Myrtle Beach bound clients get up to 55% off, but only until April 30 Friday, March 31, 2017 Share Posted by MYRTLE BEACH, SC — Clients have one more month to take advantage of Myrtle Beach’s second annual CAN AM Days promotion. The deals, developed and available exclusively for Canadians with a valid Canadian passport, expire April 30.Most of the deals come with a seven night minimum stay. Offers include:Ocean Creek Resort – Up to 55% offCrown Reef Beach Resort and Waterpark, Captain’s Quarters Resort and Hotel BLUE – Up to 50% offSea Watch Resort – Up to 50% discountCaravelle Resort and Landmark Resort – Up to 48% discountSun N Sand Resort – Special weekly rates for Canadian visitorsDoubleTree Resort by Hilton Myrtle Beach Oceanfront – 20% off best available rateDiscounts on events and attractions include:WonderWorks Myrtle Beach –30% off admission or Soar+Explore combo ticketPelicans Baseball – Fans can save up to US$4 per ticket on Myrtle Beach Pelicans ticketsThe Calvin Gilmore Theater –$15 tickets for The Time Warp Show with purchase of tickets to The Carolina OpryMore news: Honolulu authorities investigate arsons at 3 Waikiki hotels; no injuries reportedAdditional offers can be found on the Can-Am promotions page where more detailed information, as well as restrictions, are posted. See visitmyrtlebeach.com/hotels/deals/can-am/. Travelweek Group Tags: Family Travel, Myrtle Beach, Promotions, Sun Destinations << Previous PostNext Post >>
PJ fans, we’re airing the #ITA vs. #CRC World Cup Match on the big screens at @SanSiroOfficial before the concert tomorrow! #PJEuro2014— Pearl Jam (@PearlJam) June 19, 2014 Even Pearl Jam will be matching Friday’s Costa Rica-Italy match.So what if the band is preparing to play in Milan? Pearl Jam — a group well-known for its environmental activism — better be rooting for the tropical underdogs, Costa Rica.After a 20-year-wait, the legendary Seattle, Washington band performed in Costa Rica in 2011. The Ticos are undefeated in World Cup matches since that show. Facebook Comments Related posts:Music legend Rubén Blades writes Editus to praise Costa Rica’s World Cup achievements Keep the party going with the Sele song on a Steinway A rebuttal to Wall Street Journal editor’s call for US World Cup fans to ignore Costa Rica Ms. Sloth Kong does the Gangnam Style (강남스타일)
The Calgary Citizens defeated the Los Angeles Ruination 7-5 to win Costa Rica’s first-ever ice hockey tournament on Sunday.The two-day tourney took place in Central America’s only ice skating rink, located at the Castillo Country Club in Heredia. Senior level teams from Calgary, Alberta, Los Angeles, California, the Falkland Islands and the Castillo Country Club competed in this unprecedented event.It even drew the attention of Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau, who sent a message of greeting to participating teams.“This tournament offers a wonderful opportunity to celebrate the 20th anniversary of the Castillo Knights Hockey Club and to reflect upon its success. I would like to commend the players taking part in this event for their hard work and enthusiasm for the sport,” Trudeau wrote.For more information about the Castillo Knights hockey program, visit the Club’s Facebook page. Facebook Comments Related posts:UPDATED: Six cyclists struck by car during Guanacaste race UPDATED: Six cyclists struck by car during Guanacaste race Even Justin Trudeau is excited about Costa Rica’s first-ever international ice hockey tourney Mexico’s Tigres defeat Costa Rica’s Herediano to advance in Champions League
Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates 3 international destinations to visit in 2019 (Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Quick workouts for men Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Comments Share Top Stories In court Thursday, the debate, in measured lawyerly language, moved from race and class to what the court could do in the face of the wide dissemination of the painting on the internet. Claassen quoted a British ruling in another case that said trying to control what’s on the Internet would make the legal system appear “an ass.”Malindi responded that the law in South Africa, its 1996 constitution, had been earned at great cost. He said that while many of the rights the constitution enshrined _ to clean water, housing _ had yet to be realized by the majority of South Africans. But “the law is not an ass,” he said.Then, he sank into his seat in sobs that could be heard throughout the courtroom.In the 1980s, when he was accused of treason, Malindi was represented and befriended by George Bizos, Nelson Mandela’s lawyer. In his memoir, Bizos recalls another moment when Malindi was reduced to tears in court.On trial, Malindi was describing the impact of apartheid on black families. His father could not get permission to live and work in the city where his