What’s the difference between a night out in London and a night out in Hanoi? Around $377, says a recent survey.Comparing the cost of an evening on the town for two people in popular tourist cities throughout the US and the world, the TripAdvisor TripIndex 2012 found London to be the most expensive destination for travelers, with an after dark sojourn in the Olympic city costing US$518.Vietnamese capital Hanoi was considered to be the best value international city, with an index cost of $141. The TripAdvisor TripIndex was based on the combined costs for two of an overnight stay in a four-star hotel, one cocktail per person, a two-course dinner with a bottle of wine, and round-trip taxi transportation (two journeys of two miles). The dates applied to this summer. According to the index, Europe is the most expensive continent for US travelers, with seven of the world’s priciest cities appearing on the index (London, Oslo, Zurich, Paris, Stockholm, Moscow and Copenhagen), while Asia was deemed the most affordable region, boasting six of the ten cheapest cities (Hanoi, Beijing, Kuala Lumpur, Bangkok, Taipei, Jakarta).Among American cities, Las Vegas was found to be the least expensive town, costing $263, while unsurprisingly, New York edged Boston as the dearest US city, with a TripIndex tally of $457.Featuring four of the top ten most affordable cities (Dallas, New Orleans, Atlanta and Orlando), the Southern US ranked as the top region for travelers looking for domestic deals.The international TripIndex destination list comprises cities from 48 of the 50 countries that receive the largest number of international visitor arrivals (according to data compiled by the UNWTO). The U.S. TripIndex list comprises 15 highly visited US cities, focusing on large and popular tourism markets.Best Value International Cities:-Hanoi, Vietnam ($141.12), Beijing, China ($159.05), Bangkok, Thailand ($161.90), Budapest, Hungary ($193.78), Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia ($194.43)Most Expensive International Cities: -London, UK ($518.01), Oslo, Norway ($499.91), Zurich, Switzerland ($485.82), Paris, France ($480.76), Stockholm, Sweden ($472.36)Best Value US Cities: -Las Vegas ($263.46), Dallas ($283.10), New Orleans ($283.44), Atlanta ($289.80), Orlando ($309.10)Most Expensive US Cities:-New York City ($456.50), Boston ($450.27), San Francisco ($429.28), Washington, DC ($413.66), Honolulu ($398.23) Source = e-Travel Blackboard: M.H
Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Michael Floyd (15) celebrates his touchdown catch with teammates Larry Fitzgerald (11) and D.J. Humphries during the second half of an NFL football game against the New York Jets, Monday, Oct. 17, 2016, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Top Stories Your browser does not support the audio element. LISTEN: Michael Bidwill on Pregame Huddle Comments Share The New England Patriots listed Floyd as inactive for the team’s Week 15 showdown with the Denver Broncos.New England picked him up off waivers on Thursday.Floyd had 33 receptions for 446 yards and four touchdowns with the Cardinals this season. The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Arizona Cardinals team president Michael Bidwill said Michael Floyd had a chance to remain with the team following his Monday morning arrest for a DUI.Visiting with the Sunday pregame show on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM, Bidwill said Floyd showed no remorse and did not inform the team of his arrest before the Cardinals found out through their own sources and then the media.“Their story changed, there was no remorse, we ask him to be proactive in terms of his approach to this — (he was) unapologetic,” Bidwill said of the two days before Arizona cut Floyd on Wednesday. “I was not satisfied with how he handled it. Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling “He certainly could’ve played it a lot differently,” Bidwill added. “We wanted to give him an opportunity to address his issues. How this whole set of circumstances (unfolded), I was just disappointed about how it played out.”Bidwill said that the Cardinals asked Floyd to address some of the issues but the response was not what they were looking for.“We asked him to proactively address this, we had multiple conversations with him, with his agent, they just didn’t want to do that,” Bidwill said. “We decided, you know what, we’re moving on.“I hope he gets healthy. I like him personally. He’s a great kid. I was really disappointed with how he handled this and you know, how he was handling his approach to the game, his approach to conditioning and approach to things, and I think it was affecting him, some of his issues were affecting him on the field.”Asked if the cutting of Floyd has a larger message that the current Cardinals should look at, Bidwill said, “Make smarter decisions and when you’re in the National Football League, pay attention to your profession seven days a week.”Floyd will have to wait at least another week before he makes his former team regret cutting him. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
Delegates from Hilton Hawaii rolled into Australia this week on their new sales mission, meeting with trade partners and media while in Sydney. Attending this year’s event was the Vice President and Commercial Director of Hilton’s Hawaii portfolio, Duke Ah Moo.Ah Moo said that the number of Australian visitors to Hawaii continue to track upwards, a trend that’s been the case for at least the past 10 years. Moo also mentioned that that Australians still remain one of the leading markets in terms of length of stay, with an average of nine nights.In Hawaii, Hilton-branded properties span four islands, Hawaii, Oahu, Maui and Kauai – the most luxurious of which is Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort on Maui. Set on 16 beachfront hectares, the resort boasts the world-class spa Grande, a US$30 million art collection, a labyrinth of pools, fine cuisine and a kids’ camp.The Napua Tower at Grand Wailea is a hotel-within-a-hotel concept and offers a higher level of luxury, with more centrally located rooms and elevated amenities for guests.On Oahu, at the premium end of the market, the Hilton Hawaiian Village’s Ali’i Tower is another hotel-within-a-hotel concept, offering a dedicated check-in area, concierge, pool deck area, bar, restaurant and gym.“It’s a boutique hotel within the resort concept where you can escape from the masses. Rooms have upgraded amenities, upgraded coffee facilities. The Ali’i tower is a little bit special,” Ah Moo said.On the luxury front in Oahu, Ah Moo could not share details of any other Hilton-branded projects, instead saying, “We’re constantly trying to develop and bring new hotel concepts and brands and bring them to Hawaii.”Ko Olina on Oahu’s west coast has previously been flagged as a possible site for the Waldorf Astoria brand but Ah Moo said nothing has been confirmed.Last night an event was held for media at Hilton Sydney’s Zeta Bar featuring Grand Wailea’s Executive Chef, Ryan Ung, who was flown in to present 18 island-inspired dishes for guests.Lead image: At Hilton Sydney on Wednesday morning are Duke Ah Moo, Vice President and Commercial Director of Hilton’s Hawaii portfolio; Cynthia Rankin, Regional Director, Corporate Communications for Hilton Hotels & Resorts, Hawaii; Chelsea Livit, Director of Public Relations at Grand Wailea, A Waldorf Astoria Resort and Kainoa Horcaj, Hawaiian Cultural Ambassador, Grand Wailea, a Waldorf Astoria Resort.
