Share Travelweek Group Tags: Crystal Cruises Crystal’s ‘Sell 3,Sail Free’ is back with free cruises for agents Posted by Friday, April 7, 2017 LOS ANGELES — Praising travel agents as some of its “greatest ambassadors”, Crystal Cruises is bringing back its ‘Sell 3, Sail Free’ travel agent promotion. Travel pros get the chance to earn complimentary sailings while clients get added savings.Agents selling three suites aboard select November and December 2017 and all 2018 Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises’ Crystal Esprit between now and Dec. 23, 2017 will earn a free sailing for themselves and a guest aboard any 2018 Crystal Esprit voyage.Crystal Yacht Expedition Cruises is preparing for its inaugural West Indies season beginning this fall.“Our travel agent partners are some of our greatest ambassadors and there is no better way to reward their efforts than with the opportunity to enjoy the unmatched luxury they tout to their clients,” says Crystal Cruises Chairman, CEO and President, Edie Rodriguez.Billed as a boutique luxury hotel on water, the all-suite, butler-serviced Crystal Esprit is ideally suited to explore exotic harbours throughout the Mediterranean and the West Indies, with just 62 passengers. All-inclusive indulgences range from Michelin star-inspired cuisine and an endless pour of fine wines, champagnes and spirits to a choice of one complimentary Crystal Adventure ashore in every port.More news: Kory Sterling is TL Network Canada’s new Sales Manager CanadaBooking and occupancy conditions apply. Agents are asked to call 1-800-446-6620 for more information. << Previous PostNext Post >>
Cuba cruise calls, flights exempt but new Kempinski blacklisted << Previous PostNext Post >> Source: The Associated Press Thursday, November 9, 2017 Share Tags: Cuba WASHINGTON — While Canadian travellers are still flocking to Cuba’s beaches in record numbers, American travellers with Cuba on their wish list are even less likely to go now that President Trump’s administration has handed down specific travel, commerce and financial restrictions for the island.Now off-limits to U.S. citizens are dozens of Cuban hotels, shops, tour companies and other businesses included on a lengthy American blacklist of entities that have links to Cuba’s military, intelligence or security services.Blacklisted hotels include the Manzana Kempinski, which opened with great fanfare this year as Cuba’s first to meet the international five-star standard.Most Americans will once again be required to travel as part of heavily regulated, organized tour groups run by U.S. companies, rather than voyaging to Cuba on their own.The stricter rules are the implementation of Trump’s revised Cuba policy announced in Miami back in June. They mark a return to the tougher U.S. stance toward Cuba that existed before former President Barack Obama and Cuban President Raul Castro restored diplomatic relations in 2015.“These measures confirm there is a serious reversal in bilateral relations which has occurred as a result of the decisions taken by the government of President Donald Trump,” said Josefina Vidal, the top Cuban diplomat for North America.However the overall impact on American business with Cuba will be limited. Trade is sparse as it is and many American travellers already stay at hotels not on the no-go list.Cruise ship calls and direct commercial flights between the countries will still be permitted.More news: Sunwing ready to launch Mazatlán-Quebec City direct this winterThe rules are designed to steer U.S. economic activity away from Cuba’s military, intelligence and security services, which dominate much of the economy through state-controlled corporations. The goal is to encourage financial support for Cuba’s growing private sector, said senior Trump administration officials, who briefed reporters on a conference call on condition they not be quoted by name.“We have strengthened our Cuba policies to channel economic activity away from the Cuban military and to encourage the government to move toward greater political and economic freedom for the Cuban people,” Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.The new policy maintains several categories of travel to Cuba that are permitted despite the embargo, which carries on decades after the Cold War’s end. Americans can still travel on educational and “people to people” trips as well as visits designed to support the Cuban people by patronizing privately owned small businesses that have popped up across the island in recent years.But those travelling to support Cuba’s people must have a daylong schedule of activities designed to expose them to Cubans and steer dollars toward citizens, such as renting rooms in private homes. Those on organized, “people to people” or educational visits must be accompanied by a representative of the U.S.-based group organizing the trip.Vidal, the Cuban diplomat who was the public face of Cuba’s opening with the United States during the Obama administration, said the policy would harm Cuba’s economy, American citizens and U.S. businesses. The rules were also quickly denounced by travel groups and proponents of closer U.S. ties to the island.