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Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox is in demand. Comcast and Verizon have separately approached the media company to explore potential combinations. Only a week ago Fox was holding similar talks with Walt Disney.
The talks with would-be acquirers signal that Mr Murdoch is considering a break-up of the media empire that took him decades to assemble — and come at a tumultuous time for the media industry, which is under pressure from technological upheaval, changes in viewing habits and the global rise of digital streaming video.
Content owners, distributors and disruptive technology companies are jockeying for control as they prepare for an expected round of consolidation. One person said Comcast’s decision to initiate talks came after reports that Disney had held talks with Fox about buying its movie studio, cable channels and international business. That combination would exclude Fox’s broadcast network and Fox News Channel, as well as its sports rights.
But it’s not just old media that is facing challenges. Poster children of millennial media BuzzFeed and Vice are on target to miss revenue forecasts for this year, reports the WSJ. Mashable, another darling of new media, is close to a sale to Ziff Davis, the digital media unit of J2Global Inc, providing a financial lifeline for a company running low on cash, according to Bloomberg.
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Unproductive robots You can see them everywhere except in the productivity stats. Should we blame hype, understated productivity stats or a winner-take-all market squandering gains for the absence of a robotic booster? Tim Harford, not a robot, explores the options.
Tesla’s vroom vroom roadster The new Tesla Roadster is the first car to go from 0-60mph (0-96kph) in under two seconds. Driving a gasoline sports car after this, said Tesla founder Elon Musk “is going to feel like a steam engine with a side of quiche.”
But two wheels — not so good Analysts are calling time on China’s bike sharing frenzy after Bluegogo, the number three player, collapsed. Cue hubristic CEO “As a CEO, I’ve made mistakes,” wrote Li Gang. “I was filled with arrogance.” Chances are, he’ll be back with something else.
Twitch, or how to get rich playing video games Roberto Garcia discovered that game streaming required nonstop work. The only way to attract viewers, and keep the ones you have, is to be online constantly, so he routinely streamed for eighteen hours a day. “That’s what I had to do to grow the viewership,” he tells the New Yorker. And he makes plenty of money in the process.
Curiouser and curiouser Innate curiosity can make learning an unfamiliar task more efficient. But that’s a quality more usually associated with the animal kingdom than with machines, so now a bunch of researchers are trying to impose curiosity on software. “You can think of curiosity as a kind of reward which the agent generates internally on its own, so that it can go explore more about its world,” says one, Pulkit Agrawal
Revenge in the internet era Wired tells a strange and tangled story of exposure and distrust in the internet era.and how one woman’s digital life was weaponised against her.
Tech tools you can use — The Mellow
The good people at Cnet have been waiting three years for this and fortunately conclude — for the most part — that it was worth it. Fans of MasterChef might also be tickled with this $400 WiFi enabled gadget for sous vide cooking that lets you go home to a perfectly cooked piece of salmon. Others should beware: The Mellow looks like just the sort of contraption that could end up collecting dust on the counter-top.