Related posts:Four Seasons Resort hosting job fairs across Costa Rica The energy of sound Fighting, escaping, hoping: Fleeing Nicaragua Tico Times #TBT: The train in Golfito Facebook Comments Costa Rica found some much-needed offensive firepower Sunday night in a 4-0 victory over Nicaragua.La Sele scored early and often, a welcome sight for a team that had done so only once over its four previous games.With the commanding win, Costa Rica is atop Group B and has put itself in position to advance to the tournament’s quarterfinal round: Via Gold Cup.Costa Rica faces Bermuda on Thursday in Frisco, Texas, and Haiti next Monday at Red Bull Arena outside New York City.Read: Costa Rica opens Gold Cup with dominating win over NicaraguaRead: Nicaraguans, Costa Ricans celebrate Gold Cup 2019In the featured photo, Bryan Oviedo gets La Sele on the board early with his 7th-minute strike. Watch the goal below:¡Gooool de #LaSele ! Bryan Oviedo anota al minuto 6.En vivo por: https://t.co/AtWSj8kadL pic.twitter.com/MbKkuvahbC— Teletica Deportes (@TeleticaTD7) June 17, 2019
16Jan Cox appointed chair of General Government subcommittee Categories: Cox News State Rep. Laura Cox was appointed by House Speaker Kevin Cotter to the House Appropriations Committee where she will serve as chair of the Subcommittee on General Government for the 98th Legislature.Cox also has been named to three other subcommittees. She will serve as vice chair of the Subcommittee on Judiciary as well as on the subcommittees on Higher Education and Department of Community Health. As chair of the Subcommittee on General Government, she will lead discussions for allocating the $4.7 billion annual budget to make the best use of taxpayer dollars for efficiently operating state government.“I am looking forward to working with my colleagues to find the best ways to distribute Michigan’s budget between the state’s various agencies and departments,” said Cox, R-Livonia. “I am honored to have been named chair of the Subcommittee on General Government. My previous leadership of the Ways and Means Committee in Wayne County has provided me the experience to help me work with my colleagues on crafting a budget for Michigan’s taxpayers.”The House Appropriations Committee helps distribute the state’s budget for each state department and agency. There are 18 House appropriations subcommittees that assist in delegating the annual budget based on subject area.
State Rep. Kim LaSata is inviting residents of Berrien County to speak with her about issues facing Michigan during her local office hour sessions.“Meeting with people in these informal settings is one of the most important tools I have to find out what the concerns are of people back home,” LaSata said. “Local office hours are a great way for me to be accessible and accountable to people in the community.”Office hours take place at the following times and locations:Monday, Aug. 1410 to 11 a.m. at Olympus Restaurant, 9735 Red Arrow Hwy. in Bridgman; andFriday, Aug. 2510 to 11 a.m. at Hot Spot, 361 E. Saint Joseph St. in Coloma.No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact her Lansing office by phone at 517-373-1403 or via email at KimLaSata@house.mi.gov. Categories: LaSata News 03Aug Rep. LaSata hosts local office hours
14Mar Rep. LaFave: Time to speed up how rural areas get high-speed broadband Categories: LaFave News,News Upper Peninsula legislator works to ensure needed technological infrastructureState Rep. Beau LaFave has co-sponsored introduced legislation exploring ways to expand broadband into areas of need.Within House Bill 5670, a seven-member board made up of governor-appointed individuals representing townships, counties and telecommunication providers, will identify barriers that deter companies from expanding into underserved areas of Michigan.“This group’s purpose will be to prioritize our demand for broadband in rural areas and recommend ways for the legislature to proceed,” LaFave said. “We need to identify specific strategies and policies that incentivize businesses to expand service. What better way to do that than by connecting our communities with our providers to make sure this gets done as quickly and efficiently as possible.”Members of the board will serve for four years. The proposal, which has been referred to the House Committee on Communications and Technology, also sets up a broadband development fund within the state treasury that can provide a vehicle for infrastructural gains.LaFave also recently joined his colleagues in the Michigan House to advance House Bill 5097, streamlining broadband expansion work and cutting government red tape.County road commissions hold jurisdiction in right-of-way cases and often require permits, inspections and project reviews due to the close proximity of other lines and mains beneath the ground. Right-of-way permit requirements vary widely from county to county, creating a time-consuming process for telecommunication and video service providers that serve large areas of the state.The bill, which moved to the Senate for consideration, caps fees that can be charged by commissions in an effort to speed up the preliminary stages of relocating or installing lines. Providers will still be required to obtain basic work permits in public right-of-ways.“I frequently field questions from people in the U.P. on when they will be getting the high-speed internet that a large portion of the state is already enjoying,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “This capability is not a luxury. It’s a needed asset in today’s world. It helps businesses operate at a higher efficiency, creating jobs and helping areas flourish. We need to accelerate this advancement so our region can attract prospective businesses and residents.”
