The Accommodation Association of Australia is urging the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) to reconsider their decision to drop tourism accommodation statistics.The accommodation industry has expressed strong concerns about tourism investment in Australia over the ABS’ decision, with the Accommodation Association calling the outcome “extremely disappointing” and criticising the ABS over a lack of consultation.“The ABS statistics are a vital tool for operators, investors and potential investors in Australia’s accommodation industry and if we can’t measure industry performance on a regular basis, then our industry can’t manage it,” Accommodation Association of Australia chief executive officer Richard Munro said.Furthermore, Mr Munro added that the Accommodation Association wrote to the ABS last year about the future of tourism accommodation statistics and never received a reply.“It seems the ABS has difficulty understanding the value of tourism to the economy and that it has been identified by Deloitte as one of five super-growth industries for the Australian economy and to not have a comprehensive set of accurate performance data for such a large component of the tourism industry is akin to driving a car without a fuel gage.”The Accommodation Association is calling on the ABS to reverse the decision and restore the quarterly release of tourism accommodation statistics.In related news, Rodger Powell is leaving his role as managing director of Tourism Australia, effective 30 September.Source = ETB News: Lana Bogunovich
Categories: Bizon News,Bizon Photos State Rep. John Bizon (second from right), R-Battle Creek, and his wife, Debbie (far right), stand with Albion College President Mauri Ditzler (second from left) and his wife, Judith (far left), on the House floor today prior to the State of the State address. Bizon invited the Ditzlers to Lansing for a special joint session of the Michigan Legislature, during which Gov. Rick Snyder delivered his key goals for the term.### 20Jan Albion College president joins Rep. Bizon for governor’s State of the State address
State Rep. Phil Potvin invites residents of the 102nd House District to join him during local office hours at two locations in Wexford County this Friday, Feb. 13.“The most important part of my job is the people that I represent,” said Potvin, R-Cadillac. “Personally meeting with the residents of my district, hearing their concerns and answering their questions ensures that I can represent them the best I can.”Residents will be able to meet with Potvin at these locations on Friday, Feb. 13:The Merry Inn204 North Michigan Ave. in Manton9-10 a.m.Simply Delightful101 South Mitchell St. in Cadillac1:30-2:30 p.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend.Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Potvin’s office by calling (517) 373-1747 or via email at PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov. Categories: News 09Feb Rep. Potvin to hold office hours Friday
Representative will serve on three other key committeesState Rep. Roger Hauck, of Union Township, has been named by Speaker Tom Leonard to serve on four House committees during the 2017-18 legislative session, including an appointment as vice chair of the House Energy Policy Committee.“I’m honored Speaker Leonard appointed me to serve as vice chair of Energy Policy, and I’m looking forward to playing an important role crafting sensible energy policies,” Hauck said.In addition to his key role on Energy Policy, Hauck will serve as a member on the Health Policy, Regulatory Reform and Local Government committees.“These assignments give me an opportunity to create meaningful change in regard to a wide range of issues that matter to people in Isabella and Midland counties,” Hauck said. “As a former Union Township Trustee I have a firm understanding of the problems local governments face, and I’m committed to putting in the work to find sensible solutions.”The House’s 26 bipartisan committees discuss, analyze and revise legislation before presenting it to the full chamber for consideration.### 26Jan Hauck appointed vice chair of House Energy Policy Committee Categories: Hauck News
Categories: Daire Rendon News,News 14Feb Rep. Rendon votes for legislation to end driver responsibility fees State Rep. Daire Rendon today joined her House colleagues in approving legislation to eliminate driver responsibility fees and forgive outstanding debt.One of the bills was authored by Rep. Rendon that enables people to participate in workforce development programs in lieu of paying fees until they end on Oct. 1.Rendon, of Lake City, said she is honored to have a role in removing a financial hardship from families that have struggled under the burden of driver responsibility fees.“The only reason a previous administration imposed these fees was to fill a shortfall in the state budget brought about by irresponsible spending,” Rendon said. “Payment of these fees did nothing to improve driving skills. They only forced families deep into debt and unable to drive.”Under Rendon’s bill, 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.“My bill gives people a chance to expand their skills so they can be more valuable in the job market once they start driving again,” Rendon said.The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the law through the end of the year that enables them to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee.##### Legislator’s bill allows for alternative payment
