French police reported that the pair caused EUR 8000 worth of damage to the inside of the trains. Police say that the pair were on “inter-rail tourism” and planned to spray tags on trains across Europe. The pair, aged 35 and 28 were taken for questioning last Wednesday after spraying graffiti on the Paris Metro and National French Rail during their stay in France. Two Australian tourists have been arrested by French police following a “tagging tour” of Europe. A search of the accused hotel room showed the pair had done elaborate planning before their vandalism of the trains – they bought 20 spray cans and took sets of photos of where they would spray. Source = ETB News: Tom Neale
Source = Eichardt’s Private Hotel New Zealand’s priciest Penthouse to pull $10k per night Eichardt’s Private HotelNew Zealand’s priciest Penthouse to pull $10k per night and new class of travellerNew Zealand’s priciest hotel suite, Eichardt’s Private Hotel’s ultra-luxury rooftop abode – aptly named “The Penthouse” – will officially open its doors mid-December 2016.Commanding $10,000 per night for its sweeping 180º view over Queenstown’s Lake Wakatipu, exquisite design and VIP service, The Penthouse is the prize jewel in the Eichardt’s $6 million expansion, which also includes a new 200-seat restaurant and two lavish Hotel Lake View Suites.In true Eichardt’s style, The Penthouse oozes elegance with its terrace spa, in-suite sauna, 24/7 butler service and afterhours one-on-one shopping experiences with brand partners across Queenstown. Guests will also enjoy Krug Champagne refreshed daily, deluxe toiletries, commercial grade kitchen, private chef and Land Rover and driver at their disposal.With significant interest and a number of pre-bookings from affluent international guests ahead of its highly-anticipated opening date, The Penthouse (part of the Imperium Collection of luxury boutique hotels owned by Christchurch-born, Melbourne-based businessman Andrew Cox) presents a lucrative tourism opportunity for Queenstown.“We’re preparing for a new class of ultra-high net worth guests,” Cox explains.“With a small yet powerful group of discerning guests heading to Queenstown on a regular basis, often by private plane, The Penthouse is a natural extension of Eichardt’s’ luxury offering and is sure to make an entrance to the market like no other.”Destination Queenstown’s chief executive, Graham Budd, said it was exciting to see a new luxury offering and retail experience being added to the centre of Queenstown.“Queenstown is New Zealand’s premium visitor destination and attracts guests in the luxury market from Australia, America, Asia and Europe as well as domestically – all looking to enjoy stunning scenery, authentic experiences, unique activities and fine local cuisine and wine in a welcoming and safe environment.“Queenstown is the natural choice for the premium market and it’s great to see investment in product for this sector,” says Budd.Juxtaposed next to the historic neo-classical Eichardt’s Private Hotel on Marine Parade, the new Skyline Enterprises building that houses The Penthouse and The Grille (Eichardt’s’ newest waterfront restaurant) was designed by award-winning Queenstown architect Michael Wyatt. Skyline Enterprises Chairman Mark Quickfall says he is delighted that the new Marine Parade building is nearing completion.“We are thrilled with the select group of tenants who have chosen to open their businesses there. The combination of the outstanding building, tenants and location will see the creation of a new luxury enclave in Queenstown,” says Quickfall.Before construction, the entire development underwent archaeological excavation in order to discover and preserve the unique heritage of the area and of the Wakatipu Basin.According to Cox, The Penthouse is “a calculated reflection of Eichardt’s history as well as the natural beauty and distinctive energy of the region.”“It is testament to Queenstown’s reputation as one of the world’s finest tourist destinations. Our warm culture and unparalleled natural surroundings have helped to put New Zealand on the global map, and with Eichardt’s ever-expanding luxury hospitality offering, we’re certainly keeping pace with the likes of London, New York and Paris,” he concludes. Eichardt’s Private Hotelbook hereAbout Eichardt’s Private HotelEichardt’s is the most awarded private hotel in New Zealand.Having received many global awards for excellence in the luxury travel and hospitality industry, the hotel has been named one of the top eight ‘forever fabulous hotels in the world’ by Tatler Magazine and the Bar one of the ‘Top 10 bars with a view’ by the Times of London.Recent accolades for Eichardt’s include another recommendation in the June 2016 Andrew Harper Hideaway Report as being among the best of the best properties worldwide.Eichardt’s has also been nominated for the 2016 World Luxury Hotel Awards in three categories for New Zealand – Best Luxury Boutique Hotel, Best Luxury City Hotel and Best Luxury Suite Hotel.The hotel is part of the Imperium Collection, a collective of accommodation and dining offers including Eichardt’s Private Hotel, Eichardt’s Bar, Eichardt’s Lakefront Apartments, Eichardt’s Residence, The Spire Hotel and No5 Church Lane Restaurant and Bar alongside the new Grille by Eichardt’s and The Penthouse.The Imperium Collection forms part of the Imperium Group of Companies – a private investment group based in Melbourne, Australia that is established and owned by Andrew Cox.
