PANAMA CITY – An international consortium at loggerheads with Panama over work to expand the Panama Canal has presented a proposal to end a dispute over a $1.6 billion cost overrun, the group said late Thursday.GUPC, the consortium, “is continuing its efforts to find a solution and reach an agreement with the Panama Canal Authority (ACP) and has submitted a new proposal,” it said in a statement.It “addresses the concerns of the ACP while providing the funds necessary to finish the project,” the consortium said without giving details.The group halted work on the expansion two days ago after talks with the canal authority collapsed.It is led by Spanish construction company Sacyr and Italy’s Salini-Impregilo, and is demanding that Panama acknowledge the cost overrun, which Panama refuses to do.The consortium wants the initial contract price of $3.2 billion upped by one half to design and build a new set of locks, which is the main part of the expansion project.The two sides have locked horns since December over overruns on widening the canal to accomodate massive cargo ships in the century-old waterway, which handles five percent of global seaborne trade.The project to widen the canal, one of the biggest civil engineering operations in the world, was due to be completed next year. But GUPC has said that the dispute threatens to delay completion by up to five years.The canal facilities are being widened to permit the passage of ships carrying up to 12,000 containers, twice the current limit.But the disputed contract to build locks, due initially to be completed this year, was already running nine months late and since the beginning of this year work has slowed down further.GUPC is in dispute with the Panama Canal Authority mainly over who was responsible for the quality of geological information and who should bear the cost of problems and delays arising from unexpected geological difficulties.The canal, completed in 1914 to offer a short cut and safer journey for maritime traffic travelling between the Pacific and Atlantic oceans, is about 80 kilometres (50 miles) long and is used by 13,000-14,000 ships each year. Facebook Comments Related posts:Work resumes to expand Panama Canal Strike halts work on Panama Canal expansion Panama Canal widening should be finished in early 2016 after $400 million boost Work to resume Thursday on widening of Panama Canal
A day after it approved rate hikes last week for the Costa Rican Electricity Institute, or ICE, the Public Services Regulatory Authority (ARESEP) on Friday approved a decrease in electricity rates for all of the country’s electricity distributors. That change will take effect on Oct. 1.The rate change is a result of a formula ARESEP uses called the Variable Cost of Fuels. That variable takes into consideration the cost of oil purchases needed for thermal generation, and it applies to all electricity distributors in the country.Calculations for the last quarter resulted in rate decreases by up to 6.8 percent, depending on the distributor, and followed increased rainfall that helped replenish water reserves for hydroelectric power generation.National Power and Light Company (CNFL) customers will see the biggest rate cut at 6.8 percent. ICE customers will receive a 3.5 percent rate cut, following ARESEP’s approval last Thursday of a 3.7 percent increase for the next quarter to subsidize electricity importation. Customers of Heredia’s Public Service Company will see a 5.51 percent rate decrease, and rates from the Administrative Electricity Service of Cartago will drop by 6.51 percent.Last Friday, ARESEP officials said in a press release that they are concerned about “ongoing increases in electricity rates in recent years.” The agency said it had begun to take steps to better control rates hikes. ARESEP said it would seek to import more electricity “to replace inefficient thermal generation, whose marginal costs are higher than those of imported energy.” ARESEP also said it hoped to boost electricity exports to generate more revenue.Recommended: Delays, excuses and gripes mark approaching deadline for distributed electricity generation in Costa Rica Facebook Comments Related posts:Electricity rates for ICE customers to increase in October Electricity rates to remain unchanged through December 2015 Costa Rica’s industry sector leaders fed up with high electricity rates Solís calls for review of gasoline, electricity prices read more
Check your body, save your life Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Top Stories “We are happy to resume operations,” Ndulue said.In a separate statement, secretary to the Nigerian government Anyim Pius Anyim said all complaints by both Arik Air and the Aviation Ministry had been resolved. He also said both parties wanted to apologize to those who rely on air travel in Africa’s most populous nation.