Russian court fines Amazon’s Twitch $57,000 over Ukraine content

Russia has repeatedly imposed penalties on foreign companies. (AFP/File)
Russia has repeatedly imposed penalties on foreign companies. (AFP/File)
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Updated 31 January 2023

Russian court fines Amazon’s Twitch $57,000 over Ukraine content

Russian court fines Amazon’s Twitch $57,000 over Ukraine content
  • Court said Twitch failed to remove “fakes” from its platform

LONDON: A Russian court on Tuesday fined streaming service Twitch 4 million roubles ($57,000) for failing to remove what it said were “fakes” about Russia’s military campaign in Ukraine, the Interfax news agency reported.
Twitch, which is owned by Amazon, did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
Moscow has long objected to foreign tech platforms’ distribution of content that falls foul of its restrictions, with Russian courts regularly imposing penalties.


Manga Productions signs partnership agreement with Tsubasa Co. 

Manga Productions signs partnership agreement with Tsubasa Co. 
Updated 29 March 2023

Manga Productions signs partnership agreement with Tsubasa Co. 

Manga Productions signs partnership agreement with Tsubasa Co. 

RIYADH: Saudi company Manga Productions recently announced a partnership with Tsubasa Co., which will see the two entities collaborate on production, the distribution of “Captain Tsubasa” and various other projects. 

Attending the signing ceremony was world-renowned mangaka and creator of “Captain Tsubasa,” Yoichi Takahashi. 

CEO of Manga Productions Essam Bukhary told Arab News: “Generations have been inspired by ‘Captain Tsubasa’ for more than 30 years. The partnership of Manga Productions with Tsubasa Co. aims to extend our vision of inspiring the heroes of tomorrow and enriching the creative content industry both locally and globally.”

“Captain Tsubasa,” known as “Captain Majid” in Arabic, is a Japanese manga series written and illustrated by Takahashi in 1981 and beloved by the Arab world, especially in Saudi Arabia in the 90s. The series revolves around an 11-year-old student with a deep passion for football.

Known as Tsubasa Ozora in Japan, Captain Majid follows his dreams of one day winning the FIFA World Cup in Japan and takes viewers on a journey of rivalry, friendship and talent.

According to the “How Arabs View Japan survey” conducted by Arab News and YouGov, 75 percent of respondents ranked “Captain Majid” as their favorite anime of all time. 

“Captain Tsubasa” became one of the most memorable manga and anime series worldwide, most notably in Japan, due to how it popularized association football. Many real-life players have been reportedly inspired to become professionals after seeing the series.

CEO of Tsubasa Co. Yoshiro Iwamoto said: “I’m delighted to see the ever-growing popularity of ‘Captain Tsubasa’ internationally and especially in Saudi Arabia and (the Middle East and North Africa) region throughout different generations. We look forward to our partnership with Manga Productions, the regional pioneers in the creative content industry, and building future successes through ‘Captain Tsubasa’ and business opportunities.”

“Captain Tsubasa” was first released as a Japanese manga series, which then transitioned into an anime series that aired between 1983-1986. 


Saudi company Manga Productions announced, on March 28, a partnership with Tsubasa Co., including production collaboration and distribution of "Captain Tsubasa" and various other projects. (SUPPLIED)

The series was then dubbed into multiple languages, airing in Arabic in the Middle East in 1990 and gaining international popularity. 

By 2010, the manga had been translated into English, French, Italian, German, and Spanish.

Since 2017, several volumes have been available in an official Arabic translation, and one-third of the first print run of these were donated to Syrian refugee children by the publisher, Kinokuniya.

“Captain Tsubasa” has sold over 82 million copies worldwide and is among the best-selling manga series in the world, with the anime series ranking 41 in a list of top 100 anime series.


MBC Group launches MBC Anime initiative with TOKYOPOP

MBC Group launches MBC Anime initiative with TOKYOPOP
Updated 29 March 2023

MBC Group launches MBC Anime initiative with TOKYOPOP

MBC Group launches MBC Anime initiative with TOKYOPOP
  • MBC Anime is led by renowned anime and manga expert, and founder and CEO of TOKYOPOP, Stu Levy
  • MBC Anime will commission, produce, and invest in a series of world-class quality anime titles

RIYADH: At Anime Japan in Tokyo, MBC Group, the largest and leading media company in the Middle East and North Africa (MENA), announced the formation of MBC Anime — a brand-new hub dedicated to the licensing, promotion, and production of anime content in the region.