July 2, 2010 Welcome to the June 20, 2010 workshop participants!! [back from left]: Katja Schulz [two weeks], Todd Reibold, Kris Willoghby [two weeks], Andrew Murphy [three weeks] Zachary Feirer, Michael Borowski, Aaron Sherwyn, Fabio Brochetta, [front from left]: Kylee Cumby, Alexandra Dahlman, Scottie Belissemo, Chiara Cascella, Rebecca Valencia, Audry Williams [photo & text: Anita Baker]
Officials are furious after it emerged that a request by a Paphos developer to legalise an illegal ‘limanaki’ or small marina built in Peyia in the 1990s has been granted by the council of ministers.The decision only came to light this week but was made on January 2, according to daily Phileleftheros, which reported the move.The decision has been condemned by Peyia mayor, Marinos Lambrou, who told the Cyprus Mail that he would be issuing a statement on Thursday.Concerns were recently raised over coastline erosion which appears to be linked to the marina. Lambrou said previously that Leptos, the developers of the popular Coral Beach hotel in Peyia, maintained the marina without permission and both the coastline and other businesses were suffering the dire consequences.The ‘small port’ was created at Laorou beach in front of the hotel a number of years ago and has since grown in size.Greens MP, Charalambous Theopemptou, told the Cyprus Mail on Wednesday that such a move by the council of ministers can go ‘under the radar’ as it can take some time for the minutes of meetings to ‘get out’ and do not have to be published or a public announcement made. He said that in such instances, even before a construction is considered, an Environmental Impact Study, should be necessary before any green light is given.“There should have been a study insisted upon before this was allowed, any problems have to be corrected before such a permit is given. In this case, the developer was just given a permit,” Theopemptou told the Cyprus Mail.The Greens also issued a statement, on Wednesday condemning the cabinet’s decision to legalise the port, thus satisfying the request of the developers, Leptos Calypso Hotels Public Ltd.The Greens said that in 1988, Leptos first created a parallel breakwater opposite the Coral Beach hotel, and then a shelter for vessels.“The ultimate goal of the company is the creation of a marina for the exclusive interests of the company. All work was carried out without prior permission or a study, resulting in ongoing erosion of adjacent beaches,” the statement said.In January, the Greens noted, the government approved the registration of the marine space as immovable property, creating berthing space.At the same time, the minister of energy and tourism approved mooring space to Leptos under Article 8 of the Management Services Mooring Yacht Laws.It also signed a contract with a long-term licence for the use of the area as a marina space by Leptos.In 2017, Lambrou wrote to the auditor-general to clarify the status of the marina after a water sports accident in the area and amid calls to clear up the issue of the illegal operation of facilities meant for bathers.“It is worth mentioning that recently the president of Disy, Averof Neophytou and Edek’s, Marinos Sizopoulos and finance minister, Harris Georgiades, played the gardener, at a recent event at this hotel, planting shrubs and pronouncing warmest praises of Leptos,” the Greens said. They were referring to a tree-planting event held at the Coral Beach two weeks ago.They said the ministerial decision was arbitrary and served special interests.“We agree with the mayor that the local authority has been overlooked again and ask the state to refrain from applying double standards and immediately revoke the decision. ”Theopemptou added that he believes that the developer will now also try to ‘claim’ the beach as his own, using a law passed in Cyprus in 2017, much to the MP’s chagrin and despite his desperate attempts to drum up support against it.“Unfortunately, in 2017, parliament took a decision that: if rocks are built into the sea to form a breakwater to protect boats from the rough sea, for example, or to extend land, that person/ persons, can claim the beach as his own private area.”He added that the only limitation is that the public must have access ‘to pass through.’“This is important, it means I can only use the beach to pass through it, I may not put my own umbrella there for example,” he said.Theopemtou said that hoteliers seem to get ‘whatever they want’ and although he tried, in vain, to prevent this outcome, the major parties of Disy, Diko and Edek all backed this change to the law.