The ministry of justice and police decided to launch a campaign against organised crime this week because links between the sale of alcoholic drinks and protection rackets over the sale of alcoholic drinks have resurfaced, Justice Minister Ionas Nicolaou said in an interview with Politis on Sunday.He said plans to fight organised crime were started in the second half of 2017.The police, Nicolaou said, have mapped organised crime across the island and have received tips from the public about groups’ activities and who their members and leaders are. The aim, he told Politis, is to re-evaluate old information and connect it with recent crimes.“When I took over the ministry the first thing I did was study how police dealt with organised crime,” Nicolaou said.“I was surprised by how limited it was”.He said the worst period for Cyprus in terms of organised crime was between 2009 and 2012 when the police only mounted 1,000 operations against it involving protection rackets, drugs and illegal betting shops. “At that time, certain leading police figures believed the sale of alcoholic drinks through blackmail and threats was free trade,” the minister said.Between September 2013 and September 2016, more than 7,000 operations have been staged by the police against activities of the night, he said. The minister said the effect of this was to largely stamp out organised crime.Particular success, the minister said, has been seen in stopping the operation of illegal betting shops and casinos.The main aim of the police now, he said, is to stop the illegal sale of drugs.You May LikeNutrition ExpertStop Eating These 7 Arthritis And Cancer Causing FoodsNutrition ExpertUndoWeight Loss GrooveTiger Woods Drives This $440K CarWeight Loss GrooveUndoAncestryWhat does your last name say about you? Search today.AncestryUndo The Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoAt least 20 killed, 50 injured in attack on VP candidate’s office in KabulUndoWidowers threaten legal action over pensionsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Tags: #SB State Rep. Scott VanSingel of Grant joined fellow lawmakers today at the Capitol to unveil the 2017-2018 House Republican Action Plan, which is the guiding document for the upcoming legislative session.“The Action Plan outlines the demand to strengthen agriculture and protect our natural resources so that we can ensure the second largest part of our state’s economy remains robust,” said Rep. VanSingel.“Michigan residents and tourists cherish more than 3,000 miles of Great Lakes shoreline, tens of thousands of miles of rivers and streams, 11,000 inland lakes, abundant forests and natural habitats.”“We should encourage our residents to utilize our lands and waterways for recreational and hunting purposes but finding that essential balance of preserving and protecting these resources will be critical to the future of Michigan’s economy.”Rep. VanSingel also noted that expanding broadband internet access to rural areas is a critical item of the Action Plan that affects residents of Lake, Oceana and Newaygo counties.“Many Michiganders still do not have access to broadband that offers the highest speeds, and thousands do not have access to any broadband at all.“If we are to keep Michigan moving forward, it is imperative that we do not leave fellow Michiganders behind in the process. I look forward to supporting legislation that will offer fast and reliable Internet connection across the state map to every resident who wants it.”Rep. VanSingel also believes that the protection of religious freedoms is one of the most important priorities for the upcoming legislative session.“I am a strong believer in protecting the right to exercise religious beliefs and I am in favor of working to put Michigan at the forefront of this issue.”The Action Plan for reform and responsible leadership during the new legislative session can be accessed at http://gophouse.org/best-way-forward/.##### Categories: Featured news,Infographics,News,VanSingel News 16Feb Rep. VanSingel joins lawmakers in unveiling plan to move Michigan forward
Categories: Bellino News,News State Rep. Joe Bellino’s proposal to repeal Michigan’s pension tax was approved today by a House committee, a key step toward eliminating a financial hardship on seniors adopted in 2011.“It’s the right time to do the right thing for our senior citizens,” said Bellino, of Monroe, after the House Tax Policy Committee advanced his proposal. “Back in 2011, the rules were changed on people getting ready for retirement. Michigan took two cards out of the deck and shorted them. It wasn’t right, it wasn’t fair – and I’m excited to make progress on setting things straight.”Bellino’s plan – introduced on the first day of the new legislative session – would eliminate the pension tax approved in 2011, re-establishing Michigan’s previous retirement tax structure. Public pensions would be exempt from taxation and other retirement income would have higher deductibles for state income taxes. Social Security income would continue to be exempt.Bellino’s proposal also would eliminate Michigan’s current, complex three-tiered retirement tax structure – which now has different rules for taxpayers depending on what year they were born.Bellino said Michigan’s economy and state budget both have improved dramatically since the pension tax was adopted.“The time is absolutely right for a change,” Bellino said. “I am optimistic we can all come together and bring seniors the tax relief they deserve and need after decades of working hard to make Michigan a great place to live.”The legislation – House Bill 4006 – advances to the House Ways and Means Committee for further consideration.### 28Feb Rep. Bellino’s proposal to repeal pension tax advanced by Michigan House committee
