Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has been honoured with one of the most prestigious awards in the country, receiving the 2012 Australian Federation of Travel Agents (AFTA) National Travel Industry Award (NTIA) for Best Australian Hotel/Resort. Emirates Wolgan Valley was presented the Award at a gala presentation dinner in Sydney, attended by dignitaries and more than 900 of the industry’s business leaders and members. The premier awards recognise the leaders in the Australian travel industry and acknowledge superior customer service, marketing excellence, business acumen and outstanding personnel.“The AFTA NTIA is one of the most significant awards we could be honoured with. Recognition from our industry peers is the highest acclaim and it is gratifying that our commitment and efforts to be a truly world-class Australian hotel have not gone unnoticed,” said Joost Heymeijer, General Manager, Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa. “The resort is over 10 years in the making and from the outset, Emirates made deliberate efforts to ensure it showcases the very best of Australia with an ethos for quintessential experiences, understated luxury, and a profound sense of place. “This is an extraordinary achievement and one that Emirates is extremely proud and humbled to receive,” added Mr Heymeijer.A scenic three-hour drive from Sydney, Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa is nestled between two of Australia’s most prominent national parks and borders the Blue Mountains World Heritage Area. The resort itself occupies just two per cent of the 4,000-acre property, and combines the expectations of the high-end traveller with a commitment to broader social, ecological and environmental sustainability.For a complete list of accolades and awards Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa has received since opening in October 2009, including acclaim from Condé Nast Traveller, Andrew Harper’s Hideaway Report, and The Leading Hotels of the World, visit www.wolganvalley.com.AFTA is the peak body for Australia’s travel agents, and represents the majority of travel agents in Australia. Founded in 1957, AFTA’s aim has been to stimulate, encourage and promote travel; and to uphold the interests of travel agents who form a vital part of Australia’s highly specialised travel and tourism industry. Source = Emirates Wolgan Valley Resort & Spa
THE Turkish Cypriot union of writers and artists has decided to drop the word ‘Turkish’ from its title and limit the term TRNC in a bid to draw people from all backgrounds and fight racism.According to Yeni Duzen newspaper, the union’s 14th general meeting unanimously voted to make the changes to allow it to “draw artists and writers of different ethnicity, religion, and language, and at the same time to express strong condemnation to the rising racism in Cyprus and across the globe.”The union has been active for the past 28 years.It will continue its activities in Cyprus and abroad and will work for peace, social justice and equal rights.You May LikeHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsThe Early Signs Of Heart Failure. Search Acute Heart Failure TreatmentHeart Failure Treatment | Search AdsUndoSenior Living | Search AdsThe Cost of Senior Living in Rowland Heights Might Surprise YouSenior Living | Search AdsUndoClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 22, 2015; U.S. News & World ReportNear the dawn of the modern Internet era, around 1993, the New Yorker magazine ran a popular cartoon of a dog sitting at a desk using a computer. Its caption was, “On the Internet, nobody knows you’re a dog.” While the days of full, unfettered Internet anonymity are gone, this concept can still serve to liberate and empower.The Internet does not discriminate on age, ethnicity, or gender. This is why technology career opportunities, and specifically those in coding, are suitable for women, where talent is the sole differentiator.A distinctive nonprofit organization serves as an incubator for the next generation of female technology and engineering experts. In 2012, Reshma Saujani established Girls Who Code with the goal of closing the gender gap in the fields of technology and engineering by teaching girls computing skills and encouraging them to pursue technology careers. Supported by public and private partners, Girls Who Code conducts seven-week summer immersion programs for girls at companies and universities across the United States. Each program is designed for 20 juniors and seniors selected through an application process.According to the most recent figures from the U.S. Census Bureau, the 2013 American Community Survey found that of all full-time, year-round employed civilians age 16 and older, women comprise 27.5 percent of computer and information systems managers. The same report found that 25.1 percent of all computer and mathematical occupations are filled by women, and within that category, only 20.3 percent of computer programmers are female.For the U.S. to be competitive in technology, women must be part of the technology sector. Girls Who Code is one way to accomplish this goal.Laura Willson, age 17, co-founded a Girls