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Federal regulation was changed in 2016 to include public coverage as an option for parents who cannot afford or access private health care, so Michigan is not in compliance with federal rules and regulations. This means we are at risk of losing $400 million in federal funding for the Office of Child Support. My bills correct the problem by conforming to federal standards while ensuring children are getting the coverage they need to live healthy lives. The bills have been sent to the Senate for consideration.***It was a pleasure to participate in the All Minds Matter 5k Walk/Run in Fowlerville on Saturday. The race was organized by Livingston County Community Mental Health to benefit Genesis House, a local community center offering opportunities to those with mental challenges. Partaking in All Minds Matter is always a great way to support a worthy cause and have fun connecting with the community. Thank you to all the organizers, sponsors, and participants who made it possible!***Last week, Second Chance Support Network held its annual Spring Banquet and Prayer Dinner to support its program of helping men and women recently released from jail or prison. Second Chance is a tremendous group of people on the front lines of combatting recidivism and helping those who need a hand up through mentorships and fostering connections in the local area. It was great to see so many community members at the dinner supporting this important work. Great job by Jennifer Bigelow and all the members and volunteers who made it possible!***Thank you to the Fowlerville Business Association for allowing me to provide a legislative update with state Sen. Lana Theis at their monthly meeting. It was a good opportunity to share details on some of the major issues being addressed in the Legislature and to listen to their thoughts and ideas. It is important to hear how the decisions being made in Lansing directly affect the people and businesses of the district!***Congratulations to the Fowlerville Community Theatre on a successful production of “The Wizard of Oz.” It was a very enjoyable performance with excellent acting by the large cast. Even Toto the dog did a great job! Well done by everyone involved. I look forward to the next production!***I hope you will join me for this month’s coffee hours on Friday, May 17 at the following times and locations:2:30 to 3:30 p.m. at Fowlerville Farms, 941 S. Grand Ave. in Fowlerville;4 to 5 p.m. at Biggby Coffee, 11325 W. Highland Road in Hartland; and5:30 to 6:30 p.m. at All Star Coney Island, 934 Michigan Ave. in Howell.As always, I look forward to seeing you and hearing your thoughts!***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you! Categories: Vaupel News I am happy to report two of my bills unanimously passed the House on Tuesday. House Bills 4304 and 4305 allow public health coverage by a parent to meet court ordered child support obligations. In paternity, custody, divorce, or support cases, a Michigan court may issue a child support order, and under current Michigan law, one or both parents must maintain health care coverage for the child. 13May Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: May 13, 2019
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares Image Credit: By @moor_kush #MuslimLivesMatter February 11, 2015; GuardianBy all accounts, a man in North Carolina shot and killed three Muslim students near the University of North Carolina campus. Charged with the shooting, Craig Stephen Hicks turned himself in to the Durham police. The three victims were all related: 23-year-old Deah Barakat; his wife, Yusor Mohammad Abu-Salha, 21; and her 19-year-old sister, Razan Mohammad Abu-Salha. Barakat was a dental student at UNC, his wife was just about to start her dental studies there, and all three belonged to the Alexandria-based United Muslim Relief. (If you go to the United Muslim Relief page, you’ll see its Dental Relief Arm in collaboration with the Miswak Foundation—one of the reasons why Barakat was so valued by the organization.)The organization’s founder, Shafi Khan, said that he and his colleagues were broken-hearted about the killings. “These guys were the best of the best,” Khan said. “There’s just no other way to put it.”A statement from UMR President and CEO Abed Ayoub noted that Deah and Yusor were in the founding team of the UMR chapter in the North Carolina Triangle area and Razan was a current officer of the chapter. Deah had been a volunteer in a dental relief mission to Palestine to treat children with special needs and was working to prepare a dental relief mission to Syrian refugees in Turkey. “Deah, Yusor and Razan showed us the importance of serving others,” Ayoub said in the statement. “UMR will work hard to honor their legacy.”Given the visibility of these three young Muslim leaders in the UNC area, and given their work with UMR, it is hard to believe that their deaths might simply have been the result of a random shooting. The incident probably warrants investigation as a potential hate crime. We can all honor the legacy of these three young people by demanding justice for them, remembering that #MuslimLivesMatter, and supporting organizations like UMR that carry the values of sterling young people like these three Muslim humanitarian activists.