By Elias HazouThe Natural Gas Public Company (DEFA) has delayed announcing a new tender for interim gas supplies to be used for domestic electricity generation.DEFA – by law the sole importer and distributor of natural gas in Cyprus – had been pressured by the government to finish drafting the tender documents by yesterday, after which the documents would have been sent for publication in the Official Journal of the European Union during the first week of January.But DEFA – which together with the Electricity Authority of Cyprus worked on the documents throughout the weekend – has decided that more study is needed.Whereas the invitation for expression of interest document is ready, the annexes to it are still being worked on. The Gas Sales Agreement forms part of the annexes.Sources said the EAC – represented with four members on the DEFA board – has raised a series of points as to the viability of the natural gas tender.DEFA will conclude a deal for LNG with the supplier, and will sell the fuel to the EAC. Any contract thus requires back-to-back agreements – one between DEFA and the supplier, the other between DEFA and the EAC – that are in sync with each other.Given that DEFA is, as the sources put it, a “paper company” – it has no capital nor any prior contracts under its belt -at the end of the day it’s the EAC that provides the guarantees for payment.The EAC people want to be certain that a new tender is “robust” without any loose ends. A key concern for them: any contract must contain a price renegotiation clause after a period of three years.Conventional wisdom has it that natural gas prices are set to plateau or even drop in coming years, and the EAC doesn’t want to be stuck with a fixed price for the duration of the contract.Apparently a renegotiation clause has not been included in the tender documents, but DEFA is willing to take another look at this.Moreover, there’s the possibility of an electricity link between Cyprus and Israel, which if it materialises would decrease domestic demand for natural gas. The feasibility as well as the timing of such a project is unclear.Another unknown factor, the EAC says, relates to the future penetration of renewable energy sources (RES) into the grid. As an EU member, Cyprus must formulate a national RES plan that gradually reduces dependence on conventional fossil fuels. The EAC is waiting on the government to complete that plan.And under the tender documents drafted by DEFA, bidders are given just six weeks to prepare and submit a comprehensive proposal. The EAC thinks this is nowhere near enough – three months would be more appropriate.“If we want this new tender to be taken seriously, we need to fix the flaws of the last one,” an industry source commented.It’s understood that the new tender will have a duration of seven years (2016 to 2022), with an option for up to three one-year extensions – potentially 10 years in total.The contract’s worth is estimated at anywhere from €4bn to €5bn. The quantities of natural gas will range from 0.6 billion cubic meters per annum (bcma) to 0.9 bcma.The first tender, launched in September 2012, was terminated in October this year after DEFA failed to reach agreement with any of the bidders.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoAudie Murphy RanchGet more home without moving away from Southern CaliforniaAudie Murphy RanchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
By Staff ReporterTHE Institute of Certified Public Accountants of Cyprus (ICPAC) said that action is needed to mitigate the impact on the local financial services sector from a recent Russian law cracking down on Russian offshore business.Speaking at a press conference in Nicosia, ICPAC chairman Yiannis Charilaou said however that the negative consequences on Cyprus could largely be contained provided that current legislation and rules are swiftly updated.Though he did not go into details, Charilaou said the institute would be working with the finance ministry on introducing new legislation.One of the areas of concern relates to Russian tax residents with an interest in corporations based in Cyprus who, under the new Russian law must declare their earnings to Russian tax authorities and be taxed there.Another relates to establishing the real tax residence of companies of Russian interests incorporated in foreign countries, which are required to demonstrate that they are effectively operating in the countries where they are registered, as opposed to being so-called mailbox companies.There is also the issue of beneficial owners of a corporation, where earnings from a Russian company with a tax residence in a foreign country, but which earnings are derived from operations or investments inside Russia, will not be eligible for the withholding tax provided for in double-tax avoidance treaties between Russian and other countries.Russian President Vladimir Putin recently approved a bill to ‘deoffshorise’ businesses. The new law is slated to enter into force on January 1, 2015.According to the document, Russian shareholders will be required to pay taxes on the retained earnings of foreign companies in which they hold a controlling stake. This primarily applies to companies registered in offshore or any foreign jurisdictions.Its purpose is to crack down on the shadow economy in Russia and repatriate capital that was previously