In what has already been a month of doom and gloom for aviation, an Air Algerie passenger carrying 110 passengers and six crew has crashed, en route from Burkina Faso to Algiers.The wreckage of flight AH5017 has been located in Mali, 50 kilometres north of the Burkina Faso border, yet it remains unknown whether there are any survivors, Sky News reported.Burkina Faso transport minister, Jean Bertin Ouedrago said the flight was advised to change route due to a storm in the area, and nearly an hour after take off, Air Algerie reported that contact had been lost with the plane.The airliner was a McDonnell Douglas MD-83 from Spanish company Swiftair.Search and emergency operations are working in the area.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
Moss Spa will awaken the senses with its signature treatments using natural ingredients, such as Manuka honey, mineral clay and Kakadu Plum. Both guests and locals can enjoy this luxury space to relax and unwind.The makeup used on site is from Lauren and Louise Cosmetica, a mineral makeup with true pigments from a salon only brand founded by women.Skincare products are provided by Juvenate which are vegan, cruelty-free, sustainably and ethically produced, and Kiwi made. Australian brand Waterlily is on board also, with rich botanicals and essential oils in delicious treatments such as the Triple Berry facial, Lime Caviar facial, and a Pink Champagne and Strawberries body treatment.Vices & Virtues restaurant and bar celebrates locally sourced and sustainable ingredients and offers a range of vegan, vegetarian and plant-based dishes as part of its menu.Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala, CEO of Sudima HotelsAbout Sudima HotelsSudima Hotels is a New Zealand hotel brand that is passionate about and committed to delivering environmentally friendly and accessible hotels in New Zealand. It is an industry leader in setting sustainability benchmarks, having achieved the first carboNZero certification for a New Zealand hotel, and initiating a movement within its group of hotels to become single-use plastic free by 2020. All of its hotels are accessible and have been rated between Bronze and Gold for accessibility by Be Accessible.Underpinned by strong values that centre on caring, doing the right thing and working together, Sudima Hotels focusses on helping guests make the most of their day. Both leisure and corporate travellers will feel welcome and be greeted with a smile at Sudima Hotels.Sudima Hotels current locations include Auckland Airport, Rotorua, Christchurch Airport and has hotels currently under development in the Christchurch CBD, Kaikōura and most recently announced Auckland’s CBD.Sudima Hotels is owned and managed by Auckland-based entrepreneur and property investor Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala. Sudima Hotels opened the doors of a new boutique hotelSudima Hotels opened the doors of a new boutique hotelA great leap forward is coming to central Christchurch as the city continues its rebuild. On 1 June, Sudima Hotels opened the doors of a new $40 million five-star boutique hotel in the central city.Sudima Christchurch City, the fourth hotel in the national group, has added high-grade stock to the city’s in-demand accommodation market with 86 rooms including 45 luxe king rooms, 33 luxe twin rooms, six luxe apartments, and, on the top floor, two executive apartments with outdoor balconies. Not only is the hotel a great development for Christchurch’s central city, but it also brings additional businesses to the upscale site. Exciting additions include Moss Spa, the first purpose-built spa to open since the earthquakes, and Vices & Virtues restaurant and bar.The hotel is part of a new complex on the corner of Victoria and Salisbury Streets, formerly the site of the Strategy office building, which was demolished after the earthquakes. The complex will also include offices, retail and restaurants.Sudima Christchurch City joins existing Sudima Hotels properties at Auckland Airport, Rotorua and Christchurch Airport. Two more, in Kaikōura and the Auckland CBD, are under also construction.True to Sudima Hotels’ reputation as a sustainability, diversity and accessibility leader in the accommodation and hospitality sector, the group aims for all new hotels to be built to a standard that enables certification