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share4TweetShareEmail4 Shares May 11, 2015; Center for Budget and Policy PrioritiesIn light of NPQ’s coverage of nonprofit community development corporations producing thousands of units of affordable housing, this report from the Center for Budget and Policy Priorities is both interesting and disturbing.CBPP’s Alicia Mazzara examined the changes in the numbers of renters in every state who pay more than 50 percent of their income for housing. Between 2007 and 2013, the number of such cost-burdened renters increased in every state of the union except for Delaware, and the proportion of renters who pay more than half of their incomes for rent rose in 45 states and the District of Columbia. The following data map tells the story: That’s 11.25 million renter households paying more than half of their incomes for rent, according to Enterprise Community Partners—more than one fourth of all renters in the U.S. The reality is that when paying half or more of income for rent, other family expenses don’t get covered. “It means making really difficult trade-offs,” said Angela Boyd, a vice president at Enterprise Community Partners. “There are daily financial dilemmas about making their rent or buying groceries.”The proportion of American households that rent has gone up (to around 36 percent), in part because the options to buy are so difficult in many states. According to the Corporation for Enterprise Development, the ten states (including the District of Columbia) with the least affordable homes are, in rank order, Rhode Island tied with Vermont at #9 and 10, Washington, New Jersey, Oregon, New York, Massachusetts, California, D.C., and, as the least affordable state in the nation, Hawaii.There’s a shortage of millions of units of affordable rentals, and since the recession, even with the job market coming back, incomes are much lower than they used to be, making home-buying difficult for even moderate and middle income families. Are there solutions? Localities are crafting their own strategies:In Spokane, Washington, where Gonzaga law student Matthew Cardinale drafted a strategy on behalf of Councilwoman Candace Mumm calling for affordable housing impact statements for legislation passed in Spokane, inclusionary zoning and density bonuses for developers of complexes larger than 25 units, and better income targeting of the city’s multi-family property tax exemption.In New York, Mayor Bill de Blasio has called for ending tax breaks for residential developers unless they commit to produce or preserve 25 to 30 percent of the units as affordable. De Blasio is also calling for a special “mansion tax” on homes and condominiums that sell for more than $1.7 million.Because of the huge run-up in housing costs in San Francisco, San Francisco Supervisor Dave Campos introduced an emergency ordinance to halt market-rate housing development in the city’s Mission District to stop, at least for a moment, the displacement of lower income renters, but the San Francisco Housing Action Coalition opposed that move, saying that market-rate housing development is the now the city’s prime mechanism of producing affordable units.The missing partner in all of these actions and strategies? The federal government. Now that a new election is underway for the White House with a bevy of candidates, it might be nice to see if any of them make affordable housing more than a passing reference in their campaign platforms, and if they do, whether they have anything substantive to propose to address the nation’s housing crisis.—Rick CohenShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shares
