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Plex launches a subscription-based retro game streaming service, ‘Plex Arcade’

Plex, the media software maker that’s expanded into streaming in recent years, is adding to its service once again with today’s launch of game streaming. Unlike other game streaming efforts from companies like Microsoft or Google, the new “Plex Arcade” isn’t focused on top gaming titles and new releases, but rather on retro games. At launch, the service is offering around 30 games, including titles like Asteroids, Centipede, Missile Command, Adventure, and Ninja Golf.
The game streaming service was spun out of Plex’s in-house incubator, Plex Labs, and represents more of a passion project for the company, …

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Work trips are making a $5 billion comeback

Would you bet millions of dollars on a corporate travel comeback? Doesn’t matter. Andreessen Horowitz, Addition and Elad Gil are anyways.
This week, the trio led a nine-figure financing round in TripActions, a software company that helps other companies book and manage corporate travel. But the news is (always) more than the number. I see TripActions’ growth as a signal to travel sector startups, which faced the brunt of the pandemic’s impact. We’ve heard the market is emerging again, but the fact that investors poured money into an up-round valued at $5 billion adds an extra layer of …

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Original Content podcast: ‘Bridgerton’ is an addictive reimagining of Jane Austen-style romance

“Bridgerton,” the Shondaland drama that launched last month on Netflix, offers a few key updates to the standard formula of Regency-era  romance.
For one thing, there’s a racially diverse cast, with Black actors taking on the role of early 19th-century English nobility and royalty. (At one point, one of the characters offers an unconvincing explanation for why this is the case, but we — and the show — mostly ignored it.) For another, there’s a healthy dose of sex; “Bridgerton” emphatically does not shy away from showing viewers what its unbelievably attractive cast gets up to in the bedroom.
On …

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YouTube launches hashtag landing pages to all users

YouTube is embracing the hashtag. The company has been quietly working on a new feature that allows users to better discover content using hashtags — either by clicking on a hashtag on YouTube or by typing in a hashtag link directly. Before, these actions would return a mix of content related to the hashtag, but not only those videos where the hashtag had been directly used. Now that’s changing, as YouTube has fully rolled out its new “hashtag landing pages.”
Going forward, when you click on a hashtag on YouTube, you’ll be taken to a dedicated landing page that …

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The only take about the future of media is that media is the future

Hello and welcome back to Equity, TechCrunch’s venture capital-focused podcast, where we unpack the numbers behind the headlines.
This week we — Natasha and Danny and Alex and Grace — had more than a little to noodle over, but not so much that we blocked out a second episode. We try to stick to our current format, but, may do more shows in the future. Have a thought about that? equitypod@techcrunch.com is your friend and we are listening.
Now! We took a broad approach this week, so there is a little of something for everything down below. Enjoy!

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Walking Duck is a digital news startup trying to find middle ground in U.S. politics

Can any news organization bridge the separate realities that the left and right seem to occupy in U.S. politics? A new startup with the odd-yet-memorable name Walking Duck is going to try.
Walking Duck (an inversion of a “lame duck” president – a phrasing that has earned criticism as ableist – and a reference to the duck test) was founded by journalist Mark Halperin, as well as Paul and Audra Wilke, who are also backing it with their PR firm Upright Position Communications.
While the startup is producing a variety of content and events, including virtual town halls, there are three …

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Apple’s new editorial franchise, Apple Podcasts Spotlight, to highlight interesting creators

Apple today announced a new editorial franchise called Apple Podcasts Spotlight, which aims to highlight rising podcast creators in the U.S. The editorial team at Apple will select new podcast creators to feature every month and then give them prominent screen real estate in the Apple Podcasts app and promote them across social media and elsewhere. This will allow creators to reach a wider audience, similar to how the App Store showcases a selection of recommended apps and games with large banners at the top of its screen.
The first Spotlight creator is Chelsea Devantez, who hosts the podcast …

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Paramount+, the successor to CBS All Access, launches March 4 in the U.S., Canada, and Latin America

Last year, ViacomCBS announced its CBS All Access streaming service would soon rebrand as Paramount+, to better reflect the expanded content lineup following the Viacom-CBS merger in 2019. Today, the company says it has set a launch date for Paramount+ in the U.S.: March 4, 2021. It’s also sharing the launch dates for other international markets, including Latin America, Canada and the Nordics.
The service will debut on March 4 in Latin American markets, and will rebrand from CBS All Access to Paramount+ in Canada at the same time. However, Canada won’t receive the expanded lineup until later in 2021. The Nordics …

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Fox Settled a Lawsuit Over Its Lies. But It Insisted on One Unusual Condition.

On Oct. 12, 2020, Fox News agreed to pay millions of dollars to the family of a murdered Democratic National Committee staff member, implicitly acknowledging what saner minds knew long ago: that the network had repeatedly hyped a false claim that the young staff member, Seth Rich, was involved in leaking D.N.C. emails during the 2016 presidential campaign. (Russian intelligence officers, in fact, had hacked and leaked the emails.)Fox’s decision to settle with the Rich family came just before its marquee hosts, Lou Dobbs and Sean Hannity, were set to be questioned under oath in the case, a potentially …

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Bustle CEO Bryan Goldberg explains his plans for taking the company public

Bustle Digital Group — owner of Bustle, Inverse, Input, Mic and other titles — could eventually join the ranks of startups going public via a special purpose acquisition company (SPAC).
During an interview about the state of BDG and the digital media industry at the end of 2020, founder and CEO Bryan Goldberg laid out ambitious goals for the next few years.
“Where do I want to see the company in three years? I want to see three things: I want to be public, I want to see us driving a lot of profits and I want it to be a lot bigger, …

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