to carboNZero status as soon as possible following opening, as well as the ability to achieve accessibility accreditation from Be.Accessible. Sudima Christchurch City will open as a single-use plastic-free facility and will be the first hotel in New Zealand to have a plant-based bathroom range and biodegradable slippers.Auckland based Sudima Hotels founder and CEO Sudesh Jhunjhnuwala says, “We are very proud to introduce this new hotel to the Christchurch market. It has something special to offer locals, domestic travellers and international visitors alike. We are adding a new string to our bowwith this hotel, which has the same values and service for which Sudima Hotels is known but provides a luxe, boutique experience that is a new addition for the group.“This is the first new-build hotel to open in the Christchurch CBD since the rebuild began, and it signifies our great confidence in the local market and the prospects for the tourism sector. It represents a deepening of our investment in the greater Canterbury region after the $25 million makeover of Sudima Christchurch Airport hotel in 2015 and our investment in Kaikōura with a new Sudima Hotel due to open there in late-2020. We are especially pleased to have added 28 new full-time-equivalent jobs to the region in opening the Christchurch city hotel – plus contractors – because job creation is vital to the regeneration and growth of the city.”Sudima Christchurch City hotel manager Maree Welgus says Sudima Hotels has kept in mind the needs and interests of locals as well as visitors throughout the development. “Sudima Hotels is an experienced operator around the country and adept at meeting the needs of leisure and business travellers – but with the Sudima Christchurch City development there’s also great establishments for locals to enjoy with high quality dining at Vices & Virtues restaurant and bar, and pampering at Moss Spa. Vices & Virtues restaurant and bar celebrates locally sourced and sustainable ingredients. People are increasingly looking for delicious food that is also nutritious, and a range of vegan, vegetarian and plant-based dishes is a signature part of the menu. Moss Spa is a luxurious space to relax and unwind, it will awaken the senses with its signature treatments using natural ingredients, such as Manuka honey, mineral clay and Kakadu Plum.Both visitors to the city and locals can enjoy these upmarket additions to the city.Fact SheetOpened on 1 June, Sudima Christchurch City has 45 luxe king rooms, 33 luxe twin rooms, six luxe apartments, and on the top floor, two executive apartments with outdoor balconies.All rooms include a range of amenities:Unlimited Wi-FiEspresso pod coffee machineT2 tea range43” smart TVStreamed moviesAmazon EchoOpen tile rain showerLuxury bathroom amenity rangeBathrobe and biodegradable slippersYoga matUmbrellaHeadboard artwork by Aroha Gossage, an emerging kiwi artist Source = Sudima Hotels
Hannelore Baron (1926 – 1987), a German-born artist who escaped from the Nazis and emigrated to New York City in 1941, conceived small-scale works of extraordinary impact. She used everyday materials to create delicate collages and mysterious box constructions that evoke both the fragility of life and the power of courage and endurance. These intimate compositions read as universal expressions of human emotion. Baron produced works of beautiful color with her very distinctive touch. Although Baron suffered from severe childhood trauma and debilitating anxiety as an adult, her work shows a joyful energy. Although deeply loved by people who know her work, she still remains an undiscovered treasure to others.Hannelore Baron’s work was the subject of a retrospective organized by the Smithsonian Institution Traveling Exhibition Service in 2002, and a show at the Guggenheim Museum in 1989.The opening reception will be held Tuesday, September 16 from 6:00 to 8:00, and the exhibition will run through Saturday, November 1.Leslie Feely Fine Art is open Tuesday through Saturday, 10 am to 6 pm.For more information, please contact the gallery at: Leslie Feely Fine Art, LLC 33 East 68th Street Fifth Floor New York, NY 10065t: 212.988.0040 f: 212.988.0041