“We use this opportunity to appeal to both parties to eschew every provocation that may have arisen as a result of this unfortunate misunderstanding,” the statement read. “Accordingly, all the exchange of accusations and allegations are vitiated and so of no consequence.”Arik Air halted its domestic flights Thursday after it said federal workers raided its operation at Lagos’ Murtala Muhammed International Airport. The government denied the claim, as well as Arik Air’s assertion Oduah wanted to personally profit off the airline.But by not publicly discussing the problems between the air carrier and the government, the spat has led to further concerns about Nigeria’s aviation industry. The industry has been in turmoil since a jetliner crashed in June before landing in Lagos, killing more than 160 people.Arik Air, a private firm born out of the pieces of country’s former national airline, had grown into a major international air carrier in West Africa over the last few years, with direct flights to Johannesburg, London and New York. The airline has more than 20 aircraft in its fleet and ordered more than a dozen new planes. It also provided more flights domestically than any other carrier in Nigeria, a nation of more than 160 million people. By halting its domestic flights, Arik Air left only three airlines flying in the country that were unable to meet with the nation’s demand. Comments Share Four benefits of having a wireless security system Associated PressLAGOS, Nigeria (AP) – Nigeria’s largest airline will resume flying its domestic routes Sunday, the company’s managing director said, after publicly announcing it would stop flying because of government corruption.Arik Air Ltd. managing director Chris Ndulue offered a brief statement to journalists Saturday, only saying the company met with government officials in the nation’s capital and had resolved “all issues” it had. Ndulue didn’t discuss the air carrier’s previous claim that Aviation Minister Stella Oduah had a personal and financial interest in seeing the airline destroyed. Sponsored Stories However, financial concerns still hover around the aviation industry. Nigeria’s Central Bank has ordered banks to stop giving loans to both Arik Air and its competitor Aero Contractors Co. of Nigeria Ltd. over debts in the hundreds of millions of dollars.___Online:Arik Air Ltd.: http://www.arikair.com___Associated Press writer Bashir Adigun in Abuja, Nigeria, contributed to this report.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Quick workouts for men read more
Comments Share Mary Coyle ice cream to reopen in central Phoenix Parade-goers carried the orange collarette, a small V-shaped sash worn around the neck. Many also came in the stern-looking dark sunglasses, black bowler caps and white gloves that have become synonymous with the marches.At least two women chose a more relaxed uniform: Red-white-and-blue wigs and Union Jack dresses.The loud and colorful marches date back to the 19th century, and are a longstanding irritant between Northern Ireland’s two main religious communities. The loyal orders see them as expressions of their culture and a testament to their faith. Many Catholics see them as aggressive and anti-Irish, and the marches can devolve into street fights, particularly when they pass through heavily Catholic areas.There were no immediate reports of any unrest, and marchers passed a potential flashpoint on the parade route _ St. Patrick’s church near Belfast’s city center _ without incident.“They marched with dignity down the road,” Father Michael Sheehan, the administrator of St Patrick’s, said. “I think a degree of respect was shown that hasn’t been shown before.”Nearly every aspect of the marches _ from the parade route to the music played _ is argued over and litigated by both sides, and a specially-created Parades Commission has been created to mediate between the two. The commission can, for example, re-route a parade around a potential flashpoint or demand that sectarian songs not be sung in certain areas. BELFAST, Northern Ireland (AP) – Thousands of Protestants marched peacefully through the heart of Northern Ireland’s capital Saturday amid a heavy security presence.It was one of Belfast’s biggest parades in years, and police were deployed in large numbers to prevent street clashes between marchers and Northern Ireland’s Catholic minority.Members of the various Protestant “loyal orders,” so-called because they’re loyal to Great Britain, trooped down Belfast’s streets festooned with buttons, tassels and other ceremonial gear. The marchers banged drums and played music as they walked the six-mile (nine-kilometer) route from the capital’s City Hall to Stormont, the seat of Northern Ireland’s parliament. How men can have a healthy 2019 Top Stories Construction begins on Chandler hospital expansion project Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The marches are steeped in Northern Ireland’s messy history, and Saturday’s parade, which had been expected to draw up to 30,000 people, is no different. The march finished at Stormont, with a cultural festival held to commemorate a 1912 proclamation against plans for home rule in Ireland.Crowd estimates were not immediately available.(Copyright 2012 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.) Bottoms up! Enjoy a cold one for International Beer Day Quick workouts for men Sponsored Stories Get a lawn your neighbor will be jealous of read more