Share22TweetShareEmail22 SharesFranklin Institute / angela n.May 9, 2016; Philly VoiceMichael Anderson, a museum patron who uses a wheelchair and relies on a personal care attendant (PCA) for many daily tasks, paid for museum membership for both himself and his PCA in 2013 and 2014, when the Franklin Institute charged him for dual memberships—one for Anderson and one for his attendant. According to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania, in doing so, the renowned Philadelphia science museum violated the Americans with Disabilities Act.Anderson requires the assistance of a PCA for “safety and physical mobility” and receives federal funding for his PCA through the Pennsylvania Department of Human Services’ Medicaid Waiver program. Representatives for Franklin stated that it did not have a responsibility to waive the price of admission for a PCA. Anderson first complained about the Institute’s requirement in 2013, and later sued the museum with the assistance of nonprofit Vision for Equality.On Monday, U.S. District Court Judge Gerald Austin McHugh ruled that the Franklin Institute does, under the ADA, have a responsibility to provide admission for PCAs. McHugh, who has served in the district court since 2013, wrote that the dual membership policy had the effect of “doubling the cost of admission for this class of disabled citizen” and created unreasonable barriers preventing equal access.McHugh also stated that accommodating the needs of the disabled by allowing free admittance for PCAs would not place an undue financial burden on the Franklin Institute. The museum, a nonprofit which receives funding from corporate and personal donations, federal grants, and admissions, took in revenue of about $35 million in 2013. It currently charges $50 for a single yearlong adult membership and $75 for a dual membership.The Franklin Institute has stated that it disagrees with the ruling, and that it consistently attempts to provide valuable and accessible services for disabled patrons.The responsibility of educational or service institutions in accommodating PCAs is not universally established. For example, universities must allow for reasonable accommodations for students needing PCAs, including providing housing for PCAs. While some metro transit authorities provide free passage for PCAs, private transportation companies have sketchier requirements. Airlines are not required to provide such accommodations under the Air Carrier Access Act, which outlines rights for passengers with disabilities but may require a passenger to fly with a safety assistant in certain situations. If the passenger refuses to pay for a safety assistant, the airline must provide one.So, should a nonprofit museum provide accommodations for personal care attendants whether that museum brings in $35 million or $350 per year? We may be seeing more ADA cases that address just that question.—Lauren KarchShare22TweetShareEmail22 Shares
Share24TweetShare2Email26 Shares“Seattle” By Vmenkov (Self-photographed) [GFDL, CC-BY-SA-3.0 or CC BY-SA 2.5-2.0-1.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 7, 2017; Seattle TimesSeattle is working to increase the maximum allowable height for buildings in two of its districts: downtown and South Lake Union. The move would trigger the city’s Mandatory Housing Affordability (MHA) program, already begun in the University District, an area the city council has decided to upzone.The program aims to increase the number of rent-controlled housing units by 6,000 citywide over the next 10 years. In exchange for allowing an upzone in these two districts, Seattle will require housing developers and commercial developers to set aside two to five percent of their units and five to eleven percent of their floor space for rent-controlled housing, respectively. Should developers opt to not offer such housing, they will pay a per-square-foot fee, the proceeds of which will go to nonprofit developers of rent-controlled housing.Should the city council decide to implement the MHA program, it will essentially act as a one-time tax on developers. Since space is scarce in the city, the revenues a developer could command in uncapped rents minus the one-time fee will likely exceed the lifetime of rent-controlled revenues. That means that developers will, all things equal, elect to pay the fee rather than build rent-controlled housing.The article projects that a 44-story apartment building could generate $5 million in fees and that a 35-story commercial building could generate $7.8 million in fees. How much of that would go to nonprofits is tough to say, since there are always costs of transferring wealth from one party to another. That said, this should be a windfall for nonprofit developers.An important question to ask, though, is whether this program should be implemented. While rent-controlled housing sounds appealing, nearly all economists agree that it is a bad thing. It benefits people who already live in those rent-controlled units while hurting those looking for apartments. Acting as a price ceiling, rent control creates excess demand—more people want to rent at that price