RelatedWorld Cup nations’ most supportive fans revealed by SkyscannerWorld Cup nations’ most supportive fans revealed by SkyscannerWorld’s 7 best rugby stadiums you have to visitGet set for the Rugby World Cup with our world tour of where to see rugby at its very best.Top 8 places to eat and drink in Leeds for rugby fansWe give the lowdown on the best places to soak up some Rugby World Cup atmosphere in Leeds. With the Rugby World Cup in New Zealand now in full swing, Skyscanner reveals which nations can lay claim to the world’s most dedicated rugby fans.By comparing searches of flights to New Zealand from the competing nations for travel during the Rugby World Cup period, Skyscanner can reveal that the Irish are the world’s most dedicated fans with flight searches from the Emerald Isle to The Land of the Long White Cloud up by 123%.Scottish fans also appear to be heading over in force with a 44% rise, while their English counterparts appear to be staying home, with flight searches from English airports to New Zealand showing no increase in numbers compared to the same period last year. Australians are the second most supportive nation – with an 86% increase in searches. Hoards of Australian rugby fans will make the relatively short journey across the Tasman Sea to see their team compete on their arch rival’s home turf.Fijian (+35%), French (+29%), Italian (+29%), Russian (+28%), Japanese (+17%) and South African (+12%) rugby fans are all showing support of their team and should also be arriving in significant numbers.Sam Baldwin, Skyscanner Travel Editor commented:“International sporting events can bring a huge number of visitors into the host country, and New Zealand will be expecting massively increased numbers this year due to the World Cup Rugby. However it will be interesting to see if the fans’ dedication to supporting their team is reflected by the final standings in the tournament!”World’s Biggest Rugby Fans*1. Ireland +123%2. Australia +86%3. Scotland +44%4. Fiji +35%5. France +29%6. Italy +29%7. Russia +28%8. Japan +17%9. South Africa +12%10. England 0%*Figures are percentage increase in searches to New Zealand for World Cup Rugby Period, compared to searches for the same time period last year. Countries with very small search volumes were not included in the study.ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map Irish and Scottish rugby fans more supportive than English fans?
By Lizzy IoannidouAt an informal meeting held on Friday with Republican Turkish Party (CTP) representatives, President Nicos Anastasiades reaffirmed his readiness to begin efforts towards setting the terms of reference, as requested by the UN Secretary-General, with the ultimate goal of resuming negotiations, the government spokesperson Prodromos Prodromou said.The president reaffirmed that the Greek Cypriot side would rely on the framework and the six parameters set out by UN chief Antonio Guterres, during the Crans-Montana conference on Cyprus in 2017, as well as on all past convergences, to resume comprehensive negotiations that will address all issues, Prodromou said.On Tuesday, the president said that the terms of reference, requested by the UN special envoy Jane Holl Lute, that will determine whether reunification talks would resume must be drafted by the end of the year.“The president also had the opportunity to explain that the issue of the decentralisation of power neither substitutes nor abolishes the concept of political equality or the need for Turkish Cypriot participation, but instead aims to ensure that the solution will be as functional as possible, and will serve the public… as in the end it will be the public that will be called to approve and live with a desirable solution to the Cyprus problem,” Prodromou said.The president reiterated the importance of abolishing the “anachronistic and outdated” Treaty of Guarantees which allows for foreign interventions on the island. “The aim,” Prodromou said, “is for Cyprus to be a country for all Cypriots, without occupation armies.”The representatives of the Turkish Cypriot party CTP referred to their community’s need for more trust-building measures, and “the need was highlighted for specific crossing points in western Cyprus, in Kokkina in the Pyrgos area, and in Piroi, Athienou, which is a peculiar situation.”In May 2015, local authorities in the wider area around the village of Athienou, near Larnaca, demanded the opening of the Piroi thoroughfare, which has been closed since 1974, and which would enable movement from Larnaca to Nicosia through Athienou, Piroi, Yeri and Aglandjia.Regarding the road that runs through in Kokkina, the community council in Kato Pyrgos decided last week to hand a memorandum to the government, claiming that the opening of the crossing is a long-standing demand of the people in Tillyria and is a matter of humanitarian significance.You May LikeYahoo SearchThe Early Signs Of Type 2 Diabetes. Search Type 2 Diabetes TreatmentsYahoo SearchUndoInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesNew Rule in Rowland Heights, California Leaves Drivers FumingInsured Nation – Auto Insurance QuotesUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndo Turkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News,Runestad