13Jun Rep. Leutheuser: Michigan House budget plan invests in roads, students and workforce development – without governor’s massive tax hike Supporting local communities. Local communities will get an increase in revenue sharing to enhance essential public services. The House budget plan costs taxpayers about $1.3 billion less than the plan recommended by the governor.“Just like Michiganders do when running a business or a family budget, this plan forces government to eliminate waste and operate efficiently so we can focus on top priorities,” Leutheuser said. “I’m proud to support this plan and look forward to the next steps in discussions with the Senate and the governor.” State Rep. Eric Leutheuser this week voted for a state budget plan that continues Michigan’s economic resurgence, and generates record investment in roads and schools – all while avoiding the governor’s requested 45-cent per gallon fuel tax increase.“This plan keeps Michigan’s economy moving forward, and that’s great news for everyone living and working in our state,” said Leutheuser, of Hillsdale. “I know the governor’s proposed fuel tax increase would hurt families, cost jobs and stall our economic momentum. That’s why the House took great care to put together a plan that protects families and their budgets – which is the best course of action for Hillsdale and Branch counties.”The House approved several budget measures this week, advancing the plan to the Senate for further consideration.Key elements of the budget plan:Roads. The plan ensures all taxes paid at the gas pump go to improve our roads – including the 6 percent sales tax motorists already pay. This change could add more than $800 million more per year to road repairs – without raising taxes – once fully phased in over two years. This change would be accomplished without cutting money for schools, local government revenue sharing or other essential public services. Categories: Leutheuser News,News Workforce development. Continuing and adding to the “Going Pro” initiative will increase the viability, versatility and potential of Michigan’s workforce. The House plan also focuses on career and technical training in Michigan schools, and supports research and other initiatives connected to agriculture. Leutheuser noted these are key strategies that have helped add more than 500,000 private sector jobs in Michigan, while reducing the unemployment rate to about 4 percent – down from nearly 15 percent in mid-2009. Schools. The plan raises school districts’ per-pupil foundation allowance by $90 to $180 per student. Every school district in Branch and Hillsdale counties would receive the $180 increase. This comes on top of the largest annual per-student increase of the past 15 years – which schools are receiving in the current budget year – while continuing to close the gap between the state’s lowest- and highest-funded districts. Early literacy and career training are special focuses as the overall school aid fund would surpass $15 billion. Respecting taxpayers through government efficiencies. Many state departments are being asked to find a savings of 3 percent in their administrative budgets. The House also has identified several state programs that do not spend as much money as taxpayers have been providing, so their budgets will be adjusted accordingly. The plan also helps rein in information technology project spending within state departments, which has been a problem area. ###
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 20, 2015; Toronto StarThe Canada Revenue Agency sent a letter last week to Dying with Dignity Canada that removed the charitable status of the nonprofit, ruling that it had been registered as a charity “in error.”Following an audit of the organization, officials found the charity’s activities did not fulfill the education guidelines required by the agency. “While we have determined that the organization’s services for the sick consisted mostly of charitable activities, our audit did not identify any activities advancing education in the charitable sense,” said the agency in a long letter dated Friday, January 16th.Instead, the agency goes on to say, “It is our position the organization’s primary focus remains on advocating for alternatives to preserving human life and selectively informing the public in support of its political purpose to expand choice in dying.” In Canada, while charities may a have nonpartisan, political focus, they cannot promote or pressure an “attitude of mind” that could influence legislation, as apparently was found to be the case with Dying with Dignity.According to the agency, the decision to annul the charity’s registration was made following an audit of the organization from January 2011 to December 2012, looking at the group’s political activity. The agency discovered that in 1982, the charity originally registered with a “political purpose—to expand choice in dying, excluding by securing the legal right to die.” As the charity has branded itself as a “health and education charity focused on promoting choice and dignity at end of life” while still lobbying for patients to have the right to die, officials believed the audit revealed an error—the charity should never have been registered in the first place. Because of this, in official terms, the status of Dying with Dignity Canada has been “annulled,” rather than “revoked.” (What this means practically is that the organization will not be required to pay tax on the assets it has accumulated.)The Toronto-based charity, which has been advocating for assisted-suicide rights since 1982, has accepted the decision and will not fight the revocation of their status. Instead, the organization will continue to exist as a nonprofit without the status of a registered charity, though this means that donations to