Daily Archives: June 10, 2015

2026 World Cup: Bidding process suspended amid Fifa corruption scandal

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The bidding process for the 2026 World Cup has been suspended, Fifa secretary general Jerome Valcke has announced.

The decision on the next available tournament, which will follow those planned for Russia and Qatar, comes amid allegations of widespread corruption and bribery at Fifa.

The decision on the hosts was due to be made in Kuala Lumpur in May 2017.

The United States, who narrowly missed out to Qatar for the 2022 tournament, will remain the favourites to host the tournament.

Morocco, Colombia, Mexico and Canada (who are currently hosting the Women’s World Cup) are also thought to be contenders.

Having said they would never bid whilst Sepp Blatter was president of Fifa, England could potentially enter the race following the decision of the head of world football’s governing body to step down.

Fifa are currently engulfed by allegations of corruption that is seeing them investigated by both Swiss and US authorities, with the bidding process for the tournaments awarded to Russia and Qatar central to those investigations.

TI

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8K video launched on YouTube with films so high definition they break computers

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YouTube has launched support for 8K video, allowing people to watch films in such high resolutions that it breaks their computer.

The company announced that it would allow 8K videos in 2010, and added the label earlier this year. But the first video to make use of that super-high resolution has arrived, filmed on special cameras and put together using extra-powerful computers.

The film, ‘Ghost Towns’, is a smoothly-shot video of a person wandering through an abandoned settlement, featuring slowly panning views of houses and their contents. But the video is far less innovative than how it was made, using a special RED Epic Dragon 6K Camera and then stitched together to get the full 8K film.

Because those cameras only shoot 6K images, the filmmakers Luke and Marika Neumann shot the video in portrait and then stitched pieces of it together to get to the full resolution. Other shots are upscaled by 125 per cent to go from 6.1K to 7.6K, the video description says — that means simply converting a lower resolution video into a higher one.

The video should be able to run on Safari or Chrome, and can be watched within YouTube. But because of the processing power used to watch the film, computers almost always crash when watching it — and most people won’t be able to see all the pixels, anyway, since even 4K monitors are not especially widespread.

As with all YouTube videos, the site checks the internet connection and capabilities of the computer when playing the film. So the video can be watched in qualities all the way down to 144p, leaving a tiny and fuzzy video.

TI

Manchester United is world’s most valuable football brand at USD 1.2 billion

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Manchester United is now the world’s most valuable football club brand , worth $1.2 billion, deposing German sports club Bayern Munich.

According to a Brand Finance consultancy report, the Old Trafford club’s brand is valued the most despite not winning any trophies last year.

Bayern Munich stands is the second most valuable football club brand while Real Madrid takes the third spot. FC Barcelona, the winner of Champions League (on May 7), is the sixth most valuable club at $773 million.

Six football clubs in the top ten are English. No Italian team finds a place in the top list. Paris St-Germain is at the ninth spot in terms of brand value.

“Even if recent reports of fan losses are to be believed, United retains legions of followers in India, South East Asia and China, contributing to a total of over half a billion individuals and the news certainly does not appear to have deterred sponsors,” Brand Finance said in its report.

Sponsors continue to pose faith in its brand value. The club’s brand value has shot up by 63 per cent since 2014, said the report.

The UK broadcast rights of the Premier League have been taken for a record 5.1 billion pounds, which is being seen as the brand renewal of Manchester United club.

BT

The entire music industry is just another feature of the iPhone

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Apple spent a lot of time at WWDC heaping praise on developers — the middle point of the keynote featured a video celebrating all of the apps and experiences enabled by the iPhone and the App Store in the seven years of its existence. Neil deGrasse Tyson called the combination of apps and handheld devices “a watershed moment in civilization.” When Tim Cook announced that watchOS 2 would allow developers to make native apps for the Apple Watch, he told the crowd they would “change people’s lives.” Heady stuff, to be sure, but deserved — there’s no doubting the impact of mobile and apps on our lives.

Cook also said that Apple has now paid developers over $30 billion dollars since the App Store opened in 2008, which sounds like a lot until you realize that Apple posted profits of $13 billion and $18 billion in its last two quarters against revenues of $58 and $74 billion.

THERE’S JUST WAY MORE MONEY IN SELLING IPHONES THAN SELLING APPS

Apple makes more profits in six months than the total revenue paid to developers since the App Store opened. There’s just way more money in selling iPhones than selling apps, and every new app is really just a new feature that helps sell more iPhones.

