National News

'Unsettling' Lucille Ball Sculpture Will Move To New Home In NY

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 11:37

The plan gives new life to a statue that gained dubious fame last month, when criticism of the bronze work reached a fever pitch. It's now seen as a part of comedy history.

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On YouTube, it's always late night

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-12 11:30

Late night TV is increasingly not on TV, or even on at night. In the past year nearly every major player — CBS, NBC, Comedy Central — have seen host shake-ups, with more on the way. HBO and Netflix are joining the fray and, as the New York Times points out, competition is stiffer as more viewers aren't bothering to stay up and watch anymore.

Instead, shows are fighting for viewers online, and some are performing better than others. To find out just how much better, we looked at each major late-night show's ratings last quarter and their most successful videos on YouTube. It's not a perfect measure — nearly all shows also host clips on their network's website, and on Facebook — but a pattern starts to emerge: younger shows are increasingly finding what works online. Often that's celebrities being silly, and they're reaching far bigger audiences because of it.

Here's how all the shows stack up:

"The Tonight Show Starring Jimmy Fallon"

  • Debuted: February 17, 2014
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 3.9 million
  • Most popular YouTube video: "Lip Sync Battle with Emma Stone," 52.6 million views

After a year on-air, Fallon's "Tonight Show," dominates late-night TV in Nielsen ratings and YouTube views. Much of this online success comes from several recurring segments, online-only musical performances and nostalgia-fueled stunts, like reuniting the cast of "Saved by the Bell." The show's celebrity "lip-sync battles" have racked up some 165 million views for "Tonight," and Spike has its own, seperate show based on the concept.

"The Tonight Show" also posts web-exclusive backstage interviews, but those rarely crack seven figures.

"The Late Show with David Letterman"

  • Debuted: August 30, 1993
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 2.8 million
  • Most popular YouTube video: "Tina Fey's #LastDressEver," 13.8 million views and counting

Interestingly, Letterman had his biggest viral success just last week, when Tina Fey shed her fancy dress during an interview to say goodbye to the retiring host. The video has quickly lapped the show's most successful videos several times over. The only "Late Show" segments that have come close are other bits of planned spontaneity, like a particularly frenetic musical performance, a Robin Williams tribute or when Letterman announced his retirement.

CBS also produces a spin-off called "Live on Letterman" featuring hour-long concerts filmed in the Ed Sullivan Theater, streamed through the network's website.

"Jimmy Kimmel Live!"

  • Debuted: January 26, 2003
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 2.7 million
  • Most popular YouTube video: "YouTube Challenge - I Told My Kids I Ate All Their Halloween Candy," 53.3 million views

This one comes with a little asterisk: Kimmel's most popular YouTube video is actually a relatively-ancient 2010 clip in which he has Justin Bieber come on the show to surprise a young fan. It was huge views spike for "Jimmy Kimmel Live," which the show has only started to match recently. Let's chalk that one up as a fluke of the rabid Beiber fandom and look at the rest of Kimmel's big viral hits, which all involve crying children and celebrities saying terrible things about themselves.

The show's "Celebrities Read Mean Tweets" videos have together racked up more than 355 million views. Kimmel's now-annual compilations of children hearing their parents ate all their Halloween candy have been a huge success as well. Only these recurring segments have started to match Kimmel's early success with Beibs.

"Conan"

  • Debuted: November 8, 2010
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 815,000
  • Most popular video: "Ice Cube, Kevin Hart, and Conan Share A Lyft Car," 17.7 million views

Like Letterman, Conan O'Brien's show is a little more old-fashioned, with fewer recurring segments featuring celebrities. His show's most popular videos involve going on goofing around outside the studio with his guests, like visiting a Korean Spa with actor Steven Yuen, playing video games with Marshawn Lynch and looking for dates with Dave Franco.

The show also posts "Interweb exclusive" outtakes and backstage interviews on the Team Coco website.

