US hedge fund billionaire sells Netflix stake at huge $400m loss as shares plunge

( via – – Thur, 21st April 2022) London, Uk – –

Bill Ackman’s Pershing Square fund dumps 7% stake for $400m loss after streaming service’s value plunges

Netflix shares plunged 35% after results showed it had shed 200,000 subscribers and expects to lose 2m more. 

The billionaire hedge fund manager Bill Ackman has sold his shares in Netflix at a loss of about $400m (£305m), reversing his bullish position in the streaming giant after it reported an outflow of more than 200,000 subscribers.

The New York-based investor bought more than $1bn of Netflix shares in January, despite grim forecasts about the company’s subscription levels. Ackman said at the time that the subsequent drop in the share price had presented an “attractive” opportunity for his Pershing Square fund.

But Ackman made a U-turn overnight after shares in the online streaming platform plunged more than 35% in reaction to news that Netflix had lost more than 200,000 subscribers in the first three months of the year and was likely to lose a further 2 million over the next quarter, as customers reviewed subscriptions bought at the height of Covid lockdowns.

The share drop wiped about $50bn off of Netflix’s market value.

Ackman’s decision to offload the stake is estimated to have resulted in a $400m loss for the Pershing fund. In a letter to investors, Ackman conceded that the losses had knocked returns by four percentage points.

“One of our learnings from past mistakes is to act promptly when we discover new information about an investment that is inconsistent with our original thesis. That is why we did so here,” Ackman told investors.

“While we have a high regard for Netflix’s management and the remarkable company they have built, in light of the enormous operating leverage inherent in the company’s business model, changes in the company’s future subscriber growth can have an outsized impact on our estimate of intrinsic value,” Ackman added.

The hedge fund manager acknowledged that Netflix had a strategy to stem the losses, including by going after non-paying customers more aggressively and incorporating advertising into its streaming service. However, he noted that the changes could take at least one to two years to implement.

“While we believe these business model changes are sensible, it is extremely difficult to predict their impact on the company’s long-term subscriber growth, future revenues, operating margins, and capital intensity,” Ackman said.

Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said the strategy amounted to “radical changes” at the streaming service. “It will be interesting to see how its biggest shareholders view its chances of executing them with any success or whether it’s back to the drawing board with fresh thinking and potentially fresh leadership.”

By Kalyeena Makortoff

UK households cancelling streaming subscriptions to cut costs, report says

( via – – Mon, 18th April 2022) London, Uk – –

The rising cost of living in Britain has led to households cancelling their streaming subscriptions, new research suggests.

A total of 1.51 million services were canned in the first three months of 2022, market research firm Kantar said.

It said more than half a million cancellations were attributed to “money saving”, with households budgeting for higher prices and energy bills instead.

About 58% of Britain's homes now have at least one paid streaming service.

The height of coronavirus pandemic and lockdowns saw surges in subscriptions for platforms such as Netflix, Disney+ and Amazon Prime.

But researchers said the proportion of consumers planning to cancel subscriptions stating the primary reason as “wanting to save money” had risen to its highest ever level at 38%, up from 29% in final three months of 2021.

Kantar said households were “starting to seriously prioritise where and how their disposable income is spent”.

Dominic Sunnebo, global insight director at Kantar's Worldpanel Division, added that the latest research would be “sobering” for the industry.

“The evidence from these findings suggests that British households are now proactively looking for ways to save,” he said.

Researchers said Amazon Prime's thriller series Reacher was the most-watched title in the first three months of 2022, followed by Ozark and Inventing Anna on Netflix.

They said that although “churn” rates increased almost across all streaming platforms, there was a “clear difference” in the number of cancellations seen outside of Netflix and Amazon.

“Netflix and Amazon can be seen to be hygiene subscriptions for Brits; the last to go when households are forced to prioritise spend,” Kantar said.

“Disney, Now TV, Discovery+ and BritBox all saw significant jumps in churn rates quarter-on-quarter.”

Besides mounting cancellations, the early months of 2022 saw the lowest ever rate of new subscribers, Kantar said.

