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PROVIDENCIALES Turks Caicos – Molasses Reef a

first_imgPROVIDENCIALES, Turks & Caicos – Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve is partnering with lauded chef Gray Kunz to envision and create the resort’s three dining options, including its signature oceanfront restaurant.Uninhabited for over 100 years, the island of West Caicos is opening its shores to a new development – West Caicos Reserve. The centerpiece will be the intimate 125-room resort, Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve. The island will also feature Ritz-Carlton-branded Island Villas, secluded single-family homes, custom homes, cottages and marina townhomes, two national parks, cultural heritage sites, a Spa and three restaurants.Inspired from the moment he set foot on the island, Chef Kunz says of the project, “There is no true way to describe West Caicos other than to see it for yourself. I am excited to be involved in creating three distinctive, memorable dining options at this singular place.” Celebrated for his heralded work at Lespinasse in New York City in the 1990s, Chef Kunz opened the one Michelin-starred Café Gray in The Time Warner Center in New York in October, 2004, and is planning his second establishment, Grayz, a destination bar and lounge with private event rooms in midtown, opening in September. The restaurant at Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve, will be Chef Kunz’s first Caribbean project.Authentic Design, Inspired Cuisine With the brilliant azure waters of the Caribbean as its backdrop and primary design element, the 114-seat restaurant will reflect the island’s barefoot luxury look and feel with Plantation-style design and several intimate indoor and outdoor terraced dining pavilions. Guests will enter through a wine room highlighted by a large plantation table where they will be able to taste and select wines, mingle and sample hors d’oeuvres. In the main dining room, a large display kitchen is the focal point, complete with a chef’s table set under a large pot-rack chandelier suspended from the vaulted ceiling. Inside, pitched plantation style ceilings, wideplank dark wood floors, polished nickel edge detailing, and antique fixtures complement the expansive ocean view. Outside, wraparound terraces with sofas and ottomans create intimate seating areas, perfect for enjoying West Caicos sunsets.With influences from his years spent in Singapore, Switzerland and Hong Kong, and paying homage to the island’s history, Chef Kunz’s menu will travel the globe, blending Asian and Western ingredients with fresh, local foods to create his signature Kunzian cuisine. Menu items will include dishes such as Salt Stone Simmered Lobster Tail with Harissa Sauce; Tobacco Smoked Blue Fin Tuna with Togarashi and a Citrus Glaze; Grilled Snapper with a Plantain Crumble, Crabmeat, Papaya and a Kaffir Emulsion; and Red Curry Lamb Stew with a Pink Lentil Crusted Chop and Eggplant Tart. Kunz’s food will be complemented by a world class wine cellar.About Chef Kunz Born in Singapore and raised in Switzerland, Chef Kunz was trained in the techniques of Classical French cuisine and quickly made his mark in the culinary world at great restaurants including Beau Rivage Palace in Lausanne and Restaurant Girardet in Lausanne. In 1990, the now-famed Lespinasse opened in New York City with Kunz at the helm. He quickly earned four-stars in The New York Times and dozens of top accolades besides, from The James Beard Foundation to Gourmet magazine. In October 2004, Chef Kunz returned to New York’s culinary scene with Café Gray, his version of an Eastern European Brassiere. The restaurant received a coveted Michelin Star in October 2005. Gray Kunz will open Grayz on West 54th Street in midtown Manhattan in September 2007, featuring both a glamorous bar and cocktail lounge, and luxurious private dining facilities. The restaurant at Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will open in late 2008 along with the resort.About Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve and West Caicos Reserve Blending traditional Caribbean architecture with English, French, Dutch and Spanish influences, Molasses Reef, a Ritz-Carlton Reserve will include 125 generously sized rooms in low-density buildings, two restaurants and a spa, spread along miles of uninterrupted beachfront. Completion of the resort, the first phase of the villas (approximately 30) and the marina is slated for late 2008.The 11-mile-long, 6,000-acre island of West Caicos features some of the most sublime beaches and brilliant azure water in the Caribbean. It is home to the 500-acre Lake Catherine, a natural wildlife sanctuary and breeding ground for pink roseate flamingoes as well as Molasses Reef, rumored to be the final resting place of Columbus’ Pinta and ranking among the world’s top dive sites. Reachable only by boat, small plane or helicopter, transportation on island will be primarily by electric vehicle and bicycle. To ensure that the island remains unspoiled, approximately 90 percent of the acreage will stay permanently undeveloped and the projects slated for development will all be low density. For more information, call (649) 941-7480 or visit www.westcaicosreserve.com or www.molassesreef.com.last_img read more


