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Sydney Opera House goes green for Vivid LIVE

first_imgThe Sydney Opera House has made the decision to be carbon neutral during this year’s Vivid LIVE event, part of the Vivid Sydney festival, which kicks off tonight.The iconic landmark will achieve this through a number of green initiatives to reduce the environmental impact of the event including electricitty from renewable sources, using fuel-efficient transport and donating excess food to charity.New South Wales Deputy Premier and Minister for the Arts Troy Grant said Vivid LIVE will demonstrate that it is possible to create a lively celebration without a large carbon footprint.“Today’s announcement is testament to the environmental awareness and action of everyone involved in creating this incredible event at the Opera House,” Mr Grant said.The Opera House will use 100 per cent Green Power from accredited renewable sources to power the event, including the iconic Lighting of the Sails.Artists will be transferred to the venue in fuel-efficient transport and surplus food will be donated to charity OzHarvest.Reusable water bottles will be supplied to the artists and crew to save an estimated 6,000 plastic water bottles and the event will also utilise electronic marketing where possible.Sydney Opera House manager, environmental sustainability, Naomi Martin said powering Vivid LIVE by renewable energy is an initiative they will continue into the future.“This is our greenest year yet and the first time our team has successfully made Vivid LIVE fully carbon neutral – but it’s just the beginning,” Ms Martin said.“This is a commitment we will build on as we continue to set a new standard in sustainability.”The Opera House will track and offset all remaining carbon emissions including artists’ flights, catering and accommodation.This will be achieved through investment in accredited projects and transparent reporting.Carbon calculations and offsetting will be externally verified and reported on the Vivid LIVE website in accordance with National Carbon Offset Standard requirements.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

JERUSALEM – Staring at grainy video footage of Jew

first_img JERUSALEM – Staring at grainy video footage of Jewish children marching to their freedom though the barbed-wire fences of the Auschwitz death camp, 79-year-old Vera Kriegel Grossman excitedly points a finger at the screen upon identifying a dark-haired girl in a dirty striped uniform as her 6-year-old self.“I can’t believe that happened to me,” she said Wednesday. “I wasn’t a child there. I was all grown up … it was like I was 100 years old.”Archival footage shot by Auschwitz’s Soviet liberators is part of the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s latest exhibition, ahead of International Holocaust Remembrance Day on Saturday, exploring the power of photography during World War II. The 1,500 photographs and 13 films displayed come from various perspectives, victims and perpetrators alike, and look to offer today’s media-saturated visitors a new angle of looking at the horrors of the Holocaust.Photography, perhaps more than anything else, has come to shape our memory of the Holocaust. The “Flashes of Memory” exhibit also offers a glimpse behind the lens — showing the actual cameras used, the photographers who took the pictures and their various motivations.“The exhibit is aimed at the brain, not the heart,” said Daniel Uziel, its historical adviser. “We are asking the visitor to look beyond the image and examine the wider historical perspective.”It includes Nazi-produced material that was part of their vast propaganda machine aimed at both enhancing their powerful image — such as Leni Riefenstahl’s famous films — and portraying the Jew as a decrepit, disease-infested yet sinister creature that was worthy of extermination. Also featured are the vivid photographs of American troops who freed the camps — depicting emaciated survivors, ash-filed crematoria, piles of corpses and the German civilians they forced to bury them so they couldn’t plead ignorance later. Besides serving as vital future evidence to try Nazi criminals, these were also aimed at re-educating the postwar German population and for domestic American consumption to legitimize the huge cost and sacrifice of joining the war.Perhaps most insightful are the everyday photos taken by the Jewish victims themselves in various ghettos, some in the service of the Nazis and some in stealth in a desperate attempt to document the atrocities against them to serve as future proof. For example, Zvi Kadushin, an underground photographer in the Kovno ghetto, did so at great personal risk and produced essential documentation as a result.“They used those images in order to present to the Germans their usefulness, their effectiveness,” said Uziel. “On the other hand, the Jews also seek, without permission, to document the crimes done by the Germans.”Six million Jews were killed by German Nazis and their collaborators during the Holocaust, wiping out a third of world Jewry. Israel’s main Holocaust memorial day is in the spring — marking the anniversary of the Warsaw Ghetto uprising — while the United Nations designated Jan. 27 as International Holocaust Remembrance Day, commemorating the date of the liberation of the Auschwitz death camp in 1945.That’s the day Grossman considers her second birthday, since she was delivered from the horrors of the camp to freedom.“God opened the skies and sent us angels and rescued us,” she recalled, upon seeing the Soviet troops who later filmed her and the number tattooed on her arm. “I am happy it was documented.”Grossman’s father was gassed and incinerated in the camp’s crematorium and she and her twin sister Olga were subjected to the ruthless experiments of the infamous Nazi doctor Josef Mengele. She said her resistance to him is what kept her alive.“I told myself what he would tell me to do I would do the opposite because he had no right to do these things to me,” she said. “He took away my body because he could do that but he couldn’t take away my mind.”Far less eager to discuss their experiences were identical twins Lia Huber and Judith Barnea, both 80. Seeing the images, and themselves in them, brought back memories both had spent decades suppressing.“It is buried inside our hearts and we don’t talk about it,” said Huber. “If you want to survive and continue life, you must continue and live with what you got and carry on.”Photos from various chapters of the Nazi persecution of Jews were scattered across desks to depict the chaos in which they were taken. But it was the displaying of Nazi propaganda in the museum in particular that posed a difficult dilemma for Yad Vashem. Vivian Uria, the exhibit’s curator, said they tried to balance this with artifacts and testimony of survivors and victims who told their point of view. Ultimately, though, she said the visuals were essential and it was up to the viewer to look back at that dark era with a critical eye toward all those who documented it.“The camera and its manipulative power have tremendous power and far-reaching influence,” she said. “Although photography pretends to reflect reality as it is, it is in fact an interpretation of it.”____Follow Heller at www.twitter.com/aronhellerap In this Wednesday, Jan. 24, 2018, photo, Holocaust survivor from Auschwitz concentration camp Kriegel Grossman points at herself shown in a video from Auschwitz camp at the opening of “Flashes of Memory” exhibition of the photos and videos from the Holocaust at the Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial in Jerusalem. Israel’s Yad Vashem Holocaust memorial’s latest exhibition explores the power of photography during World War II. (AP Photo/Tsafrir Abayov) by Aron Heller, The Associated Press Posted Jan 24, 2018 11:03 pm PDT Last Updated Jan 25, 2018 at 6:20 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emailcenter_img New Israeli exhibit highlights power of photos in Holocaustlast_img read more