than are units available. There are a number of additional potential unintended consequences as well, including poor maintenance and tenant service. You can read more about them here.That being said, Seattle is on to something here. One of the best ways to make housing more affordable is to allow for it to become more abundant. When demand remains constant and the supply of housing increases, the price will decrease, all things equal. The best way to make housing more abundant is to relax some of the zone regulations that force developers to cap the buildings in one direction or another. In this case, Seattle (and the city is not alone here) caps a building’s height. When land is scarce, like in major metropolitan areas for example, the lowest cost direction for developers to build is upward. Upzoning these parts of Seattle is a step in the right direction, even if the fees imposed on developers will end up reducing the quantity of units that they would build were they not in effect.Now, as for nonprofit developers, most of the rent control literature examines for-profit enterprise. It could very well be that nonprofits would run better rent-controlled housing than a for-profit institution. The literature is far from conclusive about nonprofit quality relative to for-profit quality, but there is some reason for optimism. It likely will not do much to help with the excess demand, though.All in all, if Seattle elects to enact the MHA program, it will likely lead to taller buildings, which means more housing. And it seems likely that those new buildings will lead to more money for nonprofit developers.—Sean WattersonShare24TweetShare2Email26 Shares
Spanish pay TV operator Canal Plus is adding Garage TV to its channel line-up.The motoring channel will replace Latin music service 40Latino. The channel is already carried in the US and Latin America and is programmed with content about the cars and the motor industry.
A survey canvassing opinion from a wide-ranging media, broadband and telecoms companies reveals that TV is one of the most profitable areas in which to have a content business. Respondents to Informa Telecoms & Media’s annual industry survey said that apps offered the most potential for profit ahead of TV.“For all the discussion of Netflix among operators in the last year, however, a view is emerging that a profitable content business does not have to be built around movies,” noted Mark Newman, chief research officer at Informa. “Of our respondents, 36.5% felt that apps were the most potential profitable category of content, followed by TV then games. Only 16.0% of respondents nominated movies. We could see operators moving away from traditional premium content such as movies, if the price is too high and the demand is perhaps exaggerated. Instead, our respondents, especially mobile operators, see the future as app-shaped.”
A raft of movie content has been added to Telecinco and Cuatro online catch-up service Mitele.The service, which is owned by Mediaset, the owner of Spanish free-to-air broadcasters Telecinco and Cuatro, has added several local and international movie titles to its programming line-up and is expected to bolster the film line-up further. Titles include Agora, Cell 211 and You Look Like an Accident.
TiVo aims to build on its success in the UK and Spain with more European deployments, according to TiVo’s vice president and general manager of international, Joshua Danovitz.Speaking to DTVE this week, Danovitz said that the spring-rollout of its Swedish partnership with pay TV provider Com Hem – which will be TiVo’s first ever deployment via an IPTV network was – would ideally be a precursor to more activity in the continent.“We’ve got a real success record here in Europe, so we want to expand on that. There’s a lot more to do, there’s a lot more complexity that we think we can offer simplicity to,” he said.Speaking about the firm’s broader expansion plans, Danovitz pointed to both Latin America and Asia as markets the firm was looking at.“Latin America’s actually growing quite rapidly – it’s a changing environment, ARPUs are coming up and it’s a very interesting environment,” he said. However, he would not be drawn on precise launch plans, or offer a prediction for how many new markets the firm aims to be live in by the end of the year.Outside its home market of the US, TiVo is currently live in Canada Australia, New Zealand, Mexico, Taiwan, Spain and the UK.However, speaking at Cable Congress this week, Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries would not comment on whether Virgin would stick with the TiVo platform, following Liberty’s planned takeover of the UK pay TV operator.
