August 13, 2015 Last Updated 10:16 am

NBCUniversal confirms $200M investment in Vox Media, similar investment in BuzzFeed expected

Morning Brief: Swedish prosecutor announces that authorities have dropped their investigation into sexual assault allegations against WikiLeaks founder Julian Assange, saying they had run out of time

The big investment in Vox Media by NBCUniversal, first reported last week at Re/code, was officially announced last night. The Comcast owned NBCUniversal will invest $200 million into the digital media company, with an additional $200 million set to be invested in BuzzFeed.

Vox MediaThe investments would raise the value of Vox Media to around $1 billion, and BuzzFeed to $1.5 billion. So much for fear of the impact of ad blockers on digital advertising, huh?

“Vox Media has a great portfolio of premium digital brands that deeply engage broad audiences,” said Steve Burke, CEO, NBCUniversal. “Vox Media has strong leadership, top editorial talent and a unique technology platform. We are excited to be making this investment and building a collaborative partnership involving editorial content, advertising and technology.”

“Platforms ranging from Facebook to Twitter to Google to Apple allow us to distribute and create new content, and it is a much bigger ecosystem now, leading to much bigger companies with much bigger opportunities,” Jim Bankoff, chief executive of Vox Media, told The New York Times.

BuzzFeed, meanwhile, has grown its business from around $20 million in 2012 to more than $100 million last year. Its revenue goal for 2015, according to a report on Gawker, was around $250 million.

Julian AssangeSwedish prosecutors have decided to drop their investigation into sexual assault allegations against Julian Assange, founder of WikiLeaks. Prosecutors say they ran out of time to question the Australian journalist and activist, but said they still hoped to investigation other rape charges. “Now that the statute of limitations has expired on certain offences, I am obliged to drop part of the investigation,” prosecutor Marianne Ny said.

“She has had five years to come to London to question him, Assange’s Swedish lawyer Per Samuelsson told The Local, a Stockholm-based English language news site.

“He (Assaange) is extremely disappointed due to the fact that he has been deprived of the opportunity to prove that he is innocent,” said Samuelsson.

Cox Communications and Time Warner Cable are boosting Internet speeds in San Diego County, while Verizon is testing 10 gigabits per second service. Comcast, meanwhile, said it was boosting speeds in the Chicagoland area, and swapping to modems as part of the program. My own experience with the claims is that they are rubbish, with service no better than before the programs were announced. A more likely explanation of the claims is that they allow the companies to begin charging more. In San Diego, the new service, called G1GABLAST, it will cost $99 a month.

Apple is recalling some recently purchased third generation Apple TV devices, 9to5Mac reported. The issue is a common one with Apple products, faulty WiFi.

appletv_2ndgenApple devices have a spotty record when it comes to WiFi. In testing three iPads, two iPhones and two Macs, I found only two devices that could recognize a 5 Ghz network, and four of the seven products continue to have connectivity issues.

In 2013 Apple announced a replacement program for earlier delivered Apple TVs.

At the September 9 iPhone event, Apple is expected to introduce a new version of the Apple TV, though such a product announcement could be delayed if the company is still having problems getting content providers to agree to participate in a new TV streaming subscription service. But the frequently rumored “slimmed down” service has had trouble signing up the big media companies, reports say.

Apple may be looking to create a television streaming service similar to its own Apple Music, where the content is curated. Such a scheme, however, would likely be less of interest to viewers simply because programs are significantly longer than songs. Such a curated channel would be in addition to regular channel offerings, and would require the cooperation of the content providers, as well as a new fee scheme.

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