W Hotels makes India debut with ‘trippy’ kaleidoscopic resort in Goa << Previous PostNext Post >> Wednesday, March 22, 2017 1 2 3Next Tags: India, Marriott Interntaional, W hotels Posted by Share Photos credit: W HotelsNEW YORK — W Hotels Worldwide has announced the opening of W Goa on Vagator Beach.“It’s hard to imagine a more perfect setting for our newest W Escape than Goa, with its electrifying nightlife, vibrant fashion scene, and colorful culture,” said Anthony Ingham, Global Brand Leader, W Hotels Worldwide. “As our first location in India, this highly anticipated debut from the W brand promises to be unlike any other hotel in India, combining the bold design and dynamic lifestyle programming that W is known for with a uniquely Goan-twist.”Goa has witnessed vast changes in the influx of visitors over the past decades, from hippies in search of paradise, to New Age devotees, followed by purveyors of psytrance, and the yogaphiles and Burning Man disciples. These days it’s renowned as a beachside playground for Bollywood stars and world travellers alike.WOW VillaSituated between the jungle and the coastline of Vagator Beach, W Goa features 160 guestrooms, including Villas, Chalets, a Marvelous Suite and an Extreme WOW Villa (the brand’s take on the Presidential Suite). A one-hour flight from Mumbai and a 90-minute drive from Goa International Airport, the property overlooks the Arabian Sea and spans 25 acres of exotic sandy beach set against the backdrop of a 500-year old Portuguese fort.More news: Help Princess Cruises break the world record for largest vow renewal at sea“With a rich natural environment intertwined with its strong cultural roots and eclectic scene, Goa remains a favorite destination for the Indian community; while at the same time continuing to garner international spotlight,” said Rajeev Meenon, Chief Operating Officer, Asia Pacific excluding China (APEC), Marriott International. “W Goa is set to inject a fresh vibe into the local hospitality scene with the brand’s game-changing style, modern guestrooms, amplified entertainment, and innovative cocktails – all infused with the irresistible mystique of Goa.”Features of the hotel include:‘Trippy’ Kaleidoscopic DesignImagined by interior design house Design Wilkes and architects Eco-ID, W Goa combines the rustic and dramatic landscape of Goa with an exuberant spirit that is unique to W Hotels. The grand entrance features huge, unframed doors that are perpetually open and adorned with art by Goan artist Subodh Kerkar, representing the lunar phases and a nod to Goa’s full moon party culture. Just steps away, behind the reception pods adorned with white Capize shells, is a massive street art mural by Indian artist M. Narayan featuring imagery that celebrates the culture of Goa.More news: Apply now for AQSC’s agent cruise ratesFor the interiors, the team at Design Wilkes celebrated the local and foreign cultures of Goa, incorporating rich colors and fabrics across the hotel. Each guestroom is decorated in a psychedelic look and feel with ‘trippy’ hues of purples and blues creating a kaleidoscopic melding of color throughout. Many fixtures – from foggy metal closet doors to the ‘beaten’ metal drawers in the bathroom – are purposefully designed so that guests cannot clearly see themselves, but rather just their shape and movements. Each guestroom features a chandelier that looks as though the lights are melting from the ceiling, and each bathroom features a mirror adorned with the shape of the Bodhi Leaf, which is often associated with enlightenment.Spectacular Room Travelweek Group
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 2, 2014; MashableThe nonprofit Wikipedia Foundation, the entity behind Wikipedia—with 80,000 active users worldwide, the fifth most-visited website—succinctly describes the site as “a complex volunteer-driven movement…building the largest collection of shared knowledge in human history.” While much of Wikipedia’s success springs from the loyalty of its global base of volunteer editors, the organization’s dramatic growth both in size and assets under its last executive director, Sue Gardner, has highlighted the value of an effective ED for Wikimedia and the other entities that have been watching the foundation over the last few years. Gardner’s decision to leave last year set in motion a yearlong search process that began with an interview with the New York Times about the position and continued with ads in The Economist and LinkedIn and contact with over 1,000 people. The search finally ended with the “unanimous selection” of Lila Tretikov by the Wikimedia board and an official announcement earlier this month.A Q&A page about the hiring process displays the views of some of Wikimedia’s leaders on their selection criteria. After seven years of experience leading the foundation, former ED Gardner pushed for someone who would be “generally flexible and open to influence, but who also knows when to be unyielding, for example when Wikipedia is threatened with censorship.” Gardner believes they found that person in Tretikov, who she sees as being capable of being either “soft” or “hard” “as circumstances require.” Wikipedia co-founder Jimmy Wales also points to the importance of Tretikov’s background as an engineer and her experience with open-source technology.For