Azamara Club Cruises has announced a leading World Wildlife Fund (WWF) conservation expert will present a series of insightful lectures on board one of Azamara Journey’s Australia and New Zealand voyages during her maiden season.Dr. Sybille Klenzendorf, a Senior Species Conservation Expert with WWF, joins several international conservation leaders taking part in Azamara’s brand-new WWF Guest Speakers Series. The company revealed details of their new WWF global partnership earlier this year, pledging a commitment to help ensure the long-term health of the oceans, not only through reducing Azamara’s global footprint, but also by raising awareness about ocean conservation to guests.Dr Klenzendorf provides leadership for the WWF Arctic Program on polar bear conservation issues and will join Azamara Journey’s 15-night Australia & New Zealand voyage, departing Sydney 19 February 2017.“We’re honoured to have Dr Klezendorf share her knowledge and experience with our guests during this unique voyage through some of the most beautiful, and precious parts of our region” says Adam Armstrong, Managing Director of Azamara Club Cruises in Australia and New Zealand.“Our partnership with the WWF cements our commitment to protecting our ocean’s wildlife, and ensuring future generations can continue to be inspired by their awesome power and beauty,” he continued.During the cruise, Dr Klenzendorf will enrich guests’ on board experiences with lectures on topics including climate change impacts on polar bears and other key marine species, wildlife trafficking and trade and consumerism. Guests will also hear fascinating stories of Dr Klenzendorf’s interactions with wildlife during her 25-year career in conservation.Azamara Journey makes her Australian debut in February 2017, fresh from an extensive US $25 million rejuvenation, which left no space on the ship untouched. The revitalisation saw not only the addition of new venues and technologies, but also a beautiful redesign and rework of her suites and staterooms, as well as a complete refresh of all public spaces.Fares for an Interior stateroom on Azamara Journey’s WWF voyage start from $4599. Departing Sydney on 19 February 2017, Journey will call at Melbourne, Port Arthur and Hobart, where she overnights, before cruising to Milford Sound, Dunedin, Akaroa, Napier and Tauranga, where she spends another night before reaching her final port, Auckland. A number of unique wildlife experiences are available to guests along the way, including a day trip to Bruny Island in Tasmania to learn about the endangered forty-spotted pardalote bird, and Hectors dolphin and Pohatu penguin tours in Akaroa.Other dedicated international WWF voyages include a 10-night West Indies Hideaway voyage on board Azamara Quest departing Miami 11 November 2016 with Cassie O’Connor, coral reef expert and Manager of the Foundation Relations team at WWF, and Azamara Journey’s 14-night Spice Route Voyage, departing Dubai 3 November 2016, with Asian species expert and WWF’s Wildlife Conservation Program Officer, Nilanga Jayasinghe.Azamara will also contribute to WWF through sales of the organisation’s iconic plush panda bears on board, with 100 per cent of proceeds going directly to the foundation.
Start-up airline Wataniya Airways has announced that its first service will operate between Kuwait and Dubai, with the route due to start in February next year.Kuwait’s newest airline will operate a twice-daily service to and from the emirate, with tickets having gone on sale on November 24th.Wataniya will use Kuwait’s Royal Terminal as its base, the first time that a commercial airline will have taken off from a location other than Kuwait International Airport.Commenting on the new route, Wataniya Airways chairman and managing director Abdul Salam Al Bahar said that the announcement was a crucial step in allowing the airline to commence operations from early 2009.”We can now announce that the countdown has officially started for providing Kuwaitis with a new travelling experience – one that will start in the superb surroundings of the Royal Terminal,” he said.The airline will operate Airbus A320 aircraft and will offer passengers more space and legroom than any other airline using the same type of aeroplane.Wataniya announced in October that it had successfully completed its recruitment procedures to appoint its new pilots and cabin crew. ReturnOne wayMulti-cityFromAdd nearby airports ToAdd nearby airportsDepart14/08/2019Return21/08/2019Cabin Class & Travellers1 adult, EconomyDirect flights onlySearch flights Map RelatedBahrain Air launches new service to Kuwait CityBahrain Air launches new service to Kuwait CityDubai expects more flight passengers for 2009 Shopping FestivalMore people could book flights to Dubai during the emirate’s 2009 Shopping FestivalJetBlue Airways launches flights to Baltimore/WashingtonThe airline will operate four daily flights to the north-eastern US city, with Boston becoming JetBlue’s 57th destination
