awardsMagellan Last Friday, in the Grand Ballroom at the Hyatt Regency in Sydney, over 300 members and preferred partners turned out for Magellan’s night of nights – the 2018 Magellan Gala and Awards Dinner, this year celebrating its 10th anniversary.The evening was sponsored by APT and Qantas Airways and marked the close of the 2018 Magellan Travel Group’s annual conference.The event saw individuals from within Magellan member agencies recognized and awarded for their outstanding contribution in various award categories;Melissa Provaroni of Rheom Travel was awarded the Rising Star of the Year award.James Jang of Where2travel Malvern was awarded Leisure Travel Consultant of the Year.Joanne Cranston of Maxims Travel was awarded Corporate Travel Consultant of the Year.Dayne Byrne of Platinum Travel Corporation was awarded Specialist Consultant of the Year.And the 2018 Loyalty Award was presented to both Blair Leslie of Mosman Travel and Tina Killeen of Spencer Travel.Melissa, James, Joanne, Dayne, Blair and Tina will all enjoy a luxury all expenses paid trip flying Business class to California, visiting San Francisco and beyond. This luxury trip has been generously sponsored by Qantas Airways and Visit California and will be personally escorted by Magellan Travel’s General Manager, Andrew Macfarlane.In closing the 10th anniversary conference, Andrew Macfarlane acknowledged the Magellan founders, members, supplier partners and the Magellan team for the past decade. Macfarlane’s closing comments emphasised that “the future for Magellan as part of Helloworld Travel Limited is brighter than ever.”IMAGE: Melissa Provaroni of Rheom Travel – Rising Star of the Year – with L-R. Andrew Macfarlane,General Manager – Magellan Travel (l) and Mark Beretta (r), MC for the night.
Hong Kong, China – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineFollowing Embraer’s authorization for Metrojet to be its first service center in China in August 2011, Metrojet proudly welcomes the very first Embraer aircraft to its managed fleet. The Legacy 650 entered service in late 2010 and has a range of 3,900 nautical miles, affording nonstop distances, as well as a fully equipped wet gallery and the largest inflight accessible baggage compartment in its class. Metrojet is now fully equipped to provide maintenance services for Embraer’s customers of both the Lineage 1000 and Legacy 600/650 series.“It is an exciting time for the business aviation industry as we are seeing a lot of activities across the Asia region. After becoming Embraer’s first authorized service centre in China, we are now managing our first Embraer aircraft. This arrival is meaningful to Metrojet and I am confident that we will continue to welcome more Embraer aircrafts to our Metrojet fleet. We look forward to a long term partnership with Embraer and are committed to delivering service and operational excellence to all our customers,” said Björn Näf, CEO of Metrojet.“We are delighted to partner with the Metrojet family. This partnership not only showcases Embraer’s strong business growth in the Asia region, but also demonstrates our commitment to continuously improving support and services for all our customers. We are confident that Metrojet will provide the efficient and excellent service that it is known for,” said Guan Dongyuan, President of Embraer China.With this addition, Metrojet now manages up to 30 aircrafts of various aircraft types. Both Metrojet and Embraer are very positive with the outlook of aircraft demands in the Asia region, particularly in Greater China.www.metrojet.comwww.embraer.com
The Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, left, and American bishop Michael Curry pose for the media ahead of the wedding of Prince Harry and Meghan Markle on Saturday at St George’s Chapel, Windsor, England, Friday, May 18, 2018. (Steve Parsons/Pool Photo via AP) American bishop brings human rights focus to royal wedding by David Rising, The Associated Press Posted May 18, 2018 10:08 am PDT Last Updated May 19, 2018 at 11:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email He’s the son of an American civil rights activist and the descendant of African slaves. He condemned last year’s white supremacist rally in Charlottesville as fascist and he has outspokenly stood up for gay rights.The Most Rev. Michael Bruce Curry also plans to join a march on the White House next week that rejects U.S. President Donald