Deutsche Telekom’s Entertain2Go streaming service, powered by mobile TV and on-demand specialist MobiTV, has completed the first phase of its rollout. The new multiscreen service extends Deutsche Telekom’s IPTV Entertain offering so that viewers can access live TV and on-demand programming across different devices.By integrating MobiTV’s software, Deutsche Telekom has broadened the service to deliver primetime shows, live sporting events and VOD services to smartphones, tablets, PCs and IP-connected TVs, said MobiTV.“Consumers want to be able to choose when, where, and on which devices they view their content. Deutsche Telekom has been at the forefront of this transformation in the industry and the MobiTV team is proud to be at the core of the solution,” said Charlie Nooney, chairman and chief executive officer at MobiTV.Marc Schwarze, VP consumer marketing TV, Telekom Deutschland, added: “Since rolling out Entertain, we have continued to offer options to ensure that our customers are provided the latest in technology so they have the best quality of experience. MobiTV’s collaboration has helped us change the landscape for our customers and will allow them to break out of the home and experience their content wherever and whenever.” MobiTV will exhibit at IBC on stand 14.160
The UK government has named Patricia Hodgson as its preferred candidate to replace Colette Bowe as chairman of media and communications regulator Ofcom.The parliamentary Culture, Media and Sport Committee will hold a pre-appointment hearing with Hodgson on December 17.Bowe is due to step down at the end of March next year when her term ends.Former Independent Television Commission chief executive and BBC policy chief Hodgson has held the post of deputy chairman of Ofcom since January 2012.In addition to serving as Ofcom deputy chairman, she is also chair of the School Teachers’ Review Body.
Luis SilberwasserDiscovery will continue to focus on traditional pay TV rather than new digital initiatives in international markets, with a subsidiary focus on traditional over-the-air free-to-air TV in markets where pay TV growth is levelling off, according to executives speaking to press at the broadcaster’s Upfront event for potential advertisers in New York.Discovery Networks International chief content officer Luis Silberwasser told DTVE that Discovery’s approach to digital platforms internationally would follow the template set in the US.“We will work very closely with the US. The same dynamic applies. I do not think you will see different strategies overseas,” he said.Silberwasser said that while the US pay TV market is saturated and further growth can only come from new areas, in Europe and elsewhere pay TV and over-the-air free TV provides plenty of opportunities for further expansion.“The US market is 100% penetrated in pay TV. There are very few markets outside the US with that level of penetration,” he said.“As those countries grow economically more people will sign up for pay TV, while in Europe, in some markets, growth in pay TV has levelled off and that’s why we are investing in free-to-air – but in most there is still room for growth.”Discovery Networks International president JB Perrette told DTVE that Discovery would tailor its digital initiatives to the particular needs of each market. He cited the example of Dplay, the Norwegian service that aggregates channels and sells them to consumers direct without going through intermediaries, as an example of a digitial initiative that worked in the circumstances of one particular market but which might not play well in other markets. “What works in Norway, where we have Dplay…might not be right in other markets,” he said.Discovery Communications president and CEO David Zaslav earlier told journalists that “on new platforms there has never been a better time to be in the content business if you own your own content”.He said that Discovery was aware that people are increasingly watching content on devices other than the TV and pointed out that it had invested in ventures including web video company Revision 3 and had developed a significant presence on YouTube.“The revenue isn’t as good as the traditional dual revenue business, but we have to take our content on to all platforms and we have to experiment,” he said.