taken out of the country.The law is not without its critics, who warn that it threatens to increase the costs of compliance in all corporate structures and the structures of business owners.The ‘Russia Beyond the Headlines’ news outlet, citing Natalya Kuznetsova, a partner at PwC and director of the International Tax Structuring Group, said the law could also affect the Russian middle class, many of whom have invested their savings abroad through offshore companies.In 2014, Cyprus was among the ‘big three’ offshore destinations for Russians, with $2.9bn (€2.3bn) in foreign investment, followed by Luxembourg ($1.9bn) and the British Virgin Islands ($1.05bn).You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementCardiologist: This Is What Happens When You Eat GlutenGundry MD PrebioThrive Probiotic SupplementUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
A teenager, 16, reported missing from her home since Sunday was found safe and well, police said on Friday.According to a police bulletin, the teenager had gone missing at around lunchtime on July 7 and was found at around 11pm on Thursday night.She is well.You May LikeCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityEarthquake insurance that fits your future plansCalifornia Earthquake AuthorityUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Will Take Your Breath Away. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndo Authorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoThree arrested in connection with hotel theftsUndoNicosia will use ‘all diplomatic means at its disposal’ to counter Turkish actionsUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Daniela García invites Ottawa County residents to join her for in-district office hours in Hudsonville, Zeeland and Holland on Monday, Sept. 12.“Office hours have continued to be an invaluable platform to listen to my constituents,” said Rep. García, R-Holland. “Feedback from residents of the 90th District is crucial to being the best possible representative in Lansing.”Office hours will take place Sept. 12 at the following times and locations:11 a.m. to noon at Gary Byker Memorial Library, 3388 Van Buren St. in Hudsonville;1-2 p.m. at Howard Miller Public Library, 14 S. Church St. in Zeeland; and3-4 p.m. at Herrick District Library, 300 S. River Ave. in Holland.Rep. García usually schedules her office hours for the first Monday of every month, but decided to change it for the Labor Day holiday.“I hope everyone has a safe and enjoyable holiday with their families and friends,” said Rep. García. “I look forward to see everyone on Sept. 12.”No appointments are necessary to attend office hours. Those who are unable to attend are encouraged to contact Rep. García’s office by phone at 517-373-0830 or email at DanielaGarcia@house.mi.gov. Categories: Garcia News,News 02Sep Rep. García invites area residents to Sept. 12 office hours
Tags: #SB 25Jan Rep. Hernandez Praises Commitment to Transparency in Michigan House Speaker of the House Tom Leonard has insisted that the financial disclosure and transparency website for the Michigan House of Representatives now includes access to salary information for representatives and House employees.“When it comes to cleaning up government, I believe sunshine is the best disinfectant,” said Rep. Shane Hernandez (R-Port Huron). “I commend Speaker Leonard’s decision to make this information easily accessible for Michigan Taxpayers.”Representative Hernandez is a strong advocate for increased transparency in all aspects of state government.“I believe one of the biggest challenges we face as new legislators is that the public simply does not trust their elected officials – often for good reason,” said Rep. Hernandez. “I look forward to working with Speaker Leonard to bring new levels of accountability and transparency to the Michigan House of Representatives and all aspects of state government.”The website referenced above can be found at: www.house.mi.gov/FinancialsEmployee.asp.#####About Rep. Hernandez:State Representative Hernandez grew up in Croswell and now lives in Port Huron with his wife Renee and two children, Kelsey and Kara. Hernandez credits his family upbringing for his conservative principles. His father, Salvador Hernandez Jr., worked his way up from general laborer to boiler operator at the Croswell pickle factory. Hernandez witnessed firsthand that hard work and determination can lead to success. Categories: Featured news,Hernandez News,News
Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe continues his efforts to cut taxes for Michigan families, supporting a plan that advanced through the state Legislature this week.The bills preserve and increase personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on state income taxes, potentially saving families hundreds of dollars overall.