Biggest social reform since 1960 off to a good start officials say

first_imgIN WHAT was hailed as an historic day by President Nicos Anastasiades, Cyprus on Saturday introduced universal health care (Gesy), in what is perhaps the biggest social reform since independence in 1960.Health authorities said the first day went smoothly with the IT system surpassing expectations.“A historic day has dawned for our country,” the president said in a tweet on Saturday morning. “A day that signals perhaps the biggest social conquest in the history of the Republic of Cyprus.”“We are going forward with determination, responsibility, and patience. All the best Gesy.”Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said later that the first transaction was carried out at 5.15am by a GP, followed by one from a specialist.“It is with delight that I have been informed that no problems have been observed,” he said. “Of course, because it is Saturday, the volume is not huge but with the current volume and the transactions carried out by pharmacies, it seems that so far everything is running smoothly.”Speaking at a news conference at lunchtime, the chairman of the health insurance organisation (HIO) board, Thomas Antoniou, described Gesy as the best gift the state could give the next generations.Antoniou said the new health system was not a single reform but many combined. It is the first time Cyprus has primary healthcare as part of a universal health system. The island is the last country in the European Union to implement a health system but is among the first to have a fully electronic one.Antoniou said the first day went smoothly “but we will not become complacent as we know that problems could arise and we will ask for the public’s patience and support, as well as that of the mass media, asking them to contribute in the best possible implementation of the biggest social reform of the past 50 years.”HIO director Athos Tsinontides said dozens of people had visited their GPs and pharmacies had filled many prescriptions.Reports said pharmacies had filled over 350 prescriptions while doctors ordered some 80 lab tests.During the first day some 600 people visited their GPs who issued 75 referrals to specialists.Tsinontides said in the past few days there was no problem in registrations with the portal operating smoothly.Certain issues that concern third country nationals or Europeans from other member states relate to technical matters that must be resolved in cooperation with other government departments like the civil registry, to enable them to register.Health authorities were concerned about the performance of the IT system but Saturday went by without major issues.Tsinontides said the Gesy programme was probably the biggest IT system ever in operation in Cyprus and already some 550,000 people are registered on it, as well as hundreds of health providers.Asked how the organisation would handle the possible refusal of providers to get on board, as needs increased, Tsinontides said they would see how the first week goes since the needs have been covered to a large extent.He said there was adequacy of medicines with over 1,000 offered for free, and the number of pharmacies was also ample.The list of medicines will be updated on a daily basis, he said.In the next few days the HIO is expected to conclude the registration of between 500 and 600 specialist doctors so no problems with supply were expected in that aspect.Throughout the day Saturday, people shared posts on social media about how cheap their meds were under Gesy.Victoras Papadopoulos, the director of the president’s media office, posted a photo of himself at a pharmacy where he paid €3 for meds that would otherwise cost €98. Another man paid €2 for a prescription that cost €86 previously, he said.The first patient who needed a €220 heart ultrasound received it for free.Political parties also welcome the introduction but a large number of ordinary people posted their thanks to former health minister George Pamboridis who is widely credited with the success of pushing the system through amid a hostile environment created by its opponents.“Welcome my soul! Have a good Gesy fellow humans,” he tweeted. You May LikePlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementCardiologist: This Is What Happens To Your Body When You Eat GlutenGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoIsraeli rape suspects freed, woman who alleged assault arrested (Updated)UndoConcern over falling tourism numbersUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

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Rep Farrington observes Financial Literacy Month

first_img Categories: Diana Farrington News 31Mar Rep. Farrington observes Financial Literacy Month State Rep. Diana Farrington of Utica sponsored a resolution observing April 2017 as Financial Literacy Month in the state of Michigan. The resolution was introduced to bring awareness to the benefits of increased financial literacy for younger generations in Michigan.“Over the past decade we have seen a trend of less family income going to savings and more going to manage household debt,” Rep. Farrington said. “Teaching financial literacy skills young people is important to ensure they are prepared and understand credit and debt and become responsible homeowners, business leaders and productive citizens.”One in four households in Michigan have insufficient savings or no savings at all, according to the Federal Deposit Insurance Corporations. These households have missed opportunities for savings, lending and other basic financial services. Financial literacy skills encourage greater financial independence, higher levels of successful homeownership and enhanced retirement security among low and moderate income households.last_img read more