Rep VanderWall Line 5 agreement positive for Northern Michigan

first_img28Nov Rep. VanderWall: Line 5 agreement positive for Northern Michigan State Rep. Curt VanderWall today said he was pleased with an agreement the state has reached with Enbridge to provide increased safeguards for the Line 5 pipeline, through which nearly 23 million gallons of crude oil and natural gas is transported each day.VanderWall, of Ludington, said the agreement offers needed oversight and increased protection for the Great Lakes.“This agreement offers additional safety measures to protect the precious natural resources that make our state a great place to live, while also recognizing the important role Line 5 plays in providing Northern Michigan residents with access to propane to heat their homes,” VanderWall said.The agreement requires Enbridge to provide the following safety measures:• Replace the portion of Line 5 that crosses beneath the St. Clair River with a new pipe in a tunnel under the river.• Study the potential for the placement of a new pipeline in a tunnel beneath the Straits of Mackinac.• Temporarily shut down operation of Line 5 in the Straits during periods of sustained adverse weather conditions.• Implement additional underwater technologies to better monitor the pipeline beneath the Straits.• Implement measures to mitigate a potential vessel anchor strike on Line 5 beneath the Straits.• Implement measures to minimize the likelihood of an oil spill at other Line 5 water crossings in Michigan.• Expand state oversight of company actions and information.“Monday’s announcement is a step in the right direction,” VanderWall said. “By working together, state and Enbridge officials can ensure that Northern Michigan’s energy needs continue to be met in a manner that minimizes the risk to the Great Lakes and creates a path for the replacement of the pipeline under the Straits.”### Categories: VanderWall Newslast_img read more

Rep Webber supports money saving measures for Michigan families

first_img Categories: Webber News 14Feb Rep. Webber supports money saving measures for Michigan families Bills provide tax relief, end driver responsibility feesState Rep. Michael Webber today supported two measures that will allow Michigan families to keep more money in their pockets.The first measure would end driver responsibility fees effective Oct. 1 and forgive outstanding debt associated with the fees.Webber said the fees, which were enacted by a previous administration to fill a budget shortfall, resulted in financial hardships for families across the state.“Some 300,000 Michigan drivers were required to pay these fees, which did nothing to improve their driving skills, which proponents said was the purpose of the fees,” said Webber, of Rochester Hills. “I am more than happy to vote on elimination of driver responsibility fees and help people out of debt that never should have been incurred.”The bill package ends the fees on Oct. 1 and forgives all outstanding debt in connection to the fees. The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables them to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.Webber also voted in support of a plan to cut taxes for Michigan residents.The plan continues and increases personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes, potentially saving families hundreds of dollars overall.“With strong bi-partisan support, we are moving forward with tax reform for the hard working taxpayers of the State of Michigan and Oakland County.” Webber said.The bills ensure Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes, a necessary step after federal tax reforms signed into law in December. The measure also increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,900 by the 2021 tax year.The technical fix related to the federal reforms saves $170 per person per year — or $680 for a family of four – on state income taxes. The plan to raise the personal exemption to $4,900 provides an additional $102 in additional annual tax relief for a family of four.The legislation also allows taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax to continue to claim exemptions.Both money-saving measures were approved by the House and move to the governor’s desk to be considered for state laws.#####last_img read more