MBC Anime is a venture led by renowned anime and manga expert, Stu Levy, founder and CEO of TOKYOPOP, a leading international distributor, licensor, and publisher of anime and manga.

Through the new initiative, MBC Anime will commission, produce, and invest in a series of world-class quality anime titles. Often aimed at adults, anime refers to the wide range of Japanese animation that reflects multiple genres and features a distinctly recognizable visual aesthetic and storytelling approach.

MBC Group has revealed plans to heavily invest over the next several years in the venture, with an ambition to expand further after this time frame. During the first investment period, MBC Anime aims to forge substantive relationships with key anime studios in Japan, supporting and investing in a multitude of compelling projects.

Sam Barnett, CEO of MBC Group, commented: “Anime and manga are incredibly popular in the Middle East and North Africa, with Saudi Arabia being the leader in terms of viewership in the region. In recent years, there has been a huge increase in events and activities related to this art form.

We are thrilled to announce that Stu Levy has joined us to head up MBC Anime. Stu is a renowned figure in the anime industry, known for his expertise in distribution, licensing, and publishing. We’re very excited about the prospects for this cooperation.”

TOKYOPOP’s Levy added: “Having worked with the talented team at MBC Group over the past couple of years, I’ve been impressed by their licensing approach and dedication to the space. Their commitment to not only anime, but building long-term relationships in Japan made me confident of the real potential for exciting growth opportunities working together.”


E-vision acquires exclusive MENA broadcast rights to Indian Premier League 2023

E-vision acquires exclusive MENA broadcast rights to Indian Premier League 2023
Updated 29 March 2023

E-vision acquires exclusive MENA broadcast rights to Indian Premier League 2023

E-vision acquires exclusive MENA broadcast rights to Indian Premier League 2023
  • IPL will be aired only on CricLife1 available on TV and streaming
  • Move expands sports content, which includes world and Asia cups

DUBAI: E-vision, the media and entertainment arm of e& life, has acquired the exclusive broadcast rights for the TATA Indian Premier League 2023 slated to start on March 31.
The IPL is one of the most anticipated cricket events of the year with 70 league matches over 52 days.
The top four teams will compete in the playoffs, with the final scheduled for May 28.
The matches will be aired on CricLife1, which is available on ELife, and streaming platforms Switch TV and StarzPlay.
“The acquisition of the exclusive broadcast and media rights for the TATA IPL 2023 is a significant milestone for E-Vision,” said Olivier Bramly, CEO of E-vision.
“We are committed to providing the best possible coverage of the event and delivering the best in sports and entertainment from local and international content providers,” he added.
The move expands E-Vision’s slate of sports content, which includes events such as the ICC world cups and the Asia Cup.
“Cricket is a huge part of our sports offering,” said Danny Bates, chief operations officer of StarzPlay, which has witnessed a spike in subscribers for tournaments like the ICC Men’s T20 World Cup.
This year’s IPL teams are the Chennai Super Kings, Mumbai Indians, Kolkata Knight Riders, Sunrisers Hyderabad, Royal Challengers Bangalore, Gujarat Titans, Rajasthan Royals, Punjab Kings, Delhi Capitals, and the Lucknow Super Giants.
Matches will be played across 12 different venues in India, following a home-and-away format for the first time in four years.
“The 16th season of the IPL will revert to the home-and-away format, where all the teams will play seven home games and seven away games respectively in the league stage,” India’s cricket control board said in a statement.
 


Britain’s top movie funder accused of inadequate steps to tackle ‘systemic racism’

Britain’s top movie funder accused of inadequate steps to tackle ‘systemic racism’
Updated 29 March 2023

Britain’s top movie funder accused of inadequate steps to tackle ‘systemic racism’

Britain’s top movie funder accused of inadequate steps to tackle ‘systemic racism’
  • Filmmaker Faisal A. Qureshi claims 2-year-old complaint unaddressed
  • BFI reportedly dealing with multiple cases of alleged discrimination

LONDON: A prominent filmmaker has accused the British Film Institute, the UK’s chief movie-funding body, of failing to address “systemically racist” attitudes by officials in the organization.