Who Code club at her high school in Manhattan:“Many women do not pursue computer science because they are intimidated, assuming it is a field that men or geeks prefer. The media also perpetuates a certain viewpoint. In media, they only show that you either have to be pretty or smart. You can’t be both. So I feel like when they have shows of a pretty woman who is smart, they’re actually showing that you can be pretty and smart in coding.”According to Mary Karroqe, a 16-year-old junior in Brooklyn and alum of a Girls Who Code summer program, “Now that I know how to code, I know how to make something from nothing. I would like to take advantage of that and use the Internet to create something that can just make education and information more accessible…I can take nothing, like a blank web page, for example, and I can turn it into whatever I want just by typing a few things on my keyboard. I really love that; it’s really empowering for me.”So, ask your technology department or vendors: Who’s coding your website or business app?—Debbie LaskeyShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share471Tweet6Share283Email760 Sharesovertime / Sam GreenhalghMay 20, 2016; Times-Tribune (Scranton, PA)Last week, the U.S. Department of Labor released new rules that increased the white-collar overtime threshold from $455 to $913 per week (or from $23,660 to $47,476 on an annual basis). The announcement of the updated rules implementing the federal Fair Labor Standards Act ended a lengthy process that began in 2014 when President Obama requested the regulations be reviewed to ensure they were consistent with his goal of ensuring workers were paid a fair wage for a hard day’s work.For the millions of employees who may now see larger paychecks, the new rule is welcome news. But for their employers, these new rules will require some difficult decisions. While setting a new standard that will affect an estimated 4.2 million current employees, the rules provide several ways organizations can respond, not all of which result in increased pay for their employees.Organizations can comply with the new rules, implement the administrative systems necessary to track hours for currently salaried employees, and pay the additional cost of overtime for those who earn it. Happier and better-paid employees, perhaps, but an added cost to be funded. Or they can reduce the employee’s salary so that any overtime earned will not result in an increase in the employee’s total earnings. Or they can forbid overtime for these employees and hire additional part-time workers to pick up the slack. The last two options do keep costs contained, but their workforce may be unhappy and less productive.From the moment the new rule was put forward for public comment in 2015, the nonprofit community has seen them as asking them to make a difficult choice, balancing their mission of helping those in need with the realities of operating. The National Council of Nonprofits encouraged “all nonprofits to conduct a mission-based analysis of the proposed regulations. That means answering questions about how the proposed increase in the minimum salary levels would affect operations, resources, and staffing, as well as what impact the draft regulations would have on persons relying on the services and the mission of the nonprofit” to evaluate the benefits of the changes being proposed.Among the more than 270,000 comments the DOL received to the proposed rule were many voices speaking for the nonprofit community, and they seemed to see only the negative impact on their operations; mission seemed to take a backseat to the difficulty of meeting a higher standard. Rick Cohen’s “brief review of one third of the posted comments found there was not one positive comment from a nonprofit.” The comments he saw predicted dire outcomes, staff reductions, service cuts, and even agency closings. No one seemed to see the increased pay for those earning low salaries as an important benefit to be supported.Now that the changes are going to take effect, segments of the nonprofit community continues to protest loudly. Jesse Ergott, president of NeighborWorks in Northeastern Pennsylvania, described the problem to the Times-Tribune:
Share27TweetShare16Email43 SharesOctober 20, 2016; Bend BulletinTreatment available to those suffering from opioid addiction has not kept pace with the rise of addiction itself, says a report released last week by the Democratic Staff of the Senate Committee on Finance. The minority report, released by senator Ron Wyden, highlights the “enormous” treatment gaps in states hit hard by the opioid crisis, and criticizes the lack of congressional funding for provisions authorized by the Comprehensive Addiction and Recovery Act.The CDC has reported that “more people died from drug overdoses in 2014 than in any year on record,” and that nearly half a million people died of opioid overdoses from 2000–2014. It is estimated that 78 people die per day in America from opioid overdoses. Wyden’s report cites a 2015 study from the American Journal of Public Health, which reported widespread under-availability of opioid treatment in nearly every state. There are more addicted people than state and local programs can accommodate, and the capacity gap for medication-assisted treatment is especially high. While medications such as methadone and buprenorphine have been FDA-approved to treat opiate addiction, these medications are prohibitively expensive for most addicted people, and few health plans cover the treatment.