Rep Chatfield introduces resolution to promote construction of new lock in Sault

first_img13Feb Rep. Chatfield introduces resolution to promote construction of new lock in Sault Ste. Marie State Rep. Lee Chatfield, of Levering, who serves as speaker pro tempore, introduced a resolution to support construction of a new lock at Sault Ste. Marie, Mich., and urge the president and Congress of the United States to fully fund the project.“The construction of a new lock is incredibly important to the northern Michigan economy and our national security,” said Chatfield. “This project is long overdue, and with a new president focused on our national security and improving our nation’s aging infrastructure – it’s a no-brainer.”Congress authorized construction of a second large, Poe-sized lock at Sault Ste. Marie in 1986, and in 2007, Congress authorized construction at full federal expense. Though the project has been authorized and preliminary work conducted, a lack of federal funding has stalled further work, Chatfield said.Only one of the four Soo Locks is large enough to accommodate the modern vessels that commonly traverse the Great Lakes. Thus, the reliance on one lock poses a serious risk to national security and the economies of the state of Michigan and the United States.A long-term outage of the Poe Lock due to lock failure or terrorist attack would disrupt steel production in the United States, crippling the economy and plunging the country into recession, Chatfield said. Because no viable transportation alternatives exist, the U.S. Department of Homeland Security estimated nearly 11 million jobs would be lost. Other studies indicate that even a short-term failure of 30 days could result in economic losses of $160 million.The economic benefits to Michigan, the Great Lakes region, and the entire country far outweigh the cost of constructing a new lock, Chatfield said. A 2017 report to the U.S. Department of Treasury estimated that the $626 million investment in a new lock would provide a return of up to four times that amount.“The construction of a new lock would be a boon for the Michigan economy and create good jobs in a region that continues to suffer from higher than average unemployment rates,” Chatfield said. “At its peak, the project would employ up to 250 workers and require 1.5 million working hours over the 10 years of construction.” Categories: Chatfield News,Newslast_img read more


Criminal justice reform sponsored by Rep Howrylak advances to the House floor

first_img06Dec Criminal justice reform sponsored by Rep. Howrylak advances to the House floor The House Law and Justice Committee voted this week to advance House Bill 5234, which was introduced by State Representative Martin Howrylak, to the House floor.Under current law, an inmate cannot retain public or private health insurance when they enter the county jail. Once an individual is incarcerated, the jail is required to pay for any needed medical treatment while the individual is in custody. As a result, counties across the state are incurring significant costs associated with 24-hour hospital watches for extremely ill prisoners receiving care from outside medical professionals.If enacted, HB 5234 will provide county jails with the ability to utilize compassionate release and medical probation for incarcerated individuals that meet specific requirements. Cases would be reviewed on an individual basis by a medical doctor, the Sheriff, and the court to determine if the individual is eligible for compassionate release or medical probation under this legislation.“Our counties are incurring significant costs to care for these individuals, even as they are no longer a threat to public safety,” said Howrylak, who is a committee member. “These are individuals who are medically incapacitated and have access to medical care, yet remain in jail and on the taxpayer’s dime because of their crimes. We should give the local sheriffs and judges an opportunity to make determinations for these very specific and rare cases.”In order to be eligible for medical probation or compassionate release under this legislation:A prisoner must be physically or mentally incapacitated due to a medical condition that requires 24-hour care or have a life expectancy of not more than six months.A placement option must be secured for the prisoner that does not pose a threat to the safety of the public or the prisoner.The county sheriff must determine if the expenses related to the prisoner’s placement will be paid by Medicaid, private insurance, or another form of payment before the prisoner is released.##### Categories: Howrylak News,Newslast_img read more


Rep Meerman Republicans lay out priorities for next two years

first_img State Rep. Luke Meerman stood with his House Republican colleagues this week to present their policy priorities for the 2019-20 session.Over the next two years, they pledge to continue Michigan’s comeback and improve opportunities for all Michigan families in their policy action plan titled, “Leading the Way for an Even Better Michigan.” The plan includes fixing the roads, a commitment to lowering Michiganders’ tax burden and strengthening the state’s agricultural economy.As a fifth-generation dairy farmer and small business owner, Meerman, of Polktown Township, said he knows well that all of these pieces of sound public policy work together to create an environment that works for Michigan’s farmers and small business owners.“A strong Michigan depends on strong small businesses and thriving agriculture,” Meerman said. “Over the last eight years, a lot of progress has been made to make Michigan both business and family friendly, but more work remains so that we can secure an even stronger Michigan for the next generation.”House Republicans will focus on the following priorities over the next two years:Building better roads, public water systems and increasing access to broadband.Protecting constitutional rights and religious freedoms.Working to increase government transparency.Putting more hard-earned money back into the pockets of Michigan taxpayers through lower car insurance rates and tax relief.Creating pathways to success for all students whether or not they go to college.The full text of the House action plan is available at http://gophouse.org/leading-the-way/ 21Feb Rep. Meerman, Republicans lay out priorities for next two years Categories: Meerman News,Newslast_img read more