those in the nonprofit sector, it is interesting that Wikimedia raises the issue of Tretikov’s lack of nonprofit experience and provides a succinct answer: “It is extremely uncommon for someone from a nonprofit background to have the level of product and engineering experience that the foundation was looking for. The board and transition team knew that going into the search, and fully expected that the next ED could come from a for-profit organization.” According to Wikipedia, before joining Wikimedia in 2007, Gardner worked for the Canadian Broadcasting Corporation and Newsworld International; by 2012, she was ranked as the 70th most powerful woman in the world by Forbes.In its introduction of Tretikov, Wikimedia highlights the fact that from “our earliest conversations with Lila, she immediately understood the importance of editor retention,” and notes that “we are confident she’ll tackle it energetically.”Since last year, the rapid growth of mobile phones has made editor retention a closely monitored issue for the foundation. In February, the New York Times ran a technology story that pointed to “the concern in the Wikipedia movement and among people who study it is that smart phones and tablets are designed for ‘consumer behavior’ rather than ‘creative behavior’ (meaning reading, as opposed to writing and editing).” The story noted that Wikimedia has begun to track some growth in mobile editing, but also pointed out that its new “Wikipedia Zero” initiative is an effort to bring Wikipedia into the developing world via mobile phones.In light of these challenges ahead, it is not surprising that the foundation describes Tretikov in her first few weeks on staff as being in “learning and listening mode…getting familiarized with the Foundation, the staff, and the movement.” There is clearly a lot on her agenda.—Anne EigemanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share25Tweet41Share4Email70 Shares“Panegyrics of Granovetter”March 13, 2017; PoliticoHere’s another story to fuel our ongoing discussion of whether we need to separate the worlds of nonprofit “social welfare” and political organizations.On the same day Donald Trump took the oath of office and became our nation’s 45th President, he filed as a candidate for reelection in 2020. Just days later, a newly formed 501(c)(4) organization, America First Policies (AFP), was announced by its founders, six former high-level Trump campaign staffers. In fact, the nonprofit had been in the planning stages during the transition, complete with an internal power struggle discussed in an NPQ report. One AFP’s organizers, Brad Parscale, who had been a deputy campaign manager, told U.S. News and World Report, “Some of the same like-minded individuals who put their energy into getting Mr. Trump elected are now going to be part of a grassroots group to go out there and help with the agenda, help the White House be successful.” Apparently, because of the ability to accept donations of unlimited size and keep their donors anonymous, the founders chose to structure their group as a nonprofit social welfare organization rather than as a PAC.In an interview with the Washington Post, Kellyanne Conway, currently holding the title “counselor to the president,” described an even more expansive agenda for AFP: “We’re fighting and planning how to continue this seismic change and the Trump revolution into the next election.” One of the strategies then under consideration went even further, generating opposition to 10 Democratic senators who were deemed most vulnerable when seeking reelection in 2018.Since its formation two months ago, AFP has struggled to get going. Little if any research has been conducted, nor have any materials been published. According to Politico:Officials involved in America First Policies acknowledged their slow start. They say it’s the natural result in part of having to wait for the White House to staff up before they could make hires. “It was a little like waiting for the music to stop in musical chairs,” said one official. “We’ve now gotten to the point where everything is lined up and money is being raised.”Because the group’s definition of their social welfare purpose is intricately connected to President Trump’s policy and political agendas, AFP’s progress has become not just an issue for their board to debate. Criticism, according to an unidentified member of Politico, is coming directly from the White House. Others, frustrated with the lack of progress, have even begun looking at forming another social welfare organization, potentially resulting in multiple competing pro-Trump 501(c)(4)s run by Trump campaign insiders.What are the benchmarks that would make it easy to understand the nature of an organization as a social welfare and not political entity? Would it need to define its objectives only in terms of issues and not in terms of individual officeholders, candidates, or parties? Would it need to use its resources only to conduct research and provide educational materials and experiences, rather than produce TV and social media ads? Would its staff be drawn from the worlds of academia and social service rather than politics? Is this a distinction that can be made when it has already proven so difficult for the IRS to define political activity in the context of 501(c)(4) regulation? And if not, should 501(c)(4) organizations deserve the right to raise and spend unlimited sums raised from anonymous sources?—Martin LevineShare25Tweet41Share4Email70 Shares