News 17Mar Rep. Runestad statement on emergency Detroit Public School funds vote Tags: DPS, education, Runestad Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake, today issued the following statement regarding the bipartisan passage of House Bills 5296, which provides $48.7 million in supplemental funds to continue the education of Detroit Public School (DPS) students with financial oversight:“Supporting this funding for DPS was required to ensure the state complies with its constitutional obligations to provide an education to every child in the state of Michigan, while also not leaving the children of Detroit schools in limbo. A critical component on this supplemental funding is attached to a bill (HB 5385) requiring a Financial Review Board to oversee DPS expenditures.“I am still committed to a solution that holds the DPS administrators and teachers accountable for their decisions that will not come at a cost to fiscally responsible school districts or local governments.”######
State Rep. Shane Hernandez today voted on a bipartisan legislative package that makes state government more accountable to the people it serves.Hernandez, of Port Huron, said the 11-bill legislative package makes the governor and lieutenant governor subject to the Freedom of Information Act and creates a similar disclosure requirement for state representatives and senators called the Legislative Open Records Act.“This is common-sense legislation that extends transparency provisions that apply to local officials to state government,” Hernandez said. “As public servants, we should be accountable to the people we represent, and this is another move forward towards increased transparency.”The legislation is similar to a package of bills introduced last session and passed overwhelmingly by the House. The bills never made it to the governor for signature.Today’s vote follows the recent expansion of the House website to include a salary database of all House employees to provide more accountability to taxpayers.##### Categories: Hernandez News,News 16Mar Rep. Hernandez: House takes step toward more transparency
18Oct Rep. LaFave presses DNR to take ‘every possible step’ to eliminate latest case of CWD Categories: LaFave News,News Crystal Falls Field Office – Check StationAddress: 1420 Highway US-2 West, Crystal Falls, MIPhone: 906-875-6622More information on chronic wasting disease – including Michigan’s CWD Surveillance and Response Plan, additional information on deer check stations, fact sheets and testing data – is available at michigan.gov/cwd. Escanaba Customer Service Center – Check StationAddress: 6833 Hwy. 2, 41, and M-35, Gladstone, MIPhone: 906-786-2351 State Rep. Beau LaFave is urging the Michigan Department of Natural Resources (DNR) to take swift action to stop the spread of chronic wasting disease (CWD) in the Upper Peninsula after the DNR diagnosed the first incident of the disease in Waucedah Township.“We must do everything we can to protect Michigan’s natural resources for generations to come, and so I have urged the DNR to take every possible step toward eradicating the disease in Waucedah as quickly as possible,” LaFave said. “I also urge all hunters to do their part to contain CWD by bringing their deer in for testing.”Chronic wasting disease is a fatal nervous system disease found in deer, moose and elk. The disease attacks the brain of infected animals, creating small lesions, which result in neurologic symptoms. The disease is always fatal in animals that contract it.According to the DNR, the affected 4-year-old doe was killed on a deer damage shooting permit on a farm in Dickinson County’s Waucedah Township, which is located about four miles from the Michigan-Wisconsin border. The finding was verified by Michigan State University’s Veterinary Diagnostic Laboratory in East Lansing and the U.S. Department of Agriculture’s National Veterinary Services Laboratory in Ames, Iowa.Responsible hunting is an important part of containing the spread of CWD. Hunters in the Upper Peninsula can take deer to be checked at the following locations:Norway Field Office – Check StationAddress: 520 W. US-2, Norway, MIPhone: 906-563-9247
Categories: Frederick News 24Jan Rep. Frederick announces significant investments in Durand and Laingsburg Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso announced two major investments in the cities of Durand and Laingsburg by the Michigan Strategic Fund as part of the Community Development Block Grant program. The fund will invest $1,516,500 in Durand and $1,235,800 in Laingsburg.“I applaud the Michigan Strategic Fund for awarding these grants to two very deserving cities,” Frederick said. “Durand and Laingsburg have done commendable work, fostering economic growth and creating a great place to live and work. I am excited by investments such as these to help secure the health and safety of our local community.”The funds will be used for infrastructure improvements in each city. In Durand, critical replacements to the wastewater treatment facility will be made to mitigate environmental concerns and ensure continued access to clean drinking water. Laingsburg will see existing storm water systems replaced to reduce environmental impact on the Looking Glass River.
