A four-year-old daredevil is tearing up the competition in Ukraine with his motorcycle skills. While most kids are just day-dreaming about riding a motorbike, Ukrainian Tima Kuleshov started riding a bicycle before he was two-years-old and graduated to a mini motorbike at just two and a half.
Content created for children on YouTube has exploded over the last decade. In just a few short years, the power to help launch a successful toy has moved from toymakers and TV executives to 9 year-olds and their parents. Child YouTube stars have now become popular brands on par with Star Wars and Marvel, and all of kids entertainment could shift because of it.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 28th May 2021) London, Uk – –
There remains an appetite for the world's favourite quick-footed spiky mammal, with Sega announcing more games, shows and films.
Next-generation consoles will get a new 3D Sonic the Hedgehog game next year, after Sega teased the prospect on Thursday.
The trailer for the as-yet-unnamed game sees the fearless blue hero running through a forest, leaving a trail of digital effects behind him.
It then cuts to what appears to be a runic-style shape before “2022” appears on screen.
Sonic Teams is behind the new game, who has previously produced Sonic Generations and Sonic Forces, and it will get a release on new consoles the PS5, Xbox Series and Nintendo Switch, as well as PS4, Xbox One and PC.
3D Sonic games such as Forces and Boom were widely panned when they were released, with reviewers and gamers complaining the titles were forgettable with a questionable storyline, so Sega will be looking to get fans back on board with its latest offering.
However, there remains an appetite for content from the world's favourite quick-footed spiky mammal, with Sega also announcing more games, shows and films at its Sonic Central Stream.
The retro game developer will also remaster Sonic Colours: Ultimate, its 2010 game, for PS4, Switch, PC and Xbox One, as well as release a compilation of the original series which will include Sonic The Hedgehog and its subsequent sequels.
The ring chasing hedgehog will also be popping up in other titles soon too, including Two Point Hospital and a Tokyo Olympics game.
Joining other gaming titles like The Last Of Us and Resident Evil, Sonic will be heading to a streaming service next year too, getting a 24-episode Netflix series called Sonic Prime.
This is alongside the previously announced sequel to the hero's 2020 live-action film, which saw Jim Carey star as Sonic's arch-nemesis Dr Robotnik, with comedian Ben Schwartz in the title role.
Sega's announcements come on the 30th anniversary of the game's 16-bit inception in 1991, which spawned a world of films, tv shows, toys and games.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon 24th May 2021) London, Uk – –
Cineworld enjoyed a “strong opening weekend” in the UK as film fans rushed back to cinemas, led by demand for Peter Rabbit 2: The Runaway.
The chain said more people than expected returned as lockdown eased and it now anticipates “a good recovery in attendance over the coming months”.
It also saw “good concession income” as families snapped up popcorn to accompany their viewing.
The UK-owned chain has seen huge losses due to closures during the pandemic.
In November the business, which owns cinemas across Europe and the US, was even in talks over a rescue deal that would have meant shutting UK sites.
On Monday, it said it was “thrilled” to have its UK and and US cinemas open again.
“We are especially pleased with the warm welcome our employees have received, and the positive feedback from returning guests,” said chief executive Mooky Greidinger.
The world's second-largest cinema chain said more than 97% of its US cinemas had now reopened, while most of its screens in the rest of the world were expected to be open by the end of the month.
The chain hopes that crowds will keep coming with the releases next week of Cruella, and A Quiet Place 2 next weekend.
It said its success was down to “improving consumer confidence and the success of the vaccination rollout”.
Russ Mould, investment director at AJ Bell, said: “Cinema operators have been waiting for this moment for a long time, keeping their fingers crossed that consumers would feel confident enough to return to the big screen.
But he pointed out the “strong weekend” came as atrocious weather hit many parts of the UK. “What happens if we finally get some good weather this weekend and from then on?”
He warned that cinemas rely for success on the quality of the films available “and there aren't that many big films lined up for release until later in the summer”.
Film releases delayed
The cinema industry has been one of the worst hit sectors during the pandemic with many theatres closed for extended periods or operating at reduced capacity.
Global box office takings in 2020 fell by more than 70% from the previous year to $12.4bn, according film technology firm Gower Street Analytics.
Major releases such as the latest James Bond film, No Time to Die, have been delayed a number of times because of Covid.
The much-anticipated sci-fi movie Dune, starring Timothee Chalamet and Zendaya, was originally slated to be released in December 2020, but is now set to premiere in October 2021.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Mon, 17th May 2021) London, Uk – –
AT&T is hiving off its film and TV businesses into a separate new company with lifestyle programme maker Discovery.
US telecoms giant AT&T is to spin off its media assets including Game of Thrones maker HBO in a $43bn deal with lifestyle TV company Discovery.
The deal will create a standalone business which will also include AT&T's Warner Bros film studios – maker of the Batman and Harry Potter franchises – and CNN – to compete in the global streaming market against the likes of Netflix.
