RelatedBrits continue to book flights despite environmental concernsBrits are continuing to book flights despite having environmental concerns, new research has revealed.Holidaymakers book flights abroad to escape ‘dirty’ UK beachesMore people could be booking flights abroad this summer after a new surveyMore Brits booking flights to Hungary and IsraelGrowing numbers of holidaymakers are booking flights to Hungary and Israel to escape the eurozone More Europeans are booking flights to the UK, it has been revealed.The surprise results of a survey by UKinbound revealed a 1.2 percent increase in the number of foreign visitors in August compared to the same period last year, reports TravelMole.com.The findings suggest that people across Europe are still willing to fly despite a rise in the cost of fuel.Earlier this month Trip Adviser surveyed 4,000 people and found that 41 percent of worldwide travellers felt that rising fuel costs would affect their travel plans.In stark contrast, just 21 percent of Brits said that increased costs would reduce the number of flights they took.Commenting on the Trip Adviser survey, Stephen Dowd, UKinbound chief executive, said that there was little chance of UK citizens taking fewer trips abroad.”In order to mitigate the effects of the credit crunch and reduce the tourism deficit we need a real push to make the UK more attractive to overseas visitors,” he said.Iceland is proving a particular hotspot among British travellers, with Travel Weekly revealing that 20 percent more Brits visited the country in September compared to the same month last year, and Skyscanner revealing that flight searches to the Atlantic island have risen by 400% since the financial collapse commenced. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map
The Cyprus News Digest, in collaboration with the Cyprus Mail brings you an in-depth analysis of some of the latest developments in international and local news – in audio form.Presented by Rosie Charalambous, this week:Is commerce more important than our natural heritage?Environmentalists fear for the future of the island’s most important wetland;the Cyprus computer society is looking for young hackers;an expert from the Council of Europe outlines measure to combat cybercrimeFor more, visit: http://cyprusmail.libsyn.com/You May LikeHealth & Human Research9 Foods That Will Naturally Cleanse Your KidneysHealth & Human ResearchUndoHealthZapConfused About The Size Of Her Engagement Ring, Woman Puts Up An Online Post Only To Find The Receipt LaterHealthZapUndoHawaiiThe Cheapest Way To Fly To HawaiiHawaiiUndo The Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoBritain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoFrom space heroes to artists: women written out of historyUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Special Olympics Michigan drove a competition-sized pool to the Capitol lawn today where state Rep. Kevin Cotter and nearly two dozen other brave legislators participated in the “Second Annual Legislative Polar Plunge and Push” in support of the nonprofit. Cotter was also a co-chair of the event for the second year.“Special Olympics Michigan is an incredible organization and with their headquarters and Summer Games in Mt. Pleasant, I have seen firsthand the positive impact they have on so many Michigan families,” said Cotter, R-Mount Pleasant. “They are champions for dignity, equality for everyone as well as promoting respect for everyone. I was happy to serve as a Co-Chair for this event and join some of my colleagues in taking an icy plunge for such a great cause.“Our goal this year was to raise $30,000 for Special Olympics and I am happy to say we were able to exceed that amount.”The event helps support Special Olympics Michigan, which brings year-round sports training and athletic competition to more than 20,670 children and adults with intellectual disabilities in Michigan.The Polar Plunge takes place all over the country in cold weather and is well-known for the colorful costumes and shivering swimmers it produces. Categories: News 01Mar Rep. Cotter participates in 2nd Annual Legislative Polar Plunge and Push for Special Olympics
Categories: News 23Mar Rep. Forlini celebrates ‘March is Reading Month’ at local schools State Rep. Anthony Forlini has been busy celebrating March is Reading month with visits to local schools in the L’Anse Creuse School District.Rep. Forlini, R-Harrison Township, read Friday afternoon to Ms. Erica Leigh’s and Mrs. Michelle Allmacher’s second graders at Graham Elementary, and was back at it today with a visit to Lobbestael Elementary, where he read to Ms. Krysten Page’s and Ms. Judy Nurse’s second grade classes.“Reading is a skill that is imperative in ensuring the success of our children,” said Rep. Forlini. “One of the most important things we can do for our children is read to them.”Rep. Forlini read “The Tooth Book” by Dr. Seuss and “Tooth Trouble” by Jane Clarke and Cecilia Johansson. He said the children welcomed him with a big hello and were very engaged as they talked about the books.“It was great to see the children so engaged and excited about reading,” Rep. Forlini said. “It is important that we not only emphasize its importance, but that we also show them how fun reading is!”March is Reading Month, which is celebrated each year in classrooms across the country, was established in honor of the month of Dr. Seuss’ birthday.