“This is a two-part reform, and both parts are important to Michigan families,” Bellino said. “The first part is a necessary step to allow parents to continue claiming personal exemptions for themselves and their kids, as they have done for years. The second part increases the amount of those exemptions, so people can keep more of what they earn. And I’d much rather see families keep that money for themselves instead of sending it off to Lansing.”The legislation ensures Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes, a necessary step after federal tax reforms signed into law in December. In addition, the bills increase the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,900 by the 2021 tax year.That translates into significant savings. The technical fix related to the federal reforms saves $170 per person per year — or $680 for a family of four – on state income taxes. The plan to raise the personal exemption to $4,900 provides $102 in additional relief for a family of four.The legislation also allows taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax to continue to claim exemptions.Senate Bills 748 and 750 advance to the governor for his consideration.Bellino’s votes to cut taxes were accompanied this week by his vital role in approving legislation to end driver responsibility fees on Oct. 1. Bellino helped sponsor the package to end the fees, which he said “will give people a fresh start and help improve the quality of life for Michigan families.” Categories: Bellino News,News 15Feb Bellino supports income tax cuts as plan sails through Michigan Legislature
20Feb Rep. Glenn: Expand Electric Choice to agriculture industry Producers testify at committee meeting State Rep. Gary Glenn, chair of the House Energy Policy Committee, today said Michigan’s agriculture industry should be able to choose alternative energy providers outside the 10 percent cap currently allowed by law.Glenn (R-Williams Township), sponsor of House Bill 5387 extending choice to the agriculture industry, heard from producers and others in the agriculture industry about energy costs and how money could be saved if they were allowed to choose a utility company instead of being limited to DTE Energy and Consumers Energy.Glenn said the state’s farmers, producers and processors already struggle to grow crops, raise food animals, and prepare those products for sale, and saving money on electricity could mean the difference between success and failure.“Michigan’s agriculture industry contributes $101 billion annually to the state’s economy,” Glenn said. “The profit margin in agriculture is slim, so anything we can do to help them keep some of the money they work so hard to make is of immense help to them. If we allowed more electric choice for farmers, they would have that opportunity.“Allowing agricultural operations to choose where they buy their electricity will potentially save millions of dollars for Michigan’s second-largest industry and lower the cost of products for consumers,” Glenn said.Testimony was offered by representatives of Michigan Sugar Company, the Michigan Agribusiness Association and the POET ethanol plant in Caro. Both said energy costs are among the top expenses of doing business in Michigan, and having choice of energy providers could save money and make production more effective.The committee continues to consider the legislation.##### Categories: Glenn News,News
M77 Group-owned Czech pay TV platform Skylink has launched a new package with nine channels for €9.60 a month or €105.60 a year.The package contains Filmbox Family, Filmbox Extra 1, Filmbox HD, FightBox HD, Docubox HD, Fashionbox HD, Erox HD, EroXX HD and EroXXX HD.
Liberty Global has appointed Telenet’s senior vice president of strategy, investor relations and corporate communications, Vincent Bruyneel, as its new VP of strategy and corporate development.Bruyneel is due to take up his new post on May 1 and leaves Telenet after 10 years working for the Liberty Global-owned Belgian Cable operator, having joined in 2004 to assist the company with its IPO process.“Vincent Bruyneel has had a big share in Telenet’s success over the past ten years,” said Telenet CEO John Porter. “I wish Vincent all the best with his new challenge at Liberty Global and look forward to working with him in his new position.”From May 1, Telenet’s CFO Birgit Conix will take responsibility for investor relations. Meanwhile, Ann Caluwaerts, senior vice president of corporate affairs and media, will manage the corporate communication division. A new head of the strategy division will be announced at a later date.
Mediaset turned in a net loss for the first quarter on lower revenues in both Italy and Spain, while revenues for the group’s Premium pay TV business were more or less flat year-on-year. In Italy, the group noted that the media sector “is still not benefiting from any clear signals of a recovery in consumer demand”. It said it would continue to resist a price cutting strategy.In Spain, Mediaset said it saw “much clearer” signs of recovery and the company expects advertising revenues to rise moderately in the second quarter.Overall, the company said it was “difficult” to make reliable predictions for the rest of the year but said that it remain focused on multiplatform development and “the strategic evolution of the payTV business”.Overall, Mediaset posted revenues of €820.8 million, down from €831.6 million for the same period last year. EBIT was €29.6 million compared with €53.4 million for the prior year. The group posted a net loss of €12.5 million compared with a profit of €9.3 million for the first quarter of 2013.In Italy, revenues for the Premium pay TV business for the quarter stood at €142.8 million, down from €144.5 million for the same period last year.Mediaset suffered from lower advertising revenues in both Italy and – to a lesser extent – Spain.
