Your digest of the week’s top media, entertainment and technology news. 

Digital digest index

Facebook launches new video service: Watch

In a strategic move to produce online video, Facebook released that their users will soon see a ‘Watch’ tab designed for personalised online video according to the BBC. Facebook Founder Mark Zuckerberg shared in a company blog post, the unique Watch tab will enable viewers to comment, share and like videos with their friends.

The Wall Street Journal reported the financial incentives including ad revenue, Facebook to pay the production off-set and or licensing content is very promising for targetted advertising and for consumption of online video.  

Discovery buys Scripps for $12BN

Pay-TV giant Discovery Communications will buy lifestyle network Scripps for close to $12 billion according to The Guardian. The merger comes at a difficult time for broadcasters reported Variety, where competition for viewers attention is spread thin across traditional and SVOD options.   

Disney cuts ties with Netflix 

Disney plans to invest heavily in original TV and movies to launch their own streaming service, ending their distribution deal with Netflix reported by Campaign. Disney will launch with ESPN at the start of 2018 with its new Disney branded SVOD service launching 2019 according to Variety. Disney announced their plans following on from their Q3 results, which notably had a 3% revenue decline across its cable network group.    

HBO offers $250,000 to hackers

HBO reportedly surprised by the release of documents according to The Guardian, have attempted to push back the ransom deadline by offering hackers $250,000 as a bug bounty. HBO Senior Vice President offered the money as a reward rather than succumbing to the ransom request reported The Guardian.

The unidentified hacking group responsible for last week’s sophisticated attack on HBO according to the BBC, claimed they had stolen 1.5TB of data, have revealed the extent of their attack. Confidential company documents including emails, finance reports, strategy guidelines, budgets and contact details for HBO executives and actors are being held ransom reported by Wired.   

BBC creates voice controlled iPlayer 

An experimental iPlayer has been built by the BBC with Microsoft, using artificial intelligence (AI) to recognise and navigate with the viewer’s voice. Business Insider UK reported the advancement of using the human voice fingerprint over typing a password could lead the way for future interaction with devices. 

Google offers $30 billion to buy Snapchat

Insiders shared Google’s offer to acquire Snapchat in 2016 for $30 billion in an attempt to expand its social profile according to Tech Crunch. Google declined the offer was true, but if the offer had pertained The Next Web hypothesised of the likely outcomes the merger could have had. Perhaps it would’ve been Google Plus’s answer to Facebook Messenger and it certainly would have been folded into Google’s algorithms and advertising campaigns. 

UK communication industry peaks at £54.9BN 

The latest Ofcom reported by Telecoms outlined popular market trends with 88% of households having an internet connection with 10.8 million of those considered super-fast. Notably, the 2016 revenue for the UK communications industry was up 0.4% reaching £54.9 billion. Not surprisingly it reported traditional TV was under threat while Snapchat is now used by more than 158 million people worldwide every day and Instagram is rising in popularity.