Saudi-Egyptian sports alliance to replace blocked Qatari beIN Sports

Updated 20 June 2017
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Saudi-Egyptian sports alliance to replace blocked Qatari beIN Sports

JEDDAH: The frequency of a new unencrypted sports TV network that will replace the blocked Qatari beIN Sports is set to be announced on Wednesday, Saudi Media City Chairman Muflih Al-Hafatah said on Twitter.
PBS Sport is launching in the region on Arabsat in alliance with Egypt and will be based in Cairo. Al-Hafatah described the channels as “Egyptian with a 100 percent Saudi capital.”
He tweeted: “New channels will be free as much as possible in accordance with what international laws permit.” He added that if encryption is required, the prices will be affordable for everyone.
A press conference is due to take place after next week’s Eid holiday, to offer further details about the new sports channels, Al-Hafatah said. The new PBS network will include 11 channels in high definition (HD). All channels will use the 4K-resolution technology.
PBS Sport announced on its official Twitter account that it has signed a contract with the Argentinian veteran footballer Diego Maradona to join the team of sports analysts, as well as the Saudi retired footballer Nawaf Al-Temyat.
The new channels will provide sports fanatics with a new service after the blocking or restriction placed on Qatar’s beIN sports channels, along with arms of the Al Jazeera news channel, in some countries amid the ongoing diplomatic row in the Gulf.
“Away from politics and ranging of our policies in our homeland, we won’t allow a state that sponsors terrorism to monopolize television entertainment in our Arab countries,” Al-Hafatah tweeted, in reference to Qatar.
The Qatar network broadcasts popular football tournaments such as Spanish La Liga and Copa del Rey, UEFA Europa League, and English Premier League.
Prices announced on the PBS Sport Twitter account are SR80 ($21) for monthly subscriptions, SR400 ($106) for six months and SR750 ($200) for a year.
What potential subscribers are looking for from the new service is a variety of sports analysis and commentary, and high quality in the broadcasting of games.
“Fast planning to establish high-quality new sports channels is challenging and needs time and preparation,” Khalid Attiya, 43-year-old football tournaments enthusiast, told Arab News.
Attiya currently has a beIN Sports subscription that he renewed on May 1, a month before the Qatari crisis, for which he paid SR1,350 ($360).
“I have not received any notification that my current subscription would be suspended,” he added.
Among the rights that beIN Sports has already bought were the 2018 and 2022 FIFA World Cup matches.
Saudi Minister of Culture and Information Awwad Al-Awwad had previously said that Saudis working at Qatar’s beIN would be compensated with local jobs in parallel positions.
The upcoming PBS Sport channels are now accepting job applications from new talents, particularly commentators and presenters, the PBS Sport Twitter account posted.


Google fined $1.7bn for search ad blocks

Updated 20 March 2019
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Google fined $1.7bn for search ad blocks

  • Google received three fines in the past two years
  • EU Commission says Google has been blocking competitors for the past ten years

BRUSSELS: Google was fined $1.7 billion on Wednesday for blocking rival online search advertisers, the third large European Union antitrust penalty for the Alphabet business in two only years.

The European Commission, which said the fine accounted for 1.29 percent of Google’s turnover in 2018, said in a statement that the anti-competitive practices had lasted a decade.

“Google has cemented its dominance in online search adverts and shielded itself from competitive pressure by imposing anti-competitive contractual restrictions on third-party websites,” European Competition Commissioner Margrethe Vestager said.

The case concerned websites, such as of newspaper or travel sites, with a search function that produces search results and search adverts. Google’s AdSense for Search provided such search adverts.

The misconduct included stopping publishers from placing any search adverts from competitors on their search results pages, forcing them to reserve the most profitable space on their search results pages for Google’s adverts and a requirement to seek written approval from Google before making changes to the way in which any rival adverts were displayed.

The AdSense advertising case was triggered by a complaint from Microsoft in 2010. Both companies subsequently dropped complaints against each other in 2016.

Last year, Vestager imposed a record $4.92 billion fine on Google for using its popular Android mobile operating system to block rivals. This followed a $2.74 billion fine in June 2017 for hindering rivals of shopping comparison websites.

Google is now trying to comply with the order to ensure a level playing field with proposals to boost price comparison rivals and prompt Android users to choose their preferred browsers and search apps. Critics however are still not happy.