Go back to the enewsletterAvalon Waterways is set to introduce a collection of short-duration river cruises in Europe for time-starved travellers in 2020. Options will include four-, five- and six-day river cruise itineraries: A Taste of the Rhine, Heart of Germany and A Taste of the Danube.A Taste of the Rhine is a new five-day cruise featuring immersive opportunities to explore must-see sites along the Rhine River, including: taking a culinary walk through Amsterdam, enjoying a guided tour of Cologne, participating in wine-tasting in Boppard, spending free time in Rudesheim and of course, cruising through the picturesque, castle-dotted Rhine Gorge.Prices start at AU$2,814 per person twin share.Formerly a featured Christmas cruise, the new six-day Heart of Germany is making an appearance year-round in 2020. This journey features stops along the Main River and Main-Danube Canal including a guided hike through a picturesque Bavarian village, spending time in Würzburg with its towering fortress and Baroque Bishop’s residence, enjoying Bavarian wines in Itzingen, partaking in an onboard beer tasting near Volkach, and taking in the sites of Bamberg, a Bavarian oasis built on seven hills. The cruise concludes in Nuremberg.Prices start at AU$3,003 per person twin share.The four-day A Taste of the Danube has become a very popular itinerary for first-time river cruisers and time-starved travellers alike, with time spent in Budapest, Bratislava, Melk and Dürnstein. The cruise ends in Vienna.Prices start from AU$1,598 per person twin share.For travellers who are just testing the river-cruise waters but want to add time on land in popular European destinations, Avalon Waterways is introducing three Your Way options for 2020: an Avalon Waterways land extension, a Monograms independent vacation package or a Globus escorted touring holiday.“With our new Your Way program, we’re making it easier for travellers to extend their river cruise holiday with land itineraries that are perfectly suited to their preferences and budget,” said Gai Tyrell, Managing Director Australasia, Globus family of brands. “In addition, with our exclusive onboard Avalon Choice menu on each and every river cruise itinerary, our guests have their pick of the widest array of included excursions, from classic sightseeing to immersive discoveries and active adventures.”All cruise itineraries – short and long – sail on Avalon Waterways’ signature Suite Ships, which provide guests two full decks of 200-square-foot, one-of-a-kind Panorama Suites featuring the industry’s only Open-Air Balconies and beds facing the views for which river cruising is famous.Go back to the enewsletter
24May Historic agreement forged on car insurance reform Categories: Chatfield News Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield and Senate Majority Leader Mike Shirkey today released the following statement upon reaching a bipartisan agreement to win the governor’s signature on the House and Senate’s historic car insurance reform plan:“The people we serve are demanding action. For far too long, drivers from Macomb to Menominee and from Kalamazoo to the Keweenaw have been absolutely fed up with paying the nation’s highest car insurance rates. They have been waiting decades for state government leaders to step up and deliver results. Today, that wait is over.“After very productive negotiations with our governor over the past week, we now have an agreement on a bipartisan plan that will be signed into law. Today’s vote will be a significant victory for the hard-working people of Michigan that will finally fix our broken car insurance system and deliver real, meaningful rate relief for families, seniors and household budgets all over the state.”
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 25, 2014; Contra Costa TimesBy early afternoon on Friday, according to the Contra Costa Times, some 1,100 people had received healthcare treatment at a free health clinic in Oakland sponsored by Adventist-Laymen Services and Industries. Two hundred or so had sought dental care, in part because for some reason, dental care is not included in the coverage offered under the Affordable Care Act. The Mercury News put the figure of people who came for assistance at 3,000.The clinic, held in the East Side Club and the New Amsterdam Bar at the Oakland Coliseum, where the Oakland Raiders play, was described as like “the Hunger Games,” by Emily Taft, who lined up at 2:30 a.m. to wait for the clinic’s 5:00 a.m. opening. One presumes she meant that there was a lot of desperation among the people who showed up. This is healthcare in the U.S., even after the enactment of the ACA, requiring the determination and ingenuity of a Katniss Everdeen to get the treatment one needs.According to the Contra Costa Times, the chief dentist at the clinic, Richard Beckermeyer of Michigan, has staffed similar clinics in Mongolia, Albania, and Kenya, in addition to localities in the United States. Earlier in the week, the Adventist program, formally called the Bridges to Health clinic, was in San Francisco at the San Francisco Armory.The Adventists’ efforts in Oakland and San Francisco are hardly unusual. In Pullman, Washington, graduates and employees of Washington State University started up the Palouse Free Clinic, operating from a suite at the Pullman Regional Hospital. Plans to launch the HelpCare Clinic to serve the Kearney, Nebraska region were announced earlier this month, though it will take about a year to get that program up and running. Amaus Health Services is a free dental clinic opening in Syracuse, New York next month. Next weekend, the Remote Area Medical Free Health Clinic will be operating in East St. Louis.The list of short-term as well as continuing free clinics appears almost endless. One would have thought that the Affordable Care Act would have made free clinics much less necessary than they have been in recent years. Rather, they appear to be more needed more than ever, a reflection of the two-tiered health coverage that Congress jammed down the throat of the American public:Undocumented immigrants are not eligible for ACA assistance. The result is that the tens of millions of undocumented immigrants who will comprise the bulk of the nation’s uninsured will be lining up at free clinics in the future. The clinics will be the last resort, if not the essential healthcare services provider, for the immigrants who Congress tossed to the curb at the very outside of ACA legislative negotiations.Because the ACA excluded dental care from coverage—because members of Congress don’t think dental care is a health issue?