Categories: VanWoerkom News PHOTO INFORMATION: Rep. VanWoerkom presents a tribute to Mason Schlafer, of Norton Shores, on the House Floor.State Rep. Greg VanWoerkom, of Norton Shores, welcomed Mason Schlafer, a boy scout from Troop 1053 to the state capital yesterday and presented him with a tribute for his achievement of becoming the second highest selling popcorn sales scout in the Nation.Mason has used the profits from his $88,017 in sales to help his fellow scouts attend various camps while also using the funds to help local food trucks in Muskegon County. To honor his hard work and dedication, Rep. VanWoerkom invited Mason to join him for a day at the state capital. This included shadowing Rep. VanWoerkom in meetings and at committees, as well as being recognized in the House Chamber with a tribute signed by Gov. Whitmer, Lt. Gov. Gilchrist, Sen. Bumstead, and Rep. VanWoerkom.### 17Apr Norton Shores boy scout joins Rep. VanWoerkom at state capital
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares 1000 Words / Shutterstock.comMarch 5,2014;StatelineNonprofits know this score better than politicians and pundits. Since the expiration of long-term unemployment benefits last December, some 2 million Americans have missed out on the unemployment assistance they had been receiving or were entitled to receive. That is a large city’s worth of people suddenly without a vital source of income. Multiply those 2 million by some factor reflecting other members of their households and you will see that Congress’s failure to renew and extend long-term unemployment benefits has hurt.While some right-wing ideologues believe these extended benefits make recipients less motivated to look for real jobs, there are both Republicans and Democrats interested in trying to find a way to get some benefits back into the pocketbooks of these workers. The dispute isn’t over whether to support the idea, but how to pay for the cost.From 2008, when long-term unemployment benefits were first enacted during the last year of President George W. Bush’s two terms, through the first half of 2013, the U.S. spent $252 billion on long-term benefits for 24 million unemployed persons. Consider John Fugazzie, one of the long-term unemployed since October 2012, when he was laid off as an A&P store manager. During his unemployment, he was receiving benefits of $400 a week—$1,600 a month. The 58-year-old Fugazzie is typical of the long-term unemployed: older, and often highly trained and qualified, but unable to land a job anything like what he once had.The Great Recession has supposedly passed, but 41 states plus the District of Columbia have long-term unemployment rates that comprise more than 26 percent of the total number of unemployed.President Obama’s proposed FY2015 budget doesn’t have much in it to deal with the problem of the long-term unemployed. There’s $4 billion for a public-private partnership program to provide training to help them rebuild job skills, but the reality is that long-term unemployed persons are not getting callbacks from employers when they submit their applications. It is entirely possible that the visible decline in long-term unemployment comes not because of new jobs or new hiring, but because after running out of benefits, the seekers are simply leaving the labor force.The result is a double whammy for the long-term unemployed: no extension of long-term unemployment benefits, plus next to nothing in the federal budget to deal with their distinctive problems in what is, for them, an unending continuation of the recession.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesOctober 28, 2014; Christian PostA lawsuit filed by the American Humanist Association against a school district in Colorado represents an interesting tool to explore when a governmental unit, such as a public school and its employees, has stepped over the line and are promoting a specific religion.The lawsuit claims that the Douglas County School District in Highlands Ranch has violated the Establishment Clause of the First Amendment by repeatedly promoting and supporting projects that are overtly evangelical, promoting people in developing nations to convert to Christianity. The lawsuit is filed on behalf of three plaintiffs and their families, all of whom are members of the American Humanist Association, and are claiming to have suffered “irreparable harm.”Like many school districts around the country, Douglas County Schools promotes civic engagement among their students. Their annual canned goods drive is one example of how the district encourages students to become active and find ways to remember and to support those who are less fortunate. The drive is sponsored by Chaparral High School’s Student Government, which has a social studies teacher, Chris Bowman, as the advisor. In another time-honored tradition, the class that brings in the most cans will win a prize. Has the line in the sand been crossed yet?In an email Bowman sent using the school’s listserv, he references another element of the canned foods drive. The email, quoted in the lawsuit, reads:“In addition to the Canned Food Drive, we are also collecting Operation Christmas Child boxes for both weeks. Please tell your classes that they will be worth 20 points each, up to 5 boxes. Items needed include: toothbrushes toothpaste chap-stick bars of soap markers/crayons pencils/pens (please recommend this one) packs of paper/coloring books washcloths grooming items (combs, hair bands, etc.) hard candy Christmas present toys