03Oct LaSata to host opioid town hall in Benton Harbor Tags: Opioid Lawmaker seeks to increase education, awareness for opioid abuse resourcesState Rep. Kim LaSata announced today she will host a town hall meeting on opioid abuse, overdose, reforms, and services Berrien County offers to residents afflicted with addiction. Joining her as co-hosts and presenters will be Congressman Fred Upton, Senator John Proos, Riverwood Center, Community Healing Center, Berrien County Health Department, and the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department.The town hall comes in the wake of staggering opioid abuse and overdoses that have spread across the state over the past few years.“Our community has not been immune to these addictions,” said LaSata, of Bainbridge Township. “I truly believe that the more awareness and education we spread, the better.”The event will take place Thursday, Oct. 25 from 5:30 to 7 p.m. in the Anchor Rooms at Kinexus, located at 499 W. Main St. in Benton Harbor.During the town hall meeting, the Berrien County Sheriff’s Department will provide a prescription drug collection kiosk, just in time for the Drug Enforcement Agency’s National Prescription Drug Take Back Day on Oct. 27.The first half hour of the event will focus on lectures from professionals and legislators on opioid abuse reforms and services. The last hour will provide people an opportunity to stop by informational tables and talk one-on-one with professionals.All community residents are invited to attend and no registration is necessary.For more information about the event, residents may contact LaSata’s office at (517) 373-1403 or KimLaSata@House.MI.gov.### Categories: LaSata News
02May Rep. VanWoerkom invites residents to town hall meeting on road funding Categories: VanWoerkom News State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores, will host a town hall meeting with special guest Rep. Jack O’Malley on Monday, May 13 to discuss road funding in Michigan.Rep. O’Malley chairs the House Transportation Committee and is traveling to different parts of the state to discuss road funding directly with local residents. O’Malley recently began six weeks of special hearings to examine the disconnect between road funding and road quality.“Like you, I am tired and frustrated with the consistent poor condition of our roads,” VanWoerkom said. “I hope to bring ideas tailored to our district back with me to Lansing as we continue to look for affordable solutions to this problem. This town hall is a great opportunity to both share your thoughts and ask the questions you want answered. I encourage you to attend!”The town hall will take place in the cafeteria of Oakridge Upper Elementary School, located at 481 S. Wolf Lake Road in Muskegon. Doors open at 5:30 p.m. and the discussion will take place from 6 to 7 p.m., with time for questions from those in attendance. The event is open to the public and there is no cost to attend.For more information, please contact Rep. VanWoerkom’s office at (517) 373-3436 or e-mail GregVanWoerkom@house.mi.gov.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares May 31, 2014; Orange County RegisterFollowing on the heels of Florida and Colorado, California may be the latest state to move towards funding a regulatory environment sufficient to respond effectively to charity scams and other needs of nonprofits. Recently, Assembly Bill 2077, introduced by Assemblyman Travis Allen (R-Huntington Beach), was passed by a vote of 76 to 0. The measure would allow the attorney general’s office to tap the $7 million generated from charity and professional fundraiser registration fees to fund enforcement.The state’s Registry of Charitable Trusts, described by lawmakers as a massive filing cabinet, has around a dozen employees who are responsible for scrutinizing the 1.2 million pages worth of reports filed every year by about 230,000 charities and fundraisers registered to do business in the state.The bill “will ensure that the good will of Californians is not taken advantage of, and also fortify the integrity of legitimate nonprofits throughout California,” said Allen in a statement. “Scam charities have been defrauding seniors and other Californians without actually giving the funds to those in need.”While the bill is billed as being needed in order to respond to scams, such as the telemarketers that have been the focus of a number of recent investigations, as far as we can see, it would help strengthen the entire regulatory environment.