Trump’s “America first” stance as “theological heresy.”The 65-year-old leader of the Episcopal Church was hand-picked by Prince Harry and Meghan Markle to deliver a sermon at their wedding Saturday even though the couple had not met him at the time.The bride and groom haven’t said why they chose Curry, but he’s known as an engaging, impassioned speaker who preaches openness and tolerance. He can be relaxed and jocular at the pulpit, peppering his sermons with jokes and personal anecdotes, but also fiery as he delivers more serious messages.Curry, who has two grown daughters with his wife Sharon, was born in Chicago and raised in Buffalo, New York. His father, the late Rev. Kenneth Curry, was rector of an important African-American parish there and an outspoken civil rights activist.In 2015, Curry became the first black presiding bishop of the predominantly white Episcopal Church, an offshoot of the Church of England in the United States that has been the spiritual home of many of the American founding fathers and U.S. presidents.His appointment came just after the church decided to bless same-sex marriages, and in his sermons and writings has frequently compared the black civil rights movement to the LGBT struggle for equality.The Episcopal Church’s stance on gay marriage has caused friction with the greater Anglican Communion and the Archbishop of Canterbury Justin Welby, who will be officiating as the latest royal couple make their marriage vows.Despite those differences, Welby tweeted that he was “thrilled” Curry had been asked to deliver a sermon during the royal wedding, calling Curry a “brilliant pastor, stunning preacher and someone with a great gift for sharing the good news of Jesus Christ.”Curry’s stances have also brought him into open conflict with several Trump administration policies, including its move to end the Obama-era immigration program that shielded hundreds of thousands of young immigrants from deportation, known as the Deferred Action for Childhood Arrivals program, or DACA.In a September statement, Curry emphasized the Episcopal Church’s support for the immigration program and the youth affected, saying “our Christian values are at stake; humane and loving care for the stranger, the alien and the foreigner is considered a sacred duty and moral value for those who would follow the way of God.”Earlier last year, Curry denounced Trump’s plan to ban transgender people from serving in the U.S. military saying it was “a violation of the fundamental ideal of equality in America.” He has also thrown his support behind the Standing Rock Sioux Reservation’s protest against a planned oil pipeline backed by the Trump administration.On May 24, Curry plans to join other Christian leaders in a march on the White House to draw attention to a joint declaration that sets out a number of concerns. It says that “we are living through perilous and polarizing times as a nation, with a dangerous crisis of moral and political leadership at the highest levels of our government and in our churches.”In rejecting Trump’s “America first” policy, the declaration says “while we share a patriotic love for our country, we reject xenophobic or ethnic nationalism that places one nation over others.”It also adds: “Global poverty, environmental damage, violent conflict, weapons of mass destruction and deadly diseases in some places ultimately affect all places, and we need wise political leadership to deal with each of these.”
03Jun Rep. Outman applauds House approval of state budget Categories: News The 2015-2016 state budget is one step closer to completion, State Rep. Rick Outman announced today.The Michigan House today gave final approval to Senate Bill 133 and House Bill 4115, the General Fund and School Aid Fund budgets, respectively.“I’m pleased that once again we were able to complete a fair budget months ahead of the October deadline. We were able to spend smart which ensures that Michigan’s communities are able to continue planning for future years,” said Rep. Outman, R-Six Lakes. “The budget makes solid investments in our schools and sets up a long-term solution for our roads, which are two topics residents have said they want to see the focus on.”The state budget includes $400 million for roads. The School Aid Fund budget totals nearly $16 billion, and includes an increase in the per-pupil foundation grant for every school.The budgets now heads to governor for consideration.
