The Gold Coast’s booming tourism industry has welcomed news that international visitor expenditure in the city was up by 15.4% in the twelve months to March 2016, rounding off a hugely successful period for the city.Gold Coast Tourism CEO, Martin Winter explained the significance of this growth.“The Gold Coast is riding another wave of international tourism success with a 15.4% increase in visitor expenditure to $1.2 billion,” Mr Winter said.“Our industry is really punching above its weight, with the 11% growth in international visitors to the Gold Coast outstripping that of Queensland (+10%) and Australia (+9%).“We expect this growth to continue, particularly given the hugely successful 2016 Australian Tourism Exchange held recently on the Gold Coast, during which the global travel distribution network and international media developed critical business ties and experienced the very best our city has to offer.“Visitors from China were up by a significant 32% in the year ending March 2016, supported by direct access from Central China and via Hong Kong.“Without doubt, China remains the dominant player for the Gold Coast and now accounts for 28% of total international visitors to the Gold Coast, up from 24% in the twelve months prior.“We are also encouraged by the return of the Japanese market, with visitors up 15% to 56,000, due in part to the successful introduction of Qantas’ new direct service from Tokyo (Narita) to Brisbane in August 2015.”In the year ending March 2016, the Gold Coast also recorded double-digit growth from the USA (+19% to 35,000), Taiwan (+77% to 29,000) and Hong Kong (+40% to 28,000).The international education market also increased by 22% to 22,000 visitors in the year ending March 2016 with the sector accounting for 21.5% of total international visitor nights on the Gold Coast.“This data confirms the significance of the education sector for the Gold Coast and its sizeable contribution to international visitor nights and its contribution to the local economy,” Study Gold Coast CEO Shannon Willoughby said.“The double-digit growth is testament to the renewed push by Study Gold Coast in partnership with the local government and the education sector and our close working relationship with Gold Coast Tourism, to promote the city as a world-class education destination.Study Gold Coast’s online campaign has targeted the burgeoning Chinese international education market, generating 46 million page impressions over the Christmas period.“There’s immense interest from China in the Gold Coast as an education destination,” Ms Willoughby said. Visit Gold CoastSource = Gold Coast Tourism
Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Celebrates 25 YearsBanyan Tree Hotels & Resorts Celebrates 25 Years of Exceptional ExperiencesThe award-winning luxury hospitality company and one of Asia’s most successful brands is celebrating its momentous 25th anniversary this year with the theme “Exceptional Experiences” as a fitting homage to the brand’s rich heritage and core values.A sanctuary for the senses offering unique and modern accommodations across the world, Banyan Tree received its first guest in the flagship Banyan Tree Phuket, Thailand in 1994 – built on an abandoned tin-mine site which was transformed into Laguna Phuket, Asia’s first destination integrated resort. Since then, Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts has grown from a single property to a chain of successful resorts, hotels and spas with footprints across Asia, America, Africa and the Middle East.A total of 39 hotels and resorts worldwide across four hotel brands – Banyan Tree, Angsana, Cassia and Dhawa will be crafting their own local and authentic Exceptional Experience with their guests in mind.From 29 March onwards, Banyan Tree will be unveiling exceptional campaigns and share heart-warming stories focusing on the most important attributes of the brand – people and the environment. Rooted in its corporate ethos of ‘Embracing the Environment, Empowering People’, Banyan Tree’s sustainability approach emphasises on building in harmony with nature and contributing to the growth and development of the community where each of its hotels is planted.From exceptional guest stay experiences to exceptional working experiences of associates and exceptional sustainability experiences, these curated Banyan Tree stories will be featured on the websites as well as the social media channels of each brand.Banyan Tree will kick off the celebration with a special 25th Anniversary Celebratory Offer that includes 25% savings on rooms (Best Available Rate), food and beverage services, Spa and Gallery retail. All guests partaking in this offer will be treated to the signature 25thAnniversary Cocktail – The Botanical, a concoction of Bartender Khun Kornchaphat Pichayadechapaisarn of Banyan Tree Phuket – winner of the groupwide 25th Anniversary Cocktail Contest.The highlight of this offer is a complimentary