They will be combined in a single company with Discovery's stable of home, cooking, science and nature shows and sport channel Eurosport.
The deal will see AT&T receive $43bn via cash and debt while its shareholders will end up owning stock representing 71% of the new company, which will be led by Discovery boss David Zaslav.
It will compete with the likes of Netflix, Apple, Amazon, Disney and Comcast – which is the US owner of Sky News parent company Sky.
AT&T already operates streaming service HBO Max while Discovery earlier this year launched its discovery+ service.
AT&T chief executive John Stankey said: “This agreement unites two entertainment leaders with complementary content strengths and positions the new company to be one of the leading global direct-to-consumer streaming platforms.
“It will support the fantastic growth and international launch of HBO Max with Discovery's global footprint and create efficiencies which can be re-invested in producing more great content to give consumers what they want.”
AT&T said the business would have a content library of nearly 200,000 hours of “iconic programming” bringing together the likes of HBO, Warner Bros, Discovery, DC Comics, CNN, Cartoon Network, HGTV, Food Network, and Eurosport.
The deal, expected to complete next year pending approval by Discovery's shareholders, marks the unwinding of AT&T's ambitions to create a media and telecoms powerhouse with the acquisition of US media conglomerate TimeWarner in 2018 for more than $80bn.
It should be a big year for cinema, with a host of delayed blockbusters and big sequels hopefully coming to screens
Last year was, let’s be honest, a car crash for the cinema industry. A year that started brightly with 1917 and Parasite was derailed by the pandemic, leaving a host of long-awaited blockbusters scattered in its wake. The new James Bond film was pushed back, and then back again. Marquee titles went straight to streaming.
Even the behemoth that is the Marvel Cinematic Universe wasn’t immune, with Black Widow among the films to be bumped into 2021. What all the chaos does mean, however, is that there is a glut of unreleased movies which could make this year one of the most memorable in cinematic history (particularly if you like sequels and reboots). Release dates are very subject to change.
In the United States, the 2008 financial crash pulled a generation out of what had previously been a comfortable retirement. Suddenly forced to work again, these older Americans travel the country in search of seasonal work – a phenomenon which was described in a 2017 non-fiction book by Jessica Bruder. The film version, a drama based on the book, stars Frances MacDormand (Fargo, Three Billboards) as Fern, who loses her job after the crash and has to adjust to life on the road. February 19
Raya and the Last Dragon
Kelly Marie Tran and Awkwafina star in this computer-animated Disney fantasy film inspired by the cultures of south-east Asia. It’s set in the world of Kumandra, where humans and dragons once lived together in harmony until mysterious monsters known as the Druun broke their alliance. Five hundred years later, Raya embarks on a quest to track down the last dragon, and save the world. This one ticks most of the Disney tropes – headstrong princess, cute animal sidekick – but it’s not expected to be a musical like its other hits. March 12
The Many Saints of Newark
This feature length prequel to The Sopranos is one of the most anticipated releases of the year, and rightly so. The television series, which followed New Jersey mobster Tony Soprano and his inner and outer struggles, is one of the most critically acclaimed shows of all time – with late actor James Gandolfini’s performances a particular highlight. Here, Gandolfini’s son Michael takes over the role of a younger Tony Soprano in a story thought to be set during the Newark riots of the 1960s, and co-written by Sopranos creator David Chase. March 19
No Time To Die
Daniel Craig’s fifth and final outing as James Bond has been a long time coming. Originally due for release in November 2019, it was pushed back to February and then April 2020, following the departure of original director Danny Boyle due to creative differences. New director Cary Joji Fukunaga took over in 2018, bringing on Phoebe Waller-Bridge to help punch up the script, only to fall foul of the pandemic. The story itself wraps up the Craig-driven reboot of the series, and picks up five years after the events of Spectre, with Bond in peaceful retirement until he is approached by CIA friend Felix Leiter, to help search for a missing scientist. April 2
A Quiet Place: Part II
The first A Quiet Place – which saw Emily Blunt and John Krasinki as parents trying to survive an attack from creatures that hunt with sound – was a surprise hit. The sequel sees them venturing into the outside world, armed with a new piece of vital knowledge about their foes’ weakness. The cast members of the first film are joined by Cillian Murphy for this sequel, which was originally due for release in March 2020. April 23
Last Night In Soho
At the time of writing, details are pretty thin on the ground for this psychological horror flick helmed by stylish director Edgar Wright (Shaun of the Dead, Scott Pilgrim vs the World, Ant-Man). It follows a young, fashion-mad girl who mysteriously finds herself in the 1960s, and face to face with her idol. It stars Anna Taylor-Joy, who played Beth Harmon in the critically acclaimed chess drama The Queen’s Gambit, as well as Matt Smith (Doctor Who, The Crown) and the late Diana Rigg (Game of Thrones). April 23
