Facebook rolls out video shows, in new challenge

Facebook is rolling out a new video service offering professionally produced shows in a challenge to rivals such as YouTube, and potentially to streaming providers like Netflix. The Facebook service called Watch will include a range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports, the social network said in its announcement late August 9, 2017. (AFP)
Updated 10 August 2017
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Facebook rolls out video shows, in new challenge

SAN FRANCISCO: Facebook is rolling out a new video service offering professionally produced shows in a challenge to rivals such as YouTube, and potentially to streaming providers like Netflix.
The Facebook service called Watch will include a range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports, the social network said in its announcement late Wednesday.
The new platform offers an opportunity for social interactions via the Facebook community of some two billion users.
It will be “a place where you can discover shows your friends are watching and follow your favorite shows and creators so you don’t miss any episodes,” Facebook chief executive Mark Zuckerberg said.
“You’ll be able to chat and connect with people during an episode, and join groups with people who like the same shows afterwards to build community.”
Facebook has funded some of the creators to get the service going.
The launch shows include blogger Nusseir Yassin’s “Nas Daily,” which includes videos together with his fans from around the world, and another hosted by author and motivational speaker Gabby Bernstein.
The service will also include a weekly Major League Baseball game.
“Watch is comprised of shows, a new type of video on Facebook,” said Nick Grudin, Facebook’s vice president of media partnerships, in a blog post.
“Shows are made up of episodes — live or recorded — that follow a consistent theme or storyline... Our goal is for Watch to be a platform for all creators and publishers to find an audience, build a community of passionate fans, and earn money for their work.”
Initially, Watch will be available to a limited group of Facebook users in the United States and more widely to US users in the coming weeks, Facebook, said.
Over time, creators will be able to monetize their shows through “ad breaks,” according to Facebook.
The launch is a limited move into scripted and professional video but puts Facebook on a course to challenge Google-owned YouTube, and possibly other streaming services if it gains a wider audience.
“In general, the model here feels very YouTube-like, with a subscription model, though Facebook’s apps for TV platforms in recent months have signaled the broad structure and interface, with a combination of videos recommended or liked by friends, things you’ve saved, things that are popular on the platform, and so on,” said Jan Dawson of Jackdaw Research.


Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

Updated 19 June 2018
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Saudi Arabia ‘has a case’ in complaint over World Cup ‘politicization’ by Qatar’s BeIN

  • Broadcast of political messages in coverage forbidden, analyst confirms.
  • Saudi football federation urges FIFA to sanction the Doha-owned channel.

LONDON: Saudi Arabia has a justified case in complaining to FIFA over the “politicization” of the World Cup by the Qatari broadcaster BeIN Sports, a prominent TV analyst has said.
A flurry of comments by hosts and pundits aired on BeIN’s Arabic station prompted the Saudi Arabian Football Federation to complain to FIFA this week, saying the broadcaster was using the football tournament to spread political messages aimed at insulting Saudi Arabia and its leaders.
In its complaint, the federation called on FIFA to take severe sanctions against the Qatari channel and to abolish the rights granted to the network.
One BeIN commentator accused Saudi Arabia of “selling out the Palestinian cause,” while a Doha-based international footballer invited on the channel was allowed to call for an end to the year-long boycott of Qatar by neighbors Saudi Arabia, the UAE, Egypt and Bahrain.
Constantinos Papavassilopoulos, principal TV research analyst at IHS Markit Technology, said that politicized coverage was expressly forbidden by world football’s governing body as well as the Union of European Football Associations (UEFA).
“FIFA and UEFA forbid the transmission of political messages during football matches for which they control the rights. It’s not only comments by the broadcasters — but even banners; everything (political) is forbidden,” the analyst told Arab News.
“So messages about Palestine, about political things, are not allowed.”
Papavassilopoulos said that if there is evidence of such cases, authorities in the Kingdom would be justified in taking the matter to FIFA.
“If there are video clips that show BeIN media personnel speaking against Saudi Arabia, Saudi Arabia has a case,” he said.
But whether FIFA will take any action against BeIN is another matter. Papavassilopoulos pointed to the fact that BeIN is a valued client of FIFA — it bought the rights to host the World Cup across the Middle East and North Africa — and that Qatar plans to host the tournament in 2022.
“BeIN media is a very good client for FIFA. And don’t forget that Qatar is the country that will host the 2022 World Cup,” he said. “It’s going to be very very hard for FIFA to impose penalties on BeIN media knowing that Qatar will hold the next World Cup.”
Some of the biggest names in Arab sport have signed a petition to protest against BeIN’s politicization of World Cup coverage, urging FIFA President Gianni Infantino to investigate the coverage.
FIFA did not immediately respond to a request for comment when contacted by Arab News.