Exceptional Experience for the guests from one the following three categories:Celebrate Self – Re-centre yourself with an activity focused on you as an individual. At Banyan Tree Phuket, guests can attend a body awareness workshop conducted by accredited Wellbeing Hosts and gain insightful knowledge on how one’s body posture can impact overall health and wellbeing.Celebrate Relationships – Reconnect with your loved ones and participate in an activity together. At Cassia Phuket, guests can hop on a scooter tour and explore the streets the way locals do. They can look forward to uncovering local treasures and experience the authentic way of life with their loved ones during an amazing afternoon out in town.Celebrate Community – Immerse in the local culture, discover hidden gems or participate in a sustainability activity. Go on a tour of the Tea Mountains withAngsana Xishuangbanna , known for its tea culture. From tea leaves picking, guests can immerse in the local culture and discover their next favourite local tea flavour. Guests may also learn more about marine conservation at the Marine Lab at Banyan Tree Vabbinfaru in Maldives, embark on coral planting and explore the Ranamaari Shipwreck.As a leading international hotel operator and developer, Banyan Tree pioneers and champions sustainable development since its inception in 1994. During the stay, guests will be invited to partake in its groupwide sustainability activities from tree planting, school projects to community home visits – focusing on its ethos of creating better environments and enriching more lives as it celebrates 25 Years and beyond.*25th Anniversary Offer” Terms and Conditions:Booking Window: 29 March to 18 December 2019 (both dates inclusive)Stay Window: 29 March to 19 December 2019 (both dates inclusive)A minimum of two nights stay is required for this offerThis offer cannot be combined with other promotions and/or gift certificatesReservation is final, non-transferable, non-refundableReservation dates cannot be changedFull payment is required upon confirmation of the bookingProperty’s Own General Terms and Conditions ApplyMore details will be revealed regarding the 25th anniversary celebrations in the upcoming months.For more information, please check HERE Source = Banyan Tree Hotels & Resorts
Fans celebrate with UCLA’s Josh Rosen, center right, after Rosen was selected by the Arizona Cardinals during the first round of the NFL football draft, Thursday, April 26, 2018, in Arlington, Texas. (AP Photo/Michael Ainsworth) The Arizona Cardinals’ quarterback of the future and No. 10 overall pick Josh Rosen was widely considered as one of the two best quarterback prospects in the draft for most of the college football season.Rosen was a Freshman All-American at UCLA and thrived as a sophomore and junior, gaining momentum as a quarterback prospect who could do it all.Related LinksCardinals trade with Raiders, select QB Josh Rosen in 2018 NFL DraftCall it robbery: Cardinals hit home run with trade, pick of QB Josh RosenCardinals view Josh Rosen’s outspoken personality as a plusWhy then, did Rosen fall all the way to 10th — where the Cardinals traded up from No. 15 with the Oakland Raiders — and go after the likes of Baker Mayfield, Sam Darnold and Josh Allen? November 2017 – Second concussionIn the season finale against Cal, Rosen had his second concussion of the season and would sit out the rest of the game.December 2017 – Sits out bowl gameStill dealing with concussion symptoms, Rosen sat out his team’s bowl game against Kansas State. He declared for the NFL Draft. In an interview with ESPN in April, Rosen said he regretted having a woman with him in the picture.“I enjoy making people laugh, but what I find funny and put online, others might misconstrue and find jerkish,” he said. “I need to refine my message but not lose who I am.”April 2016 – (Expletive) Trump hatRosen took to Instagram again for his latest controversy, this time sporting a hat that read “(Expletive) Trump” while he was golfing on a Donald Trump golf course. Rosen would delete the post. josh rosen snapped on em pic.twitter.com/NVqYk6b7M2— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) April 24, 2018 Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo May 2016 – Calls out UCLAUpon seeing the news that his school had signed a $280 million shoe deal with Under Armour, Rosen took to Instagram to criticize the news.November 2016 – Ruled out after shoulder injuryRosen would only play in six games in 2016, missing the rest of the season due to a right shoulder injury. Rosen had surgery done on the shoulder to repair soft-tissue damage.August 2017 – Another shot at NCAA amateurismRosen once again spoke out against the NCAA amateurism rule in an interview with Bleacher Report.Look, football and school don’t go together. They just don’t. Trying to do both is like trying to do two full-time jobs. There are guys who have no business