The latest instalment in the sprawling Marvel Cinematic Universe fills in the origin story for Natasha Romanoff – Black Widow – who appeared as part of the ensemble cast in numerous MCU films but has never been given a standalone movie. Scarlett Johansson reprises her role, possibly for the last time, and is joined by Florence Pugh, David Harbour and Ray Winstone. Set after the events of 2016’s Captain America: Civil War, it follows Romanoff as she’s forced to confront her shady past as a spy and assassin. May 7
Look, if you lapped up the gritty superhero reboots and the live-action Disney remakes, you really have no right to complain about their inevitable endpoint: an origin story for Cruella de Vil, the iconic villain of 101 Dalmatians. Alas, it’s pitched as a comedy, which is a disappointment for anyone eager for a Joaquin Phoenix’s Joker style reimagining of the character, who will be played by Emma Stone, with Emma Thompson among those supporting. That said, it still promises to be pretty dark, if the start of the Wikipedia plot summary is anything to go by: “In 1970s London, young fashion designer Estella de Vil becomes obsessed with dogs’ skins”. May 28
Yes, they already rebooted the Ghostbusters franchise. No, that hasn’t stopped them from revisiting the series yet again to make a sequel to the two original movies. Dan Aykroyd, Bill Murray and Ernie Hudson reprise their roles from the original films – the story follows a young family who discover they are linked to the original Ghostbusters when their small town experiences a series of unexplained earthquakes. June 11
In The Heights
Before Hamilton, there was In The Heights – Lin-Manuel Miranda's breakout musical. The story follows several characters in Washington Heights, an area where many Spanish-speaking communities have made their home. It's been adapted by Crazy Rich Asians director Jon M. Chu. June 11
Set in and around the beautiful Italian coast, Luca looks to be another gorgeous visual feast from Pixar. It follows the story of Luca, a young boy working his way through childhood while harbouring a secret: he's part of a family of sea monsters that live off the coast. June 18
Venom: Let There Be Carnage
One of three films set in Sony’s Spider-Man universe (along with Jared Leto’s Morbius, and possibly the third Tom Holland MCU Spider-Man movie) coming out in 2021, Let There Be Carnage is a sequel to 2018’s Venom, which starred Tom Hardy as Eddie Brock – a journalist who is taken hostage a by an alien symbiote that imbues him with superhuman abilities. Woody Harrelson plays Carnage, a psychotic serial killer who also has an alien symbiote. June 25
Top Gun: Maverick
The formula for blockbuster success: take a beloved 1980s classic, wheel its stars out of retirement, pair with them some fresh young talent, and hope that you sell enough tickets to kick off a whole new franchise. It worked for Jurassic Park, and now Tom Cruise is back to try and recapture the magic of the original Top Gun. He reprises his role as Maverick, and Val Kilmer is back too as his former rival “Iceman” Kazansky – joined by Jon Hamm, Miles Teller (playing Goose’s son). Based on the trailer, the plot involves Cruise pulling a lot of g in a series of scenic valleys, after being called on to train a group of young pilots on a specialist mission. July 1
Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings
Part of Phase Four of the MCU, surely the point at which it starts to run out of steam, Shang-Chi and the Legend of the Ten Rings is Marvel’s first film with an Asian lead. Based on a comic book character created in the 1970s, its main character is a skilled martial artist who gets drawn into a shady terrorist organisation known as the Ten Rings. Starring Canadian actor Simu Liu in the title role, alongside Awkwafina and others, it’s been in the works since 2001. July 9
Video game adaptations are never good, but still… This movie version of the long-running Uncharted franchise sees Spider-Man’s Tom Holland beefing up to play Nathan Drake, a Lara Croft-esque treasure hunter. Mark Wahlberg plays his mentor Victor Sullivan, and Antonio Banderas is also involved – presumably as some sort of eccentric villain. July 16
A high-concept sci-fi film from master of weirdness M Night Shyamalan, Old – based on the graphic novel Sandcastles by Pierre Oscar Levy – tells the story of a group of tourists who end up trapped in a beautiful, secluded cove only for things to take a strange turn. They soon realise that they’re ageing by years every thirty minutes. July 23
The Suicide Squad
No one was really asking for a sequel to 2016’s Suicide Squad, an anti-hero movie set in the DC Comics Universe, and starring Margot Robbie and Will Smith, but here it is. Robbie, who reprised her role as Harley Quinn in 2020’s Birds of Prey, returns again here – and is joined by Idris Elba, Sylvester Stallone and the former wrestler John Cena. This probably wouldn’t have made our list, if not for the fact that it’s directed by James Gunn – the Guardians of the Galaxy director who was snapped up by Warner Bros in the gap between being dropped and re-hired by Disney for comments made on social media. August 6
Those of a certain age know the premise of the original Candyman – say the killer’s name five times in the mirror and he appears and wastes you with his hook hand and bee swarm. What they may not remember is that the original was actually a smart film – scary yet thoughtful. This new remake is co-written by Get Out’s Jordan Peele: the Chicago projects the Candyman haunted in the first film have been torn down and replaced by luxurious loft condos, filled with millennials ripe for butchering. August 27