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Rep Bellino supportive of legislation to save Michigans vital shipping industry

first_img Categories: Bellino News,News 16Nov Rep. Bellino supportive of legislation to save Michigan’s vital shipping industry State Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe today explained his support for a bill promoting Michigan shipping jobs while continuing to protect the Great Lakes from invasive species.Michigan’s current regulation for treatment of ballast water – kept in large tanks on board to help improve a ship’s balance – is stricter than Canada and other states sharing the Great Lakes. This has created an uneven playing field in the shipping industry and Michigan continues to lose business and jobs each year related to ocean-going exports.House Bill 5095, proposed by state Rep. Dan Lauwers of Brockway Township, brings Michigan’s ballast water treatment protocol in line with federal regulations recommended by the U.S. Coast Guard and Environmental Protection Agency. The bill passed votes in both the Michigan House and Senate.“The current overregulation is asking business to go elsewhere – and it has,” said Bellino. “The promise when this original legislation was enacted was other states and Canada would follow us with stiffer standards. But that has not happened. Years have gone by and we’ve lost enough jobs in our shipping industry. Our ports can provide good business and good jobs if we have regulatory equality with neighboring states. It’s time to see that through.”When water is added or released to change ballast tank levels, plants and animals can also be absorbed from and expelled back into lake or ocean water. This has led to the fear of invasive species spreading throughout the Great Lakes without strict regulation.“That is a completely understandable concern, but what good are Michigan’s regulations when other states are not doing as much?” said Bellino. “The regulations, as they are now, are making the state less competitive. Monitoring is being done at the federal level to curb invasive species. The U.S. Coast Guard and the EPA have set forth viable standards to protect our waters and the very important industries that come with them.”If the federal government were to soften its own regulations, Michigan would remain at the level enacted through HB 5095. The state would enter into an interstate compact with other Great Lakes states to employ uniform policies in the event of an adjustment.Bellino also mentioned the impact on Michigan’s roadways when businesses opt to not use Michigan’s ports. Products are trucked to neighboring states to ship them out more quickly and efficiently.“A ship is larger than a truck and can carry a lot more. That’s more wear and tear on our roads and more state tax dollars to fix them when they go bad,” said Bellino. “This legislation offers a sensible approach across a broad range of issues and that is why it has my support.”last_img read more

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Committee hears Rep Alexanders bill strengthening Legislatures oversight of FOIA requests

first_img Categories: Alexander News 15Mar Committee hears Rep. Alexander’s bill strengthening Legislature’s oversight of FOIA requests State Rep. Julie Alexander today testified before the House Oversight Committee in support of her legislation requiring state departments to notify the Legislature and governor when a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request is not fulfilled within 15 days of the initial request.The measure to increase transparency comes during Sunshine Week, which celebrates the importance of open government and freedom of information.“There’s nothing I can do to bring the sun out, but I can make sure we are staying dedicated to holding state agencies and departments accountable for freedom of information,” said Alexander of Hanover. “We need to rationally look at the bigger picture with this measure. As an elected official, I value accountability, transparency and open government.”Under Alexander’s plan, the governor, speaker of the House, Senate and House majority and minority leaders, appropriation chairs as well as the oversight committee chairs, must be notified if the request is not fulfilled in a timely manner.House Bill 5713 remains in the House Oversight Committee for further consideration.Photo Information: State Rep. Julie Alexander of Hanover today testified before the House Oversight Committee in support of her measure requiring state departments to notify the Legislature and governor when a FOIA request is not fulfilled within 15 days of the initial request.last_img read more

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Rep Bellino invites residents to local coffee hours this month

first_img13Sep Rep. Bellino invites residents to local coffee hours this month Categories: Bellino News,News State Rep. Joe Bellino has announced his September coffee hour schedule, which will take place on Friday, Sept. 28 at three locations across Michigan’s 17th House District.Bellino, of Monroe, will meet with residents one-on-one if they wish to share comments or concerns at the following times and locations:• 10-11 a.m. at Tim Hortons of Monroe, 404 S. Monroe St., Monroe;• 11:30 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at Blue Heron Trading Company, 26217 Huron River Drive, Flat Rock; and• 1-2 p.m. at the South Rockwood Branch Library, 5676 Carleton Rockwood Road, South Rockwood.“It’s important to make myself available to the people I represent and to do so in their communities in a face-to-face fashion – just having a talk,” Bellino said. “These conversations allow me to hear the concerns and ideas of people within the district and lets me better represent them.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend during the scheduled times may send their questions and ideas to Bellino via email at JosephBellino@house.mi.gov or by calling his office at 517-373-1530.last_img read more