In January, Netflix said it added 18.2 million members last year – roughly half the number who subscribed in 2020.

Investors had hoped that pace would start to pick up again, which sent the company's share price down almost 20% at the time.

Ads incoming?

The company admitted that new competition from the likes of Disney, Apple, Amazon and HBO was starting to have an impact.

Kantar said advertising was “an obvious route for driving revenue growth, but one Netflix has historically strictly shied away from”.

“However, Netflix chief financial officer Spencer Neumann added fuel to the fire by saying in March ‘it's not like we have religion against advertising',” its Entertainment on Demand study said.

“Data across Great Britain shows Netflix subscribers' attitudes to advertising are softening, with 44% now stating they don't mind seeing on streaming services if it makes them cheaper, a significant rise from 38% at the same point in 2021.”

Channel 4 sale: Senior Tory Julian Knight asks if move to sell channel is ‘revenge’ for ‘biased coverage’ of Brexit

( via – – Wed, 6th April 2022) London, Uk – –

Mr Knight, chair of the influential Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee, said the government's decision represents “a big risk”.

A senior Tory has questioned whether the government's proposed sale of Channel 4 is being done in an act of “revenge” for “biased coverage” of Brexit.

Julian Knight, the chair of the influential Commons Digital, Culture, Media and Sport Committee said the government's decision to push ahead with plans to privatise Channel 4 represents “a big risk”.

Mr Knight said Channel 4 will have “greater freedom to compete once privatised”, but added it is “crucial the government protects the prominence of all public service broadcasting”.

Tory committee chairman questions ‘revenge' motive

“Now, elephant in the room time – is this being done for revenge for Channel 4's biased coverage of the likes of Brexit and personal attacks on the PM? The timing of the announcement 7pm, coinciding with Channel 4 news, was very telling,” Mr Knight tweeted.

“Undoubtedly, across much of the party – there is a feeling of payback time and the word privatisation tickles the ivories of many. The money is irrelevant – equivalent to four days national debt interest – so it must be used to support skills in creative sectors.

“So to sum up. Privatisation – even for some wrong reasons – can work for C4 but must be part of a thorough overhaul of all public service broadcasting. If this is in the media bill I will support the government. Finally, these are my views not those of the Committee more generally.”

Dorries: Channel 4 will ‘flourish' under change of ownership

On Monday night, Culture Secretary Nadine Dorries said she had concluded “government ownership is holding Channel 4 back from competing against streaming giants like Netflix and Amazon”.

She said plans for the broadcaster's future would be set out in a white paper and proceeds of the sale would be reinvested into the creative sector.

Channel 4 sale ‘the opposite of levelling up'

Other senior Conservative MPs have also criticised the proposed move.

Former health secretary Jeremy Hunt told Sky News on Tuesday he was against the move because “Channel 4 provides competition to the BBC”.

Former Scottish Conservatives leader Ruth Davidson also tweeted to say the move is “the opposite of levelling up”.

The broadcaster is state-owned but receives no public funding, with more than 90% of its revenue coming from adverts.

Channel 4 ‘disappointed'

The government had been pushing the idea of privatising Channel 4 in recent months.

Speaking to broadcasters on Tuesday, Labour leader Sir Keir Starmer accused the government of focusing on the wrong issue.

“The government's approach on Channel 4 is ideology, it is obsessive, it has got almost no support,” he said.

“And I think millions of people who are struggling to pay their bills with the biggest cost of living crisis in a decade are going to wonder just what an earth the government is doing.”

Channel 4 said it was “disappointed” with the decision but would “continue to engage” with the government on the process.

A government source said: “C4 is a great business with a strong brand built around it being creative, innovative and distinctive but a change of ownership will remove its straitjacket, giving C4 the freedom to innovate and grow so it can flourish and thrive long into the future and support the whole of the UK creative industries.”

By Sophie Morris

The Rise And Fall Of Award Shows

Source: CNBC

The Oscars and Emmys are the two oldest entertainment award ceremonies. Making their broadcasting debut to millions of televisions in the 1950s, the Oscars and Emmys have had a stronghold on the entertainment award-show zeitgeist. However, in 2021, viewership for award shows has been steadily declining. On top of dwindling in ratings, the prestigious Hollywood events have also been hit with controversies and protests that jeopardize these award shows as we’ve come to know them.