—it is likely that dental care services like cleanings and fillings will increasingly dominate free clinic services. Much of the dental care insurance coverage available in the market is pretty thin as it is. The costs of dental care at a private dentist, especially if the service needed is more than an annual check-up and cleaning, can be too pricey for low-income people.The hundreds of doctors, dentists, optometrists, and nurses who volunteered for Bridges to Health, as well as their colleagues who will be delivering services in Kearney, Syracuse, Pullman, East St. Louis, and elsewhere, are true heroes and heroines. They aren’t taking anyone’s jobs by volunteering. They aren’t rank amateurs imagining that they can deliver professional-quality services. These people are taking time from their professional jobs and personal lives to deliver real, technical services for people who don’t have alternatives for getting decent healthcare treatment.Our nation could solve some of the problem by eliminating the punitive exclusion of undocumented immigrants from the ACA and other government-subsidized health services and by recognizing that dental care is a crucial and necessary component of comprehensive healthcare. If this isn’t going to happen in the near term—and more than likely, given the tenor of political leadership in this country, it won’t—the work of these free clinics and the medical personnel who give of their time and talent is invaluable.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 7, 2014; WDIVIn Detroit, it may be that the more things change, the more they stay the same, at least when it comes to the Water Department. With Mayor Mike Duggan’s accession to power over the Detroit Water and Sewerage Department (DWSD), maybe things will finally change, but the proof will be in the flow of water from the taps of tens of thousands of low-income Detroit Water customers who have been threatened with water shutoffs due to outstanding bills as low as a few hundred dollars.Last week, Mayor Duggan announced a 10-point plan to get more residents to pay up while providing assistance to those water customers who needed help due to their low incomes. The elements of the plan include the following, most of which is pretty obvious, raising questions as to what might have been going through the minds of the Water Department’s leadership and emergency financial manager Kevyn Orr up to this point. (Comments and elaboration from NPQ are in parentheses.)During the moratorium, which ends August 25th, DWSD will waive turn-on fees for customers whose water had been shut off, as well as all late payment penalties.Cut red tape (that is, for getting into a payment plan)Extend hours at DWSD Customer Care Centers (extending Customer Care Center operations by one hour on weekdays and four hours on weekend days)Increase staffing at the DWSD Call Center…Starting August 18th, the Call Center will have 50 percent more staff and new phone technology to better serve customers. (Remember that the Detroit City Council raked Detroit Water leaders—though not director Sue McCormick, who didn’t show up for the council hearing—for inadequate staffing of the call centers when tens of thousands of people were actually having their water turned off.)Cobo Water Fair…[to be] held at Cobo Center, Saturday, August 23rd to give customers one last opportunity to connect with all of the DWSD and community resources available to them before the moratorium ends August 25th.Improve notification for customers in danger of shut-off…. Workers also will hand-deliver notices to all homes in shut-off status one week before their scheduled shut-off to give them time to enter into a payment plan. Implement an Affordable Payment Plan (The plan changes the original “entry fee” for a payment plan from paying down 30 percent of the past-due balance to 10 percent.)Provide financial assistance for low-income Detroit customers (Beginning on August 11th, eligible residents will qualify for assistance up to 25 percent of their bills from the Detroit Water Fund, a partnership with the United Way for Southeastern Michigan which oversee prequalifying residents; the plan adds somewhat ominously, however, that the Water Fund funding “is subject to availability.”)Build Neighborhood Partnerships (This means that the department has “established a support network” to assist individuals who may not qualify for some of the DWSD assistance, with reference to partners such as United Way 211, THAW, and WAVE)Provide a clear way [for donors] to give [to the Detroit Water Fund]…by text message, by check or by phoneDetroiters who are facing water shutoffs and the nonprofit leaders who have helped bring this crisis to the attention of President Obama (with no noticeable corresponding action, by the way) and even the United Nations should tell Nonprofit Quarterly whether they think the mayor’s plan is going to make a substantive change in the Detroit water crisis or is simply a kinder, friendlier veneer for the department’s efforts to clear itself of mostly residential delinquencies.The city’s larger agenda is still garnering suspicion in many quarters. After the debacle of how Detroit Water handled this crisis, the chief of the department, Sue McCormick, is still on the job. In other scenarios comparable to having turned the delinquent water bills of poor people into an international incident, McCormick would have been sacked.Nothing in the plan addresses what we confidently suspect is a problem of inaccurate bills due to Detroit’s longstanding problem of leaking mains and leaking connector pipes. That is actually why the State of Michigan has been the largest delinquent customer of the Water Department, challenging the bills themselves. The plan also doesn’t address the additional fact that Detroit’s water rates are significantly higher than the national average, making affordability a problem for many residents. The mayor’s 10-point plan accepts the current bills as essentially accurate starting points for determining whether customers will have their running water turned off.There is also suspicion that the Water Department’s longstanding exploration of privatization is supported by the Mayor. Sharda Sekaran, a