Share15Tweet3ShareEmail18 SharesFrom the Facebook page of the SEIU Connecticut State Council.April 26, 2018; Connecticut Mirror and CTNewsJunkie.comEven as news stories proliferated over the weekend on the crisis in the caregiver workforce serving people with disabilities, in Connecticut, 2,400 employees of nine nonprofit agencies voted to authorize a strike that will begin in the early morning of May 7th. Supporting the strike are not just the agencies employing the workers but also the state’s nonprofit alliance (join yours today). The workers are also represented by SEIU 1199.The intent is to get the legislature to increase their reimbursement rates, which have not been increased for more than a decade. They had originally been scheduled to strike on April 18th, but delayed the action at the request of Governor Dannel Malloy. However, the legislative session is drawing to a close and no deal has yet been reached.The legislature has clearly done some listening, as House Speaker Joe Aresimowicz (D-Berlin) said the Democratic budget included the increase in wages, but the final decision may end up in upcoming bipartisan budget negotiations.“We’ll work it out because we have to. This is [in] the must-haves,” says House Majority Leader Matt Ritter (D-Hartford).Deputy Minority Leader Vincent Candelora (R-North Branford) also supports an increase. “We have to pay attention that we control the purse strings,” Candelora said. “These budgets have consequences and if we don’t start supporting our private providers, we are going to have a problem.”The proposal from Office of Policy and Management Secretary Ben Barnes would raise the wage for workers to $14.75 an hour and provide a five-percent raise for workers currently earning more than $14.75 an hour effective January 1, 2019. That’s something that SEIU would accept, so long as the legislature funds it. The wage increase would cost the state $45.6 million, but half of that would be reimbursed by Medicaid.“We’ve reached a crisis of underfunding in the care our state provides people with disabilities and the workers who care for them,” SEIU 1199 spokesperson Jennifer Schneider said. “When privatized group homes and programs are shuttering and workers are forced to work 80 hours a week just to make ends meet, something has to change. We thank Secretary Barnes for his work on this issue and encourage all legislators to put party differences aside and provide the vital funding increases needed for workers and clients alike.”“For years the state has not properly funded services for the disabled,” Oak Hill worker Janet Phillip-Smith said. “Programs have closed, clients can’t get the high level of care they deserve, and workers are struggling paycheck to paycheck. I’m committed to strike for my clients, my co-workers and my family.”Earlier in April, the Connecticut General Assembly approved a raise for home healthcare aides, who were also represented by SEIU. However, unlike that contract, this would be a “one-time boost in wages.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare15Tweet3ShareEmail18 Shares
German commercial broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has struck an output deal with Hollywood studio Warner Bros, snapping rights away from rival RTL.ProSiebenSat.1 signed a multi-year arrangement with Warner Bros International Television Distribution, a deal that was previously struck with Bertelsmann-owned RTL.The deal will give the broadcaster access to Warner Bros’s forthcoming slate of US television series as well as movies including the new Batman reboot and the next Superman movie.The deal also includes library features including the Lord of the Rings trilogy and four Harry Potter films as well as local productions from Warner Bros Germany that will be shown in cinemas from 2013. The deal is reportedly worth around US$130 million (€100 million) over its course.“I’m delighted that Warner movies and series will be running again on our stations,” said ProSiebenSat.1 CEO Thomas Ebeling.
Croatian cable operator B.net has launched an app making its B.net TV schedule available on iOS devices.The move means that iPhone and iPad users will be able to search the current schedule, share view on programmes with friends via Facebook and Twitter and add shows to their calendar.
The BBC has appointed Channel 4’s chief operating officer Anne Bulford as its MD of BBC finance and operations.The role will combine the two former posts of chief financial officer and chief operating officer, with Bulford to sit on the BBC’s Executive and Worldwide boards.She will oversee the areas of finance, operations, technology, legal, risk and assurance and property, as well as commercial rights and business affairs.Her appointment comes after current BBC chief finance officer Zarin Patel said she was stepping down last year, and after the BBC closed its COO post in September.Bulford joined Channel 4 as group finance director in 2005. She later became acting chief executive and was promoted to COO in 2010. Channel 4 CEO David Abraham will oversee her staff in the interim as Channel 4 looks to put in place a “new leadership structure” for these teams.