Rep Leutheuser invites superintendent to State of the State Address

first_img Categories: Leutheuser News,Leutheuser Photos PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Eric Leutheuser of Hillsdale welcomed Superintendent Shawn Vondra of Hillsdale Community Schools to the House floor for Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s State of the State Address. 12Feb Rep. Leutheuser invites superintendent to State of the State Addresslast_img

Are Girl Scout Camps Collateral Damage in Consolidation

first_imgShare6TweetShareEmail6 SharesJanuary 12, 2014; Daily Beast NPQ recommends that any reader interested in 1) what is going on with the Girl Scouts, and 2) what the unanticipated consequences of a forced merger of a federated network can be should read this excellent and nuanced article written for the Daily Beast by Alessandra Rafferty. Last year, NPQ did a number of stories on the dissent within the ranks of Girl Scout families focused on the selling off of their historic camps. There have been few issues we have ever written about that elicited so many impassioned comments.As you may recall, since 2007, GSUSA has been consolidating their council structure—merging 312 local into 112 “high capacity” regional councils. (Since then, they have started to refer to the girls as “customers”). At that time, NPQ wondered aloud about the unintended consequences of the consolidation and suggested that one possible loss might be the alignment with and support of local families. Now much of the network is in conflict, with one of the flash points being the camps, which many of the new “high capacity” councils have been trying to sell off. This story in the Daily Beast says that more than 200 camps in 30 states have been put up for sale in the past five years, and that this constitutes more than a third of Girl Scouts properties.Rationales for selling those properties seem to fall into two groups: the camps are a too-costly resource for too few girls, and the outdoor experience is not forward-thinking enough. Both rationales set the teeth of many constituents on edge because they do not believe the motivation has much to do with the girls. Alessandro Rafferty writes:“That the 101-year-old organization reportedly has a woefully underfunded pension plan—currently down by $347 million—at the same time regional councils are trying to unload valuable land assets—has put the organization in the hot seat. While many pension funds took serious hits during the 2008 recession, critics, including one Tennessee council, contend that GSUSA made poor decisions, such as a massive realigning of councils and excessive buyouts, that exacerbated their loss.”And in general, constituents charge that too much of the money made through cookie sales, etc., are being used for administrative costs. For instance, as cited here, “Girl Scouts of Eastern Iowa’s proposed 2013 budget, for example, shows $2,000 allocated to replace roofs most in need at camp properties, but nearly a quarter of a million dollars for upgrades at offices and program centers, including parking lot repaving and landscaping. Tax forms for 2010, the last year released, showed that out of the more than $6 million in revenue, $3.53 million went to staff and benefits.”Lawsuits related to the selling of the camps are pending in Alaska, Ohio, Iowa, and Alabama. Last year, plaintiffs in Indiana won a case against the council. GSUSA insists that there is “no master plan” to sell the camps, but a memo dated May 24, 2013, from then-CFO Florence Casilles to GSUSA council CEOs indicates that “GSUSA was actively considering the sale and leaseback of council properties to fund the pension plan as well as donations of property to the plan, and the ‘identification of a national real estate broker to assist councils in selling property with use of funds to contribute to the plan.’” Despite being called a “potentially good service” in the same memo, the national agent idea was “not deemed to be a good strategy for funding pension because of the likely perception in the community of the use of property to fund non-girl related programs.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare6TweetShareEmail6 Shareslast_img read more