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share430TweetShare4Email434 SharesSeptember 20, 2015; CNNAs a newcomer and outsider to the electoral process, sometimes Dr. Ben Carson doesn’t speak with clarity. In one recent interview, Carson admitted that he believed that a Muslim should not and could not become President of the United States. He then said he could contemplate Muslims as legitimate candidates for Congress. The U.S. Constitution doesn’t make that distinction. It says that there should be no religious test for candidates for public office, period.Carson tried to modify his anti-constitution position on a Muslim in the White House later on, implying that he wouldn’t vote for a Muslim for president, but that wasn’t his original contention. As an amateur politician, Carson can possibly be forgiven for having misspoken, if that is what he thinks he did, but as a potential President of the United States, words matter, especially when directed against an entire potential class of people who might consider running for public office.Those who listened to Carson’s exclusion of Muslims from the White House might have heard echoes in their heads of the bigoted critics of the election of John F. Kennedy, who, as a Catholic, they imagined taking his orders from the Holy See. It would have been easy to insert “Mormon” or “Jew” or “Buddhist” or “atheist” into Carson’s statement, replacing “Muslim,” and the interpretation of the Constitution would have been no less absolutely incorrect. It takes little to imagine that had Carson said “Catholic” or “Jew” instead of Muslim, he would have been frog-marched right out of the campaign by GOP elders, but no such thing happened with a statement about Muslims being ineligible for the presidency. In current American public opinion, it is sadly acceptable, even popular, to declare Islam as inherently anti-American.Carson suggested that a Muslim in the White House might be prone to follow sharia law or, worse, impose sharia on the entire nation. That’s comparable to suggesting that a Catholic should not be president because of the Catholic Church’s roots in the decision of the Council of Nicaea in 325 CE or the conclusions of the Vatican Council, or that a Jew is disqualified from the highest office because of the Torah and the Halakah. The reverb from Carson’s statement was loud and clear, except that he got away with it because he was excluding Muslims as legitimate presidential candidates.Think back to the bombing of the Murrah federal office building in Oklahoma City by right-wing extremist Timothy McVeigh. The knee-jerk reaction was that Muslims must have done it. Initially, that mistaken belief preoccupied the media and the public until specific information about McVeigh began to seep into the news. Why? Because Islamophobia has been a strong current in the nation for a very long time. The public jumps to the conclusion that mass violence is connected to Islam, an ingrained fear in this country, and that ends up justifying the public’s giving Carson a pass for excluding Muslims from Constitutional protection in elections.When the Council on American-Islamic Relations (CAIR) called on Carson to withdraw from the presidential campaign, it wasn’t because he was the sole Islamophobe running for office. Much of what the candidates say about Muslims is cringe-worthy at a minimum. Carson’s Islamophobia is of a different order. If Carson had simply called on voters not to vote for Muslims, as abhorrently racist as that is, it wouldn’t have been a cause to declare him disqualified as a potential president. Carson’s official position contradicts the clear meaning of the Constitution.That is basically what CAIR told Nonprofit Quarterly in a statement received by email on Friday:We find it interesting that Dr. Carson seeks to use a federal government agency to silence his critics and wonder if that tactic would be used to suppress First Amendment freedoms should he become president.CAIR is not in violation of any IRS regulation in that we did not “participate in” or “intervene in” any political campaign. We, as mandated by our mission as a civil rights organization, merely expressed the opinion of our community that a candidate whose views violate Article VI of the Constitution is unfit for public office.Don’t think this is problem is just Carson declaring Muslims disqualified to run for president or Donald Trump failing to correct or challenge a questioner who declared Muslims the problem in America, abetted by a purportedly Muslim Obama in the White House. In a CNN op-ed, attorney Eric Lewis noted that more than half of Republican voters still harbor the birther myth that Obama is a Muslim, but, he challenged, “So what if people think the president is a Muslim? He is not; he is a practicing Christian, but the religion of our candidates is not a political issue.”Carson might have wanted to consider that someone might have inserted “Seventh Day Adventist” in place of Muslim and