Vivendi’s European SVOD service Watchever is the latest buyer of CBS miniseries Under the Dome.Fresh from bringing the stars of the show out to Cannes for MIPCOM last week, CBS Studios International has secured a multi-year deal for the show with Watchever in Germany to begin in January next year.It covers seasons one and two and will launch following the ending of the first on ProSieben, where it has scored the highest ratings in its channel slot in 14 years.“This deal recognises the importance of engaging, captivating video content, which viewers can watch as often as they like at no additional costs,” said Stefan Schulz, CEO, Watchever.“Subscription services such as Watchever are providing new and additive ways to monetise our content in territories around the world, and creating more opportunities for viewers to catch up and enjoy exciting shows like Under the Dome,” added Armando Nuñez, president and CEO of the CBS Global Distribution Group, the parent group of CBSSI.Last month, CBSSI scored a similar deal with Amazon-owned Lovefilm in the UK for the second season of the show following a successful run of the first.The news comes a day after CBSSI scored a deal with Latin American SVOD service Clarovideo for shows such as The Good Wife, CSI: Crime Scene Investigation and Californication.
Stephan HeimbecherSky could launch a 4K TV service in Germany at the end of this year or the beginning of next, according to Stephan Heimbecher, head of innovation and strategy, Sky Deutschland. Speaking at the SES Ultra HD conference in London yesterday, Heimbecher said Sky would address the million plus 4K-capable devices already in the market at the end of this year or early next year with a service. He said no decision had yet been taken on how this service would be commercialised.Heimbecher said that the live aspect of UHD was currently Sky Deutschland’s focus – particularly sports.“It took us a year and a half to do a live broadcast at 50 frames per second. HEVC [the advanced compression standard required for 4K services] is a relatively young standard and it will take a while to be implemented, especially for real time encoding at higher resolution – in this case UHD-1,” he said. UHD-1 represents the first phase of the emerging ITU standard for ultra-HD services, encompassing resolution without other elements seen as crucial to the future of the format such as higher dynamic colour range.Heimbecher said Sky Deutschland achieved real-time encoding of 4K with two encoder manufacturers in April last year. “Since then we have been focused on fine-tuning,” he said. “We have been in a position to do live production with UHD since the middle of last year. Right now it is only the higher resolution we can address and there is a question of how to give real added value to the consumer. A lot of it is about where to put your cameras. It is about multiple camera angles on the big screens at the same time.”Heimbecher said that there were already consumers out there with expectations about 4K and it is important not to disappoint them. “There is a difference between what you see at a trade show and what you seen in live broadcasts. There is also scepticism because 3D didn’t deliver,” he said.
BT added 60,000 TV customers in the quarter to June, taking its total to 1.202 million. This was BT TV’s best performance since the launch of BT Sport, which the company said reflected improvements made to the TV service including the exclusive UK debut of the AMC channel and its download to own agreement with HBO Home Entertainment.Broadband and TV revenues for the quarter amounted to £405 million, up 7.4%, out of overall consumer revenue of £1.074 billion, up 3%.BT had 7.798 million broadband customers at the end of June, up 85,000 on the quarter. Retail high-speed fibre customers numbered 3.226 million, up 217,000. Openreach wholesale fibre customers numbered 4.582 million, up 389,000.BT’s fibre base now reaches around 80% of all UK premises. CEO Gavin Patterson said the telco would work with government to help take fibre broadband to 95% of the country by the end of 2017, and that the company’s technical trials of ultrafast broadband using G.fast were progressing well, with BT on target to start large-scale customer trials this summer.BT has also signed up more than 100,000 consumer mobile customers in the first three months after launching its service ahead of its acquisition of EE.BT is set to launch its BT Sport Europe channel, which will carry its coverage of Champions League and Europa League football, on August 1. The channel will be free to BT TV customers and BT broadband customers who choose to watch on a Sky service, via the BT Sport App or on BT Mobile can get the BT Sport Pack for £5 a month.The operator also plans to launch a 4K UHD service, BT Sport Ultra HD, supported by its new Ultra HD set-top. The channel will be available as part of BT’s top TV package, Entertainment Ultra HD, for £15 a month.On the TV front, Patterson said: “We’re launching BT Sport Europe in the next few days, the new home of UEFA Champions League football, which is free for our BT TV customers. We are also leading the way on Ultra HD TV. Our BT Sport Ultra HD channel will be the first live sports channel in Europe offering picture quality four times that of normal high definition.”The UK wholesale broadband market is currently under review by Ofcom, with rival operators demanding a break up of the organisation between its retail and wholesale divisions. Patterson defended BT’s record.“We have also invested further in improving customer service and Openreach is running ahead of all 60 minimum service levels set by Ofcom for this year. And we are engaging with Ofcom as part of its Strategic Review of Digital Communications which offers scope for deregulation and the potential to create a more level playing field in pay-TV,” he said. “The investments we are making in our business and customer service are building a strong platform for growth. And our financial results show we’re on track to achieve our outlook for the full year.”Overall, BT’s underlying revenue for the quarter was flat at #4.278 billion, an improvement on the 1.3% decline recorded in the fourth quarter. EBITDA was up 1% at £1.449 billion.