Share9TweetShareEmail9 SharesOctober 14, 2015; Seattle TimesOn Wednesday, the Washington state attorney general, Bob Ferguson, filed a lawsuit alleging that the conservative Freedom Foundation violated campaign finance reporting laws. The Freedom Foundation advocates for “right to work laws.”At issue is the staff time in the form of legal counsel provided by the Freedom Foundation to help activists with four ballot measures intended to weaken collective-bargaining powers and open bargaining sessions to the public. The attorney general’s complaint alleges the time spent, on which a monetary value has not yet been set, should have been disclosed as in-kind campaign expenditures in support of the ballot propositions. The AG’s office is seeking civil penalties and attorney fees.The suit alleges:Approximately February 2014, an employee of the Freedom Foundation created a set of sample ordinances/ballot propositions designed to be used by residents of Washington to change local laws related to collective bargaining between municipalities and their employee bargaining representatives. Information about these sample ordinances/ballot propositions was disseminated to Freedom Foundation members and made publicly available on the Freedom Foundation’s website.The sample ordinance/ballot propositions addressed two issues: 1) a prohibition of union security clauses, public work stoppages, and gifting of public funds to benefit unions; and 2) a requirement that collective bargaining sessions to negotiate a contract between a local jurisdiction and a bargaining unit representative of the jurisdiction’s employees be open to the public.Four groups of local community activists obtained the documents from the Freedom Foundation website. These activists then circulated the petitions and obtained signatures from citizens in their communities.Subsequently, a Freedom Foundation staff member, attorney David Dewhirst, represented those trying to get the questions on the ballot when the towns in question resisted. (Those efforts were unsuccessful.)Just a day before announcing this suit, the attorney general’s office declared it would also pursue a second lawsuit, this one against SEIU 925 for campaign finance law violations. That suit derived from complaints made about the unions by the Freedom Foundation. At that time, James Abernathy, who is general counsel for FF, declared triumphantly, “It’s another example of how unions have run amok in Washington politics for years without being held accountable.”While the Freedom Foundation has labeled the AG’s suit against it “an overreach,” Karen Hart, the president of SEIU Local 925, said in a statement, “We respect the work done by the Attorney General and the PDC to enforce these rules, and we will do whatever it takes to be in full compliance with the law and correct our mistakes.”All these suits are being pursued in Thurston County Superior Court. Attorney General Ferguson repeated his wording in both news releases, saying, “I am committed to holding all parties accountable for disclosing timely information, so voters can make fully informed decisions.”Dmitri Iglitzin, an attorney for the Committee for Transparency in Elections, says, “The Freedom Foundation falsely claims that it remains uninvolved in politics,” but it means to “defund, destroy and bankrupt public-sector unions.”That does not appear to be an overstatement. In an email to supporters last year, Foundation CEO Tom McCabe said, “We have implemented a plan to bankrupt SEIU, our state’s largest union.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare9TweetShareEmail9 Shares
Share55TweetShare3Email58 SharesPixabay. Public Domain.May 22, 2017; Asheville Citizen-TimesThe U.S. Supreme Court ruled on May 22, 2017, that North Carolina unconstitutionally used race as a factor in drawing two Congressional districts. In a decision filled with unusual allies and issues that have had and will continue to have implications for Southern states, and possibly for all states, this decision split the Court in unexpected ways.The ruling, written by Justice Elena Kagan, stated that North Carolina’s Republican-controlled legislature unlawfully relied on race when drawing two of the state’s congressional districts. This is in keeping with previous court decisions on redistricting in Virginia, Alabama, and North Carolina. (No, this is not North Carolina’s first time in this arena.) The lower federal courts as well as the Supreme Court have held that political considerations, up to a point, can be used in redistricting. But using racial considerations in drawing congressional and state legislative districts is unconstitutional, except insofar as it seeks to eliminate the potential for discrimination against minority voters, as envisioned in the 1965 Voting Rights Act.The states in past cases contended their efforts were partisan attempts to protect their majorities, which the Supreme Court in the past has allowed, rather than attempts to diminish the impact of minority voters, which is forbidden. The drawing of state and congressional districts is a state function and in most states is led by whichever political party is in power. In the North Carolina case, the justices felt that too much emphasis was put on jamming African American voters into a limited number of districts, thus limiting their voting power and influence in other districts in the state.What is somewhat unique in this case is that two North Carolina districts were in dispute, and that the Court’s decision in one was unanimous (8-0) in District 1, but in District 12 the Court split 5 to 3.The three dissenters in the District 12 instance were Justices Roberts, Alito, and Kennedy. This is an interesting and unusual lineup. Justice Thomas, who is ordinarily a steadfast ally of Alito, actually has a record of ruling against racially gerrymandered voting districts because he’s skeptical of racial quotas in any context; this usually manifests in conservative viewpoints, like opposing affirmative action. As reported by Rick Hasen in the Election Law Blog,Justice Alito, in his partial dissent for himself, the Chief Justice, and Justice Kennedy, is incensed at the decision, seeing it as inconsistent with the Court’s earlier decision in Easley v. Cromartie. He begins his dissent with: “A precedent of this Court should not be treated like a disposable household item—say, a paper plate or napkin—to be used once and then tossed in the trash. But that is what the Court does today in its decision regarding North Carolina’s 12th Congressional District: The Court junks a rule adopted in a prior, remarkably similar challenge to this very same congressional district.”[…]The controversy comes from the analysis of District 12. That district raises the question whether race or party predominated in redistricting. This is a particularly difficult question in the American South, because of “conjoined polarization,” race and party overlap to a great extent, so the question of which predominates is somewhat nonsensical.Justice Kagan said the 1st district “produced boundaries amplifying divisions between blacks and whites,” while in the 12th, “race, not politics, accounted for the district’s reconfiguration.”The issue of distinguishing between race and political party can be blurred in the Court’s findings in this and other cases of gerrymandering. The drawing of political districts by the party in power in a state brings the assumption that party will play a large role and be an accepted factor. A state has leeway in this area. But when race and party are “conjoined,” deciding as to what is or is not constitutional becomes a conundrum.The Constitutional principle of “strict scrutiny” is raised when race is the factor under consideration in court cases. But this does not preclude litigation around gerrymandering that is strictly based on political party. Are race and party proxies for one another? More cases addressing both areas are making their way through the courts. The resulting decisions will have long term implications on voting rights.—Carole LevineShare55TweetShare3Email58 Shares
Share3Tweet11ShareEmail14 SharesMarch 28, 2018; Richmond RegisterFundraising for some fields of nonprofits is less about writing proposals and more about warding off recurring political attacks at the federal and state levels. And so it is with legal services funding. Every time we turn around, there is another threat. (We could list them from our archives going back as long as we have been publishing; see here and here for examples.) For instance, just this year, in his budget, President Trump recommended cutting legal aid out of the federal budget altogether through defunding the Legal Services Corporation (LSC). In the budget that was passed and signed, however, Congress restored that funding in full and threw in an extra $25 million. But some are still fighting the funding fight at the state level, such as in Kentucky, where some senators are pushing to have the paltry $1.27 million in state monies for this purpose eliminated.If Kentucky were to eliminate the program, it would join only two others—Delaware and Idaho—that have no funding to ensure justice in civil courts for indigent residents.The fight, of course, is well worth having because legal services support is critical to achieving a modicum of fair treatment for low-income people around this country. More generally, they are vital partners to community organizations looking to achieve an equitable justice system. And legal aid services are always oversubscribed. There are four legal aid groups serving low-income people in Kentucky, handling such critical civil matters as “eviction proceedings, benefit appeals, child custody matters, divorces, and protective orders for victims of criminal domestic violence.”Amanda Young, director of Kentucky Legal Aid in western Kentucky, said her agency handled more than 7,000 cases last year, including helping some elderly clients qualify for Medicaid benefits so they can stay in a nursing home.“It is, a lot of times, people that nobody else really sees,” Young said. “I’m not surprised [Stivers] might think we’re not doing anything.”The state dollars, say advocates, would not cause programs to close but it would force them to layoff attorneys, each of whom handle an average of 250 cases a year.—Ruth McCambridgeShare3Tweet11ShareEmail14 Shares