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Rep Lightner announces local office hours

first_img Categories: Lightner News 25Jun Rep. Lightner announces local office hours State Rep. Sarah Lightner has scheduled her July office hours to meet with local residents of the 65th District.“Office hours are a great way to talk about the issues affecting our local communities,” Rep. Lightner said. “I hope you’ll take the opportunity to join me and share what’s on your mind.”Office hours are scheduled for the following times and locations:·         Friday, July 19 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at the Waterloo Township Offices, 9773 Mt. Hope Road in Munith; and·         Friday, July 26 from 11 a.m. to 12 p.m. at Cassie’s Corner, 4200 Page Ave. in Michigan Center. No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend may contact Rep. Lightner’s office by calling (517) 373-1775 or by email at SarahLightner@house.mi.gov.last_img read more

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Tea Party Patriots Criticizes Reids Targeting of Koch Brothers

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 2, 2014; The HillThose poor, troubled Koch brothers! What difficulties they face in simply exercising their rights as citizens of this great nation! That’s the concern of Tea Party Patriots, which has filed a complaint with the Senate Ethics Committee that Senate Majority Leader Harry Reid (D-NV) has “unlawfully and unethically [been] targeting private citizens” in his attacks on brothers Charles and David Koch.According to Alexander Bolton writing in The Hill, the Tea Party Patriots complaint alleges that Reid “has misused Senate staff or resources to engage in partisan campaign activity in violation of federal laws and Senate rules.” The TPP complaint adds to a complaint filed in April by the Louisiana Republican Party asking for the Senate Ethics Committee to investigate Reid’s use of his official website and Twitter account to attack the Koch brothers.Harry Reid may be a critic of the Koch brothers (and they of him), but it hasn’t stopped them from exploring numerous avenues for the propagation of their political views. For example, as the Boston Globe editorialized, the Koch brothers through Americans for Prosperity seem “bent on wrecking the [Detroit] bankruptcy deal to make an ideological point.” The Globe says that the “irresponsible action” of the Koch brothers would “sabotage” the bankruptcy deal and “raise the likelihood of more misery in America’s once-great industrial powerhouse.”Senator Bernie Sanders (I-VT) has been outspoken in his concern that critics were using the crisis in VA hospitals to unfairly attack big government, but recently he said that ads attacking Veterans Affairs secretary Eric Shinseki were paid for by the Koch brothers as part of their ideologically-driven effort to privatize the VA’s system of health care. Slate reported that a “heretofore obscure” group called Concerned Veterans for America, founded by a Republican activist named Pete Hegseth, played a considerable role in the effort to get rid of Shinseki—and is partly funded by the Koch brothers.Long associated with virulent opposition to restrictions on carbon-generating fuel producers, the Koch brothers have apparently upped the ante recently with an investment in Canada. They have acquired leases for between 1.1 and 2 million acres of tar-sands land in Alberta, with Koch Oil Sands Operating LLC preparing to drill. It’s projected to cost as much as $2.2 billion, but undoubtedly calculated to enrich themselves much more. The Koch brothers already own plenty of oil refinery and production facilities, including some in the Twin Cities area, which has made them local electoral campaign issues and opened up local charities for criticism if they have accepted Koch donations. Their environmental activism has included opposition from Americans for Prosperity against a requirement in their home state of Kansas that 20 percent of the state’s electricity come from renewable sources.Reid’s attacks haven’t dissuaded the Koch brothers from placing a big bet on campaign advertising for the 2014 midterm elections, estimated to be around $125 million.For Democrats, the Koch brothers are all-purpose faces and names to attach to the policy advocacy and political campaigning of the politically conservative wing of the Republican Party. Purity and consistency aren’t always evident in any political party’s agenda, and the same applies to Senator Reid, who eviscerates the Koch brothers but calls the no-less-conservative Sheldon Adelson, a Nevada-based Las Vegas Sands casino magnate, a friend and someone who is “not in this for the money” (apparently in contrast to the Kochs), someone whose “social views are in keeping with the Democrats” according to Reid. “Don’t pick on him,” Reid advises his Democratic allies.Reid doesn’t give the Kochs the same latitude on areas of policy where they diverge from Republican and Tea Party orthodoxy. The Koch brothers, particularly Charles Koch, have been critics of overseas military adventurism since Vietnam and were critical of the Bush administration’s invasion of Iraq. David Koch has been critical of U.S. drug policy and has been supportive of same-sex marriage and reproductive rights. Recently taking note of their positions that stand in contrast with the far-right wing of the Republican Party—and suggesting that the Kochs nudge the party toward some sort of moderation—has been Daniel Schulman, a senior editor in the Washington bureau of Mother Jones and the author of a book, Sons of Wichita, describing the rise of the political power of the Koch brothers.The overall tally suggests that despite the Tea Party Patriots complaint to the Senate Ethics Committee, Senator Harry Reid hasn’t done much to undermine the political energies and efficacy of the Koch brothers. At the same time, Reid’s targeting of the Kochs (and his free pass for Sheldon Adelson) doesn’t seem to be consistent. If the Senate Ethics Committee were to take complaints about political consistency, it would be overloaded with filings about both Democrats and Republicans.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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Challenging Dimensions of State Legislative Lobbying The Montana Yoga Pants Controversy