London’s MSG Sphere gets planning approval

( via – – Thur, 24th Mar 2022) London, Uk – –

Proposals for an entertainment venue with the biggest LED screen in the world have been accepted despite opposition

An east London music venue as wide as the London Eye and as tall as Big Ben has been approved by planners, despite opposition from thousands of local people.

The London Legacy Development Corporation (LLDC) made the decision about the MSG Sphere, a live entertainment concept from New York’s Madison Square Garden (MSG) company, on Tuesday night. If approved by the mayor, it would be built on an empty spot of land between Stratford station and the Olympic park.

The 21,500-capacity venue, reported to cost £800m, is designed for “the next generation of immersive experiences”. It would feature the biggest and highest-resolution LED screen in the world, an “infrasound haptic system” of vibrating floors, and “beamforming” audio technology to channel sound to every seat.

The building’s facade is a spherical LED screen measuring two hectares (five acres). It is expected to glow and be covered with animated adverts for much of the time, flickering near people’s bedroom windows. Inside there will be restaurants and bars.

The MSG Sphere will outstrip the UK’s current largest concert venues, the Manchester Arena (capacity 21,000) and London’s O2 Arena (20,000), although the Co-op Live Arena under construction in east Manchester is forecast to hold 23,500 people.

The MSG Sphere’s supporters, including the University of East London and the former cabinet minister Matt Hancock, say it will boost the capital’s economy by £2.5bn, bringing construction and hospitality jobs to the area.

Paul Westbury, from MSG, said the application had gone through a “thorough assessment” and that the venue would help make Stratford “a global destination for music and technology”, the Evening Standard reported.

But local people say it will blight the area with noise and light pollution, and predict that it will be like “living next to the surface of the sun”. More than 1,000 people objected to the planning application, while a petition calling for the scheme to be scrapped received more than 2,000 signatures.

Among those in opposition is Lyn Brown, the West Ham MP, who described the venue as a “monstrosity” and said it would pile pressure on the local transport network, particularly at Stratford station, which is already a hub for commuters to the Westfield shopping centre and West Ham’s 60,000-seater stadium.

In a statement, she said: “The last thing we need is another venue disgorging its audience into an already overcrowded transport hub.”

Writing in the Guardian last summer, Brown said: “I have had serious concerns for some time about the value of this proposed development, the degree of community consent it has involved and the harm it may do to people in Stratford and neighbouring areas. Newham doesn’t want this venue, yet it’s the LLDC, not Newham council, that gets to recommend to Sadiq Khan whether it is built.”

An MSG Entertainment spokesperson said: “We are pleased that the planning committee voted in support of our vision for MSG Sphere. Throughout this process we have worked closely with a wide range of stakeholders, and are grateful for their collaboration, which is reflected in our detailed proposal. We now look forward to progressing on to the next steps in the approval process.”

By Nadia Khomami 

How Microsoft And Sony Could Change The $200 Billion Video Game Industry

Source: CNBC

Big moves are happening in the video game industry. Microsoft, the tech giant behind the Xbox console, announced plans in early 2022 to buy Activision Blizzard, the force behind “Call of Duty” and “World of Warcraft,” among other major titles.

This $68.7 billion all-cash acquisition is expected to close in 2023. If approved by regulators and shareholders, it will be the largest tech deal in history.

“There's been a consolidation wave going on in the game space for the last several years,” said Eric Handler, managing director and senior research analyst at MKM Partners. “You've had a lot of private equity money flow into the industry. It's highly fragmented. It's just natural to see consolidation. Microsoft being a trillion-dollar company, obviously, they can do bigger deals.”

Shortly after the Microsoft-Activision purchase, Sony announced plans to buy Bungie in a deal valued at $3.6 billion. Bungie is currently the developer of the Destiny series, a multiplayer online game that incorporates first-person shooter and role-playing mechanics. Bungie remains best known for creating the original Halo, a first-person shooter that launched with the first Xbox console in 2001.