the group are not tax deductible.Consequently, Dying with Dignity’s charitable status will end in 30 days. CEO Wendy Morris, however, does not seem particularly perturbed. “We won’t be opposing it,” Morris said, simply because it would be lengthy, time consuming, costly, and a distraction from our core work.” Instead, it seems this may enable the charity to more openly affiliate with politicians that support and can further the group’s mission. “We’ll be able to say, ‘here’s a candidate, come look.’”This wouldn’t be the first time the charity has been deregistered or audited. Dying with Dignity lost their status back in February of 2010 after failing to file their tax forms. (The group registered once again in 2011.) According to Morris, the group has also been audited before, “so it’s puzzling why it’s happening now.” It seems that Dying with Dignity has been caught in the web of Canada’s conservative government, which started its special auditing of charities’ political activities back in 2012. The $8 million program first targeted environmental groups and then grew to include groups focused on human rights, poverty, and religion, among others.While observers expect another 60 groups to be audited by 2017, there’s one group in the same boat as Dying with Dignity—Alternatives, a Montréal-based charity that helps fund health and education in the Third World. Alternatives, too, was told their charity was mistakenly registered due to an error years ago and that their status would be stripped. Currently, the charity is working with the agency to find a way to retain their status.The agency’s decision comes at an auspicious time, as the Supreme Court of Canada is about to rule on physician-assisted suicide. While an overwhelming 84 percent of Canadians voted to support physician-assisted suicide last October, the Conservative government has stated on record that they oppose the measure and do not support any change to the current law against assisted suicide.Death with dignity laws also gained attention in the U.S. at the end of 2014 when Brittany Maynard came forward with her story for electing physician-assisted suicide following a diagnosis for terminal brain cancer. Maynard passed away in November on the day she had elected to end her life with medication. Maynard’s family is now supporting a right-to-die bill California introduced this week.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share6TweetShare5Email11 Sharesdance of the banks / frankieleonOctober 27, 2015; American BankerAt the launch of his campaign, Senator Bernie Sanders called for breaking up the big banks that were responsible in large part for causing the recession and then left the American taxpayers on the hook to bail them out. He continued on that theme in his debate with Hillary Clinton and has put his name on the “Too Big to Fail, Too Big to Exist Act,” which would set a cap on the size of such banks. The bill has been endorsed by Public Citizen, US PIRG, and the Independent Community Bankers of America. At the same time, those who would otherwise be on his side when it comes to big banks have trashed it as not realistic or pragmatic.A pointed critique of the Sanders break-up strategy by Michael Grunwald in Politico argued in part that the U.S. banking system is “much less concentrated at the top” than the banking systems of Asia and Europe, that the problem in the banking crisis was not overlarge but overleveraged banks, and that “unilaterally enforcing size limits on domestic banks would put the U.S. at a real competitive disadvantage in financial services.”While one can fruitfully debate the contributions and risks to the economy from megabanks, there is one thing that Sanders might have missed in his call to cap the size of the big banks. According to Mayra Rodríguez Valladares in American Banker, Sanders may have underestimated just how big the megabanks have gotten since the bank bailout.Using public data, Rodríguez Valladares says that since 2007, Citibank has grown six percent, Bank of America 22 percent, JPMorgan Chase 49 percent, and Wells Fargo a whopping 230 percent, though the latter bank’s massive growth is in part due to its acquisition of Wachovia. She contends, however, that through various accounting mechanisms, the truth is that the “banks are even bigger than Bernie Sanders may realize.” If the calculations are based on international accounting standards instead of U.S. accounting standards, the latter allowing for the exclusion of various derivatives from their books and the valuation of derivatives on a lower “net” basis, the calculations change. Applying the international standards would double JPMorgan’s asset value to $4 trillion, vaulting it from seventh to the top of the list of the largest bank in the world.With the amount of Wall Street money flowing into the political campaigns of both parties, it is unlikely that the Sanders proposal will be enacted. However, those bank growth numbers, even under U.S. GAAP standards, point out the continuing inequities of growth in the economic system. Compare the banks with the growth of the U.S. nonprofit sector. Based on data from the Urban Institute’s Nonprofit Sector in Brief, the inflation-adjusted revenues of all public charities grew 6.6 percent between 2007 and 2012 and their assets by 5.8 percent. Notably, public charities devoted to “public and social benefit” and to “international and foreign affairs” saw both their revenues and their assets decline during that period. For all FDIC-insured commercial banks, their pre-tax net income grew from $142.7 billion in 2007 to $174.5 billion in 2012, and their assets grew from $11.2 trillion in 2007 to $13.4 trillion in 2012. In inflation adjusted terms, the commercial banks grew from $158.01 billion to $174.5 billion in