family lived in a shack, only allowed to visit his family for 72 hours at a time. Malindi, wiping away tears with his hand, recalled on the witness stand that when he was nine years old, he once tried to save his father from arrest by denying he knew who he was. Sponsored Stories Men’s health affects baby’s health too The soft-spoken Malindi, who is black, told Claasen, who is white, that art experts who defended the painting were arguing from the perspective of South Africa’s white, educated elite. Malindi said that in a country divided by education and culture, the court should take into account not just the opinions of a “super class” of art experts, but also the views of the many black South Africans, denied education under apartheid, who are angered and humiliated by the painting’s message. His argument drew murmurs of approval in the packed courtroom from onlookers who included two of Zuma’s children and several high-ranking ANC leaders.Brett Murray, the artist, also raised race, in an affidavit presented to the court. Murray, who is white, said he produced anti-apartheid posters and other materials as an artist before white rule ended in 1994.“I am not a racist,” Murray said.Murray said the intention of his more recent work is to express a sense of betrayal that some post-apartheid leaders were greedy or corrupt. He also said that details of Zuma’s sex life had become part of the public debate in South Africa.Zuma, 70, has been married six times _ he currently has four wives, as his Zulu culture allows. He has 21 children, and acknowledged in 2010 that he fathered a child that year with a woman who was not among his wives. Associated PressJOHANNESBURG (AP) – A lifetime ago, a young black South African student was on trial with 21 other suspects accused by the white racist government of treason, terrorism and working for the African National Congress.This week Gcina Malindi, one of the suspects who is now a lawyer, is representing the ANC and its president in one of the most closely watched trials in the brief history of democracy in South Africa. During a nationally televised hearing Thursday, Malindi broke down in tears, later saying he had been overcome by memories of the apartheid era. It was a wrenching demonstration that the past and its racial divides are close to the surface in South Africa, even as its citizens struggle to build a future together.The case Malindi is arguing, recessed indefinitely after opening Thursday, might seem to have little to do with race. It pits two rights guaranteed by the constitution against each other. President Jacob Zuma is asking the High Court to issue an order that the display of a painting depicting his genitals violates his constitutional right to dignity. The gallery and the artist Zuma named in his suit counter that freedom of expression, also protected by the constitution, is at stake.Two men had walked into the Goodman Gallery Tuesday and defaced the portrait with paint, saying later they were acting to defend Zuma. The gallery then removed the painting and closed indefinitely. The case nonetheless continues, raising important constitutional issues as well as fueling debates about race, class and culture.During Thursday’s hearings, Neels Claassen, one of three presiding judges, challenged Malindi on the question of race. The judge asked why, in court papers, Malindi had argued that the artist’s depiction of Zuma was akin to a “colonial attack on the black culture of this country.” “I know him well,” Bizos said in an interview Friday. “He’s a friend. I am the godfather of his eldest daughter. He’s a sensitive man.“I wonder whether what happened to him in the witness stand came to mind” in court on Thursday, Bizos said.Malindi told reporters after he had regained his composure Thursday that he regretted breaking down, and did not want to speak about it in detail. He did say, though, that he had been affected by apartheid memories.Bizos said the judge showed little sympathy for Malindi during what became known as the Delmas Treason Trial. The legal proceedings dragged on from 1985 to 1989, Bizos recalled. It was a period of turmoil and violence in South Africa, and the trial drew international attention.Malindi was convicted, sentenced to five years and sent to Robben Island. A year later, the convictions were overturned on appeal and Malindi and the others convicted were released.Bizos said Malindi was encouraged to study law by his wife, then an attorney and now a judge, and other lawyers. Many people denied opportunity under apartheid went on to careers in law, medicine and other professions in post-apartheid South Africa, Bizos said. He said that showed how far apartheid’s architects “misjudged the indigenous people of the country.” New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths
VisitBritain recently celebrated its milestone partnerships with Hainan Airlines (HNA Group) and Alitrip, Alibaba Group’s tourism arm, in China. Hainan Airlines is the only Chinese airline with which VisitBritain has a long-term strategic partnership in China.Both partnerships have been established to attract more Chinese visitors to Britain and the UK remains one of China’s favourite tourist destinations.Latest flight booking data from ForwardKeys shows that flight bookings from China to the UK for November 2016 to January 2017 are up by 17% when compared to the same period in 2015. Looking at the Christmas period from December 18 to December 31, 2016 – flight bookings from China to the UK are up 37% compared to the same period in 2015.VisitBritain Director Patricia Yates said that China, the world’s most valuable outbound market, was a huge tourism opportunity for Britain. “Britain is packed full of amazing moments and experiences and offering great value for Chinese visitors right now. We want to deliver a world-class visitor experience for Chinese customers,” she added.President of Hainan Airlines, Jianfeng Sun said, “Hainan Airlines will make full use of the opportunities created by the Air Service Agreement to further explore and develop the British market together with VisitBritain. ”Alitrip Senior Vice President, Jerry Hu said, “Chinese tourists are showing more interest than ever before in visiting the UK and are looking for new ways to experience popular and undiscovered British destinations. This trend also means that as more Chinese tourists visit the UK, they will interact with British brands and discover new shopping experiences in the region.”
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, Headlines, News, Origination Closing Rate Credit Standards Ellie Mae Mortgage Bankers Association Purchase Loans Refinances 2014-08-20 Tory Barringer August 20, 2014 694 Views Despite a slight easing in credit standards, the percentage of loan applications closed in July slipped to a three-month low, Ellie Mae reported Wednesday in its monthly Origination Insight Report.Tracking loan applications initiated 90 days prior, the company calculated an overall closing rate of 57.7 percent last month, down from 60.7 percent in June and 57.8 percent in May.The decline came as home purchase applications expanded to take up a larger piece of the market. According to Ellie Mae, the share of closed purchase loans rose to 67 percent in July, the highest percentage since the company began tracking in August 2011.Despite an increase in market share, actual purchase application volumes still looked weak through the month. Numbers released by the Mortgage Bankers Association (MBA) show purchase applications dropped 3.6 percent month-over-month in July, and they remain down 11 percent compared to last year, according to the group’s latest weekly measure.The decrease came despite a dip in mortgage rates, according to Ellie Mae’s data. The company recorded an average 30-year rate of 4.39 percent for all loans, down from 4.42 percent in June.With apps on the decline, the time it took to close a loan in July was an average 37 days, the lowest on record in Ellie Mae’s survey.”This reflects time to close decreasing across the board, with an average of 36 days for conventional loans and 38 days for [Federal Housing Administration] and [Veterans Affairs] loans,” said Jonathan Corr, president and COO of Ellie Mae.Meanwhile, credit standards on closed loans shifted down just slightly, with the average FICO score slipping to 727 after a four-month upward trend. The average loan-to-value ratio (LTV) was unchanged for the seventh straight month at 82 percent.For denied loans, the average FICO was up three points to 689, while the average LTV was down to 81 percent.”A further sign of easing: 32 percent of closed loans had an average FICO score under 700 last month compared to 25 percent in July 2013,” Corr said. Mortgage Closing Rate Drops from Record High Share
A bill sponsored by state Rep. Brandt Iden prohibiting the possession of computer ransomware with intent to use was recently signed into law by Gov. Rick Snyder.Ransomware is malicious software designed to block access to a computer or freeze essential files until a “ransom” payment is made to restore access.“This type of technology puts those who do business in our state at risk,” said Iden, of Oshtemo. “We need protections in place to curtail some of the problems we have seen arise around the state and the country. I want to put Michigan in the best possible position to both prevent and combat these types of cyber threats.”The costs of ransomware incidents, which include ransom payments made as well as data system security upgrades, has been estimated at around $2.6 million for the state. More than 1,300 incidents have been reported throughout the state over the past year, according to the Federal Bureau of Investigation.House Bill 5257, now Public Act 95 of 2018, moved overwhelmingly through the House on Jan. 25 and in unanimous fashion through the Senate on March 22. Companion legislation proposed by state Rep. Jim Lower of Cedar Lake was also signed and outlines sentencing guidelines for the intent to use or distribute ransomware, making it up to a three-year felony. Categories: Iden News,News 04Apr Rep. Iden’s proposal cracks down on ransomware use