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthThe rules come amid deep strains in the U.S.-Cuba relationship stemming from invisible, unexplained attacks that have harmed more than two dozen U.S. government personnel in Havana since 2016. The attacks led the Trump administration to order most of its diplomats to leave Cuba in September and issue a sweeping travel warning urging Americans to stay away.Officials insisted that the new, tougher rules had no connection to the attacks. The U.S. first complained to Cuba’s government about the attacks in February, four months before Trump announced his broader policy intentions.Some exceptions will accommodate Americans who already plan to visit Cuba. Those who booked “people to people” trips before Trump’s June announcement will be exempt, along with Americans who organized education trips before the rules start on Thursday. Business deals already reached with entities on the prohibited list will be allowed to proceed.It’s unclear how aggressively the U.S. will police the new rules. Officials said they would use information obtained from several U.S. agencies to catch violators, who could be subject to penalties and criminal prosecution.The blacklist bars business with the large military-run corporations that dominate the Cuban economy. These include GAESA and CIMEX, holding companies that control most retail business on the island; Gaviota, the largest tourism company; and Habaguanex, which runs Old Havana.With files from The Associated Press
Associated PressHAVANA (AP) – Cuban first daughter Mariela Castro has been granted a U.S. visa to attend events in San Francisco and New York, sparking a firestorm of criticism from Cuban-American politicians who called her an enemy of democracy and a shill for the Communist government her family has led for decades.The trip, which kicks off next week when Castro is due to chair a panel on sexual diversity at a conference organized by the Latin American Studies Association, is among several to the United States by prominent Cubans, some with close links to the government. Cuban academics, scientists and economists now frequently attend seminars in the United States, and Cuban artists and entertainers are also finding it easier to visit the U.S. due to an easing of travel restrictions by President Barack Obama’s administration. Sponsored Stories The LASA International Congress, which includes hundreds of sessions on academic topics, takes place May 23-26 in San Francisco, a city closely associated with the history of the gay rights movement. Cuba’s state-run press said Castro will be among 40 Cuban experts in attendance.According to the website of the New York Public Library, Castro is also to take part in a May 29 talk with Rea Carey, director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, about international gay rights, as well as sexual identity and orientation in Cuba.The trip was confirmed by an official at her institute and a State Department official, both of whom spoke on condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to discuss the matter. The State Department official said several other Cubans who wanted to attend the LASA conference were denied visas.State Department Spokeswoman Victoria Nuland declined to comment, citing rules that prohibit discussion of individual visa applications. But she said that if Castro shows up in San Francisco it would be a “fair assumption” that she had entered the country legally.LASA president Maria Herminia Tavares de Almeida, a University of Sao Paulo professor of international relations and political science, said Castro was selected for her expertise on gender issues, not for her famous family. Patients with chronic pain give advice How Arizona is preparing the leader of the next generation New high school in Mesa lets students pick career paths Top Stories “She’s coming as any other researcher or participant that has attended a call for papers and had their paper accepted,” Almeida told The Associated Press in a phone interview. “It’s an academic issue, not a political issue.”Almeida added that in recent years LASA had stopped holding its congresses in the United States because it was too difficult for Cuban academics to get U.S. visas, especially during the Bush administration. This time, the association felt that relations seemed to be improving so they brought the event to San Francisco, Almeida said, though some Cuban academics’ visa requests were denied.Other prominent Cubans who have received U.S. visas recently include Eusebio Leal, a historian who has spearheaded the renovation of Old Havana and sits on the powerful Communist Party Central Committee. He is currently on a visit to New York and Washington.Mariela Castro, despite being the president’s daughter and niece of retired revolutionary leader Fidel Castro, has no official link to the government, though her organization presumably receives state funding. It is not known whether she is a Communist Party member.Cuban-American Sen. Robert Menendez, a New Jersey Democrat, slammed the visa decision on Wednesday, even before the visit was announced. ____Associated Press writers Paul Haven and Peter Orsi in Havana and Matthew Lee in Washington contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Four benefits of having a wireless security system More Valley freeways to be closed this weekend for improvements Menendez called Mariela Castro “a vociferous advocate of the regime and opponent of democracy.” On Thursday, four other Cuban-American lawmakers added their voices to the outcry, noting that State Department guidelines prohibit visas to officers of the Communist Party or government of Cuba.