16Jul Protecting those who have protected our freedoms Categories: Noble News While we may never be able to fully repay our brave military men and women for their selfless service to our country, we can at least continue to ensure our military heroes receive the best possible care here in Michigan.Your priority is my priority – making sure the state Legislature is properly responding to the needs of our past, present and future service members. Since having the honor to serve and represent the communities of Canton, Northville and Plymouth, I’d like to share with you the work I have done in the Michigan House related to serving those who have served us.I am leading the charge for adopting the Disabled Veteran’s Homestead Tax Relief Act. The act would provide a property tax exemption for honorably discharged veterans who are deemed to be 50-percent or more disabled. The credit will be measured on a sliding scale. A veteran considered 50-percent disabled would receive a 50-percent tax exemption, while a 100-percent disabled veteran would receive a 100-percent tax exemption. Surviving spouses of deceased, disabled veterans who received honorable discharges will also be eligible for a property tax exemption that correlates with their spouse’s disability.I sponsored a plan creating a county veteran service grant of $2.1 million to enhance veteran services at the local level. The bill has been signed by the governor and gives each county in Michigan $25,000 to establish and maintain a veteran service office. Eleven of the state’s 83 counties are currently without a county department specifically tailored to services for veterans. Michigan is home to more than 600,000 military veterans. These offices and accredited county service officers are vitally important to our veterans and their families seeking benefits they have rightfully earned. No matter where a service member lives, they should have easy access to such offices and services that are as close to their homes as possible.I had the opportunity to recognize a military veteran from a time well before mine. In honor of Lt. Col. Albert M. Edwards and his actions during the Civil War, I called for a House resolution urging Congress to posthumously award him the Medal of Honor. While leading his regiment in the Battle of the Wilderness in May 1864 in Virginia, Lt. Col. Edwards captured a Confederate flag – a common criterion for awarding the Medal of Honor to a soldier.Many of the skills our service members learn while serving in the military are transferable to the workplace. That’s why I voted to solve the problem of inequity Michigan veterans are facing in the public sector. The plan calls for state employers to consider a veteran’s military experience as relevant work experience for the purpose of determining wage or salary. I wholeheartedly believe our military personnel deserve the same chance at successful careers to support their families and pay their bills.I’m keeping my commitment to protect those who have protected us. Active military personnel and veterans deserve elected officials who work diligently to improve their access to benefits and quality of life.State Rep. Jeff Noble is a first-term lawmaker representing the 20th House District. The 20th District covers the cities and townships of Northville and Plymouth and a portion of Canton.
State Representative Steve Johnson invites residents of the 72nd House District to join him during local office hours:Monday, February 25, 2019Kent CountyAllegan CountyColonial Kitchen1825 142nd Ave. in Dorr8:00 – 9:00 a.m.Kent CountyRuss’6444 Division Ave. S in Gaines10:00 – 11:00 a.m.“Open and honest communication with residents is instrumental in holding state government accountable,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “I invite all residents to attend a local office hour gathering to share their concerns and ideas.”No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Those unable to attend are encouraged to call Rep. Johnson’s office at 517-373-0840, email StevenJohnson@house.mi.gov or visit his website at www.RepJohnson.com. 07Feb Rep. Johnson announces February office hours Categories: Steven Johnson News
Categories: Albert News,Albert Photos 12Feb Rep. Albert invites Kent County prosecuting attorney to State of the State Address PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Thomas Albert of Lowell welcomed Kent County Prosecuting Attorney Chris Becker to the House floor for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State Address.
