Premier League you’re having a laugh? Facebook could use its new Watch platform to screen Premier League football

Facebook will soon launch a platform for original video content, called Watch, and speculation has already begun that it could soon become home to Premier League football.

The media giant has already announced that it wants it Watch platform to feature “a wide range of shows, from reality to comedy to live sports”, and with the current contract for the Premier League’s broadcast rights set to finish at the end of the 2018/19 season, Facebook could be set to muscle in on Sky and BT Sport’s current deal.

“This move is far more than just the creation of a new tab on Facebook. This is effectively the launch of Facebook TV and I think we can count on this being the first step toward the social media giant broadcasting its own original content,” said Dror Ginzberg, co-founder & CEO of Wochit.

“A key approach will also be to broadcast live sports events too. Previously, sports, like the Mexican football league, had been broadcast on Facebook Live, but the new Watch tab is the natural home for this now. We may see Facebook finally become a player in the race to broadcast the Premier League when the rights are up for auction next year.”

Image courtesy of charnsitr / Shutterstock.com. Featured image courtesy of By @cfcunofficial (Chelsea Debs)

Amongst the documentary series and reality shows set to be available upon Watch’s launch, the platform will also broadcast one Major League Baseball (MLB) game per week.

A similar arrangement could see Premier League football screened on Facebook. Although, any plans to broadcastEngland’s top division wouldn’t come cheap. The current contract is worth a staggering £5.136bn, which gives Sky access to 126 matches, while BT gets to show 42 games per season on its sports channels.

“We’re thrilled to work with MLB to enable baseball fans on Facebook to watch live games and connect with friends and fellow fans around the action, no matter where they live in the U.S., and are excited to help the league continue to reach new audiences on our platform,” said Dan Reed, Facebook’s head of global sports partnerships, when Facebook and the MLB’s partnership was announced in March.

Image courtesy of Peter Woodentop

Facebook says it plans to roll out access to Watch to a small group of US users first before allowing access to the rest of the US and international audiences.

The media company imagines that its Watch platform will have content from both professional creators and from regular people within its own community.

To help inspire creators, Facebook has agreed to fund some shows that are examples of community-oriented and episodic video series.

One such example is, Returning the Favor, which is a series hosted by Mike Rowe where he finds people doing something extraordinary for their community, tells the world about it, and in turn does something extraordinary for them. Candidates are nominated by Mike’s fans on Facebook.

Wanted man captured thanks to facial recognition

A Chinese man who was wanted by police for “economic crimes” – which can include anything from tax evasion to the theft of public property – was arrested at a music concert in China after facial recognition technology spotted him inside the venue.

Source: Abacus News

SpaceX president commits to city-to-city rocket travel

SpaceX president and chief operating officer Gwynne Shotwell has reiterated the company’s plans to make city-to-city travel — on Earth — using a rocket that’s designed for outer space a reality. Shotwell says the tech will be operational “within a decade, for sure.”

Source: Recode

Businessman wins battle with Google over 'right to be forgotten'

A businessman fighting for the "right to be forgotten" has won a UK High Court action against Google.. The businessman served six months’ in prison for “conspiracy to carry out surveillance”, and the judge agreed to an “appropriate delisting order".

Source: Press Gazette

UK launched cyber attack on Islamic State

The UK has conducted a "major offensive cyber campaign" against the Islamic State group, the director of the intelligence agency GCHQ, Jeremy Fleming, has revealed. The operation hindered the group's ability to co-ordinate attacks and suppressed its propaganda.

Source: BBC

Goldman Sachs consider whether curing patients is bad for business

Goldman Sachs analysts have attempted to tackle the question of whether pioneering "gene therapy" treatment will be bad for business in the long run. "Is curing patients a sustainable business model?" analysts ask in a report entitled "The Genome Revolution."

Source: CNBC

Four-armed robot performing surgery in the UK

A £1.5m "robotic" surgeon, controlled using a computer console, is being used to shorten the time patients spend recovering after operations. The da Vinci Xi machine is the only one in the country being used for upper gastrointestinal surgery.

Source: BBC

Virgin Galactic rocket planes go past the speed of sound

Virgin Galactic completed its first powered flight in nearly four years when Richard Branson's space company launched its Unity spacecraft, which reached supersonic speeds before safely landing. “We’ve been working towards this moment for a long time,” Virgin Galactic CEO George Whitesides said in an email to Quartz.

Source: Quartz

Google employees protest being in "the business of war"

Thousands of Google employees, including dozens of senior engineers, have signed a letter protesting the company’s involvement in a Pentagon program that uses AI to interpret video imagery and could be used to improve the targeting of drone strikes. The letter, which is circulating inside Google, has garnered more than 3,100 signatures

Source: New York Times

Computer system transcribes words users “speak silently”

MIT researchers have developed a computer interface that transcribes words that the user verbalises internally but does not actually speak aloud. The wearable device picks up neuromuscular signals in the jaw and face that are triggered by internal verbalisations — saying words “in your head” — but are undetectable to the human eye.

Source: MIT News

Drones could be used to penalise bad farming

A report by a coalition of environmental campaigners is arguing squadrons of drones should be deployed to locate and penalise farmers who let soil run off their fields. Their report says drones can help to spot bad farming, which is said to cost more than £1.2bn a year by clogging rivers and contributing to floods.

Source: BBC

Californian company unveil space hotel

Orion Span, a California company, has unveiled its Aurora Station, a commercial space station that would house a luxury hotel. The idea is to put the craft in low-earth orbit, about 200 miles up, with a stay at the hotel likely to cost $9.5 million for a 12-day trip, but you can reserve a spot now with an $80,000 deposit.

UK mobile operators pay close to £1.4bn for 5G

An auction of frequencies for the next generation of mobile phone networks has raised £1.36bn, says regulator Ofcom. Vodafone, EE, O2 and Three all won the bandwidth needed for the future 5G mobile internet services, which are not expected to be launched until 2020.

Source: BBC