being in school, but they’re here because this is the path to the NFL. There’s no other way. Then there’s the other side that says raise the SAT eligibility requirements. OK, raise the SAT requirement at Alabama and see what kind of team they have. You lose athletes and then the product on the field suffers.October 2017 – First concussionRosen suffered a concussion in the eighth game of the year against Washington. He missed one start and played the rest of the regular season. Rosen was asked after being drafted as to why he thinks he fell and he responded by saying, “I don’t know and I don’t care.”Rosen’s injuries and outspokenness off the field reportedly played a factor. Here’s a timeline of all those events off the field.October 2015 — Hot tub RosenRosen’s dorm room when he was a freshman included a hot tub and there were a few social media posts to go along with it. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling On topic of Josh Rosen’s concussion and sitting out Bowl game. Claims he really only has had 3 in his life. UCLA policy – 2 concussions in 4 weeks meant he must sit out minimum 6 weeks #Cardinals— Chris Mortensen (@mortreport) April 27, 2018April 2018 – Wants to win the most Super Bowls everIn an interview with ESPN, Rosen stated how much greatness he really wants to achieve in the NFL.I want to be great — in everything I do. As far as football, I always looked up to Kellen Moore of Boise State. I thought it was the coolest thing that he was the winningest QB of all time. I thought that was a cool word: winningest. So I want to be the winningest QB in NFL history. I want to win the most games and most championships. I’d say six titles, but if Tom Brady gets six, I’ll say sevenApril 2018 – Not shy about taking shots at other quarterbacksWhen speaking about the adversity he has faced in his career and being ranked No. 2, Rosen wasn’t afraid to reference other quarterbacks to make his point. Comments Share Top Stories – / 97 LISTEN: Steve Wilks, Cardinals Head Coach Your browser does not support the audio element. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
‘Raised in Captivity’ reveals author’s warped imagination “Raised in Captivity” (Penguin Press), by Chuck KlostermanChuck Klosterman seems like a great hang. He’s the guy at the party who has everyone spitting out their drinks as they laugh while trying to swallow — the one who is never at a loss for words in a game of “Would You Rather?”It’s fun to imagine the genesis of some of the stories billed as “Fictional Nonfiction” on the cover of his latest collection. Flying cross-country, perhaps, from his northwest home to visit his agent in New York: What if there was a puma in the plane’s bathroom? Podcasting with his pal Bill Simmons: Could a football team run the perfect play over and over again to win every game? At the doctor’s office getting vaccinated: Do vets get shots to protect themselves from pet diseases?“Raised in Captivity” is like a read-only version of “The Twilight Zone,” complete with a cover graphic of a skeleton on a leash being taken for a walk. But unlike that TV show, readers don’t have to wait very long for the twist. Most of these stories suck you in right away with a perfect opening sentence: “I have the kind of job where I take a shower at night, after I get home.”; “It started with a question from a six-year-old, which is the only way it could have happened at all.”; “Sheila knew she wanted to murder her husband.” Five to seven minutes later, you’re laughing or looking under your bed. Then it’s on to the next one before the fizz from the first stops tingling in your brain.Topics range from a secret government research team investigating why coin flips are no longer 50/50, to a band whose song is suddenly adopted by white nationalists as a racist anthem, to a couple considering a procedure that allows the pain of childbirth to pass from women to men. While some of the stories seem far-fetched, nearly all feel plausible in the conspiracy-laden, technology-obsessed world we now live in.This is Chuck Klosterman at his best. “Raised in Captivity” combines social criticism with pop culture commentary and is highly recommended.Rob Merrill, The Associated Press AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email This cover image released by Penguin Press shows “Raised in Captivity: Fictional Nonfiction” by Chuck Klosterman. (Penguin Press via AP) by Rob Merrill, The Associated Press Posted Jul 15, 2019 7:33 am PDT