21Feb Rep. Wendzel commends new agriculture education book Categories: Wendzel News PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Pauline Wendzel and fellow members of the House Agriculture committee were presented copies of Right This Very Minute, a new educational children’s book published in cooperation with the American Farm Bureau Foundation for Agriculture. Rep. Wendzel commended the book, written by Lisl H. Detlefsen and illustrated by Renée Kurilla, as a great way to introduce young people to the importance of farming in Michigan.###
Share8TweetShareEmail8 Shares December 19, 2014; Washington PostWhen many observers think of racism, they think of overt racism, like that of Fairview Park, Ohio auxiliary police officer Aaron McNamara, who was caught writing on Facebook pages about “jungle monkeys,” “spooks,” the mistake the U.S. made in abolishing slavery, and the need for black “people…[to] be exterminated.” But that’s the easy analysis, thinking that identifying people ranting and raving about persons of color and firing them from official positions amounts to a solution to the problem of racism. The reality is that most whites, including those in high level public and private offices, “show subtle or ‘implicit’ biases against blacks,” hidden and racist beliefs that most people would deny holding if you asked them.Project Implicit at Harvard University has given the Implicit Association Test (IAT) to 1.5 million voluntary test takers and developed a state-by-state mapping of scores. The Project Implicit map of mean IAT scores shows the highest rates of implicit bias in the Southeast, the Middle Atlantic states (except for Washington, D.C.), and some states of the Midwest (though not Wisconsin, Minnesota, and Iowa). Why those states? A psychologist at Lehigh University, Dominic Packer, has proposed a disturbing analysis. Writing for the Washington Post, Chris Mooney summarizes Packer’s theory as, “Implicit bias is higher in U.S. states in which there is a higher ratio of black citizens to white citizens—or in other words, in which there are relatively more black people for every white person.” One would think that more interracial interactions would reduce implicit bias, but the map, if Packer’s theory is correct, suggests the opposite. Packer thinks that in states with higher ratios of blacks to whites, white perceive “greater competition for political, cultural, and economic resources” or “greater risk for cross-race crime.” Therefore, states in the Northwest and New England, where the ratio of blacks to whites is lower, have the lowest mean IAT scores.There are a number of limitations to Packer’s analysis. One observer cited in Mooney’s article suggests that the IAT scores might be different if done on a county rather than state level. Another suggests that the black/white population ratio might be a powerful correlation, but might not be a causative factor in the IAT scores across state geographies. Nonetheless, the Project Implicit review of IAT scores and Packer’s explanation thereof show how much more work remains for U.S. nonprofits in this nation’s still unfinished battle to eradicate racism.—Rick CohenShare8TweetShareEmail8 Shares
Share18Tweet8ShareEmail26 Shares“Job requirement,” Quinn DombrowskiMay 30, 2018; Washington PostAs President Obama once said, elections have consequences. An example of this comes from Virginia, whose legislature last week, after being stymied for years, voted to “make government health insurance available to 400,000 low-income residents,” write Laura Vozzella and Gregory S. Schneider in the Washington Post. The reporters add that with this vote, “Virginia will join 32 other states and the District [of Columbia] in expanding Medicaid coverage. The measure is expected to take effect Jan. 1.”A major cause of Virginia’s change-of-heart was last November’s wave election—some called it a tsunami—which flipped 15 seats in the House of Delegates. Republicans barely held onto their majority by winning a tie vote in one district through a drawing of lots.At the time, the Democrat who lost the draw, Shelly Symonds, wrote, “It is with great disappointment that I am conceding the election to David Yancey. I just tried to make a personal phone call to him and would like to ask him to vote for Medicaid expansion.” Months later, Yancey honored the Democrat’s request, becoming one of 19 House of Delegate Republicans (out of delegation of 51) to vote in favor of expansion.In the Senate, the margin was narrower. The measure passed 23 to 17, with four Republicans crossing over to support Medicaid expansion. The compromise bill, championed by Virginia’s Democratic Governor Ralph Northam, includes a provision that compels “able-bodied adults to work, prepare for a job or volunteer to qualify for Medicaid.” This provision, notes Abby Goodnough in the New York Times, “was crucial to getting enough Republicans on board.” Frank Wagner, one of the four Republicans to support the Senate bill, said, “This is not just about helping this group of people…[it is about] helping to bend the cost of health care for every Virginian,” Another Republican backer, Ben Chafin of Russell, Virginia, said, “I came to the conclusion that ‘no’ just wasn’t the answer anymore, that doing nothing about the medical conditions, the state of health care in my district, just wasn’t the answer any longer.”