May 19, 2020

Wattpad introduces premium subscription service after hitting 60mn users

Social Media
investment
Wattpad
Tencent
zaymalz malz
2 min
Wattpad introduces premium subscription service after hitting 60mn users

Toronto-based Wattpad, a startup company that provides a social platform to share and read stories, has announced that it will be introducing an ad-free premium subscription service, responding to the requests of its 60mn users.

“One of the most frequent requests we hear from Wattpadders is for an option to enjoy an ad-free experience on Wattpad,” the company said in a statement. “Wattpad Premium is our first-ever subscription tier, giving Wattpadders more control over their experience on the platform and the ability to enjoy an uninterrupted, ad-free experience.  

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In addition to an ad-free experience, the premium service will bring a new theme within the app, across both its web and mobile platforms, with additional features said to be released in the coming months.

“The Wattpad community is the most important thing to us, and we want them to have the best possible experience across all our platforms,” said Allen Lau, Wattpad CEO and co-founder. “Wattpad Premium gives people more control over their Wattpad experience, and allows us to continue to offer Wattpad as a free platform that anyone can enjoy.”

The subscription will be priced at $5.99 on a monthly basis, or $60 annually, with the same price being charged in both Canada and the US, something that will see Canadians paying less based on current exchange rates.

The news comes at a time when the company has reportedly secured $40mn in investment from China’s Tencent, according to The Globe on Mail.

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Jun 21, 2021

How AWS helps NASCAR delight its fans

AWS
NASCAR
3 min
Customer obsession and working backwards from the customer is a mantra of Amazon Web Services (AWS), epitomizing its partnership with NASCAR

AWS needs no introduction to readers of Technology Magazine but we rarely get an opportunity to look closely at how it serves the sports sector. All major sports draw in a huge supporter base that they want to nurture and support. Technology is the key to every major sports organization and enabling this is the driving force for AWS, says Matt Hurst, Head of Global Sports Marketing and Communications for AWS. “In sports, as in every industry, machine learning and artificial intelligence and high performance computing are helping to usher in the next wave of technical sports innovation.”

AWS approaches sports in three principal areas. “The first is unlocking data’s potential: leagues and teams hold vast amounts of data and AWS is enabling them to analyze that data at scale and make better, more informed decisions. The second is engaging and delighting fans: with AWS fans are getting deeper insights through visually compelling on-screen graphics and interactive Second Screen experiences. And the third is rapidly improving sports performance: leagues and teams are using AWS to innovate like never before.”

Among the many global brands that partner with AWS are Germany's Bundesliga, the NFL, F1, the NHL, the PGA Tour and of course NASCAR. NASCAR has worked with AWS on its digital transformation (migrating it's 18 petabyte video archive containing 70 years of historical footage to AWS), to optimize its cloud data center operations and to enable its global brand expansion. AWS Media Services powers the NASCAR Drive mobile app, delivering broadcast-quality content for more than 80 million fans worldwide. The platform, including AWS Elemental MediaLive and AWS Elemental MediaStore, helps NASCAR provide fans instant access to the driver’s view of the race track during races, augmented by audio and a continually updated leaderboard. “And NASCAR will use our flagship machine learning service Amazon SageMaker to train deep learning models to enhance metadata and video analytics.”

Using AWS artificial intelligence and machine learning, NASCAR aims to deliver even more fan experiences that they'd never have anticipated. “Just imagine a race between Dale Earnhardt Sr and Dale Jr at Talladega! There's a bright future, and we're looking forward to working with NASCAR, helping them tap into AWS technology to continue to digitally transform, innovate and create even more fan experiences.”

Just as AWS is helping NASCAR bridge that historical gap between the legacy architecture and new technology, more customers are using AWS for machine learning than any other provider. As an example, who would have thought five years ago that NFL would be using  ML to predict and prevent injury to its players? Since 2017, the league has utilized AWS as its official cloud and ML provider for the NFL Next Gen Stats (NGS) platform, which provides real-time location data, speed, and acceleration for every player during every play on every inch of the field. “One of the most potentially revolutionary components of the NFL-AWS partnership,” says Matt Hurst, “is the development of the 'Digital Athlete,' a computer simulation model that can be used to replicate infinite scenarios within the game environment—including variations by position and environmental factors, emphasizing the league's commitment to player safety.”

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