12Jul Governor signs Runestad’s bill establishing body camera guidelines Categories: Runestad News Legislation balances privacy rights, accountabilityGov. Rick Snyder today signed a bill introduced by state Rep. Jim Runestad giving law enforcement agencies clear guidelines for the recordings made by police body cameras.Runestad’s legislation, which received unanimous approval from both the House and Senate, establishes rules for retaining and releasing footage recorded on body cameras worn by law enforcement officers.“Body cameras are useful tools that provide oversight of police activity and increase the public’s trust in law enforcement,” said Runestad, of White Lake. “Without a policy regulating body cameras, however, many law enforcement agencies are reluctant to start using them. The guidelines we have established will offer consistency among law enforcement agencies across the state, and allow officers to effectively utilize body-worn cameras.”Runestad said the bill would protect personal privacy rights by exempting from public disclosure any recordings made where someone should have a reasonable expectation of privacy.“While recordings made by body cameras can serve as an important tool, it’s also imperative to ensure that the privacy rights of Michigan residents are respected,” Runestad said. “If an elderly lady falls in the shower and police officers respond to provide assistance, recordings made on their body-worn cameras would not be available for public distribution under these rules.”Oakland County Sheriff Michael J. Bouchard said it will be beneficial to have state guidelines addressing body-worn cameras.“Having state guidelines on the books, which not only provides accountability for police, but also provides privacy for citizens is vital for the use of this emerging technology,” Bouchard said. “I appreciate Rep. Runestad, in particular, as well as the entire legislature for their support in getting this legislation passed.”House Bill 4427 is now Public Act 85 of 2017.###
State Rep. Brandt Iden – chair of the influential Michigan House Ways and Means Committee – tonight said workforce and talent development is the key to continued success for the state and the Portage/Kalamazoo region.“We have a great opportunity to build on our recent comeback and move Michigan forward into the new decade,” said Iden, who was joined by Portage Mayor Patricia Randall for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State address at the Michigan Capitol. “Investing in talent development is an investment in our future. We must ensure our young people and workers of all ages have the skills needed to succeed in an ever-changing economy.”Iden, of Oshtemo Township, said he will prioritize working with the governor and Legislature to help equip students and workers with the skills needed to fill high-demand, good-paying jobs. Iden also supports policies aimed at helping job providers create new opportunities for Michigan workers, and reforming burdensome occupational licensing requirements to allow those re-entering the workforce — including those rehabilitated after serving prison time – to better provide for themselves and their families.Iden noted Michigan’s unemployment rate has dropped from 14.6 percent in mid-2009 to about 4 percent entering 2019.“The recent job growth experienced with many of Portage’s key employers shows we’re headed in the right direction,” Iden said. “Now it’s time to take the next step forward and continue the comeback with positive policy important to residents of every city, village and township in Michigan.”### 12Feb Rep. Iden on State of the State: Michigan must invest in talent and workforce development to continue economic momentum Categories: Iden News,News PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Brandt Iden, of Oshtemo Township, attends the Governor’s annual State of the State address with his guest, Portage Mayor Patricia Randall.