“Under the act,” explain Vozzella and Schneider, “Washington allows states to open their Medicaid rolls to people with incomes up to 138 percent of the federal poverty level, which is $16,643 for an individual. The federal government pledged to pay at least 90 percent of the cost, which in Virginia would amount to about $2 billion a year.” Previously, they add, “Virginia’s existing Medicaid program [was] one of the least generous in the nation. To be eligible, a disabled individual can make no more than $9,700 a year. The cutoff for a family of three is $6,900. Able-bodied, childless adults are not eligible, no matter how poor.”Under the Affordable Care Act, Vozzella and Schneider add, “Virginia can raise those income limits to $16,750 a year for a disabled person or able-bodied adult, and $28,700 for a family of three.” At present, Medicaid covers 1 million people in Virginia, so 400,000 represents a 40 percent increase. Other states may follow. For instance, a ballot measure to expand Medicaid has already qualified for Utah’s November ballot and a petition drive is under way in Idaho.Nonprofits in the health industry, of course, will be heavily affected. According to the Associated Press, Linda Wilkinson, CEO of the Virginia Association of Free and Charitable Clinics, says some clinics are considering adopting hybrid models to provide free care and accept Medicaid payments. The Medicaid approval process, she adds, is labor-intensive. “Changing that business model is enormous,” says Wilkinson. Wilkinson adds that demand will likely remain strong for services not covered by Medicaid, such as dental and vision care.AP also interviewed Teresa Gardner Tyson, executive director of the Health Wagon in far Southwest Virginia. Tyson says that, “Medicaid expansion will help improve her community’s overall health and help her clinic focus more on providing care rather than chasing grant money.” But, she cautions, “There’s never a shortage of people that will not have access to healthcare.”—Steve DubbShare18Tweet8ShareEmail26 Shares
Slovakia-based technology provider Antik has launched a new ASIC-based transcoder platform.According to Antik, the Juice Ember Hi-Density Multi Transcoder can transcode up to 15 SD or HD channels, meaning that with eight transcoding modules, customers can manage up to 120 channels from MPEG-2 into H.264 or transrate video to a lower bit-rate. The 2RU device is targeted at telcos and OTT content providers.
MTG’s Nordic pay TV broadcaster Viasat has signed a deal with US basketball association the NBA to bring matches to Russia, the CIS and Georgia.The Viasat Sport East channel will broadcast up to five regular season games each week along with major NBA events including the NBA All-Star, the complete Eastern and Western Conference Play-off series and the NBA Finals in June. The deal initially covers the 2012-2013 season.“In a region with such knowledgeable and passionate fans, our partnership with Viasat will provide broad coverage throughout the regular-season, culminating in the finals,” said Dan Markham, NBA vice-president, media distribution and emerging markets.Irina Gofman, MTG executive vice-president of Russian & CIS Broadcasting, said, “The new agreement between Viasat Sport and NBA follows our successful cooperation with the NBA during the 2012 Play-offs. We are delighted that Viasat Sport East subscribers will now be able to watch coverage of the NBA 2012-13 season as the NBA is the world’s premier basketball league with a large and loyal fan base across the region.”
Global Eagle, the investment firm created by media veterans Harry Sloan and Jeff Sagansky, has completed its biggest deal to date and has rebranded.The company’s acquisition of in-flight content businesses Row 44 and Frankfurt-listed Advanced Inflight Alliance (AIA) has been completed. The US$400 million (€295 million) deal was first announced last November.“This unique business combination puts Global Eagle Entertainment at the forefront of a rapidly expanding industry sector, providing both connectivity and diverse content for airline passengers worldwide,” said Ed Shapiro, Chairman of the Boards of Row 44 and AIA and Chairman-designate of Global EagleFollowing the deal, Sloan and Sagansky’s company has been rebranded Global Entertainment.
Liberty Global-owned German cable operator Unitymedia-KabelBW is to promote its video-on-demand service by making three films available to its subscribers free-of-charge during April.The cable operator normally charges between €2.99-3.99 for movies. New titles during April include The Hobbit – An Unexpected Journey, Life of Pi and Cloud Atlas.