What Wedding Dresses Around the World Look Like

Source: GBS

You are cordially invited to the wedding dress episode of “Around the World.” Great Big Story senior producer Beryl Shereshewsky talks to seven dressmakers in seven countries to learn about the special dresses they make for brides in their communities. The craftsmanship, tradition and love that goes into these gorgeous creations is truly amazing. Among the dresses featured: an elaborately beaded Native American southern Cheyenne buckskin dress from Oklahoma; a kente dress handwoven in red, yellow and green, the national colors of Ghana; and in Sweden, a traditional black taffeta folk wedding dress known as a vanga dress.

Hasbro swings past estimates as Spider-Man movie fuels toy demand

( via — Tue, 8th Feb 2022) London, UK —

Hasbro Inc (HAS.O) trounced analysts' estimates for quarterly revenue and profit on Monday, bolstered by demand for toys based on the latest Spider-Man movie and a rebound in its television production business.

Still, shares reversed from premarket to trade down 2% as the company warned it expects surging freight and raw material costs to pinch profit margins for most of this year, despite another round of price increases planned for the second quarter.

The December release of “Spider-Man: No Way Home”, which has grossed more than $1.1 billion worldwide, came after Hasbro had struggled with a dearth of major Marvel blockbusters.

Toys based on the web slinger powered a 13% increase in the Partner Brands segment, interim Chief Executive Officer Richard Stoddart told analysts on a call.

“Spider-Man helped rebound from some of those earlier Marvel movies like ‘Eternals' which underperformed,” said James Zahn, deputy editor at trade magazine “The Toy Book”.

“Toys for ‘Shang-Chi' and ‘Black Widow' also did not come out in sync with the theatrical releases, but now that's finally catching up with Spider-Man,” he added.

Hasbro's fourth-quarter net revenue rose 17% to $2.01 billion, beating analysts' estimates of $1.87 billion. The jump came despite the company falling short on its target for holiday season inventory due to global supply-chain disruptions.

To get around the bottlenecks set off by the pandemic, the company had expanded its shipping operations and advanced sourcing of products.

On an adjusted basis, the company earned $1.21 per share, topping estimates of 88 cents, according to Refinitiv IBES estimates, on price increases that helped offset a surge in costs.

Hasbro, which last month named the head of its digital gaming division, Chris Cocks, as its new boss, said it expects 2022 revenue to rise at a low single-digit rate.

By Uday Sampath Kumar

Riot Games to pay $100m in discrimination case

( via – – Wed, 29th Dec 2021) London, Uk – –

Riot Games, the studio best known for League of Legends, has agreed to pay $100m (£74.3m) to settle a 2018 class-action gender discrimination case.

The settlement will “remedy violations against approximately 1,065 women employees and 1,300 women contract workers”, California's Department of Fair Employment & Housing (DFEH) wrote.

DFEH said the firm engaged in “systemic sex discrimination and harassment”.

Riot Games said it must “take responsibility for the past”.

The company will pay $80m (£59m) to members of the class action suit and about $20m (£15m) will cover legal costs.

The 2018 case followed investigations by the Los Angeles Times and the news website Kotaku.

According to the original complaint against the company, Riot was accused of fostering a “bro culture” and faced a range of allegations.

These included that women had been sexually objectified, with an email chain that rated the company's “hottest women employees”, and that unsolicited images of male genitalia had been shown to workers by their bosses and colleagues.

Industry problem

As part of the settlement, Riot agreed to workplace reforms, independent expert analysis of its pay, hiring, and promotion practices, and to be monitored for instances of sexual harassment and “retaliation” at its California offices for three years.

The company must also set aside $18m (13.2m) to fund diversity, equity and inclusion programmes and create 40 full-time positions in engineering, quality assurance or art-design roles for its former contract workers.

DFEH Director Kevin Kish wrote that, if accepted by the court, the settlement would lead to lasting change at Riot Games and “send the message that all industries in California, including the gaming industry, must provide equal pay and workplaces free from discrimination and harassment”.