Categories: Kahle News,News ##### State Rep. Bronna Kahle this week introduced a plan to clarify state law and ensure implantable medical devices are exempt from Michigan’s 6 percent sales and use tax — ultimately making vital health-related procedures less expensive for patients.Kahle said her proposal will clarify Michigan law to ensure patients are not paying for additional taxes when they need surgically implanted devices such as joint replacements, hip implants, and spinal stimulators for pain management. Kahle said the clarification is needed because of recent changes in policy from the Michigan Department of Treasury.The original intent of Michigan law was to keep the devices tax exempt and this measure is needed to help keep health care affordable in Michigan, Kahle said.“Adding taxes on these devices raises costs for health care providers – costs ultimately passed along to the patients paying the bills, either through out-of-pocket charges or higher insurance premiums,” said Kahle, of Adrian. “Making sure these vital devices are not taxed will lower costs and help make sure more Michigan residents get the help they need to lead healthier, happier lives.”Other types of prosthetic devices – including eyeglasses, hearing aids and walkers – are excluded from Michigan’s sales and use tax and Kahle’s plan is consistent with how other prosthetics are treated in Michigan. In 2017, Kahle successfully passed a new law that added dental prosthetics such as crowns, bridges and dentures to that list.Kahle’s new legislation is House Bill 4204. Along with House Bill 4203, the legislation has been referred to the House Tax Policy Committee for consideration. 22Feb Rep. Kahle plan will make implantable medical devices more affordable for Michigan patients
Categories: News,Steven Johnson News By state Rep. Steven Johnson, of WaylandThe State of Michigan made a costly mistake decades ago by allowing discrimination in instances where people are retrieving their vital records.We all have our fair share of experiences at the county clerk’s office– some positive, some negative – but, just imagine having to pay more for your birth certificate just because of the circumstances in which you were born. Unfortunately for some, this is a reality.In Michigan, anyone born before October 1, 1978 to unmarried parents does not have their birth certificate on file at their county clerk’s office. As a result of this troublesome discrimination, these individuals have a more cumbersome process of retrieving their vital records from the state.This ultimately costs them more time and frequently triples the expense to receive their birth certificate – all because of factors simply out of their control.You can’t put a price tag on ending discrimination. That is why I authored bipartisan legislation to ensure all Michiganders are charged the same amount as other people in their county to receive a copy of their birth certificate – regardless of the marital status of their parents when they were born.There’s no justification for why this immoral, unequal treatment could happen in the first place – let alone continue for decades. My plan, House Bill 4152, ends Michigan’s reign of profiting off this discriminatory practice and brings our state back to equality with a common-sense approach.Everyone deserves fair treatment under the laws enforced in this state, and I look forward to working with my colleagues in the Michigan Legislature to get this measure of ending birth certificate injustice over the finish line.### 04Mar You can’t put a price tag on ending discrimination
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 6, 2015; St. Louis Public RadioThe American Civil Liberties Union has filed a federal lawsuit against St. Louis County Prosecutor Bob McCulloch on behalf of a grand juror in Darren Wilson’s case, alleging the prosecutor mischaracterized grand jury proceedings to the public. Similar allegations are being made in a bar complaint by a coalition of Missouri lawyers and citizens, alleging prosecutorial misconduct occurred in the case by McCulloch and two assistant prosecutors.In the thirteen-page ACLU complaint, the plaintiff referred to only as “Grand Juror Doe” claimed several issues with the “muddled and untimely manner” the law was presented to the jury and that the records of the case released to the public do not properly reflect the proceedings.Specifically, the grand juror took issue with McCulloch’s overgeneralized statement that “all grand jurors believed there was no support for any charges.” According to the lawsuit, “From [Grand Juror Doe’s] perspective, although the release of a large number of records provides an appearance of transparency, with heavy redactions and the absence of context, those records do not fully portray the proceedings before the grand jury.”The bar complaint includes similar allegations as the lawsuit, including that McCulloch knowingly allowed witnesses that he knew (or could reasonably assume) were lying to testify and that he presented the case haphazardly, without specifying charges.Usually, grand jurors are not permitted to speak about the case on which they preside, nor is evidence presented during the case revealed to the public. Indeed, there are sanctions in place for jurors that violate this rule and discuss the case publically, which the ACLU lawsuit seeks to redress. Then again, Wilson’s case deviated from a typical grand jury hearing on several accounts, such as the release of the documents from the proceedings and McCulloch’s remarks to the press and public following the non-indictment.Recognizing the particular circumstances of this case, the ACLU says the usual secrecy the grand jury is afforded must be bypassed, as permitting the juror to speak about his experiences of this case would be in the public’s interest:“Plaintiff also wishes to express opinions about: whether the release of records has truly provided transparency. Plaintiff’s impression that evidence was presented differently than in other cases, with the insinuation that Brown, not Wilson, was the wrongdoer; and questions about whether the grand jury was clearly counseled on the law.”Through discussing the case, the public could also learn about the inner workings of a grand jury and whether these proceedings are fulfilling their original purpose: operating as an extra layer of oversight that allows citizens to impede an unjust prosecution. Or have grand juries become pawns to advance prosecutors’ agendas? The argument to allow the juror to speak is even more compelling considering the additional and corroborating allegations of misconduct.Therefore, determining whether the system of grand juries as employed in this case is malfunctioning would be a pertinent question to pose to the public, and the juror’s thoughts as an insider of that system would help facilitate that conversation. As more and more voices come forward calling to revaluate the handling of the Ferguson grand jury, a comprehensive evaluation can ensure further miscarriages of justices are not permitted.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share69Tweet27Share5Email101 SharesCredit: fry_theonlyNovember 9, 2017; Wisconsin GazetteJeff Bezos, Warren Buffett, and Bill Gates possess more wealth than the poorest half of US, according to the Institute for Policy Studies. The $264.1 billion in known holdings by these three men surpasses the combined net worth of an estimated 160 million people, or 53 million US households. Analyzing two major datasets made available by the latest Forbes 400 list (their calculations started in 1982) and the Federal Reserve’s 2016 Survey of Consumer Finances, the Institute for Policy Studies’ 18-page report, “Billionaire Bonanza,” examines America’s “deeply unbalanced economy.” The report’s authors warn of a “moral crisis” and assert that the Trump administration tax proposals will only exacerbate disparities as 80 percent of the proposed tax benefits benefit the wealthiest one percent of households.This assessment represents merely a cursory glance at what can ultimately be known about the extent of the inequality in America. It is impossible for Forbes and the Federal Reserve to take into account offshore tax havens recently laid bare—again, only in part—by the Paradise Papers, or the convoluted trusts involving private corporate accounts and family members. Even in our world of philanthropy, vast sums are wielded through donor-advised funds. Who can guess how much wealth escapes any degree of oversight and accountability?NPQ often examines this disturbing subject, from “The Culture of Inequality” to “Economic Inequality and the Future of Democracy: Tracking the Conversation.” But familiarity does not make these new statistics any easier to absorb. The report’s authors, Chuck Collins and Josh Hoxie, speak to the speed with which extreme inequality is reaching ever-new heights, saying our society is becoming “a hereditary aristocracy of wealth and power.” The authors note that since the publication of the latest Forbes 400 list on October 17, 2017, Jeff Bezos increased his wealth by an estimated $7 billion. They also observe that the top 25 members of the Forbes 400 are white.Among the report’s key findings are:The three wealthiest people in the United States—Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos, and Warren