“The administration’s appalling decision to allow regime agents into the U.S. directly contradicts Congressional intent and longstanding U.S. foreign policy,” wrote Representatives Mario Diaz-Balart, Ileana Ros-Lehtinen and David Rivera of Florida, along with Albio Sires of New Jersey in a letter to Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton.“While the Cuban people struggle for freedom against increasing brutality at the hands of Castro’s thugs, the Obama administration is greeting high-level agents of that murderous dictatorship with open arms,” they wrote. “It is shameful that the Obama Administration would waive the common sense restrictions in place to appease the Castro dictatorship once again.”Others said the hardliners were stirring up controversy over something that has happened many times before.“It’s a very positive thing they give her the visa,” said Wayne Smith, America’s former top diplomat in Cuba and a critic of the U.S. embargo on the island. “You have to consider the source, where the criticism is coming from. They don’t want dialogue.” Meghan McCain to release audiobook on conservatism, family 0 Comments Share Think Tank analyzes the second round of Democratic debates Castro, 50, is a noted advocate of gay rights and head of Cuba’s National Center for Sex Education. She has pushed for the island to legalize gay marriage for years, so far without success. She recently praised Obama’s stance in support of same sex marriage, and said her father, President Raul Castro, also favors such a measure, though he has not said so publically.It will not be Mariela Castro’s first visit to the United States. She was granted a visa to attend an event in Los Angeles in 2002, during Republican President George W. Bush’s administration, and also made stops in Virginia and Washington.Prominent Americans have also been frequent visitors to Cuba. Former U.S. President Jimmy Carter came last March, and a bi-partisan delegation led by U.S. Senator Patrick Leahy, a Vermont Democrat, was here in February, meeting with President Castro as well as an imprisoned American subcontractor.Carmelo Mesa-Lago, the dean of Cuba economy-watchers and an expert at the University of Pittsburgh, said Cuba has long had a large presence at the LASA conference, without sparking much protest.“Academic exchanges like these are not new, but what’s different in this case is who she is,” he said.
Observation Hill and Hospital Park residents are frustrated after being without water for the last half hour.According to uThukela District Municipality, a burst pipe has been reported in Cilliers Street.Technicians are working on solving the problem, and homeowners should have water by 5pm or 6pm. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
A horror crash took place this afternoon on the Colenso road, leaving five dead and many others sesiously injured.Details of the crash are still sketchy at this stage. It is alleged that there was a shoot-out that left one person dead. A taxi travelling along the road at the same time then hit a truck head-on. Paramedics had to use the jaws of life to free the injured and also remove the dead.Sharaj, EMRS, Public Safety, police and the fire department are on scene.This story will be updated. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Sponsored By Connatix The article points out that Storm’s goal with the lawsuit was to send a message to parents about the consequences of their actions.“Enough is enough. I wanted to do something for other coaches,” he shared.“My hope is people will at least start to think about what they’re saying, think about what they do before they send that email.”Head here to read more on the story, including some information on previous cases where coaches sued parents and won. Mark Storm had spent over 30 years coaching basketball, baseball, softball, and soccer at Honeoye Central (NY) until 2015 when a few parents of his players got together and wrote a letter to their school board claiming Storm was verbally abusive, had broken promises to players, and had a drinking problem.Fast forward a few months later and the board of education voted 5-2 against renewing storms contract as the varsity boy’s basketball coach.Outside of the fact that parents sent that letter to the school board, the situation may sound similar to any other coach in any other sport being let go, but that’s where things take an interesting turn.Coach Storm fought back, according to the Democrat and Chronicle, filing a defamation lawsuit against the parents who wrote the letter. Storm was seeking $150,000 in damages, but ended up settling with the group of parents for $50,000.