for a girl/boy of any certain age group.”So, by participating in the Operation Christmas Child program, classes can get extra points towards the drive’s grand prize. By using the school’s listserv to promote a program involving Christmas, has the line in the sand been crossed yet?Operation Christmas Child asks participants to fill shoeboxes with basic items, such as for personal hygiene (like a toothbrush), and any items the participant thinks a young child in a less fortunate country might like. The program will send these boxes overseas and offer some children living in poverty-stricken areas what might be their first Christmas present ever. By incentivizing sending Christmas presents to children in other countries, has the line in the sand been crossed yet?The support for Operation Christmas Child does not stop there, the lawsuit alleges. On the website for the district’s SkyView Academy, a newsletter for parents from the principal was posted that encouraged readers to bring their shoeboxes in for the program. The class with the most shoeboxes would win a party and a night without homework! By posting encouragement to participate on this public elementary school’s website, had the line been crossed?Operation Christmas Child is a mission managed by Samaritan’s Purse, an evangelical organization run by Franklin Graham, son of the famous Billy Graham. As described on the organization’s website, Operation Christmas Child is designed to attract young children to the churches that are distributing these boxes filled with supplies and presents. They are then encouraged to learn about Jesus and the Bible. The ultimate goal is to have these children attract their parents to the church they now enjoy visiting, and so help to convert the families to Christianity. On the Douglas County website, an elementary school principal is actively promoting an initiative designed to convert people in other parts of the world to Christianity. Is it here where the line in the sand gets crossed?NPQ would be interested to hear your thoughts.In a slightly ironic related story, a victory was claimed by the American Humanist Association recently. On October 30th, a judge ruled in a case brought by AHA and a federal prisoner, recognizing Secular Humanism as a religion that is protected by the Establishment Clause.—Rob MeiksinsShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share5TweetShareEmail5 SharesBy Photo taken by Christine Figgener – Email from Didiher Chacón, director of WIDECAST, CC BY-SA 3.0, https://commons.wikimedia.org/w/index.php?curid=26526211 April 5, 2016; Washington PostFollowing the murders of two environmental activists in Central America in recent months, justice was served in Costa Rica when convictions were announced for four of seven defendants responsible for the 2013 killing of Jairo Mora Sandoval, a sea turtle conservationist.Mora was a turtle monitor on Moín Beach in Limón for Widecast, a conservation network operating throughout the Caribbean. Despite the dangers inherent in the work, Mora and four volunteers set out on a spring evening in 2013 to continue their efforts defending Leatherback rookeries against turtle egg poachers, who steal the eggs for sale as snacks despite Costa Rican laws prohibiting the practice. Getting out of his truck to remove a tree trunk put in the middle of the road by poachers to obstruct their work, the small group was brutally overtaken by a gang of attackers who took the volunteers to an abandoned shack and then stripped Mora of his clothing, beat him and tied him to the back of their truck, dragging him to his death.The environmental community was shocked and saddened when in January 2015 the seven men accused of the murder were acquitted due to mishandled evidence and an incomplete investigation. The verdict was appealed, however, resulting in the recent guilty verdicts for four of the seven on charges of murder, as well as other charges related to the kidnapping and assault of the volunteers accompanying Mora that evening. As reported in the Tico Times, the trial’s chief judge was unambiguous in his decision. “The court rejects that there is any other motive for this murder,” he said. “The killing of Mr. Jairo Mora Sandoval was the straw that broke the camel’s back in this war that was taking place between poachers and environmentalists on the beach.”There was also some positive news coming out of Honduras, where Amnesty International announced a victory in its efforts to persuade government officials to release Gustavo Castro Soto, the sole witness to the assassination of indigenous leader Berta Caceres in La Esperanza in March. Castro Soto, who had been held since her murder, was allowed to return to Mexico following an international outcry from human rights and environmental groups demanding that the Honduran government release him.Castro Soto held a press release upon his return, which, as reported by Democracy Now, called for stepped up investigations into Caceres’s assassination:In the case of COPINH and in Berta’s case, it’s another example of how multinationals and major parties who have an interest in mining are involved in the criminalization, death and human rights of indigenous peoples. […] We support the request of the family for a group of independent experts to have an exhaustive investigation, not just for Berta’s murder, but for the process of criminalization and deaths and massacres against COPINH.As reported by Global Witness, an average of two people are killed every week defending their