03Feb Rep. Webber introduces legislation to reunite property and rightful owners Categories: News,Webber News State Rep. Michael Webber has introduced legislation that offers owners a better chance at being reunited with unclaimed property.As state law currently stands, the Department of Treasury distributes a compact disc (CD) listing descriptions of property that has gone unclaimed for two or more years, in addition to the properties’ respective values. Locator companies use these two pieces of information to make their best attempt at locating and reuniting the unclaimed property with its rightful owner.“Try as they may, it’s near impossible for locator companies to find the property owners when they’re going off of nothing more than a description and value,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester Hills. “The solution is simple: more information will allow more owners to claim their property.”House Bill 5283 ensures that the Department of Treasury will provide five additional pieces of information on the CD for each unclaimed property, including the name of the apparent owner, and the apparent owner’s last known address. These additional pieces of information are not burdensome for the state government to compile, and will lead to higher governmental transparency and more property being claimed, Rep. Webber said.“Thirty-four states make this information available so that personal property can be returned to people or their heirs,” Rep. Webber said. “Increasing government transparency is a fundamental step in nurturing a trustful relationship between our state and its people.”HB 5283 has been referred to the House Committee on Tax Policy for further consideration.###
Categories: Roberts News 28Jun Plan to eliminate tax delays for farmers signed into law Rep. Roberts: Legislation will ensure faster processing of P.A. 116 creditsGov. Rick Snyder today signed into law legislation to eliminate delays in the processing of tax credit payments for farmers who participate in Michigan’s Farmland and Open Space Preservation Program, often referred to as “P.A. 116.”State Rep. Brett Roberts, who sponsored a portion of the three-bill package, said the P.A. 116 program offers a property tax credit to people who voluntarily commit to using their land for agricultural production for a number of years. However, the program has not been adequately funded in recent years, leading to delays in the processing of P.A. 116 applications and renewals by some State of Michigan departments.“This has left farmers who participate in the program waiting for a very long time to receive their tax refunds. Some farmers in our district reported a 13-month lag time,” said Rep. Roberts, R-Eaton Township. “The farmers are holding up their end of the bargain, and they deserve a timely tax credit in return. Not to mention, it’s pretty difficult to file your taxes for this year when you’re still waiting on last year’s return.”House Bills 5189-5191, introduced by Rep. Roberts and Rep. Dan Lauwers, R-Brockway Township, streamline the process for registering a P.A. 116 agreement with the state. The plan also holds the Department of Treasury accountable for delays by applying a 3-percent annual interest rate on refunds not issued within 45 days.“These changes will significantly shorten the amount of time farmers have been waiting for their tax refunds,” Rep. Roberts said. “They also make the P.A. 116 program more efficient, which will help ensure people will continue to be interested in preserving their land for food production in the future.”The bills are now Public Acts 265-267 of 2016.#####
06Mar Rep. Noble kicks off March is Reading Month tour State Rep. Jeff Noble today announced his March is Reading Month tour in southeastern Michigan. During March, the lawmaker will visit five elementary schools in Northville and Plymouth to celebrate the month-long reading event.March is Reading Month is an annual educational program designed to recognize the importance of reading inside and outside the classroom. This year, Rep. Noble will visit Northville’s Ridgewood and Silver Springs elementary schools and Plymouth Scholars, Plymouth Christian and Our Lady of Good Counsel in Plymouth. During his classroom visits, Rep. Noble will read to students, answer their questions and discuss the importance of reading at an early age.“Developing good reading habits is imperative to a student’s long-term success,” Rep. Noble said. “I always enjoy visiting local classrooms, meeting students and sharing a good book.”Local schools interested in hosting the representative for March is Reading Month can contact his office at 517-373-3816, or by email at JeffNoble@house.mi.gov.PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Jeff Noble celebrates March is Reading Month by visiting and reading to students at Ridgewood Elementary School in Northville. Categories: Noble News
Categories: Iden News,News 06Sep Michigan State Police official joins Rep. Iden for Sept. 11 ceremony PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Brandt Iden (left), of Oshtemo Township, is joined by Inspector Dale Hinz, Assistant Commander of Michigan State Police’s 5th District, on Thursday during a Michigan House session commemorating the Sept. 11, 2001 attacks. The ceremony remembers first responders and members of the military from Michigan who died in the line of duty in the past year.