Categories: Rendon News Rendon votes to allocate grants across MichiganLegislation approved by the House this week allocates funds from the Michigan Natural Resources Trust Fund (MNRTF), and state Rep. Bruce Rendon is pleased to announce that three grants totaling $522,500 will directly benefit areas of Crawford and Roscommon counties.“Sharing our region’s natural resources with all Michiganders is an important aspect of these generous grants,” said Rendon, chair of the House Committee on Tourism and Outdoor Recreation. “Our lakes and parks are a gift to this community, and I’m grateful that with the help of the trust fund we can improve them for everyone.”Annual revenues from the development of state-owned mineral resources—largely oil and natural gas—maintain the MNRTF, which financially assists local governments and the Department of Natural Resources with public land acquisition, natural resource protection and public outdoor recreation.The three local projects are as follows:A $300,000 grant will help fund improvements to the Michigan Department of Natural Resources’ Ralph A. MacMullan Conference Center on Higgins Lake, which will include remodeling lodges and meeting barrier-free standards to attract visitors and improve the local economy.A $182,500 grant will assist barrier-free developments at Lakeview Park on Houghton Lake, including two family-style restrooms; a dual-height drinking fountain; van-accessible parking spaces; boardwalk and beach routes; swim area and foot wash; picnic area with tables and grills; and pergola, seating and plaza space.A $40,000 grant will help renovate Park 27—the largest park in Lyon Township—based on community feedback to construct two asphalt tennis courts for use as an ice-skating rink in the winter months.Applications for trust fund grants are reviewed and recommended by the MNRTF Board, then submitted to the Legislature for approval and appropriation. This year’s grants total more than $24 million and will be given to 69 projects in 40 Michigan counties.“Utilizing Michigan’s natural resources also requires a balancing act of protection and preservation, and distributing trust fund grants across the state help us maintain that balance,” said Rendon, R-Lake City.House Bill 4078—which authorizes the MNRTF allocations—passed the House with overwhelming bipartisan support and has been referred to the Senate. 06Feb Trust fund approval sends more than $500,000 to Crawford, Roscommon
Categories: Calley News,Calley Photos Two local organizations were recently honored with a Governor’s Service Award. The Ionia County Youth Advisory Council (YAC) and IM Kids 3rd Meal won the Education Service Leader and Outstanding Volunteer Program, respectively.The Governor’s Service Award winners are selfless individuals and organizations that mentor and tutor children, serve the hungry and homeless, assist the elderly, care for our environment and much more.Photo Information (left to right): Justin Miller, AmeriCorps VISTA IM Kids 3rd Meal; Deborah Wagner, Ionia County Intermediate School District Director of Grant and Special Projects; State Rep. Julie Calley; Drew Ward, Ionia YAC; Jason Mellema, Ionia County Intermediate School District Superintendent. 28Aug Rep. Calley congratulates two local organizations at Governor’s Service Awards
Categories: Cox News,News 06Jun Senate committee advances Cox plan protecting sexual abuse victims from serial predators Bipartisan bill package submitted in response to Larry Nassar scandalThe Senate Judiciary Committee today advanced state Rep. Laura Cox’s legislation to allow Michigan criminal courts to consider relevant information involving an individual’s prior acts of sexual-based offenses.“Michigan has to identify sexual predators and punish them accordingly,” said Cox, of Livonia. “A predator’s pattern of assault can span decades. We must allow courts and juries to have access to as much information as possible involving a suspect’s history of sexual offenses, within a judge’s discretion. These dangerous individuals, whether they are strangers, family members, professionals or friends, need to be removed from our streets.”Cox’s legislation is part of a 25-bill bipartisan package approved by the Senate committee to increase protections to Michigan’s residents in the wake of the Larry Nassar sex abuse scandal. Her plan was previously approved by the House with a 104-5 vote.“This plan is a solution to better protect our children, while strengthening punishments against anyone who engages in sexual misconduct,” said Cox, of Livonia. “Today’s vote brings Michigan one step closer to being safer for everyone.”House Bill 5658 advances to the Senate for its consideration.#####