co-founder of the National Economic and Social Rights Initiative, recently wrote that Duggan’s history of supporting privatization—in his case, the sale of the nonprofit Detroit Medical Center to a for-profit hospital conglomerate in Virginia—raises questions about the future trajectory of Detroit’s public water system. As the NPQ Newswire has noted, the history of turning public water systems over to private corporations has not been particularly successful, both here in the U.S. and overseas.While the mayor’s plan was being rolled out for the public, in the bankruptcy court, the Water Department was proposing a possible strategy for dealing with the $5.2 billion in water and sewer revenue bonds it owes bondholders, aiming at getting bondholders to tender their debt in order to allow the City to go to the bond markets for refinancing. NPQ will keep an eye, to the best of its ability, on the Water Department dynamics that might or might not lead to changes in the protections afforded to Detroit water customers.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share152Tweet108Share129Email389 SharesPete Souza [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsSeptember 3, 2017; Chicago Sun-TimesEditor’s note: NPQ’s late correspondent Rick Cohen was famous for his predictive capabilities, and as we write this, we still mourn his loss.My Brother’s Keeper, a White House initiative that later spun off into a separate 501(c)(3) nonprofit known as the My Brother’s Keeper Alliance, or MBK, will merge with the Obama Foundation.MBK, arguably one of Barack Obama’s most personal White House initiatives, was launched to address the opportunity gap for young men and boys of color. As he launched MBK in 2014, he prefaced his announcement by saying, “Trayvon Martin could have been me 35 years ago,” referring to the young man of color who was unjustly shot and killed in 2012. As he attended his final MBK event as president, he went on to say, “This will remain a mission for me and for Michelle, not just for the rest of my presidency, but for the rest of my life.”MBK gained early and significant support from the corporate (PepsiCo, American Express, BET) and philanthropic (Open Society, Robert Wood Johnson, and Knight Foundations) communities, as well as celebrities such as John Legend and Miami Heat star Alonzo Mourning. Blair Taylor, former president of the Starbucks Foundation, was hired in 2016 to set the new nonprofit on a growth trajectory, and finalized a five-year strategic plan, which started this year. Taylor’s role will now be absorbed into the Foundation structure.This move doesn’t come as a big surprise. The players at the Obama Foundation and MBK overlap and are centered on Obama’s network, including Ariel Investments Chairman John Rogers, former Education Secretary Arne Duncan, and acting MBK Executive Director Michael Smith. And, in an environment where even generous corporate and philanthropic funding are subject to change, it’s likely appealing to MBK to anchor itself with Obama’s brand name and fundraising capability.The Obama Foundation, launched in 2014, is modest in size at a little over $13 million in assets, according to GuideStar, and is described as a “working, living center for citizenship.” The key initiative the foundation has underway is the development of the Obama Presidential Center, a center for civic engagement in the South Side of Chicago. The integration of MBK will provide a center of gravity for the foundation, providing tangible—and likely its most significant—programming for its overall mission.As NPQ’s Rick Cohen predicted, MBK seems likely to become the “philanthropic vehicle that President Obama will ride as he leaves the White House.”—Danielle HollyShare152Tweet108Share129Email389 Shares
Share40Tweet6ShareEmail46 Shares January 7, 2019; New York TimesFamously known for its music and car production, Detroit was also once known as the City of Trees. From the 1800s until the 1950s, the city possessed more trees per capita than any industrialized city in the world. Sadly, Dutch Elm disease and Emerald Ash Borer invasion felled more than 500,000 trees. Now as mounting evidence shows the benefits of trees (e.g. reduction in air pollution and urban heat island effect), cities are reconstituting their urban tree canopies.Facing cutbacks in federal funding for urban forestry, many cities are partnering with nonprofits to plant more trees. Detroit currently partners with The Greening of Detroit (TGD), a nonprofit dedicated to improving the city’s tree density. The organization offers free trees to residents with a focus on low-income areas, which often face the brunt of climate change and possess significantly less urban forest cover. Despite offering free planting services, education, and maintenance, the organization has found that the neighborhoods most in need are most likely to resist reforesting. Between 2011 and 2014, nearly 25 percent of eligible Detroiters declined to participate.Research led by Christine Carmichael at the University of Vermont sought to understand why neighborhoods resisted TGD’s services. After conducting interviews, researchers found that residents were more likely to decline a tree if they had negative experiences with municipal programs or philanthropic efforts in the past. Additionally, community tree resistance was largely due to conflicting heritage narratives (collective stories of a community’s history including its hardships and successes overtime) between the nonprofit and community members.Within neighborhoods with a higher percentage of “No Tree Requests,” the dominant heritage narrative was that of city neglect. Longtime residents who lived through population decline, proliferation of vacant properties, and decreased city services were reluctant to adopt a tree despite knowing that it would still be the city’s responsibility. For 20 years, Detroit’s forestry program was completely defunded, leaving residents to pick up the slack. While TGD offered free 3-year maintenance services, residents were reluctant to take on a responsibility that could ultimately fall on them. Their experience with city neglect was reinforced by TGD, with many residents citing inadequate communication regarding tree planting and care. When asked about tree maintenance concerns prevalent in resident responses, one staff member stated, “It’s up to the resident, because we’re off the clock.” Such