion, he assumed I meant Time Warner Cable. I explained to him that TWC had been spun off from Time Warner a few years back, and was more recently acquired by Charter.

He seemed even more surprised that AT&T was spending all that money on programming content, like the Cartoon Network.

What really threw him was when I said AT&T was planning to get out of satellite distribution over the next five years or so, and rely on an OTT (over the internet) model. "That's our business," he responded. They serve the rural mountain counties around here where cable companies don't go, and there are few other options. One person I spoke with recently couldn't even get DSL.

Since I didn't mean to upset him, I told him that AT&T probably would make arrangements to continue to serve such customers by satellite, either by itself or by spinning off the rural areas to a separate company, as Verizon has done with its outlying territories.

Unless, I said, AT&T can come up with a robust enough LTE service for areas like that; then all bets are off.

Sunday Highlights: Shutter Three Mile Island?; Is Netflix taking over Hollywood?

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America’s Nuclear Problem (Bloomberg)
Close Three Mile Island? Absurd!

Netflix Is Taking Over Hollywood, and Hollywood Isn’t Thrilled (Bloomberg)

Salesforce CEO Marc Benioff: I love Twitter, but shareholders didn't want to buy it (CNBC)

AWS 'fesses up to cloud bill shock worries with budget calc update (The Register)

Cloudamize Adds New Platform Enhancements to Speed and Simplify Large Enterprise Migrations to the Public Cloud

Watch out Accenture, Deloitte – here comes Wip-pirio (Diginomica)

AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85 billion (Highlights & Opinions)

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AT&T to buy Time Warner for $85 billion, create telecom-media giant (Reuters)

AT&T to buy HBO, CNN, and the rest of Time Warner for more than $80 billion (The Verge)

AT&T to Buy Time Warner for $107.5/Sh in Cash and Stock; $85 Equity Value (Barron's Tech Trader Daily)

Regulatory Microscope Lies Ahead for AT&T and Time Warner (New York Times: DealBook)

AT&T strikes $85B deal to buy Time Warner (New York Post)

How Aggressive AT&T Has Out-Maneuvered Verizon, Comcast (Investor's Business Daily)

AT&T’s Time Warner deal looks like bad news for Verizon (Washington Post)

The ghost of AOL will haunt the Time Warner-AT&T deal (Recode)

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia Launches Expansive Virtual Reality Experience ; Most Comprehensive for Museums Worldwide
Major Public Launch Event: October 25, 2016

The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia Launches Expansive Virtual Reality Experience
Most Comprehensive for Museums Worldwide

Major Public Launch Event: October 25, 2016

The Franklin Institute.
The Franklin Institute
Oct 21, 2016, 10:42 ET

PHILADELPHIA, Oct. 21, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Franklin Institute in Philadelphia is transforming the way museums use digital technology to engage audiences with the launch of the most comprehensive, multi-tiered virtual reality initiative of museums worldwide.

The key components of The Franklin Institute's initiative include two museum firsts: the creation of a virtual reality content library loaded with premier science content curated from all over the globe—including the exclusive debut of one of the first 360-degree videos from the bottom of the deep ocean—all housed on the museum's first-ever mobile app; and an innovative virtual reality demonstration and lab space for immersive room-scale VR visitor experiences. This will be paired with mass distribution of thousands of free Google Cardboards to visitors, as well as virtual reality experiences within such iconic exhibits as The Giant Heart, Your Brain, and Space Command, culminating in The Franklin Institute leveraging this expertise to host conferences and workshops to allow for knowledge sharing among museums educators and various audiences.

A free public launch event at The Franklin Institute is planned for the evening of Tuesday, October 25. Experts from all across the country (United Nations, MIT, Surgical Theater) will showcase the most cutting-edge VR technology to illustrate the breadth of virtual reality applications. Guests can attend a live virtual reality sporting event (Drexel University Men's Soccer), tour a space shuttle, watch a brain surgery being performed in virtual reality, and even watch as a drone takes a photogrammetric survey within the Benjamin Franklin National Memorial—and then explore inside of it through an HTC Vive. In addition, they will be among the very first to experience The Franklin Institute's all-new virtual reality platform.

