Weekly Digital News Roundup: Jan 22 – Jan 26
SkyMall might be going to the big mall in the sky
- According to Mashable, the company behind SkyMall is declaring bankruptcy and seeking to sell the iconic in-flight catalogue. Xhibit Corp., which owned SkyMall as well as a series of other subsidiaries, filed for Chapter 11 bankruptcy, according to documents released on Friday. The company suspended its retail catalogue operations on Jan. 16 and laid off 47 employees, according to the filing. The company owes creditors about $12 million.
- The Phoenix-based company had sold an assortment of wares through the its magazine-style catalogue that could be found in the seatback of almost every airline flight in the U.S. SkyMall was founded in 1989, and its magazine is available to about 650 million air travelers per year. SkyMall will go up for sale, as long as a bankruptcy court approves the company’s request.
- If another company buys SkyMall, it could continue the existing business. However, Xhibit noted in its filing that there is a chance that the catalogue will cease to exist. The company listed a variety of factors that have begun to hurt its business including e-commerce companies Amazon and eBay. SkyMall also pointed to people using smartphones and tablets on flights, in-flight Internet access, and price competition.
Facebook launches tool to help advertisers track campaigns’ success
- According to LA Times, Facebook launched a new tool for advertisers on Tuesday that it says will show that ads displayed on the social network are effective, even if people don’t buy something immediately after seeing them.
- The feature, called “conversion lift measurement,” lets advertisers track two groups of people: one that saw a particular advertiser’s campaign on Facebook, and a group with the same demographics that didn’t. If the former buys more of the product, whether directly through the vendor’s site or an online marketplace like Amazon, the advertiser know its promotion worked, Facebook said.
- The feature aims to give credit where credit is due and inform advertisers that just because Facebook users don’t always click on ads shown on the social network, it doesn’t mean those ads aren’t working, the social networking company said.
YouTube Now Streams HTML5 Video By Default
- According to TechCrunch, starting today, YouTube defaults to using HTML5 video on all modern browsers, including Chrome, IE 11, Safari 8 and the beta versions of Firefox. YouTube first introduced HTML5 support back in 2010. At the time it was still highly experimental. Over the years, as the HTML5 standard — and with it, its video implementation — matured, browser vendors started adding some of the features that were still missing in the early versions. For YouTube, that was support for Adaptive Bitrate, for example.
- By switching to HTML5, YouTube can now also make wider use of Google’sVP9 video codec. YouTube says this switch allows videos to start 15 to 80 percent faster and reduces the average bandwidth needed to stream a video by 35 percent. That may not seem like a big deal right now, but once you start streaming 4k video, that 35 percent reduction could be the difference between enjoying the video or staring at the “buffering” screen. YouTube started streaming VP9 videos in 2013 and has since served “hundreds of billions of VP9 videos.”