Riot had initially agreed to settle the case for $10m in 2019, but the DFEH and another agency had blocked the deal arguing that the amount to which victims were entitled was much higher.

The company said it had to face the fact that it hadn't always lived up to its values, telling the Washington Post: “While we're proud of how far we've come since 2018, we must also take responsibility for the past”.

“We hope that this settlement properly acknowledges those who had negative experiences at Riot.”

In a letter to staff, published online, Riot's executive team said the settlement was, “the right thing to do, for both the company and those whose experiences at Riot fell short of our standards and values”.

The company told the BBC that since 2018 it had made improvements across the workplace, including hiring its first chief people officer and its first chief diversity officer, rewriting its values, mandating new training programmes and enlarging its diversity and inclusion team.

Riot Games is not the only prominent games firm to face questions about workplace culture.

The DFEH is also taking action against Activision Blizzard, the company behind the games World of Warcraft, Overwatch and Call of Duty.

Activision Blizzard recently reached an $18m (£13.2m) settlement with the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC) over claims of sexual discrimination and harassment.

Zee-Sony merger to form Indian’s second largest entertainment network

( via – – Wed, 22nd Dec 2021) London, Uk – –

Japanese conglomerate Sony's Indian arm has finalised a deal with local rival Zee Entertainment to form the country's second largest entertainment network.

The merged entity will include over 75 television channels, film assets and two streaming platforms.

It is poised to become a major player in the country's fast-growing entertainment industry, challenging rivals such as Walt Disney's Hotstar.

India has over 900 million TV viewers and over 800 channels.

These channels offer a variety of shows ranging from sports, melodramas to reality television.

As per the merger, which was announced on Tuesday, the combined entity will be nearly 51% owned by Sony Pictures Networks India (SPNI). It will be headed by Zee's Chief Executive Officer Punit Goenka after a 90-day due diligence period.

Mr Goenka called the deal a “significant milestone”.

“The combined company will create a comprehensive entertainment business, enabling us to serve our consumers with wider content choices across platforms,” he said, according to an official release.

Both firms have operated in India for years and own streaming platforms ZEE5 and SonyLIV. They also have a vast TV following with popular channels such as Sony MAX and Zee TV.

“It's a hugely complementary deal,” media and entertainment industry specialist Vanita Kohli Khandekar told the BBC.

“For example Sony does not have the pan-India, small town and regional reach that Zee has. And Zee does not have a kids or sports business like Sony.”

Ms Khandekar said the deal will also propel Zee to an international stage. “The company has now been absorbed by Sony, a $82bn (£61bn) corporation. So, Zee now becomes a foreign company, which gives it a bigger platform.”

Although most Indians are still dependent on direct-to-home TV entertainment, the country is also a lucrative destination for streaming platforms that have been tapping into the vast internet market to target a young digital audience.

The past few years have seen a surge of competition from streaming platforms including Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hotstar as many desert television for digital shows.

Experts say the merger between Sony and Zee is expected to further ratchet up this competition.

Could Robots End Animal Captivity In Zoos And Marine Parks

Source: Freethink

Could robotic dolphins help marine parks become more humane spaces where people can learn about and connect with nature? Edge Innovations thinks so.

The first step toward that future could be Delle, an 8.5-foot-long, 600-pound animatronic dolphin that’s able to swim semi-autonomously using simple AI, or remotely under control of a human operator. Delle swims and behaves so naturally that some audiences — and the fish it shares tanks with — can’t distinguish it from the real animal.

From an industry perspective, what’s probably most alluring about robotic dolphins isn’t what they can do, but what they don’t need: food, sleep, training, and veterinary care. That’s not to say robotic dolphins are cheap: Delle costs between $3 to $5 million, while a live dolphin can cost marine parks about $100,000.

It’s too early to determine exactly how much money marine parks could save with robotic dolphins, but making the switch would almost certainly save massive amounts of suffering among these smart, social sea creatures.

Netflix’s Bridgerton fuel tourism boom in south-west England

( via – – Thur, 4th Nov 2021) London, Uk – –

From walking tours in Bath to visiting the sweeping coastal scenery of Hartland Quay in Devon and stately Mapperton House in Dorset, hits from Bridgerton to the period film Rebecca are providing the southwest of England with a TV tourism and production boom.