The Institute embarked on its transformative digital strategy in 2015 with the hiring of Chief Digital Officer Susan Poulton and the formation of a dedicated digital innovation team. This next phase of the strategy further solidifies The Franklin Institute as a leader in advancing digital in the museum community. "I am excited by the enormous potential museums have to be a catalyst for bringing emerging technologies to the public," Poulton said. "The Institute will develop unique virtual reality and mobile content experiences and deliver them to expanded audiences, demonstrating that museums can take risks and lead the way digitally in ways they may have been reluctant to before."

The Franklin Institute is leveraging its strengths as one of the premier science centers in the world, specialized in providing access to high-quality, hands-on exhibits and rich STEM-based experiences, to launch this new digital platform. The efforts around virtual reality support the Institute's long-term digital strategy which include enhancing the core visitor experience, and developing new approaches for the creation and distribution of original and curated science content that expands its reach and mission to a national and global audience. The Franklin Institute has long been a leader in bringing the latest technologies to the public as the first place they could experience film, live television, and a telescope.

"The Franklin Institute is making a strong commitment to helping advance museums digitally. Our mission is to inspire a passion for learning about science and technology and immersive virtual reality is a way to do that like never before," said Larry Dubinski, President & CEO of The Franklin Institute.

The Institute will become the first cultural organization in Philadelphia to fully embrace virtual reality in a deep and transformative way, positioning itself and the Greater Philadelphia area as a key cultural destination for cutting-edge virtual (and soon augmented) reality innovation. The VR initiative will offer easy access to technology experiences for the broader Philadelphia public, and allow the Institute to form new mutually-beneficial relationships with local content creators and universities by providing an on-site testing environment through the "holodeck".

The Franklin Institute's comprehensive approach to virtual reality will solidify its role as a global leader among museums and non-profits by demonstrating the variety of experiences, from educational to engaging, that can be achieved with virtual reality.

Virtual Reality at The Franklin Institute

Virtual Reality Demonstration Space: "The Holodeck"
A first for museums nationwide, The Franklin Institute's own virtual reality facility equipped with HTC Vive and Oculus Rift and rotating science content for a complete, room-scale immersive experience. It will also serve as a testing zone providing developers across the region with a captive audience for their latest virtual reality software.

Virtual Reality Content Library
Housed within The Franklin Institute's first-ever mobile app and catering to offsite visitors, is a powerful virtual reality science content library featuring experiences curated by The Franklin Institute from all over the globe within the categories of Space, Planet Earth, Human Body, Technology, Physical Sciences, and History.

In-Exhibit Virtual Reality Experiences
The Franklin Institute is leveraging three of its core exhibits—The Giant Heart, Your Brain, and Space Command—to provide topical virtual reality experiences for visitors. The experiences will be tailored based on available virtual reality content, as well as future VR content developed by The Franklin Institute.

Virtual Reality Knowledge Sharing
With the goal of promoting knowledge sharing and best practices on digital trends and applications, The Franklin Institute will cultivate partnerships, develop and host related conferences, symposia, and workshops for a variety of audiences, including the general public, museum experts, educators, journalists, and professionals.

The Franklin Institute's mobile app is made possible by support from The Pew Center for Arts & Heritage. To download the app, please visit www.fi.edu/mobile. Images are available: https://www.fi.edu/press-room/press-kits/virtual-reality using the password: presspass.

Located in the heart of Philadelphia, The Franklin Institute is a renowned and innovative leader in the field of science and technology learning, as well as a dynamic center of activity. Pennsylvania's most visited museum, it is dedicated to creating a passion for learning about science by offering access to hands-on science education. For more information, visit www.fi.edu and follow The Franklin Institute on Twitter @TheFranklin and Instagram @FranklinInstitute, hashtag #franklininstitute.