29Mar Rep. Sheppard highlights school safety grants awarded in Monroe County Categories: Sheppard News State Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance this week commended the announcement of $25 million in state grants being awarded to school districts throughout Michigan to improve school building safety.“We must continue to take a proactive, comprehensive approach to creating a safer learning environment for our students and teachers,” Rep. Sheppard said. “I was proud to support and vote for funding these grants, which will provide nearly $380,000 to assist local school districts make important safety upgrades.”Some of the grant recipients in the 56th District include Bedford Public Schools ($186,162), Dundee Community Schools ($144,394), and Whiteford Agricultural School District ($48,770). This funding is in addition to last fall’s award of over $55,000 to schools in Rep. Sheppard’s district.Funding for the grants is from the 2019 Competitive School Safety Grant Program designed to improve the safety and security of students, staff and school buildings through the purchase of technology and equipment.Note: A complete list of school safety grants is available on this Michigan State Police website: https://www.michigan.gov/msp/0,4643,7-123-72297_34040_75045—,00.html
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 2, 2015; Miami HeraldWith the Supreme Court’s decision in King v. Burwell expected by the end of June, it is becoming clearer that the stakes are high for millions of Americans. The case challenges the legality of the federal government’s provision of health insurance premium subsidies through the Federal Insurance Exchange. A ruling in favor of the plaintiffs will affect 6,387,789 individuals who have purchased their insurance in those 34 states using the Federal Exchange. Plaintiffs say the law’s language limits those subsidies to people purchasing policies on the 13 state-run insurance exchanges.While residents in each of the 34 states that use the federal marketplace face the loss of their health insurance, Florida will be hit the hardest—1.3 million are receiving an average annual subsidy of $3,630, funds they will need to pay directly if they wish to retain their current health insurance. According to federal data, Florida residents who received a government subsidy to make their health plan more affordable paid an average premium of $82 in February, well below the national average of $101 a month. Texas, North Carolina, and Georgia would be the next three states hardest hit. In Texas, more than 830,000 people would lose subsidies, likewise for nearly 460,000 North Carolinians and more than 410,000 residents of Georgia.Leah Barber-Heinz, chief executive of Florida CHAIN, a nonprofit consumer health advocate in favor of the health law, said the Sunshine State risks more than financial assistance for low- and moderate-income residents to buy health insurance. “Lives are at stake when the courts rule on cases like King v. Burwell,” she said in a written statement. “When a million people lose their health insurance, some of them will face dire consequences.”In Florida, the millions of citizens who may find themselves less able to afford needed health services will join the 800,000 whose access to healthcare is being threatened by the state’s refusal to expand its Medicaid program as called for under the ACA.Opponents of ACA recognize that the loss of subsidies will create a problem, but believe that the marketplace will provide a new avenue for healthcare access with no need for federal intervention. Andres Malave, a spokesman for the Florida chapter of Americans for Prosperity, a conservative group that opposes the ACA, said, “It’s legitimate anxiety that the Affordable Care Act has caused. And it’s forcing Floridians to unfortunately have to live in a world where they are unsure of how their coverage is going to be affected because the president’s administration decided that a big government solution was better for Floridians instead of allowing the free market to operate.” But specific plans have yet to be offered at a state level to provide a new path to healthcare for those who have been traditionally priced out of the health insurance market.At a national level, Republican congressional leaders have recognized the political risks of the loss of health insurance for millions of Americans. As reported by the Associated Press, “Republicans broadly agree that Congress should react by temporarily replacing that aid, aware that abruptly ending it would anger millions of voters before the 2016 presidential and congressional elections. Yet when it comes to choosing an overall response to a court ruling, GOP lawmakers have suggested at least five different proposals—so far. None has won consensus backing from Republicans.”If the Supreme Court upholds the federal subsidies and retains the basic framework of the ACA, the battle will not end, but will instead be fought out in the halls of Congress and in the 2016 ballot boxes. Should the Supreme Court rule against federal subsidies in the federal marketplace, the battle will move into the wallets of millions of Americans who will be challenged to choose between affording the much higher cost