Opera Software has signed a deal with German motion-picture syndicator Videovalis, bringing a number of German-language on-demand video apps to the Opera TV Store. Videovalis has distribution rights for more than 21 regional German broadcasters, and produces its own entertainment content.The first set of 24 Videovalis applications include VIP News, Kränk, TV Berlin and München TV, which are live now on the Opera TV Store in Germany, Switzerland and Austria.Videovalis is building the apps using Opera’s free Opera TV Snap software. The Opera TV Store can be accessed from smart TV devices made by the likes of Vestel, Sony, Samsung and TiVo.
Vodafone España and Valencia Football Club have successfully completed a trial of LTE Broadcast technology to distribute five simultaneous channels of live HD content to fans’ mobile devices in Mestalla Stadium during Valencia CF’s last Spanish League match against Celta de Vigo. The trial used Thomson Video Networks’ eMBMS-compliant ViBE VS7000 encoder to convert the HD streams to mobile formats during the trial, which was completed on May 17.The trial delivered exclusive video content to Valencia CF fans in the arena via a new application on their mobile devices.“All over the world, 4G LTE networks are changing the way consumers think about accessing video on their mobile devices. The growth of 4G LTE-capable devices is exploding, and video traffic over the Internet and mobile networks will reach unprecedented levels over the next few years. The rapid evolution and innovation of mobile consumer devices is not only driving an ever-increasing demand for HD services, but also differentiated value-added services such as live in-event broadcasts,” said Christophe Delahousse, president, Thomson Video Networks.“With the ViBE VS7000, we’re staying on the forefront of these trends. Building on an extensive feature set that already includes MPEG-DASH for linear and non-linear output and complemented by proven integration with eMBMS technology, the ViBE VS7000 provides a unique answer to operators and service providers looking to expand their service portfolios to video broadcast and multicast offerings over 4G LTE networks.”
Vodafone UK has launched its fixed high-speed broadband offering nationwide to existing customers today, offering speeds of up to 76Mbps.Vodafone is emphasising the converged nature of its offering. A Vodafone Connect mobile app, coupled with the company’s fixed-line routers, can offer customers the ability to prioritise bandwidth to certain devices – a feature known as ‘Boost’. Other features include ‘Beam’, involving the use of beam-forming technology to enable users to focus WiFi signals to compatible devices wherever they are in the home.Another feature, ‘Family Time’, enables users to manage and set time limits, giving them control over when WiFi as available and when it is not, and ‘Guest WiFi’, which allows customers to enable household guests to access their WiFi clouds via a single click.Vodafone is offering three tiers – Superfast Fibre+ Broadband offering up to 76Mbps, Superfast Fibre Broadband offering up to 38Mbps and Broadband ADSL offering up to 17Mbps.The company is giving existing customers £5 off the standard price each month, and an additional half-price offer for the first 12 months. Post-paid mobile customers will get inclusive calls to landlines and 300 free minutes to mobile customers. The Superfast Fibre+ offering will be available for £25 (€35) to non-customers later this year, but will be available for £20 to Vodafone mobile customers, and for £10 for the first year. The standard price for 38Mbps is £20 and the price for ADSL is £10, with the same discount regime applying for mobile customers. Line rental of £16.99 must be paid on top, with a 20% discount available for upfront payments for 10-12 months.The launch comes ahead of Vodafone’s planned launch of its TV offering for the UK, which is reportedly scheduled for November.“We have had great feedback on our broadband service from the customers involved in our regional launch. We are really pleased that they are finding the speeds as fast as they hoped for, while the Vodafone Connect companion app gives them an unprecedented level of control over their devices. We are looking forward to many other customers taking us up on our great offer and joining us on our journey to be the UK’s leading providers of entertainment services,” said Jeroen Hoencamp, CEO of Vodafone UK.