Scripps Networks International has reportedly offered the BBC as much as £500 million (US$849.2 million) to buy the latter’s commercial arm out of their joint venture channels operator, UKTV.A deal would give it full control of 10 channels such as Dave, Watch, Yesterday and Gold.UK newspaper The Guardian reports Scripps has made “multiple attempts” to convince BBC Worldwide to sell its share in the business, offering around £500 million (US$851 million) as its best offer.However, BBCWW is not thought to be keen on selling, and the Guardian reports it is, in fact, seeking to up its stake. It previously had an option to up its share in UKTV to 60%, but was unable to finance such a move.Talks between Scripps and BBCWW are said to have ended for now, but the offers suggest Scripps is still keen on expanding its UK channels business. It was one of the leading contenders for terrestrial Channel 5, but ultimately lost out to Viacom.US pay TV operator Scripps bought into UKTV in 2011, when it paid Virgin Media £339 million for a 50% stake. Former Turner kids boss Jim Samples leads Scripps’ international business, and has overseen acquisitions such as the US$65 million deal for Travel Channel International.The UKTV business was initially launched as a 50-50 joint venture between the BBC and its founders.UKTV declined to comment on the report, while Scripps and BBCWW hadn’t responded to requests for comment at press time.
Polish commercial broadcaster TVN has launched a new international news and entertainment channel aimed at expat Poles.ITI-owned TVN already operates the iTVN international channel and said the new service, iTVN Extra, is aimed at Polish families in international territories and is programmed with news, current affairs, entertainment and kids programming. TVN said iTVN is a general entertainment channel, while iTVN Extra is designed as an extension of iTVN and TVN24, offering a blend of lifestyle programmes on cooking and interior design together with business and current affairs, as well as documentaries. It will also air cartoons and programmes for kids, to help Polish parents maintain knowledge of the mother tongue among their children. The content will be sourced from TVN and its production and channel affiliates.The channel has secured carriage in the US and launches today on the Dish DTH platform. It will also be carried in Germany on German IPTV service Wilhelm.tel.Łukasz Frątczak runs the iTVN channel and will also oversee iTVN Extra. He said: “iTVN Extra stands for programming that has never before been aired internationally and I’m convinced iTVN and TVN24 viewers will enjoy our new, carefully selected content offering.”
TDF’s Besan on Bregille transmitterA group of investors comprising Brookfield Infrastructure Group, Public Sector Pension Investment Board (PSP Investments), APG Asset Management N.V. and Arcus Infrastructure Partners have completed the acquisition of French transmission services provider TDF in France. The closing follows an offer to acquire the company in August last year.CEO Olivier Huart said: “TDF’s new shareholders are long-term investors, all with a solid experience in infrastructure. With these new investors, TDF begins a new and very promising chapter in its history.”
Al Jazeera America will close its cable and digital operations in the coming months, citing an unsustainable business model.Announcing the decision yesterday, Al Jazeera America CEO Al Anstey said that the US network would cease operating by April 30 – less than three years after its launch.In an email to all employees, Anstey paid tribute to Al Jazeera America’s staff, but said: “our business model is simply not sustainable in light of the economic challenges in the US media marketplace.”At the same time, parent company Al Jazeera Media Network revealed plans to expand its global digital operations into the US so that it can better compete in an “overwhelmingly digital world” and serve “today’s 24-hour digitally focused audience”.Al Jazeera said in a statement that it will expand its existing international digital services to broaden its presence in the US, building on existing services like youth-focused mobile news service AJ+.“As audiences increasingly turn to multiple platforms, including mobile devices, for news and information, this expansion will allow US and non-US consumers alike to access the network’s journalism and content wherever and whenever they want,” said Al Jazeera Media Network.Al Jazeera started life in 1996 as an independent Arab news channel. It has since expanded with new channels and services and claims to now have more than 70 bureaus around the world.Al Jazeera America went live in 2013 in an effort to compete with US news networks like CNN and Fox News. The channel is headquartered in New York City and has operations in 12 cities across the US.