responses underscore the community’s reluctance to accept and steward trees.In contrast, TGD’s dominant narrative focused on changing negative perception of trees and educating residents on their potential benefits. As a result, TGD emphasized quantifiable benefits (stormwater flow management, improved mental health, crime reduction) with little attention given to how benefits would vary depending on the type of residents (e.g., homeowners versus renters). Additionally, their framing did not take into account barriers preventing participation such as race, age, or income. Such oversight led to resistance. For instance, older adults were more likely to decline trees due to their inability to maintain them without long-term assistance.According to the founder, TGD was originally established to engage communities in environmental justice which, according to the EPA, requires “the fair treatment and meaningful involvement of all people.” However, TGD’s reliance on a heritage narrative that centered around residents’ perceived lack of knowledge led residents to only passively participate in the program. For instance, while Detroiters could request a tree to be planted in their neighborhood, TGD decided which neighborhoods would receive them, the species planted, and how the trees would ultimately be maintained. Rarely were residents asked to choose the type of tree planted. In most instances, preference was honored after a resident submitted a “No Tree Request.” For those who still declined after being presented with options, half of respondents felt their values were not taken into consideration. Moreover, these residents would have accepted a tree if more information was given on the tree planted, more assistance with maintenance was offered, and they were given a choice in species.While TGD sought to encourage environmental justice by replacing urban canopy in marginalized communities, the organization perpetuated environmental injustices by not addressing community concerns and excluding residents from the decision-making process. As a result, low-income residents were more likely to submit “No Tree Requests.” For residents that did obtain trees from TGD, lack of communication and maintenance support caused residents to disengage in tree stewardship—ultimately negatively impacting the survival and health of newly planted trees.Researchers recommend that organizations seeking to start a program should engage in community conversations that help uncover dominant heritage narratives. This is especially important when members of organizations do not reside in the neighborhoods they serve. In the case of TGD, the majority of its 5,000 volunteers and staff live outside Detroit and did not address negative Detroiter experiences with tree stewardship in the past. As a result of the research, TGD has expanded Green Corps, a youth employment program in which high school students provide education and regular maintenance.While the recommendations are specific to urban forestry initiatives, the suggestions can be applied more broadly to any nonprofit program that seeks to engage residents in undertaking new services, projects, and causes. This story highlights the importance of seeing residents as active participants and shapers rather than passive consumers. Taking the time to engage communities in their heritage narratives helps organizations develop frames that resonate, provide relevant information to different constituencies, and identify inclusive goals and roles for all stakeholders involved.— Chelsea DennisShare40Tweet6ShareEmail46 Shares
Some 6,392 films have been made available on video-on-demand platforms in France this year, of which 28% were made in France, according to a study by Hadopi, the regulatory authority set up to combat internet piracy.About 9.85 million VOD movie transactions took place in the first half of this year, about 10% of the number of visits to cinemas in the same period. Movies represented about 65% of the overall VOD market.The average price of a VOD movie in 2011 was €4.25, with about 49% of that sum going to rights-holders and 25% going to the distributor.Problems facing the market include the long gap between cinema distribution and VOD window releases, especially for subscription services, and the limited range of films available in VOD catalogues.
Rovi has launched an end-to-end service for multi-screen delivery based on it DivX video technology and DRM. The DivX Video Service launched at NAB in Las Vegas. Rovi’s offering is designed to integrate with TV Everywhere and over-the-top entertainment services, allowing users to manage the entire video distribution chain from creation and secure delivery to multi-screen playback.The service supports a range of entertainment distribution models, including digital downloads and connected-device streaming, and will be updated later this year to support the HEVC/H.265 compression standard which will enable broader HD and 4K delivery.“DivX Video Service brings together established and proven technologies to streamline the otherwise complex and costly task of delivering video entertainment across multiple devices,” said Kanaan Jemili, Rovi’s senior VP of product management.The service offers a range of content creation tools for encoding, encrypting and packaging video content including the high-volume TotalCode Enterprise production solution, and the studio-approved DivX DRM.Separately, Rovi Corporation announced that more than 50 companies have now signed up for its HEVC Beta Program, which is designed to let participants test and evaluate the new compression standard. The beta programme launched early this year and early participants include media delivery firm Castis and broadcast monitoring solutions firm Wohler Technologies.Rovi also unveiled MainConcept SDK 9.7, an update to its codec library, offering support new high-end camera formats and advanced encoding of MPEG-Dash.
Portuguese media group Media Capital managed to limit its first-quarter decline in operating income to 2% year-on-year, despite an estimated decline of 12% in the country’s overall advertising market.The group said its net income improved by 11% year-on-year due a reduction in net financial charges. Media Capital’s TV broadcasting arm, including TVI, posted EBITDA of €3.5 million, up 46%. However, its audiovisual unit was hit by delays in production, leading to negative EBITDA of €1.2 million.