of their healthcare or running the risk of going uninsured.Table: 34 States Using Federal MarketplaceLocationNumber of People at Risk of Losing Tax CreditsTotal Monthly Tax Credit Dollars at RiskAverage Tax Credit per EnrolleePercent Increase in Average Premium if Tax Credit Is Not AvailableUnited States 6,387,789 $1,737,476,989 $272 287% Alabama 132,253 $35,708,310 $270 321% Alaska 16,583 $8,888,488 $536 520% Arizona 126,506 $19,987,948 $158 132% Arkansas 48,100 $13,660,400 $284 270% Delaware 19,128 $5,068,920 $265 191% Florida 1,324,516 $389,407,704 $294 359% Georgia 412,385 $112,993,490 $274 381% Illinois 232,371 $49,030,281 $211 169% Indiana 159,802 $51,136,640 $320 271% Iowa 34,172 $8,987,236 $263 244% Kansas 69,979 $14,695,590 $210 231% Louisiana 137,940 $44,554,620 $323 347% Maine 60,939 $20,536,443 $337 383% Michigan 228,388 $62,349,924 $273 294% Mississippi 75,613 $26,540,163 $351 650% Missouri 197,663 $54,950,314 $278 327% Montana 41,766 $9,606,180 $230 198% Nebraska 56,910 $14,625,870 $257 265% New Hampshire 29,996 $7,918,944 $264 218% New Jersey 172,345 $53,943,985 $313 199% North Carolina 458,738 $144,961,208 $316 336% North Dakota 14,115 $3,274,680 $232 169% Ohio 161,011 $41,057,805 $255 190% Oklahoma 87,136 $18,211,424 $209 243% Pennsylvania 348,823 $79,182,821 $227 177% South Carolina 154,221 $43,336,101 $281 335% South Dakota 16,811 $3,849,719 $229 178% Tennessee 155,753 $33,954,154 $218 222% Texas 832,334 $205,586,498 $247 305% Utah 86,330 $17,956,640 $208 520% Virginia 285,938 $73,772,004 $258 287% West Virginia 26,145 $8,209,530 $314 234% Wisconsin 166,142 $52,334,730 $315 252% Wyoming 16,937 $7,198,225 $425 340%—Marty LevineShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share7TweetShareEmail7 SharesAugust 9, 2016; Education Week BlogsNews is made when a president’s vision makes its way through Congress and becomes the law of the land. Yet it is at that moment that the real work begins, the labor of translating words into action in a complex, multilayered, and often underfinanced real world.Addressing concerns about the weaknesses of public education has been a priority for our last two presidents. From “No Child Left Behind” to “Race to The Top,” there have been consistent efforts to improve performance for all students and hold states, school districts, and individual schools accountable for their efforts. Last year, in a rare bipartisan moment, President Obama and Congress came to an agreement on how to extend federal education funding and fix problems observed under earlier laws. A presidential signature on what became known as the “Every Student Succeeds Act” seemed to bring about a happy ending. But, again, the real work has just begun.A major objective of the ESSA was to limit the role of the federal government in public education and return power to the states. Federal funding will still be tied to each state’s ability to demonstrate they are successfully educating students, but the states will be able to define how they go about producing and measuring desired outcomes. The federal government’s capacity will be less directive and more one of monitoring and advising. A recent Government Accountability Office report focused on the Department of Education’s efforts to give states greater independence during the implementation of NCLB. For years, the DoEd used its ability to grant waivers to states that felt they needed additional flexibility to meet federal funding requirements. What GAO found in these efforts has significant implications for how well the new law will work. Education Week underscored the implications of the GAO report:The Every Student Succeeds Act cedes a lot of control over accountability systems to states. But under No Child Left Behind waivers, some states didn’t do such a hot job of monitoring districts’ progress on things like school improvement and implementation of college- and career-ready standards.The GAO found that granting waivers was the easy part. Forty-three states were granted the right to modify some portion of Education’s policies for implementing federal law. At least 12 of those states were found to have significant difficulty implementing the modifications they requested, and the U.S. Department of Education hasn’t shown the ability to study these difficulties or develop solutions for the problems identified. With a new law giving every state the right to create new systems, not knowing why earlier efforts at granting flexibility failed is of great concern, as is the problem of translating those lessons into new practice.The report underscores the challenge of complexity. A large federal bureaucracy works with fifty state education departments, which are then responsible for working with 13,500 school districts with almost 100,000 schools. The GAO found that “overseeing local districts and schools was particularly challenging for states. […] Meanwhile, Education has not yet evaluated its process to review, approve, and monitor the