“In every state, across the country, treatment capacity simply does not match the need,” Wyden’s report reads. The Bulletin, a daily newspaper out of Bend, Oregon, recently reported on the finance committee report, adding that using current addiction and treatment surveys, nearly one million opiate-addicted people do not have access to treatment programs.The Comprehensive Addition and Recovery Act (CARA), passed in July, was intended to allocate funding for state and local programs fighting the rising opioid epidemic. The language in the bill describes a massive, evidence-based grant program funding first responder training, increased availability of naloxone (Narcan) for law enforcement agencies, local treatment programs, pain management research, drug diversion programs, treatment for incarcerated people, and a host of additional programs. Nearly all of the funding is intended for nonprofit, state, and local agencies to address addiction at the community level.While CARA, the most expansive legislation to ever address addiction support services, was passed nearly unanimously by both the House and Senate, the White House criticized congressional Republicans for blocking built-in funding that Democratic senators had attempted to include in the bill.Although CARA authorizes $181 million each year in funding for a host of law enforcement and treatment programs, those funds must be appropriated by Congress each year. Even if these funds are appropriated, they fall far short of the $920 million House Democrats hoped to add to CARA before its passage.Last month, a coalition of 100 nonprofit groups petitioned the Senate for additional addiction services funding. Another letter, signed by several of the same nonprofits, went to the White House, encouraging the president to request the full funding of CARA programs in the next budget or continuing resolution. Republican senators Rob Portman of Ohio, one of CARA’s coauthors, and Kelly Ayotte of New Hampshire also pushed their own party to support CARA funding in advance of Congress’ passage of a continuing resolution to fund the government through December 9th.The continuing resolution, passed at the end of September, did set aside another $37 million in new funding for CARA programs through the next year. But because that $37 million is to be prorated over one year, only about $7 million has been made available for the duration of the 10-week continuing resolution.Earlier this week, the New York Times’ editorial board wrote that full funding for CARA could help recover some of the millions of workers missing from the American labor force. But the most impassioned coverage of the bill seems to be showing up in local newspapers like the Toledo Blade or the sites of addiction recovery nonprofits like the Drug Policy Alliance—the places and organizations most likely to be positively impacted by new treatment funding.—Lauren KarchShare27TweetShare16Email43 Shares
Share9TweetShare3Email12 Shares“Access.” Sarah Stewart.April 20, 2017; NextCityIn spite of the federal government’s attack on equal rights issues across the spectrum, a recent National Fair Housing Alliance report titled “The Case for Fair Housing” boldly claims, “Instead of seeing the problem of segregation as intractable, it should be seen as foundational. You can pour all the money in the world into inequities in all these other areas, but if you do not address the segregation and discrimination that are the foundation of these inequities, it will be difficult to make any meaningful progress.”Using fair housing tools to dismantle systemic segregation has seemed a lofty dream for too many years. That changed in 2015–2016. The U.S. Supreme Court decision in Texas Department of Housing and Community Affairs et al. v. Inclusive Communities Project, et al.; the Obama administration regulations on affirmatively furthering fair housing and on disparate impact; and the confluence of myriad studies of the social, economic, educational, and health impacts of segregation made 2016 a moment in history when it seemed possible that promoting desegregation could undermine social and economic inequality in the span of a lifetime.Then came the election of 2016, and hopes for rapid change were dashed. A recent article in Slate depicts the Nixon administration’s efforts to gut civil rights enforcement and suggests this is a template for the Trump-Sessions administration’s roll back of efforts to achieve racial justice. Policy attacks are bound to proliferate as Republican-dominated state legislatures look for ways to kneecap the advocacy networks of the past eight .In NextCity’s “This Is What Housing Discrimination in the U.S. Looks Like,” author Kelsey E. Thomas focuses on the report’s bullet points while hinting at the blockbuster recommendations within. NFHA’s report is a refusal to give up on the opportunity created over the past decade. In fact, in the face of implacable opposition in the halls of power, NFHA redoubles its efforts. To make this vision real, NFHA calls on a wholesale reconstruction of the Federal commitment to fair housing enforcement.