Blade Runner 2049 director Denis Villeneuve takes on yet another sci-fi classic with this take on Dune, adapted from Frank Herbert's epic novel of the same name. Timothée Chalamet stars as the young nobleman Paul Atreides, who has to journey to the hostile planet Dune, home to the most valuable material in the galaxy, and seek revenge on his family’s enemies. This sprawling fantasy is a huge project, and if Villeneuve can pull it off it will cement his sci-fi credentials. October 1
Yet another Marvel film – Eternals is about a race of virtually immortal aliens who have been secretly living on Earth for thousands of years, protecting humans from the evil Deviants with their array of special powers. An all-star ensemble cast features Angelina Jolie, Salma Hayek and Kit Harrington, and it’s directed by Chloé Zhao – who also directed Nomadland (see above) and two other acclaimed indie films. The film is set after the events of Avengers: Endgame, and does raise the question of why these all-powerful beings didn’t think to intervene sooner. November 5
The Matrix 4
Very little is known about the new instalment in The Matrix saga – something that its directors the Wachowskis had long been against. Keanu Reeves and Carrie Anne Moss are returning as Neo and Trinity, though, which hints at a degree of continuity to the story of the original trilogy. Lana Wachowski returns to direct. December 22
Today AD is welcomed by tennis legend and 23-time Grand Slam singles title winner Serena Williams for a tour of her stunning new home north of Miami. After living with her sister Venus on and off for over 20 years, Serena and husband Alexis Ohanian have made a stylish new home for their family. From the eclectic artwork (including her own painting) to the world-beating trophy room, Serena’s home could only belong to someone as multifaceted and accomplished as her. “I was moving away from Venus for the first time in my life, so I wanted it to be really meaningful,” Serena says. While mixing family with business can be risky, the secret to their success as siblings and creative collaborators is simple: “You have to know your lane. I’m really good at playing tennis; I’m not as good at interiors. But I was able to learn through just watching Venus.”
More than half of the children in the United States play video games on Roblox. In fact, the massively popular gaming platform has grown so much during the coronavirus pandemic, the company’s valuation has skyrocketed from $4 billion in early 2020 to $30 billion in early 2021. What makes Roblox so popular? It’s a social gaming platform where users can play a library of games and hang out and chat with their friends. There are games for all ages and tastes — games where you raise a virtual pet, operate a pizzeria with friends or run amok in an open-world take on cops-and-robbers. Here’s a look at Roblox’s business model, why investors are excited about the platform, and the company’s plans to go public in 2021.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 12th March 2021) London, Uk – –
The first digital-only art auction by Christie's auction house has netted $69m (£50m) for the artist Beeple.
The digital art was sold as an NFT – the latest tech craze which has boomed in popularity in recent weeks.
Beeple – real name Mike Winkelmann – creates a new piece of digital art every day, and was selling the first 5,000 days (13 years) of his work.
That success puts Beeple “among the top three most valuable living artists”, Christie's said.
The company said the sale was the first NFT-based work of art sold by a “major” auction house, and set a new world record for digital art.
The collection is a collage of the thousands of individual daily images which Beeple, an American graphic designer, started in early 2007 and has done every day since.
Many of the individual pieces are surreal or unsettling, and he uses a variety of digital modelling and artistic programmes for them.
The auction had attracted a great deal of attention, with bidding ramping up to $10m earlier this week. But on the final day of bidding, it skyrocketed to a final price of $69,346,250.
Christie's told the AFP news agency a record 22 million people watched the final moments of the auction's livestream.
That may in part be down to the current hype surrounding NFTs – or “non-fungible-tokens”. They are a unique identifier of ownership for non-physical objects such as digital art.
Beeple responded to the sale by tweeting a series of expletives.
Critics say the digital tokens have a huge environmental impact, since they are stored on a Blockchain, similar to crypto-currencies including Bitcoin and Ethereum. Others have suggested their current popularity is an investment bubble.
But the unique tokens allow value to be assigned to digital art, and they can be sold and traded in a similar way to physical art being used as an investment.
The current craze surrounding NFTs has seen the musician Grimes sell a collection of her artwork for more than $6m at the beginning of March. The founder of Twitter has also put his first tweet up for sale, with a bid of $2.5m so far.
And in one of the most controversial cases, one group burned a genuine Banksy original before putting its digital token up for sale, for $380,000 (£274,000).
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Wed, 27th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –
It's a battle between Wall Street pros and upstart investors using social media platforms like Reddit. And at the moment, the upstarts have the upper hand.
At the centre of the tussle is a US video games bricks and mortar retailer called Gamestop, arguably something of a relic in a world moving online.
Shares in the business have skyrocketed, with the price up 92% at the close of play on Tuesday, bringing the gain over the last few trading days to 276%.