The region has emerged as a fertile location for a string of big-budget series and films by deep-pocketed US streaming companies such as Netflix and Amazon’s Prime Video, as well as domestic broadcasters including ITV.

Netflix, which spends $1bn annually on UK-made productions, estimates that it has contributed £132m to the UK economy from making big-budget series and films such Bridgerton, Rebecca and David Attenborough: Our Planet across the region in the past two years. The spend covers investment related to the actual production and subsequent TV-inspired tourism.

Bath has estimated it will benefit to the tune of £1.5m from fans visiting real world locations from Bridgerton, Netflix’s second biggest global hit after Squid Game. Visit Bath has even created walking tours to showcase locations such as the Assembly Rooms and Holburne Museum that helped create the series’ backdrop of Regency London.

“We’ve definitely seen an increase in visitors after featuring in Bridgerton,” said Dr Amy Frost, the curator at No 1 Royal Crescent Museum in Bath, which served as the front of Featherington House in the period drama. “You hear people talking about Bridgerton in the street when you walk past some of the locations.”

The film Rebecca has inspired fans to flock to Hartland Quay in Devon and Mapperton House in Dorset, home of the Earl and Countess of Sandwich, which was used as a location for Manderley, the mansion central to Daphne du Maurier’s 1938 novel.

“It is a natural home for Netflix productions,” said Anna Mallett, Netflix’s vice-president of physical productions for Europe, the Middle East and Africa. “We’re committed to the south west for the long term and have created over 1,000 jobs while generating opportunities for local communities.”

Netflix is not the only big player to provide a boost to the region with ITV’s production of Jane Austen’s Sanditon providing plenty of location draw cards for viewers.

The main house at Dyrham Park featured as Sanditon House, while Brean beach in Somerset, at seven miles one of the longest stretches of sand beach in Europe, made for eye-catching TV.

“It is good to see Netflix and other production companies investing in our fantastic region and bringing in highly skilled jobs,” said Dan Norris, the West of England mayor. “They truly help put our area on the map.”

By Mark Sweney

Dubai’s $1.5 Billion Dollar Underwater Hotel

Source: The Richest

Located in the exclusive area of Palm Jumeirah in Dubai, UAE, sits the luxury hotel and resort, Atlantis The Palm. Not only is it a stunning hotel, but the resort also hosts one of the biggest water parks in the world! As well as a huge aquarium you can dive within! The hotel even holds a number of Guinness World Records!

Today, we’re going to look inside and out of this extravagant resort. We’ll see all the facts and features of this tourist destination. Such as their most expensive suites. One of which is underwater! And due to its success, the creators of the hotel also created a neighbouring resort worth over a billion dollars. Which we’ll see too! Now for the spoiler paragraph. If you like surprises, we suggest you stop reading and watch the video multiple times. Firstly, we’ll look at how the building was constructed. We’ll then see the elaborate opening ceremony that paid Kylie Minogue millions of dollars! We’ll then see some of the impressive features across the facility. Including the massive water park and the celebrity restaurants!

Next is a gander at the sister hotel, the Atlantis The Royal. The Palm has actually been the host of five world records! Including two held by the band, KISS. Next up is a look at the pricey rooms. Such as an underwater suite and a luxury room visited by Kim Kardashian. Finally, we’ll briefly look at the future most expensive artificial island that’s due to be created in Hong Kong.

Facebook changes its name to Meta in major rebrand

( via – – Fri, 29th Oct 2021) London, Uk – –

Facebook has changed its corporate name to Meta as part of a major rebrand.

The company said it would better “encompass” what it does, as it broadens its reach beyond social media into areas like virtual reality (VR).

The change does not apply to its individual platforms, such as Facebook, Instagram and Whatsapp, only the parent company that owns them.

The move follows a series of negative stories about Facebook, based on documents leaked by an ex-employee.

Frances Haugen has accused the company of putting “profits over safety”.

In 2015, Google restructured its company calling its parent firm Alphabet, however, the name has not caught on.

