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Netflix and Spotify will be taxed by the Philippine government

As well as other ‘digital service providers’

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Netflix and Spotify as well as other digital services you’re subscribed to might hike their prices following the latest move by the Philippine government.

The House Ways and Means Panel of the Philippine Congress has approved the bill that proposes the imposition of a 12% VAT (Value Added Tax) to companies, local and foreign, that engage in the exchange of goods and services for monetary value on digital platforms.

Netflix and Spotify were prominently mentioned but the bill will impose the 12% VAT on any digital service provider. It defines such as follows: “an entity which provides digital service or goods to a buyer through an online platform for purposes of buying and selling of goods or services or by making transactions for the provision of digital services on behalf of any person.”

This means most of your online subscriptions will likely be affected. Further expanding the definition, the following also fall under the “digital service provider” category:

  • third party that acts as a conduit for goods or services offered by a supplier to a buyer and receives commission therefore
  • platform provider for promotion that uses the internet to deliver marketing messages to attract buyers
  • host of online auctions conducted through the internet, where the seller sells the product or service to the person who bids the highest price
  • supplier of digital services to a buyer in exchange for a regular subscription fee over the usage of the said product or service
  • supplier of electronic and online services that can be delivered through an information technology infrastructure, such as the internet.

We’ve reached out to Netflix and Spotify inquiring how they will respond to this development. We have yet to receive a response as of writing.

Philippine debt climbing

The authors of the bill argue that this will level the playing field between local and foreign companies. The Philippines’ assistant secretary notes that the government could gain a PhP 10 Billion revenue from this measure.

This comes on the heels of another report noting that the Philippines’ debt has breached the PhP 9 Trillion mark. The borrowed funds have been earmarked for COVID-19 response.

However, there still has been no implementation of mass testing and proper contact tracing which have been proven to be effective in containing the spread of the virus. This, despite the Coronavirus cases in the country already breaching the 80,000 mark — well above the number in neighboring countries.

Source: GMA News

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Netflix is losing a lot of long-term subscribers

People are switching

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The Netflix revolution was indeed televised. However, after enjoying years of success as the streaming platform of choice, a lot of users are now leaving Netflix for greener pastures. Over the past few months, the company has struggled to patch its failures. A recently released data report does confirm that the platform has a right to worry. More and more long-term subscribers are reportedly cutting their subscriptions short.

According to The Information, around 13 percent of Netflix cancelers in the past quarter are from accounts that have been with the platform for over three years. The data, which was reportedly obtained from Antenna, pegs cancelations at around 3.6 million Americans, a big increase from the 2.5 million of the past five quarters.

Though 13 percent isn’t exactly a giant figure, it’s still a blow to Netflix’s empire. While streaming platform rightly focus on gaining new subscribers, losing the loyalty of long-term users isn’t something to shrug off.

Since announcing lost expectations, Netflix announced ways to save on costs and retain its subscribers. Other methods include canceling projects, opening a games division, and potentially charging users more for account sharing. Naturally, not every plan hits users the same way.

In the meantime, other platforms — like Disney+, HBO, and Hulu — are attracting more users with more varied and exclusive content. Regardless, Netflix is skidding down a slope. Only time will tell whether its latest strategies will stave off more losses.

SEE ALSO: Netflix is experimenting with livestreaming content

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Here’s what’s coming in Android 13

At least for the second beta

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Android just keeps getting better. Last year, Android 12 represented a major revolution in what the operating system is capable of. With the update’s success, Google wants to keep the train going with Android 13. After months of development, the company is finally ready to tease what’s coming for this year’s update.

During this year’s Google I/O event, Google unveiled more information about Android 13, coinciding with the release of the update’s second beta. First and foremost is an increased focus on security. While Android 12 already increased security for its users, Android 13 is tacking on more features for the security-conscious user.

For example, the update will give more control over what information the user will share to external apps. Instead of an umbrella term like “files and media,” users can specify whether granting permission includes photos, video, and music files. Additionally, users can also pick which photos an app can access. Do you have a particularly revealing photos you’d rather not have another app see? You can restrict apps from accessing that file.

Android 13 also adds more permissions for users. Apps will no longer be able to access anything on the phone without your permission. The system will also start deleting content on the clipboard automatically to prevent apps from accessing information stored there.

As for customization, the update will retain the custom theme colors for users. For one, themed icons will also include non-Google apps. The music player’s visuals will also adapt to whatever content is playing at the moment.

Android 13 is currently on its second beta phase. With appropriate progress, Google should release the final update later this year.

SEE ALSO: Apple, Google, and Microsoft are getting rid of the password

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Google Maps introduces a new way to be a tourist

What an immersive view

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When Street View was announced, Google Maps found an interesting niche of users who want to experience the world up close from the comforts of their homes. With how much the feature can do, you’d think that Google would find it hard to top itself. Apparently, that’s not the case. During the recently concluded Google I/O, the company introduced a new feature coming to Maps: a new immersive view.

Technically, the feature isn’t introducing something completely new. Instead, it combines aerial view and street view together. The combination is a more immersive, soaring perspective over a city. From merely searching addresses, it evolves to provide more information for travelers.

With a slider, users can see how a city looks at different times of day and different weather conditions. Users can also see how busy areas of the city are, helping them plan out their trip around town. Plus, a graphic included with the announcement includes a way to enter establishments, such as entering restaurants to see if it’s worth a reservation.

The new immersive view is available on any device. However, it will launch only in select locations in the meantime like Los Angeles, London, New York, San Francisco, and Tokyo.

Also, Google has added in eco-friendly routing to its navigation. Users can choose to find the greenest way to get to their destination. Currently, this specific addition is only available in the United States and Canada. It is still on track to launch in a lot more places.

SEE ALSO: Apple’s Indoor Maps now lets you navigate Jewel Changi Airport

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