It is, says analyst Neil Wilson from markets.com, getting weird: “We are seeing some serious funny business in some corners of the market.”
“Will it end badly?” asks Thomas Hayes, managing director at Great Hill Capital hedge fund. “Sure. We just don't know when.”
What's driving up the Gamestop price? Certainly not any good news coming out of the company. Gamestop – described as a “failing mall-based retailer” by one professional investor – made a loss of $795m in 2019, and probably several hundred more in 2020.
Instead, an army of savvy social media day traders with access to free trading platforms, and who probably have a lot of time on their hands during lockdown, are swapping tips and ramping up prices via Reddit's chat thread wallstreetbets.
Gamestop is not the only stock to get their attention – Blackberry and Nokia Oyjis are others – but is currently the battleground between the Goliaths like hedge funds and big investors, and the Davids who make up Reddit's private punters.
Key to what's going on is “shorting”, where, say, a hedge fund borrows shares in a company from other investors in the belief that the price of stock is going to fall.
The hedge fund sells the shares on the markets at, for example, $10 each, waits until they fall to $5, and buys them back. The borrowed shares are returned to the original owner, and the hedge fund pockets a profit.
That's the somewhat simplistic theory, anyway.
Gamestop is the most shorted stock on Wall Street, with some 30% of the shares thought to be in the hands of hedge fund borrowers. But Reddit's retail investors have been spurred into buying Gamestop shares and placing options – pushing up the price and putting a “short squeeze” on the pros.
In this supercharged trading environment, the big Wall Street investors rush back into the market to limit their losses – with the demand pushing up the price still further. One hedge fund, Melvin Capital Management, reportedly had to be bailed out with more than $2bn to cover losses on some shares, including Gamestop.
For many Reddit investors, it not just about making money. They smell blood.
Analyst Neil Wilson says that, from reading the Reddit chat threads, the day traders' battle with Wall Street is clearly personal.
“Among the many aspects of this story that are strange, what is so unusual is the peculiar vigilante morality of the traders pumping the stock. They seem hell-bent on taking on Wall Street, they seem to hate hedge funds and threads are peppered with insults about ‘boomer' money.
“It's a generational fight, redistributive and all about robbing the rich to give to the millennial ‘poor'.”
But many big investors are refusing to budge and continue to hold their Gamestop stock at rock bottom prices. They believe the tide will turn on Reddit's herd instinct and Gamestop shares will come back to earth.
“These are not normal times and while the [Reddit] thing is fascinating to watch, I can't help but think that this is unlikely to end well for someone,” Deutsche Bank strategist Jim Reid said.
Tears and headaches
For stock market veterans it's an example of the madness of speculative trading that can only end in tears. And for regulators, it's a headache, as they are the ones who should be cracking down on market manipulation.
Jacob Frenkel, a former lawyer at the Securities and Exchange Commission, the main US financial regulator, said: “Such volatile trading fuelled by opinions where there appears to be little corporate activity to justify the price movement is exactly what SEC investigations are made of.”
However, other experts believe Reddit's legion of investors represent a generational shift in attitudes to money and use of new technology.
“I don't think this is a fad,” said John Patrick, a fund expert at VanEck. “A retail trader will not lean on Wall Street to manage their money and I definitely now see an antagonistic relationship between the old guard [Wall Street] and individual traders who are on the rise,” he said.
Changchun Ice and Snow World 2021 (or Changchun Ice and Snow Xintiandi 长春冰雪新天地) debuted with a new image this year. It is the world's biggest ice and snow festival, bigger than the Harbin International Ice and Snow Festival. It covers an area of 1.38 million square meters, and the amount of ice and snow used exceeds 200,000 cubic meters. It is a veritable “Ice Kingdom”.
As the first million-square-meter “Ice Kingdom” in the country to light up, Changchun Ice and Snow Xintiandi have built 142 ice and snow buildings.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Wed, 6th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –
Publishing house makes third major deal in a week, following acquisition of catalogues by Jimmy Iovine and Fleetwood Mac’s Lindsay Buckingham
Neil Young has sold half of the rights to his song catalogue to Hipgnosis, in the same week the publishing house has acquired catalogues by former FleetwoodMac guitarist Lindsay Buckingham and super-producer Jimmy Iovine.
The deal comprises Young’s entire song catalogue of 1,180 compositions, with Hipgnosis taking on 50% of the worldwide copyright and income from the catalogue in exchange for an undisclosed cash sum that will certainly run into nine figures.
Hipgnosis Songs Fund was founded in 2018 by Merck Mercuriadis, who has previously managed artists including Elton John, Guns N’ Roses and Beyoncé. In December, after floating the company on the London Stock Exchange in 2018, he announced the company’s market value had reached £1.25bn. In the first six months of 2020, the company generated £50m in revenue, twice the amount for the same period in 2019.
