Olympic countdown, Euro 2020 TV ratings and 100 years of HMV

Planet Business: What’s next for Sheryl Sandberg?

Let the Games commence: Tokyo 2020 Olympics mascot Miraitowa receives his own personal security guard (sort of). Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

Let the Games commence: Tokyo 2020 Olympics mascot Miraitowa receives his own personal security guard (sort of). Photograph: Eugene Hoshiko/AP

 

Image of the week: Tokyo countdown

With Tokyo in a state of emergency, it is fair to say that enthusiasm in Japan for the Covid Olympics has waxed and waned of late, and not just because International Olympic Committee (IOC) president Thomas Bach this week accidentally referred to the people of Japan as “Chinese”. The masked security guard pictured above stands before the image of Miraitowa, one of two Olympic mascots (the other is called Someity) that now won’t be entertaining the crowd – because there won’t be any crowd. The Tokyo 2020 merchandise shops are also stocked with branded paper fans that will no longer be required by non-existent spectators. With less than a week to go, it remains to be seen whether the event will be an unmitigated flop, or if individual moments of sporting glory can cut through the sadness of an Olympics held in empty venues.

In numbers: Football’s coming Rome

938,000

Average audience garnered by RTÉ2 for the final of Euro 2020, with viewers rising to 1.1 million during the penalty shootout. This makes it the most watched programme on Irish television so far this year, while there were also 279,000 streams on RTÉ Player.

31 million

BBC and ITV’s combined peak audience for the final, excluding iPlayer and ITV Hub views, with a whopping 25 million choosing to watch England’s defeat to Italy on the BBC in the company of Gary Lineker and with the benefit of no ads.

24

Years since any programme or event had a bigger audience on UK television. The climax of the tournament attracted the most viewers since the funeral of Princess Diana in September 1997.

Getting to know: An Ugly Truth

Nothing surprises us about Facebook anymore, so it’s hard to call any book about the company explosive, but New York Times technology journalists Sheera Frenkel and Cecilia Kang have brought a few receipts to their new volume An Ugly Truth: Inside Facebook’s Battle for Domination. Part of the book zeroes in on chief executive Mark Zuckerberg’s relationship with long-standing chief operating officer Sheryl “lean in” Sandberg. It quotes Facebook employee number 51 ,Katherine Losse, who claims Zuckerberg told colleagues that Sandberg had “good skin” and they should have “a crush” on her (which his spokesperson has denied happened) and details how their close working relationship is apparently not so close any more. Could Sandberg be eyeing up other career opportunities?

The list: His Master’s centenary

It didn’t look like it was going to make it for a while (and in the Republic, it didn’t), but His Master’s Voice, better known as music retailer HMV, is about to celebrate its 100th birthday. Here are five things to know about its tumultuous history.

1. Beginnings: Owned by the Gramophone Company (which later became EMI), the first HMV was opened on London’s Oxford Street on July 20th, 1921, by composer and conductor Sir Edward Elgar, who was like the Ed Sheeran of his day.

2. Early disaster: The store was reduced to ashes and rubble by a blazing fire in 1937 before reopening in 1939 just in time for the war.

3. Counterculture role: In 1962, Liverpool entrepreneur Brian Epstein used the flagship store’s recording facilities to cut a demo with a band he was managing. Sadly, nobody ever heard of these “Beatles” again.

4. Internet turmoil: The 21st century was unkind to HMV as physical music sales collapsed and it stumbled into administration in 2012.

5. Canadian intervention: But the chain has outlasted its biggest rivals and is now owned by vinyl-lover Doug Putman, a Canadian businessman who believes that there are enough music collectors out there who want “something tangible they can own”.

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