The foreign ministers of Cyprus, Greece and Armenia agreed on Tuesday that their respective heads of state would meet at a trilateral summit in Armenia in January, adding that the purpose for the cooperation is to promote peace, stability and prosperity through enhanced political dialogue.They also agreed to cooperate in various areas, such as the economy, trade and investments, agriculture, education and science, IT and innovation, healthcare, crisis management, culture and tourism.“Today’s meeting reflects clearly our joint determination to further expand and deepen our cooperation and to develop synergies that will benefit our countries and peoples,” Foreign Minister Nicos Christodoulides said.To this effect, they agreed to share information, exchange best practices and expertise, and submit, in the coming months, concrete proposals for possible cooperation in the aforesaid areas, to be discussed in their next trilateral meeting.Christodoulides also said that he had the opportunity to brief his counterparts on the latest developments regarding the Cyprus problem as well as on Turkey’s escalated activities in the island’s Exclusive Economic Zone (EEZ) in violation of the Republic’s sovereign rights and international law.The three ministers, according to Christodoulides, also exchanged views on the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict and on the implementation of the Prespa Agreement, in addition to discussing relations between the EU and Armenia.“We have assured Foreign Minister Zohrab Mnatsakanyan of our unwavering support for the strengthening of EU-Armenia relations, both within the framework of the Eastern Partnership and the EU-Armenia Comprehensive and Enhanced Partnership Agreement of November 2017 and beyond,” he said.In relation to the Partnership Agreement, he said that it was expected to be ratified by the House of Representatives in the coming weeks. “Its entry into force will set EU-Armenia relations on a new footing,” he said.For his part Mnatsakanyan said that the launch of the platform was very important and very promising in amplifying the traditional friendship that exists between the three nations. He added that they were translating that historical friendship into cooperation to the benefit of the three nations and people.He also emphasised that the objectives of the cooperation were peace, cooperation and stability for the three countries and the region.Referring to the expansion of the trilateral cooperation, he said that Armenia was looking forward to welcome the trilateral summit in the near future.Greek minister Giorgos Katrougalos said the three were very like-minded, peace loving countries, which believe that international law and respect of multilateralism form the basis of international relations and they also share a long history.“We envisaged the improvement of both economic and political relations, the next step is going to be the trilateral summit among the leaders of our countries”, he said.He added that Greece intended to help Armenia in its European perspectives.They also discussed international issues and topics of common interest and concern. You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoSmart Tips DailySeniors With No Life Insurance May Get A $250,000 Policy If They Do ThisSmart Tips DailyUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCypriot tycoon launches ‘Bank of Cannabis’Undoby Taboolaby Taboola read more
29Apr Rep. Pscholka applauds largest school aid budget in Michigan history Categories: News State Rep. Al Pscholka, R-Stevensville, today issued the following statement on the House approved school aid budget:“This year’s school aid budget is one that can make all Michiganders proud. We’ve found a way to give more funding for pre-school, K-12 schools, community colleges and universities. In fact, we have a record-setting budget totaling nearly $16 billion.“This budget also includes the most state funding for K-12 schools in Michigan’s history. The increases for schools in this budget are across the board – we’ve made sure no schools, no districts and nobody loses money.“What makes this budget most impressive is that we are able to pay down the debts of the past and still invest in our kids’ futures. Investing in our students isn’t just about more money either; in this budget we’ve worked to make sure our teachers are able to succeed, too.“This budget removes many burdensome requirements—categoricals—allowing teachers spend more time in the classroom educating our children. We trust our local communities and this change will guarantee that more money goes to helping students.“Education in Michigan doesn’t stop at high school, so we’ve worked to make sure our community colleges and universities are preparing our students for success. We also demonstrated restraint when it comes to increasing tuition at our colleges because we want to help students, not burden them with unmanageable debt. “I’m glad my colleagues came together to vote for this record-setting education budget – it’s impressive and refreshing that we’ve been able to increase funding, prioritize our students and address the problems of the past.”### read more
19Jan Cops & Doughnuts President Attends Snyder’s Speech Categories: Wentworth News,Wentworth Photos State Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, on Tuesday hosted Greg Rynearson at Gov. Rick Snyder’s 2017 State of the State speech.Rynearson is the president of Cops & Doughnuts, headquartered in Clare, and is one of nine cop-owners.The governor uses the speech to announce his agenda for the coming year. Each state representative is allowed to invite one guest to the House floor for the address.