Flexibility waivers given to states or incorporated any relevant lessons learned into its plans for implementing the December 2015 reauthorization of the [ESSA].”For some, this may seem another example of the inability of government, any government, to solve problems and operate effectively. In truth, it’s a clear illustration of the challenge any large, complex system faces when it needs to make change happen—one made more difficult with the expectation that this change must happen quickly, without the time and resources to understand and support the new direction. Learning from experience and using that new knowledge to modify a strategy may be textbook change management, but seems not to be good politics or make headlines. If we want real solutions and real improvement, we may have to choose to do the work and ignore the politics.—Martin LevineShare7TweetShareEmail7 Shares
Share34Tweet11ShareEmail45 SharesBy Arthur S. Siegel [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 2, 2018; Washington Post and CNNFacing politically dangerous problems that seem difficult to solve, presidents often create presidential commissions in the hope that time will move the problem off the front burner. After a series of violent and destructive urban uprisings that left the nation puzzled and angry, President Lyndon Johnson created the National Advisory Commission on Civil Disorders. Unexpectedly, its report, issued 50 years ago, did not go unnoticed; it challenged the nation to take heroic action, angered many, and has stayed relevant decades later. And, truth be told, five decades later, the problems it found remain—and, in many cases, have gotten even worse.When President Johnson formed what became known as the Kerner Commission, he charged it with developing strategies that would prevent the violence that was raging in our cities. With the smoke still rising from burned out neighborhoods, he asked them to find out “What happened? Why did it happen? What can be done to prevent it from happening again and again? Let your search be free. As best you can, find the truth and express it in your report.” The nine-member panel took him seriously, and after months of work told the nation that violence was just the symptom; the problems needing to be solved were racism and economic inequality.The Washington Post cites the writings of historian Steven Gillon, who found that the panel members and their staff gathered evidence that a “persistent racial discrimination, and a growing gap between blacks and whites, was both overwhelming and irrefutable.”They charted the disparities between urban black schools and suburban white ones, the daily discrimination in access to housing and employment, and the prevalence of police misconduct against black communities. The investigators tasked with studying the Detroit riots said that police there “often performed with no greater professionalism than one might expect from a huge armed force of white civilian extremists.”The Commission report, which became a bestselling paperback, called for a significant new public investment in creating jobs for those unemployed and underemployed, expanding public housing, and ensuring a minimal level of family income to resolve problems that were at the root of urban unrest. It directly confronted the nation with the need, in Gillon’s words, to confront “the legacy of race in America.” The report concluded that if these issues were not remedied, the cost to the nation would be steep: “To pursue our present course will involve the continuing polarization of the American community and, ultimately, the destruction of basic democratic values.”Fred Harris, the sole surviving member of the original Commission, and Alan Curtis, CEO of the Milton Eisenhower Foundation, have marked the report’s 50th anniversary by charting how well the nation has heeded the Kerner Commission’s warnings. In “Healing Our Divided Society: Investing in America Fifty Years After the Kerner Report,” according to the Washington Post, they report that “poverty has increased and so has the inequality gap between white America and Americans who are black, brown and Native American.”In an op-ed for CNN, Harris and Curtis describe in detail how unchanged our nation is.Our overall poverty rate has stubbornly remained virtually the same, while the total number of poor people has increased from 25.4 million to 40.6 million. The rate of child poverty is greater today than in 1968, and the percentage of Americans living in deep, or extreme poverty, has grown since 1975, and “welfare reform” has failed. The African-American unemployment rate has continued to be nearly double that for whites. Latino unemployment remains disproportionately high, as well. Labor union membership has shrunk from about 25 percent of private jobs to about 6 percent. Inequality of income in our country has greatly worsened.