American Racial Discrimination on the Docket at the United Nations

first_imgShare4TweetShareEmail4 SharesAugust 13, 2014; ReutersIt must be disconcerting to Americans to read that U.S. officials were called on the carpet by the United Nations Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (CERD) because of what Stephanie Nebehay of Reuters said was “persistent racial discrimination against African-Americans and other minorities in jobs, housing, education and the criminal justice system.”Many readers probably think, “they must be kidding,” given the rampant racial and religious discrimination, even genocide occurring in so many places in the world.  But with the backdrop of street battles in Ferguson, Missouri, with local and county police treating African-American protesters like enemy combatants, racial justice issues are current and real.  It is no excuse, as even the American representatives to the UN CERD acknowledged, to say that other countries may be much worse.  We have to deal with our own conditions, our own responsibilities, and take action against official and unofficial racism right here at home. As examples of troubling racial policies in the U.S., UN officials cited “Stand Your Ground” laws, the use of force against immigrants, FBI racial profiling, and high rates of gun violence with disparate impacts on minorities.  The killing of teenager Mike Brown in Ferguson happened just before the CERD review, but U.S. officials stood their ground, so to speak, and defended America’s “great strides toward eliminating racial discrimination,” highlighted by the election of an African-American president.  The head of the U.S. delegation was Keith Harper, a member of the Cherokee nation. Despite the official U.S. government bravado, some 40 civil rights groups on their own filed a report with the UN committee detailing a number of policies and practices in which the U.S. has failed to fulfill its obligations under the UN Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Racial Discrimination.  The leading organizations behind the report, Falling Further Behind: Combating Racial Discrimination in America, were the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights along with the Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights under Law and the NAACP, with funding for the report from the Overbrook Foundation. Among the specifics cited in the report were the following:  discriminatory law enforcement and prosecutorial practices, including racial profiling, stand your ground laws, police misconduct (referencing the New Orleans Police Department), violence against immigrants on the Texas border, and higher rates of prosecution and incarceration of blacks and Latinos compared to whites for similar charges; disparities in sentencing, including with sentencing for drug-related crimes and in the death sentence; barriers to community re-entry for former prisoners, including voting disenfranchisement and deprivation of health services for justice-involved persons; disparate treatment of minority juveniles in the criminal justice system; racial segregation, resource inequities, and discriminatory disciplinary practices in education; discrimination in employment, including discrimination against unemployed workers; discrimination in housing, due to the U.S. government’s definition of housing discrimination to include only intentional discrimination, and racial disparities in foreclosures; and discrimination in voting, including photo ID laws. Participating in the “shadow” delegation to the UN CERD that presented a different interpretation of racial discrimination than the one proffered by the official U.S. government delegation were the parents of Trayvon Martin and Jordan Davis.  At the next presentation to the UN of America’s racial discrimination track record, the shadow delegation can sadly add Mike Brown’s family who can add their suffering to the specifics of racial discrimination in the United States.—Rick CohenShare4TweetShareEmail4 Shareslast_img read more

Judge Rules Chicago City Attorney Withheld Evidence in Shooting

first_imgShare6TweetShareEmail6 SharesJanuary 5, 2016; Washington PostNPQ has been documenting the fallout in Chicago since allegations began churning that the city and police department misrepresented evidence in the shooting of a young black man. Since then, we have seen a major police department official step down and even more calls for the resignation of Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel and the county state’s attorney, who took a year to file charges against police officers. Now, years after the shooting of another black man during a traffic stop, new evidence is coming out that an attorney for the city intentionally withheld evidence that could have changed the outcome for the officers in that case.Four years ago, Officer Raoul Mosqueda shot and killed Darius Pinex during a traffic stop because of what he said was a confrontation with the driver. For four years, he has said the dispatch told him and his partner that Pinex potentially had a gun in the car. For years, no evidence to corroborate or disprove Mosqueda’s testimony seemed to exist. However, this past February, as the officers were on trial, a Chicago city attorney, Jordan Marsh, came forward to say he was in possession of the recording of the dispatch from the night of the shooting. Of course, at this point, it was too late for Pinex family attorneys to change their case. The officers were acquitted of any wrongdoing in the shooting.Upon listening to the dispatch, it becomes clear why the evidence was withheld. The recording indicates the dispatcher never told Mosqueda or his partner there was a gun inside Pinex’s car. The license plate the dispatch gave to the officers also did not match Pinex’s car.“After hiding that information, despite there being numerous times when the circumstances dictated he say something about it,” wrote U.S. District Judge Edmond Chang, “Marsh said nothing and even made misleading statements to the Court when the issue arose.”In the same decision, he also reversed the federal jury’s decision acquitting the officers and called on the Pinex family to bring a new case to trial.Marsh has since resigned, but the damage has been done and it doesn’t seem like Mayor Emanuel will be getting out of the hot seat anytime soon. The contradictions between the officers’ reports and the recording are eerily similar to the revelations from 17-year-old Laquan McDonald’s shooting video, which showed that officers’ statements differed rather significantly from what had actually happened. City officials and the police department fought for a year to prevent McDonald’s video from being publically released.Chicago officials are arguing, however, that there is no need for alarm and these incidents are isolated. “To say this is a practice, a systemic abuse or part of a cover up, there’s just no evidence of that,” said Corporation Counsel Stephen Patton, Chicago’s lead attorney handling the city’s civil lawsuits. “There’s nothing in the ruling to support it.”But the Pinex family’s attorney, Steve Greenberg, had a different interpretation of the events. This case is the second in which the city’s law department had mismanaged a police misconduct case. “There’s just a total disregard for the truth, and it runs to the highest levels,” said Greenberg. “There is a culture to cover up and win at all costs.”Marsh resigned after the decision on Monday, but it likely won’t do much to rehabilitate the city’s image and public trust. In fact, it seems like it only further supports the allegations that there is widespread collusion among city officials, from the police department, to the state’s attorney’s office, and then to the mayor’s office as well.—Shafaq HasanShare6TweetShareEmail6 Shareslast_img read more