Danish telco TDC saw its IPTV base rise to 271,000, up 12.4% year-on-year at the end of the second quarter. However, the group’s YouSee cable base declined by 4.4% to 1.113 million.TDC added 4,000 IPTV customers in the quarter to June, while YouSee TV customers declined by 12,000, thanks to losses both of individual customers and collective antenna associations.IPTV ARPU declined, on the other hand, with TDC and Fullrate brand TV subscribers paying an average of DKK306 (€41), down 5.3% year-on-year. YouSee ARPU increased, going up 3.4% to DKK244, thakks to price increases partly offset by customers transferring to lower cost bundles. .YouSee revenue fell by 0.5% to DKK1.646 billion for the first half, while TDC and Fullrate TV revenue gr3w by 10.6% to DKK492 million.
The UK government will repeal a law that says pay TV operators need not pay fees to carry commercial public service channels, but said it expects no change to the status quo.In a consultation document published yesterday, the government confirmed that it will repeal Section 73 of the Copyright, Design and Patents Act 1988, which states that cable platforms such as Virgin Media are not required to provide copyright or retransmission fees for broadcasting public service channels like ITV and Channel 4.However, it said that its policy objective was to ensure that there are still “zero net fees” owed and that if this situation appears to be at risk, it will consider again whether legislative change is required.“[The] Government considers that the commercial PSBs are fairly compensated for their licensed PSB channels via the existing PSB ‘compact’ (EPG prominence and spectrum in return for PSB obligations), an agreement which is underpinned in their PSB licences,” said the government in the consultation.“[The] Government therefore expects that there will continue to be no net payments between all platform operators and the PSBs for carriage of their licensed PSB channels going forward.”Virgin Media praised the ruling. Chief corporate affairs officer, Brigitte Trafford, said: “Virgin Media welcomes the government’s decision to reject a two-year lobbying campaign by ITV and Channel 4 to charge viewers extra fees for watching programmes on cable and satellite that they’ve already paid for.”However, in a statement, a spokesperson for Channel 4 said that while it agreed with that the UK’s broadcast and production sector is a success, the government could have done more.“We believe that this has been a missed opportunity to update and modernise the regulatory framework for broadcasting and ensure that it fully takes account of the considerable value created by the public service broadcasters.”An ITV spokesman said that the roll-back of Section 73 was a “welcome first step” in reforming the existing broadcast rules.“We have consistently called for major pay TV platforms to pay UK public service broadcasters fairly for the ‘transmission’ of their channels ending what is effectively a multi-million pound subsidy,” said ITV.“This is simply about ITV, and other PSBs, being paid fairly for their investment in original UK content so that we can continue to invest in the programmes viewers love.”