Protestors Oprahs Comments on Leadership Out of Touch and Elitist

first_imgShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shares  Rena Schild / Shutterstock.comJanuary 2, 2015;Washington PostIn a video posted on People magazine’s website, Oprah Winfrey last Friday criticized the movement of those currently protesting the police shootings of young black men as “leaderless.” In doing so, she illuminated the growing differences between older and younger social justice leaders as regards styles of leadership, coordination, and direction-setting.In a video on the site, she said:“I think it’s wonderful to march and to protest and it’s wonderful to see all across the country, people doing it…But what I’m looking for is some kind of leadership to come out of this to say, ‘This is what we want. This is what we want. This is what has to change, and these are the steps that we need to take to make these changes, and this is what we’re willing to do to get it.’”Protest organizers, many of whom are millennials and women, decried the statement and stated once again that the diffuse, leaderless approach that makes so many older leaders uncomfortable is a purposeful choice based in many considerations. “We very purposefully have been a leaderless movement. […] We’ve been doing that intentionally because we know absolute power corrupts absolutely,” said Brittany Packnett. “That ensures we remain about the heart of the movement rather than certain personalities.”“We’re the lost generation,” said Kayla Reed, 24, who grew up in north St. Louis County. “It was very necessary that we didn’t allow someone who’d done this before to come into this space. Michael Brown was my age bracket.”In fact, protest organizers say, Winfrey’s statement reveals her as out of touch and elitist.Some protestors have objected to being represented by the “old guard” of civil rights spokespeople, and although they may not completely conflate the idea of a central decision-making structure with that old guard, Sandhya Somashekhar of the Washington Post writes that Matthew C. Whitaker, director of the Arizona State University Center for the Study of Race and Democracy, believes that times have legitimately changed as far as how a movement may be kept of a piece.Social media may have in some ways replaced the role of a traditional leader or organization, so the fact that some young people would reject the idea of a central standard-bearer makes some sense, Whitaker said. The protestors prefer “leadership that’s shared and that doesn’t rely so much on one major leader, because history has shown we kill those leaders,” he said. “We marginalize them. We undermine their reputation. We do something to undermine their ability to execute and lead. And, as a result, vacuums are left and the movement crumbles.”This important conversation has been echoed across many protest movements over the past five years. It deserves careful attention from those interested in movement building in this century.—Ruth McCambridgeShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shareslast_img read more


Could Collaborations Mean Better and Less Costly Healthcare

first_imgShare14TweetShare18Email32 Shares August 27, 2015; Crain’s New YorkThe massive disruption of the healthcare industry and the enactment of the Affordable Care Act have forced hospitals and physicians to create new ways of doing business and to redirect patient care from the acute care setting to primary care “medical homes” that focus on prevention and coordinate patient care. Today, $7.4 billion in New York State Medicaid reform initiatives suggest a new and much broader iteration of coordinated care, one that brings government and nonprofits together to address basic needs like food and housing that influence the health status of residents, particularly in low-income neighborhoods.The stakes are high. New York expects to see a 25 percent reduction in emergency visits within five years, largely through preventative measures. Up until now, nonprofits were, for the most part, going it alone without funding from Medicaid. This may seem counterintuitive, given the fact that their programs contribute to the overall health of the population. Dr. Neil Calman, president and CEO of the Institute for Family Health said, “We have an enormous social work department, but all of their work is completely unreimbursed.” With Medicaid funding, organizations like the Institute can now extend their reach in holistically addressing the needs of patients, helping them to manage their housing, finances, and food buying so that they can live healthier lives and stay out of the hospital.The new partnerships should have a significant impact in tackling chronic diseases. Shoshanah Brown, executive director of a.i.r. NYC, an organization that helps asthmatic children in poor neighborhoods, says “community-based organizations like ours that are close to the ground and are very much in the community” can keep patients healthier. While the nonprofit has been in hospitals and schools since its launch in 2011, it has operated with grants and private funding. Recently, it has contracted with two Medicaid managed-care plans that will pay it to work with individual patients.Partnerships are also addressing diabetes, now epidemic in New York with an estimated 12.3 percent of the population having the disease and 36.2 percent with pre-diabetes. In most cases, adult-onset diabetes is preventable. Montefiore Medical Center has launched a program with the YMCA to prevent pre-diabetic patients from full-blown diabetes with a 16-week class teaching patients how to cook, where to shop for fresh food, and ways to exercise. Patients on an average lost 6.6 pounds, or three percent of their body weight. Dr. Amanda Parsons, Montefiore’s vice president of population health, said, “A lot of doctors are saying, ‘We can’t get patients to lose weight.’ So we say, ‘We get that.’” She added, “Just send your patients to us.”The impact of nonprofit and healthcare provider collaborations could be significant, particularly in the treatment of some of the most vulnerable patients: those with mental illness or substance abuse issues. Len McNally, retired director of health initiatives at the New York Community Trust, said, “They might go to the emergency room 50 times a year.” As a result of reform, healthcare providers can work with a housing group so that they can have a safe place to live and stay out of the hospital.The potential of these programs to make a lasting impact on communities is enormous. The nonprofit group God’s Love We Deliver subcontracts with several Medicaid managed-care plans to deliver meals to people who have recently been discharged from the hospital and those who can’t cook for themselves. Karen Pearl, chief executive of the organization, said, “Every day that we can help avoid one day in the hospital for somebody, that one-day saving can pay for half a year of medically tailored meal delivery.”The bottom line for healthcare spending? When New York nonprofits collaborate with healthcare providers, everyone wins.—G. Meredith BetzShare14TweetShare18Email32 Shareslast_img read more