26May Ethics committee approves Rep. Hughes legislation to provide more oversight of veteran’s health care Rep. Holly Hughes testified today in support of her legislation, House Bill 5639, which would require the Michigan Veterans Affairs Agency or Department of Military and Veterans Affairs report to the House and Senate four times a year on a myriad of issues pertaining to the care of our veterans living in the state’s veterans homes.“One of our most important responsibilities as legislators is to provide a check and balance on the other branches of government,” Rep. Hughes, R-Montague, said to the House Committee on Oversight and Ethics. “This bill will ensure that the Legislature has a more direct oversight role into the care of our state’s heroes. Problems at the Grand Rapids Home for Veterans go back two decades. Although we are hearing that things are getting much better under the leadership of Michigan Veterans Affairs Director James Redford and Michigan Veterans Health System CEO Leslie Shanlian, we want to make sure that those improvements continue and that any new concerns can be immediately addressed by the Legislature.”Specifically, House Bill 5639 requires the state veterans agencies to detail information on staffing levels, number of patient complaints and responses, distribution of pharmaceutical drugs, how patient funds are allocated and number of resident deaths to House and Senate committees no later than Jan. 1, April 1, July 1 and Oct. 1 of each year.Currently, the state has facilities in Grand Rapids and Marquette, but HB 5639 allows for reporting at any future buildings, as well.Committee Chair Ed McBroom, R-Vulcan, called for a vote on HB 5639, emphasizing “we’ve had substantial hearings on this subject and there’s no need to belabor this anymore.”The committee approved the legislation by a 6-0 vote and it advances to the full House for consideration. Categories: Hughes News,News
28Jun Rep. Victory sets July office hours Categories: Victory News State Rep. Roger Victory today announced his office hours schedule for the month of July.“Hosting regular office hours is a very important aspect of my job as a state legislator,” Victory said. “I have made it a priority to be accessible to residents with questions or concerns related to state government.”Rep. Victory will meet with constituents at the following times and locations:Monday, July 109 to 10 a.m. at Biggby Coffee located at 3743 Baldwin St. in Hudsonville;Saturday, July 158 to 9 a.m. at Sprinkles Donut Shop located at 6450 28th Ave. in Hudsonville; andFriday, July 219 to 10 a.m. at Murphy’s Family Restaurant located at 4963 Lake Michigan in Allendale.No appointment is necessary to attend office hours. Anyone unable to attend who would like to voice a question or concern may contact Rep. Victory’s office at (517) 373-1830 or RogerVictory@house.mi.gov.
Categories: Chatfield News Resolution for Uplifting Faith and Freedom in AmericaState Rep. Aaron Miller of Sturgis today joined Rep. Lee Chatfield of Levering to introduce House Resolution 223 observing Jan. 16, 2018 as Religious Freedom Day in Michigan.Religious Freedom Day commemorates the anniversary of the Virginia Statute for Religious Freedom, written by Thomas Jefferson. This statute ensured that never again would private citizens suffer at the hand of an abusive state church.“Today is a special day, one of meditation and prayer,” Rep. Miller said. “I hope Michiganders will join me and use this time to reflect and ask God to continue to bless our state and our nation.”The resolution encourages citizens to pray in his and her own manner, seeking God’s blessings on our families and government officials for personal renewal, moral awakening, and a new spirit of harmony across our land.“Faith and religion have always played a vital role in America,” Rep. Chatfield said. “Since before George Washington, religious freedom has been revered. I am honored to continue the legacy of those before us by defending our God-given rights of religious freedom.” House Resolution 223 passed the Michigan House of Representatives unanimously. 16Jan Reps. Chatfield and Miller introduce Religious Freedom Day resolution
Share167Tweet53ShareEmail220 Shares“Mission Bay branch,” Eric E. CastroJune 8, 2018; Next CityOnce upon a time, the Internet was expected to lead to the end of libraries. A 2004 Economist article, for example, began with a statement that “Public libraries will be redundant by 2020 [based] on current trends.” But instead, as NPQ has noted, libraries’ importance has gone up, driven largely by their increasingly vital role as community centers. NPQ’s Ruth McCambridge gave a few examples: “The Chicago Public Library offers a free ‘Maker Lab’ with access to 3-D printers, laser cutters, and milling machines. Washington State’s Lopez Island Library lets people borrow musical instruments. The Library Farm in Cicero, New York, even lets patrons interested in organic gardening borrow plots of land.”In Next City, Jared Brey further observes that in many cities libraries “already provide crucial services to people experiencing homelessness, job-seekers, and victims of opioid overdoses, as well as the millions of students and readers who make up their traditional constituency.” Brey asks, “Could they help create housing in competitive urban real estate markets, too?”At least one San Francisco supervisor thinks they might, in part because one branch library has been doing that for over a decade now. As Brey explains, the city’s Mission Bay Branch Library opened in 2006 as part of a mixed-use development that includes “retail space, a community meeting hall, a health center, and around 140 housing units for very-low-income seniors, some of whom were transitioning out of the nearby Laguna Honda long-term-care hospital.”At a recent public meeting, Sandra Lee Fewer, a member of the city’s Board of Supervisors, asked acting librarian Michael Lambert to explore whether future library renovations might include affordable housing. Fewer hopes to leverage existing public land to create multi-story facilities that include both libraries and housing.