Facebook boss Mark Zuckerberg announced the new name as he unveiled plans to build a “metaverse” – an online world where people can game, work and communicate in a virtual environment, often using VR headsets.

He said the existing brand could not “possibly represent everything that we're doing today, let alone in the future”, and needed to change.

“Over time, I hope that we are seen as a metaverse company and I want to anchor our work and our identity on what we're building towards,” he told a virtual conference.

“We're now looking at and reporting on our business as two different segments, one for our family of apps, and one for our work on future platforms.

“And as part of this, it is time for us to adopt a new company brand to encompass everything that we do, to reflect who we are and what we hope to build.”

The company also unveiled a new sign at its headquarters in Menlo Park, California, on Thursday, replacing its thumbs-up “Like” logo with a blue infinity shape.

Mr Zuckerberg said the new name reflects that over time, users will not need to use Facebook to use the company's other services.

The word “meta” comes from the Greek word meaning “beyond”.

To an outsider, a metaverse may look like a version of VR, but some people believe it could be the future of the internet.

Instead of being on a computer, people in a metaverse might use a headset to enter a virtual world connecting all sorts of digital environments.

It is hoped the virtual world could be used for practically anything from work, play and concerts, to socialising with friends and family.

Facebook said it intends to start trading its shares under the new stock ticker MVRS from 1 December.

Leaked documents

The company has had multiple hits to its reputation, with The Washington Post today reporting that Facebook withheld important information about vaccine misinformation from policymakers during the pandemic.

It was the latest in a series of stories based on internal documents leaked by ex-employee Ms Haugen to the media. Among other things, the reports have claimed Facebook sat on research that showed Instagram harmed teenage mental health, and struggled to remove hate speech from its platforms outside the US.

Mr Zuckerberg has described the reports as a “coordinated effort to selectively use leaked documents to paint a false picture of our company”.

Analysis: James clayton

Trying to name a company is difficult. Zuckerberg says he's chosen Meta, because of its meaning in Greek – “beyond”. It also alludes to the “Metaverse”, an online virtual oasis that he wants to build.

Here's why Facebook, might have a problem with getting everyone to call them Meta.

Firstly, the move looks like Facebook is trying to divert attention away from the trove of negative stories hanging around the company. Critics believe Facebook has done this because the brand has become toxic. We've already seen Senators ignore the name change, with one describing the move as “cosmetic”.

Secondly, the “Metaverse” doesn't yet exist. Zuckerberg was keen to stress it was a long-term product. So having a name totally unrelated to your main offering is perhaps a little…strange. Almost all of Facebook's revenue comes from advertising from Facebook and Instagram.

And thirdly, we know that other Big Tech rebrands have failed. Almost no one refers to Google as “Alphabet”, the name it rebranded itself to in 2015.

What is clear is that running Instagram and Facebook is no longer Mr Zuckerberg's passion. He is interested in creating virtual worlds, that he thinks will transform the human experience. The constant criticism of how he runs his social media companies must be draining. This restructure may give him the ability to focus more on the segments of the company that excite him.

The division makes sense in that respect. However, we'll have to wait and see whether people will go along with it.

By Daniel Thomas

DraftKings walked away from a $22 billion offer to buy Entain 

( via — Tue, 26th Oct, 2021) London, UK —

Oct 26 (Reuters) – Betting firm DraftKings (DKNG.O) walked away from a $22 billion offer to buy gambling group Entain (ENT.L)on Tuesday, becoming the second American bidder to try and fail to take control of the British company.

Entain had already rejected a roughly $11 billion takeover approach from U.S. casino operator MGM (MGM.N) in January. 

“After several discussions with Entain leadership, DraftKings has decided that it will not make a firm offer for Entain at this time,” DraftKings Chief Executive Officer Jason Robins said in a statement.

Entain, home to Ladbrokes and Coral betting shops as well as the bwin and partypoker online brands, said in response its board “strongly believes” in its future prospects as an independent company.

DraftKings shares jumped 7% in premarket trading in New York, while Entain shares fell 11% on the London Stock Exchange, on course for their worst day since MGM dropped its takeover plans for the British firm.