CEOWorker Pay Gap Grows Even Wider

first_imgShare35TweetShareEmail35 SharesCC BY 2.0, LinkAugust 16, 2018; Washington PostAverage CEO pay among the top 350 US-based companies rose to $18.9 million in 2017, notes a report titled CEO Compensation Surged in 2017 published by the Economic Policy Institute—a labor-backed, Washington, DC-based think tank. CEO pay for 2017 is 17.6 percent higher than 2016. The average worker, by contrast, saw their wages rise by 0.3 percent more than inflation.The report, authored by Larry Mishel and Jessica Schieder, also notes that this is a long-term trend. Since 1978, inflation-adjusted CEO compensation has risen by 979 percent (based on stock options granted) or 1,070 percent (based on stock options realized). By contrast, wages for workers have increased 11.2 percent over the same period.“In other words: you are getting robbed. Fleeced. Mugged,” remarks journalist Paul Blest in Splinter.Overall, in 2017, the average CEO earned 312 times as much as the average worker. By comparison, in 1978, the average CEO took home 29.7 times what the average worker earned. If you go back to 1965, the ratio of CEO-to-worker pay was 20 to one. In that year, the average salary of a CEO of a Fortune 500-scale firm was $902,000 in today’s dollars.The current CEO-to-worker pay ratio of 312 to one isn’t the highest. That record was set in the year 2000, when it reached a peak of 344 to one. The other time the pay ratio was higher was in 2007, at 327 to one. But as Jeff Stein and Jena McGregor write in the Washington Post, Mishel points out that “the 2000 gap was fueled by a tech bubble that later burst, while the 2007 gap preceded the worst economic catastrophe in a half-century.” In other words, today’s high ratio could indicate the coming of another recession.One interesting comparison Mishel and Schieder make involves looking at the wage increases of top wage earners (who are pretty elite themselves, in the top 0.1 percent) versus those of CEOs. Top wage earners since 1978 have seen their wages rise 308 percent. Though this is still far less than CEO gains, Mishel and Schieder argue the gap between this elite group and CEOs is significant because it shows “CEO compensation growth does not simply reflect the increased value of highly paid professionals in a competitive race for skills…but rather the presence of substantial economic rents. CEO compensation appears to reflect not greater productivity of executives but the power of CEOs to extract concessions. Consequently, if CEOs earned less or were taxed more, there would be no adverse impact on output or employment.”“Investors,” note Stein and McGregor, “often shrug off high CEO compensation. Shareholders have the opportunity to vote on the CEO’s pay package—something called ‘say on pay’—but the votes are nonbinding, and it is relatively rare for CEOs to see much fewer than 90 percent of investors approve their compensation.”But, Stein and McGregor observe, elsewhere the gap in pay between CEOs and workers is less, suggestion that a lower gap in the US would be possible. Stein and McGregor, citing data from the Executive Remuneration Research Centre at Vlerick Business School in Belgium, note that the “CEO-worker pay ratio is about 94 to 1 in the United Kingdom, 91 to 1 in France, 71 to 1 in the Netherlands and 40 to 1 in Sweden.” Stronger unions are one major factor behind the lower pay gaps in those countries.For their part, Mishel and Schieder suggest a few policy measures to reduce the gap in the US: higher marginal income tax rates at the very top, corporate tax rates that increase for firms with higher CEO-to-worker pay ratios, a cap on CEO compensation, and stronger “say on pay” rules.In the absence of change, one can anticipate the corrosive impact of inequality on US society to continue. As British social epidemiologist Richard Wilkinson, coauthor with Kate Pickett of The Spirit Level: Why Greater Equality Makes Societies Stronger, observed years ago, because status competition in unequal societies leads to much higher overall stress levels, a wide range of social problems “are worse in societies with bigger income differences between rich and poor. These include physical and mental illness, violence, low math and literacy scores among young people, lower levels of trust and weaker community life, poorer child well-being, more drug abuse, lower social mobility and higher rates of imprisonment and teenage births…inequality does not harm the poor alone. The effects are so large because almost everyone is affected.”—Steve DubbShare35TweetShareEmail35 Shareslast_img read more