“We are in an affordability crisis and we need to maximize our existing public land for 100 percent affordable housing,” Fewer adds. “It would be a missed opportunity to not pursue adding affordable housing above newly renovated public resources, like our libraries.”Brey adds that San Francisco is not alone. “Chicago broke ground on an affordable housing-library combo earlier this year and New York City is planning one of its own.”Broadly speaking, San Francisco’s public library has a stellar reputation. The library system, named “Library of the Year” by Library Journal last week, operates 28 branches throughout the city. Total in-person visits last year exceeded 6.6 million.For his part, Lambert has indicated that the library would be open to combining library renovations with housing development, although “there are no plans currently for new branches and the Library will need to complete a comprehensive facilities master planning process before we’ll be in a position to actualize such an option.”Brey notes that Sharon Christen, a housing developer at Mercy Housing who served as project manager for the Mission Bay combined library-housing development, indicates, not surprisingly, that it is easier to design a mixed-use project that incorporates housing and civic uses like a library from the onset than it is to build new housing on top of existing library branches.That said, when planned in advance, mixed library-housing developments can work well. Christen notes that the Mission Creek Senior Housing project atop the library operates smoothly—smoothly enough to get one supervisor thinking about how to replicate its principles. As Brey observes, “If the city’s public library system gets more capital funding down the line, or residential development creates demand for another new branch,” San Francisco already has an effective library-housing model it could follow for future housing development.—Steve DubbShare167Tweet53ShareEmail220 Shares
Share5Tweet8ShareEmail13 Shares“Downtown Detroit; Michigan,” Ken LundJune 21, 2018; Curbed DetroitIn several Northwest Detroit neighborhoods, a community-led revitalization effort is underway that centers on leveraging existing community assets, authentically listening to community input, and using a framework developed in partnership with residents that emphasizes their priorities while defining common routes for shared investment.This process and the emerging results are led by Sinai Grace Guild Community Development Corporation (SGGCDC) and should prompt nonprofits engaged in similar community revitalization efforts to explore and learn from the framework, as it represents a truly community-driven process that is inclusive and stands in contrast to the more traditional top-down approaches that have become far too common in revitalization in general.(While this newswire is too short to discuss the long and sometimes treacherous history of revitalization in Detroit, it is important to note the historical context of Detroit’s community development efforts, including the Grand Bargain, the philanthropic sector’s role, and the important democratic underpinnings involved in revitalization overall. For reference and an excellent overview of this background, see NPQ’s 2016 article by Rick Cohen.)This iteration of revitalization in northwest Detroit was initiated in part by Sinai-Grace Hospital Northwest, which recently underwent a $77 million renovation, and as part of the process engaged Enterprise Community Partners to explore how the renovation and investment could serve as a catalyst for community revitalization. Through this forward-thinking approach, Sinai-Grace served as an exemplary example of how anchor institutions can serve as conveners in weaving community networks and ensuring that voices that are typically not included are considered.The areas upon which SGGCDC is focused comprise the neighborhoods just north of Grandmont-Rosedale, specifically Crary/St. Marys, College Park, Winship, Hubbell-Puritan, Belmont, Bethune, and Shulze. SGGCDC is a group effort made up of citizens, along with businesses and institutions, in the neighborhoods involved. According to the Northwest Detroit Neighborhood Revitalization Vision and Strategic Framework, which emerged from a series of community conversations, the neighborhoods impacted by these efforts are diverse and face barriers to being included in traditional revitalization efforts, and hence this process aims to foster a more equitable approach.Of the 36,000 residents in the area, 96 percent are African American, 19 percent have at least one disability, 36 percent live in poverty, and 21 percent are unemployed. In addition, other issues such as housing and financial insecurity are pervasive. Using the Enterprise Community Partners Opportunity 360 Measurement Report, 75 percent of the renters in these neighborhoods are housing cost burdened, 31 percent of the occupied housing lacks adequate kitchen or plumbing, and an estimated 2,600 residential