ShareTweet22Share25Email47 SharesPixabay. Public domain. CC 0.September 11, 2017; WealthManagement.comEarlier this month, a coalition of philanthropic trade associations—namely, the Council of Foundations, Independent Sector, The Philanthropy Roundtable, and the Columbus Foundation (on behalf of community foundations)—wrote a letter (which WealthManagement.com summarizes here) to the Senate Committee on Finance defending donor-advised funds.This letter was written in response to a proposal outlined in a July letter by two law professors, Ray Madoff, director of the Forum on Philanthropy and the Public Good at Boston College, and Roger Colinvaux of Catholic University in Washington, D.C. The proposal argued for federal regulation of donor-advised funds, including a recommended 10-year limit on how long funds could remain in a donor-advised fund before they would be automatically disbursed to qualifying nonprofits.So, what is behind this to-do?As longtime readers of Nonprofit Quarterly will know, the donor-advised fund has become increasingly prominent in U.S. philanthropy. Last year, the National Philanthropic Trust’s 2016 Donor-Advised Fund Report reported that in 2015, donations to donor-advised funds totaled $22.26 billion, roughly 8.4 percent of total U.S. giving, with total assets in donor-advised funds reaching $78.64 billion. Assets in donor-advised funds have grown more than 10 percent a year every year since 2010, more than doubling over the past five years. As Nonprofit Quarterly reported last year, the longer-term trend is even more impressive: Among the top 400 charities, donations to donor-advised funds were only two percent of total giving in 1991. By 2015, that number had increased to 18 percent.Why have donor-advised funds become so popular? Essentially, a donor-advised fund is kind of like a charitable savings account. As a donor, you deposit funds into a 501(c)(3) intermediary and, because the intermediary itself is a charity, you get to claim your tax deduction the year of your donation. This buys you time to make decisions about which nonprofits to support, rather than being rushed by the calendar at year-end. And, unlike a private foundation, you don’t have to manage the money yourself.What’s not to like? Well, of course, there are some catches. Madoff and Colinvaux focus on the possibility of money just sitting in the charitable savings account. This may be fine with the people who donate to the donor-advised fund, but naturally, if the money sits in a bank account for too long, then the defensibility of the public subsidy that a tax deduction represents is greatly diminished.Another possible catch: Once you donate the money, the money by law is not yours—otherwise, it wouldn’t be a bona fide donation. You advise the charitable fund, but, theoretically—and in rare cases, in reality—a charitable fund can refuse to forward your requested donation to the nonprofit you choose. For instance, donor Lisa Greer was “taken by surprise” when the Jewish Community Foundation of Los Angeles refused to honor her request to donate from her donor-advised fund to a Jewish group with politics that opposed Israel’s occupation of the West Bank in ways the foundation deemed “hostile” to the Jewish community.Still, such examples are rare. A donor-advised fund is particularly useful, if, say, you sell stock (maybe because a long-appreciating stock is starting to fall in price) and are facing an unexpected capital gain tax bill. Instead, you could choose to donate the stock to your donor-advised fund, thereby “pre-funding” your charitable contributions and reducing your tax bill. It is therefore not surprising that investment firms like Fidelity (also Schwab and Vanguard), have developed nonprofit donor-advised fund holding companies, which they promote heavily, citing many of the benefits of donor-advised funds just mentioned above.But investment firms are not the only players here. Community foundations also rely greatly on donor-advised funds to support their work. A 2009 Council of Foundation report noted that as of 2007 more than half of all community foundation giving came from donor-advised funds. A survey of community foundations conducted in 2011 gives a sense of how important donor-advised funds are. Many of the 31 community foundations surveyed reported that one third or more of their assets were held in donor-advised funds, including the Silicon Valley Community Foundation, the nation’s largest community foundation; the San Francisco Foundation; the Community Foundation for Greater Atlanta; the Boston Foundation; the Greater Cincinnati Foundation; the East Bay Community Foundation; Minnesota Philanthropy Partners; the New York Community Trust; the Community Foundation of North Texas; and the Seattle Foundation.Given the billions of dollars at stake, it is not surprising that on September 6th, the foundation leaders submitted a letter to the Senate