pre-tax net income (an increase of 10.4 percent) and from $12.4 trillion to $13.4 trillion in assets (an increase of 8.1 percent) between 2007 and 2012—and unlike the nonprofit sector, the number of commercial banks declined significantly during that period, from 7,284 to 6,097.Is it fair to compare the massive growth of the financial sector since the Great Recession with the much lower growth of public charities during the same time frame? There are complexities to be sure, but “too big to fail” doesn’t in any way describe most U.S. charities or the condition of the nonprofit sector overall. Whether or not Sanders succeeds in his quest to break up the banking behemoths, it might be time for nonprofit activists to ask the presidential aspirants—in a nonpartisan way, mind you—what they will do to boost the revenues, assets, and influence of nonprofits to compete with the massive growth of Wall Street power.—Rick CohenShare6TweetShare5Email11 Shares
Share21Tweet11Share2Email34 Shares“Rallying against tar sands,” by Toban B.December 7, 2017; ColorlinesThe Secwepemc Nation of British Columbia is ramping up its opposition to the expansion of the Trans Mountain pipeline, a project of Kinder Morgan Canada, which would bring tar sands oil from Alberta to the coast in British Columbia—from there to be shipped to customers in rapidly expanding Asian markets. The project would triple the pipeline’s capacity from 300,000 to 890,000 barrels of crude tar sands oil per day. Despite clear evidence that dependence on fossil fuels endangers the future of the planet, Big Oil continues its efforts to fully exploit the Alberta tar sands.Indigenous peoples have been leading efforts to halt further expansion of the pipelines and to bring attention to the threat of climate change. The Secwepemc, for example, were inspired by the Standing Rock Sioux opposition to the Dakota Access pipeline, which will bring oil from Canada to the Gulf Coast. During 2016, the Sioux led efforts to stop the pipeline by building an encampment in its path. The Secwepemc are taking the encampment concept one step further, building tiny houses on wheels that can be strategically placed to block the Trans Mountain pipeline.Kanahus Manuel, a Secwepemc arrested at Standing Rock in October 2016, told Colorlines, “We thought we’d only spend a few days at Standing Rock. Instead we were there for months.”Now, Manuel leads the Tiny House Warriors Resistance camp in Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. Volunteers have built 10 tiny houses, each replete with “cooking facilities, bunk beds, and a wood-burning stove,” according to Colorlines. The tiny houses are solar-powered and use composting toilets.The tiny houses are more than a convenient tool for blocking the pipeline; they are also homes, intended to begin to address the Secwepemc Nation’s dire need for housing. Says Manuel, “We need to be able to provide for our nation, and this is something that’s not only a way to resist, but a creative solution for us to solve our own problems.”The displacement of the Secwepemc is of grave concern to Manuel, who says that 62 percent of the indigenous people in the area no longer live on the reserve. Preserving cultural values among city dwellers struggling to pay rent and survive is an ongoing challenge.“We have a right to self-determination, and that includes being able to build our own homes on our land,” says Manuel. She envisions multiple tiny house villages “with small scale farming and language revitalization programs.” With the tiny houses, says Manuel, “there’s hope that we are going to lift ourselves out of oppression and economic poverty.”That hope in part depends on the success of indigenous nations in gaining control over their lands. In the case of the Trans Mountain pipeline, Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau approved the pipeline without the consent of the Secwepemc Nation. The Tseleil-Waututh Nation, located on the coast of British Columbia, is also protesting the pipeline because of its impact on their traditional resources. According to NPR, they have joined with other First Nations in a lawsuit that asserts that First Nations were not properly consulted about the pipeline.“The pipeline expansion terminates right—I don’t say in our backyard, I say in our kitchen,” Charlene Aleck, an elected councilor of the Tseleil-Waututh, told NPR. Noting that increased tanker traffic is a threat to her people, Tseleil-Waututh continued, “It’s not if a spill happens, it’s when it happens.”Melina Laboucan-Massimo, who is Lubicon Cree, saw the lands of her people near the Alberta tar sands severely polluted by toxic chemicals that are used in the fracking process. She is volunteering on the tiny house project because it is both a form of resistance and a solution to the climate crisis. The tiny house movement is growing around the world as part of the move toward sustainable living.Laboucan-Massimo explained to Colorlines that climate change is a threat none can afford to ignore: “We’re at a point in history where we need to transition from our dependency on fossil fuels and transition to renewable energy and real tangible climate solutions. Instead of talking about what the solutions are, this project is actually implementing them.”—Karen KahnShare21Tweet11Share2Email34 Shares
News Corp-backed pay TV platform BSkyB has cut the amount that it charges the BBC to carry the public broadcaster’s TV channels.It has also cut the retransmission costs for the UK’s other major broadcasters, ITV, Channel 4 and Channel 5. The broadcasters pay £24 million (€27 million) cumulatively and that will be cut to £11 million. The BBC has the widest range of services carried on Sky and will, accordingly, be the broadcaster saving the most, an estimated £5.5 million.