Logo - http://photos.prnewswire.com/prnh/20161021/431275LOGO

SOURCE The Franklin Institute

To view the original version on PR Newswire, visit:http://www.prnewswire.com/news-releases/the-franklin-institute-in-philadelphia-launches-expansive-virtual-reality-experience-300349164.html

Links 10/21: Report: AT&T Agrees In Principle To Buy Time Warner; SAP Raises Sales, Profit Forecast on Improved Cloud Outlook

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Report: AT&T Agrees In Principle To Buy Time Warner (Reuters via Fortune)

Peter Chernin Poised for Top Time Warner Role If $85 Billion AT&T Deal Closes (Hollywood Reporter)

AT&T Is in Advanced Talks to Acquire Time Warner (Dow Jones via NASDAQ.com)

Why Wall Street Is Split Over a Possible AT&T-Time Warner Merger (Fortune)
"The logic behind AT&T acquiring Time Warner would likely be to counteract moves by Comcast, the cable giant that also owns NBC Universal, some analysts said."

SAP Raises Sales, Profit Forecast on Improved Cloud Outlook (Bloomberg)

INTERVIEW - SAP may mull dividend hike, modest share buyback - CFO (Reuters)

Infor Draws Full Buyout Interest From Advent, Apax, CVC (Bloomberg)

Many sites including Twitter, Shopify and Spotify suffering outage (TechCrunch)
Particularly along east coast.

Internet outage swoops in and out of the US this morning (CNET News)
Still appears to be some problems as of this afternoon. Twitter still unreachable as of 3:20pm.

DDoS on Dyn Impacts Twitter, Spotify, Reddit
(Krebs on Security)

Verizon: Street Rattled by New Signs of Vulnerability (Barron's Tech Trader Daily)

D&Z's Yoh buys $100M Starpoint Solutions

Links 10/20: AT&T Discussed Idea of Takeover in Time Warner Meetings; NBCUniversal doubles its bet on BuzzFeed by investing another $200 million

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Vanguard Sways Financial Advisers to Bring $1 Trillion on Board (Bloomberg)

NBCUniversal is doubling its bet on BuzzFeed by investing another $200 million (Recode)

Alibaba to fast-track expansion of cloud business with key partners
(South China Morning Post)
Managed services providers like Jersey City-based Datapipe help Chinese firms growing overseas and global companies entering China to move their applications online.

Verizon Stock Falls, Q3 Revenue And Wireless Subscribers Disappoint
(Investor's Business Daily)

Verizon "Still Evaluating" What Yahoo Hack Means for $4.83B Deal, CFO Says (Hollywood Reporter)

Verizon Touts Cable MVNOs, Yahoo Deal (Multichannel News)

AT&T Discussed Idea of Takeover in Time Warner Meetings (Bloomberg)

Salesforce target Tableau explored sale earlier this year: sources (Reuters)

Wipro acquires US-based firm Appirio for over $400 million, says report (American Bazaar)

Oracle’s Cloud, Built by Former AWS, Microsoft Engineers, Comes Online (Data Center Knowledge)

Salesforce's hacked & leaked acquisition target list included Qlik, Veeva Systems (Update: Tableau explored sale)

Tom Paine

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This is a screenshot of a chart in an email sent by Salesforce in May to board member Colin Powell, which was leaked in September by DCLeaks and published yesterday by the Wall Street Journal. It contained a list of 14 possible Salesforce acquisition targets.

A statement sent by Salesforce to Business Insider read: "Salesforce has a disciplined and thoughtful M&A process where we routinely survey the industry landscape across a wide range of companies, but acquire very few. The presentation is a broad survey of publicly traded companies in May 2016, and the appearance of company names on the list doesn't imply Salesforce ever intended to acquire them."

Radnor-based Qlik Technologies, and Veeva Systems, the life sciences cloud vendor which has considerable operations and many customers in the Philadelphia region, are both on the list.

I had wondered whether whether Qlik might provide the structured analytics engine that Salesforce's Analytics Cloud was largely lacking. Qlik competitor Tableau was also on the list. Reuters reported on Wednesday that Tableau actively explored a sale earlier this year. Qlik, though, was taken private by Thoma Bravo in a $3 billion buyout that closed in August.

Veeva built its original product, Veeva CRM, on top of Salesforce's CRM, and Salesforce has often used Veeva as a primary reference point for Salesforce's potential in vertical markets. However, Veeva's fastest growing product, Vault, is based on Veeva's own proprietary technology and it is gradually becoming less dependent on Salesforce.

Veeva (NYSE: VEEV), which has a market capitalization of $5.4 billion, finished up slightly on Wednesday.

Veeva commented today, saying it remains focused on building its business and can't comment on other's plans.