that opposed limitations to donor-advised funds. In it, according to the summary on WealthManagement.com, they say most donors aren’t “parking” their assets. While one can argue the statistics a lot, it does seem that the foundation presidents are right and that the donor advisory payout exceeds standard foundation payouts. One sign of this is that, as cited above, community foundations reported in 2009 that more than half of their donations were from donor-advised funds, even though donor-advised fund assets were significantly less than half of total assets.The foundation leaders’ other arguments are of varying persuasiveness. One of their stronger ones is that a required payout period, while increasing donor-advised fund grantmaking in the short term, might discourage donations in the long term. The foundations also contend that tracking the 10 years could prove cumbersome, as there are thousands of donor-advised funds, which often involve multiple contributions made at different times.The bottom line is, while there are some abuses of donor-advised funds and surely some funds that don’t spend down in a timely manner—and really, given the number of dollars involved, how could there not be?—it is not particularly clear that the level of abuse merits congressional intervention or that setting a time limit on spend-down would actually improve public outcomes.Still, a broader question might be—outside of donor-advised funds—what might be done to facilitate community-building investments or donations by people with more modest incomes? The donor-advised fund is reasonably flexible, with minimum account levels, depending on the firm, ranging from $5,000 to $25,000, but most American families do not have spare cash or stock of this level to invest.There are alternatives. In Nova Scotia, for example, residents have gotten a tax break for investing their individual retirement account contributions in the provincial economy since 1993. The numbers are modest, but between 1999 and 2014, this program has generated $43 million in investment in local projects, benefitting 4,000 people, with tax revenue generated from community development from the investments fully covering the cost of the tax credits. The Nova Scotia program has also spurred imitators in three other Canadian provinces.This example, of course, merely speaks to the tip of the iceberg of building accessible donation and investment vehicles that facilitate community-based investment and fundraising. In short, rather than simply defending existing vehicles, nonprofit leaders would do well to consider new ways to facilitate community self-empowerment. Efforts to support the growth of community capital have been bubbling up in the United States. Foundation leaders might consider rallying around these, rather than simply defending the existing structure of donor-advised funds.—Steve DubbShareTweet22Share25Email47 Shares read more
Share20Tweet7Share1Email28 SharesBy Billy Hathorn (assumed based on copyright claims). [CC BY-SA 3.0 or GFDL], via Wikimedia CommonsJanuary 31, 2018; Waco Tribune-HeraldThe Waco Independent School District (Waco ISD), like many urban school districts serving low-income students, is under great pressure from state education officials to dramatically improve outcomes. Based on the district’s poor showing on state achievement tests over the past five years, the district has an end-of-school-year deadline to demonstrate progress or face a forced major restructuring of how education is provided in this Texas city. In response, school district leadership is working to finalize a partnership with a community-based nonprofit to implement a holistic approach to their educational challenge.School district leaders recognize that student performance is affected by forces that go well beyond what happens just within each school’s walls. At an October community meeting held as part of the planning process, the district’s superintendent, A. Marcus Nelson, told a packed audience, “That’s why we push our kids so hard. We have very little control of what they go home to. I know kids in Waco ISD right now that the biggest problem they have is, are they going to go to Texas Tech or are they going to Texas A&M? But sitting right next to that student is a student who has no home support. They go home, and they’re the oldest in their family and have to take care of their siblings. With that kid, you have to level the playing field and have to assume personal responsibility, that this kid needs more help and support.”The actions being threatened by Texas education officials are similar to those that have been tried in struggling districts across the nation. The district can be forced to relinquish control of five of their lowest performing schools, with programs that serve about 16 percent of their student population, and turn them over to independent charter school managers. More drastically, the state could disband the board and assume direct control of some or all of Waco’s public school system, creating what has become known in Louisiana as a “recovery school district.” In both cases, local control of schools is diminished in return for solutions that have not proved successful in other locations.In response, the district is partnering with Prosper Waco to bring a comprehensive community school approach. According to the Waco Tribune-Herald, the arrangement will allow Prosper Waco to do what it does best and “coordinate services for students, while leaving most of the management to Waco ISD.