“Create an Independent Fair Housing Agency or Reform HUD’s Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity. A strong, independent fair housing agency could more effectively address discrimination and segregation throughout the United States. In the absence of such an organization, HUD should be restructured so that the Office of Fair Housing and Equal Opportunity plays a more meaningful role and functions effectively in its many important responsibilities.”“Reestablish the President’s Fair Housing Council to establish a multidisciplinary approach well suited to addressing the policies and systems that have a discriminatory impact, perpetuating entrenched patterns of metropolitan segregation.” On its face, this proposal seems like a rehash of efforts to break down silos, but imagine if this multi-issue, multi-sectoral Fair Housing Council could have the impact of a Kerner Commission by focusing the national discussion around fundamental realities of race and culture.There are many more predictable goals cited in the NFHA report that go to the nuts and bolts of fair housing work. These include expanding funding for state and local private fair housing agencies, expanding equal access to credit, and increasing corporate and philanthropic support for fair housing. Still, the core message is defiant support for the progress made over the past eight years. Maybe that vision won’t happen under the current administration, but keep in mind that the entire NFHA report is focused on a vision of generational change.While NFHA’s recommendations focus on the federal government, it seems to understand that they will not likely happen under the current administration, so NFHA also relies on changing the facts on the ground where people live, instead of relying on the caprice of policymakers. It highlights key factors where the nonprofit sector and individuals do have choice, including, as Thomas observes, “a need for more advocacy…that many prospective funders feel that [is] in conflict with their mission or corporate agenda to focus on fair housing…and that many of those who regard themselves as unaffected by inequities do not care that there are inequities.”If there is an opportunity for us in these times, it is to act more boldly where we can, personally and locally.—Spencer WellsShare9TweetShare3Email12 Shares
Analogue TV will be completely switched off in the UK on October 24, 2012.Digital UK, the body tasked with managing switchover, said that the five-year switchover period will be brought to a close next year when the last analogue signals are switched off in Northern Ireland. Digital UK said that the process will come in at £53 million (€60 million) under budget.
Chinese satellite and terrestrial reception equipment producer GlobalSat has licensed TV software specialist ANT’s Galio HbbTV platform to develop a range of HbbTV-compliant set-top boxes.GlobalSat’s boxes are currently deployed across Europe, the Middle East, Latin America, North Africa and Australia.Sean Kim, vice-president and general manager for Asia and Russian Markets at ANT said: “The ANT Galio HbbTV Platform continues to be selected based on its assured compliance with the HbbTV standard. We’re pleased to be working with GlobalSat which has a proven deployment track record across many regions and is well placed to move into the HbbTV market.”
US cable giant Time Warner Cable is reportedly considering taking an equity stake in video-on-demand site Hulu, according to several US reports.Bloomberg reported that discussions between the firms are at an early stage, and said another, unnamed, pay TV company was also mulling a bid for the VOD site.It claimed that a deal would make Time Warner a co-owner alongside Disney, News Corp and Comcast, who each own around a third of the business though Comcast gave up corporate control of the site as part of its NBCUniversal takeover deal.Separately the Wall Street Journal reported that it was unclear whether Time Warner Cable was looking to take a minority stake in Hulu or launch an all-out deal, but said Hulu’s owners don’t see the cable operator as the most likely buyer. It too said at least one other pay TV operator was weighing an investment in Hulu.A third report by the New York Post claimed that Time Warner Cable CEO Glenn Britt has held talks with other cable TV providers about making a joint bid for Hulu. Such a move could turn Hulu into an authenticated online service for paying cable customers, the report said, and added that Hulu was keen for bids to be in by the end of next week.The news follows reports earlier this month claiming that Yahoo! had also held preliminary talks with Hulu, after the VOD business reached out to potential bidders in March.The digital arm of financial services business Guggenheim Partners, Amazon, and former News Corp president and chief operating officer Peter Chernin are also reported to have shown interest in the VOD site in recent months.