"While we don't comment on other's plans, we can tell you we remain focused on building the industry cloud for life sciences and creating a multi-billion dollar company over the long-term," said a company spokesperson.

Links 10/19: Vanguard CEO McNabb Says Staying Private Is 'Competitive Advantage'; Comcast combines backend services into new ‘Technology Solutions’ unit, touts Time Inc. OTT launch as new client

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Vanguard CEO McNabb Says Staying Private Is a 'Competitive Advantage' (The Street via Philly.com)

Facebook wants you to buy movie tickets and order pizza from its app (Recode)
Comcast's Fandango one of Facebook's partners.

Comcast combines backend services into new ‘Technology Solutions’ unit, touts Time Inc. OTT launch as new client (FierceCable)

Google Nabs CBS As AT&T, Amazon, Hulu Seek OTT Partners (Investor's Business Daily)

Snapchat and Facebook have a new rival in their sights: television (LA Times)

DreamWorks agrees to pay $50M to end no-poaching suit (Bloomberg via Philly.com)

Travis Kalanick: 'I've never sold a single Uber share' (Business Insider)

JetPay Corporation Announces Investment and Board Appointment of Industry Veteran Larry Stone (Marketwire)

Links 10/18: Leaked email shows Salesforce once had Adobe on its target acquisition list; Qlik and Veeva Systems also on it

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Leaked email shows Salesforce once had Adobe on its target acquisition list
(Business Insider)
Qlik and Veeva Systems also on list.

Fidelity to Launch Digital Advice Platform for Advisors (T3 Technology Hub)
Joint Fidelity/eMoney development.

Uber, Lyft closing in on permanent approval in Pennsylvania (PennLive)SsSs

IBM Falls Despite Cloud Growth: Margins Undermine ‘The Transition’ (Barron's Tech Trader Daily)

Tech Companies Expect Free High-Speed Internet for Poorer Americans to Pay Off Later (NY Times)

Layer3 TV conducting pre-launch tests in D.C., Boston and Houston (FierceCable)

Baobab Studios Lands $25M ‘B’ Round
(Multichannel News)

SAP to make SuccessFactors employee-management service available on Microsoft's Azure (ZDNet)

Zenefits is trying to move past controversy with the launch of its new HR platform (Recode)
Speaking of SuccessFactors, its founder, Lars Dalgaard, took considerable criticism for the Zenefits meltdown as its key sponsor at Andreessen Horowitz, and has a big investment in its attempted recovery.

Fidelity® Goes to Market with Next-Generation Advisor Technology Platform
- First-of-its-kind integrations with eMoney Advisor’s software now available

Fidelity® Goes to Market with Next-Generation Advisor Technology Platform

- Wealthscape, the gateway to the total advisor platform, welcomes existing Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions clients to log in to refreshed platform in December 2016

- Wealthscape Performance Measurement in pilot with 150,000 accounts

- First-of-its-kind integrations with eMoney Advisor’s software now available

- Two-thirds of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions broker-dealer clients already enrolled in new Advanced Analytics compliance offering

- Wealthscape Digital Advice Solutions available in early 2017

October 18, 2016 09:01 AM Eastern Daylight Time
NEW YORK--(BUSINESS WIRE)--Fidelity® today released new details on its next-generation “total advisor” technology platform, designed to help registered investment advisors, broker-dealers, banks and family offices digitize their businesses. WealthscapeSM will serve as the gateway to connect all fee-based, commission-based and hybrid clients to new Fidelity tools and third-party solutions, including eMoney Advisor’s award-winning1 wealth planning software. The total advisor platform will help simplify a complex technology landscape and help drive efficiency, transparency and growth for three types of users:

“Today, we have rolled out the first products available on our total advisor platform, allowing clients to start taking advantage of new tools that suit their needs. Over time, they can add on new functionality. We’ve heard from our clients that this staggered approach eases decision-making and supports advisor adoption.”
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Financial advisors will be able to tap into advanced analytics, automated workflow tools and an integrated suite of portfolio management solutions, all of which will be supported in the future by a multi-custodian consolidated data platform. In addition, advisors who choose to leverage eMoney Advisor’s solutions will experience the benefits of deep integrations with Fidelity’s brokerage platform, allowing them to move swiftly from collaborative planning with clients to taking action in a brokerage account on their behalf. For advisors who wish to offer a digital advice platform, they can choose from options within WealthscapeSM Digital Advice Solutions, including the Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (AMP), a planning-led digital advice solution co-developed with eMoney Advisor, or connections to other third-party digital solutions through APIs or integrations.
End investors – the clients of financial advisors – have access to an engaging investor portal through eMoney. Advisors who choose to leverage eMoney Advisor’s software can offer their clients an investor experience that is deeply integrated with Fidelity’s brokerage capabilities, enabling them to organize their financial lives in one place. In Fidelity AMP, co-developed with eMoney, investors who work with advisors may be attracted to the digital interface.
Home office professionals will be able to focus their teams on high-value activities through integrated workflows and tools – like data visualization – to easily digest and take action on advanced analytics.
“Technology options have grown exponentially in recent years, making the mapping of technology time-consuming and complicated. For firms that want help designing their technology architecture, our total advisor platform removes the guesswork of linking it all together. For firms that want to manage and support their own technology, Fidelity remains committed to an open architecture environment,” said Tom McCarthy, head of platform technology for Fidelity Institutional. “Today, we have rolled out the first products available on our total advisor platform, allowing clients to start taking advantage of new tools that suit their needs. Over time, they can add on new functionality. We’ve heard from our clients that this staggered approach eases decision-making and supports advisor adoption.”

The financial advisory space is in the midst of a rapid evolution. This evolution is driving more collaborative client-advisor engagement and putting pressure on advisors to demonstrate their value beyond investment performance. In Fidelity’s 2015 Insights on Advice survey of advisors, nearly half (43 percent) felt they will need to provide more services, resources and/or time to clients over the next one to two years to maintain their current pricing2.

“In order to grow a successful business in the future, advisors must build a solid foundation of financial and wealth planning, intimately knowing clients, helping them manage significant life events and guiding them through varied market conditions to achieve their goals,” said Sanjiv Mirchandani, president of Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions. “We believe that a planning-led practice will give firms an edge, and help them to be more future-ready, which is why we are working so closely with eMoney to bring many elements of our new platform to life.”

“Our collaborative client-advisor tools, including digital advice, allow advisors to use integrated technology to better support their clients,” said Ed O’Brien, chief executive officer of eMoney Advisor. “At eMoney, developing a platform that fills the gaps in an advisor’s tech stack is in our DNA. Expanding many of our core planning-based capabilities to create the foundation for a more automated experience for an advisor’s clients is another natural gap to fill.”

Fidelity’s new total advisor platform is a multi-year effort and is focused on delivering in the following five key areas to enable a digital practice, of which tools have started to roll out and will continue throughout 2017 and 2018:

1. Building on the significant investments Fidelity has made in its Streetscape® and WealthCentral® workstations, the total advisor platform is creating a common infrastructure for these two workstations, requiring only one single “front door” called Wealthscape. This transition will be complete in December 2016, and has been underway for the last two years to minimize impact on clients. All existing functionality will continue, but with added capabilities. As a web platform, Wealthscape updates will take place seamlessly for firms.

2. For firms that choose to work with eMoney Advisor, Fidelity offers first-of-its-kind deep integrations between Wealthscape and the emX suite of products, designed to enhance the investor-advisor experience. While many advisors already use the award-winning wealth planning experience that eMoney provides, deep integration with Wealthscape will enable them to move swiftly from planning into action in areas requiring brokerage integration, like account opening, funding and trading.

The emX suite of products offer an engaging personal financial management portal that includes views into the household balance sheet, planning tools and secure document storage, and financial planning solutions, including: cash flow-based planning, needs-based goal planning and estate planning.
Integrations between Wealthscape and the emX suite include: a collaborative vault investors can use to automatically access copies of their Fidelity brokerage account documents; investor self-service tools, like eDelivery enrollment (currently only available to broker-dealer clients) and integrations with the Fidelity brokerage platform for account maintenance; and integrated advisor workflows that link the two platforms together.
Initial brokerage integrations with eMoney focus on the investor experience and are in use by more than 100 firms since becoming available in September 2016. Additional integrations will become available throughout 2017.
3. To help advisors who are looking to service smaller accounts through an automated offering while still operating as the investment advisor on the accounts, Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions is launching WealthscapeSM Digital Advice Solutions, which includes a custom-built digital advice offering for advisors, as well as connections to other third-party digital solutions through deep integrations or APIs built for digital solutions.