Part of that growing Hipgnosis income is from use of its song catalogue in film and television, as well as advertising. Young is famously resistant to his music being used on adverts, singing in 1988 on This Note’s for You: “Ain’t singing for Pepsi / Ain’t singing for Coke / I don’t sing for nobody / Makes me look like a joke.”
Mercuriadis acknowledged Young’s stance, saying: “We have a common integrity, ethos and passion born out of a belief in music and these important songs. There will never be a ‘Burger of Gold’ but we will work together to make sure everyone gets to hear them on Neil’s terms.”
“Burger of Gold” is a reference to a 1973 Neil Young concert, where he revealed he’d been asked by an unnamed company to use hit song Heart of Gold on an advert, and joked he would have had to rename the song Burger of Gold if he’d agreed.
Mercuriadis said he had been a Young fan since the age of seven when he bought the album Harvest. He referred to his albums as “part of who I am, they’re in many ways responsible for who I’ve become and they’re most certainly in my DNA”.
Earlier this week, Hipgnosis also acquired 100% of Lindsay Buckingham’s 161-song catalogue, including hits he wrote for Fleetwood Mac such as Go Your Own Way, plus 50% of any as-yet unreleased songs. Mercuriadis hailed him as “one of the greatest guitarists, songwriters and producers of all time yet is still so underrated”.
He also acquired the worldwide producer royalties from 259 songs by Jimmy Iovine, who produced artists including Bruce Springsteen, U2 and Patti Smith before founding the Beats Electronics technology firm that was bought out by Apple for $3bn in 2014. Iovine said his work had found “the right home”, and that he would use the proceeds to fund the building of a high school in Los Angeles.
Hipgnosis started out buying the catalogues of star songwriters and producers such as Timbaland, The-Dream, TMS and Rodney Jerkins, before acquiring artist catalogues including Mark Ronson, Barry Manilow, Steve Winwood and Blondie.
Stars selling their catalogues has become a major music industry trend in recent years, including Buckingham’s former bandmate Stevie Nicks, who sold 80% of her song publishing rights to a rival publishing house, Primary Wave, in December.
Later that month came the most eye-catching deal of all: Bob Dylan selling his entire catalogue to Universal Music Group for a sum believed to be over $300m (£225m). Universal called it “the most significant music publishing agreement this century and one of the most important of all time”.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 4th Jan 2021) London, Uk – –
US casino giant MGM Resorts has made an $11bn (£8.1bn) offer for British gaming company Entain, which owns Ladbrokes.
The move is the latest attempt by a casino operator to move into the online gambling business.
In addition to its chain of High Street betting shops, UK-based Entain also owns a number of online sports betting and gambling sites.
Entain confirmed the offer, first reported by the Wall Street Journal, but said the price was too low.
It had recently rebuffed an earlier $10bn (£7.3bn) all-cash approach from MGM, the newspaper said.
In a statement, Entain said the latest bid approach “significantly undervalues the company and its prospects”.
MGM Resorts, which runs the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, now has until the beginning of next month to decide whether to make a formal bid or to walk away.
FTSE 100-listed Entain. which renamed itself from GVC Holdings last month, describes itself as “one of the world's largest sports betting and gaming groups operating in the online and retail sector”.
Along with Ladbrokes, it also owns brands such as Bwin, Partypoker, Coral, Eurobet, Gala and Foxy Bingo.
After news of the latest offer for the firm, investors started betting on Entain, pushing its share price up by more than 25% to £14.30 a share – above MGM's offer of roughly £13.83 a share – a sign that market watchers are expecting a higher bid.
If the two firms do reach an agreement, it would follow another deal in September when MGM rival Caesars Entertainment agreed to buy UK-based William Hill for £3.7bn.
“Following Caesar's offer for William Hill last year, a bid by MGM for Ladbroke's owner Entain isn't exactly a surprise,” said Nicholas Hyett an analyst at Hargreaves Lansdown.
“The two are working together to take advantage of the recent legalisation of sports betting in the US, a market worth many billions of dollars a year.”
Analysis: By Dominic O'Connell
Predictions about the stockmarket have a habit of making the person trying to guess the future look foolish. No such problem for Laura Foll, a fund manager at the investment firm Janus Henderson. On the Today programme on Monday, she forecast more takeover offers for household names in Britain, noting that the UK markets remained unloved by investors and so – perhaps – undervalued.
An hour after the prediction a big offer duly landed, with Entain, the London-listed company that owns Ladbrokes and other gambling brands, saying it had received a takeover proposal from MGM Resorts, an American rival.
The US company is offering to pay shareholders in Entain not in cash, but in new MGM shares – an obvious move given the sky-high rating of US shares compared to those listed in London.
It looks a carbon copy of last year's deal where Caesars, best known for its Las Vegas properties, bought another venerable name in British bookmaking, William Hill. Get ready for more acquisitive foreign companies looking for deals in bargain basement London.