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 10, 2015; Billings GazetteOne always sympathizes with the challenges of nonprofits that have to do the hard work of educating state and federal lawmakers about the nonprofit sector. Several states are debating how to identify and categorize charitable entities for the purposes of qualifying for property tax exemptions or establishing other standards for nonprofits. Last year, New Hampshire was contemplating requiring biennial management training for nonprofit board chairs, Delaware considered new regulations on charitable solicitations, Florida tried to come up with some regulations on people claiming to represent veterans organizations, and California had to address potential legislation to establish uniform charity care standards for nonprofit hospitals. Other states are trying (or should be) to figure out what they are giving away to for-profit developers in the name of tax incentives, estimated to cost state and local governments $40-$50 billion a year, and considering programs to evaluate whether their tax incentives to corporations pay off or not.These are complex issues, demanding a lot of deep analysis on the part of the legislators who might have to make these determinations. They’re tough for nonprofits as well, requiring analysis of the implications of different legislative proposals, some good, some not so good for nonprofits. One would hope that the legislators that nonprofits have to lobby are up to the challenge of addressing these complex issues, and many certainly are.Other legislators do things that make you wonder if they’re really up to the challenge. NPQ discussed some of the problematic aspects of this question in our review of state legislators behaving badly, but we had to take notice of Montana state representative David Moore’s proposal. In August, there was a “Bare as You Dare” bike ride in Missoula, a three-mile ride organized by Nita Maddux, similar to other “Bare As You Dare” rides in Seattle and Portland.To Maddux, Missoula’s “Bare As You Dare” ride was a statement of self-expression. “See the allegory of being naked as being authentic,” Maddux said. “Missoula doesn’t do gay pride; it doesn’t do a lot of different things. This is sort of all of that wrapped up into one, saying, ‘Come out as you are, as exactly as you are.’ I have cellulite. I don’t look perfect; who cares?’”State legislator Moore cared. Assisted by retired professor Walt Hill, the Republican Moore drafted and introduced HB 365 to alter Montana’s law against indecent exposure. “Bare As You Dare” was just the beginning for Moore. His bill, according to the Associated Press, “would expand [the] indecent exposure law to include any nipple exposure, including men’s, and any garment that ‘gives the appearance or simulates’ a person’s buttocks, genitals, pelvic area or female nipple.” Moore explained that “tight-fitting beige clothing” could be classified as indecent and said he advocates including yoga pants in the indecent category. “I want Montana to be known as a decent state where people can live within the security of laws and protect their children and associates from degrading and indecent practices,” Professor Hill added.This week, members of the state’s House Judiciary Committee giggled a great deal and voted unanimously without debate to table Moore’s bill.Although Moore’s stance on the indecency of yoga pants might seem comical, he is one of the decision makers Montana nonprofits have to deal with on a number of political issues. According to his Vote Smart profile, Moore got only an eight percent rating from the Montana Environmental Information Center in 2014 and 14 percent rating from Montana Conservation Voters in 2013, voted in 2013 to authorize tax credits for private school scholarship donations, voted in favor of expanding Medicaid eligibility, supported disclosure of expenditure reports by political action committees, favored exempting religious organizations from campaign finance reporting requirements, and voted in support of public charter schools. The reality is that legislators like Moore who may seem ludicrous for their concerns about sexy yoga pants are among the elected decision-makers who must be lobbied on issues of critical importance to nonprofits.Fortunately, yoga pants aren’t high on most nonprofit associations’ policy agendas.—Rick Cohen ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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BSkyB has posted increased profit and revenue for