Buffett—now own more wealth than the entire bottom half of the American population combined, a total of 160 million people or 63 million households.The median American family has a net worth of $80,000, excluding the family car. The Forbes 400 own more wealth than 33 million of these typical American families.One in five U.S households, over 19 percent, have zero or negative net worth. “Underwater households” make up an even higher share of households of color. Over 30 percent of black households and 27 percent of Latinx households have zero or negative net worth to fall back on.In the report’s section on the racial asset divide, the authors speak to inequality as a societal issue that embraces us all.The typical—median—white household holds $151,800 in wealth. Black and [Latinx] households own just $4,300 and $6,200. White median household wealth now runs 35 times greater than median black household wealth and 25 times greater than [Latinx households].The report’s final section offers solutions to the “billionaire bonanza.” They reference how, in times of national emergency, the US government has “conscripted wealth” to help make the nation whole. The authors offer recommendations for federal and state tax policies that might mitigate the accelerating growth of extreme inequality.Inequality is, of course, a global problem. The 2017 Credit Suisse Research Institute’s Global Wealth Report was just released. This is, according to Credit Suisse, the most comprehensive source of global household wealth information, an analysis of the wealth held by 4.8 billion adults. Reporting for the Guardian, Rupert Neate summarizes the Swiss bank’s data having to do with the world’s richest owning half the world’s wealth.These millionaires—who account for 0.7 percent of the world’s adult population—control 46 percent of total global wealth that now stands at $280tn.At the other end of the spectrum, the world’s 3.5 billion poorest adults each have assets of less than $10,000 (£7,600). Collectively these people, who account for 70 percent of the world’s working age population, account for just 2.7 percent of global wealth.Louis Brandeis, who as a US Supreme Court justice sought to be a social reformer, legal innovator, and labor champion, said this about inequality that still resonates today. “We can have democracy in this country, or we can have great wealth concentrated in the hands of a few, but we can’t have both.”—Jim SchafferShare69Tweet27Share5Email101 Shares
BBC Worldwide Channels has appointed Nina Laricheva as vice-president development for its EMEA business.Laricheva will be responsible for driving revenue growth and the strategic development of the business’ thematic portfolio of channels, including BBC Knowledge, BBC Lifestyle, BBC Entertainment, CBeebies and BBC HD, as well as for BBC World News, the BBC’s commercially funded international 24-hour news and information channel. Her role will also involve developing the sales and business strategy for the channels in key markets across EMEA, negotiating multiplatform distribution deals in conjunction with local teams and establishing and maintaining relationships with internal stakeholders within BBC Worldwide.Laricheva joins from Universal Networks International, where she was global affiliate sales director.Ian McDonough, senior vice-president and general manager EMEA BBC Worldwide Channels, said: “Nina brings to the role great expertise and a real understanding of the positioning of BBC Worldwide’s Channels business, and its potential within the wider commercial television landscape. I’m delighted to have her on board as we look to build on the success of our channels in EMEA.”
French consumers lead the way in connected TV ownership according to new research. YouGov numbers reveal that 18% of French consumers own a smart TV ahead of Denmark in second with a 15% ownership rate. Sweden is third, with 11% of consumers owning a connected set, ahead of Finland, Germany with 12% and 11% respectively.The UK, meanwhile, has 10% ownership and just 4% of consumers said they would be buying a connected TV in the next year. Commenting on the findings about UK consumers, Dan Brilot, media consulting director, YouGov said: “There can be no burying of heads in the sand. This uncertainty and confusion amongst consumers about the technology is clearly an obstacle for manufacturers who will have to raise awareness of their product’s capabilities if Smart TV’s are to become as ubiquitous as Smartphones.”
Portuguese pay TV operator Zon Multimédia has added Brazilian extreme sports and youth culture channel Woohoo to its programming line-up.The channel will be available to Zon’s cable and satellite customers and will also be made available via PCs, iPads and iPhones. Anchor programmes include personality-focused Na Cola, interview show Papo Reto, biking show Poeira and surfing show Kaunala Road.