The new bid for Entain comes with financial backing from MGM's largest shareholder, InterActiveCorp (IAC), which took a 12% stake in MGM Resorts last August.
At the time, IAC's chief executive Barry Diller said it planned to work with MGM to expand its online gambling portfolio.
The attempted acquisition comes as the casino industry faces headwinds from the Covid-19 pandemic.
Bricks-and-mortar casino operators have struggled under travel restrictions.
The economy of Asian casino hub Macau shrank 49% in the first quarter of this year, while unemployment in Las Vegas reached 30% earlier in the year and remains well above the US average.
MGM Resorts, which is the operator of the Bellagio casino in Las Vegas, laid off 18,000 furloughed employees in the US in August.
Many online gambling companies, by contrast, saw a boost during Covid-19 restrictions, prompting many casino owners to pivot their businesses towards online.
This year's iconic Rockefeller Christmas tree was found in someone's yard in Oneonta, NY four years ago. To get the donated, 75-foot-tall tree to Manhattan took a team of dozens of workers, huge cranes, and a 115-foot trailer. While this year's Norway Spruce ended up as full and bright as past years', it had its fair share of viral moments, with an orphaned owl, COVID-19 restrictions, and rumors of tree extensions.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via theguardian.com – – Tue, 8th Dec 2020) London, Uk – –
Rise in minimum age part of gambling review aiming to update ‘analogue law in a digital age’
The age limit for playing the National Lottery will rise to 18 from next year, the government has said, on the day ministers launched a review of gambling laws that could result in curbs on advertising and a cap on online casino stakes.
Culture minister Oliver Dowden said the 2005 Gambling Act – written before the arrival of the smartphone – was an “analogue law in a digital age”, as he kicked off a lengthy process that could unwind much of the Blair-era legislation.
The only concrete measure announced by the government was an increase in the age at which people can play the National Lottery, which will rise from 16 to 18 in October 2021. The change reflects concern that the weekly draw’s expansion into areas such as online play could make it a gateway to problem gambling.
But the government also launched a long-awaited review of gambling laws with a 16-week call for evidence.
As the Guardian reported last week, ministers will consider banning the sponsorship of sport by betting firms and limiting online casino stakes, as well as mandating strict affordability checks to ensure that punters do not lose beyond their means.
There could also be a testing regime for new products, meaning some gambling games could be barred from release if they are deemed too dangerous for potential addicts.
Ministers will also consider giving the regulator, the Gambling Commission, new funding and powers to tackle the unregulated parallel market, as well as to impose harsher punishments on legitimate gambling operators that fail to protect vulnerable people.
“Whilst millions gamble responsibly, the Gambling Act is an analogue law in a digital age,” said Dowden. “From an era of having a flutter in a high-street bookmaker, casino, racecourse or seaside pier, the industry has evolved at breakneck speed. This comprehensive review will ensure we are tackling problem gambling in all its forms to protect children and vulnerable people. It will also help those who enjoy placing a bet to do so safely.”
Gambling lobby group the Betting & Gaming Council (BGC) said the review “provides an important opportunity to drive further changes on safer gambling introduced by the industry in the past year”.
The industry has recently taken voluntary steps to demonstrate its commitment to protecting vulnerable gamblers, including a “whistle to whistle” ban on adverts while live matches are broadcast.
Firms agreed the measure with the government review looming, more than a decade after unfettered gambling advertising was permitted by Labour.
Labour MP Carolyn Harris, who chairs a cross-party group examining gambling-related harm, said the review was a “once-in-a-generation opportunity to reform the online gambling industry, which has grown exponentially over the past decade.
“It has evolved from the traditional betting I grew up with to a global corporate entity which extracts vast profit from people in this country. Our regulatory system has not evolved with it and the excesses of the industry are clear for all to see.”
With more than 500 hours of video uploaded every minute and over 1 billion hours watched every day, Google’s YouTube is the world’s second largest search engine. And its meteoric growth hasn’t subsided, over 2 billion users visit the site every month. CNBC takes a look at how the video platform has changed over the past 15 years and if it can stay on top
(qlmbusinessnews.com via news.sky.com– Fri, 13th Nov 2020) London, Uk – –
Ticketmaster has been fined £1.25m for losing more than a million British customers' payment card details in a data breach in 2018.
At the time the company admitted personal information and card details belonging to 40,000 customers were stolen by hackers, but the true impact has been revealed to be much higher by the Information Commissioner's Office (ICO).
According to the ICO, the data breach – which included names, payment card numbers, expiry dates and CVV numbers – potentially affected 9.4m of the company's customers, including 1.5m in the UK.
The data watchdog's investigators found that 60,000 payments cards belonging to Barclays Bank customers were subjected to known fraud as a result of the breach, with another 6,000 replaced by Monzo Bank following suspected fraudulent use.
Ticketmaster failed to “assess the risks of using a chat-bot on its payment page, identify and implement appropriate security measures to negate the risks. [and] identify the source of suggested fraudulent activity in a timely manner” according to the ICO.