first_imgBSkyB has posted increased profit and revenue for the six months to December, and raised its customer base by 100,000 over the period.Sky posted a half-year operating profit of £601 million (€717 million), up 16% year-on-year, while revenue grew by 6% to £3.4 billion. Sky’s customer base at the end of December was 10.471 million, while its triple-play base grew to three million, up 26%. The company reported 2.5 million users of its Sky Go service, given as a bonus to subscribers, which enables customers to view content on a range of devices inside and outside the home.HD subscribers numbered 4.06 million, up 138,000 on the previous quarter, while multiroom customers numbered 2.35 million, up 55,000. Broadband customers numbered 3.65 million, up 166,000. ARPU stood at £544, up £8 year-on-year, while churn was up only very slightly at 9.6%.The solid results came despite a fall in advertising revenue in the period. CEO Jeremy Darroch said that Sky had added value to its offering and had improved efficiency, enabling it to expand margins. “We expect the environment to remain tough in calendar 2012. No consumer business can be immune to these conditions and we will manage any short-term headwinds as they emerge,” he said. “Staying focused on the long-term opportunity, we’ve got a strong set of plans to keep delivering for customers and shareholders. This will be an outstanding year on screen, including more original British productions and a new channel dedicated to Formula 1, and we have exciting products in the pipeline that will create more ways to access our content and more reasons to join and stay with us.”Separately, Sky Sports has secured rights to four more years of live international and county cricket under a new deal with the ECB. With the existing deal concluding at the end of 2013, the new deal begins in 2014 and continues until the end of the summer in 2017. Sky has secured rights to live coverage of England’s home Test matches, one-day and T20 internationals and county matches.last_img read more

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BT has inked a deal with Universal Networks Intern

first_imgBT has inked a deal with Universal Networks International and three of the studio’s channels will launch on the UK telco’s IPTV service.Universal Channel, Syfy and E! Entertainment will launch on BT Vision and programmes from the channels will be made available on an on-demand basis from early next year.BT Vision’s linear channel offering now includes Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, Real Time, British Eurosport, FX, National Geographic, National Geographic and UKTV’s Gold, Watch and Alibi. The telco said it will be announcing more new channels shortly.Marc Watson, BT’s chief executive of TV, said: “Universal Channel, Syfy and E! make a fantastic contribution to our channels offering at launch. As we expand the number of channels available soon for BT Vision customers, we hope that there will be something there for everyone. We will cater for drama lovers, comedy addicts and sports fans in equal measure. We are not finished yet and we will be announcing some more much-loved channels to complete our roster.last_img read more

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US web portal Yahoo has agreed to buy blog platfo

first_imgUS web portal Yahoo! has agreed to buy blog platform Tumblr for US$1.1 billion (€855 million) , according to US reports. All Things Digital reported Sunday night that the Yahoo! board had approved the all-cash deal, with an official announcement expected as early as today.The deal will mark Yahoo! CEO Marissa Mayer’s biggest deal since taking charge of Yahoo! in 2012, and follows reports earlier this month that Yahoo! had also held preliminary talks with US video-on-demand site Hulu  as one of a number of firms considering making a bid for that business.last_img read more

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Belarus pay TV provider Cosmos TV has added five c

first_imgBelarus pay TV provider Cosmos TV has added five channels to its digital cable packages. The broadcaster is adding Setanta Sports and Russian-language maritime interest channel Ocean TV to its basic digital cable package. Female-focused softcore adult channel Candyman and lifestyle channel Luxury World will be available as part of the Entertainment and Full digital packages, while Setanta Sports+ will be available as part of the Cognitive and Full digital cable packages.Ocean TV and Candyman are available to users with MPEG-4 receivers only.last_img read more

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Ed Sayer Discovery Networks International has poac

first_imgEd SayerDiscovery Networks International has poached factual production veteran Ed Sayer to join Phil Craig’s new look content team.Sayer will be VP, production and development, factual, reporting to DNI executive VP and chief creative officer Craig, who has been looking to develop a new style of high-end factual programming dubbed ‘new chip’ since joining from the ABC last year.“We’re facing the future with great confidence, commissioning some compelling new content and developing a strategy across a wide range of factual genes that will both engage current audiences and reach out to new viewers,” said Craig.“Ed will bring a fresh voice, unique vision and unbridled energy to commissioning content that resonates around the globe.”Sayers was mostly recently VP, commissioning at Hamish Mykura’s UK-based Nat Geo Channels International programming team, having joined in 2012 from ITV Studios. While at Nat Geo, he commissioned and executive produced shows such as Science of Stupid, Ultimate Airport Dubai and Air Crash Investigation.He has more than 20 years of experience in factual programming overall, also counting a period at UK pubcaster the BBC, where he was head of entertainment development at BBC Scotland, on his CV.“Discovery’s brand is iconic, and it’s with a healthy dose of humility and excitement I join the team that’s behind many amazing television milestones,” added Sayer. “I’m looking forward to partnering with Phil Craig and Discovery’s worldwide and world-class producers to make noise and great television.”last_img read more