06Sep House approves Chatfield bill averting election confusion in Sault Ste. Marie Categories: Chatfield News Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner, right, testifies in support of the bill Wednesday before the House Elections and Ethics Committee. At left is Chris Hackbarth, director of state and federal affairs for the Michigan Municipal League.The Michigan House of Representatives today approved legislation introduced by state Rep. Lee Chatfield providing a one-time solution for communities dealing with a mix-up over the filing deadline for candidates seeking local office.Chatfield, of Levering, introduced the bill following a mistake in Sault Ste. Marie that would leave a number of candidates intending to run for city office off the November ballot.“While the circumstances that resulted in the need for this legislation are not ideal, it is my job to fight for the people of my district and ensure they have a smooth and fair election process,” Chatfield said. “This bill eliminates the confusion, while also providing some accountability measures to safeguard against similar mistakes in the future.”A state law passed in 2014 requires nominating petitions for candidates seeking office be filed at least 15 weeks before the August primary. However, Sault Ste. Marie’s city charter still identifies the filing deadline as 12 weeks before the primary. The mix-up means the names of five candidates running for city council and two running for mayor could be left off the ballot, despite the fact that they filed before the 12-week cutoff provided by the city clerk.The cities of Tecumseh, Bessemer and Lake Angelus made similar errors.Chatfield’s legislation ensures mayoral and city council candidates who filed petitions with the necessary signatures will be placed on the ballot for the November election.The bill requires the four cities in need of the legislative fix abide by the following accountability provisions:The city clerk must attend annual training seminars.The city clerk must submit nominating petitions, calendars and correspondence regarding elections to the Secretary of State (SOS) for approval.The SOS will conduct post-election audits after the November 2017, 2018 and 2019 elections.The SOS will conduct an administrative audit this summer and report findings by Feb. 28, 2018.There will be pre-election precinct election inspections and training. State Rep. Lee Chatfield, right, speaks on behalf of his legislation to ensure mayoral and city council candidates in Sault Ste. Marie who filed petitions with the necessary signatures will be placed on the ballot for the November election. Rep. Bronna Kahle, of Clinton, joins him before the House Elections and Ethics Committee.In addition, an amendment made during the legislative process would impose a $2,500 civil fine on the four affected communities, which would be used to offset costs associated with the additional tasks required of the Secretary of State’s Office.Chatfield said he’s pleased the House took quick action on the measure, and is hopeful for similar results in the Senate.“State law requires absentee ballots go out to military and overseas civilian voters by Sept. 23,” Chatfield said. “Time is of the essence if we’re going to give these communities enough time to print ballots and send them out by the deadline.”Sault Ste. Marie City Manager Oliver Turner joined Chatfield this morning to speak on behalf of the bill in front of the House Elections and Ethics Committee.“The proposed legislation would preserve the integrity of our local elections process, promote stability, and would not imperial the ability of all of our voters – including overseas veterans – to vote,” Turner said.House Bill 4892 now moves to the Senate for consideration.###
Snyder’s task force explored the critical challenges posed by Michigan’s underfunded local government employee retirement systems – which have unfunded liabilities fast approaching $20 billion.The legislation creates a reporting system with uniform financial and accounting standards for local government retirement plans. An early detection system will help local governments and the state identify potential funding problems and act quickly to mitigate them. Communities will be vetted through a state treasurer’s fiscal impact evaluation and retirement systems will be flagged as underfunded when municipalities aren’t meeting recommended criteria to alleviate their debts.Communities will be required to make a minimum level of payments related to retirement systems for new hires.“By following the recommendations of the task force, we’re doing exactly what Midland Fire Chief Chris Coughlin and the city’s firefighters told us they wanted,” Glenn said. “This is an important step toward protecting their retirement benefits, and the benefits of all our dedicated public safety personnel.”#####House Bill 5298 and companion bills advance to the Senate. 07Dec Rep. Glenn votes in favor of reforms to help protect retiree benefits for police, firefighters Categories: Glenn News,News State Rep. Gary Glenn today voted in favor of legislation to protect public services and the retirement benefits for police, firefighters and other local government employees in Michigan.The reforms emphasize proper reporting from local governments to pinpoint ones that may be in financial trouble due to underfunded retirement plans. The legislation mirrors recommendations from a task force assembled earlier this year by Gov. Rick Snyder.“Our first responders put their safety on the line every single day to make sure the rest of us are safe,” Glenn, of Williams Township, said after the legislation was approved in the Michigan House. “We are taking important steps with this legislation to help ensure the benefits that have been promised to police and firefighters are available when they enter their well-deserved retirement.”
02Feb Rep. Frederick announces February office hours Categories: Frederick News State Rep. Ben Frederick of Owosso has set his in-district office hours for Monday, Feb. 12 at the following times and locations:9 to 10:30 a.m. at Rauchholz Memorial Library, 1140 N. Hemlock Road, in Hemlock; and3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Corunna Library, 210 E. Corunna Ave., in Corunna.“I look forward to sitting down with residents of my community to discuss the important issues that matter most to them,” Frederick said. “I encourage people to stop by with any concerns, issues, or ideas they may have.”No appointment is necessary. Anyone unable to meet during the scheduled times may contact Rep. Frederick’s office at (517) 373-0841 or email at BenFrederick@house.mi.gov.