Pittsburgh Embraces Inclusion as a Public Policy

first_imgShare12TweetShare6Email18 SharesFebruary 1, 2016; Pittsburgh Post-GazetteThe Pittsburgh Post-Gazette highlights efforts to maintain a balance of affordable housing in gentrifying areas of Pittsburgh. The article, entitled “Push for affordable housing targets trendy Pittsburgh neighborhoods,” outlines initiatives by three local nonprofit developers to maintain housing opportunities for middle-income tenants in the face of rapid gentrification. Writing about Lawrenceville, the article focuses on a limited equity land trust. Covering Oakland and East Liberty, the article focuses on two other nonprofits, which are managing and developing affordable units using the Low Income Housing Tax Credit program.Of the three ventures, the community land trust may be the least familiar concept. The Post-Gazette story describes a land trust like this:The nonprofit would own the land while selling the homes at affordable prices to people who earn 80 percent of the area’s median income. For a family of four, 80 percent is $55,000. These homeowners would have the same rights and responsibilities as people with traditional mortgages; they just wouldn’t own the land. They would make a small lease payment per month for use of the land. Lawrenceville Corp. would manage subsequent resales to ensure that the next buyer makes 80 percent of the area median income. The sellers would reap the principal they paid and their down payment. They also could keep whatever increase comes from the sale based on increases in the area median income.The idea is that the institutional land ownership serves as a buffer against either runaway speculation that could drive prices out of reach of middle-income households or market crashes that could cause owners to lose home equity.The city has also been a partner in several deals designed to preserve affordable developments threatened by gentrification. Mayor Peduto’s administration intervened to preserve affordable units that will be on the border between downtown, where new commercial development is taking place on the site of the old Civic Arena, and the Hill District, a traditional African American community. Similarly, Mayor Peduto’s administration intervened in the conversion of Penn Plaza into upscale rental.In the midst of the rental housing boom, it is pretty clear that a rising tide doesn’t lift all boats. Without interventions by community-based nonprofits in cooperation with local governments, low- and moderate-income renters will be squeezed out of developing areas.Cincinnati provides another example of how local efforts to maintain the balance between traditional residents and newcomers run up against almost overwhelming forces of change. The Cincinnati Enquirer reports on the evolution of the Over the Rhine neighborhood into a mixed income community in the article, “Here’s how OTR housing has changed.” Key to preserving affordable housing in the OTR community has been a strong nonprofit organization, Over the Rhine Community Housing (OTRCH), which has struggled for decades to preserve existing housing with subsidies for low-income families as younger more affluent residents came into the community. Despite OTRCH efforts, the Enquirer article reports that the number of affordable units fell from 3,235 units in 2002 to 869 in 2015, according to Mary Burke Rivers, executive director of the community-based developer Over-the-Rhine Community Housing, which provides 425 units of affordable housing.The problem of scale is also addressed in the Post-Gazette story, which recounts the observation of East Liberty Development’s land recycling director Kendall Pelling that “market forces are so dominant that none of these efforts comes close to the demand.” Mr. Pelling said “political support is critical” and that “a larger-scale solution would be to save housing stock now deteriorating all over the city and ensure public safety to make those neighborhoods desirable.”In Pittsburgh, neighborhood-based efforts are complemented by efforts city- and statewide to expand affordable housing opportunities. Over the past several months, NPQ has featured stories about the expansion of Low Income Housing Tax Credits, the enactment of “source of income” protections for housing choice voucher households, and a proposal to use HCV funds to promote low income homeownership in foreclosure distressed neighborhoods.That level of public sector commitment is not so evident in neighboring Ohio, where the leases of thirty-some tenants at Bryden House were terminated at the end of January after the building owners were released from an affordability agreement with the Ohio Housing Finance Agency. Their former homes are already being marketed on Craigslist to students and young professionals.Another question lingers: Will low/moderate income families thrive in gentrifying neighborhoods? Gentrifying newcomers who live in secured buildings don’t automatically improve safety. Millennials who create their own businesses may not meet the needs of their low- and moderate-income neighbors. Young newcomers who send their children to private schools won’t challenge the local public schools to excel.—Spencer WellsShare12TweetShare6Email18 Shareslast_img read more