declared the Baltimore neurosurgeon ineligible for the presidency. Aaron Griffith, a doctoral student at Duke Divinity School, wrote for the Religion News Service about the history of discrimination against followers of Carson’s religion to the point where the Adventists became part of the original group of founders of Americans United for Separation of Church and State.Many commentators have revived the statements that JFK made when he was running for president that made the issue crystal clear:I believe in an America where the separation of church and state is absolute—where no Catholic prelate would tell the President (should he be Catholic) how to act, and no Protestant minister would tell his parishioners for whom to vote—where no church or church school is granted any public funds or political preference—and where no man is denied public office merely because his religion differs from the President who might appoint him or the people who might elect him.I believe in an America that is officially neither Catholic, Protestant nor Jewish—where no public official either requests or accepts instructions on public policy from the Pope, the National Council of Churches or any other ecclesiastical source—where no religious body seeks to impose its will directly or indirectly upon the general populace or the public acts of its officials—and where religious liberty is so indivisible that an act against one church is treated as an act against all.It might be surprising, but CAIR’s analysis is virtually identical to the analysis of conservative pundit Charles Krauthammer. Citing Carson’s contention that Islam is incompatible with the Constitution, Krauthammer was crystal clear in his response:On the contrary. Carson is incompatible with a Constitution that explicitly commands that “no religious test shall ever be required as a qualification to any office or public trust under the United States.”Ever. And it is no defense of Carson to say that he was not calling for legal disqualification of Muslims, just advocating that one should not vote for them. That defense misses the point: The Constitution is not just a legal document. It is a didactic one. It doesn’t just set limits to power; it expresses a national ethos. It doesn’t just tell you what you’re not allowed to do; it also suggests what you shouldn’t want to do.CAIR’s statement was not an electoral intervention. It was a Constitutional intervention, pointing out that Carson had disqualified himself for the presidency by contradicting the clear meaning of the U.S. Constitution that there should be no religious test for the presidency or any other elected office in this nation.For those who think that CAIR violated its 501(c) tax status, consider the “facts and circumstances” of CAIR’s action. CAIR had not intervened against the coterie of Islamophobes running for office, but a candidate who had established a political test for eligibility for the presidency. CAIR’s position and statement declared Carson “unfit for public office” amidst the facts and circumstances of explaining to the American public the meaning of a key provision of the Constitution. It ought to be clear that a statement of fundamental civil rights embedded in the Constitution is categorically different than a partisan electoral intervention for or against Carson, Trump, or anyone else.The question returns again to the nonprofit sector and its core commitment to the principles of American democracy. Where are those in the nonprofit sector who are willing to stand up for CAIR and for CAIR’s defense of a fundamental tenet of the Constitution?—Rick CohenShare430TweetShare4Email434 Shares
Share21Tweet16ShareEmail37 Shares“Silent march to end stop and frisk and racial profiling,” Long Island WinsApril 1, 2019; Next CityIn an excerpt published in Next City from her book BIASED: Uncovering the Hidden Prejudice That Shapes What We See, Think, and Do, Stanford social psychologist (and MacArthur Fellow) Jennifer Eberhardt delves into the impact of implicit bias in perpetuating segregation and racial discrimination. More than half of whites, Eberhardt explains, say they would not move to an area that is more than 30 percent black, because they “believe that the housing stock would not be well maintained and crime would be high.”More broadly, Eberhardt writes, studies by sociologists Lincoln Quillian and the late Devah Pager show that “the more Blacks there are in a community, the higher people imagine the crime rate to be—regardless of whether statistics bear that out.” Eberhardt also cites the work of Robert Sampson and Stephen Raudenbush, who have found that the more Blacks there are in a neighborhood, the more disorder people see, even when measurable signs like graffiti, boarded-up houses, or garbage in the street don’t differ. Eberhardt adds that, “Black people are just as likely as whites to expect signs of disorder in heavily Black neighborhoods.”As NPQ has noted, technology often embeds these biases in algorithms. For