Ben SherwoodBen Sherwood has been named as Anne Sweeney’s replacement as boss of Disney/ABC Television Group.Sherwood has been running ABC News during which time he is credited with reinvigorating Good Morning America and forging joint ventures with Yahoo and US Hispanic net Univision.Disney announced this afternoon (GMT) that he will take Sweeney’s role of co-president, Disney/ABC Television Group.He will move into the position immediately and also continue to run ABC News until a replacement is recruited.Sweeney said earlier this month she was leaving Disney to become a TV director. She joined Disney in 1996 and will be with the company until January 2015.Sherwood was immediately installed as a favourite to succeed her, alongside the likes of Facebook COO Sheryl Sandberg and Disney CFO Jay Rasulo.Bob Iger, chairman and CEO of The Walt Disney Company, said: “Ben is one of those unique executives who combine rich creative experience with great business acumen. He’s also focused, strategic, and competitive, as evidenced by the success of GMA, the Yahoo deal that delivered ABC News online dominance, and his vision behind our new cable and digital joint venture, Fusion. These reasons, and many others, make Ben the ideal candidate to oversee the future of the Disney/ABC Television Group.”Sherwood said: “I am honoured and humbled that Bob has entrusted me with this great responsibility and amazing opportunity. I’m also deeply grateful to Anne, who has built and led a powerhouse division over the last 10 years. I am looking forward to her counsel and wisdom during this transition period.”
Channel provider SPI International has launched seven channels on the Consat TV pay TV platform in Nigeria.SPI International’s channels FilmBox, FilmBox Arthouse, FightBox, DocuBox, FashionBox, Fast&FunBox and 360 TuneBox, broadcast across the region from Eutelsat’s 16° East orbital slot, are now available to Consat TV subscribers in Nigeria and other countries in West African including Benin, Burkina Faso, Cape Verde, Ivory Coast, Gambia, Ghana, Guinea, Guinea-Bissau, Liberia, Mali, Niger, Nigeria, Senegal, Sierra Leone and Togo.The agreement marks the first time that FilmBox has been available on an African platform. In addition to SPI International’s established channels, Consat subscribers have access to new music channel 360 TuneBox.“This most recent launch of our channels on the Consat TV platform in Nigeria certainly proves how serious we have been to achieve our strategic goals in Africa,” said Berk Uziyel, the executive director of Filmbox International. “We truly appreciate Consat’s mission to respond to the growing needs of Nigerians to offer a common platform for digital TV transmission and we are very proud to deliver our unique and top quality line-up of TV channels to Consat subscribers.”Mayokun Okunola, CEO of Continental Satellite Limited, said: “SPI International has impressed us with its competency and its unquestionable ability to develop a bouquet of channels that cuts across multiple genres. The SPI channels, which include FilmBox and FashionBox will definitely resonate with our viewers who want to relax and enjoy programming with intricate and entertaining story lines. We are excited about our partnership with SPI International to provide premium content for our subscribers.”
Analysts have warned of a “bloodbath” and rising pay TV costs for US consumers should 21st Century Fox’s mooted takeover of Time Warner go ahead, while also noting the combined entity’s ability to take on the likes of Netflix.Yesterday, CNBC broke news of the offer, which was tabled earlier this summer that, if accepted, would have seen Rupert Murdoch’s 21st Century Fox to acquire the entire Time Warner business.The offer totalled around US$86.30 per share, which was a significant premium on Time Warner’s closing share price of US$80 on Tuesday. Upon news of a potential deal, that share price leaped 20%, though sat 16% up at US$83.13 at press time.Time Warner flatly rejected the offer, but many commentators already believe a deal will be pushed through. However, analysts have significant concerns should this go ahead.“There could be a bloodbath if this merger goes through, as some consumers will likely have to bear the brunt of carriage fees which the newly formed company could grow at record rates,” IHS Technology analyst Erik Brannon noted in the wake of news of Fox’s approach.In Europe, the addition of HBO to Fox-backed Sky’s pay TV businesses would be a good fit should a merger happen, and the combined content output of the new business would offer a “hard-to-beat library of scripted and reality shows”, said another IHS analyst, Tim Westcott. “But there would be a huge amount of duplication all around the world given that Endemol, Shine and Warner Bros have built international production company networks,” he added.Westcott also identified a conflict on channels side of a merged entity. He said: “There would also seem to be a lot of conflict on the network side – with CNN and the Fox News and Sky News networks, and with the Fox International Channels and Turner Broadcasting businesses. Some of the channel brands might be complementary but there would be a lot of rationalisation on the sales and marketing side.”Fox had planned to sell news channel CNN in order to appease regulators, who would have serious reservations considering it would have sat alongside rival Fox News, according to a New York Times report.Research specialist Ovum, part of DTVE publisher Informa, highlighted the fact that Fox needs to react to the changing media landscape and wave of mega-mergers that are in the offing.