The BBC’s commercial arm has confirmed its new premium content channel brand will be known as BBC First, ahead of the net’s first launch on Australian pay TV platform Foxtel next year, and outlined plans for major investment in new programming.BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie said the service would be launched on linear and non-linear platforms, as a new channel and as a rebrand of unnamed existing services. He also announced a £200 million (€237 million) investment in premium content.The channel brand will carry premium drama and “high quality first run British programming”, meaning that BBC Entertainment, which runs shows including Doctor Who and Eastenders, is one of the brands potentially under threat, as is factual channel BBC Knowledge. A BBC spokeswoman said these brands were under review but that no decision as to their future had been made at this stage.The network will launch on a market-by-market basis from next year, and the previously announced joint venture with Foxtel will be the first to take the ‘First’ moniker next August.BBC and Foxtel first announced the new channel last year after BBCWW ended the pubcaster’s 50-year association with the ABC. Foxtel’s director of programmes Brian Walsh told DTVE sister publication TBI the network would be “something totally new” for Australia’s burgeoning pay TV customer base.Meanwhile, the BBC Earth channel will rebrand as BBCWW’s premium factual content portal, while a third, currently unnamed male-skewing network will place factual entertainment and “the maverick spirit of the BBC’s best shows” at its heart. This means shows such as Top Gear will run on the net. The BBC Earth brand has already launched as a branded block in numerous territories.The £200 million investment represents a forecasted £30 million annual increase and will result in “closer collaboration” with BBC Productions, indies and BBCWW’s own production hubs, the latter through new first-look deals, in-house funded commissions, coproductions and on-demand content development.Davie was drafted in replace John Smith as BBCWW CEO last year and has set about boosting the unit’s profitability. Worldwide made topline profits of £156 million and revenue of £1.1 billion in 2012/13.
The global market for professional broadcast equipment and services reached US$63 billion (€45.9 billion) in 2013, up 52% compared to US$41 billion in 2007, according to new research by IHS.The IHS Technology Professional Video Research practise attributed this “rapid growth” to a significant rise of customer-premises equipment (CPE) shipments – fuelled by the digitisation of pay TV subscribers.A rise in transport services, driven by more linear channels and non-linear views, has also helped to expand the market, according to IHS.“While the factors that have powered the growth of the market are expected to remain in force through 2017, total spending on equipment is expected to slow significantly. Many core markets in North America, Western Europe and East Asia are facing slower CPE shipment growth,” said IHS.The research firm predicts that by 2017, the managed service segment will grow to US$32 billion, accounting for nearly half of the expected US$69 billion total for the professional video market.
ITV has poached Julian Bellamy from Discovery and he will replace the outgoing Denise O’Donoghue as managing director of its content unit ITV Studios.Bellamy is currently creative director and head of commissioning at Discovery Networks International and has been instrumental in the factual channel operators original programming drive.At ITV he will succeed Denise O’Donoghue (pictured below). Her departure was announced last month.ITV Studios managing director, Kevin Lygo, said: “Julian is an exceptional talent who combines outstanding creativity with excellent strategic leadership. He brings with him a wealth of experience and a fantastic track record of success in programming, production and business management. I look forward to welcoming him ITV Studios later in the year.”Bellamy said: “I have had a brilliant time at Discovery, but to run one of the UK’s most successful production operations is too rare an opportunity to pass up. Denise O’Donoghue has built a fantastic business and I look forward to helping Kevin build on that success.”Prior to Discovery, Bellamy was at UK commercial broadcaster Channel 4 where he worked with Lygo and his programming credits included Undercover Boss and Big Fat Gypsy Wedding.Before that he was channel controller at BBC youth-skewing digital channel BBC Three and Channel 4′s youth-skewed E4.He will start in his new role at ITV Studios later this year.
Virgin Media is adding 10 international channels to its UK platform, including a Pakistani drama network and a Nollywood movies net.The telco is pushing into international channel distributon, and already offers international network such as Zee TV, Star Plus, Sony Max and Al Jazeera Arabic.Pakistani channel HUM Europe will offer a range of dramas, soaps and entertainment shows from the territory, and will be available to Virgin customers with an M+ TV package.Nollywood Movies will be a premium24-hour channel showing around 35 Nigerian films a month. It will also broadcast African soap Tinsel, entertainment news, celebrity interviews and red carpet events, and Africanseries Windeck. New soap Calabash will launch in January.Virgin has also added live streaming package Worldbox, which comprises four international channels: Ukrainian entertainment net 1+1 International, Tunisian entertainment net Nessma, Portugal’s SIC International and Spanish news channel Canal 24 Horas.Four more channels – French entertainment net EuroChannel, Gallic news channel BFM TV, Ukraine Today and Russian net CTC – will hit the service early next year.M+ TV customers can access Worldbox by selecting 834 on the Virgin Media TV EPG or via its Apps & Games section.Content management firm Globecast is providing seven of the Worldbox channels.“With content spanning everything from international news, sitcoms and dramas to soaps, movies and comedies there are plenty of shows to keep the whole family entertained,” said Stephane David, Virgin Media’s executive director of content.