…Fifty-two percent of all new income in America goes to the top 1 percent. Rich people are healthier and live longer. They get a better education, and a better education produces greater inequality of income. Then, greater economic power translates into greater political power.Harris, in an interview with NPR, capsulized the impact of looking at our national progress after 50 years. “Whoever thought that 50 years later, we’d still be talking about the same things? That’s kinda sad.”For policymakers interested in solving these chronic problems, and for those who serve those at the bottom of these inequalities, the obstacles that made enacting the Kerner Commission’s recommendations difficult still stand before us. Gillon concluded that the Kerner Commission “overestimated the will of white suburban voters to support programs that benefitted urban blacks at the same time that it underestimated their fear of racial unrest.…In so doing, it further alienated a key group of voters whose power would only grow in the decades that followed. The Democratic Party would spend the next five decades trying to lure them back.”After the recently passed $1.5 billion tax cut that was so slanted toward the wealthy and the loud congressional talk about the need to balance the newly created budget deficits by further limiting government programs, it is hard to be hopeful about the Kerner Commission’s wish that by spotlighting the facts of racial and economic inequality the nation will “generate new will—the will to tax ourselves to the extent necessary to meet the vital needs of the Nation.”The Kerner Commission challenged the nation to see itself as it was and to act to cure itself before the disease went beyond help. Fifty years later, we still suffer from the same disease. We choose to reject the cure of government action and pay the high cost of those medicines. In its place, we accept a prescription for individual responsibility and the silent hand of the free market. The results seem to be clear, but the will to change course remains to be seen. In an election year, when many of these issues are again on the table, will we see the signs of change that Harris pointedly wanted to find?—Martin LevineShare34Tweet11ShareEmail45 Shares
Barry Diller’s IAC/InterActiveCorp is reportedly eyeing a sale of its online video service Vimeo. The company, which operates a number of content businesses including Electus and CollegeHumor as well as Ask.com and Match.com, is looking to raise US$50 million (€38 million) in a new funding round that would see it spin off the site.IAC would look to keep a 50% non-controlling stake in the business, with 25% going to new investors and 25% going to the management team. Vimeo was launched in 2004 by Jake Lodwick and Zach Klein and was acquired by IAC in August 2006 as part of its acquisition of Connected Ventures. It has around 65 million unique users per month and more than eight million registered users.
White-label video publishing provider and technology company thePlatform has unveiled new features to support TV everywhere deployments by service providers.The company announced two new features of its mpx video publishing system, Subscription Packages and Subscriber Groups, which can be variously combined to create new offerings for consumers. Subscription Packages are collections of content, defined by the operators, such as those that mirror their basic, extended, or premium channel TV line ups, which can be viewed on devices beyond TVs, according to thePlatform.Subscriber Groups enable operators to segment customers, based on a range of operator-defined filters, such as their paid TV subscription package, geography, acceptable content rating, device type and content viewing preferences. Within thePlatform’s system, subscribers can belong to multiple Subscriber Groups, and can be offered a variety of Subscription Packages to create tailored offerings. Both new features are now available for free to mpx customers.
History HD is to expand its distribution across Poland after A+E Networks inked a deal with pay TV platform ‘n’.A+E Networks UK, the joint venture between A+E Networks and BSkyB, struck the deal with the ITI Neovision-owned operator. The channel will launch this summer and will mean ‘n’ subscribers will be able to watch series including No County for Old Men and WWII Lost Films: The Air War in high definition.Separately, the company has inked a deal with pay TV operator UPC for its Crime and Investigation Network in Poland. This will mean UPC customers will be able to watch series including Sin & Secrets and The Hillside Strangler.Tom Davidson, managing director at A+E Networks UK, said: “We are delighted to secure new distribution deals for our channels in Poland. Extending the reach of History HD and Crime & Investigation Network to new audiences in this market is a continued priority for us. We believe that our channels can add tremendous value to our affiliates’ offering.”The company added that it expected to close more distribution deals for both channels across Europe this year.