Rightster CEO Charlie Muirhead.Online video distribution specialist Rightster has raised £20.4 million (€24.2 million) after floating on the stock market and announced a string of senior hires.The firm launched its IPO this morning, floating on the AIM market of the London Stock Exchange in what founder and CEO Charlie Muirhead said marked “the first YouTube multi-channel network to go public.”Speaking to DTVE this morning, Muirhead said that “the bulk of the placement” was taken up by investment management company Invesco. British Airways chairman Sir Martin Broughton also became an individual private investor.At the same time the firm revealed that Andy Mitchell has joined Rightster as chief operating officer from Associated Northcliffe Digital – the consumer division of the Daily Mail and General Trust – where he was managing director of its audience network and advertising sales business ANyMedia.Former Yahoo! and Oracle executive Sanjay Mohan also joins as vice president of engineering and general manager of India, while New York-based entrepreneur Mark Lieberman has taken up a place on the company’s board.Liberman co-founded TRA, a media analytics, software and research technology firm that was acquired by TiVo.Overall Rightster placed 34.08 million ordinary shares of at a price of £0.60 per share, giving the firm a market cap of roughly £69.8 million. The gross proceedings of the placement were £20.4 million, netting Rightster £18.4 million after expenses, while shares were trading up this morning at £0.75.The firm, which specialises in video distribution, content-sourcing, audience engagement and monetisation, had said in August that it was looking to raise approximately £10 million to £15 million through the IPO.Discussing the reasons behind the stock market launch, Muirhead said: “We wanted to raise a suitable amount of money to fund our operations and our continued investment in technology,” adding that Rightster wanted to develop its platform throughout 2014.Rightster offers an ‘upload once, commercialise everywhere’ solution to businesses. This applies to live and on-demand video content for the web, mobile and clients’ own sites, social channels, portals, platforms, newspapers, magazines and specialist blogs. Rightster also works as a multichannel network operator on YouTube.In its filing, the firm said its network currently stands at over 750 content owners and over 6,500 publishers, with the group employing approximately 200 staff in 11 ofﬁces across 9 countries.Rightster claims that its average monthly video views were approximately 22.5 million in the ﬁrst half of 2012. This rose to some 123.3 million in the second half of 2012 and came to approximately 160.7 million in the ﬁrst half of 2013. This represents dramatic growth of 613% for the ﬁrst half of 2013 compared with the ﬁrst half of 2012.Muirhead founded the company in May 2011 and Rightster counts The Press Association, The Guardian, The British Fashion Council, Conde Nast, and The Australian Football League among its clients.
Belgian pay TV operator Proximus TV, formerly known as Belgacom TV, is adding NBA basketball to its sports offering.Proximus will air NBA basketball on its 11+ sports channel. The company said the price of the service would remain the same at €9.95.Proximus’s 11 channel offers Proximus League – Belgian second division – football free of charge to its customers, while charging €9.95 for access to top-tier Jupiler Pro League matches.The company also offers a second channel, 11+, with Champions League football. This is bundled with Eleven Sports Networks’ recently launched duo of channels, Eleven and Eleven Sports, to make the 11+ package, also offered by Proximus for €9.95.
TiVo has introduced the TiVo Bolt, a new 4K-compatible DVR that lets users skip through advertising breaks in recorded shows.TiVo said that the SkipMode feature lets viewers “skip entire commercial breaks, in a single bound, at the press of a button” and claimed that the Bolt is “born to binge, unifying the source of any available program.”The device draws together available programming from cable, video-on-demand, over-the-air and over-the-top sources and offers universal search across these.A QuickMode also lets viewers watch recorded shows 30% faster than they were intended to be viewed “while maintaining perfect audio”“Bolt was designed to meet the requirements of a new generation of TV viewers. Smaller form factor, 4K compatibility, single-screen integration of cable or over-the-air, plus streaming apps, the ability to take your content anywhere – and for the first time, the ability to precisely jump commercial breaks at the touch of a button,” said Ira Bahr, TiVo’s chief marketing and retail sales officer.
Vice and A+E’s new TV network, Viceland, will be led by Vice creative director, Spike Jonze, and chief creative officer, Eddy Moretti, as co-presidents.Announcing the management team ahead of the channel’s February 29 launch, Vice said that A+E executive Guy Slattery will also join as Viceland’s general manager.Jonze and Moretti will oversee all content that goes on Viceland – including primetime programming, acquisitions and interstitials – and will also be responsible for the development of the overall Viceland brand identity.Slattery will be responsible for daily operations, including oversight of scheduling, marketing, research, revenue. He will also manage the production and development units with head of production Derek Freda.“It’s a pretty crazy moment for us that someone’s giving us a TV channel. We’re trying to make the whole thing just be driven by creativity and making something that feels personal. And the exciting thing about my job is handing over this channel to artists and filmmakers who inspire us, both here inside Vice and in the outside world,” said Jonze.Jonze is an Academy Award-winning filmmaker, responsible for films including Her, Where the Wild Things Are and Adaptation. He has been Vice’s creative director since 2006, when he joined to help create the online video and documentary division.Moretti is Vice Media’s chief creative officer, responsible for content across all of Vice’s digital channels – Vice Magazine, Vice.com, The Creators Project, Motherboard.tv and Noisey.com.Slattery joins Viceland from A+E Networks, where he was executive vice president of marketing for A&E, History, and H2 Networks.A+E Networks and Vice Media confirmed reports that the pair will launch a Vice-branded channel as a joint venture in November. The new 24-hour youth-oriented channel will replace A+E Networks’ existing H2 service and will be available in about 70 million homes at launch.
