Global: Launch of new daily for England’s north

A new daily newspaper for the north of England launched on Monday promising an alternative to the “south-dominated” national press.

The Guardian reports that the paper, 24, kicked off with a front page story about how children are drawn into football hooliganism.

Priced at 40p, it is published by the Carlisle-based CN Group with the bulk of its content being provided by the Press Association.

CN Group editorial director David Helliwell told BBC Radio 4’s Today program that 24 readers would get “a great mix of all the best national news and sport content that is around, added with a bit of northern flavour”.

News would be written “from a northern perspective, rather than a south-east perspective” and sports coverage would focus on “the Manchester Uniteds and the Liverpools rather than the Chelseas and the Arsenals”, he said.

“There’s so much that happens in the UK that only a fraction of it gets into our newspapers and it can be very south-dominated.”

Publishers sign up to provide Facebook videos

Facebook has signed contracts with almost 140 media companies and celebrities to create videos for its nascent live-streaming service, as the social network prepares to cash in on a lucrative advertising market so far it has not yet tapped.

Dow Jones reports the company has agreed to make payments to video creators totalling more than $US50 million, according to a document reviewed by The Wall Street Journal. Its partners include established media outfits like CNN and the New York Times; digital publishers like Vox Media, Tastemade, Mashable and the Huffington Post; and celebrities including Kevin Hart, Gordon Ramsay, Deepak Chopra and NFL quarterback Russell Wilson.

The arrangements are a way to encourage publishers to produce a steady stream of high-quality videos until Facebook figures out a more concrete plan to compensate creators, such as through sharing of ad revenue.

Facebook is already a major video hub — its users watch 100 million hours of video daily in their news feeds. Chief Executive Mark Zuckerberg is betting that live videos will provide a further lift in user engagement, getting people to come to the service more often and stay longer.

Although Facebook is an advertising powerhouse – it accounts for almost 20 per cent of US mobile ad revenues, according to eMarketer – it has yet to tap into digital video as a major revenue source.

Twitter moves to boost video

Twitter has bought London-based machine learning outfit Magic Pony Technology, as it moves to bolster its video and image-sharing output.

The micro-blogging site has reportedly spent $150 million on Magic Pony, according to ArsTechnica.  Magic Pony offers tech that apparently improves low-quality pictures and videos on the fly by recognising patterns and textures.

Twitter’s latest buyout represents its third machine-learning acquisition in two years: it scooped up Madbits in 2014, and Whetlab a year later.

Twitter said Magic Pony had developed algorithms which “can understand the features of imagery”, and which will “enhance our strength in live and video,” and “open up a whole lot of exciting creative possibilities for Twitter”.

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