“In North America, the proposed deal has to be seen in the context of consolidation among the major media players, with the likes of Fox needing to respond to the planned mergers of Comcast and Time Warner Cable and AT&T and DirecTV by becoming larger players themselves and strengthen their position in all-important carriage-fee negotiations,” Ovum senior analyst Ted Hall told DTVE’s sister title TBI.He added: “A merger of Fox and Time Warner would also leave the company in a good position to respond to the potential shift towards a-la-carte OTT-video services. Strategic shifts in both the US and Europe have seen both operators and content providers experiment offering access to their services on an SVOD basis without the need for a traditional TV subscription. Fox-Time Warner would be well-placed to offer a highly competitive online service if it was deemed necessary and viable.”Time Warner rejected the US$80 billion takeover offer from 21st Century Fox in part, it said, because of doubts its rival could manage a US$65 billion-revenue group.21st Century Fox planned to finance the deal by raising US$24 billion, and claimed a combined group would lead to around US$1 billion in cost savings through staff cuts and back-office functions.However, following consultations with financial and legal experts, Time Warner management decided “it was not in the best interests of Time Warner or its stockholders to accept the proposal or to pursue any discussions with 21st Century Fox”.It listed a range of reasons for the rejection. Among these were that it felt its own strategic plan would “continue to drive significant and sustainable value” for shareholders, that the value of its assets “is only going to increase” and that there were “considerable strategic, operational, and regulatory risks” to a deal.Time Warner, whose CEO Jeff Bewkes (pictured above right) met with 21st Century Fox president and COO Chase Carey (pictured below left), said in a thinly-veiled dig at the 83-year-old Fox CEO and chairman Murdoch (pictured) and his inner circle that 21st Century Fox would struggle with a company that would pull revenues of US$65 billion a year.“There is significant risk and uncertainty as to the valuation of 21st Century Fox’s non-voting stock and 21st Century Fox’s ability to govern and manage a combination of the size and scale of 21st Century Fox and Time Warner,” the firm’s statement claimed.CNBC reported the fact the Fox offer was for non-voting Class A stock, was a key sticking point. This would effectively have handed the Murdoch family control of the business, as is the case with Fox and other Murdoch-controlled businesses such as BSkyB. Conversely, Time Warner has always been an independently-operated company.The creation of a combined group would have wide-ranging effects of the global media landscape and wield virtually unmatched power on the market.It would own assets such as the Fox Networks Group, Turner Broadcasting System and its international business, the Fox and Warner Bros. productions studios, premium cable net HBO, US basic tier cablers including TNT and FX, Fox International Channels and controlling stakes in BSkyB, Sky Deutschland, and Sky Italia – the latter three themselves currently the subject of a massive merger.It would also potentially own the merged Endemol-Shine Group-Core Media business that it Fox currently in talks with Apollo Global Management to create. That would be by far the biggest coming together of independent production business in global television.Time Warner’s board also noted the firm had delivered a shareholder return of more than 150% since the business broke away from its previous mega-merger partner, AOL, in 2008-9.The story of AOL Time Warner is now considered a legendary cautionary tale in media circles after the partnership lost virtually all of its original value in the wake of dot-com bubble bursting. This appears to have influenced Time Warner’s response to the Fox approach.Should shareholder enthusiasm drive through a deal at some point in the future, it would be a crowning glory for Murdoch, whose main rival while building Fox into one of the world’s largest media groups was Turner founder Ted Turner.