Legislator: Schools shouldn’t have to choose between safety and funding State Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, is working on a policy fix for the current snow day issue affecting schools across Michigan.Current law requires schools to hold 180 school days and 1,098 classroom hours each year to receive state funding. Hoitenga’s proposal would allow schools to choose between the two, rather than mandating they meet both requirements.“This gives school districts more autonomy in dealing with harsh winters like we’ve faced this year,” Hoitenga said. “Schools should never be put in a situation where they must sacrifice the safety of their students to ensure funding from the state.”The representative spoke with superintendents throughout the district to weigh every option; this plan being one of them.Hoitenga said she would like to see a change like this be retroactive to ensure schools maintain current funding for the 2018-19 school year.Questions about this issue may be addressed to Hoitenga’s Capitol office at (517) 373-1747 or MicheleHoitenga@House.MI.gov. 13Feb Rep. Hoitenga working on school snow day issue Categories: Hoitenga News
20Mar Rep. Allor to DOD: Clean up your mess Categories: Allor News State Rep. Sue Allor today sharply criticized the U.S. Department of Defense (DOD) after recent reports that the DOD has been lobbying the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency to adopt a more lenient standard for cleaning up PFAS in groundwater. For decades, the DOD used fire-fighting foam laden with PFAS for training exercises on Air Force bases, including the former Wurtsmith base.“We all have to take responsibility for our actions, whether we like it or not. It is underhanded and unfair to the citizens of this state for federal bureaucrats to try and dodge responsibility at the eleventh hour, and leave Michigan taxpayers with the bill,” Allor, of Wolverine, said. “This mess will take a long time to clean up, and the federal government must step up and do its part, not play political games with the health and safety of Michigan families.”The DOD’s push to the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency for a lower groundwater clean-up standard comes as the Department of Defense faces billions of dollars in cleanup costs tied to its use of PFAS-laden AFFF firefighting foam. If successful, media reports stated, the Pentagon’s move could get the Air Force off the hook for cleaning up sites.“The science around PFAS cleanup is rapidly advancing, but one thing remains the same—our standards are getting stronger, not weaker,” Allor said. “The Pentagon’s suggestion that the EPA adopt a cleanup standard of 380 parts per trillion— more than five times weaker than Michigan’s current standard – is ludicrous. We need to make sure we are pursuing science-backed standards that best protect Michigan families.”
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares January 31, 2014; PoliticoAfter years of having it pointed out to them, the public seems finally to have had cottoned to the fact that the NFL is a nonprofit. Patrick Hruby tries out a whole line of statements on his readers meant to make the NFL’s status abhorrent to us, if it were not already. He says that the NFL is (direct quotes follow):Dodging taxes.Pocketing government handouts.Passing the buck on workplace injuries.Mooching harder than one of Ronald Reagan’s imagined welfare queens.After all those emotionally-based declarations, though, Hruby goes on to the numbers (also direct quotes):The NFL rakes in more than $9 billion a year, more than the GDP of 53 countries. It plans to reach $25 billion in annual revenue by 2027. Nevertheless, the Internal Revenue Service considers the league’s front office a nonprofit. Just like the United Way or your local chamber of commerce.In 2012, the league front office—which administers the rules and business for its 32 for-profit teams—donated $2.4 million to charity. Not bad, until you realize that $2.1 million of that went to the Pro Football Hall of Fame. Meanwhile, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell was paid $29.5 million, about 30 times what the chief executive of the United Way made in the same year.In 2009, the league paid a total of $53.6 million to eight of its top front-office executives.In 2010, league vice president of media Steve Bornstein earned $12.2 million.Between 2007 and 2012, ex-commissioner Paul Tagliabue, despite having retired in 2006, was paid $46.4 million by the league office and related organizations. To not work.Wow, these salaries put those other more mildly excessive nonprofit salaries that local papers go on and on about to shame. He ends with “And you thought the people who created credit default swaps were evil geniuses.”So, do you think things will calm down on this issue, post–Super Bowl? Or what?