27Feb Reilly removes unnecessary hurdles for homeschool families Categories: Reilly News A solution introduced by state Rep. John Reilly, of Oakland Township, would change a law requiring homeschool students to obtain a work permit from a local school they do not attend in order to work an after-school job.Under Reilly’s proposed legislation, parents of homeschoolers could provide consent instead.“Current law puts schools in an awkward position as they do not know the student seeking the permit,” Reilly said. “Parents know what’s best for their children and should be given full autonomy to decide if an after-school job is what’s right for them.”Reilly specified that the bill does not change regulations set forth by the U.S. Department of Labor. The legislation simply eliminates government overreach that creates unnecessary hurdles for homeschool students.House Bill 4262 was referred to the House Education Committee for consideration.###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesFebruary 2, 2014; Seattle TimesIn sponsoring the Olympics, Coca-Cola and McDonald’s have left themselves open to criticism by human rights activists, particularly those concerned about recently passed anti-gay laws. In fact, 40 human-rights groups, including Amnesty International, Human Rights Watch, and the Human Rights Campaign, have issued an open letter to 10 Olympic sponsors, urging them to speak out on against the new laws and for equality.The president of the International Olympic Committee has instructed athletes not to make political gestures while on medal podiums or in other official venues, but he asserts that they may take those positions at news conferences. Australian snowboarder Belle Brockhoff is being clear about her intentions. “After I compete, I’m willing to rip on his ass,” she told the newspaper. “I’m not happy, and there’s a bunch of other Olympians who are not happy either.”Brockhoff will display the logo P6, which is a reference to Principle Six of the Olympic Charter: Discrimination “is incompatible with belonging to the Olympic Movement.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares January 24, 2015; The Age (Melbourne, Australia)Two recently released position papers frame issues to be faced by the Australian government as it considers revisions to its tax code will resonate with American readers: the Australian Council of Social Services’ (ACOSS) “Tax: Are we paying our fair share?” and “The Future of Tax,” released in December by Business Council Australia (BCA). Both recognize that a changing economic and demographic landscape requires revisions to national tax policy, but they differ widely in their assessment of the direction that should be taken.Changes to tax policy must balance the concern for tax equity with ensuring the national economy can continue to grow and compete in the international marketplace. Both organizations acknowledge the important role that government must play and that sufficient revenues are necessary to meet this responsibility. But where the right “sweet spot” is that balances these two is where the issue is joined and where the interests of the social and human services community will clash with the interests of business:“A vital principle of the social compact between taxpayers and Government is that the level of tax we pay is based on our resources or ability to pay, and that people in similar circumstances should as far as possible be taxed in a consistent way.” (ACOSS, p.4)ACOSS sees an existing Australian tax system that falls well short of meeting this standard. Its analysis of the total tax burden shows that the effective tax burden is equal to “a flat rate tax on incomes of around 25 percent on all income groups.” Looking at the same data, BCA concludes that the current “tax and transfer system is well targeted and highly redistributive and makes a substantial contribution to Australia having a fair society by substantially reducing inequality.” (BCA, p.5)Both organizations recognize that changes to existing tax policy should not do harm, but differ on what that harm would look like. ACOSS counsels that the impact of policy change should be viewed in terms of “economic costs, and social and environmental harm. The tax system should support and not undermine decisions to engage in paid work, save, invest and support economic growth that are economically efficient and underpin our future prosperity. It should contribute to, and not detract from, affordable housing for all.” BCA’s perspective sees harm in any change that will not benefit business operations, focusing attention on changes that would reduce the overall tax burden on corporations and individuals and simplify the system.As in the United States, the challenge to the Australian government is establishing a process that allows the diverse interests illustrated in these two reports to be engaged and believe that the outcomes have been arrived at in a fair and honest process:“Tax reform cannot be rushed. It takes time to identify and agree on the problems that reform should resolve, and to decide on a strategy for reform. Governments must lead tax reform but must do this in genuine collaboration with key stakeholders and the wider community. The process of reform needs to be open and transparent, enabling-government agenda, nor cherry-picking of reforms. It will require genuine engagement and wide public debate in the lead up to developing options for reform, with a view to developing a comprehensive, integrated tax reform package.” (ACOSS, p. 5)Our nation’s leaders might well keep their eyes on the efforts in Australia to see if there is a better model than our current method of backroom deal-making to reach legislative outcomes in an area of such vital interest to our community.—Marty LevineShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Cities in Asia continue to dominate CDN provider Akamai’s list of the 100 fastest broadband cities worldwide, according to its latest State of the Internet report.Based on analysis of the second quarter of this year, Brno in the Czech Republic was the fastest European city, ranked 55 out of 100 globally with an average connection speed of 8.3Mbps. Within Europe, Brno was followed by Geneva with 8.2Mbps and Riga with 8.1Mbps.Average connection speeds across Europe’s top 10 cities were well above Akamai’s 5Mbps ‘high broadband’ threshold. Taking the top spot in high broadband adoption was the Netherlands, which now boasts 68% of its connections to Akamai above 5Mbps, with a 22% quarterly increase. In the second quarter of 2011 six European countries had more than half their connections to Akamai at speeds of 5Mbps or above. More than half the connections of all European countries listed were at speeds of 2Mbps or over. The UK came 25th in the European league, with 30% of connections above 5Mbps.
