Sheraton on the Park Awarded Metropolitan BrasserieCafé of the Year

first_imgSource = Sheraton on the Park Sheraton on the Park has again been recognised for its consistently outstanding achievements, by winning at the 2013 TAA (NSW) Awards for Excellence, announced on Wednesday 24 July.Renowned for its popular international seafood buffet and five star service, Sheraton on the Park’s signature restaurant Feast – a world of flavours, was awarded ‘Metropolitan Brasserie / Café of the Year’. Launched in October 2012 following extensive renovation, Feast replaced the hotel’s ‘Botanica Brasserie’, which had previously been awarded ‘Best Bistro/Casual/Family Dining Restaurant’ in 2010 and 2008 and ‘Brasserie / Café of the Year’ in 2012. This prestigious award further acknowledges Feast’s reputation as the best seafood buffet in Sydney.  With its central location and sweeping views of Hyde Park, Feast is the perfect place to enjoy a meal with colleagues or loved ones.Sheraton on the Park is honoured to have been inducted into the Hall of Fame ‘Workplace Health & Safety Hotel of the Year’ in 2013. Having won this award in three consecutive years (2012, 2011 and 2010), it formally recognises the properties ongoing commitment to the safety, health and wellbeing of its associates, guests and visitors.The Tourism Accommodation Australia (NSW) Awards for Excellence are recognised as the most prestigious awards in the hospitality industry, honouring the achievement of excellence in service. According to Mr. Sean Hunt Managing Director, Sheraton on the Park and Regional Vice President Starwood Pacific Hotels, the award recognises the hotel’s commitment to taking care of both guests and associates.“Winning these prestigious awards is the culmination of many years of hard work and constant investment in our facilities and our people. Through an unprecedented string of awards, Sheraton on the Park has firmly positioned itself as the hotel of choice in the highly competitive 5-star Sydney market. All kudos to our talented team of associates, who go above and beyond to deliver exceptional services to our guests”, he said.last_img read more

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Shadow Play by Peppers Melbourne has opened its doors

Shadow Play by Peppers Melbourne has opened its doors

first_imgShadow Play by Peppers, MelbourneShadow Play by Peppers, Melbourne has opened its doorsAccor has opened the doors of its newest luxury Melbourne hotel – Shadow Play by Peppers – in the city’s vibrant Southbank arts and entertainment district.Developed by luxury property developer Jonathan Hallinan of BPM and echoing Melbourne’s sophistication, the 46-storey landmark hotel features an exquisite selection of spacious one and two bedroom apartments with full kitchen and laundry facilities and floor to ceiling windows for lashings of natural light and incredible city or bayside views.In-room mini bars are stocked with locally sourced produce and, for the ultimate indulgence, guests can stay in a Two Bedroom Corner Apartment which comes complete with a private outdoor winter garden.Avant garde design elements feature throughout the property, breaking tradition and routine hotel design with a cohesive collection of contrasts – light and dark, formal and informal, and seductive dark statement pieces contrasting with white stone and timber.On arrival, guests are welcomed to the hotel in a beautifully appointed lobby on the ground floor, which flows into Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar.This brand new venue is positioned to be one of Melbourne’s finest food and wine experiences with itsseasonally curated menu and extensive wine list, with distinct Victorian flavour, meticulously selected by the Edwin Wine Bar & Cellar’s sommelier.Shadow Play by Peppers also boasts an array of unique guest spaces including a heated pool, gymnasium, sauna and steam room, and an enclosed garden space on the 46th floor, complete with a freestanding fireplace, a lavish guest lounge and library with an adjoining patio, and commanding bayside views.Nestled in the heart of the city and within walking distance to the Eureka Skydeck, Melbourne Arts Centre, the National Gallery of Victoria, Crown Casino, the Melbourne Convention & Exhibition Centre, and the city’s finest shopping and dining precincts, Shadow Play by Peppers offers a stylish urban retreat for leisure and business travellers.“We’re excited visitors to Southbank can now experience Peppers’ unique style and acclaimed hospitality. Shadow Play by Peppers has added a new level of sophistication and luxury to Melbourne’s accommodation offering, which caters perfectly to an increasingly selective global market that is looking for quality, location and facilities of a world-class caliber,” Accor Chief Operating Officer Pacific, Simon McGrath said.Shadow Play by Peppers is the brand’s second Melbourne property. The first, Peppers Docklands, opened in January 2016.Experience Shadow Play by Peppers from $199* per night in a One Bedroom Apartment including breakfast for two and Wi-Fi. To book, visit www.peppers.com.au or call 1300 737 444.Shadow Play by Peppers308-320 City RoadSouthbank VICwww.peppers.com.au/shadow-playReservations: 1300 737 444*Conditions apply, subject to availability. Valid for sale and travel until 30 September, 2019. Source = Accorlast_img read more