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Mihai Crasneanu VoD and TV content aggregator Grey

first_imgMihai CrasneanuVoD and TV content aggregator Grey Juice Lab is developing a plan to put together a production fund together with telecom operator customers, with a view to developing scripted series that can by syndicated on an exclusive basis to operators globally on a territorially exclusive basis.CEO Mihai Crasneanu told DTVE at MIPCOM that the company was looking to produce scripted series of about 10-13 episodes with a budget of about US$1-3 million per episode, with an ambition to go into production with the first project in the first half of 2016.“We are analyzing the option of putting together a production fund where customers will be partners,” said Crasneanu. Grey Juice Lab is setting up a US office to further the plan, with Crasneanu to relocate to Los Angeles.Crasneanu said the company had “clients on board” from territories including Latin America, the Middle East and Asia.“We want to deliver an outstanding product with well-known talent and a Hollywood imprint that people recognize,” said Crasneanu. “We have started discussions with some producers and talent for specific shows that will be really outstanding. He said that Grey Juice Lab has already received commitments from a number of partners.The company plans to hire people to lead the unit “in the next couple of months”, said Crasneanu, adding that Grey Juic Lab has held talks with a number of individuals from well-known Hollywood companies.Crasneanu said that the production unit would develop series both for VoD and TV distribution. Grey Juice Lab aggregates content both for telcos with on-demand offerings and for those with broader pay TV services.Crasneanu said that production would initially be in the US, but that the company could leverage its network of local offices to involve production partners in territories around the world later.last_img read more

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NBCUniversal International is launching a reality

first_imgNBCUniversal International is launching a reality-themed direct-to-consumer OTT service called hayu, featuring over 3,000 episodes of its stable of reality shows including Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Made in Chelsea, The Real Housewives and The Millionaire Matchmaker.The service will be launched in the UK, Ireland and Australia in March, with a monthly fee of £3.99 in the UK, €4.99 in Ireland and A$5.99 in Australia. There will be no ongoing contract and would-be subscribers will be offered a one-month free trial.NBCUniversal describes hayu as “the first all-reality service of its kind”, incorporating curated content and integration with social media, with a range of innovative features, including specially made short-form snippets of content that can be shared directly via fans’ social media accounts. The service will link directly to a wide range of third-party news sites with relevant content such as OK! and MailOnline.Kevin MacLellanUsers will also be able to directly access the social media feeds of stars of the shows they follow.Most content will debut on the service on the same day as it premiers in the US, with over 500 episodes added each year. Box sets of shows will be available.hayu will be headed up by Hendrik McDermott, currently NBCUniversal’s senior vice-president branded on-demand, and the company has hired Phebe Hunnicutt, digital director of Elle at Hearst Magazines UK, to take charge of editorial and look after hayu’s overall look and feel.“Hendrik is incredibly talented. He’s young and dynamic and knows the digital space very well,” said NBCUniversal chairman Kevin MacLellan, in an exclusive interview with DTVE.MacLellan said that the service in its current form will be a pure direct-to-consumer offering. “We have been totally upfront with our distribution partners from the start, talking about how we can use this service to promote the reality content they have on air,” he said.MacLellan said that only “a small proportion” of the reality content that NBCUniversal produces each year is currently distributed in the three territories in which it is launching hayu.“There are multiple networks that we run seven days a week in the US. There is a lot of that content that people are pirating online, so we know they want to see it but don’t know where to get it. My hope is that this service will take that reality content and get people more interested by allowing them to watch more episodes and watch seasons from the beginning…and that will help drive people to the linear services as well,” said MacLellan.According to MacLellan, there are “about 50 shows” on the service that have never been seen in the UK. He also pointed out that a number of shows only became popular several seasons in, with people not having been able to see the first seasons of shows including Keeping Up With the Kardashians until now.He said NBCUniversal had been able to find windows for the vast majority of the content aired on linear channels. He said some content aired by third parties had been re-licensed, including UK shows such as Made in Chelsea, aired by Channel 4, where hayu will make available catalogue episodes.MacLellan admitted that some existing distribution partners were “nervous” about the initiative but said that there was “less nervousness because we went to them from the beginning than if we had just launched it without talking to them…our key partners in these markets have know about this for months.”MacLellan said that he had not set any subscriber targets for hayu. “Predicting user behaviour with something that does not yet exist is really hard. What interests me most is how consumers react. The first portion is what is the engagement level and what drives them to different products.”He said that NBCUniversal would be able to implement changes very quickly to the service based on how it is used. “I’m really not as focused – certainly at the beginning – on how many subscribers there are but on how people are engaging with it. My feeling is we can change it in real time and make it more appealing. In a year’s time I will start to look at what the numbers should be.”MacLellan said that the price point was “more or less” based on prices for other services that are already available and on things that the target audience pays for on a regular day-to-day basis. “We can say that this has real value and costs less than a Frappuccino,” he said.MacLellan said that NBCUniversal had decided to focus on English-language markets to start with, avoiding the need for dubbing. The three launch markets are also the source of much pirating of the content currently, he said.MacLellan described hayu is a “next generation VoD service with an appropriate level of interaction” for the target audience of 18-39 year-old females. “We know this is a very socially engaged group with a real affinity for this type of content and they enjoy talking about this type of content with their friends, not only personally but online,” he said.“It seemed like a great opportunity to aggregate the content into one place but we wanted to do more than just be a video service provider. We knew that this audience was different than that for what I would describe as general entertainment video services and that it would take something more than just video to engage them on a longer-term basis. One of the big premises for this was that it should be a service and that term is very important in the design. We wanted it to be simple and easy for them to get the content when and where they wanted and also to make it appealing by not including advertising.”MacLellan said that there is often “a huge amount of churn on these services” and so it was important to ensure that users see the value of what was being offered.In order to enable navigation through the content the apps are tailored for the devices being targeted with horizontal scrolling across the guide on tablets and vertical scrolling on phones.The home page is editorially curated by people who change the content to match what is happening in the news on an ongoing basis.“This is the type of content that people will watch on the go – it’s very snackable content,” said MacLellan. Users can watch parts of shows and pick up where they left off later.News from third party sources can easily be shared with social media contacts and users can dip and out of the service into the website of the relevant news partner.MacLellan said that NBCUniversal had decided to allow people to “come in and out of the service as they please”.“Many companies are trying to keep people in, but if people are paying a subscription for this it should be a high-quality service,” he said MacLellan. By paying a subscription, users obtain a “pathfinder” in the form of hayu that can help aggregate all sources of reality star news and information, he said. “We are providing an easy way for people to identify and interact with the type of content that they want,” he said.The service also curates a collection of Tweets and Instagram posts from reality stars. A high proportion of the content, including news ‘snippets’, is available outside the paywall and can be viewed and shared by non-subscribers.hayu also includes a comprehensive search function that identifies all material related to particular stars. Fans can use this to find all the material they have previously viewed. Users are also able to rate contents using Emojis, enabling them to use these to rate content according to its emotional impact. They can also search using the same Emoji ratings, enabling them to find content that matches their emotional state.last_img read more

