Your guide to what’s happened this week in the media, entertainment and technology industry.
Viacom to “lean into mobile”
Viacom boss Bob Bakish has dismissed suggestions of undertaking major M&A activity this year, instead telling those gathered at the Variety CES Summit that the media giant was looking to diversify its distribution. “Mobile distribution really is the catalyst that will turn this whole decline of television argument on its head,” Bakish said, according to Variety. 5G will be one of the factors that will drive mobile, with driverless, connected cars also hightled as an area of potential growth.
BBC consults on iPlayer overhaul
The BBC has laid out a series of potential changes to its iPlayer service to “reflect changing audience expectations”, writes the Radio Times. The changes include making BBC programmes available for 12 months as part of the broadcaster’s efforts to make iPlayer a destination for audiences rather than just a catch-up service.
Discovery snaps up stake in Play Sports Group
Discovery has taken a 71% stake in Play Sports Group, the UK-based multi-channel network which owns Global Cycling Network, Global Mountain Bike Network and Global Triathlon Network. According to TVB Europe, Play Sports Group will become a subsidiary of Discovery which aims to build Discovery’s “number one cycling media ecosystem worldwide”, combining content, lifestyle and events.
IMDB launches streaming service
Film and TV database IMDB has launched Freedive, a free-to-access, ad-supported streaming channel. The Amazon subsidiary’s films and TV shows - including shows such as Heroes and The Bachelor and films such as Foxcatcher and Memento - are available to registered IMDb or Amazon users and Amazon Fire TV owners, reports The Verge.
Walt Disney and Verizon partner on 5G
Walt Disney Studios and Verizon have teamed up to examine how 5G connectivity will change the way media is produced and consumed. According to Variety, Disney will use next-generation wireless broadband with peak data transmission rates of 10 gigabits per second for a range of projects including production environments that aren’t easily accessible with traditional broadband solutions.
Sky takes stake in software firm Synamedia
Sky is taking a stake in TV software and content protection business Synamedia. Sky, which along with its parent Comcast is a long-term client of Synamedia, joins the company’s existing major shareholder Permira, reports Advanced Television.
ABC may have underpaid casual staff
The Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) says it may have been underpaying some 2,500 casual staff over the past six years, reports the Guardian. The national broadcaster is now reviewing payments, with unions suggesting the total of unpaid wages would be “substantial”.
Lawrence of Arabia tops Best Shot Films poll
David Lean’s Lawrence of Arabia, which was shot by Freddie Young, has been ranked as the Best Shot Film of All Time. The poll of members of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC) was conducted to mark the organisation’s 100th anniversary. The ASC said it resulted in a list of 100 films which “represent a range of styles, eras and visual artistry, but most importantly, the lists commemorate films that are inspirational to ASC members, and have exhibited enduring influence on generations of filmmakers,” according to Deadline.