…The arrangement would involve an increased focus on the needs, both in and out of the classroom.”Unlike other communities where schools have been turned over to private organizations (nonprofit or for-profit) to operate as independent charter schools, the Waco idea seeks to draw on the unique strengths of a nonprofit organization to enhance the current operation of the school. Matthew Polk, Waco ISD’s executive director, shared with the Tribune-Herald his vision of the emerging partnership:This is something educators talk about all the time. They talk about a holistic approach to education. Educators who are teaching and serving in Waco ISD know the impact of poverty on the kids they serve and their academic performance…It’s too much to ask educators who are running a school, who are preparing lessons every day and teaching kids, to also be social workers, to also try and figure out this whole maze of organizations and programs in the community that can help their kids.Prosper Waco brings assets to the table. Formed in 2014 “to build an environment in which all members of our Waco community are able to measurably improve their education, health, and financial security,” PW sees itself as organizing its community partners to do what no single organization can do alone. Prosper Waco spokeswoman Christina Helmick told the Tribune-Herald that “We don’t have to go outside to look for other things we need to bring in. We have everything we need right here in Waco. It’s just we need to bring it all together in a coordinated way.”The WISD-Progress Waco partnership has the potential to comprehensively address the needs of the children they serve and mitigate the negative impact of poverty, homelessness, and bias while retaining local control of schools. It will work if the resources are sufficient to meet the promise and the community remains an active part of the equation. Martin Blank, president of the Institute for Educational Leadership, emphasized in the Huffington Post that “community schools do focus on organizing health and social supports, but family and community engagement, and a robust curriculum with expanded learning opportunities during and beyond the school day are also part the equation.” As currently envisioned, Waco students will benefit from this comprehensive vision being at the core of their reinvigorated schools.—Martin LevineShare20Tweet7Share1Email28 Shares read more
Share4Tweet2ShareEmail6 SharesCC BY-SA HonestReporting.com, flickr/freepressMarch 5, 2019; EdSourceIn the wake of successful teacher strikes in Los Angeles and Oakland, on Tuesday, March 5, 2019, California Governor Gavin Newsom signed into law a bill to require more transparency from charter schools. His predecessor, Jerry Brown had vetoed similar measures several times while in office.Newsom had promised during his campaign that he would sign such legislation and had repeated that pledge several times since then, especially as charter schools emerged as a major issue in the teacher strikes over the last two months.Senate Bill 126 requires the state’s charter schools to follow the same transparency rules that apply to public schools, including holding open meetings and adherence to the California Public Records Act.“In essence, to me, this made common sense,” said Newsom, who was joined by two organizations often at odds with one another—the California Teachers Association (CTA) and the California Charter Schools Association (CCSA). “It’s a transparency bill, and we are for transparency. And sometimes people claim they are for transparency for everybody else, but not for themselves. In this case it’s transparency for all of us. And I thought it was a very healthy thing as well.”The CTA and the CCSA have been waging a high-profile battle over these and other issues, so the fact that they were both at the table endorsing the same legislation sends a message that the issue’s two opposing sides may have reached a new, arguably more constructive, level of dialogue on the issue.The legislation makes no mention of a proposed moratorium on charter school expansion. The law takes effect in January 2020.—Ruth McCambridgeShare4Tweet2ShareEmail6 Shares read more