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Josh Sapan at Cable Congress 2016 Netflixtype ana

first_imgJosh Sapan at Cable Congress 2016Netflix-type analysis of viewing data is not useful in helping content providers decide which projects to invest in, and could even harm the creative process, according to Josh Sapan, president and CEO of AMC Networks.“Data and analytics are not particularly helpful. I think you’re more likely to trip and find the next big thing. It is more art than science. If you try and make it precise you will homogenise [everything] or make something that is not creatively intact,” said Sapan, interviewed on stage alongside Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries at Cable Congress this morning.Sapan also said that AMC is looking “at vitrtual reality very carefully” and said that the format offered potentially untapped opportunities for drama. Putting creative people together with new technologies could create new experiences in ways that are not expected, he saidSapan said that the cable video business had grown despite the arrival of Netflix. “There will be many more video options and they are competitive and disruptive to some degree. But I think it is an affirmation that people love stories,” he said.Addressing the perceived threat presented to the traditional TV business by the media consumption habits of Millennials, Sapan said that young people watched TV everywhere as a matter of course, either live or on a delayed basis. Some even watched TV when it was scheduled because they didn’t want to miss out on social engagement around the shows they like, he said.“Facebook, Snapchat and Instagram are encouraging it,” he said.Sapan said that “people are voting with their chequebooks for experiences that are really compelling”.Sapan said that AMC invested about US$1 billion in content annually and it was “imperative” it did this. “We were well aware we had to step up”, he said, when the network was launched internationally about 10 years ago.Sapan said that that AMC is planning to go into production soon on The Terror, a supernatural drama about exploration of the North-West passage in the 19th Century, directed by Ridley Scott.last_img read more

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Liberty Globalowned Polish cable operator UPC Pol

first_imgLiberty Global-owned Polish cable operator UPC Poland has added Discovery Turbo Xtra and Discovery Science HD to its TV programming line-up.Male-Focused Discovery Turbo Xtra airs shows including Dieselmania, while Discovery Science airs content including Into the Universe with Stephen Hawking.Both channels will be available in UPC Poland’s Select and Max packages.last_img