land against encroachment by large-scale infrastructure projects and other threats, often after having been forced from their homes or livelihoods. In too many countries, the deaths of environmental defenders in resource conflicts are virtually invisible due to a lack of public records or under-reporting in countries where human rights monitoring is prohibited or restricted.Jennie Erin Smith has written a beautifully haunting account for Turtle Conservancy of the work of Mora in Limón, which may be read in its entirety here. What is particularly sad is that he was part of a creative pilot program devised by Vanessa Lizana, a conservationist with whom he worked closely. Lizana, whose family owns an animal sanctuary on Moín Beach, saw an opportunity to work with area poachers and devised a strategy to recruit them, paying them to tag nesting females and safely transport nests to a safe hatchery near the sanctuary where they would be protected. This experiment proved to be hugely successful and in 2012, the little team that she and Mora had put together had recorded 1,500 nests. Like so many other conservation efforts, however, it bumped up against more powerful political and economic forces, resulting in a loss of security and police protection that had been so critical in an area rife with drug smuggling and brutal violence on the part of the poachers.Following Mora’s murder, his hometown of Gandoca renamed 12,000 acres of conservation land the Jairo Mora Sandoval Gandoca-Manzanillo National Wildlife Refuge. As Erin Smith writes:Mora worked fast and walked fast, easily covering 15 miles of beach in a night. He earned an average of $500 a month, standard pay in Costa Rica for science workers without college degrees. So that he could one day earn more, he enrolled in biology courses, holing up between turtle gigs to study. A number of young Costa Ricans make their living as turtle monitors, migrating from nesting beach to nesting beach. The lifestyle suited Mora, offering him among other things a steady stream of foreign women to date; the only things that could distract him from turtles, his friends say, were soccer and girls.—Patricia SchaeferShare5TweetShareEmail5 Shares
Share176Tweet2Share1Email179 SharesDeath Penalty Repeal / Maryland GovPicsApril 12, 2016; The Marshall ProjectAs NPQ has reported, there has been a steady decline—nearly half—in the number of executions since 2009, from 52 executions to 28 in 2015. While changing public opinion and increased media scrutiny may be in part responsible for the decline, we can also credit death penalty opponents’ activism, whose campaigning has led to the limited availability of essential drugs used in the cocktails, effectively tying the hands of several states.Nonprofit journalism site The Marshall Project conducted a review of the current status of the death penalty in the states that still have capital punishment. While 31 states have the death penalty, only four states are actively executing inmates using lethal injection: Missouri, Texas, Alabama, and Georgia. What about the rest of the 27 states?Florida, one of the states that allows the death penalty and has been executing inmates, is currently in the midst of a major review of its death penalty sentencing procedures. As we reported earlier this year, the U.S. Supreme Court decided the amount of autonomy Florida judges have, including being able to ignore a jury’s sentencing decision, is unconstitutional.Other states, Louisiana, Virginia, Arizona and Arkansas, have or are about to use the last of their drug supplies to execute inmates. Louisiana has halted executions until July of this year until the state can figure out how it will proceed to execute inmates without a legal source to supply the drug hydromorphone, which manages pain, and the controversial sedative, midazolam. Ohio has had to reschedule several of its upcoming 11 executions, and Nebraska is also looking for a legal source.The drug shortage started in 2010, the same time as the drop in executions occurred and a global campaign was launched to pressure manufacturers from producing the drugs. Public scrutiny and differing values have also forced many European pharmaceutical companies from selling the drugs to the U.S. for the purposes of execution. In 2011, Hospira, the sole U.S. company that used to manufacture sodium thiopental, was pressured by activists to stop producing the drug, leaving states scrambling to find an alternative. They did; instead, the states utilize pentobarbital, used in a single-drug injection currently employed by Texas, Missouri, and Georgia. (Alabama uses the drug as part of a three-drink cocktail.)It wasn’t long after pentobarbital became one of the most used drugs in executions that activists began looking for a way to tackle that supply. In early 2011, after British death penalty opponent Maya Foa found out that the primary contributor of the drug was Lundbeck, a Danish company, she set out on a mission to the expose the connection. Lundbeck did not know its drug, which it produced for epilepsy, was being used for execution in the United States. While the European Union has banned the death penalty for its members, Denmark itself banned the practice by around 1980, and the revelation was particularly hurtful for the Danish.