Deutsche Telekom-owned Hungarian telco and cable operator Magyar Telekom had 971,309 TV customers at the end of the second quarter, up from 963,820 in March and up from 940,871 year-on-year.The company had 141,120 cable customers, down both quarter-on-quarter and year-on-year, 302,417 satellite customers, down slightly, and 527,772 IPTV customers, up significantly. TV ARPU has grown year-on-year from HUF3,257 to HUF3,350.Fixed line-revenues remained stable overall at HUF52.7 billion (€170 million), with increases in TV and broadband revenue being offset by declines in voice and equipment revenues. Fixed revenues were boosted by 1.1% for the first half thanks to the acquisition of GTS.TV revenues increased by 6.2% to HUF 11.3 billion, mainly driven by the growing IPTV subscriber base and ARPU. Sixty-two per cent of the group’s TV revenues now come from IPTVThe company said that growth of the IPTV customer base demonstrated the increasing popularity of interactive televisionresulting in higher video-on-demand revenues.
Gunther OettingerThe European Commission has set a target of providing connectivity offering a download speed of at least 100 Mbps, which can be upgraded to Gbps.To accompany EC president Jean-Claude Juncker’s state-of-the-union address, the Commission also said that schools, universities, research centres, transport hubs, all providers of public services such as hospitals and administrations, and enterprises relying on digital technologies should have access to Gigabit internet and all urban areas and major roads and railways should have aaccess to 5G mobile cove rage. As an interim objective, theEC said that at least one major city in each EU Member State should have 5G by 2020.The EC has called for a new European Electronic Communications Code including “forward-looking and simplified rules” that make it more attractive for companies to invest in new infrastructures, both in specific markets and across national borders. The Commission claims investments triggered by the new framework could boost EU GDP by an additional €910 billion and create 1.3 million new jobs over the next decade.The new code will apply market regulation only where end-user interest requires it and where commercial arrangements between operators do not deliver competitive outcomes.This is intended to reduce the burden of regulation on infrastructure builds where rival operators co-invest in high-capacity networks.Other measures include longer radio spectrum licences coupled with more stringent requirements to use spectrum effectively and efficiently, and more converged spectrum policies at EU level.The measures introduced today also include a 5G Action Plan to create a common EU Calendar for a coordinated 5G launch in 2020.Günther Oettinger, Commissioner for the Digital Economy and Society, said: “Connectivity is a key prerequisite for Europe’s digital future: The Internet of Things, digitisation of industry, cloud, big data – all this demands secure and ubiquitous connectivity, with the best speed and quality. Europe has the ambition to lead on the deployment of 5G. It is time to move to a gigabit society and make sure all Europeans, whether in the countryside or in cities, can get access to a quality internet connection.”The European Competitive Telecommunications Association (ECTA), which represents challenger telcos, welcomed the announcement an in particular measures to reinforce the Significant Market Power access regime currently in place, which holds incumbent operators to account.However, it called for stronger measures to ensure physical access to incumbents’ specified network elements and facilities to ensure effective competition.Cable industry body Cable Europe said it supported the EC’s connectivity ambitions.“Two crucial drivers for growth work hand in hand. Firstly, that we in Europe are relentless in our pursuit of ever improving quality parameters. The European cable industry is investing, innovating, and leading the field in this regard. Secondly, that policy and regulatory developments support an investment-friendly environment in line with this ambition,” said Matthias Kurth, Executive Chairman of Cable Europe.“Our vibrant and highly competitive industry thrives on infrastructure competition, with challenger networks like cable stimulating ever greater product investment and driving take-up. Regulatory incentives for investment, along with technology neutral policies, will pave the way to achieve our shared ambition for a digital Europe.”
Vince PetersenFactual SVOD service Love Nature has hired a director of partnerships, Vince Petersen.Operating out of Love Nature’s London office, Petersen will focus on driving subscription growth in the SVOD space, and take the territory lead for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.He joins from TV technology company Netgem, where he was head of international content partnerships, and will report to Love Nature International managing director Jo Parkinson.Love Nature’s other director of partnerships, Anthony Jewitt, will remain focused on linear TV sales internationally.Before Netgem, Petersen work in a long-term consultancy capacity for another Europe-based SVOD service, Wuaki.tv, where he assumed various senior management roles and aided its international roll-out.He has also held senior sales and marketing positions at Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount Pictures.“Love Nature’s SVOD service continues to feed audience appetites for 4K programming and stunning nature and wildlife content, now available in 39 countries worldwide,” said Parkinson.Love Nature launched last February in February last year in 32 territories as a joint venture between Smithsonian Networks and Blue Ant International, the global arm of Canada’s Blue Ant Media.Operating out of Love Nature’s London office, Petersen will focus on driving subscription growth in the SVOD space, and take the territory lead for Germany, Austria, Switzerland and France.He joins from TV technology company Netgem, where he was head of international content partnerships, and will report to Love Nature International managing director Jo Parkinson.Love Nature’s other director of partnerships, Anthony Jewitt, will remain focused on linear TV sales internationally.Before Netgem, Petersen work in a long-term consultancy capacity for another Europe-based SVOD service, Wuaki.tv, where he assumed various senior management roles and aided its international roll-out.He has also held senior sales and marketing positions at Warner Bros., MGM and Paramount Pictures.“Love Nature’s SVOD service continues to feed audience appetites for 4K programming and stunning nature and wildlife content, now available in 39 countries worldwide,” said Parkinson.Love Nature launched last February in February last year in 32 territories as a joint venture between Smithsonian Networks and Blue Ant International, the global arm of Canada’s Blue Ant Media.