Virgin Media has signed a deal to add over-the-top video service Netflix to its TiVo platform, marking Netflix’s first agreement with a pay TV platform.A pilot of the Netflix app on Virgin Media TiVo boxes will launch this week in 40,000 homes, with the service due to roll out to all Virgin Media’s 1.7 million TiVo customers later this year.The deal will allow Virgin customers to watch Netflix movie and TV content – including Netflix original series like House of Cards, Hemlock Grove and Orange is the New Black – directly through their set-top box.For the pilot, the Netflix application will be available in the Apps & Games section of the Virgin Media TiVo display with Netflix members able to log-in using their existing Netflix details. New members can also sign up for Netflix via the app.The roll out follows Virgin Media’s addition of BT’s suite of new sports channels to its service last month, and joins Virgin Media’s existing collection of more than 6,000 hours of on-demand content.Virgin said that its TiVo customers will be able to easily search and browse titles across Virgin TV’s entire collection of films and TV programmes, as well as from Netflix and other content apps including BBC iPlayer.“The UK has given Netflix a fantastic welcome and we’re excited to be partnering with Virgin Media to bring an amazing Netflix experience to Virgin Media customers,” said Netflix’s global head of business development, Bill Holmes.Dana Strong, Virgin Media’s chief operating officer, added: “Netflix is a fabulous addition to Virgin Media TiVo, enabling our customers to enjoy even more of their favourite shows and movies simply and easily – all through their TV set-top box and at outstanding value.”
Cosme LopezVenezuelan group Cisneros Media has promoted Cosme Lopez to oversee its worldwide pay TV operations.Lopez will be senior VP and general manager of pay TV channels and services, effective immediately, working out of Cisneros’ Miami base and reporting to executive VP, content distribution Marcello Coltro.He joined Cisneros in 2000 as general manager of cable network Cisneros Continental and went on to establish channels such as Venevision Plus, VmasTV and VePlusTV and expanding Cisneros business in Latin America and the Caribbean.His new duties include overseeing Cisneros’ multiplatform pay TV business and overseeing telenovela OTT cahnnel Romanza+Africa, which is run in conjuction with Mexico’s Azteca and XP Africa.“Cosme has done a remarkable job managing the daily operations and distribution of our linear channels, joint ventures and Pay-TV services throughout Latin America,” said Marcello Coltro, who took on his post earlier this year.Cisneros’ long-serving distribution chief Cesar Diaz exited the operation last month, as TBI revealed at the time. Coltro is now in charge of all distribution operations.
Total mobile video traffic in the next six years will be around 17 times that of last six years, according to the latest Ericsson mobility report. The global research, published ahead of Mobile World Congress next week, claims that two-thirds of app data traffic over mobile networks comes from just five of the most popular apps in each country studied, with video streaming and social networking dominating.While Facebook was found to be the number one app in each country studied, mobile video “dominates traffic growth”, with Ericsson forecasting it to grow by around 45% annually through to 2020 when it will account for around 55% of all mobile data traffic.“Prominent factors driving this rapid growth include increased number of video-enabled devices, larger screens, and better picture quality. Another prominent driver is that video is becoming an increasing part of online content, such as news, adverts, and social media. Video is increasingly shared via popular social sites, such as Twitter,” said Ericsson.The research claims that accumulated mobile data traffic for video was 25 ExaBytes during 2009-2014 and will rise to 440 ExaBytes for 2015-2020. Total mobile data traffic will climb from 70 ExaBytes to 860 ExaBytes over the same period of time.Breaking down mobile traffic volume in a few key markets, Ercisson said that in the US in December Facebook accounted for 16% of mobile traffic, followed by YouTube at 15% and Netflix at 12%. In Spain the most popular apps were Facebook and Instagram with 20% and 13% of traffic respectively.The Mobility Report claims that 800 million smartphone subscriptions were added worldwide for full year 2014, taking the total number to 2.7 billion. This was up 40% from a total of 1.9 billion smartphone subscriptions in 2013.The study also noted a decline in the numbers of people watching broadcast TV, at the same time that streaming services gain more traction.“This year for the first time more people will watch streamed on demand video than broadcast TV over a weekly period in those markets. Drivers for this change include the advent of 4G technology, the growth in smartphone and tablet usage, and a shift in consumer behaviour towards easy-to-use, on-demand services that offer cross-platform access to content,” said Ericsson.