Share8TweetShare2Email10 Shares“Opium poppy (post harvest)” by Laughlin ElkindMay 2, 2017; Associated Press, “AP News”The state of Georgia is exhibiting some isolationist tendencies when it comes to addiction treatment. Frustrated with the high number of Tennessee residents who cross into Georgia to receive methadone treatment, legislators introduced rules that make it harder to open more clinics in the areas of the state near the Tennessee border.Georgia has 71 treatment centers, the most in the South; Florida has twice Georgia’s population, yet has only 69 centers. At least 12 states have fewer than 10 clinics each.Tennessee has some of the worst health statistics in the country, particularly when it comes to addiction. Over 15 percent of the state’s adult residents lack basic medical care because of cost barriers; 16 percent have no health insurance. Over 1,200 residents died of substance abuse in 2014, and one in six Tennesseans are estimated to be in various stages of misuse, abuse, and treatment.Tennessee has been struggling to deal with the problem since 2012, when the state passed the Prescription Safety Act and determined that mothers whose babies tested positive for drugs would go to jail (a provision of the law since ended). Strict rules were set governing pain management clinics and the dispensing of addiction treatment drugs like methadone (which state Medicaid doesn’t cover anyway), causing half the 300 addiction treatment centers in the state to close between 2015-2017.Right across the border in Georgia, the opioid addiction crisis also looms, but treatment is a bit easier to find; according to the Associated Press, until the recent legislative efforts, “open competition was really the only constraint on the number of clinics in Georgia.” There are 71 treatment centers in Georgia, more than anywhere else in the South.AP reports that “Last year, one in five people treated at an opioid treatment center in Georgia came from out of state, according to state Department of Behavioral Health and Developmental Disabilities records obtained by the Associated Press under an open records request. In the northwest corner of Georgia [near the Tennessee border], two out of every three patients were from out of state.”It’s not that Georgia has a robust public health system; 22 percent of adults in the state have no insurance. Neither Georgia nor Tennessee joined the Medicaid expansion offered under the Affordable Care Act. But even though their overall healthcare system isn’t necessarily better than Tennessee’s, looser regulation encourages people to come to Georgia’s clinics. Georgia spends 14.4 percent of its state budget on addiction and substance abuse, and two percent of that amount on prevention and treatment.Both states are alarmed by elements of the proposed American Health Care Act. One version of that bill eliminated the option offered by ACA for people to enroll in Medicaid specifically for substance abuse treatment, even if their state did not accept the federal expansion. Sixty-four percent of addiction treatment centers in the U.S. accept Medicaid, though most of these are concentrated in New England, California, Chicago, and Detroit.Georgians are concerned about cost and safety when out-of-area patients come to treatment centers, officials say. Catoosa County Sheriff Gary Sisk said, “We can’t be the solution for all the surrounding states,” and expressed concerns about potential crime increases. (Fortunately for Sheriff Sisk, a 2016 report in the Journal of Studies on Alcohol and Drugs found more crime associated with convenience stores than with opioid treatment programs.)NPQ has written about the opioid epidemic affecting the entire U.S. and the insufficient congressional efforts to address it. U.S. Health & Human Services Secretary Tom Price recently promised an additional half billion dollars in state grants for prevention and treatment programs. However, that money may not help afflicted Tennesseans—or Georgians, or Texans, or anyone else—if regulations and limited Medicaid access strangle the ability of treatment centers to help their patients. NPQ has also written about the lack of philanthropy in the Deep South, where it seems like some serious advocacy and education on this issue is needed.Georgia’s plan for limiting treatment tourism is legislation similar to Tennessee’s, which requires programs to demonstrate a need for their services in the area where they plan to open. (Given the statistics, this seems like it shouldn’t limit clinics at the moment, but it’s been effective in Tennessee.) If the legislation passes and is effective, nonprofits in the area may need to step up funding and efforts to deal with the patients left behind.— Erin RubinShare8TweetShare2Email10 Shares
Turkish public broadcaster Türkiye Radyo ve Televizyon Kurumu (TRT) has signed a multi-year contract with SES for the carriage of international channel TRT Turk on the Astra platform at 19.2° East.TRT will use former analogue capacity on Astra that became available when broadcasters in Germany switched off the analogue satellite signals on April 30.