That happens in big and small ways, but the relative scale of Apple’s ambition was sharply highlighted yesterday by Apple Music and Apple News, two new apps that reduce entire swaths of the media industry to mere features of the iPhone because Apple doesn’t have to worry about their business models.

Take Apple News and Flipboard, for instance. Apple News feels like a combination of Flipboard and Facebook’s News Feed, a news reading app that shows you stories it thinks you might like from topics and publications you’re interested in. It looks really nice, but it’s easy to dismiss it as just another Flipboard clone. There are a lot of them, and they’ve all failed. Flipboard’s entire business is an enhanced newsreading experience — just like Apple News, it pulls in stories from a selection of media partners and presents them to you in clean, modern layouts. It’s great! People love Flipboard.

But wait: Flipboard is failing, and the company has been trying to sell itself for weeks.

It’s just really, really hard to make money in news. Few companies are doing it, and even popular apps like Flipboard are struggling to turn users and eyeballs and attention into revenue. And because there’s no other obvious way to make money, Flipboard might just blink out of existence one day.

But Apple doesn’t have that problem at all — Apple News doesn’t need to make any money, ever. It just needs to make the experience of using an iPhone slightly better, so that people keep buying iPhones. Media partners who put content in Apple News keep 100 percent of the money they make selling their own ads; Apple only takes a 30 percent cut if it sells ads for you. Apple can integrate News ever more tightly into the iPhone, and it’ll be great for consumers, because no one at Apple ever has to balance the overall user experience against the desire to increase revenue or make money or do anything other than sell more iPhones.

You can’t turn around on the internet without reading hand-wringing about Facebook and the potential extortion of media companies that depend on the social network for traffic, but publishers signed up by the dozens for Apple News. (Vox Media included.) It doesn’t seem nearly as threatening, because Apple has virtually no incentive to make money against news the way Facebook does. Apple has $178 billion in the bank; Apple News could lose a million dollars a year for the next five years and it’s not clear anyone would even notice. Hell, Apple News could lose a million dollars a year for a hundred thousand years and Apple would still have over $50 billion to burn.

In one fell swoop, Apple’s taken the entire media machine and turned it into just another feature of the iPhone.

It’s the same with music, really. One of the big criticisms of the WWDC keynote I’ve been reading is that it was really two presentations: a first, tightly focused presentation of Apple’s new OS updates, and then a second rambling mess about Apple Music featuring Drake. Nothing about the presentation made it totally clear why Apple thinks its new music service will help kickstart the music industry into the streaming era, but then again, maybe it didn’t need to. Music might never be a huge business for Apple — the entire US music business did $11.83 billion in revenue last year, less than Apple makes in profit every three months.

APPLE DOESN’T HAVE ANY OF THESE PROBLEMS, BECAUSE IT JUST WANTS PEOPLE TO BUY IPHONES

Compare that to Spotify, which is building its entire business around music streaming. Spotify is in a jam right now: the more money it makes, the more money it loses, because of how its deals with the labels are structured. Spotify needs a free service because that’s how it gets people in the door and convinces them to pay, but the labels hate the free service because it doesn’t pay them enough. Spotify needs to add subscribers at a high rate to cover the revenue gap; the best way to add more subscribers is to aggressively sign people up for the free tier, increasing the revenue gap. The flames climb ever higher into the night.

Apple doesn’t have any of these problems, because it just wants people to buy iPhones. You can pay the $9.99 a month for Apple Music and unlock almost all the songs in the iTunes library, or not. It’ll barely dent Apple’s balance sheet either way; the company is doing a music service because it likes music and sees the writing on the wall as digital downloads collapse in favor of streaming services. Spotify has to invent an entirely new business model, but Apple just has to make listening to music marginally easier.

The entire music industry, turned into just another feature of the iPhone.

Now, Apple News could be terrible — it’s built on the wreckage of Newsstand, which did not exactly save the print industry. And parts of Apple Music sure feel like Ping, which has a special place in Apple’s Hall of Pretty Bad Ideas. But none of these products are existentially important to Apple; they’re just features, ways to make the iPhone more compelling and interesting. That’s sort of incredible; it’s hard to think of another company that can just subsume an entire industry in the service of making its products more attractive.

TV

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