Faisal A. Qureshi, an award-winning screenwriter, editor, director and researcher, said he was still anticipating the outcome of a discrimination complaint he filed to the BFI more than two years ago, reported the industry news site Deadline on Monday.

The BFI’s head of inclusion, Melanie Hoyes, reportedly told Qureshi in July that she was aware that other creatives of diverse racial backgrounds have had “traumatic experiences” with the organization, admitting that it was “systemically racist” and likening it to “the Titanic.”

However, Qureshi felt Hoyes’ apology was dismissive, prompting him to request a formal written apology and an investigation into the experiences of filmmakers from diverse racial backgrounds.

He said the BFI responded through a customer service email, leaving Qureshi feeling as though he “was complaining about a bad meal, not about something that had significantly impacted my career.”

The BFI stated three executives, including Hoyes, had apologized to Qureshi after listening to his concerns. Britain’s most influential film-related body also explained that Qureshi had not received a written apology because it would preempt the outcome of his complaint, wrote Deadline, as his case has not yet been closed.

Qureshi, whose credits include the hit movie “Four Lions” and documentary “Leaving Neverland,” expressed concerns over career damage due to his pursuit of the BFI although the institute stated that complaints would not affect funding opportunities. 

The initial complaint by Qureshi was about a funding meeting with a BFI Network representative in Sheffield in March 2019. According to Qureshi, the executive had told him he was “very forthright” on social media about race.

An investigation by Deadline found that most complaints to the BFI in the past three years were related to racial discrimination and that the institute was now undertaking anti-racism training, in addition to overhauling its complaints handling processes.

The BFI also said that 35 percent of the productions it funded in the past 12 months were the works of Black, Asian and minority ethnic creatives, highlighting that this exceeds its target of 30 percent.


Apple launches ‘buy now, pay later’ service

Apple launches ‘buy now, pay later’ service
Updated 29 March 2023

Apple launches ‘buy now, pay later’ service

Apple launches ‘buy now, pay later’ service
  • Apple Pay Later service will allow users to split purchases into four payments spread over six weeks with no interest or fees
  • Apple said service is currently available to selected users in the US, full rollout coming soon

LONDON: Apple Inc. on Tuesday launched its “buy now, pay later” (BNPL) service in the United States, a move that threatens to disrupt the fintech sector dominated by firms like Affirm Holdings and Swedish payments company Klarna.
The service, Apple Pay Later, will allow users to split purchases into four payments spread over six weeks with no interest or fees, the company said. It will initially be offered to select users, with plans of a full roll-out in the coming months.
Users can get loans between $50 and $1,000 for online and in-app purchases made on iPhones and iPads with merchants that accept Apple Pay, according to the company.
More than 85 percent of US retailers accept Apple Pay, the company said.
“Apple Pay Later will absolutely wallop some of the other players. Other companies would’ve taken a look at Apple’s announcement today because they are an ubiquitous name. This will take a bite out of the market share of other players,” said Danni Hewson, head of financial analysis at AJ Bell.
BNPL firm Affirm’s shares fell more than 7 percent, while PayPal closed about 1 percent lower.
In 2020, pandemic-related lockdowns turned shoppers to online payment platforms, bolstering demand for fintech companies offering BNPL services, especially to millennials and Gen Z customers.
Digital payments behemoths including PayPal and Block Inc. have expanded into the sector through acquisitions, while Affirm went public in a multi-billion dollar listing.
The sector’s fortunes have since turned as rising interest rates and red-hot inflation dampened purchasing power and forced consumers to tighten their purse strings.
“We expect Apple to tread cautiously, especially in this macro environment,” said Christopher Brendler, analyst at D.A. Davidson, alluding to its decision to not use a partner and underwrite, fund, and collect on the loans directly.
Apple Pay Later is enabled through the Mastercard Installments program, the company said, adding that Goldman Sachs was the issuer of the Mastercard payment credential.