Cant Sue a Hashtag Judge Dismisses Suit against Black Lives Matter

first_imgShare20Tweet17Share7Email44 Shares“Black Lives Matter” by Phil RoederSeptember 29, 2017; Washington Post and Atlanta Journal-ConstitutionMaking clear that there is a distinction between a social movement (or a social media movement) and an organization, a federal judge dismissed a lawsuit brought by an injured police officer in Baton Rouge, Louisiana, against Black Lives Matter and, ironically, DeRay Mckesson, who has been labelled one of its leading activists but who is in fact questionably connected to the movement’s leadership network. We wrote about this as far back ago as 2016:Mckesson, who is an alumnus of [Teach for America (TFA)], made a name for himself during the Ferguson protests with his Twitter coverage of the action—and, not for nothing, he boasts nearly 300,000 followers on that medium. His campaign garnered more than $70,000 in donations within 24 hours of his announcement, but even in Mckesson’s own estimation, he is affiliated with neither the 26-chapter Black Lives Matter Network—founded by Opal Tometi, Alicia Garza, and Patrisse Cullors in 2012—nor with other organizing groups in that movement. In fact, the one organization that he seems to be firmly affiliated with long-term is TFA, which brings with it certain baggage as far as some critics are concerned.In any case, U.S. District Judge Brian A. Jackson threw out the suit, which was filed anonymously. The ruling could be appealed, but Judge Jackson was clear in his writing that a movement is not the same as an organization and therefore cannot be sued.In addition to bringing charges against Black Lives Matter (BLM) and the Black Lives Matter Network, the plaintiff also brought charges against Mckesson as a BLM leader for inciting others to commit violent acts that led to his injuries. Adding to the depth of the charges, the suit also included charges against the hashtag #BlackLivesMatter.Judge Jackson was not kind in his dismissal statement:Although many entities have utilized the phrase “black lives matter” in their titles or business designations, “Black Lives Matter” itself is not an entity of any sort. Therefore, all claims against “Black Lives Matter” must be dismissed because social movements lack the capacity to be sued.The judge further wrote that an “attempt to bring suit against a social movement and a hashtag evinces either a gross lack of understanding of the concept of capacity or bad faith.” As such, Jackson said, Black Lives Matter cannot be sued “in a similar way that a person cannot plausibly sue other social movements such as the Civil Rights movement, the LGBT rights movement, or the Tea Party movement.”The charges against Mckesson of inciting others to riot were also summarily dismissed. Judge Jackson based this on two critical points: First, since Black Lives Matter is not an organization with a traditional leadership structure, Mckesson therefore cannot be sued as its leader. Second, Mckesson’s acts during the July 9, 2016 demonstration were well within the bounds of his constitutional right of association and that he only engaged in protected speech. The ruling said Mckesson could not be held liable for the actions of others.Such distinctions between movements and organizations could have implications for future litigation. As observed in this case, it would be difficult to sue the Civil Rights Movement or the Tea Party, but easier to go after organizations like the NAACP or ALEC, each of which has an incorporation, a leadership structure, and nonprofit status. Basing a lawsuit on defensible positions against entities and individuals who can be sued makes a difference.In this case, the positions taken were not defensible, at least in the legal interpretation of Judge Jackson. But this case is only one of two:Mckesson and Black Lives Matter are named in a separate lawsuit in the same court, filed by an officer who was wounded when a gunman opened fire on law enforcement officers in Baton Rouge last July. The gunman, Gavin Long, killed three officers and injured three others in the ambush-style attack before being fatally shot by authorities. He wrote in a suicide note that his actions were a “necessary evil” designed to retaliate against law enforcement.The officer’s lawsuit, which is still pending, accuses Black Lives Matter, Mckesson and other prominent activists of inciting the violence. They have denied wrongdoing.As social movements such as MoveOn, Indivisible, and the Tea Party proliferate, further efforts could arise to blame them and legally implicate them for actions linked to their philosophies. Although it was summarily dismissed, the linking of a hashtag to a violent act should give some pause to how social movements are perceived in this era of social media. It may be a teachable moment on the value of movements versus the value of organizations. However, a hidden story may be just who is in fact a leader of a movement and who isn’t. Who determines that—the media, the person claiming to be leader, the movement? BLM has been quiet on the “Mckesson as BLM leader” saga, but this story shows how convoluted it can get.—Carole Levine and Cyndi SuarezShare20Tweet17Share7Email44 Shareslast_img read more


Ukrainian cable operator Volia is launching a new

first_imgUkrainian cable operator Volia is launching a new kids package to complement its existing sports, movies and educational packages.According to marketing director Jaroslav Humeniuk, the new package will comprise 18 channels initially and will be offered in Kyiv on a trial basis, to be expanded to other cities later this year. Channels in the package include Nick Jr, JimJam, Detskiy, Moya Radost, TiJi and Gulli.last_img


Satellite operator Eutelsat is increasing the spee

first_imgSatellite operator Eutelsat is increasing the speed of its Tooway broadband service.Irrespective of location, all users can now receive speeds of up to 18Mbps, an increase of 8Mbps. A new entry level package is also being launched, offering download speeds of up to 2Mbps and upload speeds of up to 1Mbps for an expected retail price of  €19.90.“Today’s announcement shows our commitment to further enhancing the performance of the Tooway service, which is fundamentally about connecting people – both those in areas unserved and underserved by ADSL,” said Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO.last_img


