Facebook’s ads have been defeated (again) by Adblock Plus work-around


How your Facebook feed should look with the new filter, according to Adblock Plus
Photo by: Adblock Plus

Two days ago Facebook had taken steps “the dark path,” and decided to start forcing ad-blocking users to see ads on its desktop site. We promised that the open source community would have a solution very soon, and, frankly, they’ve beaten even our own expectations. A new filter was added to the main EasyList about 15 minutes ago. You’ll just need to update your filter lists (see below for how).

If you want to manually add the filter, here is the code you need:

facebook.com##DIV[id^="substream_"] ._5jmm[data-dedupekey][data-cursor][data-xt][data-xt-vimpr="1"][data-ftr="1"][data-fte="1"]

As many of your know, the filter lists that “tell” Adblock Plus what to block are in fact the product of a global community of web citizens. This time that community seems to have gotten the better of even a giant like Facebook.

So apparently, you don’t want no problems with the ad-blocking community … (Just kidding, Big Z … please don’t destroy me with your blue and white drones).

What you need to do to start re-blocking ads on Facebook

Update your filter lists now. If you don’t know how to do that, here is a tutorial. That’s it. Now just go to Facebook on your desktop, and things should go back to normal.

… or just wait for a day or so, then the filter list will be updated automatically.

This is still a cat-and-mouse game

Facebook might “re-circumvent” at any time. As we wrote in the previous post, this sort of back-and-forth battle between the open source ad-blocking community and circumventers has been going on since ad blocking was invented; so it’s very possible that Facebook will write some code that will render the filter useless — at any time. If that happens, the ad-blocking community will likely find another workaround, then Facebook might circumvent again, etc.

Also, you should be aware that this filter has not been heavily tested, so if you think it’s blocking more/less than it should let us/EasyList know.

But for this round of the cat-and-mouse contest, looks like the mouse won.

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BBC weekly audience in Africa rises to a record 111 million

The BBC now reaches 111 million people across all media platforms in Africa via the BBC World Service, the BBC World News TV channel and bbc.com as well as the international development charity BBC Media Action.

The BBC provides content in Arabic, English, French, Hausa, Kinyarwanda/Kirundi, Somali and Swahili across the continent and to diaspora audiences around the world. African audiences make up the largest share of the BBC’s global audience for its news services which currently reaches 320 million people.

The dedicated BBC Africa hub, which delivers content for sub-Saharan Africa and diaspora audiences, brings news and features in inventive, accessible ways such as via the daily Africa live page and bbcafrica.com as well as regular TV and radio bulletins and programmes. In addition the BBC reaches a new online audience via many social media outlets and mobile platforms, creating clickable and shareable content delivered by its reporters across Africa. These include Twitter, Facebook, Google +,Instagram, Soundcloud and YouTube.

Tim Pemberton, BBC Africa Executive Editor says: “We are committed to Africa and the African audience and are proud of the array of talented broadcasters that we have working for BBC Africa. We are dedicated to the impartiality that makes us stand out from other broadcasters and it is wonderful to see the audience responding to this. The continent has a new, young, switched on generation and the BBC will continue to be at the heart of new media and digital innovation.”

There have been notable increases in audience numbers for the BBC’s African language services in the past year. The biggest has been for BBC Hausa which now reaches a weekly audience of 23.3 million – an increase of 5.2 million from last year.

The new BBC’s Global Audience Measure of two African countries also show impressive new figures. In Uganda, 1 in 5 adults (15 and older) consume BBC content each week – this is an 11% rise in the percentage of the population reached by the BBC on a weekly basis. In Sierra Leone, the BBC World Service Group reaches 65 percent of the population.