—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share9TweetShare2Email11 SharesBaltimore – Winter / Lee BurchfieldSeptember 29, 2016; Baltimore SunEven though it’s by far the largest (and only) independent city in what was once commonly known as “The Old Line State,” Baltimore does not have the cachet of its close neighbor. That doesn’t mean Charm City suffers from a lack of media attention. Far from it: the almost universally acclaimed HBO series The Wire was set and actually filmed there, employing several actors unknown outside local theatre. The Wire portrays Baltimore through a dark lens, one that, given the events of the last two years, might still be accurate.This op-ed piece in the Wire-critiqued Sun daily (the erstwhile employer of H. L. Mencken and The Wire co-creator David Simon) begs to differ. A prominent nonprofit CEO and an active community organizer provide examples of how Baltimore continues to not only survive but thrive. The boosters are fighting the naysayers, and often acquire large sums of money to do this. This is a largely admirable venture, but will it effect the change it seeks?That’s why the Central Baltimore Partnership is launching the “Explore the Core” campaign. Our vision, developed with community leaders, is to build on this area’s strengths—housing for all income levels, vibrant retail, cultural attractions, transportation options, rising schools—and bring them to the next level.Some find scrappy cities endearing, and embrace and indeed invest in projects that attempt to arrest long, steep patterns of decline. Others, however, categorize cities like Baltimore as crime-ridden cesspools covered in the cloak of corruption, which of course oversimplifies and ultimately denies the issues these cities face. It’s uplifting to see that some with power, money, and influence in Baltimore use their resources to improve The City That Reads, while attracting young professionals from the increasingly unaffordable national capital. At the same time, this gives rise to gentrification, with its attendant benefits and deficits for the long-time residents of many of these neighborhoods. Ideally, these projects create economic and cultural opportunities for all; sadly, that noble ambition does not always produce equitable results.While admirably hopeful in tone, this op-ed reads like many press releases from developers and regional champions of metro areas with troubled urban cores that wrestle with systemic segregation and its attendant slow burn. One really wants to see proven results here—measurable outcomes that show that the projections of the writers here will come to fruition. Indeed, it’s up to those who care about the future of urban centers and those who live there either by choice or necessity to “explore the core” in depth. Doing so, however, requires frank confrontation with the daily injustices faced by so many inner city citizens, and that’s not an easy task. Let’s hope the boosters of Baltimore achieve equitable success for all citizens of the city and work to confront the challenges standing in the way.—Joseph GoldkampShare9TweetShare2Email11 Shares
Share140TweetShare20Email160 Shares“public middle school lunch” by woodleywonderworks.April 16, 2017; New York Times, Ridgefield Press, and U.S. News & World ReportThe troop numbers for Girl Scouts of Greater New York are determined by the city’s five boroughs, with the 1000s in the Bronx, 2000s in Brooklyn, and so on. Giselle Burgess is the leader for Troop 6000, the newest addition, but you won’t find Burgess’s troop on a map of the boroughs. Troop 6000 is the first in New York City designated solely for homeless girls.Currently, the troop’s members—21 and growing—live at the Sleep Inn, where the city has taken over all 10 floors to accommodate about 100 homeless families. The New York Times reported that the new troop is among several programs supported by the city to meet the needs of children, who make up nearly 40 percent of the roughly 60,000 people in the city’s primary shelter system. Of 287 people housed at the Sleep Inn, 155 are under 18, according to homeless services.Troop 6000 emerged from a collaboration between Girl Scouts, the homeless services department, and Councilman Jimmy Van Bramer of Queens, who himself experienced homelessness as a child in the 1970s. The city has been trying to move away from a well-criticized history of haphazard patchwork of placement for homeless families. Families are sometimes placed far from the zip code where they lived for years, leaving families without support systems and saddled with impossible commutes to school and work. Such moves also sever children from social activities.Burgess, the community engagement specialist for the Girl Scouts, moved the idea forward and set up the first meeting. She is herself homeless and has an all-too typical story of modern housing insecurity. Her affordable rental house was sold to make way for an upscale condo project; she found herself employed but unable to afford housing for her family. They landed at the Sleep Inn. Studies and client feedback have shown that hotel living for the homeless is not as ideal as a traditional house or apartment. Living without kitchen facilities makes it nearly impossible to eat healthy on a budget, and lack of privacy leads to other concerns. The troop has been a positive experience for Burgess’s daughters and may others at the hotel turned homeless shelter.Meanwhile, in Connecticut, the United Way of Western Connecticut (UWWC) announced they have directed $100,000 in funding this year to assist qualifying families in offsetting the cost of out-of-school enrichment programs for their children. The ALICE (Asset Limited, Income Constrained, Employed) Enrichment Fund came about after the board acted on extensive stakeholder