Belarus pay TV operator Cosmos TV has added new channels to its line-up.Cosmos TV has added Russian general entertainment channel TV3, music channel 9 Volna, which airs music programming featuring content from Russia’s different ethnic groups, culture channel Teatr and adult animation channel 2×2 to its programming line-up.The operator has also extended the availability of Russian extreme sports and entertainment channel Russian Extreme TV, making it available in its sports, Plus MMDS and full digital cable packs, and has added investigative reportage channel Top Secret to its ‘cognitive’ factual and full digital cable TV packages. Eurosport News has meanwhile been made available on the operator’s sports and full digital cable packages, while ID Extra joins the Plus MMDS service.
Localised versions of majority Dreamworks-owned multichannel network Awesomeness TV has officially launched in the UK, Spain, France, Germany and Brazil.The launches, done in partnership with Endemol Shine Group, follow an initial rollout of the MCN in the UK last month, with local language versions and original content now available in each of the five new countries.“We are extremely proud of our alliance with AwesomenessTV and are thrilled to be launching simultaneously in five countries. Using our creative talents across the group we have got some really exciting formats which going forwards we will be able to roll out worldwide,” said Wim Ponnet, group director of commercial and strategy, Endemol Shine Group.Kelly Day, chief digital officer, AwesomenessTV, added: “With this launch we are able to extend the reach of AwesomenessTV to fans who can now enjoy our programming in their own language.“Localised versions of the AwesomenessTV formats are working incredibly well, proving Gen Z content knows no boundaries. The creation of great original content delivers on our promise of providing new opportunities and resources for local talent.”Endemol Shine Group signed a strategic alliance with the MCN to extend the international reach of the AwesomenessTV brand at MIPCOM in October.AwesomenessTV aims to engage the global ‘Generation Z’ audience through original content on multiple platforms – including YouTube, mobile, OTT, social media, film and television.The MCN is owned by DreamWorks Animation and Hearst, with the latter holding a 25% interest.
UK-based pay TV broadcaster Sky has acquired Diagonal View, the digital channels company behind the All Time 10s and Football Daily online brands.Sky has been in acquisitive mode in 2017, buying stakes in True North and Chrysalis Vision, and has now taken over nine-year-old Diagonal View.Sky sees the acquisition as broadening its engagement with young, digital-first audiences who may not be taking pay TV services, and as a way of offering “greater brand-safe digital opportunities to advertisers”.Diagonal View is best know for its All Time 10s channels, which use social videos to run content on a diverse range of content that spans The Fresh Prince of Bel Air to unexplained phenomena. It has more than 15 million subscribers, with more than one billion in the past year.Diagonal View’s existing management team, including co-founder Matt Heiman, will continue to lad the business from within Sky, whose group director of advanced advertising Jamie West and director of digital sports and news David Gibbs will now support the unit.“Our social channels complement Sky’s current portfolio – the prospect of our incredibly popular Football Daily channels collaborating with Sky, whose pedigree in this space is unrivalled, is extremely exciting,” said Heiman.“Sky brings rights, expertise and scale. Diagonal View knows how to make content that digital natives enjoy watching and engaging with, so this partnership feels like a natural win-win for both us and Sky.”On the digital side, Sky invested in digital rights management firm TRX in August last year, and has heavily invested in Asian SVOD service iFlix.
Amazon has launched of its Fire TV streaming device featuring support for 4K Ultra HD video, HDR and Alexa voice-enabled remote.The device, which Amazon says is 40% more powerful than the existing Fire TV Stick, will retail for US$69.99 (€59.53) in the US.The new device, which will begin shipping to US customers on October 25, features a 1.5 Ghz quad-core processor and dual-band 802.11ac Wi-Fi. The new Fire TV also comes with 2GB of memory and 8 GB of storage.Amazon said that it was working with the likes of Hulu, Showtime, Sony’s PlayStation Vue, CBS All Access, NBC, Bravo, CNBC, and NBC News to add increased app functionality that lets users use their voice to rewind, fast forward, and play content with a wider range of commands.The company said it was also working with partners to have single sign-on added to TV Everywhere apps such as ESPN, NBC, ABC, Disney Channel, AMC, CNNGo, Food Network, E!,Freeform, USA, and others.Amazon has also added smart home camera support to the device, allowing customers to use Alexa to view streams from cameras throughout their home.The e-retail giant has launched a number of promotional offers for the launch.For a limited time, customers can get the all-new Fire TV and Echo Dot together for US$79.99 or the Fire TV Stick and Echo Dot together for $59.99, which the company says represents a 33% saving. Eligible customers who purchase and activate the all-new Fire TV by November 15, 2017 will also receive two months of Hulu, a one month trial of Showtime, and a US$10 credit to rent or buy content from Amazon Video.Amazon has also this week launched a new Amazon Echo smart home device for US$149.99 and a new Echo Spot devices for US$129.99.“The all-new Fire TV delivers a great entertainment experience with the best picture quality on a Fire TV, 4K Ultra HD, HDR, and an unbeatable selection of content – all at an affordable price,” said Marc Whitten, vice-president, Amazon Fire TV.“With Alexa, the new Fire TV makes it easier to navigate content and discover great movies and TV shows, all by using your voice.”