"Late Night with Seth Meyers"

  • Debuted: February 24, 2014
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 1.5 million
  • Most popular YouTube video: "Seth Brings Jon Snow to a Dinner Party," 6.8 million views

Seth Meyers' "Late Night" mostly posts clips from celebrity interviews, which rarely reach a million views. The few that have are with Internet darlings like Jennifer Lawrence, Taylor Swift and Kanye West. The show does several pre-taped segments reminiscent of "Saturday Night Live," as well as live performances of actual cut "SNL" sketches, but only one has been a bonafide hit.

"The Late Late Show with James Cordon"

  • Debuted: March 23, 2015
  • Average nightly TV viewers: 1.5 million
  • Most popular YouTube video: "James Corden and Tom Hanks Act Out Tom's Filmography," 12.7 million views

A month and a half in, the new "Late Late Show" has started off strong, beating out time slot rival "Late Night" with a couple of videos that seem likely to become recurring bits over James Cordon's run as host. One has actors rapidly revisit all of their major roles in front of a green screen, and the other puts Cordon in the car, singing along to the radio with Mariah Carey.

Verizon is buying AOL. What now? Let us explain.

Marketplace - American Public Media - Tue, 2015-05-12 11:28

On Tuesday, Verizon announced that it had purchased AOL for $4 billion. That led to a fair bit of head scratching. 

Verizon to buy AOL. AOL still exists?

— Isobel Carr (@IsobelCarr) May 12, 2015

There were also a lot of dial-up jokes and "you've got merger"s. But seriously: why on earth would Verizon buy AOL, and what does it plan to do now that it has? Let's break it down.

What is this deal all about?

It’s about mobile video, and it’s about ads.

Like Comcast and AT&T, Verizon has realized there’s no real money in being the plumber – that is, in selling access to the pipes, whether they’re wireless phone access or Internet access to the home. The real money is in content, and unless we're talking about public radio, content means ads. AOL has really great technology for delivering ads in mobile video, and they have a lot of original content too.

Verizon has said it wants to launch a mobile TV service as soon as this summer; this is the video and the ad platform that could power it. That would put it — much like Comcast with NBCUniversal and AT&T with DirecTV — in the content business, but it would be content aimed at mobile phones and wireless subscribers instead of traditional television.

OK, but why do they need AOL for that?

It turns out, in addition to making $143 million a year off people who still pay for dial-up, AOL has also spent the past few years building itself a pretty decent little ad technology business. It bought companies like 5min media, which distributes short video clips around the web so advertisers get more views. Then it spent $400 million on an ad technology company called Adap.tv that helped it put ads on all those little video clips.

Companies like Adap.tv do something called "programmatic advertising," which basically means they use computers to buy and place ads more efficiently and hopefully more effectively. That's another story, but for now what you need to know is that AOL got itself some good programmatic ad technology, and invested in creating a bunch of content to advertise against. That made them, apparently, a tempting target for a telco looking for a new revenue stream.

Why do it now?

Well, on the wireless side, Verizon is in a price war with T-Mobile, AT&T and Sprint, not to mention prepaid providers. Wireless used to be a great business because you could basically charge whatever you wanted for data —and Verizon did. That’s changing, so it's making less money on wireless. On the broadband access side, there are the looming net neutrality regulations — if broadband and wireless internet access are reclassified as utilities, that will limit Verizon’s flexibility around what it can charge for access. The telcos are worried they’ll make less money, so they’re all looking for other ways to keep the dream alive.

Sounds like a big bet. Will it work?

Selling ads against mobile video is a tough game, considering your main competitors are Facebook and Google.

It turns out that A: They're pretty good at ad technology themselves (read: the best in the world) and B: Most of the video people are watching on their phones is coming from either Facebook or YouTube. So even if Verizon does launch its own video streaming service, why would anyone use it when they still have YouTube and Facebook? Oh, and what if it's only on Verizon? That leaves out a huge chunk of the market that might never see those ads.

Meanwhile, if Verizon launches its own streaming video service, then it’s suddenly in the content business. That could raise some regulatory red flags. This deal still has to be approved by regulators, who might be worried that Verizon could prioritize its own video service over, say, YouTube.

Enough about business. What about me? 