property owners are facing foreclosure.Despite these characteristics, which some community development professionals would signal as the deficits that define the community, the neighborhoods SGGCDC works with are rich in cultural, institutional, religious, and public assets that are driving the revitalization process. These assets are featured front and center throughout the process SGGCDC implemented to create the community revitalization framework, and the process is worth noting.Over a five-month period, SGGCDC convened a series of four public forums designed to create the framework for revitalization that emphasized community assets and provided an opportunity for residents and neighborhood advocates to participate. These four workshops included:Designing our neighborhoods using neighborhood reconnectivity to parks and open spaces, housing, and commercial opportunitiesDesigning our neighborhoods’ future through mapping community assets, exploring improvements for each neighborhood and discussing reinvestment plansDiscussing scenarios for future development and determining evaluation criteria to assessPrioritizing over 100 stakeholder-generated ideas and identifying implementation partnersThroughout the workshops, issues, concerns, and areas for improvement were classified in broad areas, including public safety, greenways, parks, streetscape, commercial corridors, housing, education, and other. From these broad categories, the group generated suggestions and ideas for every neighborhood in the area, and seven strategic focus areas emerged: 1) Commercial and economic development, 2) Economic security and wealth-building, 3) Residential stabilization and growth, 4) Open space and parks, 5) Mobility and sustainability, 6) Community building and enhanced quality of life, and 7) Leadership and neighborhood capacity development.Each of the strategic areas has several projects and initiatives that originated from the community and participants in the workshops. Together, the seven focus areas generated several unique investment opportunities ranging from business retention and expansion, to workforce development concepts, to housing rehabilitation, and others that provide a community-embraced revitalization plan that has garnered the support and attention from various sectors.SGGCDC and the activities it has initiated is a great example of effective community engagement being paired with cross-sector collaboration to create bottom-up community development. Given the broad range of partners engaged, the revitalization effort has a wealth of community resources to draw upon, as each partner has unique assets, skills, and talents. Partners have leveraged these resources to make significant progress. One example is Enterprise Community Partners’ work with other CDCs in the area to provide capacity building and technical assistance. In partnership with the City of Detroit, the area hosted Enterprise’s 7th Annual Affordable Housing Design Leadership Institute, an outcomes-based design institute to teach development and design leaders new skills and share best practices and innovations. In addition, Enterprise has provided funding to strengthen the capacity of CDCs and other partners have provided additional resources.As revitalization in Detroit gains attention, and efforts such as the Strategic Neighborhood Fund increase in recognition and funding, it is important to acknowledge community-led efforts like SGGCDC as promising practices that thoughtfully engage communities in crafting equitable futures through ongoing engagement and participation in the revitalization process.—Derrick RhaynShare5Tweet8ShareEmail13 Shares
UK commercial broadcaster ITV has relaunched its online video service ITV Player, which now allows rentals.Currently in Beta mode, the new site was developed with content security specialist Irdeto and payment company Paywizard. It allows users to rent current and archive titles including Cracker and Rising Damp, with prices starting from 49p (€0.60) for a 30-day rental of a single episode. Rented titles can be viewed without adverts. ITV Player’s catch-up service that offers access to programmes that have aired during the previous seven days is still available free of charge but they carry adverts.ITV said it will soon begin a trial making the next episode of a series available to view straight away without having to wait for the episode to be broadcast on linear channels.James Micklethwait, online product director, ITV, said: “Our all new ITV Player is a huge step forward in offering our viewers not only an improved catch-up experience but also the chance to access a wider range of ITV’s rich mix of programming, on demand, for a competitive price. We see this as offering our viewers a little bit extra for a little bit extra, and look forward to evolving and improving the new Player going forward.”
French video rental specialist Videofutur’s video-on-demand service is now available on Philips’ Smart TV portal.Videofutur users can now rent certain movies four months after their theatrical release on Philips Smart TVs as well as other devices. Videofutur is also offering 10 VOD titles to purchasers of Philips 5500-series TVs via Amazon and Pixmania.
Russia service provider Akado has posted a first-half net profit for the first time in seven years. The Moscow pay TV and broadband service provider posted half year profits of RUB213.5 million (€4.85 million), compared with a RUB307.9 million loss last year.Revenue grew by 21% to RUB6.17 billion, while EBITDA was up 41% to RUB2.65 billion.