feedback. “We heard overwhelmingly in our conversations with parents that a top concern is their inability to pay for enrichment activities for their children—such as sports, music and the arts,” said Kimberly Morgan, CEO of UWWC.The ALICE Enrichment Fund provides families who fall within its income category with scholarships for their children to participate in skill-building extracurricular activities. Relieving the stress from parents who feel guilty about not being able to provide afterschool enrichment to kids while keeping school-aged children busy, engaged, and mentally stimulated is clearly a win-win for the community, who will see the benefits in reduced teen pregnancy and drug use, if the statistics bear out.Finally, in New Mexico, the scrappy and young New Mexico Appleseed Foundation, founded in 2009 and part of a national network, has protected the sacred childhood rite of passage of being able to eat lunch with your peers without having to first publicly mop the lunchroom floor. New Mexico became the first state to outlaw the “lunch shaming” tactics schools sometimes employ upon students whose families have fallen behind on school lunch bills. The New York Times reported that in Alabama, a child short on funds was stamped on the arm with “I Need Lunch Money.” Children in other schools were forced to clean tables or mop floors in front of their peers to work off the debt. Other students saw their hot lunches thrown away due to unpaid debt. Jennifer Ramo, executive director of New Mexico Appleseed, told the New York Times, “It sounds like some scene from ‘Little Orphan Annie,’ but it happens every day.”The nonprofit found an all-star advocate in State Senator Michael Padilla. The New Mexico Democrat and State Senate majority whip said he introduced the bill because he grew up in foster homes and experienced shaming tactics as a child. He still remembers the names of school lunch ladies who were kind to him, Mrs. Ortiz and Mrs. Jackson, but told the New York Times he still had to do things like mop the school cafeteria floor. “It was really noticeable that I was one of the poor kids in the school,” Padilla said.On April 6, 2017, the governor, Susana Martinez, signed the Hunger-Free Students’ Bill of Rights, which directs schools to work with parents to pay their debts or sign up for federal meal assistance and puts an end to practices meant to embarrass children. It applies to public, private, and religious schools that receive federal subsidies for students’ breakfasts and lunches.With the legislation prohibiting “lunch shaming” on the books in New Mexico, the group hopes to work on using the state legislation as a model for federal law. Locally, New Mexico Appleseed is working in the Navajo Nation and across New Mexico to secure access to healthy meals for children outside of school hours and will continue their work to educate the public on the rights of homeless youth under the McKinney-Vento Act.—Carrie Collins-FadellShare140TweetShare20Email160 Shares
Lovefilm has inked a streaming deal with LG that will see its service launched on the TV manufacturer’s connected TVs. An app from Amazon-owned streaming and delivery service Lovefilm will be added to LG’s smart TV platform, allowing customers to order TV series and movies via the remote control and watch them immediately. Simon Calver, CEO of Amazon’s Lovefilm, said: “With this latest platform launch we are strengthening our penetration into the living rooms of UK consumers, bringing instant entertainment to more homes than ever before.”The Lovefilm service is already available on Sony and Samsung connected TVs. Rival service Netflix is available on Samsung connected TVs in the UK.Earlier this week, Lovefilm has inked a deal with Disney for ABC TV On Demand service.
UK media and telecoms regulator Ofcom plans to commandeer additional spectrum to cope with an expected spike in demand during the London Olympic Games this summer.Ofcom expects demand for wireless spectrum to double during the games, fuelled by the increasing use of wireless technology by broadcasters, walkie-talkie systems, talkback systems and timing and scoring systems.The regulator has built a dedicated spectrum assignment system to ensure that spectrum is used efficiently, with minimum interference. Ofcom will also deploy additional radio engineers, including engineers from other European countries, to identify and deal with interference problems.Ofcom’s plans to ensure that communications continue to function during the games include the unused parts of the broadcast spectrum – including frequencies formerly used for analogue broadcasting –under its control, as well as spectrum allocated for sale by auction for next-generation mobile services and unlicensed spectrum used for WiFi.The regulator also plans to borrow spectrum temporarily from government agencies including the Ministry of Defence, the Home Office, the Civil Aviation Authority and other bodies.Ofcom’s chief operating officer, Jill Ainscough, said: “The UK’s airwaves are already among the most intensively used in the world. The London 2012 Games will significantly increase demand. Ready and prepared for this challenge, Ofcom recognises that there is no room for complacency. We are working behind the scenes to make this capacity available, to ensure that this demand is met.”