The number of TV homes globally that use DTT as their primary service was 126 million at end-2011, a 22% year-on-year increase, according to Informa Telecoms & Media. The majority of those primary DTT homes, 74.5 million, were in Europe although Asia Pacific will become the largest DTT region over the next five years, driven by growth in China according to Informa.Informa forecasts that DTT penetration in western Europe will peak at 39% this year and fall slowly thereafter. Spain, Italy and Greece will lead in penetration terms, but each is expected to record an overall decline in DTT penetration by end-2016.Pay DTT in western Europe will increase steadily, albeit from a modest base. At end 2011 there were 7.1 million pay DTT homes across the continent and that will increase to 11.8 million by end-2016. Globally, there will be 15.1 million pay DTT homes by end-2016, representing 1% of global TV households.
Mobile TV specialist Mobi TV has teamed up with Dolby Laboratories to deliver a surround sound experience across devices including mobile phones, tablets, PCs, internet TVs and set-top boxes.MobiTV will integrate Dolby Digital Plus into its DRM-protected content delivery platform to provide surround sound to end-users across multiple screens.“Consumers are choosing to enjoy content across a wide range of devices, from televisions to tablets and smartphones,” said Taeho Oh, senior director, mobile, Dolby Laboratories. “We’re excited to work with MobiTV to enable consumers to experience high-quality Dolby Digital Plus audio that delivers an authentic, cinema-style entertainment experience wherever, whenever they prefer.”
The popularity of time-shifted viewing continues to grow in the UK, as do the number of devices being used to watch TV, according to research conducted for TV Licensing.Time-shifted viewing accounted for 9.1% of total TV viewing in the UK last year, up from 7.1% in 2010. In total, UK viewers watched an average of four hours and two minutes of TV daily, which equates to around two months of the year.The number of devices capable of delivering TV services is increasing, with the average household owning 2.34 TV sets compared with 2.17 in 2007. The biggest increases have been in so called ‘second-screen’ ownership, with laptop ownership increasing by 37% to an average of 1.51 per household, smartphone ownership increasing by 64% to 0.77 per household and tablet ownership up by 45% to 0.33 per household. By the end of the year, 79% of households had watched TV on a PC or laptop, while 39% has used a smartphone and 14% had used a tablet to watch TV.TV Licensing also revealed that connected TV sets accounted for 16% of all TV sales last year, compared with 9% in 2010. Around 40% of all TVs with screens larger than 33 inches have internet access. Over 700,000 3D TV sets were sold last year, compared with just 125,000 in 2010.
UK satellite service provider ViewSat has installed a digital video headend from Harmonic to deliver DTH services to subscribers in Africa and the Middle East.ViewSat is using Harmonic’s Electra MPEG-2 multichannel encoding and ProStream with ACE real-time stream processing and transcoding platforms.“In deploying a new digital video headend, our goal was to find a solution that would optimise bandwidth while ensuring a high quality of experience for our customers,” said Awaes Jaswal, CEO, ViewSat. “Harmonic’s high-density and scalable video processing solutions will enable us to efficiently add new channels and services in the future to support our growing subscriber base, all while maintaining superior video quality.”