Digitalsmiths’ Seamless Discovery service for personalised recommendations.DVR maker TiVo has agreed to pay US$135 million (€99.3 million) for cloud-based content discovery service Digitalsmiths, in a move it said would accelerate its evolution to a device-agnostic, cloud-based service provider.TiVo said that the deal will expand its role with tier-one US service providers, as Digitalsmiths has relationships with seven of the top 10 US pay-TV operators, reaching 64% of US pay TV households.It also said that Digitalsmiths’ revenue growth trajectory will help to accelerate TiVo’s long-term adjusted EBITDA growth.“The Digitalsmiths acquisition opens new opportunities to commercialise and deploy TiVo’s cloud based services and technologies to operators, in an extremely cost effective way that can be offered either independently or in conjunction with TiVo’s renowned user interface,” said TiVo president and CEO Tom Rogers.“Additionally, Digitalsmiths contributes expertise, data opportunities, and approaches that complement and extend TiVo’s extensive work in advanced television to customers seeking search, recommendations, and portability.”Digitalsmiths is a content discovery and recommendation service that offers personalised video search, recommendations, browsing, social trending, and mood-based discovery.The service is designed to connect consumers to the most relevant movies, TV shows and live events at any time, on any screen, including set-top boxes, tablets, smart phones, computers and games consoles.Overall, the firm claims to power 46 domestic and international customers, with partners including Zeebox, Foxtel, Sharp, Univision, and i.TV.TiVo said Digitalsmiths’ current user base “represents about 10% of the total potential user base licensed under its current contracts” and expects it to grow to over 50% penetration in the next few years.“We are confident joining forces with TiVo profoundly enhances our ability to seamlessly deliver industry leading video discovery solutions that drive superior customer satisfaction and better usage metrics for video services,” said Digitalsmiths co-founder, COO and CTO, Matt Berry.Separately, TiVo said it has increased its stock repurchase authorisation by US$100 million and that it intends to repurchase US$100 million of shares in the first quarter of its fiscal year 2015.
Peter WhiteThe global broadcast and media technology market is set to grow to US$44.3 billion (€34.7 billion) by 2017, up from US$39 billion in 2012, according to research by IABM DC.IABM DC, a joint venture between the International Association of Broadcast Manufacturers and Devoncroft Partners, found that the broadcast and media tech industry produced a compound annual growth rate of 3.6% over the previous four years. The Global Market Valuation & Strategy Report was based on a study of over 2,500 companies, ranging from start-ups to global conglomerates, and includes software, hardware, and service providers.“The Global Market Valuation & Strategy Report is the only one of its kind to bring together broadcast industry vendors who collaborate under a set framework of strict confidentiality to share revenue data, future forecasts and detailed data on driving factors for their businesses, which is facilitated by the IABM, an independent body,” said Peter White, IABM chief executive.
Liberty Global-owned Belgian cable operator Telenet has launched a new basic digital multiscreen offering, Play, combining its Yelo multiscreen service with its Terugkijk TV seven-day catch-up and startover service, which includes content from 25 channels, for €10 a month.Terugkijk TV includes content from the major Flemish broadcasters ¬– Een, Canvas, VTM, 2BE, Vier and Vijf – French channels La Une, La Deux, AB3 and niche channels Njam, Studio100 TV and Libelle.Telenet will make the updated Yelo Play app available for all digital TV customers from December 15, making easier content search and discovery available via tablets and smartphones. A Windows 8 and Widjnos Phone 8 version of the service will launched next spring, adding to the existing Android and iOS versions. At the same time, Terugkijk TV will become available on the Yelo Play app.A premium version of the service, Play More, will be available for €24.95. Customers with Telenet’s premium Rex and Rio premium packages will qualify for Play automatically.
RTL Group saw a boost from digital activities last year as it posted full-year revenues of of €5.8 billion. Both revenue and EBIDTA profit of €1.145 billion were fractionally down.It noted its success in the digital realm and said its digital strategy was starting to pay dividends. Digital revenue was up 26.6% at €295 million. RTL also said that across its footprint of channels and businesses, its catch-up services, MCNs and websites generated 36.4 billion online video views.RTL said: “Higher revenue from Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland and from acquisitions was offset by lower advertising sales in France, the effect of the disposal of the French e-commerce service Mistergooddeal along with lower revenue from FremantleMedia and UFA Sports.”The RTL-owned production and distribution company FremantleMedia posted 2014 revenue of €1.486 billion compared with €1.525 billion in 2013. Full-year EBIDTA profit tumbled 16.9% year-on-year, taking the total to €113 million.The company said the year-on-year declines were “due to the cancellation of X Factor US, lower revenue from American Idol and increased investments in digital businesses and the content pipeline”.The content company also touted its digital credentials with 200 digital channels now up and running and its content claiming nine billion views on digital platforms and services in 2014.