Shane O’Neill, one of the best-known executives in the pay TV industry, has passed away.O’Neill had been suffering from a form of Creutzfeld-Jakob brain disease since its diagnosis just over a year ago. He retired as chief strategy officer, Liberty Global, and president, Chellomedia late last year at an event attended by Liberty chairman John Malone and president and CEO Mike Fries among others.Prior to building the Chellomedia business, O’Neill worked at companies including KPMG and Goldman Sachs. More recently he also created the Chello Foundation, a charity dedicated to putting children orphaned by HIV in sub-Saharan Africa into education.He is survived by his wife, Sheelagh and three children.
Telenor-owned Nordic pay TV operator Canal Digital lost a further 11,000 DTH customers in the first quarter in what Telenor described as a competitive market.Canal Digital had 954,000 DTH customers at the end of March, down from 986,000 a year ago, having lost subscribers in all four Nordic territories. However ARPU grew to NOK345 (€45), up from NOK332 a year earlier. Revenues were NOK1.1 billion, flat year-on-year, but EBITDA rose to NOK162million from NOK85 million.Sister company Telenor Satellite Broadcasting saw revenue grow 5% to NOK250 million, driven by data and occasional use sales in non-Nordic markets, while EBITDA grew 10% to NOK178 million.Telenor-owned conditional access provider Conax saw year-on-year revenue growth of 9% to NOK139 million, thanks to strong sales in Asia and the Americas. EBITDA was NOK60 million, up 25%.
The BBC plans to launch its first ‘companion screen’ app associated with its Antiques Roadshow show in September.Victoria Jaye, head of IPTV and TV online content at the BBC, revealed at the Connected TV World Summit yesterday that the first public launch of a companion screen service will be an app based around the popular BBC1 antiques and collectables show. The BBC will introduce an app for smartphone, tablet and desktop that allows viewers to guess the value of collectables brought by members of the public on the show. There will also be a red button version of the app available.The app, which will also feature background stores about the collectables featured on the show, will be introduced by Antiques Roadshow presenters. “We believe we’re building on a genuine audience need,” she said.Jaye said that over the next 18 months the BBC would focus on developing a handful of pilot versions of synchronous companion screen apps that would build on audience needs related to programmes as they are being watched, using its experience with red button services as a guide.The BBC has already piloted apps around its Frozen Planet and Secret Fortune series on BBC1.Secret Fortune, a quiz show, has been accompanied for some time by a playalong service accessible via the red button. Jaye said that the BBC wanted to develop a companion app taking people on their own journey through the format either playing alone or in a multiplayer format. “It’s all about togetherness,” she said, either with the family or with the audience at large. She said that an app where the audience selected answers on the iPad, similar to what was happening on the show, worked well.At the other end of the programming spectrum the BBC also developed an app for natural history programme Frozen Planet, based on information about the animals and giving viewers the opportunity to identify the app as a ‘favourite’, which enabled them to return and look up information after the show had aired. Jaye said this appealed to families with children. Audiences particularly like the ability to ‘favourite’ the content and come back to it. She said they also expressed a preference for ancillary content from the show’s makers rather than from a third party source like Wikipedia. “They wanted people to orientate them into the companion experience,” she said.Jaye said that the companion screen market was still at a very early stage. One of the main challenges was scale, she said. To enable apps to work, “we need to get numbers of people onto these platforms”, said Jaye.
Social media and companion devices are increasingly going hand in hand with TV viewing, according to new research from Ericsson that also found that operator’s should not be too concerned about so-called cord-cutting.Ericsson’s TV & Video Consumer Trend Report 2012, featuring data from seven global markets, found that 62% of consumers use social media whilst watching TV, an increase of 18 percentage points since 2011. Of that total, 42% said they used social media to discuss TV programmes at least weekly.In keeping with these figures, 67% of the respondents from China, Germany, Spain, Sweden, Taiwan, the UK and the US, said they used tablets, smartphones or laptops whilst watching TV.In what looks like good news for TV operators, and dispelling some media reports, the proportion of consumers increasing their spend on TV services is higher than those reducing or cancelling their services. Taking the total number of respondents from the seven countries, Ericsson found that while 7% had cancelled their pay TV service and 10% had reduced it, 22% increased the amount they spend since last year. Niklas Rönnblom, Ericsson ConsumerLab senior advisor stressed that there were strong geographical differences, with the proportion of people reducing payments being impacted by local economic issues. In the UK, for example, 15% of respondents had either cancelled or reduced their pay TV package compared with 14% who had increased spending.The survey also found that TV quality was the most important factor for consumers with regards to their TV experience, while on-demand and timeshift were the services consumers were most prepared to pay for. Rönnblom said consumers were becoming increasingly accustomed to on-demand services, which was increasing their motivation to pay for them. “Once you get used to it, you get hooked,” he said. “If you haven’t experienced it, it’s hard to like it. More people have experienced it and the experience is getting much better.”