Spanish pay TV provider Canal+’s Yomvi OTT TV service passed a live streaming record on March 22, with a football match between Real Madrid and Barcelona being streamed to 376,000 devices, a 29% increase in device reach over the same period last year.According to technology provider Nagra, which provides the MediaLive-based platform for Yomvi, the match was watched by about half a million people on the service.Nagra reported that Yomvi is now also available on PlayStation 3 and PlayStation 4 games consoles.“Yomvi is gaining more and more traction with viewers and is available on more devices than ever before – we’re very pleased to see how quickly the service is being accepted and used by consumers,” said Adolfo Remacha, Chief Technology Officer, Canal+ Spain. “We believe OTT is and will continue to be a key driver for growth over the next few years and we will continue, in parallel, to invest in our platform with the ultimate goal of providing the best viewing experience to consumers thanks to solutions like Nagra MediaLive.”
This year for the first time, children aged 12-15 who watch both television and YouTube clips stated a preference for YouTube, according to new research by Ofcom.The UK broadcast regulator’s ‘Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes Report’ found that 29% of children in this age group who watch both types of content said they prefer YouTube, compared to 25% who opted for television – 45% said they liked them both the same, while the remainder said they didn’t know.The results mark a shift from 2014, when 30% of the 12-15 year-olds said they preferred TV versus 25% who liked watching YouTube more, with Ofcom noting that YouTube in particular is becoming “an increasingly important alternative to traditional TV”.“The content children are consuming is increasingly curated by digital intermediaries, including providers like YouTube and Google,” said Ofcom in its summary of the key themes of the report.“As well as attractive sources of content, rivalling traditional broadcasters, they are also seen by some children as legitimating brands, helping to vouchsafe the veracity or trustworthiness of content accessed through their sites,”Ofcom found that while the BBC remains the preferred source of “true and accurate information about things that are going on in the world” among 12-15 year-olds (52%), there has been an increase in the numbers of children this age saying they would turn to YouTube for this information – 8% compared to 3% in 2014.Some 52% of those who watched YouTube knew that it is funded by paid advertising from companies, a proportion that is unchanged compared to 2014. Meanwhile, 47% of 12-15 year-olds who go online were aware that vloggers might be being paid by the company to say favourable things.Overall, Ofcom found that in 2015, 69% of 8-11 year-olds and 86% of 12-15 year-olds who watch television also watch YouTube.
A preview of Hulu’s live TV offeringHulu CEO Mike Hopkins has revealed fresh details about its forthcoming live streaming TV service, including more clarity on its pricing, launch date and content line-up.Speaking at Citi’s Internet, Media and Telecommunications Conference in Las Vegas yesterday, Hopkins said that the US service will go live in the “next few months” priced at under US$40 per-month – which will include access to Hulu’s existing US$8 subscription on-demand package.On the content front, Hopkins confirmed that Hulu has done a deal with CBS and its related cable channels. This comes on top of existing agreements with The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox and Time Warner’s Turner, which encompass a slate of channels such as ABC, ESPN, Fox Network, National Geographic.“When you include the thousands of TV shows that we’ve got in our library – our originals, movies, kids [content] – along with this great line-up of channels that we’re amassing, I think you’ve got a very compelling offering for the consumer,” said Hopkins.He claimed that the online TV service would include a “world-class DVR service from launch”, and that download-to-go viewing options are “on our roadmap” but wouldn’t be available at launch.Highlighting the importance of customer experience, he said that the service was based around three design principles: an easy-to-use, intuitive design; a high level of personalisation; and a “seamless, transparent interaction” between live, on-demand and recorded content.“When we decided about a year ago to launch a live service, I really challenged the team to go back and take a look at the eight years of learning that we have at Hulu about consumer behaviour… and come up with a new way to display and give people access to content. We didn’t feel like you could just layer on top of our existing interface live TV,” said Hopkins.Discussing the service’s design principles he added: “We need to be able to anticipate what’s the content that you’re going to want to watch right now – based on where you are, what device you’re using, where you are and what time of day it is.“When you think about your own experience with TV, you really don’t care if you’ve recorded it, whether it’s available via an on-demand asset, or whether it’s live. What this experience is going to do is fuse those things together so that it’s seamless for customers.”The comments came a day ahead of the start of the Consumer Electronics Show, also in Las Vegas, where Hulu will demo the live TV service.Hulu first revealed its live streaming plans last year and the service will go head to head with OTT competition in the US from the likes of Sling, PlayStation Vue and, in the future, Google’s rumoured Unplugged service.