News Corp’s chief digital officer Jonathan Miller is set to leave the company ahead of its move towards its proposed separation into two distinct companies.Miller, who was at News Corp for three years, was responsible for the company’s digital strategy including acquiring stakes in Roku and Bona Film Group. He also represented News Corp on the board of directors at streaming service Hulu. He will leave the company in September but will serve as an outside advisor through to the autumn of 2013.Rupert Murdoch, chairman and CEO of News Corporation, said: “Jon Miller is a visionary in the digital media industry, and his commitment to News Corporation over the last three years has driven us to truly evolve the way millions of people use new platforms to consume news and entertainment. As we prepare for our proposed company separation, I respect Jon’s desire to return to an operational, entrepreneurial role with a standalone company. He will be missed and I can’t thank him enough for his efforts and many valued contributions.”
Amazon has reportedly approached a number of large entertainment companies over plans to license live linear TV channels for a new online pay TV service. According to a Wall Street Journal report, Amazon is in early-stage discussions with media companies, and has approached “at least three big media conglomerates” looking to secure rights to distribute their channels online.The WSJ said that Amazon, which already offers subscription video-on-demand through its Prime Instant Video service in the US and Lovefilm in the UK and Germany, is yet to determine a business model for the virtual cable TV service. Citing people familiar with the matter, it also said it was still unclear whether the online retail client would move forward with the plan.However, in a statement, Amazon denied the report, saying “we continue to build selection for Prime Instant Video and create original shows at Amazon Studios, but we are not planning to license television channels or offer a pay-TV service.”The news follows an earlier WSJ report claiming that Amazon was also preparing a video-streaming set-top box to go up against rivals in the online TV space like Roku and Apple TV – though a rumoured release in time for Christmas 2013 never materialised.The latest reports come in the same week that that Intel confirmed it is selling its cloud TV division, Intel Media, to Verizon, after failing to bring its much-anticipated OnCue TV service to market following more than two years of development.
Peer-to-peer sharing company BitTorrent has taken the surprising step of launching an original online drama series that puts it in competition with the likes of Netflix and Amazon.The platform behind the BitTorrentprotocol is best known for allowing users to transfer huge amounts of data over the internet, which has lead various legal issues over illegal file-sharing of media content.However, the firm is now seeking to be seen as a legal distributor of premium content, and has launched its first original web series, according to AdWeek.Children of the Machine is an eight-episode sci-fi from Marco Weber (Igby Goes Down) and takes place in a futuristic society in which androids rule over humans.The male-skewed series, targeted at the largely-male BitTorrent user base, will be available via BitTorrent Bundle, a service that allows IP owners and artists to release content direct to market.The pilot and an ad-supported version of the show will be available for free, with a US$4.95 version skipping theads. For US$9.95 users will receive the series plus bonus content.Six weeks after the pilot is released, the rest of the series will be made available at once, a la the Netflix ‘binge’ model.“This is a science fiction show catered to the typical tech-savvy, male-dominated audience,” said Weber. “We’re not trying to launch a romantic comedy, so the concept of this show moved us toward BitTorrent.”IP owners using BitTorrent bundle gain 90% of the sales revenue, as well as data on the downloaders. There are more than two million legally licensed pieces of content on the site, according to AdWeek.
Dutch broadcaster SBS Broadcasting has launched S1.TV, a new online platform that will feature content from the “25 most talented video creators Netherlands”.The service will host web series that viewers will be able to see there from their laptop, tablet, mobile or television.SBS said that S1.TV will start modestly but will give a new meaning to the word ‘station’, with users able to keep up-to date by following the service on Instagram, Twitter or Facebook.
The Netherlands’ TV industry body Stichting KijkOnderzoek (SKO) has started delivering daily online TV ratings in partnership with Kantar Media.The ratings track the online consumption of TV programmes – initially from broadcasters NPO, RTL Netherlands and SBS broadcasting.The SKO said that the launch marks the first phase of its ‘Video Data Integration Model’, which integrates data sources for all online television programme and commercial viewing – with online commercials to be included in the coming month.“We are proud that we are now able to provide the market with the necessary insights to have an ever greater understanding of their audience,” said Bas de Vos, managing director of the SKO.“Kantar Media’s experience in hybrid approaches to measurement has enabled us to create, develop and implement an advanced data integration model that meets the needs of our members.”