Chase CareyLiberty Media has completed its US$8 billion takeover of Formula 1 and appointed Chase Carey as CEO, replacing longstanding F1 boss Bernie Ecclestone.After some 40 years in charge of the sport Ecclestone now becomes ‘chairman emeritus’ and will be available as “a source of advice” for the F1 board.Carey, who also serves as chairman of the board at 21st Century Fox, takes the F1 CEO role alongside his existing position as F1 chairman, taking operational control over the business.“F1 has huge potential with multiple untapped opportunities,” said Carey. “I have enjoyed hearing from the fans, teams, FIA, promoters and sponsors on their ideas and hopes for the sport. We will work with all of these partners to enhance the racing experience and add new dimensions to the sport.”Liberty Media president and CEO, Greg Maffei, said: “There is an enormous opportunity to grow the sport, and we have every confidence that Chase, with his abilities and experience, is the right person to achieve this.”Ecclestone said he was proud of the business that he had built over the past 40 years and is “very pleased that the business has been acquired by Liberty and that it intends to invest in the future of F1.”Liberty Media confirmed that it was buying the Formula 1 motor sports business last September. The transaction price represents an enterprise value for F1 of US$8.0 billion and an equity value of US$4.4 billion.With the completion of the deal, Liberty Media Group will be renamed the Formula One Group and its tracking stocks will change from LMC to FWON. Liberty said it expects this to happen later this week.Formula 1 will remain based in London and Maffei, who first joined Liberty in 2005, will become deputy chair of the F1 board.Carey has worked at 21st Century Fox as vice-chairman of the board and a consultant to the company since July 2016. He previously served as executive vice-chairman of the company from July 2015 to July 2016 and as president, chief operating officer and deputy chairman of the board from 2009 to July 2015.
Pay TV services will account for 89.7% of the global US$314.3 billion video media market this year, according to Gartner.The research firm estimates that in 2017 pay TV services will account for US$282 billion of end-user spend, compared to US$18.7 billion for SVOD services and US$13.6 billion for TVOD.While all three segments are tipped to grow over the coming years, pay TV’s proportion of the market is expected to decline slightly – to 88.2% in 2018, 87.3% in 2019 and 86.2% in 2020.In 2020 the breakdown of consumer spend is expected to be US$309.1 billion on pay TV services, US$30.1 billion on SVOD services and US$19.2 billion on TVOD services – which comes to a total of US$358.4 billion.“OTT-VOD sources are changing the landscape,” said Derek O’Donnell, senior research analyst at Gartner. “OTT-VOD services are the fastest-growing segment in the VOD landscape and eroding pay TV providers’ share of revenue. OTT-VOD sources began outperforming traditional pay TV sources in 2016.”Gartner said that the emerging Asia Pacific and Middle East and North Africa markets are forecast to record the highest growth in end-user spending on consumer video media services in 2017 at 20.8% and 17.4% respectively.Consumer spend on SVOD services is expected to climb 28% year-on-year in 2017, with the average consumer adoption of SVOD services expected to stand at 10% this year.Universal search will be “key” to driving further SVOD penetration, but consumers will not subscribe to more than three services because of “price and content discovery fatigue,” according to O’Donnell.In mature regions, the availability of premium-priced 4K content is expected to increase end-user spending on TVOD content from US$160 million in 2017 to US$400 million by 2020.However, in emerging regions, increased competition from unmanaged providers and increased threats of piracy is expected to put negative pressure on TVOD prices.
David ClementiBBC chairman David Clementi has said he is “concerned” about quotas relating to its broadcast hours, claiming they focus on “quantity not quality”.Speaking at the RTS Cambridge Convention yesterday, Clementi said that he was not calling for the BBC’s quota system to scrapped entirely, as it is appropriate for its funding model and public obligations.However, he said that quotas relating to resource and financial spend are “likely to be better drivers towards distinctiveness” and called for the right balance to be struck between “accountability and enabling creativity”.“A charter which places distinctiveness at its heart, and then backs it up with a licence full of hourly quotas, is a contradiction that is likely to lead to failure,” said Clementi.The comments come after Ofcom, which will now regulate the BBC under its current charter agreement, set out its ‘draft operating licence’ in March with new rules including proposed quotas.The plans would require three quarters of all programme hours on the BBC’s most popular channels to be dedicated to original productions. This should rise to 90% during peak time (6pm-10.30pm), which is the current level at BBC One.The Ofcom plans came ahead of sweeping changes at the BBC’s production division, BBC Studios, in April. These saw the BBC scrap in-house production quotas and open all possible commissions to indies and rivals, and also enable BBC Studios to produce for third-party broadcasters.“The [BBC] board will keep a close eye on how the operating licence works in practice to ensure that the BBC maintains creativity and distinctiveness at the heart of what we do,” said Clementi yesterday.The former deputy governor of the Bank of England was appointed BBC chairman in January, just after the BBC’s new 10-year charter period came into force.He effectively replaced Rona Fairhead, who was chairman of the BBC Trust that Clementi recommended in a report last year should be shut down. UK media regulator Ofcom replaced the BBC Trust as the BBC’s watchdog in April.“If you were confused about where responsibilities lay between the BBC Trust and the BBC Executive Board under the old Charter, you were not alone,” said Clementi at the RTS Cambridge event.“Thanks to the revised governance arrangements under the new Charter, we now have one unitary board. It allows the BBC to speak, perhaps for the first time, with a single voice. And to get behind one clear strategy, with accountability for the BBC resting unambiguously in one set of hands.“I am very clear that the fundamental responsibility of the board is to uphold and protect the independence of the BBC. History has shown us how important – and challenging – that can sometimes be. We are also responsible for acting in the public interest; and for meeting the five public purposes that are set out in our new charter.”