Overthetop video service Netflix has launched as

first_imgOver-the-top video service Netflix has launched as an app for Virgin Media’s TiVo service in the UK. The pay TV operator said the app would now be available to more than 1.8 million Virgin Media TiVo homes, with new or existing customers able to get a six-month gift subscription to Netflix if they sign-up to Virgin Media’s Premiere or VIP Collection triple-play packages.Existing Netflix subscibers can use their current log-in on Virgin Media TiVo to access content on their main TV screen without having to switch between TV inputs or remote controls.“The brand new Netflix app complements Virgin Media’s huge collection of On Demand entertainment, with over 6,000 hours all ready to watch instantly,” said Virgin Media in a statement.Virgin first started piloting its Netflix collaboration for TiVo customers back in September. Since then Netflix has also struck similar pay TV operator deals with Com Hem in Sweden and Waoo! in Denmark.last_img read more


Stéphane Richard Googles Android platform is a T

first_imgStéphane RichardGoogle’s Android platform is a “Trojan Horse” and European regulators are “often naïve” about giant US internet companies, according to Stéphane Richard, CEO of service provider Orange. Speaking at the annual Udecam advertising business forum, Richard said that the European market was the “number one target” for internet giants including Google, Apple and Facebook.Richard said that Google’s search engine had a 90-95% market share in search in most countries, representing a real risk. He said the Android operating system was a kind of Trojan Horse in the billion or so smartphones sold each year around the globe.Richard also contrasted the tax obligations of national players in European markets and the US internet giants, who could base their operations in countries with low tax regimes.last_img read more


Viacom reported record results for the year ending

first_imgViacom reported record results for the year ending September 30, driven by gains in its channels, or media networks, business. Announcing its fiscal fourth quarter and full year results, Viacom said that for the full year, higher media networks revenues were offset by lower film revenues. Full-year adjusted operating income grew 5% to a record US$4.13 billion (€3.32 billion) and adjusted net earnings from continuing operations rose 3% to US$2.38 billionIn Q4, Viacom said that media networks revenues grew by 8% to US$2.66 billion, mainly due to growth in affiliate fees.Domestic and worldwide affiliate revenues increased 21% and 22% respectively, However, worldwide advertising revenues decreased 2%, reflecting a 5% US ad slump that was partially offset by a 33% increase in international advertising revenues.“International advertising revenues benefited from the acquisition of Channel 5 on September 10, 2014,” said Viacom.Commenting on the UK channel acquisition, Viacom president and CEO Philippe Dauman added: “Our September acquisition of Channel 5 has already made a positive impact on our business, and points the way to further significant long-term growth of our international business.”In Europe, the Middle East and Africa, Viacom saw subscriber gains among its core channel brands, with MTV’s audience rising year-on-year from 313.7 million to 315.5 million and Nickelodeon’s climbing from 219.9 million to 235.2 million.“The company significantly broadened its presence in Africa, both gaining increased distribution for MTV and launching Nick Jr., Nicktoons, and BET International in South Africa. Viacom now delivers more television channels than any other international programmer on the continent, and it is well positioned to capitalise on the progress of the African market,” said Viacom.It added that its channels business also launched 12 new apps in the quarter, including new TV Everywhere apps for iOS and Google Play and premium apps for iPad, iPhone, Amazon and Google Play.Overall in the quarter, revenues were up 9% to US$3.99 billion, adjusted operating income was flat compared to the prior year at US$1.21 billion, while adjusted net earnings from continuing operations were down slightly to US$729 million.last_img read more


Margrethe Vestager The European Commission is inve

first_imgMargrethe VestagerThe European Commission is investigating Sky and six Hollywood majors – Disney, NBCUniversal, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Twentieth Century Fox and Warner Bros – for agreeing content rights deals on a geographically restricted basis in the EU.The EC has sent a statement of objections to the parties alleging that they have put in place contractual restrictions preventing Sky UK from allowing EU consumers not resident in the UK or Ireland from viewing its pay TV services.The Commission said that, if its preliminary findings are confirmed, each of the companies would have breached EU competition rules. The EC has identified clauses in the studios’ deals with Sky that require the latter to block access to films available through its online pay TV services or through its satellite services to consumers outside the licensed territory of the UK and Ireland.According to EU rules, Sky should be able to accept unsolicited requests for its services from consumers in other member states. The Commission noted that some agreements also prevent the studios from selling rights to pay TV operators outside the UK that make their services available to consumers within the UK.According to EU rules, rights that grant ‘absolute territorial exclusivity’, preventing cross-border competition, are in serious breach of EU rules.The EC has previously expressed concern about deals between the studios and other broadcasters including Canal+, Spain’s DTS/Canal+ and Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia – the latter two now part of the wider Sky organisation.Disney immediately condemned the Commission’s action and said it would oppose it.“The Walt Disney Company is a leader in embracing new and innovative digital technologies that bring its unique entertainment to families and fans worldwide.  Our approach is one that supports local creative industries, local digital and broadcast partners and most importantly consumers in every country across the EU.  The impact of the Commission’s analysis is destructive of consumer value and we will oppose the proposed action vigorously,” said the studio in a statement.“NBCUniversal confirms that it has received a Statement of Objections from the European Commission regarding the cross-border provision of pay TV services. We will have the opportunity to formally respond to the Statement and are communicating constructively with the European Commission,” said NBCUniversal.Sky said that it is reviewing the EU statement of objections. “The European Commission is examining cross border access to Pay TV services across a number of member states. As part of its ongoing enquiry, we have received a statement setting out the Commission’s preliminary views. We will consider this and respond in due course,” it said.The EU’s investigations in this area follow the 2011 EU Court of Justice ruling on a case pitting he English Premier League against a UK pub landlady who had shown foreign broadcasts of Premier League football matches on her premises, which found that territorially exclusive rights prevent competition by partitioning the market.The statement of objections is a formal step, giving the recipients the right to reply before any further steps are taken. The investigation is open-ended and is likely to take some time to reach a conclusion, but potentially could have a dramatic impact on the pay TV business in Europe.“European consumers want to watch the pay TV channels of their choice regardless of where they live or travel in the EU. Our investigation shows that they cannot do this today, also because licensing agreements between the major film studios and Sky UK do not allow consumers in other EU countries to access Sky’s UK and Irish pay TV services, via satellite or online. We believe that this may be in breach of EU competition rules. The studios and Sky UK now have the chance to respond to our concerns,” said EU competition commissioner Margrethe Vestager.last_img read more