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The Spread of Bad Underwriting

The Spread of Bad Underwriting

first_img Share in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News Defaults UFA Underwriting 2017-03-08 Staff Writer Last year, University Financial Associates (UFA) introduced the idea of contagious misbehavior and their effect on the default rate. UFA utilized that data to take a closer look at how poor underwriting spreads within the mortgage sector in a report titled “Race to the Bottom?” released on Wednesday. According to the report, lenders tend to be pressured to lend more aggressively if competing lenders relax standards.Data from UFA shows that in the years leading up to the financial crisis in 2007, lenders sought after more and more ways to lend to marginal buyers. The “No-doc” and NINJA (no income, no job, no assets) loans increased as lenders fought to outdo each other by selling more loans, thus the quality adjusted index of default rose for multiple lenders. As one lender began to its questionable underwriting practices, others followed suit in order to keep up competitively.“Our research shows there is compelling evidence that poor underwriting is indeed contagious. The underlying data provides evidence of most private-label lenders’ relaxed underwriting standards which spread through the industry during the 2000s,” said Dennis Capozza, Professor Emeritus of Finance in the Ross School of Business at the University of Michigan, and a founding principal of UFA. “Data for other loan types like autos and mobile homes have similar contagion events before default crises. The challenge for regulators is to identify these contagion events and act to control them before a crisis develops.”UFA’s original research from last year showed that political corruption in an area correlated to some extent with excessive defaults. If misbehavior can have an effect on separate sectors, it is easy to see how aggressive lending from one lender can lead to aggressive competition to another.To view the full report and more from UFA, click here.center_img The Spread of Bad Underwriting March 8, 2017 512 Views last_img read more

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Go back to the enewsletter Norwegian Cruise Line H

Go back to the enewsletter Norwegian Cruise Line H

first_imgGo back to the enewsletterNorwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH), the overarching business behind Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, has published its 2018 Stewardship Report. The report highlights the company’s progress on its sustainability goals as well as its impactful initiatives currently underway, including:Elimination of plastic straws across its 26-ship fleet and two island destinations;Exciting partnerships including Ocean Conservancy, making the company the first cruise line to join the Trash Free Seas Alliance;The company’s Hope Starts Here campaign to reconstruct schools and critical infrastructure in Caribbean islands impacted by the devastating 2017 hurricane season.Projects and partnerships include Coral Reef Restoration at Great Stirrup Cay in partnership with Nova Southeastern University; Cruising for Conservation with Guy Harvey in partnership with the Guy Harvey Ocean Foundation aimed at raising awareness of ocean conservation; as well as philanthropy, disaster relief, water conservation, waste mitigation & recycling and fuel saving initiatives.Coral Reef Restoration in partnership with Nova Southeastern University“We are proud of our achievements to date and remain steadfastly dedicated to responsible business practices that encourage the preservation and restoration of the oceans we sail on and destinations we visit,” said Frank Del Rio, President and Chief Executive Officer of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “We are committed to continually seek ways to minimise our environmental impact while at the same time provide truly exceptional cruise vacation experiences to our guests.”Conservation focus: At Harvest Caye, Belize, staff patrolled the beach each morning from June through October to check for any evidence of turtle nesting.In celebration of Earth Day on 22 April, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings team members attended a beach clean-up at Oleta State Park in North Miami Beach, Florida, collecting 72.5 kilograms of rubbish. This event was held in partnership with the Ocean Conservancy and Trash Free Seas Alliance. The company has partnered with Ocean Conservancy since 2018, supporting a shared vision of a world with waterways, beaches and oceans free of plastic waste.Disaster Relief – Norwegian Cruise Line provided aid to The Caribbean after Hurrican Irma and Maria devastated the region in 2017. Funds helped All Hands and Hearts deliver relief.Additionally, the Alaska Raptor Center (ARC) celebrated the grand opening of its nature trail, funded by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, on 20 April, 2019. As a special treat, the ARC’s staff brought out several of their glove-trained raptor ambassadors to greet visitors along the trail. The company funded the development and signage for a nature trail which spans throughout the ARC’s 6.8-hectare conservation property. The Alaska Raptor Center, located in Sitka, Alaska, is an avian hospital and rehabilitation centre that in 2018 cared for over 170 injured birds of prey.The 2018 Stewardship Report is part of the company’s global environmental program, Sail & Sustain, which reflects the company’s mission to continually improve its sustainability culture through fresh innovation, progressive education and open collaboration.The 2018 Stewardship Report can be found at www.nclhltd.com/Stewardship.Go back to the enewsletterlast_img read more