DOCSIS system specialist Hitron Technologies (Stand R29) will use ANGA Cable to launch its new flagship products, the the CDA-32372 and CDE-32372 cable modems, which are both based on the Puma-6mg in 24×8. Puma-6mg supports 24×8 channel bonding with which Euro-DOCSIS 3.0 provides current speeds up to over 1Gbps, with an upstream of 320Mbps. The CDA-32372 is a bridging Cable Modem, the CDE-32372 is a data gateway with concurrent dual-band 3×3 Wifi.Hitron will also, together with Anyfi Networks, demonstrate Anyfi.net technology integrated in a DOCSIS 3.0 eMTA at the ANGA Cable trade show. Anyfi.net technology lets an ISP leverage existing Wi-Fi assets, such as Wi-Fi-equipped cable modems, create mobile Wi-Fi services. Anyfi and Hitron have worked closely together to integrate Anyfi’s software in Hitron’s DOCSIS 3.0 Wireless Gateway.
UEFA, the European football body, has awarded some Europa League rights in Germany to ProSiebenSat1.The commercial broadcaster has been granted the right to broadcast the best live Europa League match each match week, as well as a weekly highlights programme. The programming will be broadcast each match week on free-to-air channel Kabel 1.All rights have been granted on a platform-neutral basis with the rights being exploited on television, the internet, as well as on mobile.UEFA has also awarded all free-to-air 2012-15 Europa League media rights in Azerbaijan to public broadcaster AZTV.Each match night, one live match will be broadcast on the channel AZTV. In addition one live match per kick-off slot, followed by a highlights programme, will be shown each match night on channel Idman Azerbaijan.UEFA has awarded multiplatform rights, meaning AZTV can offer coverage via internet and mobile platforms.
The French culture minister is set to demand cuts in the budget of the Hadopi, the body charged with implementing the country’s controversial ‘three strikes’ antipiracy law of the same name, according to local reports.The minister, Aurélie Filipetti, said in the Nouvel Observateur that the Hadopi had not fulfilled its mission and was costing too much to run. Filipetti said that a budget of €12 million and a staff of 60 was expensive for “sending a million emails”. Filipetti said details of any cuts to the Hadopi’s budget would be revealed in September.The new French government has charged former Canal Plus chief Pierre Lescure to investigate the workings of the antipiracy regime. Lescure is set to deliver his report next March.
Half of mobile phone owners in five central and eastern European countries have expressed a strong internet in watching TV on their mobile phones in a study conducted by mobile TV specialist Vidiator.Half of respondents expressed a “definitive interest” in viewing TV on mobiles, with the figure rising to 69% in Romania. Fifteen per cent of respondents to the survey said they had no internet in watching mobile TV.Local news and weather was the most desirable genre of content in every region, with as many as 71% of respondents in Poland expressing an interest. Sixty-nine per cent of respondents indicated a desire to consume mobile video services whilst traveling or going about their daily commute to work, and over a third said they would be willing to pay for a service that allowed them to stream live TV and movies on their mobiles while out and about.A high number of respondents also expressed an interest in using mobile phones to watch TV in their bedrooms in the home.Vidiator surveyed 1,105 mobile phone owners in Poland, the Czech Republic, Slovakia, Romania and Bulgaria.“Our new report shows that consumers in central and Eastern Europe are ready and waiting to pay for mobile video content,” said Tae Sung Park, CEO at Vidiator.