Bob BakishNew Viacom CEO, Bob Bakish, has fleshed out his turnaround plan for the media giant and pledged to bring its TV brands to film and vice versa.Announcing a slate of Nickelodeon movies for the Paramount studio, Bakish said the core Viacom channels will each contribute cobranded movies to the slate of Viacom movie studio Paramount.In TV the company has is launching a new Paramount net in the US, replacing the Spike channel, and has included it in its portfolio of six core brands.“We will bring a set of our TV brands to film and our film brand to TV in a major way,” Bakish told analysts in the wake of Viacom’s latest results and the unveiling of his five-point turnaround plan.“We plan for each of our flagship brands to contribute one to two cobranded films to the Paramount slate each year with the brand and the studio working collaboratively to source and develop projects for the studio to ultimately green light.”The TV-film cooperation will apply across the core nets that Bakish said yesterday Viacom would be the focus of attention: BET, Comedy Central, MTV, Nickelodeon, Nick Jr. and Paramount. This big six was talked about as an ‘entertainment pack’, which Viacom hopes will see distribution for all of its key channels as operators increasingly talk about trimming their channel line-ups and skinny bundles.In terms of programming at the ‘big six’, Bakish said there will increased focus on originals and working up new formats, with the international business, previously run by Bakish, playing a part in this respect.“We want to share ideas more aggressively across borders for our flagship brands,” the Viacom boss said. “Nickelodeon is already very established in this model, and MTV is moving quickly with MTV US now developing several MTV UK formats.”He also spoke about the new short-form programming unit that Viacom has created: “We will aggressively grow short-form output at our flagship brands for distribution by both our owned and operated, as well as third party platforms,” Bakish said. “This will allow Viacom to better serve increasing demand from our advertisers for this kind of inventory and better support our brands.”Viacom has launched Paramount in a handful of international markets. Internationally, it is a movie channel. The US Paramount Network will launch in 2018 as a broader general entertainment offering with movies and drama series, which will make up a significant chunk of the schedule. “It will benefit from a concentration of some of the scripted stuff we’ve been doing on across the house,” Bakish said.Scripted will, meanwhile, become less of a focus for MTV US under the leadership of new boss Chris McCarthy, with the pendulum swinging back to reality and music programming.Ultimately, the scripted strategy for MTV on a large scale basis didn’t really work,” Bakish said. “There is no question that Chris McCarthy’s is bringing back a better balance to MTV including a real push on reality, which is very attractive to the audience, has very compelling economics for us and is really right from a brand filter perspective too.”Viacom also talked up the opportunity for streaming services, operated both on conjunction with pay TV operators and as standalones.“There is a very compelling [OTT] market opportunity in the development of an entertainment pack,” Bakish said. “And if you look at the flagship six, it is essentially the strongest entertainment pack you could get in the market, because you have preschool, kids, young adults, you have comedy, you’ve got African-Americans and you’re going to have a general marquee general entertainment network.”Analysts quizzed Bakish and CFO Wade Davis on when the financial benefits of the turnaround plan will be felt. Davis said there will be strong growth in the second half of the year. Bakish said a “a steady march towards a revitalized Viacom” had begun.