France 24’s new Spanish-language HD news channel is to launch on Intelsat’s prime Latin American orbital position through an agreement with media services provider Globecast.Intelsat has renewed an agreement with Globecast to distribute two existing France 24 channels in addition to the new Spanish channel.Globecast will distribute three channels – English, French and Spanish-speaking – to cable operators across North America, Latin America and Canada via Intelsat 21 at the 302° East oribital slot.Marie-Christine SaragosseThe launch of a new Spanish-language service was one of the priorities identified by France Médias Monde president Marie-Christine Saragosse when she was reappointed for a new five-year term in June. Saragosse proposed the launch of the Spanish service in partnership with the Spanish-speaking editorial team of radio service RFI along with the launch of a Turkish digital service as two projects for her term.Intelsat claims to deliver 77 of the 100 most watched channels in Latin America. Intelsat’s cable distribution neighborhood in Latin America is comprised of three satellites – Intelsat 11, Intelsat 21 and Intelsat 34.Services provided by the satellite operator include fibre backhaul and the IntelsatOne Multi Channel per Carrier (MCPC) platform to support content distribution and expansion.“To increase our global footprint and reach new viewers with a higher quality of content, we need a reliable, expansive distribution network that can effectively tap into different regions of the world. Continuing our partnership with Intelsat and leveraging the highly penetrated Intelsat 21 video neighborhood will enable us to deliver France 24 optimal coverage and access to more viewers in the Americas and Canada,” said Philippe Bernard, Globecast Group’s Chief Executive Officer.“Our experience and expertise in cultivating highly-penetrated video neighborhoods in Latin America and other regions of the world enable our customers to cost-effectively reach new audiences in broader regions and increase revenue. Globecast’s decision to expand services on Intelsat 21, validates the strength of the video neighborhood. Our robust managed service offering provides Globecast with access to a world-class network of IntelsatOne fiber and teleport services to efficiently and reliably distribute media content to France 24 viewers,” said Rhys Morgan, Intelsat’s managing director, Europe sales.
Spanish regional cable operator Euskaltel has outlined plans to grow its revenue to €800 million, with EBITDA of €400 million, by 2022, with its expansion into new markets accounting for 8% of revenues by that date.The ambitious turnover target would imply growth of 28.6% on the company’s figure for 2017, with the EBITDA figure 30.3% up on the 2017 number.Francisco ArtecheUnveiling the targets at an investors day presentation in Madrid, Euskaltel management said an EBITDA margin of 30% of sales would be sustainable by 2022, enabling double-digit growth in dividends across the timespan of its strategic plan. The company predicts that net financial debt will fall below 3.5x EBITDA by 2022.Euskaltel has appointed Charo Lacal to head up a recently created operations and transformation division bringing together customer service and management into a single unit. Lacal will be tasked with ensuring that the group’s different functional areas adapt to new market scenarios.CEO Francisco Arteche said that the group would focus on improving customer experience, a return to growth in the B2B segment, digital transformation, strategic alliances and an increased reach.Euskaltel has also identified cost savings of €40-45 million as it streamlines its operations and increases efficiency.“Thanks to its management capacity, the Group estimates a very significant increase in revenues in the markets we are expanding into over the next few years, reaching 8% of total revenues by the end of 2022,” said Arteche.Euskaltel’s presentation comes as 15% shareholder Zegona Communications completes a capital increase to finance the acquisition of Euskaltel shares.Zegona – the former owner of Asturias operator Telecable that was acquired by Euskaltel – has said it wants to see Euskaltel expand its reach within its core markets of the Basque Country, Asturias and Galicia as well as extending its reach to other regional markets. The company has been in talks with former Jazztel CEO José Miguel García, who participated in its placing, about taking a role with the company and also wants to facilitate a deal to bring the Virgin brand to Spain as a vehicle for Euskaltel’s national expansion.Zegona has identified a similar level of cost savings to that outlined by Euskaltel’s management through the creation of a single operating platform for the group’s three reginal brands and other measures.