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McCreadys voting record perfect in 20132014 session

McCreadys voting record perfect in 20132014 session

first_img Legislator did not miss any of more than 1,300 votesAccording to official vote tallies, state Rep. Mike McCready, R-Bloomfield Hills, cast his vote on every item presented on the floor during his first term.“Serving as your state representative is not a responsibility to be taken lightly,” McCready said. “I am honored to cast my vote on each and every issue, no matter how challenging the decision. The 40th District has entrusted me with this important job in Lansing, and I pledge to keep making tough decisions in the Capitol as we continue improving the Great Lakes State for all.”McCready said he is especially eager to address issues brought to his attention by the hard-working Michiganders of the 40th District, who are welcome to contact his Lansing office by phone at 517-373-8670, via email at MikeMcCready@house.mi.gov or through his website at RepMcCready.com.The representative returns to the Michigan House this month to serve a second, two-year term in the 98th Legislature.### Categories: McCready News 09Jan McCready’s voting record perfect in 2013-2014 sessionlast_img read more

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Rep Vaupel invites residents to his April coffee hours

Rep Vaupel invites residents to his April coffee hours

first_img Categories: Vaupel News 25Mar Rep. Vaupel invites residents to his April coffee hours State Rep. Hank Vaupel is holding coffee hours at three locations throughout the district on Thursday, April 9. All residents are invited to attend and no appointment is necessary.The coffee hours will be held at the following times and locations:Kahuna Coffee, 1836 Old US Hwy 23 in Hartland Twp., from 9 to 10 a.m.Uptown Coffee, 102 East Grand River in Howell, from 10:30 to 11:30 a.m.Alma’s Sweet Treats, 144 Main St. in Gregory, from 1 to 2 p.m.“I look forward to meeting with as many residents as I can to discuss their concerns and ideas on our state’s government,” said Rep. Vaupel, R-Fowlerville. “It is important to me that I receive feedback from residents in the 47th District so that I can do the best job possible representing them at the state level.”Residents who cannot attend these office hours can contact Rep. Vaupel’s office toll free at 866-828-4863 or via e-mail at HankVaupel@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

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Hoitenga colleagues reveal priorities for 201718

Hoitenga colleagues reveal priorities for 201718

first_img Categories: Hoitenga News Action Plan addresses broadband access, road and bridge improvementsState Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, joined her colleagues Thursday for a press conference outlining key principles and priorities that will guide the House over the next two years.Hoitenga said the 2017-18 House Republican Action Plan represents the best way forward for Michigan’s continued recovery.“I’m pleased to see an emphasis placed on expanding access to broadband internet,” said Hoitenga, who chairs the House Communications and Technology Committee. “In today’s world, people depend on the internet to conduct business and acquire educational material. Local communities that don’t have access to fast, reliable connections are at a disadvantage when it comes to attracting jobs and residents. I’m working hard to address this issue.”Hoitenga said infrastructure improvements are another priority.“Michigan drivers deserve better roads and stronger bridges,” Hoitenga said. “Michigan recently took some significant steps to improve our transportation system, and I’m committed to making changes to ensure that taxpayer dollars are used efficiently and effectively.”The entire House Republican Action Plan is available for the public to read at gophouse.org/best-way-forward.### 17Feb Hoitenga, colleagues reveal priorities for 2017-18last_img read more

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Following reports of Line 5 damage Allor says Shut it down

Following reports of Line 5 damage Allor says Shut it down

first_img Categories: Allor News State Rep. Sue Allor of Wolverine issued the following statement today following the recent damage to Line 5 under the Straits of Mackinac:“The reports this week of damage to Line 5 are deeply concerning. Even more concerning is the fact that Enbridge continues to pump oil through the damaged pipeline. Enbridge officials claim the structural integrity of the line remains intact, but a number of misleading reports issued in the past prove the company can’t be trusted.“In my short time serving the people of the 106th House District there have been three serious issues: gaps in the pipeline’s protective coating, large spans with inadequate support, and now three dents. I tried to be patient and wait for the independent safety study that was promised last year, but that was botched and subsequently never released. Now we won’t have the information until June, almost a full year later. Enough is enough, my patience has run out.“While I appreciate Governor Snyder’s call to speed up efforts to find a safer alternative to Line 5 that protects our Great Lakes, I feel this situation calls for a stronger and more immediate approach. Line 5 must be shut down immediately, and remain down until the state can complete a thorough inspection of its integrity. We must understand the full extent of the damage – not only at the point of contact, but also any portion of pipeline that could have been jolted and damaged by the impact – before Line 5 is allowed to resume operations.”### 13Apr Following reports of Line 5 damage, Allor says ‘Shut it down!’last_img read more