Global ad expenditure is expected to grow by 47

first_imgGlobal ad expenditure is expected to grow by 4.7% next year, up from 3.5% this year, according to analysts ZenithOptimedia. The global ad market is set to benefit from events including the summer Olympics, the US presidential elections and the European Football Championships; these quadrennial events, combined with the Japanese recovery, will provide a reliable boost to the industry.ZenithOptimedia believes that the global ad market will be worth US$486 billion (€363 billion) in 2012, compared to US$464 billion in 2011, despite the continuing slowdown in Europe and the region’s worsening debt crisis.Most of the global ad growth is expected to come from new advertising dollars in developing markets across Asia Pacific, central and eastern Europe and Latin America. Asia Pacific is expected to grow by an average of 10.4% a year, central and eastern Europe is expected to grow by 9.6% per year and Latin America by 7.3% a year. This is compared to forecasts of 2% growth in western Europe and 3.6% in North America in 2012.Jonathan Barnard, head of forecasting, ZenithOptimedia, said: “The global ad market is therefore remarkably strong at a time when the eurozone threatens to fall back into recession and drag down the growth of its trading partners. That’s because advertisers are in a very different position now than they were at the start of the last downturn in 2008. In general, advertisers have built up large cash reserves and – thanks to exceptionally low interest rates in the developed world – are earning very little interest on this cash.”last_img read more

BBC Worldwide the commercial arm of the British p

first_imgBBC Worldwide, the commercial arm of the British public broadcaster, has appointed former Sony executive Ken Munekata as president, Japan.Munekata will be based in Tokyo and will report to Joyce Yeung, general manager and senior vice-president, BBC Worldwide Sales & Distribution Asia. He will work across the company’s sales and distribution business, consumer products, and live events and will also have strategic oversight of developing BBC Worldwide Channels opportunities in Japan, working with Mark Whitehead, senior vice president and general manager, BBC Worldwide Channels Asia.Munekata was formerly president, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Japan and president, Sony Broadcast Media and he succeeds Katsuhiko Waza, who retired last year.Yeung said: “I’m delighted that Ken will be heading up our business in Japan. With his extensive management and business development experience in the Japanese media industry, I’m confident he will bring new growth opportunities to BBC Worldwide Japan and create collaboration with other Asian territories.”last_img read more

Pay TV operator Canal Plus has lost the latest sta

first_imgPay TV operator Canal Plus has lost the latest stage of its battle to overturn the French competition regulator’s remedies imposed in July as conditions for the renewal of approval of its 2007 merger with TPS.The country’s Conseil d’Etat has rejected Canal Plus’s request that the remedies be immediately suspended, meaning that the pay TV operator must now make its movie channels available to third-party ISPs.The Conseil d’Etat is investigating on two separate elements – the competition authority’s decision to withdraw its approval of the Canal Plus-TPS merger in 2011 and its imposition of remedies this year. It will make a ruling on the former by the end of this year.In the meantime, however, Canal Plus must implement the conditions imposed by the competition authority. In particular it must make three premium movie services – Ciné+ Premier, Ciné+ Frisson and Ciné Emotion – available to ISPs including Orange, SFR, Bouygues Telecom and Free at a price regulated by the authority. Canal Plus CEO Bertrand Méheut has claimed that this will lead to a loss of 300,000 subscribers from CanalSat during the first year and 100,000 from Canal Plus, leading to a reduction in its top line of €170 million and a drop in its bottom line of €130 million.last_img read more

Michael Comish the cofounder and CEO of Tescoow

first_imgMichael Comish, the co-founder and CEO of Tesco-owned online movie and TV store Blinbox, has been promoted to Tesco Group Digital Officer.The supermarket giant said that Comish will shape Tesco’s multichannel strategy and lead a new team “tasked with developing a more customer-led approach to online services.”He will head up a new 30,000 square foot digital campus, due to open this autumn in London, that will house Tesco’s digital entertainment services – spanning movies and TV, music, books and the recently launched Blinkbox-powered Clubcard TV service.The move comes ahead of the planned launch of Blinkbox Music and e-book service Blinkbox Books later this year, following Tesco’s 2012 acquisitions of digital music platform We7 and digital book business Mobcast.Comish co-founded Blinkbox in 2006 and Tesco acquired the service in May 2011. The site lets users pay to stream blockbuster movies and TV shows without subscription and can be accessed on games consoles, tablets, smart TVs, Blu-ray players, set top boxes and PCs and Macs.last_img read more