Any move by Italian competition watchdog AGCOM against Vivendi because it holds significant stakes in both Telecom Italia and Mediaset would imply a rewriting of existing rules and could be discriminatory, according to the French media group, as reported by Italian press.AGCOM weighed into the dispute between Vivendi and Mediaset at the end of last year, holding that the French media giant’s acquisition of a significant stake in the Italian broadcaster could be in breach of a provision of the Testo Unico dei Servizi di Media Audiovisivi e Radiofonici (TUSMAR) regulation that electronics communications companies with a market share in excess of 40% cannot control more than 10% of a Sistema Integrato delle Comunicazioni (SIC) – meaning a large TV, radio and publishing outfit, such as Mediaset.The TUSMAR rule is intended to set a ceiling on the extent of concentration of communications and media in the interest of pluralism, competition and the rights of citizens.The regulator said that Vivendi was the controlling shareholder in Telecom Italia with a stake of 24.68%, and that Telecom Italia had a 44.7% share of the telecom market, while Mediaset, whose controlling shareholder is Fininvest, had a 13.3% of the overall SIC market. According to AGCOM, the numbers mean that an operation to “concentrate control of the two companies” could be prohibited.According to the Radiocor press agency, owned by financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Vivendi has put forward the argument that freezing Vivendi’s stake in Mediaset or putting its stakes in both Telecom Italia and the broadcaster under review would effectively mean rewriting the rules.Vivendi, which requested a hearing with AGCOM to put its case, reportedly argued that the fact that it had stakes in both companies did not imply it had a relationship of control or joint control, which would be necessary if the TUSMAR ruling is to be invoked.The AGCOM investigation has been unfolding in parallel to the ongoing legal battle between Vivendi and Mediaset, which came to court for the first time earlier this month.
UK public broadcaster the BBC has agreed to work with video-streaming technology provider Unified Streaming for a further two years.Unified Streaming has provided software to enable just-in-time streaming of BBC services since 2013. The company’s Unified Origin product enables the streaming of Adobe HTTP Dynamic Streaming (HDS), Apple HTTP Live Streaming (HLS), Microsoft Smooth Streaming (MSS) and MPEG-DASH adaptive bit-rate formats.According to Unified Streaming, the product features content protection with inbuilt support for DRM, subtitles, multiple language and audio tracks.“Renewing our contract with BBC is interesting for many reasons. We appreciate the advanced and innovative approach of BBC and powering BBC’s streaming services makes us feel very proud,” said Unified Streaming’s VP of sales Simon Westbroek.
Jonathan HubermanOoyala has appointed the former CEO of software-as-a-service company Syncplicity, Jonathan Huberman, as its new chief executive.Huberman took up the role effective April 18 and will focus on the future growth of Ooyala and strengthening its market leadership.Former CEO, Ramesh Srinivasan, joined hospitality software and solutions firm Agilysys in January having exited Ooyala after less than a year.“Mr. Huberman has a standout record of delivering profound growth for cloud-based technologies in complex industries and is a well-suited leader for Ooyala,” said board chairman, Stephen Elop.“His dedication to customer satisfaction and keen attention to matching the right solutions to the right challenges in the industry will help drive Ooyala’s next phase of growth.”Prior to working at Syncplicity, Huberman was the CEO of public safety software provider Tiburon. Before that he was president of EMC’s consumer and small business division.
Some 53% of US broadband households subscribe to both a pay TV service and at least one over-the-top video service, according to Parks Associates.The research firm said that as of Q3 2017 there are now more than 200 over-the-top video services in the US market and more than 100 in Canada.More than 87% of OTT video services in the US and 86% in Canada offer some subscription options today, including freemium, ad-free premium tiers, and other blended business models, according to the report.It also said that 60 companies introduced OTT video services during 2016 and 2017, while only seven services closed during that same period.“Many OTT services are evolving to be complementary to the market’s largest players, instead of trying to compete directly against Netflix, Amazon, and Hulu,” said Brett Sappington, senior director of research, Parks Associates.“Also, consumers are increasingly self-aggregating their OTT and entertainment services – they are adopting primary entertainment content sources and supplementing those sources with complementary video options.”