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

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MBC will air the FIA Formula One World Championship across the Middle East and North Africa, starting this season until 2023. (File/AFP)
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Updated 16 March 2019

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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

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


Twitter sets out plans for banning political ads

Updated 15 November 2019

Twitter sets out plans for banning political ads

  • Rival Facebook Inc, saying it did not want to stifle political speech, has steadfastly refused calls from some politicians and others to follow Twitter’s lead
  • Twitter said it will use a combination of automated technology and human teams to enforce the new ad policies

WASHINGTON: Twitter Inc. on Friday laid out its plan for banning political ads just as campaigns for the 2020 US presidential election heat up, and for banning ads that advocate for a certain outcome on social and political causes.
Twitter said last month that it would ban political advertising, as social media companies have faced growing calls to stop accepting ads that spread false information and could sway elections.
Twitter said it will define political content under its policy as anything that references “a candidate, political party, elected or appointed government official, election, referendum, ballot measure, legislation, regulation, directive, or judicial outcome.”
“We believe political message reach should be earned, not bought,” Twitter Chief Executive Jack Dorsey said in announcing the ban.
Rival Facebook Inc, saying it did not want to stifle political speech, has steadfastly refused calls from some politicians and others to follow Twitter’s lead, and said it would not vet political ads for misleading claims on its site.
The ban, which is expected to take effect on Nov. 22 and includes ads from political candidates, political parties or government officials themselves, was initially derided by US President Donald Trump’s reelection campaign.
The popular social media platform will allow companies and advocacy groups to run ads that promote awareness and discussion about social causes, such as environmental protection. But they will not be allowed to push for a certain political or legislative change on the issue, especially if they are advocating for something that benefits their business, Del Harvey, vice president of trust and safety, said in a conference call on Friday.
Under the new policy for example, Sierra Club or gun rights advocates could still promote their causes, but they would not be able to single out politicians they support or target those they would like to see defeated in elections, or lobby for political outcomes.
Advertisers who wish to run ads that promote awareness about a cause will be able to target users at the state level or higher, but not by their zip-code. And those advertisers will not be able to target people based on their political leanings, Twitter said.
Twitter said it will use a combination of automated technology and human teams to enforce the new ad policies.
It said it sought to make the new rules as clear as possible. But other major tech companies, including Facebook and Alphabet Inc’s Google, have had widely publicized struggles to moderate the vast amount of content uploaded to their sites.
News publishers that meet certain criteria will continue to be able to run ads on Twitter that reference political content, but they cannot advocate for or against a political topic.