2016 global weekly audience figures for the BBC Africa hub on all platforms:
BBC Afrique – 14.8 million
BBC Great Lakes (Kinyarwanda/Kirundi) – 3.2 million
BBC Hausa – 23.3 million
BBC Somali – 3.6 million
BBC Swahili – 17.2 million

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Sky and Channel 4 co-invest for stake in TV rights venture TRX


Dial Square 86 Limited, the holding company for The RightsXchange Limited (“TRX”), has announced today that Sky and Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund have invested in the company’s latest financing round, which will raise up to £5.2m for TRX.

TRX is a new global online deal-making tool that enables TV rights buyers and sellers from around the world to connect and complete licensing deals entirely online. It enables distributors to reach buyers in new international markets, who in turn gain access to British, American and other TV rights that would previously have been difficult to secure.  It soft launched in Asia last month and already has in excess of 5,000 hours of programming available from key UK and US distributors and rights holders such as Sky Vision, Discovery Communications, All3Media International, Hat Trick International and Sesame Workshop.

Sky and Channel 4 will each take an undisclosed minority stake in Dial Square 86 Limited, which was established in 2014 by former RDF Media founders and Zodiak Media executives, David and Matthew Frank. This funding round also includes investment from private individuals (many of whom have participated in previous rounds). TRX has an Advisory Board of key industry figures including John McVay, CEO of PACT, Stephen Lambert, founder and CEO of Studio Lambert and Nadine Nohr, former CEO of Shine International.

The deal marks the first time Sky and Channel 4 have co-invested in a start-up. The partnership with TRX is the latest example of Sky taking equity shares in innovative companies, enabling the exchange of new ideas and insights. Sky’s production and distribution arm, Sky Vision, will also use the TRX deal-making tool, helping to develop its suite of enterprise tools and grow the TV rights market. It is the latest digital business venture for Channel 4’s Indie Growth Fund, led by Laura Franses, which is using its £20m facility to back this valuable resource for indie TV rights holders and thereby supporting the future health of the UK indie sector.

David Frank, CEO Dial Square 86 Limited and Chairman TRX said: “We are absolutely delighted that two of the UK’s leading content players with such reputations for innovation and excellence have decided to back what we are doing. There is real momentum behind TRX now and we’re excited about launching a truly global product that can make programme distribution faster and easier while opening up the TV rights market to previously disenfranchised buyers and delivering extra value to rights holders.”

Emma Lloyd, Group Business Development Director, Sky said: “This latest investment reflects our ambition to partner with pioneering start-ups that can help transform the TV landscape. We’re delighted to be backing such an innovative UK-based company, with its roots firmly in the creative sector. Together with Channel 4, we can help TRX to grow the TV rights market, which will benefit everyone in the industry.”

David Abraham, Chief Executive of Channel 4 said: “In post-Brexit Britain, it’s even more important for the UK’s creative industries to have access to innovative ways of trading across the globe. We recognise that the new TRX tool is a valuable online resource which will enable indies to connect with the world and export their programmes in a digital marketplace and will help support a buoyant UK indie sector well into the future.”

On TRX entire TV rights licensing deals can be completed securely online. TRX aggregates rights from multiple rights holders in one place making it easier for buyers to find the right programmes for their audiences and make offers to acquire programmes. TRX also provides a suite of enterprise tools which allows sales, legal and delivery teams to collaborate on and manage complicated deals.

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Bridgepoint Development Capital to acquire CRUISE.co.uk in transaction totalling £52 million

CRUISE.co.uk, the specialist online travel agent serving the UK ocean cruise market, is to be acquired by Bridgepoint Development Capital from Risk Capital Partners in a transaction totalling £52 million.

Originally part of Carnival Corporation from which it spun out in 2007, the company is based in the Midlands, employs 170 people and is the leading online player in its space thanks to a strongly differentiated proposition and its content driven website and highly personal customer service. It also has a market-leading social media presence and online cruise review forum with over 110,000 members and 17 million web visits per annum.

The business has demonstrated strong growth, delivering sales and EBITDA CAGR of 23% and 30% respectively over the last three years.  In 2015 turnover grew by 15% to £104.5 million.  The company also enjoys industry leading repeat rates of business.