When DraftKings unveiled its offer last month, MGM – which has a U.S. sports-betting joint venture with Entain – said that any deal in which Entain or its affiliates ends up owning a competing business would require its consent. MGM was not immediately available to comment on Tuesday.

Dealmaking in the betting industry has been heating up as the United States opens up to sports betting and companies look to expand into more developed gambling markets such as Britain.

London-listed Entain has enjoyed a boom in online gambling through the COVID-19 pandemic, with events such as last summer's European soccer championship and the U.S. National Football League having helped to revive sports betting.

Reporting by Sachin Ravikumar, Muvija M and Subrat Patnaik

How Animal Sounds Are Made For Movies And TV

Source: GeoBeats Animals

Foley artists use objects to create sounds based on a character’s movements and interactions in movies and TV shows. Sometimes, they will find themselves making sounds for animals. Marko Costanzo is a veteran Foley artist for c5 Sound, Inc. He has who worked on movies like “Ice Age,” “Life of Pi,” and “True Grit.” Costanzo explained how complicated it was to make the sounds of a dragonfly flapping its wings in “Men in Black,” and how he captured the footsteps of a dog at different ages in “Marley & Me.” Then, we showed him an animal clip he has never seen before and had him come up with the proper sounds on the spot.

Blockchain Firm TangoChain Launches Platform for Play-to-Earn Games, NFT Creation

( via — Thur, 23rd Sept 2021) London, Uk – –

How The Right 5-10 Cryptocurrency Coins
Could Make You A Fortune

TangoChain focuses on gaming and NFTs, and its model involves giving players financial incentives to play and progress through games.

TangoChain has launched a blockchain devoted entirely to gaming that allows players to earn profits and create non-fungible tokens (NFTs).

  • The firm describes itself as a third-generation blockchain platform and claims to be the first to launch a platform that is entirely a gaming host.
  • GameFi is one of the hottest new trends to emerge from the crypto industry, combining decentralized finance (DeFi) and NFTs with blockchain-based online games.
  • TangoChain focuses on gaming and NFTs and its play-to-earn model rewards players with financial incentives as they play and progress through games. It allows users to secure the network and verify transactions by playing their favorite game.

By Tanzeel Akhtar

Britain’s Sky plans to launch its own smart TVs to take on streaming services – FT

( via — Tue, 21st Sept 2021) London, UK —

 Britain's Sky is preparing to launch its own smart televisions as the media firm takes on streaming device makers such as Roku (ROKU.O) in a bid to win more viewers, the Financial Times reported on Tuesday.

Sky, owned by U.S.-based Comcast Corp (CMCSA.O), could announce the deepening push into hardware as early as next month, the newspaper said, citing people with knowledge of the plans.

Sky and Comcast did not immediately respond to a Reuters request for comment.

“​We don't comment on product rumours,” the company told the Financial Times, the report said.

Reporting by Aishwarya Nair in Bengaluru

CMA refers Sony Music’s purchase of AWAL for in-depth probe

( via — Thur, 16th Sept 2021) London, UK —

Sept 16 (Reuters) – A UK regulator referred Sony Music Entertainment's purchase of London-based independent record label AWAL for an in-depth probe on Thursday, after the buyer refused to divest any undertakings to allay competition concerns.

The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) has said the wholesale distribution of recorded music in the UK was highly concentrated at present, and if the deal had not gone ahead, Sony and AWAL could have competed more strongly with each other.

The regulator on Sept. 7 gave Sony five days to address its concerns.

Sony Music, which then called CMA's decision “perplexing” and said it was based on an incorrect understanding of AWAL's position in the UK, did not immediately respond to Reuters' request for a comment on Thursday.

CMA Senior Director Colin Raftery was concerned the deal could potentially worsen terms for many artists in the UK and lead to less innovation across the industry.

Earlier this year, Sony Music Entertainment, owned by Sony Group (6758.T), entered into an agreement with Kobalt Music Group to buy its recorded music operations, including AWAL & Kobalt neighbouring rights.

Reporting by Priyanshi Mandhan in Bengaluru