Discovery has completed its US$14.6 billion takeover of US cable rival Scripps Networks Interactive, and is now looking to use its new scale to tap into OTT opportunities.David ZaslavThe new look group comprises channels such as Discovery Channel, Travel Channel, TLC, HGTV and Animal Planet among others, and owns over 8,000 hours of programming.Following completion of the deal, the Discovery Communications moniker is being discontinued and the merged company will be known simply as Discovery, Inc.Additionally, Scripps president and CEO Kenneth Lowe has joined the Discovery board.“Today marks another critical milestone for Discovery, as we become a differentiated kind of media company with the most trusted portfolio of family-friendly brands around the globe,” said David Zaslav, president and CEO of Discovery (pictured), announcing the deal yesterday.Each Scripps shareholder has received approximately US$90 per share, consisting of US$65.82 in cash and 1.0584 per share in Series C Common stock of Discovery shares. In total, they will own about 20% of the new company.Zaslav sees the deal as a key pillar in his strategy to focus on new direct-to-consumer OTT services around the world in order to attract ‘superfans’ of certain types of content.He has recently talked about the Scripps deals potentially leading to an international SVOD service akin to a Netflix or Amazon.“As a new global leader in real life entertainment, Discovery will serve loyal and passionate audiences around the world with content that inspires, informs and entertains across every screen; deliver new ways for advertisers and distributors to reach highly targeted audiences at scale; and leverage our leadership position to create new value and growth opportunities for all of our stakeholders,” he said this week.Last week, Discovery set its post-deal content team, with Discovery Channel chief Rich Ross being the most notable exit as Katheen Finch from Scripps took on lifestyle networks.The M&A rush continuesDiscovery buying Scripps is part of a wider trend that’s seeing US media giants partnering up to build scale. With the likes of Facebook, Apple and Netflix increasingly important in the content game, owning large IP catalogues and having strong financial footing is now seen as the blueprint for the future. AT&T is still trying to push through its deal for Time Warner despite Trump Administration protests, and CBS is once again looking at a merger with cousin Viacom.
Sky is confident that its second-screen facial recognition enhancement to its coverage of tomorrow’s royal wedding between Prince Harry and Meghan Markle will work well, despite recent bad publicity around facial recognition software in the UK.Facial recognition technology attracted controversy this week when the UK’s Information Commissioner called the police to account for a trail that saw innocent people flagged as suspects because the technology used was flawed.Sky has teamed up with AWS Elemental to use new cloud-based machine learning technology to enhance its coverage of the royal wedding by using machine learning and media services to name guests as they enter St. George’s Chapel, Windsor, and enrich the video content with facts about the attendees.Hugh Westbrook, product lead in Sky News’ digital team, said that the pay TV operator had tested the technology platform with users as it was being built, both to get feedback on the look and feel of the service and to verify that it worked accurately.“We used test footage of relevant people and found that it worked as expected,” he said. “We had a very high success rate.”One difference with Sky’s experiment, he said, is that the broadcaster is using the technology to identify “a finite list of people”. Identification is also being moderated by humans to check for obvious instances of inaccuracy or uncertainty about the identity of the guests.Westbrook said the technology was “reasonably flexible” and could identify people in profile as well as facing the camera, although “some odd angles and hats can present problems”.He said Sky had identified other possible uses of the technology around other events, including news and sports coverage, but that any further use would depend on the success of the royal wedding application.