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MPs Shocked by Political Campaigning from Oxfam

MPs Shocked by Political Campaigning from Oxfam

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 10, 2014; The TelegraphFor most Brits and many others around the world, international aid charity Oxfam is an institution. Its roots were a group that campaigned in 1942 to send food supplies through an Allied naval blockade to starving women and children in enemy-occupied Greece during the Second World War. It became an international federation in 1954, implementing long-term development programs in vulnerable communities.Yet it has attracted the ire of a section of the British government for a recent campaign, launched with a tweet, highlighting poverty closer to home. Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm – and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty. pic.twitter.com/2MzzyMXcsU— Oxfam (@oxfamgb) June 6, 2014 The campaign features a film poster showing a roiling sea under dark storm clouds. In red, the faux title: “The Perfect Storm.” Above the image, the tweet says, “Lifting the lid on austerity Britain reveals a perfect storm—and it’s forcing more and more people into poverty.”A government MP has attacked back, writing to the Charity Commissioner, the UK Nonprofit regulatory body, saying, “This [campaign] is overtly political and aimed at the policies of the current Government.”Oxfam is not alone in apparently attracting the anger of the government. The Trussell Trust, a food bank operator, has said it, too, was warned by “someone in power” to stop attacking the benefits system or “the Government might try to shut you down.” This anger, or what could be excessive sensitivity by the government, follows the release of a joint report by Oxfam, the Trussel Trust, and Church Action on Poverty that says there has been a dramatic increase in demand for food banks and charitable help in the UK, with more than 20 milllion meals provided in 2013—a 54 percent increase on the previous year.Meanwhile, the Panel on the Independence of the Voluntary Sector has been hearing from the Trussell Trust and others that maintaining an independent voice can be uncomfortable but the charities must push back against criticism. The Panel was set up precisely because of the need for charities to speak up on behalf of the disadvantaged. At the time of its founding in 2011, its Chair said, “That does not always make it the most comfortable partner for governments: offering challenges to received wisdom, championing those who are marginalised or unpopular and exposing gaps in provision.”For good measure, notes The Telegraph, MPs attacking Oxfam have also accused it of overpaying its directors and having “an anti-Israeli leftist agenda.” It has not passed without notice either that senior members of the opposition Labour Party have been closely affiliated with the charity.—John Godfrey ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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IP Vision the company behind the Fetch TV OTTDTT

IP Vision the company behind the Fetch TV OTTDTT

first_imgIP Vision, the company behind the Fetch TV OTT/DTT platform, has entered administration.In a statement on IP Vision’s website, the company said: “Peter Kubik and Michael Kiely were appointed Joint Administrators of IP Vision (UK) Limited T/A Fetch TV (“the Company”) on 22 December 2011. The affairs, business and property of the Company are being managed by the Joint Administrators, who act as agents of the Company and without personal liability”.Fetch TV gave access to the UK’s Freeview channels as well as online TV platforms including the BBC’s iPlayer and BSkyB’s Sky Go. Last month the company began offering its service via Panasonic Smart Viera TVs and announced plans to expand onto Samsung’s Smart TV platform this year.last_img

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Czech DTH platform FreeSAT has reached the milesto

first_imgCzech DTH platform FreeSAT has reached the milestone of 100,000 subscribers.The Liberty Global-owned operator reached the landmark figure a year after it rebranded from UPC Direct.Jiri Kraval, UPC DTH marketing and sales director for the Czech Republic, said, “Our growth in Czech Republic is an obvious indication of all the efforts we make to provide great programming and a wide variety of packages as well as award winning customer care. Independent research shows our customers are happier to recommend FreeSAT to their friends than customers of our competitors which is an indication of the recognition by our customers of how serious we take and how hard we work to be best in class.”last_img