The custom-built digital advice solution, Fidelity Automated Managed Platform (AMP), co-developed with eMoney, will begin its pilot in late Q1 2017 and will be:
Fully integrated, providing a streamlined and fully digital experience for investor onboarding, goal-setting, and monitoring, powered by eMoney, with straight-through account opening and funding through Fidelity’s brokerage capabilities. Advisors will also be able to evolve clients, when ready, from an automated to a collaborative advised experience – without changing their technology platforms.
Flexible, allowing the advisor to remain the investment advisor on the account. Firms can craft their own Investment Profile Questionnaires (IPQs), selecting from a range of digitally-tuned investment portfolios from sub-advisor Geode Capital Management, and then serve as the investment advisor on the portfolio. Fidelity AMP will also allow advisors to manage their automated and traditionally advised portfolios side-by-side.
Future-ready, leveraging eMoney’s technology to support a collaborative advisor-investor relationship. Investors who work with advisors will be able to access self-service tools, like interactive goal selection and automated onboarding, through a digital interface. Over time, as these clients’ financial lives become more complex, advisors will have the opportunity to create a path toward a more collaborative, traditionally advised experience.
Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions will also accommodate additional third-party digital solutions, based on client interest, through APIs created for digital solutions, as well as select deep integrations.
4. To enhance Wealthscape’s core brokerage and servicing capabilities, Fidelity will offer an integrated suite of portfolio management tools, WealthscapeSM Portfolio Tools, to help clients more efficiently manage portfolios from beginning to end, fueled by a new consolidated data platform.

Wealthscape Portfolio Tools is a modular suite and includes tools for: proposal generation, modeling, advanced rebalancing, performance measurement and fee billing, and will be delivered separately and in waves starting in 2016 and throughout 2018.
WealthscapeSM Performance Measurement, part of the Wealthscape Portfolio Tools, is currently in use by 15 piloting firms representing more than 150,000 accounts. Performance Measurement will be generally available in 2017.
WealthscapeSM Advanced Modeling & Rebalancing, also part of the Wealthscape Portfolio Tools and built upon Fidelity’s current modeling and rebalancing tools, will pilot household rebalancing at the start of 2017, followed by asset class rebalancing later that year.
Powering Wealthscape Portfolio Tools, Fidelity will deliver a multi-custodian consolidated data platform that enables a holistic view of wealth for the investor and the advisor, powering richer analytics and deeper investor-advisor conversations. The consolidated data platform with Fidelity brokerage data powering Wealthscape Performance Measurement is now in pilot with another 25 firms into 2017. Multi-custodian capabilities are targeted for late 2017.
Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions will continue to offer its popular Managed Accounts Solutions platform, powered by Envestnet, to clients.
And as part of its commitment to open architecture, Fidelity will continue to integrate additional third-party portfolio management tools.
5. Importantly, all of this will be strengthened by WealthscapeSM Automated Workflows and Advanced Analytics to help home offices and advisors improve efficiencies, grow their businesses and manage risk. This includes:

WealthscapeSM Regulatory Early Warning, an advanced analytics offering, allows compliance personnel to quickly identify and track regulatory content that may impact their firm -- all in one streamlined user interface. Nearly two-thirds (61 percent) of Fidelity broker-dealer clients have signed up for the offering since it was launched in July 2016.
The next phases include plans to create a central operations hub for home office professionals and smart analytics and data visualization for the advisor.
To learn more about Wealthscape, the gateway to the total advisor platform, visit go.fidelity.com/wealthscape. Advisors can jump start their firm’s digital readiness by checking out the Digital Imperative and connecting with Fidelity Clearing & Custody Solutions’ Practice Management and Consulting technology consultants today.