Wurl TV US internet TV aggregator Wurl TV has stru

first_imgWurl TVUS internet TV aggregator Wurl TV has struck a deal with e-sports and games-focused programmer IGN Entertainment to launch IGN TV, a new broadband channel that will focus on video game and entertainment news, game reviews, interviews, behind-the-scenes looks and movie and TV reviews.Shows including Daily Fix, Up At Noon, Game Scoop! and eSports Weekly.Wurl TV distributes channels and on-demand content to the 60 million-odd internet-connected cable TV set-tops across the US.The service went live in July, with a line up that included he Alt Channel, Streaming News Network, The Sports Feed, Baeble Music TV and the Popcornflix Channel.“We’re thrilled to have IGN Entertainment join the Wurl TV Network,” said Sean Doherty, Wurl’s founder and CEO. “Our unique cable network is making it easier for online studios like IGN to take advantage of cable TV’s unparalleled reach and viewer engagement in a way that provides viewers with the convenience of linear channels and the unprecedented choice of popular on-demand apps.”last_img read more


Jeff Bewkes The international distribution of the

first_imgJeff BewkesThe international distribution of the HBO Now SVOD service will be “accelerated” by the sale of Time Warner to telecoms giant AT&T, according to Jeff Bewkes.Speaking on an investor call yesterday, Time Warner CEO Bewkes (pictured) said plans to spread HBO Now – originally a US service – into new territories were progressing, and that its OTT operation in Scandinavia, HBO Nordic, was showing “accelerating growth”.“We’re on track to launch in more international territories before the end of the year,” he said. “These are just early examples of the kinds of vibrant new services and capabilities we’re working on, and we plan to accelerate these as part of AT&T.”HBO Now has been linked with a launch in Spain, with Brazil and Argentina debuts confirmed earlier this year, and Bewkes’ comments echo those of HBO chief exec Richard Plepler, who said in August there would be “announcements in the near future about new OTT businesses”.Elsewhere in the investor call, Bewkes claimed selling Time Warner to AT&T, which owns DirecTV and the AT&T Audience Network, for US$85.4 billion (€77.1 billion)(plus US$23.3 billion in debt) would allow the HBO, Turner and Warner Bros. parent to get “closer to consumers and… to go where they’re going”.“And that is increasingly mobile, it’s increasingly multi-platform, increasingly on demand, and it’s increasingly through new services and packages via direct consumer relationships over broadband,” he said.Bewkes will exit Time Warner once the merged company is properly functioning, which the companies have said is likely to take around 14 months after the deal.Questioned on how Time Warner will preserve its creative culture, Bewkes responded he, Turner CEO John Martin, Warner Bros. boss Kevin Tsujihara, and HBO chief Plepler would ensure this remained.“First of all, I’m not going anywhere, and we’ll be here through the closing and into quite a period of transition after that, and then Randall and I will figure out what’s the best way to go over the long run.“The same is true of our division heads and all of our top execs, whether it’s John, Kevin and Richard and all the teams they lead. Then think of our creative partners, not just our programming development execs inside the company… most of the creative input comes from outside the company in partnership with us.”Time Warner’s third-quarter financial results saw Turner revenues up 8.8% year-on-year at US$2.61 billion, HBO up 4.3% at US$1.43 billion, Warner Bros. up 6.6% at US$3.4 billion, with operating profits in those divisions all up.last_img read more


In the UK 794 of internet users some 432 milli

first_imgIn the UK 79.4% of internet users, some 43.2 million people, will watch online videos this year according to eMarketer stats.The research firm said that overall growth in the online video space has been buoyed by growth in younger age categories, with digital videos the most popular online activity for the youngest internet users in the UK“This year 88.6% of internet users aged under four will be tuning in,” said eMarketer, which ranked the proportion of digital video viewers in the UK above smartphone or tablet users, digital audio listeners, and users of each of the major social networks.eMarketer predicts that a total of 32.7 million people in the UK will use Facebook in 2017, a jump of 2.8% over last year.Instagram will be used by 14.4 million people this year, a growth of 18.2%, while snapchat will be used by 13.6 million people, according to the research.Twitter will trail in the social space, with eMarketer’s projections for its use lowered as a result of “drops in almost all age groups”. In 2017 the study predicted 12.53 million people in the UK using Twitter, marking yearly growth of 2.5%.last_img read more