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Online video specialist Brightcove has launched a

first_imgOnline video specialist Brightcove has launched a live cloud video encoding API, designed to let content providers scale resources and stream video to any device. The Zencoder Cloud Transcoding service is a live open API for live video encoding in the cloud to create adaptive bitrate streams without investments in on-premises hardware.It is designed to reduce the upfront costs of live stream transcoding and will accept input streams from software encoders such as Flash Media Live Encoder, XSplit, OBS and Wirecast, as well as popular hardware encoders such as Elemental. Outputs supported at launch are RTMP and HLS.Brightcove bought out the previously privately-owned Zencoder – a San Francisco-based firm that developed cloud-based video encoding as well as an open source HTML5 video player – last July.Jon Dahl, Zencoder co-founder and now vice president of encoding services at Brightcove said that the service could have a number of applications and be used across a number of sectors.“We’re definitely talking to major broadcasters. They’re very interested for a wide range of purposes. I think second screen applications are going to be really big here… I also think there’s interesting applications in terms of back-up. We talked to all sorts of major providers about supplementing their existing media operations with cloud options,” said Dahl.Brightcove trialled its Zencoder Live Cloud Transcoding service in beta last year and has now launched it globally, with pricing based on the duration of the input and output video streams, quality and volume- starting at US$10 (€7.76) per hour.last_img read more

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Global OTT TV devices shipped have now passed one

first_imgGlobal OTT TV devices shipped have now passed one billion globally, including 220 million in Europe, and a growing proportion of consumers are viewing video services via IP-enabled devices, according to new research by Strategy Analytics. IP-enabled TVs are the largest category of OTT device, followed by IP set-tops and DVRs. Total OTT devices are expected to reach 1.8 billion by 2017, up from 895 million in 2013 and 375 million in 2010, according to the company.The installed base of connected CE devices had reached 4.4 billion units globally at the end of 2013, with an average of nearly 2.5 connected devices for every household.This number will rise to 8.2 billion by 2017 with each home owning an average of 4.3 devices, rising to 9.6 for the US – up from 7.3 connected devices per home in the US last year.Strategy Analytics found that usage over any connected TV set-up had grown by 13% between 2011-13, while viewing via tablets had grown by 9.6%. Viewing via smartphones had grown by 7.6%, while viewing via portable computers had increased by 5.2% and viewing via desktops had grown by 3.2%.Ownership of IP enabled TVs is expected to exceed games consoles this year, according to the company, with over 30% of households having one or other or both type of device. “Although smart TVs have had a bad press, there are encouraging signs with the new generation and we will see improved usage going forwards,” said David Watkins, director, connected home devices, digital consumer practice, Strategy Analytics, speaking at the Connected TV Summit in London this morning.Watkins said that while ownership had increased dramatically, usage of these devices will vary. CE manufacturers have struggled thus far to see widespread consumer adoption but are beginning to see take-up. “Collaboration with pay TV operators is one way forwards, he said.Pay TV operators are “in the strongest position” with large bases of customers with a propensity to spend money. “the relationship makes it difficult for consumers to churn out of their relationship,” he said.Internet companies such as Google, Apple and Amazon are also competing for the home. Google has struggled so fare but has struck a winning streak with Chromecast, he said. The chances of Google launching a new smart TV platform could lead to a dual strategy, he said.Apple TV has also been a successful product and together with Roku the pair have a 60% plus share of the digital TV adapter market. Apple has sold over 20 million devices to date, according to Watkins. “Apple’s approach is likely to become more collaborative and they may look to partner with pay TV operators,” he said.Amazon remains an important player, he said. “Amazon is trying to leverage its position as a retailer.”last_img read more

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Liberty Globalowned cable operator UPC Poland has

Liberty Globalowned cable operator UPC Poland has

first_imgLiberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Poland has launched a service from movie channel Stopklatka as the first app for its freshly launched Horizon advanced TV platform. The Stopklatka app offers a range of movie news, trivia and trailers, along with a range of short-form video content.UPC Poland launched a full version of the Horizon platform in January, based for the first time on the RDK platform, having launched the Horizon Go multiscreen version of the service in 2014.The Polish version of Horizon includes the ability to record up to four programmes at once and remote recording via the Horizon Go application, as well as access on TV screens to social media sites including Facebook, YouTube and Twitter. Separately, UPC Austria has reported strong growth in video-on-demand requests in 2014. The operator saw requests grow by 51% to 8.5 million views, thanks in part to the launch of the Horizon Go multiscreen on-demand service.last_img read more

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Pay TV companies in the United States posted their