Polish cable operator Vectra has launched a new HD

first_imgPolish cable operator Vectra has launched a new HD set-top box provided by Motorola. The Motorola HMC3021 will provide Vectra with diversity of supply. Until now it has relied exclusively on ADB to provide high-end set-tops. The Motorola box will also be capable of supporting advanced services such as video-on-demand, Vectra said. Vectra’s HD package is available to subscribers for PLN15 (€3.52) a month.last_img

LG Electronics 77inch Ultra HD Curved OLED TV Ul

first_imgLG Electronics’ 77-inch Ultra HD Curved OLED TVUltra HD TVs will be found in 80% of US households in approximately 10 to 12 years, according to new research by Parks Associates.The ‘4K Today: Bringing Ultra HD to Market’ report claims that 4K TVs will reach “mass market pricing” in two to three years, and predicts that the adoption of UHD sets will be faster than that of HDTVs.“4K TV adoption is following the same pattern as HDTV, but prices are dropping more quickly. With the increasing convergence in the connected home, innovations such as 4K have implications for a variety of players throughout the home entertainment ecosystem,” said Stuart Sikes, president, Parks Associates.The research noted that HDTVs have now reached 82% of US broadband households after 15 years on the market.last_img read more

Christian Brent Fox International Channels FIC h

first_imgChristian BrentFox International Channels (FIC) has named Christian Brent as senior vice-president of global research and audience strategy.In this new role, Brent will head up all audience research for Fox across the company’s three key regions – Europe and Africa, Latin America, and Asia Pacific – with a remit that will include TV ratings, digital analytics and agency projects. He will work with commercial and editorial teams across the FIC regions.Brent joined FIC in 2013 from BBC Worldwide as vice-president, audience research and strategy for Europe and Africa. In his new role, he will continue to be based in London and will report to Diego Londoño, chief operating officer for FIC Europe and Africa.“Christian’s extensive experience and vision has already achieved great results in audience research throughout Europe and Africa, but this new role will extend that success to our worldwide markets,” said Hernan Lopez, CEO of FIC.“His proven record and dedication will raise FIC’s audience research capabilities to a new level, at a time when television content is on the verge of an exciting future with the development of new formats and the different ways in which audiences are consuming content.”last_img read more

Philip OFerrall Viacom will focus more of its dis

first_imgPhilip O’FerrallViacom will focus more of its distribution efforts on mobile as younger consumers increasingly view content on smartphones and tablets, according to Philip O’Ferrall, SVP of digital and Viacom International Media Networks.Speaking at the Apps World event in London this morning, O’Ferrall said Viacom is increasingly focusing on mobile as the ‘first screen’ for its target demographic. “Mobile first is becoming a key phrase for us,” said O’Ferrall. “Our focus for decades has been on linear TV. TV is definitely the primary distribution for us but at the heart of what we do is provide great content,” he said, adding that how that content is distributed is changing rapidly.O’Ferrall said the move to mobile is the most significant shift Viacom has seen, with six in 10 adults now owning a smartphone and a half of all households owning a tablet. Sixty per cent of digital media time spent the US is on a smartphone or tablet and UK young adults spend an average of three and a half hours a day glued to these devices, he said.“Our audiences are spending more time on the devices they have than they have in the day, so they are multitasking, and that’s a big shift in habits,” said O’Ferrall.Social media now plays a large part in the lives of the Viacom core audience, said O’Ferrall. “Social media is at the heart of all  of this,” he said. “Social media within mobile has become a huge shift and it’s now very much mobiel first,” he said. Sixty-two per cent of traffic to MTV sites now came via mobile devices he said.To make money from social medial Viacom has tried to create engagement around its properties, getting fans to vote on their favourite entertainment stars.“The second screen is now the first screen for young audiences,” said O’Ferrall. “That is the reality today.”He said that connecting with young audiences has been above all about embracing this very recent and rapid move to mobile. “That shift in consumption has been a really big deal for us,” he said.To deliver a compelling mobile experience, Viacom is turning to apps first and foremost. About 50% of engagement with entertainment brands is within apps, said O’Ferrall. He said Viacom saw apps as shop windows for its brands. “We need brand presence within the mobile or tablet device. The Holy Grail for us is to have Spongebob Squarepants within the device.”O’Ferrall cited the example of MTV Trax, its music app. Once the app is in the device, MTV can have a two-way conversation with its audience, he said.Around the MTV Europe Music Awards in Glasgow, MTV developed a specific app around the event with additional content including free material. There were 260,000 downloads in the run up to the awards, he said, which Viacom judged a success for a one off event.Viacom has also seen a million downloads for its MTV news app, which provides “youth focused” news, while the Spongebob Diner Dash free game-based app had 18 million downloads.Viacom’s Nick app meanwhile provides content from the Nickelodeaon channel and has seen 11.5 million downloads. This is available in the US, Latin America and the UK. “We have to service this app every single day for every country in which we are present, “ he said.Another app, My Nick Jr, is Viacom’s first product for preschool kids that is “tethered” to TV viewing, enabling parents to decide what they allow kids to watch and how much viewing is permitted, said O’Ferrall.Another key app, the Paramount app, provides additional content about the Paramount catalogue of movies. Other apps are designed to provide engagement, such as the MTV Match Making app, which provides ‘compatibility tests’ for users and their partners.O’Ferrall said monetisation of the mobile experience is still at an early stage and is primarily from sponsorship from existing advertising partners.O’Ferrall said it was difficult to create content just for mobile or for online that could then be extended to TV. About US$3.45 billion (€2.8 billion) of Viacom’s US$3.5 billion annual spend on content was still on traditional TV and film. Most people watched the same content on mobile and tablets as they watch on TV. “Just investing in short form mobile content is done at your peril. It’s not for us from our experience,” he said.O’Ferrall said that apps developed for long-running brands were intended for the long term and would be maintained and would evolve with the brand. “We do put a lot of effort into short form original content but on the back of the long form linear brand,” he said.last_img read more