BBC America launched its first ever in-tweet branded videos for an entertainment series this week, with the new season premier of car show Top Gear. The synced videos, designed to offer “new perspectives” on the show, included a ‘stig cam’ view of the show’s test driver, an action replay of part of the episode, and a pre-show preview of a dirt bike jumping off a building.“BBC America is the first network to offer in-Tweet branded videos synced to an entertainment TV series. The in-Tweet videos will take fans closer to the action than ever before and offer new perspectives on the world’s biggest car show,” the network said.BBC America first announced its synced video deal with Twitter at its upfront event in April.
Bob StanzioneArris plans to spend over US$500 million (€367 million) on new product development following its acquisition of Motorola Home, CEO Bob Stanzione told DTVE at the recent IBC exhibition.According to Stanzione, Arris will focus on developing a new generation of gateway devices capable of ingesting content and processing it for onward distribution to IP-enabled devices in the home.“We have to develop a new generation of in-home devices capable of ingesting traditional as well as IP video traffic, converting it to IP…as well as transmitting it to any [IP] device,” said Stanzione. He said there was a need to “simplify the way service providers deliver content”.Stanzione said the US$500 million represented a threefold increase on what Arris was spending previously, reflecting the increase in the size of the company.In addition to in-home devices, Arris would focus on IP video generally, with new products including its recent converged cable edge router, the E6000, designed to provide a much denser hardware platform enabling the creation of an all-IP platform much closer to the edge of the network.In the home, he said, there is an ongoing need for a hardware platform via which service providers can deliver a compelling user experience. “Within the home, there will be a need for the foreseeable future for a device that can ingest and [deliver] content and send back the other way to the network,” he said. “As far as we can see service providers will need these in-home devices. One big trend is the integration of router and WiFi capability within a home gateway – the majority of units we are shipping combine router and WiFi capability, and as the WiFi technology has evolved we have put more and more powerful WiFi capability into these systems.”In addition to hardware, devices require increasingly complex software and Stanzione said that two thirds of Arris’s engineers were now focused on software. While service providers are embracing over-the-top delivery and more and more processing is being done in the cloud, there is still a need for powerful in-home devices, however, he said.“More and more is done in the cloud but we are putting more and more powerful processors into the in-home platforms,” he said.With the acquisition of Motorola Home, Stanzione said that Arris had created a company with a clear focus and culture.“We have formed a very powerful and unique company that’s focused on broadband for service providers to deliver video, voice and data to their subscribers,” said Stanzione. “We have the scale to provide anything that service providers require to deliver those services, and the diversity from a product portfolio standpoint as well as diversity of customers.” The acquisition of Motorola Home had given the company a stronger presence outside the US, he said.Stanzione said the integration of the two companies had progressed smoothly. “I’m very pleased with the progress we’ve made,” he said. “The customer-facing organisation we integrated in no time just after we announced the closing of the transaction. In the background we have resolved overlaps and what we still have to do is more under the cover – IT, finance and operations. We are ahead of schedule in developing a single Arris culture, but the cultures were quite well aligned to begin with.”
German cable operator Tele Columbus is expanding its HDTV offering, adding three new channels to its line-up.The operator will begin airing ProSiebenSat.1’s ProSieben Maxx HD channel, MTV HD and Disney Channel HD from April 28.The channels will be available to over one million homes that take Tele Columbus’s HD services.Tele Columbus chief commercial officer Stefan Beberweil said that HD was a key driver in encouraging people to take up digital TV and that the addition of the three channels would provide valuable additional content to the operator’s existing digital offering.