Ericsson is reportedly considering cutting some 25,000 employees outside of Sweden in its efforts to cut costs.This is according to a report in Swedish newspaper Svenska Dagbladet, which was picked up by Reuters today, and said that it is unclear if the layoffs would include employees within Ericsson’s media operations.Responding to the report, Ericsson reiterated that a key component in its ‘focused business strategy’ is to “reduce costs and increase efficiency”, but would not say which specific units or countries that could be affected.“In connection with the Q2 report 2017, Ericsson communicated that the company, in light of the current market outlook, will accelerate the planned actions to ensure that the target of doubling the 2016 operating margin beyond 2018 can be met,” said Ericsson in the statement.“Actions will be taken primarily in service delivery and common costs, but do not include R&D. The plan is to implement cost savings with an annual run rate effect of at least SEK 10 billion (€1.05 billion) by mid-2018, of which approximately half will be related to common costs.“It is too early to talk about specific measures or exclude any country. As Ericsson executes on these plans to save costs, the company will communicate this, and to what extent employees could be affected.”In March, Ericsson said it expected to endure roughly SEK 6-8 billion in restructuring charges in 2017, with roughly SEK 2 billion of these having fallen in Q1.At the time Ericsson said it would “explore strategic opportunities” for its media business while developing its media solutions.It said it plans to create two separate units, Ericsson Broadcast & Media Services and Ericsson Media Solutions, to create a “stronger operational focus”.
Turner Sports and Intel have agreed a multi-year partnership to make live NBA basketball available in virtual reality using Intel True VR technology.Starting with the 2018 NBA All-Star Game, Intel will allow fans to experience the action from different immersive angles with the forthcoming NBA on TNT VR app.Intel True VR cameras will be used to capture live game footage that will let fans view the game from different points in the arena, including courtside, the view on the baseline, and a birds-eye perspective.Intel is also partnering with the NBA to become an authorised provider of virtual reality and 360° volumetric video for official NBA broadcast partners globally.“This is an exciting time to be a basketball fan, and we are thrilled to be working with Intel and Turner Sports to make virtual reality and 360° content from the NBA on TNT games available,” said Jeff Marsilio, NBA vice president, global media distribution.Will Funk, executive vice president of property marketing and corporate partnerships for Turner Sport said: “Turner Sports and Turner Ignite Sports have been at the forefront of delivering thrilling new experiences to fans. This unprecedented partnership, with Turner Sports as the first NBA broadcast partner to offer the latest Intel VR technology, does just that.”James Carwana, vice president and general manager of Intel Sports added: “This unique partnership with the NBA will enable us to work with official league broadcasters, including Turner Sports, to take their broadcasts to an unprecedented level and create new ways to immerse viewers in the game.”The NBA on TNT VR app will be available on Samsung GearVR and Google Daydream headsets for download via the Oculus and Google Play stores.