Taiwanbased broadband equipment provider SerComm

first_imgTaiwan-based broadband equipment provider SerComm has joined coax-based connected home standard body MoCA as an associated member.SerComm’s mainstream products include integrated access devices, FTTx products, cable DOCSIS 3.0 equipment, small cells, smart home control and SMB products.“SerComm’s vast experience in telecom broadband equipment hardware and firmware are welcomed at the Alliance. We are honored to have them join us and help drive adoption of MoCA technology in home, commercial, telecom, security surveillance, and cloud-based environments,” said Charles Cerino, president of MoCA.“High performance and reliability as exemplified by MoCA technology is the key ingredient in a home network,” said Ben Lin, Chief Technical Officer of SerComm. “MoCA is the technology standard that will help expand our services and product offerings.”last_img read more

Satellite operator Eutelsat and Facebook have team

first_imgSatellite operator Eutelsat and Facebook have teamed up to use satellite technology to get Africans online in a partnership that also involves Israeli satellite operator Spacecom.Under a multi-year agreement with Spacecom, the two companies will utilise the entire broadband payload on the future Amos-6 satellite and will build a dedicated system comprising satellite capacity, gateways and terminals. In providing reach to large parts of  Sub-Saharan Africa, Eutelsat and Facebook will each be equipped to pursue their ambition to accelerate data connectivity for the many users deprived of the economic and social benefits of the Internet, according to the pair.Scheduled for start of service in the second half of 2016, the Ka-band payload on the Amos-6 geostationary satellite is configured with high gain spot beams covering large parts of West, East and Southern Africa, according to the parties involved. The capacity is optimised for community and Direct-to-User Internet access using affordable, off-the-shelf customer equipment. According to the terms of the agreement, the capacity will be shared between Eutelsat and Facebook.Facebook plans to work with local partners across Africa to utilise satellite and terrestrial capacity to deliver services to rural areas.“Facebook’s mission is to connect the world and we believe that satellites will play an important role in addressing the significant barriers that exist in connecting the people of Africa,” said Chris Daniels, VP of Internet.org, the company’s internet access initiative.   “We are looking forward to partnering with Eutelsat on this project and investigating new ways to use satellites to connect people in the most remote areas of the world more efficiently.”Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat Chairman and CEO, said: “We are excited by this opportunity to accelerate the deployment of our broadband strategy and to partner with Facebook on a new initiative to provide Internet access services in Africa. Eutelsat’s strong track record in operating High Throughput Satellite systems will ensure that we can deliver accessible and robust Internet solutions that get more users online and part of the Information Society.”last_img read more

Swiss telecommunications providers have grouped to

first_imgSwiss telecommunications providers have grouped together to adopt a strong pro-net neutrality code of conduct.The country’s leading providers – Salt Mobile, Sunrise Telecommunications, Swisscom and UPC Cablecom – along with communications networks trade association Suissedigital, have amended their code of practice to guarantee customers the right to  use any online content, service or application on any hardware or software without limitations. They have also guaranteed freedom of information and expression, and pledged that no services or applications will be blocked. The code provides a new list of all permissible traffic management measures to provide quality assurance for tailored offerings such as telephony, TV and videoconferecing.Operators must inform customers about any traffic management measures they adopt and about network faults.Swiss telecommunications association ASUT has also adopted the code.last_img read more