US online video streaming service Netflix is halting its international expansion following large subscriber losses. Chief executive Reed Hastings revealed the decision to curb its ambitions to extend global reach following confirmation of its launch in the UK and Ireland in 2012. The company ended September with 23.8 million subscribers in the US, a drop of 800,000 from June following a price hike. Netflix had predicted that it would lose 600,000 subscribers, but this number was much worse.“Well, we’re going to put a pause on our international expansion post the UK and Ireland till we get back to global profitability,” said Hastings on the company’s third quarter financial results conference call. “So that depends on how fast we can grow our global subscriber base, which will be some number of quarters. And we’re eager to get back to continuing the international expansion because we see it as such a large opportunity. But we need to take a few quarters to get our subscriber base back to the appropriate size.”Netflix has already launched in Canada and Latin America and has 1.48 million subscribers across these regions, primarily in Canada. ”We are just beginning in this market with a lot to learn, and a lot we can improve over time, so it’s too early to tell whether we will reach the run-rate break-even within two years as we would like,” he said.The company announced that it will launch in the UK and Ireland at the start of 2012 and Hastings said that it will face tough competition from pay TV broadcaster Sky and Amazon-owned Lovefilm. “We believe our service, at an aggressive price, will be compelling. We have to attract and retain subscribers efficiently enough to be able to generate a profit. While we normally target two years to profitability, with the increased competition in the UK relative to Canada, we anticipate it may take longer. We’ll know after our first few quarters,” he said. read more
Canal Plus’s channels posted an audience share of 4.2% for the first nine months of this year, with the flagship Canal Plus channel down 0.1 points year-on-year to 2.9%.Canal Plus said it was pleased with the performance of the main channel, which had held its audience share despite the presence of the Olympic Games on free-to-air TV.Engrenages and Homeland, movies including Polisse and sports coverage including two Ligue 1 football matches a day.Canal Plus posted third quarter subscription revenues of €419 million and advertising revenues of €25 million, up from €415 million and €24 million respectively.
T-Hrvatski Telekom-owned Croatian ISP Iskon has named Mario Vojvoda as board member with responsibility for technology and IT. The operator has also named Kresimir Madunović as board member with responsibility for business services.Vojvoda was previously director of technology. Madunović will retain his role as sales director for small and medium enterprises.
US music video service Vevo is planning to expand onto more TV platforms this year and is gearing up for a UK rollout for its recently launched US and Canadian online linear music channel.Speaking at the FT Digital Media conference on Friday, Vevo president and CEO Rio Caraeff said that in the last 30 days, “51% of our streaming volume in the US happened on a smartphone or a connected TV” – which translates to roughly 500 million streams.“The majority of streaming volume on TV is coming through games consoles like Xbox, it’s coming through devices like Rokus. This year we’ll launch on maybe 10 more TV platforms, so it’s a big area of investment for us,” said Caraeff.He added that a quarter of Vevo’s 4 billion worldwide monthly streams are now happening on smartphones. “The future of video for us is very much the reality today, which is mobile and TV. We merged our mobile and TV product teams together, so that way we’re making applications and experiences that are aware of each other,” he added.Speaking about Vevo’s linear music channel, which is available now in North America, Caraeff said that the “full multi-cast, programmed, linear experience” was designed to compliment its VoD offering. He said: “we’re bringing to the UK later this year.”“We crave shared experiences, we crave to be programmed to, and while we live in a world where you can watch everything on-demand, there is still a time and a place where you want to not have to think about it – you want to have somebody programme audio or video to you,” said Caraeff.He also said that the firm was also spending more than US$10 million per year on original programming, and that 35% of its revenues last year came from the sale of that content. This includes videos that combine music with topics such as fashion, sports, travel and even food.“If we didn’t produce original programming we would have less differentiation in the marketplace, we’d have less opportunity to define and build our identity and our brand, which we’re just getting started at, and we would have less revenue,” said Caraeff. read more