A US study by Cowen & Co has found that Netflix is now the most popular platform amongst US consumers for watching TV, ahead of pay TV and free-to-air broadcast channels and other streaming services.According to the study of 2,500 US adults, 27.2% said they used Netflix most often to view video content, ahead of basic cable, cited by 20.4% and broadcast TV, cited by 18.1%.YouTube was cited by 11.4% of respondents, with Hulu some way behind on 5.3% and Amazon Prime Video on 4.7%.Only 4.6% of respondents said they view content most often on premium cable services.The findings were even more pronounced among the younger demographic. Among 18-34 year-olds, 39.7% used Netflix most often to view video content, ahead of YouTube on 17%, basic cable on 12.6%, Hulu on 7.6% and broadcast TV on 7.5%.Only 3.4% of 18-34 year-olds reported using amazon Prime Video most often to view video, with 3.5% using premium cable services most often.Separately, Netflix has begun trialling a new tier called Netflix Ultra across Europe for some members, giving the option to pay a higher fee of up to €19.99 than the current premium service for features including 4K UHD streams.The subscription video-on-demand provider is in some cases reportedly only making 4K streams available via Ultra, and restricting the option to use the service on up to four devices to this tier.In other cases, Ultra is being offered while leaving other plans unchanged.The tests, which were initially reported in Italy, appear not to have been introduced to the UK market as of yet, but to be restricted to the Eurozone.Local reports have cited a Netflix spokesman as saying that the company continuously tests new variants to better understand how people value the SVOD service.Netflix currently offers basic, standard and premium tiers with different features. The premium tier enables users to stream on up to four devices.
Nordic Entertainment (NENT), the soon-to-be-split-off TV and streaming arm of Modern Times Group (MTG) has expanded its long-term commercial partnership with Fox Networks Group, giving viewers in Denmark, Norway and Sweden access to shows from National Geographic on NENT Group’s streaming service Viafree, including programmes from the National Geographic Channel and NatGeo Wild.The agreement with Fox adds a library of factual entertainment that complements Viafree’s offering of drama, reality, exclusive formats and live sports, according to NENT.In addition, premium factual content from National Geographic+ will launch on NENT Group’s streaming service Viaplay in Denmark, Norway, Sweden and Finland.NENT will continue its advertising sales partnership with Fox Networks Group in Sweden and Denmark, adding a new entertainment channel in Denmark to its advertising sales portfolio from January 2019. For the first time, NENT will also sell advertising for Fox and National Geographic channel in Norway.Kim Poder, EVP, group chief commercial officer and CEO of NENT Group Denmark said: “FNG in the Nordics is a key strategic partner for NENT Group and expanding our long term agreement is great news for all our customers. We want to bring viewers the broadest and best choice of entertainment, so adding National Geographic’s amazing factual content to Viafree and Viaplay matches our ambitions perfectly. At the same time, we can now give brands across Scandinavia even more reach through offering advertising on services from both NENT Group and FNG.”Hans van Rijn, general manager, Fox Networks Group Nordic: “This is a key step in intensifying our partnership with NENT Group and reflects our determination to make our premium content available across more screens to the benefit of Nordic consumers and providing advertisers with increased reach and impact.”
German competition watchdog the Bundeskartellamt’s move to have the EC refer Vodafone’s planned acquisition of Unitymedia to was “totally expected and not a surprise at all” for Unitymedia parent Liberty Global and the company remains confident that the deal will be approved, according to president and CEO Mike Fries.Liberty Global CEO, Mike FriesSpeaking to analysts after Liberty posted its quarterly results at the end of last week, Fries said that the proposed transaction “is exactly the sort of deal that the European Commission was created to handle”.Fries said that the agreement was a cross-border deal that concerned two large multinational organisations and made the point that the EC had “reviewed every large cable-to-cable and cable-mobile transaction over the past five years”, with Liberty being involved in a number of these.He indicated that he believed the Commission would be broadly supportive of the deal, saying that both Vodafone and Liberty had “a very strong view” about the Bundeskartellamt’s intervention and “we believe the Commission does as well”.Fries also gave his strongest indication to date that proceeds from the sale would be used to buy back stock and provide a return to shareholders. He said that Liberty was “puzzled” and “certainly not pleased with our stock price today” and that “at these price levels” the sale “would unleash opportunity to reduce the equity”. However, he added, Liberty would also be open to “look at other value creation opportunities in seven or eight months”.Fries said that following the sale of UPC Austria and the planned sale of assets to Vodafone, Liberty next year “will be smaller in scope and scale” and that the company was in the middle of a process to “rescale the central part of the business to reflect that”.he said that Liberty Global had no plans for any transaction involving the star performer in its asset portfolio – the UK’s Virgin Media. He said the UK was “a great market” and that the company was under “no pressure to do anything strategically in the UK”, something that may not be the case in other markets where the operator is challenged, such as Switzerland.