Insight UHD has launched a subscription video-on-demand service, initially on Apple TV and Android devices, with other CE platforms including Chromecast, LG, Xbox One, Amazon, Samsung and Sony PlayStation to follow.Speaking at MIPTV, CEO Rian Bester said Insight had teamed up with online video platform provider NeuLion to deliver a service encoded in HEVC. The service will provide 4K content that is also filmed in HDR.Content on the SVOD offering includes reality survival series Living Stone, freestyle motocross show Inside the Masters of Dirt, mountain bike doc series MTB Heroes, and survival competition No Time to Lose.Bester said that channel providers needed to be flexible in order to further the cause of UHD TV: “We are launching our own SVOD application but we are having discussion with pay TV providers to embed our platform on their service.”He said he believed HDR would be “a critical success factor” for UHD TV, but added that wider colour gamut is just as important, or even more important, as the dynamic range.“Costs remain high… from a production point of view, and HDR is adding costs,” he said. Post-production is also more complex, leading to additional costs. However, Insight TV has a good post-production partner, which is making the provider’s life easier, he added.Also speaking at MIPTV, Peter Bellamy, SVP for EMEA at NeuLion, said that global shipments of 4K UHD TV set are expected to reach 330 million by 2019.“4K is becoming increasingly central to all of our partners’ plans,” he said, claiming that OTT TV platforms are at the forefront of 4K development.The Insight UHD service was initially available on the Insight.tv website.
Cable and pay TV group Digi is to acquire the retail and small business units of Hungarian service provider Invitel from the group’s owner China-CEE Fund.Romania-based Digi, one of the biggest players in broadband and pay TV in the region, is paying approximately HUF43 billion (€140 million) for Invitel Távközlési Zrt, which posted revenues of about HUF26 billion last year.Invetel said that the sale would enable it to focus on the development of its Invitech Solutions arm, which is not part of the deal. Under the terms of the agreement with Digi, Invitech Solutions will supply network and IT services to Digi for a minimum annual value of HUF2.8 billion a year for at least 10 years.Invitel is planning to double the current revenue of Invitech Solutions, currently standing at about HUF24 billion a year.The deal is expected to close in the first quarter, pending approval by the Hungarian competition watchdog.“We are very pleased that with Invitel we can continue to grow in Hungary. This strategic investment enables us to significantly extend our service area. Invitel’s up-to-date and up-to-date network upgrades are well suited to DIGI’s future-oriented optical networking strategy. After the closing of the transaction, we will continue the development to make the quality of telecommunication services available to more Hungarian customers. We thank the leaders of the Invitel Group and China-CEE Equity Partners for their assistance in the successful transaction and we look forward to future cooperation,” said Serghei Bulgac, CEO of Digi Group.David BlunckDavid Blunck, CEO of the Invitel Group, said: “I’m very proud of Invitel’s team. Over the past few years, we have expanded the share of households with super fast internet speeds from our own resources to almost threefold in our network and we have steadily increased our TV share. The work that has been concluded today is also proven by our colleagues’ efforts and successful work . Special thanks to Langsteiner Marianne and his colleagues who have been successful in Invitel. “China-CEE acquired Invitel in January this year for HUF63 billion from its previous owners, Mid Europa Partners-owned Matel and other financial investors.Invitel Távközlési is the country’s second-largest fixed-line provider after Deutsche Telekom-owned Magyar Telekom, with about 1.1 million residential and business customers.
Sports streaming provider DAZN has secured the exclusive rights to men’s Euroleague Basketball for its new Spanish service.DAZN Spain will be the new home to the Turkish Airlines EuroLeague from the 2019-20 season through to the 2022-23 season. The streaming outfit has also been awarded the rights to broadcast live matches and clips for the next four seasons of the 7DAYS EuroCup.Euroleague Basketball, which manages the EuroLeague and 7DAYS EuroCup, as well the sport’s main under-18 showcase, the EB Adidas Next Generation Tournament, will provide DAZN with rights to deliver the sports across multiple devices including TVs, smartphones, tablets, game consoles and PCs.DAZN announced earlier this month that it would launch its service in Spain next year, having secured English Premier League football and MotoGP motorcycle racing rights for the country.The streaming service said it would add further sports before the Spanish service’s launch date.Jordi Bertomeu, President and CEO at Euroleague Basketball, said: “We are very proud of this agreement with DAZN, which will bring all our games to Spanish fans through the signature streaming provider of sports in the market. DAZN’s revolutionary platform matches the innovation DNA of Euroleague Basketball, bringing the digital reach of our competitions to new heights and allowing us to grow our Spanish audience.”Jacopo Tonoli, chief commercial officer at DAZN, said: “Euroleague Basketball has shown how serious it is about growing the sport’s fanbase since its launch in 2000. We too have big ambitions and love to partner with rights holders that embrace the change in how fans want to watch sport, building their audiences through streaming. We’re expanding at an incredible pace and soon will be able to share the full details of our launch, with an unbeatable roster of rights in the market.”