SES15 takes off Satellite operator SES has succes

first_imgSES-15 takes offSatellite operator SES has successfully launched SES-15, its new hybrid Ku-band widebeam and Ku-band high throughput satellite, on a Soyuz launcher from French Guiana.The launch, the first for SES on a Soyuz vehicle, will see the satellite manoeuvred to the 129° West position where it will serve North America, Mexico, Central America and the Caribbean as well as providing coverage for invlight connectivity through its HRS payload.The SES-15 HTS payload will provide services to the likes of Global Eagle Entertainment, Gogo and Panasonic Avionics for inflight connectivity. In addition, the satellite has a dedicated wide beam that is designed to enable IFC/IFE providers to deliver live TV content on all flight routes across the US, including Hawaii and Alaska, as well as Canada, the Caribbean and Mexico.The satellite will also provide VSAT and GPS connectivity.“The successful launch of SES-15 is the first of our three planned hybrid satellites, which have both wide beams and high throughput capability. SES-15, along with the soon-to-be launched SES-14 hybrid satellite, and our existing in-orbit satellites, offer the most resilient aeronautical connectivity platform in North America,” said Martin Halliwell, chief technology officer at SES.“SES-15 will allow us to strengthen our ability to provide next generation services in data-intensive markets such as maritime and corporate broadband.”last_img read more


Channel 4 has created a number of new executive ro

first_imgChannel 4 has created a number of new executive roles – including chief operating officer and chief product officer – as part of a shakeup of the broadcaster’s top positions.Alex MahonThe chief product officer will spearhead the UK broadcaster’s push into new digital areas and will also take responsibility for online service All 4. The chief operating officer will lead Channel 4’s finance, workspace, operations and information systems teams.Keith Underwood, who was previously director of strategy and technology, will take on the COO role while a full recruitment process takes place. This follows the departure of group finance director, Glyn Isherwood, who joined the BBC earlier this month.Channel 4 has also appointed former Shine, News International and talkbackThames human resources executive, Caroline Ross, to the new role of chief human resources officer. Channel 4’s current head of HR, Stephanie Cox, is stepping down to spend more time with her family and is due to leave Channel 4 on May 2.At the same time, Channel 4’s director of consumer insight, Sarah Rose, has been appointed chief consumer and strategy officer – a new role that brings together Channel 4’s strategy, audience and commercial research teams, as well as data science.Channel 4 sales director, Jonathan Allan, has been made chief commercial officer with additional responsibilities for leading Channel 4’s 4 All the UK Nations and Regions strategy.Meanwhile, head of planning, Lynette Huntley, has been appointed to the new role of chief of staff, working with CEO Alex Mahon on “priority projects”.The other members of the executive team remain: director commercial affairs, Martin Baker; director of Film4, Daniel Battsek; chief marketing and communications officer, Dan Brooke; and director of programmes, Ian Katz. All continue to report directly to Mahon.The changes to the Channel 4 executive team were announced by Mahon, who joined the broadcaster from visual effects business Foundry last summer.“Our leadership team comprises some of the industry’s leading commercial and creative innovators and these new roles will strengthen our strategic capabilities, especially as we develop further in digital,” said Mahonlast_img read more


Swedish cable operator Com Hem has tapped German t

first_imgSwedish cable operator Com Hem has tapped German technology company WISI to provide its compact Remote PHY Node LR45 following an international tender.Com Hem will use the WISI product as part of its upgrade of the company’s HFC network to Gigabit broadband speed with a Remote PHY solution.Some 40% of Swedish households, or more than 1.9 million, are connected to the Com Hem network. The company launched its first high-speed consumer broadband service in 2013 with speeds of up to 500Mbps and presently offers up to 1Gbps.WISI says it was chosen by the cable operator thanks to availability, cost effectiveness, high product quality, high quality in logistics and excellent operational performance, and its compatibility with the virtualized end-to-end CableOS CCAP solution of Harmonic that Com Hem is implementing throughout its RF network.The LR45 is an in-house development and part of a broader range of gigabit solutions from WISI.“We are proud we were selected by Com Hem. The deployment of LR45 is an important strategic step forward for WISI in supporting the migration of HFC networks to Gigabit speeds across the Europe. We are consolidating our market position as a leading partner and vendor to European Cable and Telco MSOs,” said Thomas Scherle, WISI’s director of sales CATV/HFC Europe.“As a technology driven company, we are interested in long-standing partnerships with market-leading providers of price efficient amplifiers, nodes and other HFC materials. For decades, WISI has been known in the market as a reliable supplier of state-of-the art solutions and products and meets all of our high expectations,” said Jens Persson, Com Hem’s manager, tech-ops, HFC network.WISI will exhibit at ANGA COM on stand 8.L61last_img read more