TF1’s potential acquisition of production and sales group Newen has sparked a furious reaction from France Télévisions.The French pubcaster has suspended all of its development work with Newen after market-leading commercial broadcaster TF1 released a statement that revealed it could take a majority stake in the Paris-based indie firm.Newen makes shows such as France 3 soap opera Plus Belle la Vie and France 2 series Nina.A strongly-worded statement reacting to the negotiations claimed it was responsible for more than two-thirds of Newen’s revenues, and that a deal raised alarming wider issues for its production arrangements with indies.“We reject the idea that France Télévisions’ investments, principally financed by citizens’ contribution through the licence fee, can today be the object of this type of commercial negotiation,” the statement read.“It is the ideas, know-how and expertise developed in partnership with the public service that would constitute the essential part of this operation between our principal supplier and one of our principal competitors.”Therefore, France Télévisions is suspending all developments and projects with Newen as of today, and added it “reserves all rights to take further action… This raises, in a crucial and urgent way, the question of a new arrangement between France Télévisions and the producers.”Neither TF1 or Newen had responded to requests for comment at press time.
US pay TV giant Dish Network lost a record 281,000 pay TV subscribers in the second quarter amid strong competition and a carriage dispute with channels group Tribune Media that saw a number of services withdrawn.Dish Network said that it had 13.593 million pay TV customers at the end of the quarter, down from 13.932 million at the same point last year. The number includes Dish’s Sling TV OTT offering, with satellite numbers not being revealed separately.Dish said it activated 527,000 gross new pay TV subs in the quarter, down from 638,000 for the same period last year.Total revenue was more or less flat at US$3.84 billion (€3.5 billion), up from US$3.83 billion last year. Net income was US$410 million, up from US$324 million.Dish also lost 15,000 net broadband customers, taking its total to 613,000.Last month Tribune Media withdrew 42 local broadcast channels from the platform in a carriage terms dispute. However, Dish also blamed the subscriber losses on increased competition, stricter customers acquisition policies and a focus on acquiring higher value subscribers.
Netflix has teamed up with Dolby Laboratories to deliver the first combined Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision high-dynamic range (HDR) streaming experience to consumers around the world.With the release of Netflix Original Movie Okja, Netflix subscribers around the world will have access to the first combined Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision experience streaming from Netflix to select LG TVs.Additional supported titles are promised soon.The combined Dolby Atmos and Dolby Vision streaming experience from Netflix will be available on 2017 LG OLED TVs pending an update. Over time, Netflix plans to roll out support to additional devicesDolby Atmos is currently available via the Microsoft Xbox game console, with users able to connect their console to a Dolby Atmos enabled home theater system, TV or soundbar, or via headphones using the new Dolby Atmos for headphones feature available for purchase through the Dolby Access app in the Xbox Store.“Netflix and Dolby share the same vision for delivering spectacular experiences to consumers. With consumers already able to experience Dolby Vision on Netflix, it was a natural continuation of our partnership to bring a new level of immersive audio with Dolby Atmos to Netflix members around the world,” said Giles Baker, SVP, consumer entertainment group, Dolby Laboratories.“With the addition of Dolby Atmos support on Netflix, we are enabled to deliver the most cutting-edge experience to our global members and provide another creative tool to the artists. I’m excited for Netflix members all over the world to be able to get a theatre-quality experience in the comfort of their own homes,” said Greg Peters, chief product officer, Netflix.