Modern Times Group (MTG) is to acquire a 74% majority stake in Cologne-based e-sports specialist Turtle Entertainment, which operates the ESL brand.MTG cited the dramatic growth in e-sports, which is expected to attract 260 million unique viewers by the end of this year, as the key motivation for the investment.MTG’s majority stake in the outfit is being acquired from financial investors and the company’s founders for €78 million in cash. The founders and management will retain the remaining 26% and remain in their current positions. The deal is subject to regulatory approval. MTG will report approximately SEK20 million in costs relate to the deal in its second quarter results.ESL’s diet of online games leagues and competitions including ESL One and Intel Extreme Masters has attracted over 70 million unique viewers over the last 12 months. The company has about 16,000 hours of live content that is made available via gaming network Twitch, YouTube and other platforms.MTG said that Turtle expects to grow its revenues by 50% this year to approximately €50 million and report an EBIT profit.“At MTG, we love sports and we love sports fans. Our TV channels and platforms are home to the world’s leading sports brands, and are watched by typically young audiences. Esports is fast becoming one of the most watched and passionately followed global sports categories amongst younger audiences. There are now almost as many gamers in the world as traditional sports fans, and esports was almost as big as ice hockey in 2014 in terms of number of enthusiasts. However, the average revenue generated per esports enthusiast in 2014 was just over US$2, compared to US$56 for traditional sports fans, so this global phenomenon has tremendous potential,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, president and CEO of MTG.“This investment is a key milestone in our digital development. We look forward to working with the talented Turtle team to grow the global esports community, and to make this exciting content even more broadly available online and on TV.”
Videology, a provider for converged TV and video advertising, is adding data from Nielsen-owned eXelate.The integration of eXelate audience segments will allow for more cross-screen segmenting, and the continued ability to plan, buy or sell both TV inventory and digital video inventory using a common metric, according to the firm.“Videology’s use of Nielsen’s data within its platform is a unique application. The addition of eXelate audience segments enables Videology to make even more informed, data-driven recommendations for planning television buys,” said Andrew Feigenson, managing director of digital, Nielsen.
US virtual reality revenues will experience “very modest growth” in the next two years but will then reach annual revenues of US$38 billion in 2026, according to new research.Greenlight Insights, a market intelligence specialist for virtual and augmented reality, said that VR hardware – head-mounted displays, VR cameras, and other hardware – will account for approximately 61% of total VR industry revenues in 2026.Revenues for the 360-degree VR camera segment will reach to nearly US$4.6 billion by 2026, according to Greenlight’s estimates.“The Playstation VR launch and Microsoft’s entry are important events, but we’ve identified a number of pivotal changes that we expect will alter the trajectory of the entire VR industry,” said Clifton Dawson, CEO of Greenlight Insights.“A clear shift from tethered to standalone HMDS, a timeline for 5G across several global markets, and the viability of VR for non-entertainment will fuel the market beyond 2020.”
The Young Turks Network (TYT) tapped Amagi for the launch its linear TV channel and accompanying VOD service on YouTube TV in the US.Amagi offers cloud-based managed services for TV and OTT networks and TYT used Amagi’s Skylight service for the May launch of the YTY Network on the subscription YouTube TV service.“In the last 10 months, we are witnessing a meaningful shift among top ‘digital first’ networks such as TYT to move from pure video-on-demand platforms to launch live linear channels on vMVPD platforms,” said Amagi CEO, Deepakjit Singh.Jack Gerard, chief administrative officer at TYT said: “Launching on YouTube TV is a major milestone for TYT. On the technology end, this was made possible by Amagi with its innovative cloud playout platform and services.”TYT’s new linear TV channel bridges news and factual entertainment and features live daily programming, popular TV series and documentary films.
Viacom International Media Networks (VIMN) is launching a Paramount-branded SVOD service for the first time in the Central and Eastern Europe (CEE) region.PAW PatrolParamount Play is due to debut this month in Poland with mobile operator Play and cable TV distributor Toya, with more network operators expected to launch the service in the coming months.It will offer a curated selection of Paramount movies, MTV series, local Comedy Central productions, Nickelodeon shows and Nick Jr educational preschool series – including American Beauty, Beverly Hills Cop, Geordie Shore, Pimp My Ride, Inside Amy Schumer, SpongeBob Squarepants, School of Rock, and Paw Patrol.The service will also include Polish MTV and Comedy Central local productions like Warsaw Shore and Drunk History Poland, which will be available on Paramount Play immediately after they premiere on TV this autumn.“Paramount Play is an important extension of our content offering for our distribution partners, which will diversify our footprint and bolster our market leading position in CEE,” said Bartosz Witak, senior vice-president, general manager for VIMN in Central and Eastern Europe and Israel.“A perfect complement to our linear TV business, this service enables our partners to offer unique, extra content to their premium customers, which will be accessible anytime, anywhere and on any device.”CEE will be the second region to roll out Viacom’s Paramount branded SVOD entertainment offering, with a version of the service called Paramount+ already available in the Nordics.