Al Jazeera-owned BeIN Media Group, which operates the sports networks of the same name, is in advanced talks to buy Turkish pay TV operator Digitürk, according to Reuters, citing three sources familiar with the talks.Reuters reported that the talks are at an advanced state but have not yet been finalized, with the possibility that a deal may be concluded within the next couple of weeks.Digitürk is 53% owned by struggling local media group Çukurova Holding and 47% owned by Providence Equity Partners. The Turkish state-owned Savings Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) seized control of Çukurova’s stake in the operator in 2013 after the latter failed to make debt payments. TMSF subsequently entered into talks with the Providence to sell the operator.
Video technology specialist Thomson Video Networks has launched an updated version of its ViBE VS7000 multiscreen encoding system with expanded capabilities for the new HEVC compression format.The platform now includes a new interlaced mode, an additional 10% improvement in compression performance, and support for statistical multiplexing, according to Thomson.The company said that the upgrade makes the ViBE VS7000 the first platform to offer HEVC and statistical encoding for interlaced video content including 1080i25/30, 576i25, and 480i30.“Most of today’s existing video content is in interlaced format, therefore operators need the ability to encode this content in the best possible quality. Also, statistical encoding is a technology that already exists for MPEG-2 or MPEG-4, delivering a typical bit rate reduction of 20 to 30 percent versus constant-bit-rate mode,” said Stéphane Cloirec, director of product management, Thomson Video Networks. “With the latest version of the ViBE VS7000, we’re providing these capabilities through HEVC to cut bandwidth requirements in half for interlaced video delivery. It’s the latest example of our Behind Every Screen strategy to deliver convergent solutions and the latest compression technologies for premium video quality on every platform and device.”
Anders NilssonSwedish operator Com Hem said that 34% of its TV customer base now takes TiVo, after adding 10,000 customers in Q3 to take the total to 213,000.In the company’s third quarter results announcement, Com Hem CEO Anders Nilsson described the TiVo milestone as a “remarkable achievement since our launch two years ago.”Com Hem also reported strong uptake for its new TV Everywhere service, Com Hem Play, which it launched to its TiVo customers in September to replace the earlier TiVoToGo service.“It offers significantly improved interface and navigation than the previous version. Reach of Com Hem Play rose 58% compared to TiVoToGo, while total streaming volume up by over 200% compared with the month preceding launch,” said Nilsson.Overall the company reported “stable growth” in its digital TV segment in Q3, with customer numbers growing by 4,000 revenue-generating units quarter-over-quarter to reach 631,000.“It has been a solid quarter as we continue to execute on our plan. We are delivering customer growth and significantly improved operating free cash flow. Operationally, the company achieved three major landmarks: our consumer subscriber base rose above 900,000 unique subscribers, churn fell below 13% and over a third of our digital TV base now has TiVo,” said Nilsson.For the quarter, Com Hem reported revenue of SEK 1.255 billion, up 3.7% year-on-year. Net profit for the period was SEK51 million, compared to SEK7 million a year earlier, which Com Hem said was mainly attributable to improved EBITDA and net financial expense. However, operating profit was down 4% year-on-year to SEK192 million.Com Hem first launched its TiVo service in October 2013.
Within the next 10 years recommendation-based program guides will ultimately drive 75% of all TV viewing, according to The Diffusion Group (TDG).The research firm’s ‘The Recommendation Revolution – The Future of Recommendation-Driven Guides, 2016-2025’ report said that recommendation-driven guides will flourish in the coming decade, with the usefulness of the grid guide diminishing as TV Everywhere becomes more popular.TDG also said that paid recommendations will grow, giving multichannel video programming distributors (MPVDs) a valuable additional revenue stream and networks a new way to promote their programming.“The old-school grid guide no longer works for today’s viewer. By introducing a recommendation-based program guide, MVPDs can bring their interfaces in line with those of SVoD services like Netflix,” said TDG senior analyst, Alan Wolk.“Close to half of all TV viewing now occurs on a time-shifted basis rendering live network schedules increasingly immaterial. Operators must move beyond the grid and create an interface that reflects today’s viewing behaviour.”“Recommendation-based guides will deliver a vastly improved and personalised customer experience, which in turn improves subscriber satisfaction and retention, allowing viewers to better navigate the flood of content now available from linear, VOD, DVR, and streaming to find the shows they want to watch.”