example, many advocates of eliminating cash bail in California, including the California chapters of the American Civil Liberties Union and the NAACP, dropped their support of legislation to ban cash bail once the bill was amended so that the decision on whether to detain or release a person would be based on “an assessment algorithm to create an individual ‘risk score’ that supposedly reveals the likelihood of re-arrest or failure to appear in court if released.” As Sam Levin of the Guardian explains, “Because the data comes from a criminal justice system that has documented discrimination at every step—including racial biases in police stops, searches and arrests,” the algorithms would likely reinforce existing racial inequities in the state’s criminal justice system.That said, as NPQ’s Jeanne Allen has pointed out, algorithms can be used to mitigate biases if there is “an intentional focus when developing, buying, or adapting data systems.”In her excerpt, Eberhardt profiles one such example from Nextdoor, a social network that aims to help people “feel comfortable connecting with neighbors they’ve never met.” Often the network is used for conventional needs, such as finding a lost dog, getting babysitter recommendations, and so forth. But the firm found that the software was also being used to “warn” neighbors about “a stranger who seems out of sync with the prevailing demographic.”The firm therefore changed its posting process to discourage this kind of use of the platform. As Eberhardt explains, “The posting process was changed to require users to home in on behavior, pushing them past the ‘If you see something, say something’ mindset and forcing them to think more critically: if you see something suspicious, say something specific.”To curb racial profiling, the firm, Eberhardt explains, developed a checklist of reminders that users have to click through before they can post under the banner of “suspicious person.” Specifically, this included prompts to:Focus on behavior. What was the person doing that concerned you, and how does it relate to a possible crime?Give a full description, including clothing, to distinguish between similar people. Consider unintended consequences if the description is so vague that an innocent person could be targeted.Don’t assume criminality based on someone’s race or ethnicity. Racial profiling is expressly prohibited.The idea behind the prompts is to slow down rash, sometimes unconscious, thinking that leads to racial profiling behavior. The prompts did not eliminate racial profiling, but profiling, the firm says, fell more than 75 percent. Eberhardt adds that, “They’ve even adapted the process for international use, with customized filters for European countries, based on their mix of ethnic, racial, and religious tensions.”Sarah Leary, a cofounder of Nextdoor, says she is hopeful that with appropriate safeguards, the platform can serve its intended purpose of building connection.“There’s a whole canopy of examples of people’s lives that are maybe more similar to yours than you assume,” Leary tells Eberhardt. “When you have direct connections with people who are different from you, then you develop an ability to recognize that.” Or, as Eberhardt puts it, the “scary” Black teenager in the hoodie becomes “Jake from down the block, walking home from swim team practice.”—Steve DubbShare21Tweet16ShareEmail37 Shares
US internet TV startup Aereo has won a court victory, rejecting claims by firms including Disney and CBS that the service should be shut down.A ruling by the second circuit court of appeals in New York upheld a previous decision, denying an injunction against the firm for distributing broadcast television over the web.Last year Aereo was hit by lawsuits from 17 broadcasters including Fox, Univision, ABC, NBC, CBS, alleging that the service infringed their copyrights. They claimed that Aereo should not be allowed to retransmit television stations over the web without licensing the content from content owners or receiving consent from the TV signal owners.However last summer Judge Alison Nathan in a New York District Court court denied calls to close the service, a decision that was upheld yesterday. Based on an earlier court precedent in a case including Cableviaion, transmissions made by consumers using the Aereo technology are not public performances under the Copyright Act, the appeals court said.“Today’s ruling to uphold Judge Nathan’s decision sends a powerful message that consumer access to free-to‐air broadcast television is still meaningful in this country and that the promise and commitment made by the broadcasters to act in the public interest in exchange for the public’s spectrum, remains an important part of our American fabric,” said Aereo CEO and founder Chet Kanojia yesterday.Aereo, which is backed by US media mogul Barry Diller, is currently live in New York and plans to launch in 22 new US cities this year. In January the startup raised US$38 million (€29 million) in funding.