Universal Networks International has debuted Universal Channel HD in Poland on pay TV platform Cyfrowy Polsat.The launch marks the 36th high definition station to be carried by Cyfrowy Polsat and is the fourth Universal-owned channel to join the platform – alongside E! Entertainment, SciFi Universal, and the Universal Channel.
Sling Media’s Slingbox 350 web streaming device is now available in the UK and Nordic countries, replacing the older Slingbox SOLO model of set-top box. Already available in the US, the Slingbox 350 connects to a users’ DVR, cable set-top box or satellite receiver, allowing them to view and control their TV from their laptop, tablet or smartphone.With the new release, the Slingbox 350 and the Slingbox PRO-HD will be the two models of Slingbox devices available in the European market. The Slingbox 350 is on sale now in the UK, Sweden, Norway, Finland and Denmark, retailing at a suggest price of £129 (€154) or €179.“Slingbox is the best way to extend the entire living room television experience anywhere, and we’re very pleased to bring this new model to European customers,” said Michael Hawkey, Sling Media’s vice president and general manager.“We’ve redesigned Slingbox from the ground up, creating one of the highest performing products on the market. With this new product introduction, Sling Media continues to evolve and disrupt the category we created.”
Expatriate-focused OTT TV service Cloudio TV has added a raft of new channels to its line-up.A new Tamil Feast package on the platform will now include Raj News, Raj Musix, Raj Digital Plus, Raj TV, Chithiran TV, Sirippoli TV, Seithigal, Murasu TV, Isai Aruvi and Kalaignar TV. They join existing Tamil services including Sun TV, KTV, Sun Music, Adithya TV, Angel TV, taking the total number of Tamil services on Cloudio TV to 21.Cloudio TV’s Mais Brasil package of Portuguese-language services now includes Mix TV, Amazon Sat, Cimatempo, TV Tindolele, M1, Canal Rural, Novo Tempo, TV Arapuan, Mosaico and Combocine.Cloudio plans to distribute its service to Android and iOS tablets and smartphones, in addition to its existing footprint of smart TV portals, in the near future.“Cloudio TV expanded its distribution in the last month to over 20,000,000 smart TV devices and will add another 30,000,000 in the upcoming three months,” said Marc Van Steyvoort, VP, business strategy at Cloudio TV. “The new channels bring the total channel offering to over 55 TV channels and will be able to reach millions of users every day.”
Liberty Global CEO Mike FriesNet neutrality legislation is largely unnecessary and the US’s FCC has made a mis-step in imposing Title II status on US cable operators, according to Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries.Interviewed via Skype for Cable Congress attendees yesterday afternoon, Fries said “What is broken that we are trying to fix? If anyone could point that out to me I would be much more enthusiastic.”He said the US had “flat got it wrong” and that he believed European regulators were more “thoughtful” and “balanced” in addressing the net neutrality issue.Speaking about network operators’ policies in managing their bandwidth, Fries said that “no-one blocks anything” but that networks have to be managed in order to work efficiently.Fries also said that Liberty Global has been pursuing a merger and acquisition strategy to bring scale to European cable with fewer hurdles than operators face in the US.Fries pointed out in his Skype interview that cable operators including Liberty Global were investing heavily in broadband infrastructure. He said that Liberty Global companies were engaged in short range network extensions, as in the UK with Project Lightning. Fries said that Liberty could relatively easily connect buildings within 50 metres of the existing footprint, generating a financial return in the “mid-30” per cent range.In addition to extending existing networks, Fries said Liberty could look to consolidate smaller players in territories where it already has a presence, but indicated that acquisitions in new territories are probably not on the cards.“There is not a whole lot left to consolidate in the markets we like but there is still consolidation to be done in themarkets we are in already,” said Fries.Fries nevertheless said that he believe there will be more consolidation in European cable over the next two or three years.Fries said the industry is getting more complex. Netflix drives broadband consumption and has shown by example how to create a great video experience.Fries said that Liberty Global wants to provide ubiquitous connectivity. The company has mobile networks in nine countries and aims to get to 40% quad-play penetration, said Fries.