TalkTalk has become the latest UK service provider to offer Amazon Prime Video to its TV offering following Liberty Global-owned Virgin Media’s addition of the streaming service this week.Amazon auto show The Grand TourTalkTalk’s he deal with Amazon will see the service join the TalkTalk TV range of streaming appsThe move means that viewers will also be able to watch all televised 2019-20 Premier League games on TalkTalk TV via Prime Video, BT Sport and Sky Sports.TalkTalk TV customers who sign up for Amazon Prime will be able to view a range of TV shows and movies available on Prime Video, including Amazon Originals The Grand Tour, The Marvelous Mrs Maisel, Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan and the forthcoming Good Omens starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant.Customers who already have a Prime Video subscription will be able to stream the service by logging into the app via their set top box. TalkTalk TV customers who don’t currently have a Prime Video subscription can take advantage of the 30-day free trial.TalkTalk said that the launch with Amazon is the latest step in its commitment to providing customers with a seamless viewing experience. The telco offers a range of services on its box including online TV offerings Netflix and BBC iPlayer as well as Sky Sports, Sky Cinema and major kids’ channels.Will Ennett, Head of TV content and editorial, TalkTalk TV said: “We’re committed to giving our customers more of the TV and film they love by growing our roster of content partners. Amazon Prime Video has captured TV fans with its exciting original series’ and is a fantastic addition to the TalkTalk TV line up, making it even easier for our customers to enjoy the very best entertainment in one place and through just one remote.”Jay Marine, VP of Amazon Prime Video said: “We are excited to make it even easier for Prime members to watch the great TV shows and movies they love. With Good Omens starring Michael Sheen and David Tennant set to launch next month, there’s never been a better time to enjoy a range of original and exclusive programming including Amazon Originals like Tom Clancy’s Jack Ryan, The Grand Tour and The Marvelous Mrs Maisel – as well as our forthcoming exclusive Premier League matches – all coming to customers across the country through TalkTalk TV.”
This year has seen a rapid expansion of Discovery’s footprint internationally under president and CEO Mark Hollinger, following the group’s decision to split its European business into a western European division under Dee Forbes and CEEMEA under Kasia Kieli. The female-skewed TLC channel recently passed 100 million homes, following launches in Denmark, Finland and Poland.Age 52Education J.D. from Yale Law School and a B.A. degree (summa cum laude) in history and political science from Colgate University.Previous positions Paul, Weiss, Rifkind, Wharton & Garrison, senior associate, 1985-91; Columbia Law School, lecturer, entertainment law, 1988-91; Discovery Communications, VP/deputy general counsel, 1991-94; Discovery Channel Asia, acting GM, ‘94 ; Discovery Communications, VP international business development/ VP, deputy counsel, 1995-96; general counsel, 1996-2001; EVP, corporate operations, 2001-03; senior EVP, corporate operations/general counsel, 2003-07; COO, 2008-09Last year’s highlights The successful rollout of TLC; industry-leading results.Last year’s most significant development The continued momentum toward a VOD world – whether Netflix, UPC’s Horizon initiative, iPlayer or TV Everywhere.Goals for next year Continue to build the strongest non-fiction portfolio in global pay television.Industry challenges and opportunities Figuring out the business model for programmes in the VOD environment in order to continue investments in great content; and figuring out how the VOD environment can co-exist successfully with the traditional pay TV environment.Alternative career choice Sports management – as with TV, it would give me a chance to work every day with something I love.TV character most identified with A contestant on The Amazing Race – always on the go, with lots of challenges to faceMost admired personality Jimmy Carter, who has used his position to promote important, but unglamorous, causes like free elections and affordable housing.Life outside work Hang out with my three sons, watch football, read and, crazily enough, travel.