Germany trails behind other European countries in flatscreen adoption but the UK is a laggard among advanced markets in smart TV penetration, according to a survey of consumers.According to the survey by Concentra Marketing Research for German consumer electronics trade association the GFU, over a third of Germans, or 34%, have smart TVs, a higher proportion than the UK, where only 21% have smart TVs. Higher proportions have smart TVs in France, with 42%, Turkey, with 40% and Poland, with 36%. Other laggards include the Netherlands, with 26%, Spain, with 26% and Italy, with 28%.UK consumers that do have smart TVs are however more likely to connect them to the internet, with 86% hooking up. This compares with 79% of French smart TV owners, 76% of the Dutch and 73% of Turks. Fifty-eight per cent of Germans with smart TVs connect them to the internet.Smart TV functionality has a significant impact on decisions to purchase TVs in Turkey, Spain and the UK. Price was a significant factor particularly in the Netherlands, Belgium and France, with fewer Germans citing price as a significant factor.Germany is trailing other countries in Europe when it comes to flatscreen TV adoption, with 80% of Germans now having a flatscreen device in their homes compared with 91% of Britons.Concentra Marketing Research surveyed 1,000 households in Germany and 7,000 in eight other countries.
Red Bull Media House is launching a raft of its content on the Viewster video-on-demand platform.Viewers in the UK, Benelux, Germany and the Nordics will be able to watch Red Bull-produced action sports and culture content on-demand following the deal.Ad-supported VOD service Viewster has snagged Red Bull content including free-running show Red Bull Art of Motion, dance battle series Red Bull Beat Battle and travelogue Ryan Doyle Travel Story.The shows are all carried for free on Viewster.“Five years ago, when consumers wanted to be entertained, they switched on the TV. Today, they are turning to the web and on-demand video services,” said Kai Henniges, CEO of Viewster. “Smart brands like Red Bull have recognised this and are now looking at new distribution channels that will introduce their content to new audiences.”“As the models for providing content continue to evolve, Red Bull Media House is committed to engaging audiences with high-quality programming on the platforms that are relevant to them,” added Alexander Koppel, Chief Commercial Officer of Red Bull Media House.Viewster is available in 120 countries.
Recently-launched news network i24news is set to launch in Spain tomorrow after agreeing a distribution deal with Spanish DTH operator Canal+.The channel will be available in French on slot number 312 of the EPG. Laurent Malek, chief marketing and commercial officer at i24news, said the Spain rollout was “one of many territories to be launched in Europe in the next following months”.i24news launched in July covers international news “through the eyes of Israeli society in all its diversity.” The network broadcasts from the port of Jaffa in Israel, is available on cable and satellite pay-packages in French, English and Arabic. It is also available for free on satellite in Europe, Asia, Africa and the Middle East via 13 Hotbird, Astra 19.2, ITS 4, AsiaSat 5 and can be streamed over the web.