Pay TV companies in the United States posted their

first_imgPay TV companies in the United States posted their worst ever quarterly video subscriber losses in the second quarter, “validating industry cord-cutting fears,” according to IHS.The research firm claims that the pay TV companies shed a total of 658,450 subscribers in Q2, marking the first time that non-cable operators have lost video subscribers since satellite operators entered the US pay TV business in the early 1990s.According to IHS’s ‘State of the US Pay TV Operator Market’ report, US satellite operators lost “significant numbers of video subscribers” in Q2, with Dish losing an estimated 285,000 total subscribers and DirecTV 133,000.AT&T U-verse TV also experienced its first quarterly loss in Q2, with the company now claiming to be focused mainly on high-value subscribers, according to IHS.“Until the fourth quarter of 2014, IPTV had been the only pay TV category to experience growth; however, by Q2 of this year, IPTV’s significant forward momentum had been lost,” said Erik Brannon, principal analyst of television media for IHS Technology.However, cable operators showed a “very slight improvement in Q2 2015 over Q2 2014” as the bundling of faster-than-IPTV broadband and video gave cable TV companies a small local advantage over IPTV.“In much the same way that cable companies had to make room for satellite and IPTV operators, the maturity of IPTV is a signal that US pay TV companies must now strike a balance with over-the-top TV offerings,” said Brannon.last_img read more

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Line of Duty The BBC reported a 23 yearonyear i

Line of Duty The BBC reported a 23 yearonyear i

first_imgLine of DutyThe BBC reported a 23% year-on-year increase in programme requests to its on-demand iPlayer service in April.Programme requests reached 274 million for the month, with episodes of comedy series Peter Kay’s Car Share and drama Line of Duty proving most popular among viewers.“Four-part comedy series Peter Kay’s Car Share was the month’s most popular programme, with all four episodes in the top five rankings and all episodes achieving over two million requests each,” according to a BBC report.“The new series of Line of Duty saw five of its six episodes in the top ten ranking, while there were more than one million requests for the Doctor’s first episode back, The Pilot.”The news comes as the BBC prepares to soon make it mandatory for iPlayer users to create passwords and log-in in order to access the video-on-demand service.“Now when you sign-in you will benefit from personal recommendations and the ability to change device and seamlessly pick-up a programme where you left it,” said Dan McGolpin, the BBC’s controller of programming and daytime.last_img read more

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Some 209 of UK internet users 114 million peop

Some 209 of UK internet users 114 million peop

first_imgSome 20.9% of UK internet users, 11.4 million people in total, will use ad blocking software this year, according to eMarketer stats.The research firm said that ad blocking is becoming more common among demographic groups, having once been seen “as the preserve of young, and often male, early adopters and gamers”.By the end of 2018, eMarketer expects 22.2% of UK internet users (12.3 million people) to be using ad blocking software on at least one of their devices.However, the projection marks a downgrade on eMarketer’s earlier estimates, which it attributed to a “slower uptake on mobile devices”.“The rate of growth in ad blocking users still presents a very real problem for advertisers and marketers,” said eMarketer’s senior UK analyst Bill Fisher.“However, the threat hasn’t taken off quite as quickly as we’d originally thought. Some of the publisher responses to the problem have had positive effects, indicating that UK internet users may be persuaded to turn off their ad blocking software if the benefits of ad-supported content can be better communicated and the advertising better delivered.”Ad blocking software is designed to prevent the advertising content of a webpage or application from being served and viewed.last_img read more

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Kuwait Projects Co Kipco has hired Goldman Sachs