About Fidelity Investments

Fidelity’s goal is to make financial expertise broadly accessible and effective in helping people live the lives they want. With assets under administration of $5.6 trillion, including managed assets of $2.1 trillion as of September 30, 2016, we focus on meeting the unique needs of a diverse set of customers: helping more than 25 million people invest their own life savings, nearly 20,000 businesses manage employee benefit programs, as well as providing nearly 10,000 advisory firms with investment and technology solutions to invest their own clients’ money. Privately held for 70 years, Fidelity employs 45,000 associates who are focused on the long-term success of our customers. For more information about Fidelity Investments, visit https://www.fidelity.com/about.

The content provided herein is general in nature and is for informational purposes only. This information is not individualized and is not intended to serve as the primary or sole basis for your decisions as there may be other factors you should consider. Fidelity does not provide advice of any kind.

The third-party trademarks and service marks are the property of their respective owners. All other trademarks and service marks are the property of FMR LLC or an affiliated company.

Fidelity Clearing and Custody Solutions provides clearing, custody, or other brokerage services through National Financial Services LLC or Fidelity Brokerage Services LLC, Members NYSE, SIPC. 200 Seaport Boulevard Boston, MA 02210.
Fidelity Investments Institutional Services Company, Inc., 500 Salem Street, Smithfield, RI 02917


© 2016 FMR LLC. All rights reserved.

1 WealthManagement.com Innovation Award 2015 and 2016 for emX Software

2 Fidelity’s 2015 Insights on Advice Study was an online, blind survey (Fidelity not identified) fielded during the period of May 12th, 2015, through June 2nd, 2015. Participants included 512 advisors who manage client assets either individually or as a team, and work primarily with individual investors. Advisor firm types included a mix of banks, independent broker-dealers, insurance companies, regional broker-dealers, RIAs, and wirehouses, with findings weighted to reflect industry composition. The study explored various topics of interest to advisors throughout the year (including current and preferred pricing models) and was conducted by Bellomy Research, an independent firm not affiliated with Fidelity Investments.

Fidelity Investments
Corporate Communications, 617-563-5800
Follow us on Twitter @FidelityNews
Jessica Macdonald, 617-563-0656

Trump TV: Making Television Great Again (Video: Ben Howe)

Rita's Water Ice reported in sales talks

Tom Paine

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From Fortune's Term Sheet: "Multiple sources say that Argosy Partners and MTN Capital Partners are nearing a deal to purchase Rita's Water Ice, a chain of Italian ice concept restaurants, from Falconhead Capital." Term Sheet is usually a reliable source (at least for
the next couple of weeks until its author departs).

Rita's Water Ice (or Rita's Italian Ice) was founded in 1984 and is based in Trevose. It now has over 600 stores. It just opened its first stores in Massachusetts last week.

Links 10/17: Parexel to acquire King of Prussia-based ExecuPharm; Netflix jumps about 20% after earnings

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Parexel to acquire King of Prussia-based functional service provider ExecuPharm
(Outsourcing Pharma)
Announced three weeks ago. ExecuPharm has 355 people listed on LinkedIn, about a third of them in the Philadelphia area.

Parexel is Boston-based life sciences services and consulting business which already has Philly ties.

Netflix stock drops ahead of quarterly earnings report (LA Times)

Netflix says everyone loves Stranger Things and Narcos, and investors love Netflix (again) (Recode)

Feel the Netflix Burn (Bloomberg)

FTC says it may be unable to regulate Comcast, Google, and Verizon (Ars Technica)

Comcast to face ‘headwinds’ in 2017 amid renewals with HBO, Fox News, Fox RSNs, Barclays predicts (FierceCable)

Billy Bush Officially Out at Today Show After Donald Trump Tape Leak (Fortune)

IBM Watson Will Run On IBM and IBM Alone (Fortune)
But is it a product or a complicated service? Good article.

Meet us-east-2, the new AWS data center region in Ohio (VentureBeat)

Sunday highlights: Pitching Chris Fralic in a Uber; Opening the books on political giving by Comcast and others

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For three hours, Uber let riders pitch their startup to a VC in an Uber Pool — here's what it was like (Business Insider)
In this case, they pitched to First Round Capital's Chris Fralic.

Opening the books on political giving by Comcast and others (Philly.com)

Monetizing the Smart Home (Multichannel
Guest post by Zonoff's (Malvern) Kevin Garton.

Different approaches taken in Williams and Bush’s scandals (AP via the Columbian)