Netflix has announced it is globally rolling out a new tool designed to help users better control how much data they use when they stream content over mobile networks.Users will now be able to set their mobile data usage by using the app settings menu on updated versions of the iOS and Android Netflix app – letting them specify whether they have high or low data usage caps.“Our goal is to give you more control and greater choice in managing your data usage whether you’re on an unlimited mobile plan or one that’s more restrictive,” said Netflix director of product innovation, Eddy Wu.Netflix said that the default setting will let users stream about three hours of TV shows and movies per gigabyte of data, which in terms of bitrates amounts to roughly 600 Kilobits per second.“Our testing found that, on cellular networks, this setting balances good video quality with lower data usage to help avoid exceeding data caps and incurring overage fees,” said Wu.Netflix first announced plans to launch this “data saver” feature for its mobile apps back in March.
Ang LeeCrouching Tiger and Brokeback Mountain director Ang Lee will give the keynote address at the IBC trade show in Amsterdam later this year.The movie screenwriter, producer and director will give his IBC address on the Monday of the event (September 12) as part of its Big Screen Experience strand.Lee is credited with pushing the boundaries of filmmaking, and filmmaking techniques, in his work and will talk about tech-related challenges and opportunities in his IBC address.Specifically, the Taiwanese director will talk about the new cinematography techniques used in his new Sony Pictures movie Billy Lynn’s Long Halftime Walk, which utilises a filmmaking method that has been dubbed ‘cinematic reality’.Julian Pinn, executive producer, IBC Big Screen Experience said: “For over two decades, Ang Lee has shown true mastery in utilising cutting-edge science and cinematographic techniques towards his creation of some of the very finest works of cinematic story-telling art.”
Some 61.1% of viewers watch over-the-top or subscription video-on-demand content as part of their daily viewing behaviour, according to TiVo-owned Digitalsmiths.The 15th edition of Digitalsmiths’ Video Trends Report, which polled viewers in the US and Canada, claims that on a daily basis 69.5% of viewers watch previously recorded TV and 85.7% watch live TV from their channel guide. According to the research, SVOD growth has been trending up with increases of 5.6% year-on-year, 9.2% over two years and 13.7% over three years.The top three subscription services were Netflix, Amazon Prime Video and Hulu, with 56.6% of those polled spending between US$6 and US$14 a month on SVOD services.Investigating the pricing of Netflix, the report said: “In Q3 2016, for the second quarter in a row, the largest group (39.4%) selected the US$12 to US$15 range as the most they would pay for Netflix service. Same as last quarter, the second largest group (30.4%) will not pay any more than they currently do.”Asked whether they would use a free version of Netflix or Hulu that required viewers to watch commercials, 69% of respondents answered yes. Some 83.3% of respondents said they would be willing to watch one to four commercials in a 30-minute period.In Q3 some 82.4% of total respondents had a pay TV subscription. However, of those that didn’t, 17.9% said they had cut their cable or satellite service in the last 12 months.Price was the top reason given by 82.9% of cord-cutters, while 59.5% cited using a service such as Netflic, Hulu or Amazon as a reason to churn away from their pay TV package.The Q3 2016 Video Trends Report is based on a survey of more than 3,100 Digitalsmiths customers. Digitalsmiths offers personalised video discovery that is designed to drive higher viewer engagement.
Ian McDonoughIan McDonough, Turner’s boss in Northern Europe, is leaving the channels business.He joined Turner in 2014 from BBC Worldwide where he had been EVP, covering the Central Eastern Europe, Middle East and Africa regions for the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster.At Turner he oversaw the Northern Europe operations, including the UK, where Turner recently sold out of the TruTV channel and has moved towards digital investments, buying into the likes of Bigballs Media.Turner confirmed McDonough’s exit, after UK trade Broadcast broke the news.“Ian McDonough has taken the decision to leave Turner,” the company said in a statement. “Ian has steered the Northern Europe business during a period of fast paced change and leaves the Turner channels portfolio in great shape.”Turner added it will be replacing the outgoing exec. “We have a strong and experienced management team in place who will run the day to day operation reporting into Giorgio Stock, president EMEA, who will be directly overseeing the Northern Europe business while we find the right candidate to lead the region going forward.”McDonough’s next move is not yet known but a Turner spokesman said: “Ian wants to devote more time to some family interests as well as explore new projects.”He recently oversaw the new deal between Turner and cable platform Virgin Media. Turner’s channel portfolio in Northern Europe includes Cartoon Network, Boomerang, Cartoonito, TCM and CNN International.