This week brought the news that the UK’s two leading broadcasters plan to launch a joint domestic SVOD product later this year, having agreed a joint vision for the service.The BBC and ITV plan to produce a formal legal agreement for the service, which they say will be open to other partners.The pair said the new service – which will leverage the expertise they have built up with their North American niche SVOD offering of the same name – will house the biggest collection of British content available on any streaming service and will provide new commissions for British production companies.The service will have to pass muster with regulators, but the concept gives a kind of shape to the vision promoted by Ofcom CEO Sharon White last November when she called for the UK’s PSBs to bring their on-demand services together to create a ‘Brit Player’.Assuming regulators are favourable – and it is worth noting that White’s call was short on specifics and on the kind of business model that would be acceptable – will BritBox work?The vision outlined so far leaves much still to be pinned down. Speaking after ITV’s results were announced, CEO Carolyn McCall said that BritBox is “our exciting new SVOD proposition”, but did not give details on the pricing or very much on the content mix, although she did emphasise that original content will be part of that mix alongside older content that is no longer available via BBC iPlayer or ITV Hub.McCall said that ITV’s net investment in BritBox will be up to £25 million in 2019, rising to around £40 million in 2020 and declining thereafter.If this seems somewhat light in view of the financial black hole that other SVOD investors are willing to tumble down in search of scale, ITV’s CFO Chris Kennedy clarified, during the company’s earnings call, that these numbers referred to the net impact on ITV’s own bottom line, with revenue from the service offsetting that over time. However, that would seem to imply either some pretty big revenue expectations or some pretty modest expenditure expectations.McCall said that ITV would be “disciplined” in its approach to investing in the platform and made the point that the project hopes to attract other partners who will also be expected to pony up some additional cash. Nevertheless, the service that seems to be envisaged is clearly not going to compete head on with Netflix.McCall also made it clear that ITV – and any additional commercial partners – would be responsible for the original content element of the service, rather than the BBC, which cannot produce licence-fee funded content specifically for a pay platform. (Much of the press and public reaction to news of the plan shows the challenges the BBC faced in making the case for any of its licence-fee funded content being on a pay platform at any time, despite the point that BritBox will have to pay for content produced by the pubcaster down the line in the same way as other commercial providers – with the money in this case reinvested in BBC free-to-view content.)How this will play in the relationship between the pair and the appeal of the service to its target audience remains to be seen. It is not clear, given the modest investment commitment, how much or what kind of original content will find its way to BritBox. Originals are the key selling point for any SVOD service with ambitions to more than a very niche offering aimed primarily at squeezing some more money out of underutilised assets. How far the BBC and ITV share the same vision of the service, and the way to realise that vision, is not yet clear.In the earnings call, McCall cited ITV research that showed 43% of all online homes are interested in subscribing to a new SVOD service which features British content, rising to over 50% of homes with an existing Netflix subscription (who would be willing to add something like BritBox on top).That figure of 43% coincidently is exactly the proportion of UK homes that have access to an existing SVOD service in the UK, according to data published recently by BARB.According to BARB, the number of homes with at least one of Netflix, Amazon or Now TV grew by 5.7% on Q3 to reach 12.3 million at the end of last year, with 660,000 additional homes taking at least one SVOD service compared to the previous quarter. Netflix and Amazon made gains of 6.2% and 7.6% respectively compared to Q3, while Now TV dropped 3%. While every Q4 has shown growth, Q4 2018 was the lowest since 2014.Four and three apparently having some kind of occult significance for UK SVOD, BARB also reported that the number of homes with two or more services stood at 4.3 million at the end of the period.Will BritBox’s appeal expand that 4.3 million to the full 43% of homes with a current SVOD offering (in other words, 100% of the current SVOD universe) or are there other homes out there that have remained immune to the appeal of Netflix, Amazon Prime and Now TV in the hope that a service offering archive content that has been previously aired on free TV will turn up?Of course BritBox does not need to win over 43% of UK online homes to be labelled a success. But a service that will most likely be priced at a significant discount to Netflix will have to win over a pretty significant number of adherents if it’s going to top up ITV’s £65 million for this year and next and feed back into the kind of original production that would give it momentum.If elements of the BritBox announcement feel rushed and lacking in specifics, with only two of the UK’s PSBs currently on board, that is probably because the pair know that time is not on their side. BARB’s figures already indicate a flattening out in SVOD growth, with consumers perhaps beginning to baulk at spending ever greater sums on services they have a limited amount of time to use. That is not to say BritBox is doomed, but it is going to have its work cut out.