“Mobile is a pretty big part of our business…and the quad play is here to stay,” he said, citing the one in five cable customers in Belgium and the UK buying a mobile product from Liberty. Such customers churn less than others, he said.Turning to the investment made by mobile giant Vodafone in cable in Germany and Spain, Fries said the move was “smart”. However, he said, “We prefer our business model [to Vodafone’s], to be honest.”Fries said Liberty Global’s recent EUR50 million investment in Formula E gave the new “ground floor” opportunity time to expand. He said he believed Formula E would be attractive to millennials.On the evolution of the content business more generally, Fries said that non-linear digital rights will take up a greater portion of content acquisitions iin the coming years. Some channels will struggle if they don’t own their content and brands and provide distirbutors with the contnet rights they need for OTT and multiscreen, he said.“Content owners have to get with it,” said Fries.Fries said that traditioinally, content owners had bundled channels together and that “this strategy is running into challenges”. He said it was harder “for companies like ours to invest…in linear channels that are attracting fewer viewers”. The move to mobile consumption meant that operators needed to partner with channels that have rights to distriubte on mobile devices, he said.
ITV has named Steve Forde as director of marketing and experience, ITV Online and On Demand.Forde has worked as Channel 4’s head of viewer relationship management for the last four years. He will take up his post later this year, reporting to Paul Kanareck, director of online and brands, and Rufus Radcliffe, group marketing and research director.Forde will be focused on driving the ITV Player proposition to both audiences and advertisers with a remit ranging from audience engagement and CRM to innovation and design..Kanareck said: “I am delighted to have attracted someone of Steve’s calibre to the post – he has an exemplary track record in delivering innovative audience and brand engagement Available on over 20 platforms, the ITV Player is now one of the largest and fastest growing VOD services in the UK and we have a tremendous opportunity to offer our massive TV audiences an even better and intuitive way to enjoy their favourite shows when they want. We have a hugely exciting year ahead in ITV Online and On Demand, and I know Steve has an important role to play in its strategy and development.”Forde said: “I am really excited to be joining ITV Online which has seen incredible success in recent years. I had ten great years at Channel 4, particularly the last four delivering the relationship strategy in Gill Whitehead’s team. My next exciting challenge at ITV Online presents an irresistible opportunity to help shape the next phase of development, building on the huge achievements Paul and the team have generated over the past few years.”
Adam CrozierAdam Crozier, the CEO of UK broadcaster ITV, will deliver a keynote speech at MIPCOM in October.On Monday, October 5, Crozier’s Media Mastermind talk will cover points such as creative renewal at the network, its global expansion in markets such as the US and new international scripted coproductions.His thoughts on scripted will tie in with the global launch of two new ITV Studios Global Entertainment dramas, Beowulf and Jekyll & Hyde.Crozier joined ITV in 2010 and immediately launched a five-year ‘transformation plan’ that switched focus from broadcast advertising revenues to international expansion and programming making and sales.This has been punctuated by an on-going period of acquisitions in Europe, the UK and US, where it is now the largest non-studio provider of non-scripted programming.Just this year, ITV has acquired The Voice creator Talpa Media, drama producer Mammoth Screen and The Jump producer Twofour Group. These deals followed other major acquisitions such as US non-scripted group Leftfield Entertainment, Hatfields & McCoys producer Thinkfactory Media and Duck Dynasty firm Gurney Productions.Before joining ITV, Crozier developed a reputation as a turnaround specialist as organisations such as The Football Association and Royal Mail. He was also CEO of Saatchi & Saatchi Advertising.“We are very excited to hear Adam Crozier’s analysis of ITV’s strategy, particularly in terms of how they have transformed the business, making international content a key priority,” said Laurine Garaude, director of the television division at MIPCOM owner Reed MIDEM. “He has done a remarkable job of turning ITV into a media company to face the challenges of the future.”MIPCOM this year runs between October 5-8 in Cannes, France.