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Alticeowned French service provider SFR returned

first_imgAltice-owned French service provider SFR returned to growth in the fourth quarter of last year, after 11 successive quarters of decline, posting revenue growth of 0.6%.The turnaround contributed to accelerated revenue growth for the group as a whole, with an uplift of 2.7% year-on-year.SFR added a further 1.6 million homes to its fibre footprint over the year, taking the total to 9.3 million homes passed. In Portugal, the group’s Meo unit now passes three million homes, 714,000 up year-on-year.Overall, SFR posted revenues of €2.892 billion. Altice as a whole posted revenue of €6.087 billion, boosted by a strong showing by Suddenlink in the US.SFR posted EBITDA of €954 million, up 12.1%, while Altice as a whole posted EBITDA of €2.285 billion, up 15.7%.Portugal Telecom/Meo posted revenues of €580 million, up 0.5% and EBITDA of €265 million, up 7.8%.Separately, Altice has  received a €40 million fine from the French competition regulator for feeling to meet commitments to build fibre out to France’s main population centres.“2016 was a pivotal year for Altice as we successfully transformed the Group into a leading, transatlantic converged communications player. Our business is stronger than ever and we have put all the building blocks in place for continued profitable growth,” said Altice CEO Michel Combes.“Our 2016 performance has validated the Altice Model as we’ve been very focused on execution, seeing an advanced turnaround in Europe and stronger US performance. Indeed, since Altice took control of the major businesses it has acquired, France and Portugal have returned to revenue growth for the first time in many years, and growth in the US has significantly accelerated.”last_img read more

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Research and strategy consultancy MTM has hired BB

first_imgResearch and strategy consultancy MTM has hired BBC Sport head of audiences Ross Taylor to head up a new sport division that will focus on helping rights holders, federations and leagues, sports businesses, media and technology companies, and government and public-sector organisations in digitally-driven markets.Ross TaylorMTM Sport will focus on helping clients understand and engage with sports fans and on hwo to value and develop sports rights, as well as advising on strategy planning and growth, supporting the development of new sports offerings and products, developing advertising and sponsorship effectiveness, and supporting innovation and digital transformation.MTM Sport is already working with a range of leading sports clients and partners, in the UK and internationally, including Formula 1, BT Sport and Copa90, and will be announcing a range of new products, services and partnerships during the coming months, according to MTM.“MTM has a tremendous track-record in the sports market and I’m delighted to have the opportunity to lead and grow the new division. We’re uniquely well positioned to help sports clients understand audiences, solve challenging business problems, and grow and develop their businesses. We can deliver complex projects, involving a wide range of disciplines, while remaining focused on fans. We have a dedicated focus on the sports sector – in-depth knowledge, passionate experts, and a global network of relationships. All of our projects are tailored to meet the specific requirements of individual clients, with no reliance on ‘off-the-shelf’ products,” said Taylor.MTM managing partner and co-founder Jon Watts said: “We’re delighted that Ross has returned to MTM to lead MTM Sport. We’ve worked in this exciting market for many years and are confident that Ross has the passion, energy and expertise to grow and develop the new division.”last_img read more

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Qatarbased pay TV operator BeIN Media has secured

first_imgQatar-based pay TV operator BeIN Media has secured a victory in its battle with piracy following a Swedish court handing prison sentences and fines to three individuals behind Arabic-region pirate outfit Advanced TV Network (ATN).The conviction follows a complaint filed by Nordic antipiracy group Nordic Content Protection in 2016. The trio behind ATN have now been handed prison terms ranging form one year to two and a half years, subject to appeal, and ordered to pay €18.8 million in damages to BeIN Media Group.The three were also ordered to pay €1.4 million to Albanian pay TV outfit Digitalb, which had also been a victim of ATN’s piracy.Malmö-based ATN intercepted broadcasts and decoded, packaged and retransmitted them to its own subscriber base. The network provided customers with access to illegal streams of over 2,000 channels, with a focus on channels from the Middle East and Turkey.During the current football World Cup, ATN also re-streamed coverage from Saudi Arabia-based pirate channel BeoutQ.“We are delighted that the Swedish courts have taken a strong stance against the industrial piracy perpetrated by ATN. Our membership is comprised of the leading broadcasters and content makers in the Nordic region and we all share a common concern about the growing rate and sophistication of broadcast piracy,” said Anders Braf, CEO of Nordic Content Protection.“Not only does it present a serious threat to the funding of the television and film industries, it also threatens the funding of sports and entertainment rights holders. The prison sentences and record fines handed down in this case send a clear message to broadcast pirates – the industry is taking action and we will use the full extent of the law to see offenders brought to justice.”last_img read more

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