Kuwait Projects Co Kipco has hired Goldman Sachs

first_imgKuwait Projects Co (Kipco) has hired Goldman Sachs to advise it on the sale of Middle East pay TV operator OSN, according to a Reuters report, citing unnamed sources.OSN’s latest Turkish show, Hekayatna, debuts this month.Kipco owns a 60.5% majority stake in the pay TV outfit. It had previously hired Rothschild in 2013 to evaluate strategic options for the business, including a possible sale. The company was valued at US$4.3 billion (€3.8 billion) by Arqaam Capital at the time and Kipco rejected a US$3.2 billion offer for the company from a US private-equity group a year later.Since then OSN has been in intense competition with BeIN Media which has secured key sports rights for the region, along with increased competition from pirate operations, and Kipco has now classified it as a non-current asset with a value of KWD181.7 million (€523 million) on its balance sheet.Kipco group financial controller Anuj Rohtagi, speaking on Kipco’s Q3 earnings call last week, said that OSN “continues to face temporary headwinds and though microeconomics are improving, we face subdued demand in our core markets owing to piracy – particularly BeoutQ platform – geo-political reasons and new fiscal reforms by government which has partly resulted in sizeable expat population base exiting from some of our core markets, overall shrinking our target market”.Rohtagi said that while Kipco nevertheless continued to “believe in the potential of the business driven by the available larger market opportunity to grow in this vertical”, it had decided to “assess all our strategic options for this investment with a view to maximize value for our shareholders”.He highlighted a number of initiatives OSN had launched as part of a review of revenue opportunities and cost-optimisation measures, including the launch of the low-cost, no contract, SAR149 (€35) a month El Farq offering in Saudi Arabia, which he said would be rolled out in other markets.Rohtagi said that OSN would also make “high double-digit or low triple digit” savings in content costs next year.As a result of removing OSN from its profit and loss account, Kipco reported a 10% increase in revenues from continuing operations during the first nine months to KWD561 million, and a net profit of KD20.4 million for the first nine months, down from the KWD22.3 million recorded for the same period last year.The company said it assets stood KWD10 billion, compared with KWD10.3 billion at the end of last year.last_img read more

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Kate Bulkley looks at the growing interest among t

Kate Bulkley looks at the growing interest among t

first_imgKate Bulkley looks at the growing interest among telcos in teaming up to acquire original drama content as they seek to compete with Netflix and Amazon. It’s just over a quarter of a century since Bruce Springsteen’s song 57 Channels and Nothin’ On was a huge hit. A lot has changed in TV since then. Today there is a surfeit of good TV and in particular a lot of premium episodic drama, thanks to competition from Netflix and others. In 2017, 500 scripted shows aired in the US, up from 455 in 2016, according to a study by FX Network. There is an episodic drama arms race taking place and it doesn’t look to be slowing down. Today’s winning strategy, for all platforms, is to offer something eye-catching. As the pressure to stand out grows, telcos and regional online platforms are looking at adding premium drama to their offerings. One high-profile project to the help these players compete in the episodic arena is Atrium TV, the ‘commissioning club’ that celebrated the first anniversary of its launch this month. “In almost every market around the world the number three player is the telco and we saw that as an opportunity because they all are competing with Netflix and the local TV channels and they need something to stand out,” says Jeremy Fox, chairman of Atrium, which is owned by Modern Times Group-owned distributor DRG. Atrium offers its 20 club members, including Orange in France, Scandinavia’s Viaplay, Telefónica in Spain, Germany’s Deutsche Telekom and BT in the UK, a first-look at premium, multi-episode dramas it develops. It’s a novel approach: the members only pay for the shows they opt to buy. Atrium shouldered all the development costs across the scripts that club members greenlit last October. Two projects are in the works: Quasimodo, written by Life of Mars co-creator Ashley Pharaoh; and Stephen Kronish’s moon-landing series One Giant Leap. Atrium’s members are not obliged to “buy” into the projects but the club needs to put up 60% of the budget for the projects to proceed, says Fox with budgets ranging from US$5 million to US$10 million per episode. Atrium’s model is unique. A similar scheme put forward by Hollywood agents CAA was based on its members putting in money upfront. Electus also recently launched a consortium to co-produce unscripted content with a similar ambition, to lower the costs for regional players to get access to high-value content. Members of 6/26 include France’s TF1, Germany’s Nitro, part of the RTL Group, and Modern Times Group, the owner of DRG, Atrium’s owner.The rising costs and competition for talent has spurred a lot of this activity, along with the desire of media companies to get into the direct-to-consumer game. MTG’s Viaplay will produce 12 episodic drama series this year and Jacob Andersen , group head of programing and content development, thinks there is an appetite to double that in the next two years. “The traction we get with subscribers is amazing with original content,” he says. But with the “radical changes in the business,” he adds, content production costs have risen by an average of 30% over the last two years.For telcos, accustomed to recurring revenue streams, taking risks on content is difficult. Commissioning clubs like Atrium can spread the risk, but some telcos have taken the plunge on their own. Telefónica has, separately from its involvement in Atrium, committed to producing 11 original dramas this year under its Movistar brand, six of which have already been made, including the Ä10 million Alberto Rodriguez period drama La Peste and post nuclear disaster thriller La Zona, already sold to Starz in the US. The Movistar originals were the most watched content on the platform, according to Domingo Corral, Telefónica’s head of original content, and are part of the group’s commitment to spend Ä70 million per year this year and next on original content. “We are very pleased with the results of our investment in the first year,” says Corral. “You cannot buy local content because there is competition from the broadcasters so you have to develop it yourself and then it can have your own flavour.” The shows are intended for an SVOD platform, and Corral says he can take more risks because different shows can appeal to different audiences. “I have a lot of respect for Netflix and Amazon. They do what they do very well and when you have competitors like this, they encourage you to be better,” he says. “I’m glad they are spending money to hire local talent as well.” We’ll have to see what the audience data says about the first Atrium shows, but the products will add to choice and give the club’s backers a way to stand out against not only local competitors but also the global platforms. Given that Netflix is commissioning more local productions, including 10 European projects such as a football-themed drama from Downton Abbey writer Julian Fellowes and a comedy series by Idris Elba, there is a lot to play for. An updated title for Bruce’s ballad could be 57 Channels and Plenty On. Kate Bulkley is a journalist specialising in media and telecommunications. tellkatenow@aol.comlast_img read more