Orange reported 5.463 million IPTV and satellite customers in France at the end of the third quarter, up 141,000 on the previous quarter and up by 581,000 on the same period for the prior year. Overall broadband customers in the French market numbered 10.046 million, including 273,000 fibre-to-the-home customers. Third quarter fixed broadband revenues in France were flat at €1.005 billion.Elsewhere, Orange had mixed news on the TV front. In Poland, Orange had 702,000 IPTV and satellite customers at the end of September, up by only 3,000 on the previous quarter and 7,000 on September 2012.The company’s base of IPTV customers in Spain, where Orange relaunched its service at the end of September, numbered 62,000, a quarter-on-quarter decline of 3,000 and a year-on-year decline of 7,000.Overall, Orange posted 3Q revenues of €10.162 billion, down 4% year-on-year.“The number of broadband conversion customers has grown by more than 70% year-on-year in France, Spain and Poland, plus 52% in France, plus 127% in Spain and multiplied by 30 in Poland. We saw an increase in demand for very high-speed both in mobile and fixed markets,” said Orange chief financial officer Gilles Pellissier on a conference call following the results. “In France, the pick-up of fibre is confirmed with 273,000 FTTH customers at the end of September. This is materialised by now a base of 6,000 connections per week in September, and we expect to reach nearly 8,000 connections per week at year end, being probably on the top list amongst European operators the numbers of new connections per week.”
Non-theatrical film and TV distributor, Filmbankmedia, has selected SeaChange’s Rave platform to launch streaming services for schools, hotels and hospitals.Filmbankmedia’s streaming offering will deliver film and TV from leading Hollywood, Bollywood and independent studios, with the firm describing going direct to customers as a “major step” for the company.“The ability to provide our customers with a scalable, managed end-to-end streaming service without any technology or infrastructure investment gives us much greater flexibility over the distribution of our content, cost effectively with a SaaS model approach,” said Filmbankmedia sales director, Simon Culm.SeaChange vice President of OTT Sales EMEA, Ivonne Prugnaud, said the Filmbankmedia offering “is a fantastic showcase for the capabilities of Rave and its ability to serve diverse vertical market segments for online distribution.”Filmbankmedia is the trading name of Filmbank Distributors Limited, a joint venture company owned by Warner Bros. Entertainment, Sony Pictures Releasing and NT Digital Partners.Seachange is exhibiting at IBC on stand 1.F70
Vice’s linear TV channel, Viceland, will launch via Liberty Global-owned operator Ziggo in the Netherlands next year.Vice said that the youth lifestyle and culture channel will go live in the first quarter of 2017 – initially via Ziggo, but with “further distribution” due to follow later in the year.Viceland NL will air a mixture of international programming and original, local content produced in the Netherlands and Belgium. All content on the 24-hour channel will be programmed, produced and developed in-house.‘’The arrival of Viceland ensures that we will be present with our content on all screens – digital, mobile en linear – and as such, is a logical step for us in the evolution of Vice,” said CEO of Vice Media Benelux, Thijs Boon.“We have the ambition to tell the most remarkable stories in fresh and innovative ways to millennials, and this step ensures that we raise the bar for ourselves even higher.’’Filmmaker and Viceland co-president, Spike Jonze will oversee the development of the new channel – from show creation, to production, to brand identity.The Netherlands launch will follow the rollout of Viceland in France, Asia, Africa, Australia and New Zealand later this year.Viceland first launched in the US earlier this year and is now also available in Canada, the UK and Ireland.