Twitter has signed a major ad deal with Publicis’ Starcom Media Vest Group, reported to be worth “hundreds of millions of dollars” in the coming years.The news, first reported by the FT but acknowledged by Starcom CEO Laura Desmond, hints at the increasingly close relationship between Twitter and the TV industry, and the micro-blogging network’s importance in media marketing.The news comes days after BBC America announced it has signed a deal with Twitter, with the firm also reportedly in talks with other networks in a bid to bring more TV content and clips to the site.
Swedish operator Com Hem has selected Elemental to unify the delivery of its live linear and multiscreen TV services.ComHem has chosen Elemental software-defined video processing systems to deliver linear video across cable, IPTV and over-the-top TV networks from a unified headend.This supports both IP and SDI inputs, with Elemental Live used to simultaneously process live H.264 DVB-C, RTP, and ABR streams for all Com Hem delivery networks.“Com Hem is committed to offering our customers the best available content and a high level of service. By consolidating our headend with Elemental we are able to meet this commitment across all of our networks and to all types of devices,” said Com Hem chief technology officer, Henri Caddeo.Com Hem claims that its broadband, television, and telephony services reach approximately 1.92 million households in Sweden including 625,000 digital TV subscribers.
Takis CandilisFrench media giant Lagardère has rebranded its TV and Film division Lagardère Studios.The unit previously operated under the Lagardère Entertainment banner. It said the name change was part of its wider international growth plans, which have seen the company reorganize its content operations into four parts: French TV production, international TV production, format production and distribution, and digital.Lagardère’s stated aim is to “become a major player in European audiovisual content production”.Announcing the rebrand today, Takis Candilis, president of the new Studios unit said: “This change of identity complements our recent reorganisation into four divisions. The Lagardère Studios strategy is to continue its expansion drive, consolidating and extending its leading position in France and developing it in Europe.”
BT has issued a strong defence of infrastructure arm Openreach’s continued operation as part of the BT Group and has highlighted what it says are continuing problems in the pay TV market as a result of Sky’s dominance in its submission to Ofcom’s Digital Communications Review.Under assault from Sky over Openreach’s alleged lack of progress in rolling out ultra-fast broadband amid calls for the infrastructure unit to be separated from its parent organisation, BT said it was vital that Openreach remained part of the group to enable it to benefit from BT’s capital and the £500 million a year that the telco spends on research and development.BT cited data that it said showed the UK currently leads the EU biggest five nations in super-fast broadband coverage, take-up and competition, as well as pricing.BT called for changes to the UK’s regulatory regime including a long-term commitment from Ofcom to provide certainty and clarity, polices to encourage large-scale investment, support for consolidation when it benefits competition and brings about investment, a better balance between service quality and price, a level-playing field in pay TV and simplification of current regulations.BT said that regulation of pay TV had been “lopsided”, with Sky being given highly-regulated access to the Openreach network while BT has struggled to obtain similar wholesale deals with Sky for content.In particular, BT called for Ofcom to focus on the pay TV market, where it said “competition has failed” and to enfource the ability of consumers to switch bundled product providers, enabling them to easily transfer from one multi-play provider to another.BT highlighted its commitment to aim for a new minimum breoadband speed of 5-10Mbps for every home and business, to extend the reach of fibre beyond the government’s 95% target, and to deliver 300-500Mbps broadband to 10 million premises by 2020 and to the majority of UK premises by 2025.Other commitments include one to improve on-time delivery for consumer customers to 95% by 2017.“We are now at a critical point in the development of the UK as a digital nation. Broadband has become central to our economic and social life today and the industry must therefore invest to meet this growth in customer expectations and demand,” said BT CEO Gavin Patterson.“BT is driving the transformation of Britain’s digital infrastructure but we need the right regulatory regime that supports fair competition for all and large scale investment. With this in place, there is no doubt that we can meet the challenges of the next decade, fulfilling the needs of consumers and businesses, driving the growth of the UK economy and supporting social progress for the whole country. Ofcom has the opportunity to level the playing field by tackling Sky’s dominance of Pay TV. That dominance has led to poor outcomes for UK consumers and it is about time that converged regulation was introduced to deal with a converged market. The current lop sided approach isn’t serving customers well.”