Alcatel-Lucent has received an Emmy award for technology and engineering for “pioneering work in implementation and deployment of Network DVR.”The Network DVR allows content to be stored in the cloud rather than on the hard drive of a traditional DVR or set-top box, allowing several shows to be recorded simultaneously and then accessed anytime, anywhere, and from any device. The technology also enables a different time-shifted services such as ‘start-over’, rewind and catch-up TV.“We are extremely proud to be recognised by the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for our contribution to enhancing the way we all watch TV. Alcatel-Lucent was one of the first companies to recognise the potential for using cloud and IP networking to replace the traditional set-top box or DVR in order to give viewers far greater freedom in how they watch TV, as well as enable Pay TV providers to develop innovative services at lower costs,” said Paul Larbey, head of Alcatel-Lucent’s IP video business.The prize marks the second time that Alcatel-Lucent has received a tech Emmy but is its first since 1997, when Alcatel-Lucent’s Bell Labs was awarded for its work on digital TV as part of the HDTV Grand Alliance.At the same time Alcatel-Lucent and Telecable – a service provider for the Spanish region of Asturias – said that they are partnering on an IP-based ‘TV anywhere’ project that will establish Telecable as the first cable operator in Spain to offer “advanced, cloud-based personal video recording.”
Orange-owned video sharing portal Dailymotion has struck a deal with independent film producer Future Artists to bring one new documentary film per month exclusively to Dailymotion viewers. Future Artists, which works with independent film producers around the world, will select one film per month from its network to highlight on Dailymotion.The films will cover a wide range of controversial subjects such as the Occupy movements (The Lost Generation), alternative sexual lifestyles (Pan, Play Decadence) and the treatment of returning soldiers (Broken Britain).Dailymotion has previously screened Future Artists films Riot from Wrong earlier this year, which attracted 50,000 views, and Invisible Circus last year, which attracted nearly 70,000.“We believe there is an audience that wants more than Hollywood dramas. We’re not looking budgets or viewing figures in the multimillions, but there is a yearning for high brow, thought provoking content,” said Mark Ashmore, founder of Future Artists. “Such audiences can be fragmented, but they are undoubtedly out there in droves. Whilst TV and cinemas may not have been able to justify anything that doesn’t appeal to the mass market, social media provides a practical, financially viable route to these audiences. Dailymotion has been wholeheartedly behind the project.”
Drama channel CBS Action is to launch on UK free TV platform Freeview.The CBS Studios and AMC Networks International-owned net is already on BSkyB, Freesat and Virgin Media in the territory, but is now also distributed via digital television.CBS Action programming includes CBS series such as NCIS and Star Trek: Next Generation, and classic library series including The Streets of San Francisco and Nash Bridges.“Following the successful launch of CBS Reality on DTT in April, we are excited that CBS Action is now also going to be available to Freeview homes,” said chief business development officer, AMCNI Tanya Guggenheim. “CBS Action showcases the best in action dramas and sci-fi, so a really great fit with the Freeview audience.”CBS Action launched in 2009.
Central European Media Enterprises (CME) reported an upturn in revenues and operating income in Q3, the company’s strongest quarter of the year so far.Announcing its third quarter results, CME reported net revenues of US$140.1 million (€111 million), up 7% compared to last year, while operating income before depreciation and amortisation was US$2.9 million compared to a loss of US$31.6 million in 2013.However, the firm made a net loss of US$52.5 million in the quarter, compared to a loss of US$23.3 million in the same period last year.“This quarter’s financial results continue to reflect the strong turnaround in our operations. In fact, as a whole, this is our most impressive quarter so far this year,” said CME’s co-CEO, Michael Del Nin.Co-CEO Christoph Mainusch added: “The performance of our fall schedule demonstrates the strength of our brands and content, and positions us very well for the fourth quarter and as we head into negotiations for advertising spending commitments from clients for 2015.”CME broadcasts 33 television channels in six Central and Eastern European markets – Bulgaria, Croatia, the Czech Republic, Romania, the Slovak Republic and Slovenia.The company trades on the NASDAQ Global Select Market and the Prague Stock Exchange under the ticker symbol ‘CETV’.
