Youtube Ad Controversy

Google has apologized to major advertisers after their ads were featured alongside YouTube videos carrying homophobic and antisemitic messages. It led to Marks & Spencer, HSBC, BBC, and McDonald’s pulling ad content from Google websites in the UK. Google said that it will take a tougher stance on hateful content in response to this incident, hire more staff and tighten safeguards in its YouTube Partner Program.

We appreciate this constructive approach by Google, because millions of videos are added every week, and its indeed very difficult to scan all videos for their content. Text scanning can be done, and it is already being done by new software. Picture scanning software is also improving.

Old economy companies like M&S, BBC, should understand that they need Google more than Google needs them. These companies are acting holier than thou. Advertisers should know that they don’t have much negotiating power against the Internet giant Google. If they don’t use Google, their competition will do, and there are not many options anyway. So they should make less noise. Long live Youtube!

Winter Storm Stella Freezes Life in US East Coast

Winter-Storm-Stella-13mar2017

More than 6,000 flights in the USA are canceled Tuesday as the Northeast gets pummeled. State of emergency declared in New York, New Jersey, Maryland and Virginia. Schools are closed throughout the region. Top snow fall recorded so far in Dingmans Ferry, Pennsylvania (2 feet). A 16-year-old girl killed in car accident in New Hampshire – the 3rd weather-related death in this storm.

New York updates (source: Weather.com)
Gov. Andrew Cuomo declared a state of emergency Tuesday for all of New York’s 62 counties, including New York City. He also directed non-essential state employees to stay home. Port Authority of New York and New Jersey spokesman Steve Coleman says 1,124 flights are canceled at LaGuardia Airport on Tuesday (Jan 14th) and about 200 passengers are stranded at Kennedy airport, where 757 flights are canceled. Newark Liberty International Airport has more than 1,000 flights canceled. Many airlines are allowing passengers to make a one-time change to their flights without a fee in many of its affected markets, including Newark, LaGuardia and JFK. Continue reading Winter Storm Stella Freezes Life in US East Coast

Blackstone looking to raise $40bn Infrastructure Fund

Blackstone, the biggest name in private equity has turned its attention to infrastructure. Blackstone’s head of private equity Joe Baratta, excited about the infrastructure opportunities that a Donald Trump presidency could potentially unleash, planted his flag firmly in the sand:

“To be relevant in that end of the market, I think you need to be deploying billions of dollars at a time, not hundreds of millions. So you’re probably talking about a vehicle that’s 20, 30, 40 billion dollars of equity,” he told Bloomberg TV. When asked if that meant aiming for the largest vehicle ever raised, he added: “Correct. That would be the ambition if this comes to fruition, which we certainly think it will, in terms of the public sector aligning with the private sector to invest in the fabric of this country.”

The largest vehicle to date is Global Infrastructure Partners’ third fund, which closed recently at $15.8 billion. The second-largest is Brookfield’s third infrastructure fund, which closed last summer on $14 billion. Baratta’s upper end effectively dwarfs the two combined. Go big or go home. Continue reading Blackstone looking to raise $40bn Infrastructure Fund

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