A pair of YouTube content creators have clashed after one removed another’s popular video without warning due to a trademark infringement.MCN Jukin Media moved to take down an original video posted by Devin Graham to his DevinSuperTramp channel, which is part of the Fullscreen MCN.The video, which featured original DevinSuperTramp content, was titled People Are Awesome 2015 – ULTIMATE DevinSuperTramp Edition in 4K, which quickly became Graham’s most watched, according a blog post he wrote this week.Jukin owns the copyright to the People Are Awesome brand, and said in a Twitter message to Graham that it had removed the video after Fullscreen had notified it of the breach.It had acted because other channels had in the past used the People Are Awesome brand name in “stolen” videos to make them “sound legitimate”.Trademarking the phrase gives Jukin the power to take down content that potentially infringes its rights.Jukin, which operates channels such as Fail Army and Pet Collective TV, said Graham would be familiar with YouTube rights issues as both companies had featured in a Digiday article on the subject in the past.Graham wrote that he and his channel “had no way of defending ourselves” against the move, as the option to change a video’s title, which is usually offered to content creators, had been locked over the trademark challenge.He claimed Jukin’s legal team had eventually removed the copyright strike a week later, but that reposting the video under a different title was largely irrelevant as it would have lost “all he momentum we had worked so hard with”. The video is now online as My Life Sucks – Devinsupertramp Edition.Graham also claimed Jukin and other YouTube channels had used his content without clearing rights in the past “yet they never had a problem with taking down a video on our channel because of a title we had used”.Jukin’s statement expressed regret over the events while explaining its position. “In the case of your video, it’s our regret that we issued a strike without first asking you to change the name,” the firm wrote.“It’s never our intention to stifle anyone’s channel, merely we try to protect the integrity of our brand. We should have gotten in touch with you first to discuss the matter. For that, we sincerely apologise.”
Turkey’s Saving Deposit Insurance Fund (TMSF) has completed the sale of pay TV operation Digitürk to Qatar’s BeIN Media Group.Digitürk was 53.3% owned by Çukurova Holdinga snd 46.7% owned by private equity group Providence Equity.Digitürk has an estimated 3.5 million subscribers. The sale price has not been disclosed by is reported to be in the region of US$1 billion (€880 million).The sale was completed sooner than expected, according to local reports. Digitürk CEO Ümit Önal said in May that he expected the deal to take up to two months to complete.Çukurova Holdings was the vehicle of Turkish businessman Mehmet Emin Karamehmet, whose stake in Digitürk was seized three years ago by the TMSF, a state-backed body, in lieu of taxes allegedly owed.BeIN Media in March acquired US Hollywood Studio Miramax for an undisclosed sum, also rumoured to be in the region of US$1 billion.At the time of the initial announcement of the Digitürk deal last year, beIN Media chairman and CEO Nasser Al-Khelafi described the acquisition as a “natural step” for the company, given Turkey’s proximity to its core Middle East market.
Technicolor has launched a centre that will be tasked with developing “high-end content, platforms and technology” for virtual reality, augmented reality and other immersive media applications.The Culver City, California-based Technicolor Experience Center is a purpose-built space that will allow Technicolor staff, partners and customers to “engage in cutting edge projects”.Teams of artists, engineers, researchers and technologists will use the space to develop and enhance the latest production, postproduction and distribution solutions for immersive experiences across entertainment, advertising, and other commercial applications.Technicolor executive Marcie Jastrow will lead the project and has been upped to senior vice president of immersive media for Technicolor. She has been at the company since 2011.Tim Sarnoff, Technicolor’s deputy CEO and president of production services said: “The Technicolor Experience Center creates a vibrant ecosystem that enables our teams, partners and customers to advance the state-of-the-art in this new form of storytelling.”Technicolor claims to have already worked on dozens of virtual and augmented reality projects as the parent company to The Mill, MPC, and Mr. X. The company’s research and innovation labs are also developing a range of technologies that are being applied to enhance the creation and distribution of immersive content.
