Weekly news round-up: Your guide to what’s happened this week in media, entertainment and technology.
Google announces Stadia
Google has introduced Stadia, a new cloud gaming service to stream video-style games across all devices and set to launch later in 2019 with pricing yet to be announced. Google is leveraging its global infrastructure of data centres to ensure servers are as close to players around the world, The Verge reported, with YouTube a major instrument in pushing gamers to Stadia.
Germany auctions 5G spectrum
Initial bidding began on Tuesday for Germany’s 5G spectrum with service provider 1&1 Drillisch submitting “bold offers” according to Reuters. The three major German telcos Deutsche Telekom, Vodafone and Telefonica Deutschland have only submitted minimum opening bids for the blocks they are interested in. Analysts expect bidding to remain “low-key” however could skyrocket in a move to block 1&1 Drillisch.
Disney seals 21C Fox take over
The acquisition of Rupert Murdoch’s film and TV studio business will boost Disney as it enters the TV streaming market, after closing the $71.3 billion deal after nearly a year of negotiations. The Guardian reported Disney will have more control of TV and film creation and distribution and has also gained ownership popular franchises including X-Men and Deadpool and an additional 30% stake in Hulu.
- Read more Disney formally closes Fox acquisition
Australian PM calls for global social media regulation
A global crackdown on social media has been called for by Australian prime minister Scott Morrison after the terror attack in Christchurch, New Zealand was live-streamed on Facebook. Morrison questioned the regulation and accountability of the social media giants and urged the debate to be central at the upcoming G-20 world leaders’ summit. According to CNBC, he said: “It is imperative that the global community works together to ensure that technology firms meet their moral obligation to protect the communities which they serve and from which they profit.”
Facebook acknowledges video safety ”challenges”
In the wake of the New Zealand terror attack, Facebook senior vice president Guy Rosen said the network is investigating how online platforms are used to circulate videos, he also recognised the “unique challenges” Facebook Live brings. Rosen said Facebook plans to improve its matching artificial intelligence (AI) by giving audio-based detection powers among other improvements, Engadget reported. He added in this incident the shooter’s stream didn’t trigger the AI warning and requires big volumes of training data.
Netflix stands alone from Apple
Apple is expected to unveil its new streaming service on Monday with partnerships likely to be announced. However, Netflix chief executive Reed Hastings dispelled rumours of an alliance confirming the streaming video-on-demand service will remain independent and has “chosen not to integrate” with Apple’s service. Reuters reported, Hastings said the biggest challenge for Netflix is to “not get too distracted” by rivals but still “learn lessons” from them.
- Read more Netflix eschew Apple alliance
Amazon signs BT Sport for Premier League
To support its Premier League matches for the 2019/20 season, Amazon has brought in BT Sport and producer Sunset + Vine to support its production. Broadcast reported the exclusive rights to 20 of the matches will be aired on its UK Prime Video service and streamed at no extra cost to Amazon Prime members.
Iflix to launch premium sports content
Southeast Asian video-on-demand channel iflix has launched a premium sports channel due to roll out later this month in Malaysia, Brunei, Indonesia, Thailand, Cambodia, Vietnam and Myanmar. According to Digital TV Europe, the channel will provide more than 1,000 hours of live sporting events each year including basketball, hockey and motorsports and will work in partnership with sports network ZSports.
Oculus quietly reveals Rift S
The new and improved Oculus Rift S has been quietly revealed this week after a year of high-profile onstage announcements. According to Tech Crunch, Rift S succeeds the flagship Rift virtual reality (VR) headset with camera tracking, better display resolution and has been build in partnership with Lenovo. The new headset has been sold as an “evolution not revolution” with a price tag of $349, heavily reduced from the original $798 headset. Weekly news round-up: