Following its significant growth and operating success in South Asia, luxury experiential travel company andBeyond is now expanding its portfolio to include a third continent with the launch of &Beyond South America.andBeyond South America’s first official office will open on 15 July 2015 in Santiago, Chile and will provide luxury tour operating and destination management company (DMC) services to guests travelling to Chile. By 15 August, &Beyond will have additional operational coverage in neighbouring Argentina.The capital city of Chile, Santiago is ranked among the top three cities in South America and is the ideal entry point to the continent’s most iconic destinations, including Iguazu Falls, Easter Island, the wine regions of Santiago, Atacama (one of the world’s driest deserts), Buenos Aires (the “Paris” of the Andes), and of course Patagonia, which is the gateway to Antarctica.By mid-2016, andBeyond South America has hopes to further expand to include luxury touring services in two additional countries, Peru and Ecuador, allowing guests to explore the wonders of Machu Picchu, the Galapagos Islands and the Amazon, to name just a few incredible attractions.andBeyond South America will be led and operated by Managing Director Pedro Barraza, who will report to Regional Managing Director (East Africa, South Asia & South America), Mark Wheeler. Pedro has 25 years’ experience in the travel industry and 14 years’ experience in top management roles in South America specifically.Although initially operating as a full-service luxury DMC, andBeyond hopes to start exploring other opportunities in South America in terms of luxury experiential lodges, blue ocean ships in the Galapagos and river ships on the Amazon.
Two teenagers were arrested on Monday morning in Limassol after police found over 600 firecrackers.According to police a search was conducted at 8am in the home of a 16-year-old in Limassol where 482 firecrackers were found.A second search in the home of an 18-year-old also in Limassol found 150 firecrackers, three fuses and other items, all of which were seized.Both teens were arrested.You May LikeDirectExposeWorld’s First Surviving Octuplets Are All Grown Up. Look At Them 9 Years LaterDirectExposeUndoIcePopMan Notices A Strange Hole In This Lake, So He Gets A Drone, Flies It Inside And Captures ThisIcePopUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
17Dec Zorn bill commemorates Medal of Honor recipient Designation of Matt Urban Memorial Bridge heads to governorThe Michigan Legislature this week approved legislation sponsored by state Rep. Dale Zorn, R-Ida, to remember World War II hero Matt Urban by naming a local highway bridge in his honor.House Bill 4814 designates the bridge on U.S. Highway 24 between North and South Custer roads as the “Matt Urban Memorial Bridge.”Lt. Urban of the 9th Division’s 60th Regiment in the U.S. Army fought in North Africa, Sicily, France and Germany during World War II. He was called “The Ghost” because of his many exploits on the battlefield, which earned him seven Purple Hearts, the Legion of Merit, the Croix de Guerre with a Silver Star and the Medal of Honor. Lt. Urban is a local and national hero, and is one of the most honorable and decorated soldiers in U.S. history.“Like so many of Michigan’s military veterans, Lt. Urban displayed unbelievable courage through extreme situations during his service,” Zorn said. “Naming this bridge over the River Raisin is our opportunity for us to honor him for the sacrifices he made protecting our freedoms.”Urban also served 16 years as the director of the Monroe Community Center after his dedicated time in uniform.HB 4814 awaits the governor’s signature.### Categories: News
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jim Lower (left), of Cedar Lake, invited Montcalm County Register of Deeds Lori Wilson (center) and Michael Mazzola (right) of the Stanton City Commission as his guests for Tuesday’s State of the State address inside Lansing’s State Capitol building. Gov. Rick Snyder presented his plans and goals for the upcoming year while addressing members of both legislative chambers and their guests. Tags: State of the State 23Jan Rep. Lower joined by local officials for Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address Categories: Lower News,News
Categories: Whiteford News State Rep. Mary Whiteford will meet with Allegan County residents during scheduled office hours this month.“I want to begin this new legislative term by hearing directly from residents,” Rep. Whiteford said. “I encourage anyone with ideas or questions about state government to attend and look forward to seeing everyone.”Rep. Whiteford will be available Monday, Jan. 21 at the following times and locations:9:30 – 10:30 a.m. at Russ’ Restaurant, 1060 Lincoln Ave., Holland, MI 4942311:30 a.m. -12:30 p.m. at Salem Township Offices, 3003 142nd Ave., Dorr, MI 493231:30 – 2:30 p.m. at Plainwell City Hall, 211 N Main St., Plainwell, MI 49080No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. Whiteford may call her office at (517) 373-0836 or email MaryWhiteford@house.mi.gov.#### 04Jan Rep. Whiteford announces January office hours
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares October 31, 2014; CityLabIn Nonprofit Quarterly’s continuing coverage of the dynamics of Ferguson in the wake of the killing of teenager Michael Brown, we have consistently pointed out the impact of increasing suburban poverty, particularly poverty in inner-ring suburbs like Ferguson, with its relationship to St. Louis. As demographics in cities change, a significant piece of urban poverty has been pushed to the suburbs, as is evident in the socio-economic statistics that characterize Ferguson and other communities. Unlike inner cities, however, relatively scant attention has been paid to the most productive responses and solutions to the problem of inner-ring suburban poverty—in part, we believe, because of the dearth of nonprofit organizations providing a platform for voice and advocacy about conditions that need to be addressed and changed.If you’ve spent time in Houston, you know that it is the size of a small country, and many in-city neighborhoods are actually suburban communities that happen to have a Houston city address. A nonprofit organization called Neighborhood Centers, which was established over a hundred years ago as the Houston Settlement Association, has been responding to the needs of communities in greater Houston where there is no public transportation to a health clinic or food bank—“where the urban safety net that poor people rely on may not stretch,” in the words of Amanda Kolson Hurley, writing for The Atlantic’s CityLab.Hurley presents an upbeat picture of the “success,” as she describes it, of Neighborhood Centers, originally a part of the settlement housing movement that most people associate with East Coast entities such as the Henry Street Settlement in New York City or Jane Addams’s Hull House in Chicago. She reports that Neighborhood Centers is the “largest nonprofit in Texas,” which doesn’t quite sound right, though the nonprofit is pretty big (with $246.9 million in revenue and a fund balance of $41.6 million 2012), “with 70-plus locations spread across 60—yes, 60—counties,” as she puts it.Part of Hurley’s analysis is that the effectiveness of Neighborhood Centers is reflected in and conveyed by its size: “Its size is not just a sign of the growing need for its services, but has become a powerful tool in and of itself,” she writes. She quotes the CEO of Neighborhood Centers, Angela Blanchard, to say, “We’ve learned there are advantages to size…. You can take on big regional challenges.” Hurley adds, “The organization’s size also enables it to take a holistic approach, providing a broad spectrum of services…to assist whole families.”That seems to be the key to the success of Neighborhood Centers as Hurley sees it: the integration and co-location of multiple services, exemplified by the four-acre Baker-Ripley campus that Neighborhood Centers operates in the Gulfton area of Houston. Based on input from residents though the Centers’ “appreciative inquiry” approach keyed to building on local, community assets (much like the asset-based community building approach of John McKnight and Jody Kretzman, at least as Hurley describes it), Baker-Ripley contains a charter school, health clinic, credit union, tax prep center, and an immigration information office, as well as classrooms, green community space, and bus service. The mix addresses multiple factors of the issues underlying Houston’s suburban-like poverty.Neighborhood Centers CEO Angela Blanchard isn’t surprised by the emergence of suburban philanthropy. For her, as she said to CityLab, suburban poverty has been there all along. However, much of Houston’s suburban poverty is substantially within Houston city lines, as Houston gained more population in the last U.S. Census than any city in the U.S. except for New York City. Outside of the city line, in suburban Harris County, population growth was even faster. Ferguson, however, is located outside of St. Louis city, an older city that has shrunk from a population of 856,796 in 1950 to 319,294 in 2010—with estimates that it has lost another thousand people as of 2013. In the same time period, Houston’s population increased more than threefold, from 596,163 in 1950 to an estimated 2,195,914 in 2013.The suburban poverty of Houston is poverty encompassed in metropolitan growth. For Ferguson and St. Louis, suburban poverty is associated with a shrinking, declining city. Having been admirers of the settlement house movement over history, we find much to admire in Houston’s Neighborhood Centers. However, the effective response to suburban poverty adjacent to older cities like St. Louis may require different strategies and solutions. But whether suburban Houston or suburban St. Louis, there is no question that a key element of any successful strategy will be the presence and capacity of a nonprofit infrastructure and delivery system.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares“HarrisCountyJuvenileJusticeCenter” by WhisperToMe – Own work. Licensed under Public Domain via Commons.January 25, 2016; Washington PostThe nonprofit community has always been involved in trying to make the criminal justice system more accurately meet the needs of juvenile offenders, including the particular needs of juveniles while they are incarcerated and when they are re-entering society. The sector has also been proactive specifically for juveniles serving life sentences, with or without parole. They will have to continue to be proactive, given the U.S. Supreme Court’s major clarifying decision to a prior 2012 decision that said juveniles could not receive automatic life imprisonment without parole sentences.In 2012, the Court found in Miller v. Alabama that a juvenile cannot be mandated a life imprisonment sentence without the possibility of parole without consideration to the specificities of the particular case. The decision was referring to laws in states where if an individual is found guilty of a certain crime, the sentence must be life imprisonment without exception. However, the question remained whether the decision would apply retroactively to cases before the decision.In a 6-to-3 decision written by Justice Anthony M. Kennedy, the Court clarifies and says all individuals who were sentenced to life imprisonment as juveniles must be able to argue for parole and their release from prison. The case centers on Henry Montgomery, 69, who was convicted as a 17-year-old of shooting and fatally wounding a police officer in Louisiana. He was automatically sentenced to life without parole. Montgomery has since argued that following the 2012 SCOTUS decision, his several decades in prison should allow him to be considered for release, an argument that was rejected by the Louisiana Supreme Court.In the opinion, Kennedy writes, “Prisoners like Montgomery must be given the opportunity to show their crime did not reflect irreparable corruption; and, if it did not, their hope for some years of life outside prison walls must be restored.” Many states have already decided themselves that Miller will apply retroactively to cases that were finalized before the decision, but Louisiana and seven other states have not.The decision strengthens the Court’s contention in Miller that juveniles must be treated differently than adults and a mandatory sentence amounts to a violation of the Eighth Amendment. “Children are constitutionally different from adults for sentencing purposes. Their ‘lack of maturity’ and ‘underdeveloped sense of responsibility’ lead to recklessness, impulsivity, and heedless risk-taking,” said the 2012 decision. According to Miller, mandating a life sentence without the considerations that must be afforded a juvenile, that sentence is unconstitutional.Nonprofit and other organizations with interests in juvenile sentencing will have to be vigilant, as this decision has opened the door for potentially thousands of cases to be reviewed on appeal. However, it’s important to note that this decision does not stop courts from doling out life sentences for juveniles: courts are only prohibited from delivering mandatory life sentences, in accord with Miller. Further, the purpose of the clarification decision, as detailed by Kennedy, is to give these specific cases further consideration given that the prisoners were sentenced when they were young.“Extending parole eligibility to juvenile offenders does not impose an onerous burden on the states, nor does it disturb the finality of state convictions,” writes Kennedy. “Those prisoners who have shown an inability to reform will continue to serve life sentences. The opportunity for release will be afforded to those who demonstrate the truth of Miller’s central intuition—that children who commit even heinous crimes are capable of change.”—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share31TweetShareEmail31 Shares“Protest March, Trump not Welcome, 24 May 5 PM – Brussels North Station” by Miguel Discart June 15, 2017; ABC News (Associated Press)ABC News reports that gauntlets were thrown down last week at the annual national meeting of Southern Baptists when a resolution declaring that the conference stood squarely against white supremacy was delayed.The declaration, which did eventually repudiate “every form of racism, including alt-right white supremacy, as antithetical to the Gospel of Jesus Christ” and denounced white supremacy “and every form of racial and ethnic hatred as a scheme of the devil” was passed, but only after it was held back by the resolutions committee and a backlash began.The delay, according to Barrett Duke, who leads the resolutions committee, was due to the need for a redrafting away from inflammatory and broad language “potentially implicating” conservatives who do not support the so-called “alt-right.”Of course there are many stories and much history behind this story.Debate also underscored ongoing tensions among Southern Baptists whether Donald Trump, a thrice-married casino and real estate mogul, was morally fit to be president.[Rev. Russell] Moore vehemently condemned candidate Trump. At the same time, several prominent Southern Baptists, including former presidents of the denomination, signed on as evangelical advisers to the Republican’s campaign. They remain among the president’s most steadfast supporters.When Trump won with 80 percent of the white evangelical vote, Moore faced a backlash within the denomination. That landslide support for Trump left black evangelicals feeling alienated and disappointed given their concerns about Trump’s past treatment of blacks, his rhetoric about Mexicans, and his promised policies.Doing battle in one’s own community can be excruciating, but the fruits are perhaps sweeter for it.“We are saying that white supremacy and racist ideologies are dangerous because they oppress our brothers and sisters in Christ,” said Moore, who leads the Ethics & Religious Liberty Commission, the Southern Baptist public policy arm. “If we’re a Jesus people, let’s stand where Jesus stands.”According to the Wall Street Journal, Moore’s open criticism of “religious right” priorities and attempts “to lead evangelicals in a new direction” has split the Southern Baptist Convention and caused the denomination to be excluded from Trump White House access. The initial draft resolution that was eventually edited and passed was written by the Rev. William McKissic of Arlington, Texas, one of the 15 percent of the denomination who are people of color, and had repudiated “retrograde ideologies, xenophobic biases and racial bigotries of the ‘alt-right’ that seek to subvert our government.”McKissic later received an apology from Duke for the way his draft proposal was handled, especially since he was not consulted in the redraft of the new statement, but he did say that the outcry from white and black Christians that brought the issue to a vote was encouraging. “We’re turning the corner,” McKissic told reporters. “I see the heart of the majority.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare31TweetShareEmail31 Shares
Share70Tweet20Share6Email96 SharesPresident Barack Obama signs executive actions to strengthen enforcement of equal pay laws for women, at an event marking Equal Pay Day, in the East Room of the White House, April 8, 2014. (Official White House Photo by Pete Souza)August 30, 2017; Forbes and NewsweekLilly Ledbetter never benefited in her work life from the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act. Her lawsuit against Goodyear Tire for years of pay discrimination resulted in a loss in the Supreme Court that ruled that she filed her claim “too late.” But the passage of this piece of legislation in response to the Court’s decision offered hope to women seeking to earn what men do for the same work.Following the passage of the Lilly Ledbetter Fair Pay Act in 2009, the Obama administration developed policies to make it easier for women, particularly women of color, to know if they were victims of pay discrimination. The Trump administration announced this week that it will end those policies.This proposed order would have required private employers with more than 100 workers to disclose pay data to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission on top of information about gender, race, and ethnicity already provided to the agency. The policy, which was to go into effect in the spring of 2018, was intended to help close the pernicious gender wage gap, which sees women and people of color paid far less than white men for the same jobs.The outcry from women’s groups was loud, clear, and angry. In a scathing editorial in Vogue, writer Michelle Ruiz opined,Civil rights groups and equal pay advocates are decrying the new move as a shameless assault on women’s and minorities’ rights. It is an “unacceptable and deliberate attack on women in the workplace, especially black and Hispanic women who are currently paid only 63 cents and 54 cents to the dollar white men are paid, respectively,” said Tracy Sturdivant, cofounder and executive director of the work/family advocacy group Make It Work. The National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) called it “a clear message to employers: If you want to ignore pay inequities and sweep them under the rug, this administration has your back.”“This is not a technical tweak as they would have you believe,” the NWLC’s Fatima Goss Graves said in a statement. “Make no mistake—it’s an all-out attack on equal pay.”The explanation coming from the White House has been that this policy would be burdensome for business and would have no effect on salary discrimination. Others would disagree. Proponents of the Obama-era plan have defended it, stating that it would have created an evidence-based foundation on which to address pay discrimination. “We’d learn about a pay-discrimination problem because someone saw a piece of paper left on a copy machine or someone was complaining about their salary to co-workers,” Jenny Yang, chairwoman of the EEOC, said when the rules were drafted. “Having pay data in summary form will also help us identify patterns that may warrant further investigation.”Particular ire from the women’s community has been directed at Ivanka Trump, who has supported this move by the White House while declaring herself to be an advocate for women. She issued the following statement: “Ultimately, while I believe the intention was good and agree that pay transparency is important, the proposed policy would not yield the intended results.” Hope that there might be a voice for women’s rights in the White House seems to have been dashed as the “First Daughter” aligns with the anti-woman stances of her father.NPQ has followed this issue, writing about pay inequity (and efforts to remedy it) as recently as July 2017. Writing about the launch of the Equal Pay Miami Dade project website, Cyndi Suarez cited the dilemma faced by women who feel their pay is not the same as men doing the same work: “Though the federal Equal Pay Act of 1963 prohibits wage discrimination on the basis of sex, there is no regular monitoring program. Instead, issues surface when women file claims, which puts the burden and risk of reporting on those who can least carry it. As a result, nationally, women earn 78 cents on a man’s dollar.” And, of course, the numbers for women of color are lower still.Discrimination in pay for women continues to be an issue in the fight for women’s rights. It came as no surprise that the Trump administration does not see pay equity for women as important or a priority as it rolls back Obama-era policies. But, like Lilly Ledbetter, once they know they are being discriminated against, women are not going to sit back quietly and accept the status quo. Without pay transparency, equity will be more difficult to achieve. With enough pushback and women’s votes, equity could be closer than the Trump administration thinks.—Carole LevineShare70Tweet20Share6Email96 Shares
Share197Tweet18ShareEmail215 SharesFrom the Communication and Journalism School of the University of Oregon’s website.March 21, 2018; Journalism in the Americas“At the end of 2001, Argentina’s political and economic crisis was the main theme in Latin American news coverage,” notes Carolina de Assis in Journalism in the Americas, a blog maintained by the Knight Center at the University of Texas at Austin. In response to the economic crisis, workers seized control of many abandoned factories. The rise of these “recuperated businesses” (empresas recuperadas), as they came to be called, were profiled in the documentary The Take. And the sector continues to grow; as of 2013, 311 worker-recuperated enterprises employed 13,642 workers, according to a University of Buenos Aires study.Workers co-ops in Argentina are common in the textile and metalworking sectors, de Assis points out. However, she adds, “in the last two years and for the first time, media outlets were the majority of companies recuperated in Argentina in the period, according to a survey of the Open Faculty Program of the University of Buenos Aires.”Between 2016 and 2017, at least six media outlets “were recuperated by their workers after they were closed or abandoned by their owners,” de Assis reports. These include “La Nueva Mañana, in Córdoba; El Ciudadano of Rosario; La Portada, of Esquel; and El Correo, of Firmat; plus the newspaper Tiempo Argentino and online news site Infonews, both based in Buenos Aires.” By contrast, between 2010 and 2013, only one media outlet became worker-owned.According to Natalia Bauni of the Social Observatory on Recuperated and Self-Managed Companies (Osera), also based at the University of Buenos Aires, worker co-ops have offered job protection to “older, salaried workers, who found it practically impossible to insert themselves in the labor market.” Bauni notes that Argentine Bankruptcy Law enables workers to take over bankrupt companies.Conditions for journalists in Argentina are difficult. As of May 2016, the Argentine journalists’ union said there had been 2,500 layoffs in the sector.The case of Tiempo is illustrative. The newspaper had relied on government advertisements for income; following a change in party in La Casa Rosada (the president’s residence; literally, the Pink House), the paper lost ad revenue and stopped printing in February 2016.De Assis explains what came next:After three months of unpaid work and attempts to contact the owner of the newspaper and understand the future of Tiempo Argentino, about 100 journalists decided to organize and occupy the newsroom…. One decision was to produce a special print edition to be sold at the demonstration in Buenos Aires on March 24, the annual date in which Argentina recalls the 30,000 dead and disappeared by the military dictatorship between 1976 and 1983.The journalists themselves went to the streets of the Argentine capital to sell the special copies and ask the public if there was interest in continuing to support Tiempo if the newspaper were recuperated by its workers. The 30,000 printed copies were sold and the public response was positive. “We decided then to take the money collected and share it among those who had not been paid in three months, and the rest was saved to make the first two editions of a cooperative newspaper,” [now newspaper president Javier] Borelli said. The first edition of Tiempo Argentino as a cooperative-owned newspaper was launched one month later in April 2016.Converting the business to worker ownership was not without drama, including one night when a “gang of 16 men rushed into the Tiempo Argentino newsroom after midnight” in a failed violent attempt to shut the publication down.Today, Tiempo employs about 100 people, including journalists, designers, photographers, and newspaper management staff. “In some cases, they only dedicate themselves to functions that have nothing to do with journalism, and in some cases they have a double function. They continue writing for the newspaper, and at the same time they do the commercial relations, organize the work, different administrative tasks,” Borelli says. The newspaper today is “a digital newspaper from Monday to Saturday and a print edition on Sundays,” Borelli explains.As for its business model, Borelli says that 70 percent of Tiempo’s income is from readers, both buyers and subscribers, as well as supporting members, who contribute 120 pesos a month (about US $6) to the publication. Another 20 percent of revenues are from advertising and 10 percent is event-related, such as journalism workshops. “Today we have almost 2,000 people that are members of the newspaper, additionally we have about 2,500 who are subscribers of the print newspaper,” says Borelli.Borelli notes that “the cooperatives of journalists dedicated to recuperating media open new paths for professionals and journalism,” de Assis writes. “Somehow, Tiempo managed to prove that it was possible to make a media cooperative sustained by readers,” Borelli adds.For Borelli, the experience of Tiempo “opens expectations at a time when many jobs are being lost and where information is limited by what the interests of the owners are. As it is a moment of crisis, it can also be a very interesting moment to explore other ways of doing journalism.”—Steve DubbShare197Tweet18ShareEmail215 Shares
Content security provider Verimatrix is sponsoring a free breakfast ‘Multi-network Solutions in the Real World Forum’ at this year’s IBC featuring speakers from Decipher, Divitel and RGB Networks as well as Verimatrix’s CEO Tom Munro.The forum will take place from 08:30-10:00 on September 8 in room G102-G103 at the Rai Convention Centre.The event will be introduced by Nigel Walley, managing director, Decipher and will kick off with a section on ‘Multiscreen in Heterogenous Networks’, featuring Dirk Jaeger, chief technology officer, Divitel Holding and managing director, Divitel. This will be followed by Yuval Fisher, chief technology officer, RGB Networks on ‘Solving DVB and OTT Network Challenges’. Verimatrix’s Munro will then talk about ‘How the Piracy Business Has Changed’. The event will close with an interactive roundtable session and Q&A moderated by Walley.Verimatrix will be exhibiting at IBC on Stand 4.B54
Russian telco Rostelecom has appointed former Siemens and Tele2 Russia executive Kai-Uwe Mehlhorn as vice president, overseeing financial and economic matters. Mehlhorn worked in various financial roles at Siemens between 1992 and 2007. Since then he has served as chief finance officer at Tele2 Russia and as deputy director general for financial and economic affairs, first at MegaFon then at online retailer KupiVip Holding.
Swiss-based online TV service provider Zattoo is set to roll out an end-to-end multiscreen TV service deployment for its first IPTV customer, Telecom Liechtenstein, in the second half of 2014.Zattoo will develop, host and manage the multiscreen IPTV service for the operator, taking care of the full technical implementation and operations.This includes: satellite ingest; the technical platform with live TV, catch up TV, and recording function; frontend management to TV, iOS and Android; and life cycle management of the set-top boxes.Germany-based Abox42 will provide the set-top boxes, which will support DVB-C features such as HbbTV.Telecom Liechtenstein already carries some 140 TV stations as part of its existing IPTV offering. However, Zattoo will provide the technical implementation of its multiscreen IPTV package and manage this in the future.“For us at Telecom Liechtenstein, the decisive factor is that we can offer a TV product that is 100% state of the art. It has to be available on a variety of devices – including mobile devices – because it is no longer enough to just serve conventional TV sets. That is the heart of the product,” said Markus Willi, president of the administrative board at Telecom Liechtenstein.“Today’s modern customers also want to enjoy live TV on their second screens, such as tablet PCs and smartphones. And they expect time-shift viewing and TV recording as standard features. Developing and operating a system of this kind would be an extremely complex, time-intensive process. That’s why we chose Zattoo as our technology service provider, because they have proven that they can not only develop a high-quality IPTV product like this, but also operate it for us.”
The loss of the spectrum currently used by digital-terrestrial broadcasting in the UK has moved a step closer to reality following a proposal by communications regulator Ofcom to “make the 700MHz band available for mobile broadband as soon as possible”, with an auction envisaged as early as 2016.Opening a consultation into the future of 700MHz band, Ofcom stated its belief that “change of use of the…band would deliver significant net benefits to the UK” but insisted that citizens and consumers could continue to benefit from “existing uses of the band” and that “any transitional impacts of change would be manageable”.Ofcom said it planned to proceed with a change of use of the spectrum “on the earliest possible timescales” subject to discussion with government of the cost and its ability to reach international spectrum planning agreements.Citing an un-sourced estimate that mobile data demand could be 45 times greater than today by 2030, Ofcom said that it is important to ensure that the mobile sector is “able to meet this increase in demand”. It estimated that the value to the UK of making the 700MHz band available to mobile would be between £900 million (€1.1 billion) and £1.3 billion, or greater if the band was given over to mobile use sooner, while the costs of transition and the loss of value from a change of use would be between £470 million and £580 million.Ofcom also argued that a number of EU states including France, Sweden and Finland have already decided to allocate the 700MHz band to mobile services.Ofcom says it will be possible to complete the transition by 2022, with DTT viewers required to retune their sets from 2019.The regulator expects to award licences in the 700MHz spectrum through an auction process, most likely in or around 2020.However, the consultation is to seek views on the potential timing of an award and the merits of holding it earlier, possibly in 2016.In a separate document on the future of free-to-air TV, Ofcom said that the use of the 470-694MHz spectrum – the 600MHz band to which DTT will move as a result of the changes – will be subject to further debate at the next World Radio Conference to be held next year, about whether mobile services should also have access to this spectrum.“This would not require a further change of use of spectrum from DTT to mobile services, but such a change may become an option for the future,” said Ofcom.Highlighting the emergence of low-cost pay TV options, smart TV and likely future demand for higher resolution 4K services, Ofcom said that there is “a debate emerging about the potential for internet protocol TV, or IPTV, potentially combined with satellite, to provide a potential long-term alternative to DTT delivery”.Noting that the take-up of connected TV services by digital-terrestrial TV users “is currently relatively low”, Ofcom called for the industry to develop a new specification on the lines of the current discussion around Freeview Connect.Ofcom also also noted that a full transition to MPEG-4 and DVB-T2 technology is unlikely to take place before the auction of 700MHz takes place and implicitly admitted that this could involve a cost to consumers.“To address this, industry-led action to drive the take-up of MPEG4/DVB-T2 equipment will be critical in reducing the cost impact onconsumers to a point where an upgrade might become feasible,” it said.Among other recommendations, Ofcom said it could be appropriate for DTT receivers with the Freeview brand to be limited to devices capable of receiving MPEG-4/DVB-T2 signals.
Vivendi and Telefónica have completed their exchange of shares, enabling the French media giant to enter Telefonica’s ownership.Vivendi has sold 58.4 million preferential shares to Telefónica Brasil to Telefónica, representiting 3.5% of the shares of the Brazilian unit, in exchange for 46 million shares in Telefónica.Separately, Vivendi is looking for additional opportunities to increase its participation in Telecom Italia, according to French financial daily Les Echos.According to unnamed sources cited by the paper, Vivendi, which holds about 15.5% of the Italian telco, aims to increase its stake to about 20%.
UK channel provider UKTV has unveiled a new pay TV brand, W, which will replace the existing Watch service in February.The female-focused channel, targeting 30-39 year-olds, will air a mix of original shows such as ON, an authored documentary strand featuring films by radio DJ Sara Cox, musician Sophie Ellis-Bextor and journalist Grace Dent, Get Me to the Church, a new factual entertainment format, and Nev’s Indian Call Centre, a spin-off of BBC 3 show The Call Centre.Other content on the channel includes medical drama Code Black, true-crime show Criminal Minds: Beyond Borders and police procedural CSI:NY and UK soap opera Eastenders on the same day as its transmission on BBC One.“We have a treasure trove of compelling original commissions, our own crown jewels. Plus the gold standard of US acquisitions, combined with the best shows from the BBC. We want to dazzle our viewers and have evolved and honed this entertainment channel, building a schedule that entertains but never patronises,” said Steve North, W’s general manager.“W’s programming includes our new authored documentary strand, which covers modern life in the digital age – from dating and friendship, to the cult of celebrity. We also have shining, new entertainment properties that focus on key life moments, like getting married (Get Me To The Church) and buying a first home (Honey I Bought the House) as well as one of the nation’s favourite dramas, EastEnders, on air just a few hours after its BBC One premiere as well as bringing back the omnibus. The peak W schedule will include a host of glittering US series.”