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Following the international debut of female lifest

Following the international debut of female lifest

first_imgFollowing the international debut of female lifestyle channel Glitz in Germany, Digital TV Europe’s Graham Pomphrey spoke with Turner’s Hannes Heyelmann about the launch.Why did Turner choose Germany for the international launch of Glitz?The German speaking market is the first market in Europe where we introduced the Glitz brand following its successful launch  in Latin America in May 2011. We identified that there is the market demand for a channel with a female target group, we believe that the German pay TV market has a lot of growth potential, and key distribution partners like Kabel Deutschland were as convinced as we were that we will put together a great channel and agreed on the distribution of Glitz.Why has Turner invested so heavily in  the German market?We believe that pay TV is going to be very successful in Germany. We wanted to have a strong channel offering in place before the market takes off and not come too late to the game as the channel bouquets will remain rather small for a while to keep prices low for consumers. Germany clearly is a tough environment for pay TV, given the big free TV offering. However, more consumers are convinced by the added value pay TV has to offer and the market has started to grow significantly. The subscriber base of TNT Serie for example grew by approximateky one million subscribers in the past 12 months and we see no signs of the growth slowing down. TNT Serie will break through the five million subscriber mark in German speaking territories this year.Was it an easy decision to launch a HD version of Glitz considering the relatively slow take-up of HD services in Germany?HD has proven to be one of the main drivers for pay TV growth in the German market in the last year. It was a no brainer to launch an HD version in addition to the SD channel. This is the only way to fully participate in the pay TV growth. The HD version of Glitz is very attractive for the platforms as well as the consumers, as the channel has more than 70% native HD material, which is way higher than what the HD Plus free TV channels in Germany have to offer.What are your goals for the channel by the end of the year?To make sure as many people as possible know about the great content Glitz has to offer. Also, to reach a distribution agreement with Sky Germany, the last large platform where an agreement for Glitz is not in place.How challenging was it to launch a new channel during the economic downturn?The recent economic crisis has shown that pay TV is not really affected by economic turbulence. Pay TV remains a growing market. When people have less money to spend, home entertainment seems to become more important. In the German-speaking market revenue made from subs is the main pillar of our business model. Therefore the pay TV business is not as dependent on advertising as  free TV channels are. Also Germany in general has not been as affected by the economic crisis as other European countries have been and still are.How will Glitz compete with local lifestyle channels, like Sixx?Sixx is a free to air channel, therefore it is not a direct competitor for us. Glitz viewers benefit from the advantages of pay TV. This means 24-hour premium content with no show interruption by commercial breaks and the availability of the original language track. Glitz has more German market premieres than Sixx, more local original productions and no informercials.How much progress has Turner made with its two TNT channels in Germany?We believe in strong localised channel brands with high quality content and reliable scheduling. And while we source the vast majority of content through Hollywood studios local productions are important to differentiate the channel. For TNT Serie we have just finished the production of the first season of the dramedy Add a Friend, which is not only our first fictional series, but the first fictional series ever produced by a German pay TV channel. The series will air in September 2012. A representative brand tracking survey shows that the brand awareness for TNT Serie is more than 75% in pay TV homes. This is a great result, given the fact, that TNT Serie was only launched a little over three years ago. TNT Serie is one of the top three basic pay TV channels in the 14-49 target group.Will Turner launch similar channel packages outside the German market?Many of the channel brands that exist in Germany already exist in localised version in other European markets too, for example, TNT in Spain, Nordic and the Benelux and of course Cartoon Network and Boomerang all over Europe. Speaking for Glitz, I wouldn’t be surprised if other markets will follow.last_img read more

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