Bridge Technologies has launched a new version of its OTT Engine featuring MPEG-DASH monitoring.According to the company, the new OTT Engine makes MPEG-DASH support a core part of the user’s OTT monitoring capability, is compatible with all Bridge Technologies 1G and 10G probes, and is embedded within the iOS and Android PocketProbe mobile monitoring apps.Bridge Technologies’ OTT Engine extends its HLS, Smoothstream and MPEG-DASH capability by adding support for RTMP and subtitle tracks.According to Bridge Technologies, the OTT Engine provides a the ability to run OTT monitoring side by side with IPTV monitoring operations in the same hardware and software environment. High density displays of large numbers of OTT streams can be achieved through the MicroTimeline display without overwhelming monitoring staff with a mass of difficult-to-read monitoring data.“MPEG-DASH is an important advance for OTT standardisation, so it’s great to have been first to the market with a full monitoring solution for it,” said Simen Frostad, chairman, Bridge Technologies. “But the standards used by today’s OTT operators will continue to be used for some time yet, and with the Bridge Technologies OTT Engine operators can be reassured they will have the most capable and comprehensive solution available for OTT, whichever way the market evolves.”Bridge Technologies will exhibit at IBC on stand 1.A30 read more
Viaccess-Orca is to demonstrate a new user interface for its TV Everywhere (TVE) solution at IBC.The new interface allows TV viewers to discover content on a range of devices, including TVs, PCs, smartphones, and tablets, according to Viaccess-Orca.“To remain competitive in today’s multiscreen world, content service providers must offer a personalized TV experience anywhere, anytime, and on any device,” said François Moreau de Saint Martin, CEO at Viaccess-Orca. “Our next-generation TV Everywhere solution features an intuitive user interface that allows quick access to favorite content, helping providers enhance subscriber satisfaction and increase their revenue streams.”Using Viaccess-Orca’s TVE solution, providers can deliver live, VOD, and catch-up TV content on any network via any screen. The new user interface is based on Viaccess-Orca’s in-house TVE solution, using a variety of advanced methodologies for search, recommendation, and exploration. Recordings can be initiated from any device. In addition, settings, favorites, wish lists, and user preferences are maintained across all devices, according to the company.At IBC2013, the Viaccess-Orca TV Everywhere demo will also highlight the company’s DEEP platform (Data Enrichment and Engagement Platform) which is an automatically generated digital magazine platform for the second screen. Through DEEP, operators can generate enriched metadata and offer users additional content related to what they’re already consuming, according to Viaccess-Orca.Viaccess-Orca will exhibit at IBC on stand 1.A51 read more
Norwegian cable operator GET has added Trace Sport Stars to its programming line-up.The sports lifestyle channel will be available as part of GET’s Family package but will also be available to the operator’s Start subscribers as an ‘opt-in’ channel.Laurent Dumeau, CEO, Trace Sport Stars and senior vice-president, global distribution at Trace TV, said: “Trace Sport Stars has made exceptional growth in a highly competitive pay TV market over the past year. After successful launches in Europe, Asia and Latin America, we are continuing our expansion in the Nordic region, making Trace Sport Stars one of the fastest acquired channels in the world. We are delighted to be expanding our footprint in Norway with one of the country’s major digital TV and broadband operators.”
News channel Euronews has launched a service for Blackberry’s BBM messaging service users. The Euronews BBM channel brings international news to BBM users on Blackberry, Android and iPhone smartphones.The move ive Euronews a reach of 85 million active BBM users per month. The service is currently available in English and will promoted by a marketing campaign across 50 countries in EMEA.“Our presence on BBM perfectly fits with our strategy to offer the right content, in the right place, at the right time,” said Damien Marchi, director of product marketing and innovation, Euronews.“The Euronews BBM Channel lets us reach in real time the 85 million monthly active users of BBM, whose popularity goes well beyond the circle of BlackBerry smartphones users and now includes Android and iPhone devices users.” read more
Italian public broadcaster Rai has decided not to renew a deal with YouTube that saw it upload up to 7,000 videos a year to the Google-owned site and permit the uploading of clips by viewers in return for about €700,000 a year, according to local press. Rai will from now on reserve the right to show the content exclusively on its own Rai.tv site. Its advertising arm has estimated that this will net about €1.5 million a year in additional ad revenue.