French broadcaster TF1 has agreed a new deal with local producers’ organisations that will see it commit to spending up to 12.5% of its advertising revenues on French-produced content over the next four years.TF1 will commit to spending 36% of its total programming investment on ‘dependent’ content, with a 26% ceiling placed on content supplied by its own subsidiaries. The remaining 10% of ‘dependent’ productions will provide a degree of flexibility to enable it to acquire extensive rights for linear and non-linear distribution from independent producers.TF1 will devote the remaining 64% of its content spend to independent productions from companies in which it has no ownership stake, including for non-linear distribution.The broadcaster signed the deal with producers’ groups SATEV, SEDPA, SPECT, SPFA, SPI and USPA this morning at the French ministry of culture and communication.
Zappware and Froomle have signed a deal in which Froomle will provide behavioural personalisation technology for Zappware’s technology platform.The solution makes use of user data, including viewership stats and end-user service provider information to offer operators personalised recommendations on content items, quad-play bundles, promotions and advertising.Zappware and Froomle said that they will provide a unique way to address shared devices without requiring individual login.“Current state-of-the-art technologies in personalisation and recommendation are underused in video services and we share the vision of Zappware on how to bring this to the end-user. ‘You are what you see’ and we suggest asset items based on this behavior,” said Froomle co-founder, Bart Goethals.Zappware will exhibit at IBC on stand 1.A.81
Distribution company Alchimie has launched its Okidoki bouquet of children’s content in Germany and Austria as part of Amazon’s Prime Video Channels line-up.The ad-free channel will feature more than 1,000 episodes of over-the-top content which will be available to German-speaking children for €4.99 per-month.Okidoki will feature a curated mix of animation, live action and educational programmes for kids aged three to 10 years-old. These will be refreshed monthly and subdivided into thematic categories like cars and animals.“We’re delighted Okidoki is now part of the family of Prime Video Channels in Germany and Austria, and we hope our young viewers and their parents enjoy watching it,” said Nicolas D’Hueppe, CEO of Alchimie.“The deal highlights Alchimie’s ability to secure and curate great entertaining content to create compelling channel offerings, and successfully distribute these in SVOD channel packages to OTT and other digital providers all over the world.”An English language version of the Okidoki channel has been live on Amazon Channels in the UK since 2017. Alchimie also offers a range of other thematic multiplatform channels like MMA channel Fight Club, interior design channel InterieursTV and outdoor sports channel Speed & Race.
Half of UK media consumers are worried that US companies moving to the nation will mean they apply more control over its media, according to a YouGov report commissioned by sales platform Matrix Solutions.The survey conducted in the UK asked 2,117 consumers about their perceptions of US media companies purchasing UK companies. It was conducted as the UK faces the potential takeover of Sky by Comcast or Disney, for example.Out of 2,117 UK adults, 48% noted that they are worried that US companies won’t understand the UK audience and will create more generic or US-centric content and advertising.Meanwhile, 43% worry that there might be an increase in the number of adverts shown. While Ofcom imposes maximum time periods for advertising each hour and on average, the research suggests more education is needed for consumers.Furthermore, 14% are also worried about less relevant adverts being shown to them as a result, indicating that UK consumers still value relevance in advertising and want to maintain the current balance in advertising shown to them.“Media organisations undertaking or planning on undertaking M&A activity need to understand consumer attitudes on both sides of the pond to create the best service for the most consumers,” said Mark Gorman, CEO at Matrix Solutions.“However, they also need to ensure that they have accurate understanding of ad revenues across all channels to remain competitive, which is even more important considering the market consolidation taking place at the moment.”The research took place from September 4-5, 2018. It was carried out online and all figures are weighted and representative of UK adults (aged 18+).