It took Ticketmaster nine weeks to identify the breach after the first reports of fraud, which came from Monzo Bank customers in February 2018.
Other card providers, including the Commonwealth Bank of Australia, Barclaycard, Mastercard and American Express all reported suggestions of fraud to Ticketmaster – but the company failed to identify the problem, said the ICO.
More than two months after the first report the company began monitoring the network traffic through its online payment page to discover that hackers were siphoning off customer details due to a vulnerability in the chat-bot system it was using.
The watchdog's deputy commissioner James Dipple-Johnstone said: “When customers handed over their personal details, they expected Ticketmaster to look after them. But they did not.
“Ticketmaster should have done more to reduce the risk of a cyber-attack. It's failure to do so meant that millions of people in the UK and Europe were exposed to potential fraud.
“The £1.25m fine we've issued today will send a message to other organisations that looking after their customers' personal details safely should be at the top of their agenda.”
Ticketmaster said it intends to appeal against the fine.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Fri, 30th Oct 2020) London, Uk – –
Model railway maker Hornby has seen its sales surge by 33% in the six months to the end of September, as more people took up hobbies in lockdown.
The firm, which also makes Corgi cars and Scalextric racing kits, said it had benefitted from families spending more time at home.
Not along ago, Hornby was “a company in chaos”, losing up to £10m a year, according to boss Lyndon Davies.
He hailed the firm's return to profit in a “time of adversity”.
“We have observed hitherto successful and profitable companies worldwide crumbling under the pressure [of the pandemic], with losses, closures and tumbling share values.
“Yet we have not only weathered this shattering storm, our sales have increased by 33% in the first half of 2020, moving Hornby back into profitability.”
Parts of the Hornby business that performed strongly over the past six months included Airfix, its model aeroplane brand, and Humbrol, which makes specialist paints for modelling.
Mr Davies said the company had seen a big jump in online sales, as customers sought comfort from uncertainty in products “they know and love”.
He said boredom was another driver: “People want to do things, they don't want to sit there watching the TV for the day.”
He said the firm entered the year with “no idea” how the business would be impacted by the pandemic.
All of the firm's offices had to close at various points, and it lost several weeks of shipments due to supply chain issues.
Despite this, sales climbed to £21.1m in the period from £15.9m last year. That's given Hornby a net profit of £200,000, turning around a £2.5m loss in 2019.
Shares in the firm surged almost 30% on the back of the strong results.
Lockdown isn't the only reason behind Hornby's changing fortunes. After a complete restructuring of the management team in 2017, the company widened its range, introducing train sets tied to well-known brands such as Harry Potter and Paddington Bear.
Back to the Future-themed cars have been “the biggest selling Scalextric cars for 10 years”, Mr Davies added.
The firm has also embraced new technologies. A century after its first clockwork locomotive was introduced in 1920, the company's model trains and racing cars can now be controlled by mobile phone apps using bluetooth.
“These brands have been misunderstood for the past 5-10 years, but in the last year we've brought them alive again,” Mr Davies said.
(qlmbusinessnews.com via bbc.co.uk – – Mon, 26th Oct 2020) London, Uk – –
Toymakers are expecting strong global sales during the critical end-of-year festive season, after a surge of pandemic-fuelled demand for items such as Barbies and board games.
Hasbro, maker of Monopoly and Jenga, told investors on Monday it was poised for a “good holiday season”.
The forecast followed rival Mattel's report last week of its biggest sales jump in a decade.
The firm's Barbie dolls hit their highest quarterly sales since 2003.
The gains have come as families buy toys and games in an attempt to fend off boredom amid the pandemic lockdowns.
“The toy industry as a whole grew meaningfully and continues to demonstrate its resilience in challenging economic times,” said Mattel chief executive Ynon Kreiz.
In the first nine months of the year, Hasbro sales grew 13% from 2019 – bucking the wider plunge in consumer spending around the world.
At Mattel, sales are down 2% from 2019 – but some brands, such as Barbie, are having their strongest run in years.
The firm said gross sales of the doll grew 15% year-on-year in the first nine months of 2020. In the most recent quarter, they rose 29% to more than $532m.
Mattel told investors last week it was predicting holiday season sales growth of roughly 5% from last year – greater than many wider forecasts of festive season spending.
However, analysts have warned that the pandemic may throw some surprises at toymakers in the upcoming months, as family budgets increasingly feel strains and concerns about coronavirus infection change holiday shopping dynamics.
“Not only am I concerned that paycheque spending may be limited, but I'm concerned that we will not see that last minute rush into the stores due to fears of Covid-19,” Juli Lennett, vice president at market research firm NPD Group, wrote recently.
But she said toymakers might still manage to see some gains.
“As we've seen in previous economically challenged times, parents will sometimes forego their own needs to make their children happy. In this crazy, stressful year, parents might just go overboard and splurge on their kids -if they have money,” she said.