Pan-Arab news, current affairs and sport channel Med-1 TV HD has joined satellite operator Arabsat’s new DVB-S2 platform.Morocco-based Medi 1 TV broadcasts standard newscasts as well as talk-shows and documentaries, and is rated among the top Pan-Arab stations in North Africa.Tangier-based Medi-1 launched in 2006 under the name Medi-1 Sat, originally as a Franco-Moroccan service supported by public funding. It became wholly Moroccan-owned in 2008, and changed its name and content line-up in 2010. The company has hitherto tapped Eutelsat’s Hotbird platform and Nilesat for distribution.“As we enter a new era of our company’s development, we have to expand Medi-1 TV HD broadcast over MENA and Europe; and to enlarge our satellite contribution to allow West Africa’s coverage. This is why we are working with Arabsat through its new and competitive HD video content broadcasting platform. This partnership should allow to our viewers more benefits and unique experience to enjoy in order to match their requirements,” said Hassan Khiyar, Medi-1 TV, president and CEO.“Maghreb markets comes on top of Arabsat strategic plans to ensure significant deployment to our broadcast product across this remarkably growing and important region. We consider to offering the massive audience in Maghreb with the best video offering in terms of quality and prime content. We’re assured that with the launch of Media-1 TV HD, Arabsat viewers across the Middle East, North Africa & Europe will continue to receiving highly selective offering & wide varieties of prime Free-To-Air regional and international HD channels on Arabsat hotspot at 26⁰ East.” said Khalid Balkheyour, Arabsat president and CEO.
Eurosport is due to make more than 50 hours of live Virtual Reality (VR) coverage of the PyeongChang Winter Olympics available through a dedicated app.The Winter Olympics Eurosport VR app will offer live immersive coverage of a range of sports including alpine skiing, curling, figure skating, ice hockey, short track, ski jumping, skeleton, and snowboarding.It will also offer coverage of the opening and closing ceremonies and feature on-demand replays and daily highlights packages in VR.The VR experience will be delivered by Intel True VR, which uses multiple cameras to create a 360-degree virtual reality environment. Viewers will be able to select their preferred viewing point from up to six camera positions.“Discovery has set out to transform the Olympic Winter Games viewing experience, so being able to offer viewers across Europe every minute of the Games and now every angle of some of the biggest events in live VR goes a long way to delivering this promise,” said Ralph Rivera, managing director, Eurosport Digital.“We want to do this to engage more people, on more screens, with the games than ever before, offering something new to attract younger audiences. In this way, we hope to make fans care even more about the sports they are passionate about.”The Winter Olympics Eurosport VR app will be available across Europe – though not in Germany and Italy – on iOS and Android phones from February 1, priced at €0.99. It will also be available on Samsung Gear VR, Google Daydream and Windows Mixed Reality headsets.
Liberty Global-owned Virgin media is planning a large-scale expansion of its fibre network in the through the creation of a separate company backed by infrastructure funds, according to the Financial Times.According to the paper, citing unnamed sources, Liberty has appointed LionTree to create a JV to build fibre networks outside of densely populated urban areas using BT’s ducts and poles. Virgin Media itself would be the key service provider, but the network would be open to other providers. The JV would look to pass some two million homes in less densely populated areas, drawing on public subsidies where these are available.The move would be the latest in a series of fibre initiatives involving infrastructure funds. Other players in the field include City Fibre, which is building out a wholesale network in key UK cities.Commenting on the report, analysts at investment bank Jefferies said that the report represented a “credible scenario” given that Virgin Media’s existing Project Lightning fibre build-out was “delivering good returns” and Liberty is in line to receive proceeds from its sale of assets to Vodafone that could help fund the venture.According to Jefferies, Project Lighting, though proceeding slower than originally envisaged, is delivering “an impressively accretive return” that will “whet management’s appetite” for more.Jefferies said that risks associated with the venture, where it estimates capex to amount to £1.15 billion, of which Liberty would likely be responsible for half, include “execution risk and competitive reaction”. It says Liberty has “a mixed track record” on achieving its targets in this area, while BT’s Openreach “may not be willing to cede infrastructure share and go head-to-head, and other ISPs are tied into volume commitments to Openreach that could limit their interest in accessing this network”.Regarding BT, Jefferies says that ‘any FTTP overbuild threatens Openreach’s dominant access share” of around 80%, while it provide a new competitor to BT’s retail arm in around 7% of UK homes.Jefferies also commented that other broadband providers including Sky, TalkTalk and Vodafone may be unlikely to support an initiative that could boost Virgin Media’s retail presence, and most of these companies have signed up to volume commitments with Openreach.