Discovery-backed sports channel Eurosport has extended its partnership with the Vuelta a España cycling tour and has secured TV and digital rights to the event until 2020.The deal, which was renewed through the EBU after a tender process, gives Eurosport rights in all 54 markets in which it is active, including exclusive rights in markets including France, Germany, Italy, Poland and the UK – the latter for live coverage only.Eurosport’s cycling portfolio now includes the three Grand Tours and the leading one day and multi-day stage races, delivering fans a total of 1,800 hours of TV coverage on Eurosport and Eurosport 2.“As we enter the twentieth year in our broadcast of the Vuelta a España, I am delighted to extend our long-term partnership with this great property until 2020,” said Jean-Thierry Augustin, CEO of Eurosport Group.“Vuelta a España and cycling is in our DNA and, in 2014, 100 million different European viewers enjoyed the sport on our TV channels. We are pleased to support and contribute to the growth of this premium property across Europe and look forward to bringing all the action and drama to the fans.”Separately, Eurosport has struck a deal with SportAccord to launch a comprehensive new weekly sports magazine show, Sports United. The show will feature over 300 sports.“SportAccord, in partnership with the international sports federations, has been able to make an exceptional beginning with Sports United. 92 international sports will get an equal chance to utilise a common platform for visibility. We are thankful to Euronews for being our partners in this endeavour and look forward to a great partnership to ensure that a well-defined product reaches out to sports fans globally to provide information and power aspirations. I have to point out that none of this would be possible without the encouragement and participation of the primary players- the international sports federations,” said Marius Vizer, president of SportAccord.
TV4 Group-owned Nordic pay TV unit C More has shut down its C More Kids channel, migrating its kids content online, and has replaced it with C More Emotion, an advertising-free channel featuring dramas and romantic comedies. The move will see kids content becoming available only via the C More Play on-demand service, available via computers, smarthpones and tablets, and via the Boxer pay TV service’s connected set-top boxes.
Over a third of online video plays in the Q4 2014 were on tablets and smartphone, according to the latest edition of Ooyala’s Global Video Index.According to Ooyala, 34% of all video plays in Q4 were on tablets and smartphones. Tablet and smartphone plays doubled in the past year, having grown five times since 2012 and 16 times since 2011.December saw the highest percentage of video plays on smartphones and tablets at 38%. Mobile plays were15% higher than in November and 114% higher than in the preceding December, according to OoyalaTablet users spent 70% of their time watching video longer than 10 minutes, more than for any other device. Tablets also lead in the percentage of time spent watching content from 30-60 minutes long. However, connected TV users tended toward the longest video sessions, with 41% of their time spent watching video longer than 60 minutes.PCs led all devices in the number of ad impressions for broadcasters and publishers, followed by mobile phones. In this category, mobile phones continue to gain ground and take share from PCs. Broadcasters see the highest rate of ad completions (87%), followed by publishers (71%), according to Ooyala.
The new Apple TV boxUS broadcast networks NBC and CBS are launching app-based programming services on Apple TV.The NBC service will allow Apple TV owners to access shows such as broadcast shows Chicago Med and Heroes Reborn unauthenticated, though much of the other content will require a pay TV subscription.NBC has also launched its app on Xbox One games consoles, and will next aim to put it on Amazon’s Fire TV and Google Chromecast, according to Variety.CBS’s launch will see SVoD platform CBS All Access made available to the upcoming next generation Apple TV, which Apple CEO Tim Cook this week claimed would help fix the “terrible, broken process” of finding and selecting TV shows.CBS All Access launched in October last year, a move taken by industry watchers as a sign broadcast networks were accepting some younger demographics were unlikely to continue viewing linear TV or take traditional pay TV subscriptions.Most of the broadcast network appear to be taking this line now, with NBC just last week revealing the launch of comedy-focused SVOD platform SeeSo.All four major broadcast networks now have apps on Apple TV, which has also unveiled an exclusive fashion-themed network, M2M.The next-gen Apple TV launches on Monday (October 26).