The UK ocean cruise market is the second largest globally (after the US) whose value is forecast to grow from £2.5 billion in 2015 to £3.0 billion in 2019 and has been resilient across cycles. The market benefits from several favourable demand and supply characteristics that include a growing customer demographic with increasing wealth, life expectancy and propensity to travel, as well as an increasing supply of cruises from cruise lines themselves.

Adrian Willetts, partner of Bridgepoint Development Capital, said: “CRUISE.co.uk is an opportunity to invest in a market leading consumer business that has shown strong defensive characteristics and benefits from strong market trends that will underpin its ambitious growth plans. It has grown impressively and we will seek to maintain and enhance its trusted expert reputation as we work with management to accelerate business growth through acquisitions and drive further value through digital and marketing expertise.”

Seamus Conlon, CRUISE.co.uk‘s managing director, added: “We’re delighted to welcome Bridgepoint as a new partner and shareholder to help us take our business forward in its next stage of development. Their financial and operational expertise will power our ambitions, particularly as we look to expand internationally.”

Senior debt financing for the transaction was provided by Royal Bank of Scotland. Advisers involved included: for Bridgepoint – KPMG (Corporate finance, tax, financial diligence), Eversheds (legal), OC&C (commercial), Intuitus (IT), ERM (ESG), Marsh (insurance) and White Hart Associates (regulatory); for the vendor (Risk Capital Partners) – BDO (corporate finance), CMS (legal), Armstrong (commercial), and Deloitte (financial); for management – Altium.

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Time Warner Joins Hulu as Equity Owner and Signs Affiliate Agreement for New Hulu Live-Streaming Service to Carry Turner Networks


New York, NY and Santa Monica, CA, August 3, 2016 – Time Warner Inc. and Hulu LLC announced today that Time Warner will become a 10% owner of Hulu, the premium streaming TV service that offers the best of current season programming, premium original content, films and full seasons of hit series. Time Warner joins The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, and Comcast in the joint venture.

The investment in Hulu reflects Time Warner’s continued commitment to supporting innovative digital services that allow consumers to access high-quality content however they want it across a variety of platforms.

It was also announced that Turner’s powerful entertainment, sports, news and kids networks including TNT, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, Adult Swim, truTV, Boomerang and Turner Classic Movies will be available live and on-demand on Hulu’s new live-streaming service, which is slated to launch early next year. With no set-up costs or installation, Hulu’s new service will offer an intuitive and personalized interface, and instant access to live and on-demand content, across hundreds of living room and mobile devices.

Hulu will continue its current offering of ad-supported and ad-free subscription video on demand products to complement both traditional pay TV packages as well as the new streaming service. The company also remains focused on acquiring iconic and award-winning programming like Empire, Homeland, Seinfeld, Curious George, South Park and Fear The Walking Dead, as well as creating original programming that builds upon its success with shows such as The Mindy Project, The Path, Difficult People, 11.22.63 and the Golden Globe® -nominated Casual.

Jeff Bewkes, Chairman and CEO of Time Warner said, “Our investment in Hulu underscores Time Warner’s commitment to supporting and developing new platforms for the delivery of high-quality content and great consumer experiences to audiences around the globe.”

Mr. Bewkes continued: “We’re also excited to join Hulu’s other owners in launching a new consumer-friendly package featuring leading networks that will deliver more value to audiences and complement Hulu’s core SVOD offerings. The inclusion of Turner’s networks in Hulu’s new streaming service furthers our efforts to allow consumers to engage with and enjoy our brands across a wide range of platforms and services.”

Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu, said, “This investment from Time Warner marks a major step for Hulu as we continue to redefine television for both consumers and advertisers. Our two companies have long enjoyed a productive relationship – which includes the availability of past seasons of popular Turner shows on our current SVOD offerings – and we are very proud that Turner’s networks will be included in our planned live streaming service.”


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