Friday, June 23, 2017

WhatsApp rises as news media; Opec caught in oil bear market; Uber to run McDonald's UK deliveries

1 WhatsApp rises as news media (Leo Kelion on BBC) WhatsApp is becoming one of the prevailing ways people discover and discuss news, according to a study. But use of the messaging app appears to vary widely between countries.

In Malaysia, more than 50% of those surveyed said they used WhatsApp for news at least once a week. But in the US, the figure was only 3%, and in the UK it was 5%. The Digital News Report also indicates the Brexit debate has led to growing mistrust of the UK's media.

It said only 43% of respondents declared that the news could be trusted - down from 50% last year - with the BBC in particular criticised for having both a pro-EU bias and failing to expose the "distortions" of the leave campaign.

The research was carried out by the Reuters Institute for the Study of Journalism and covered 34 countries in Europe, the Americas and Asia, in addition to Taiwan and Hong Kong. It was sponsored by the BBC and Google among others.

The results indicate that Facebook remains the most popular social media and messaging service for news engagement in all but two countries - Japan and South Korea - where, respectively, YouTube and Kakao Talk dominate.

But it adds that use of Facebook for news had dipped in more than half of all the territories where a year-on-year comparison was possible. By contrast, sharing news stories and chatting about them appears to be on the rise within private instant messaging apps, and WhatsApp in particular.

2 Opec caught in bear market (Gulf News) Oil’s back in a bear market and investors remain unmoved by last month’s agreement to prolong supply cuts, leaving Opec and its allies with few remaining tools to boost prices.

As Saudi Arabia, Russia and their allies reduce output, supply that’s beyond their control keeps rising. Libya and Nigeria — Opec members exempt from the curbs — and US shale producers are resurgent, undermining efforts to tame a global glut. Prices are back below where they were when the Organisation of Petroleum Exporting Countries first struck its historic deal last year.

Cutting even deeper — an idea rejected just a month ago — still looks unlikely. For now at least, the Saudi pledge to do “whatever it takes” to stabilise prices looks like not much at all.

Further curbs could be necessary, but reaching a consensus will be difficult, Iran’s Oil Minister Bijan Namdar Zanganeh said. A committee meeting in Vienna this week gave only cursory attention to the possibility of deepening the existing cuts, focusing instead on the problem of rising output in Libya and Nigeria.

Russia has indicated on several occasions that it’s opposed to any additional reductions, said one delegate. Nations that have made the production cuts already appear to be ceding ground as rival supplies grow.

Next year, new oil supplies from Opec rivals, chiefly the US, will be more than enough to meet demand growth, the International Energy Agency said. As a result, demand for the group’s crude will be about 200,000 barrels a day lower than this year, the agency said.

3 Uber to run UK McDonald’s delvieries (The Guardian) McDonald’s has launched its long-awaited ‘McDelivery’ trial in the UK after teaming up with Uber’s food delivery service, UberEats.

McDonald’s will offer the service from 22 outlets across the capital and another 10 restaurants in Leeds and Nottingham – although customers will have to live within a 1.5 mile radius of a restaurant. Customers can place orders through the UberEats app between 7am and 2am.

McDonald’s said it would be monitoring the trial closely to see whether it proved popular. Mathieu Proust, general manager of UberEats, said the trial would let people “get the food they want” quickly and reliably.

The launch comes after KFC launched home deliveries from 30 outlets in greater London via the Just Eat platform earlier this year. The McDonald’s move follows similar tie-ups with Uber in the US, while the chain already delivers in China and Singapore.

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