Qatar’s BeIN Sports loses F1 regional broadcast rights to MBC Group

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MBC will air the FIA Formula One World Championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023. (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2019
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Qatar’s BeIN Sports loses F1 regional broadcast rights to MBC Group

  • The region’s largest media company will air the championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023
  • The deal will see the return of the world’s biggest motorsport event to a free-to-air network in the region, following years of being available on subscription-only networks

LONDON: The Middle East media group MBC has won the regional broadcast rights for the FIA Formula One World Championship, it was announced on Friday. 

The region’s largest media company will air the championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023. 

The deal will see the return of the world’s biggest motorsport event to a free-to-air network in the region, following years of being available on subscription-only networks. 

The rights were previously held by the Qatar-owned beIN Sports, which charges its subscribers. This is the second to the Doha based broadcaster only a few days after the Asian Football Confederation (AFC) ended the Qatari broadcaster’s monopoly of broadcasting competition matches in Saudi Arabia.  The decision, which ended BeIN’s sole control of AFC’s Champions League matches in Saudi Arabia, was hinged on communications and legal grounds, including the Qatari company’s “systemic violations it committed against the Kingdom’s regulations.”

The F1 championship will now be free to watch on MBC Action, with the channel covering all stages of each event, including training sessions, qualifiers, and Grand Prix day. 

“The FIA Formula One World Championship is the most prestigious and popular year-long motor- sport event par excellence” said Mazen Hayek, MBC’s spokesman. 

“MBC Action is thrilled to broad- cast it free-to-air to millions of fans in Saudi Arabia and across MENA, after having been encrypted and subscription-based, for years. 

“This falls in line with MBC Group’s long-established commitment to offer the best premium content of all genres, free-to-air, to audiences across MENA, with the region’s vibrant youth mind.” 

The deal is through an agreement between MBC Group and the FIA (Fédération Internationale de l’Automobile). 

The 2019 season commenced on Friday, with the Formula 1 Rolex Australian Grand Prix 2019 in Melbourne.


First artificial intelligence Google Doodle features Bach

Updated 7 min 5 sec ago
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First artificial intelligence Google Doodle features Bach

  • Google says the Doodle uses machine learning to “harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style”
  • Bach’s chorales were known for having four voices carrying their own melodic line

MOUNTAIN VIEW, California: Google is celebrating composer Johann Sebastian Bach with its first artificial intelligence-powered Doodle.
Thursday’s animated Google Doodle shows the composer playing an organ in celebration of his March 21, 1685, birthday under the old Julian calendar. It encourages users to compose their own two-measure melody.
Google says the Doodle uses machine learning to “harmonize the custom melody into Bach’s signature music style.” Bach’s chorales were known for having four voices carrying their own melodic line.
To develop the AI Doodle, Google teams created a machine-learning model that was trained on 306 of Bach’s chorale harmonizations. Another team worked to allow machine learning to occur within the web browser instead of on its servers.
The Doodle will prompt users who are unsure of how to interact with the animated graphic.