Well, if Verizon does launch a new streaming video service, it could be a reason to stay a customer, if you like what they’re offering. They might use it to lure new customers onto the service, because they figure mobile video is huge and only getting huger.

On the back end, it’ll probably mean a lot more tracking of your behavior. Verizon’s already gotten in some hot water for using “super-cookies” that track your browsing and location information even if you thought you opted out on individual websites. Wanting to serve you targeted ads gives it even more reason to track everything you look at. So, choose wisely.

Fast-Track Trade Measure Fails Key Test Vote In Senate

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 11:20

The White House calls the vote merely a "procedural snafu" and expects to eventually prevail.

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A Foot In Africa, A Foot In Europe: Divide Grows Wider In Ceuta

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 10:28

The Spanish city is physically part of Africa. About half of its people are more prosperous Europeans; half are Arabic-speaking Muslims disproportionately living in poverty. That disparity is growing.

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Do We Talk Funny? 51 American Colloquialisms

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 10:16

American English has a rich history of regionalisms — which sometimes tell us a lot about where we come from.

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Malaysia Says It Will Turn Back Migrant Boats

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 10:00

It comes a day after more than 1,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis landed in the waters of Malaysia's Langkawi island, and after Indonesia said it would also turn back the migrants.

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Malaysia Says It Will Turn Back Migrant Boats

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 10:00

It comes a day after more than 1,000 Rohingya and Bangladeshis landed in the waters of Malaysia's Langkawi island, and after Indonesia said it would also turn back the migrants.

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Marine Corps Helicopter Helping With Relief Effort In Nepal Goes Missing

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:52

The disappearance of a UH-1 Huey helicopter was under investigation. The helicopter was carrying six Marines.

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Marine Corps Helicopter Helping With Relief Effort In Nepal Goes Missing

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:52

The disappearance of a UH-1 Huey helicopter was under investigation. The helicopter was carrying six Marines.

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Reagan Shooter John Hinckley's Lawyers Say He's Ready To Be Free

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:51

Hinckley's lawyer argued that the depression and psychosis that fueled his drive to shoot President Reagan and others in 1981 is "in full, stable, sustained remission." Now it's up to a federal judge.

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Reagan Shooter John Hinckley's Lawyers Say He's Ready To Be Free

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:51

Hinckley's lawyer argued that the depression and psychosis that fueled his drive to shoot President Reagan and others in 1981 is "in full, stable, sustained remission." Now it's up to a federal judge.

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Tea Tuesdays: Matcha-maker, Matcha-maker, Make Me Some Tea

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:46

Matcha green tea is taking off in America, but the Japanese have been drinking it for eight centuries. What happens when commercialism meets tradition?

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Tea Tuesdays: Matcha-maker, Matcha-maker, Make Me Some Tea

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:46

Matcha green tea is taking off in America, but the Japanese have been drinking it for eight centuries. What happens when commercialism meets tradition?

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Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:10

Genes linked to inflammation are more active in winter, a study hints. That might partly explain why some diseases, including Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to start then.

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Seasons May Tweak Genes That Trigger Some Chronic Diseases

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:10

Genes linked to inflammation are more active in winter, a study hints. That might partly explain why some diseases, including Type 1 diabetes and rheumatoid arthritis, are more likely to start then.

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Short On Sleep? You Could Be A Disaster Waiting To Happen

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:04

Megadisasters like Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill were set off by people who were sleep-deprived. Researchers say they're able to pinpoint how lack of sleep derails decision-making.

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Short On Sleep? You Could Be A Disaster Waiting To Happen

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 09:04

Megadisasters like Chernobyl and the Exxon Valdez oil spill were set off by people who were sleep-deprived. Researchers say they're able to pinpoint how lack of sleep derails decision-making.

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2015 Rankings List Most 'Bicycle Friendly' U.S. States

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 08:45

The League of American Bicyclists' rankings also show that no American state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.

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2015 Rankings List Most 'Bicycle Friendly' U.S. States

NPR News - Tue, 2015-05-12 08:45

The League of American Bicyclists' rankings also show that no American state scored higher than 67 points out of 100.

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