DerryERIN HUTCHEONlimavadyNorth West Regional CollegeNWRC’s Flying Clipper restaurantst cecilia’s collegeStudents go head to head in ‘Bake Off’ competition ShareTweet Marie Mulhern is awarded first prize at North West Regional College’s Bake off competition by judge Clare Goodman, Green Cat. Also included from left are: Gloria Bennett (third place), Shelly McLaughlin, Primrose, (Judge), Pauline McFarland (second), Melanie Breslin, Primrose, (Judge), Leyonia Davey, Curriculum Manager, NWRC, Damien Bonner, 2 North (Judge), Bernadette Peoples, Event Organiser and NWRC Lecturer, and Kathleen McCaul, Department Head of Business, Hospitality, Tourism and Performing Arts at NWRC. (Martin McKeown).A PUPILl from St Cecilia’s College, and a Food Production student from North West Regional College (NWRC), have been crowned champions at the North West Baking Championships.The two competitions, which were hosted at NWRC’s Flying Clipper restaurant, required participants to design, create and produce their own Afternoon Tea Menus, paying close attention to quality, time management, presentation and taste. Claire Goodman, Green Cat Bakery, one of the judges in the Inter Campus Category, said the judges had a tough time selecting the overall winner given the standard of baking on show.She said: “All of the judges were impressed by the quality of the foods that were produced, but also the work that was done behind the scenes. “The work that went into planning the menus, preparation and timings was superb.“All of the students who took part put a great deal of time and effort in and I’d like to congratulate every one of them.”Lecturer Bernadette Peoples said the college’s first ever Baking Championships had been a huge success.She added: “We were delighted to welcome post primary pupils, and of course our own students, to the industry standard kitchens at Strand Road campus for a competition that has been a huge success.“With the popularity of shows such as ‘The Great British Bake Off,’ demand for courses in Baking and Pastry making has never been higher.“This year we decided to run the Baking Championships with the theme of Afternoon Tea, challenging all of our participants in both sweet and savoury, as well as testing their preparation, time management and presentation skills.Leah Kelly, St. Cecilia’s College, winner of the North West Regional College Schools Bake Off Competition, pictured with Bernie McGibney, Judge, Douglas Walker, NWRC Lecturer and Bernie Peoples, NWRC Lecturer.“I’d like to thank all of the schools that took part, our students, our judges, and of course the Hospitality and Catering team at NWRC without whom we would not have been able to deliver such a high quality competition.“We hope to repeat this success by running a similar competition next year.”North West Regional College offers a number of learning opportunities that can provide a direct route into a career in the Hospitality industry at their campuses in Strand Road and Limavady.As well as full time courses in Hospitality and Catering, NWRC also offers part time and short courses. The college’s 2019-2020 part time prospectus will be published in May. For more details follow the college’s social media pages on @mynwrc or log on to www.nwrc.ac.uk/hospitalityStella Lynch, from Strand Road Campus who was awarded second place in NWRC’s Inter Campus Baking Championship. (Martin McKeown).Students go head to head in ‘Bake Off’ competition was last modified: April 15th, 2019 by John2John2 Tags: Leah Kelly, a 15 year old student from St Cecilia’s College was awarded the ‘Top Baker’ title in the Post Primary school category, for ‘Leah’s Tea House’ Afternoon Tea package. During the intense morning of competition, the Year 11 student, competing against other finalists from Moville Community College, produced a Rainbow Sandwich, Orange Cranberry Scones, White Chocolate and Pretzel Cookies, and Banana Date Cake with Walnut and Honey Glaze. Marie Mulhern, who is currently studying for City & Guilds L2 NVQ Diploma in Food Production ( Specialising In Breads, Pastry and Desserts) at NWRC Strand Road, was crowned Queen of the Bake Off in the Inter Campus Category.Going head to head against other Hospitality students at the college, Marie created Coronation Chicken and Coriander Salad mini sandwiches, Cranberry and Orange scones served with a Cranberry and Orange Jam and freshly Whipped Cream, mini Red Wine cake with Cream Cheese frosting and dusted with cocoa powder, and Lemon Tartlet drizzled with Chocolate and decorated with fresh Raspberries.
Never leave children unattended in or near the water. Wear flotation devices at all times. Empty paddling pools or water play toys after use.Make sure children always wear a helmet and protective elbow and knee pads when riding a bicycle or scooter, Heeleys, rollerblading or skateboarding.When setting up play equipment including slides, trampolines and swings, make sure that there is plenty of space around the equipment. Don’t place them on concrete/tarmac ground and keep clear of walls and fences.Supervise children whenever they use play equipment, making sure children stay clear of the front and back of swings while in use or limit numbers using bouncy castles or trampolines.Keep children away from areas where any lawn mowers are being used. Never allow children to ride on mowers.Minimise the risk of bee and insect stings by having children wear shoes and light-coloured clothing. Use insect repellent sparingly on older children and never on infants.Keep children from playing near barbecues and bonfires and always have water present when fire is involved. Only adults should use lighter fluid.Strap children in a properly fitting seat belt, car seat or booster seat when travelling by car or aeroplane.Trust advice on how to stay safe this summer was last modified: July 4th, 2018 by John2John2 Tags: THE Western Trust is reminding parents and children of all ages to play safe this summer to avoid preventable attendances to our Emergency Departments (A&E).Dr Ian Crawford, Emergency Department Consultant said: “Summer time is great for children and young people, however, we would like to remind parents that A&E statistics show attendances for children are highest during the summer months. Dr Ian Crawfordsuncreamthe sunTrust advice on how to stay safe this summerWESTERN TRUST “By following these simple safety tips some incidents can be avoided to ensure children have an enjoyable and safe summer.”Here are some safety tips from Western Trust’s Emergency Department (A&E) that will help keep your child’s summer a safe one.Protect children from excessive exposure to sun – especially from 12 noon to 4 pm. Use a sunscreen with a Sun Protection Factor (SPF) of 15 or higher and drink plenty of fluids. ShareTweet