“That was certainly a shock for Lundbeck, because this is completely against what we stand for,” said Lundbeck’s communications chief, Anders Schroll. “Our researchers go to the lab every day to save people’s lives, and this is completely against why they work.”Along with Foa, human rights groups, including Amnesty International and UK-based Reprieve, campaigned to spotlight Lundbeck’s role in executions, which it was clearly uncomfortable with. The company said it would no longer sell the drug to the U.S. for executions. Lundbeck’s refusal to sell the drugs also led 10 other U.S. pharmaceutical companies to stop their drugs from being used.Once again, states were forced to either find either other suppliers of the drug or drop it altogether in favor of substitutes like the muscle relaxants pancuronium bromide or rocuronium bromide. Most recently, midazolam, the center of the Supreme Court case, has been used in several states. When states do find alternative drugs, they then have to contend with the legal challenges to the constitutionality of the drug—specifically, whether it constitutes cruel and unusual punishment. Some states that still use pentobarbital, like Texas, refuse to divulge where they receive their supply of the drug.An unfortunate consequence of the drug limitations is that states are considering alternate methods of executions, such as firing squad or the electric chair. Still, the impact of the anti-death penalty movement has had a very real effect on states’ ability to carry out executions, as illustrated by The Marshall Project. Will these delays and setbacks buy enough time until the Supreme Court can consider the constitutionality of the death penalty?—Shafaq HasanShare176Tweet2Share1Email179 Shares
Share22TweetShareEmail22 Shares“Teen Vogue,” Makyla MontanaOctober 12, 2018; Teen VogueFor the past couple of years, Teen Vogue has been drawing media attention from some unexpected sources in response to its expanded political focus. In a recent series called “Civil Discourse 101,” the publication devotes space to questions from young activists and provides responses from staff members at Amnesty International USA.The most recent such post focuses on school protests and whether students have the right to join a protest at a school if it is not during school hours. The response from Selena J. Gomez of Amnesty International USA is serious and comprehensive.Gomez begins with the important point that “students are not simply the future politicians, advocates, and activists of tomorrow,” but “the leaders of today, which is why they should be well informed on these kinds of issues.”In her carefully crafted answer, Gomez explains that students do have the right to protest at school, both as a human right and as a legal right. To back that, Gomez draws on Articles 19 and 20 of the United Declaration of Human Rights to underscore the inherent right to peaceful protest granted to every human being since 1948 when the United National General Assembly approved it. She adds that in the US, the ACLU provides a legal framework for students protesting at public schools, in keeping with their First Amendment rights under the US Constitution. She also cites the landmark 1969 Tinker v. Independent Community School District case, in which the Supreme Court ruled in favor of student expression, and provides a link to the ACLU’s guide for students on this topic.Gomez adds some helpful follow-up suggestions for students who might be new to a particular cause and in need of guidelines. She recommends three essential questions:“Why am I protesting in the first place?” “What do I hope to gain from this action?”“How far am I willing to go for the causes I believe in?” In a recent New York Times op-ed, Emma Gonzalez, a graduate of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School and an activist on gun reform, offers eloquent advice on this important topic.While Teen Vogue is looking to the future with this focus on youth activists, it is also looking to the past, running concurrent essays on Jovita Idar, a Mexican-American journalist and education activist in the early 20th century, and the 1940s school segregation case in California Mendez v. Westminster. These stories are valuable additions to US History, and Teen Vogue is playing an important role in broadening the context of activism over time.Teen Vogue’s efforts in engaging young people with news and politics coverage are worth keeping an eye on, particularly with midterm elections around the corner. Their newsletter signup form requires a birthday and year, a slightly awkward added step for non-teenager readers, but one that is still worth taking in order to follow their work.—Anne EigemanShare22TweetShareEmail22 Shares
Yvette Kanouff is leaving SeaChange, marking the latest in a series of executive changes at the US-listed video-on-demand technology company.Kanouff will not be replaced as president and that position is being eliminated in a cost-cutting measure. His departure follows that of founder and CEO Bill Styslinger last April and Kevin Bisson in January.Kanouff had served in various positions at SeaChange since joining in 1997 including chief strategy officer. She said: “I’m proud that I played a significant role in establishing SeaChange as a leader in video-on-demand worldwide and in transitioning from a hardware-centric to a software-centric company. I think SeaChange is well positioned for the future, however, it is the right time for me to move on, and I look forward to my next endeavor.”CEO Raghu Rau said: “Over the past few months, Yvette has been discussing her desire to pursue other interests and we support that and wish her well.”
Polish cable operator Multimedia Polska has cancelled plans for a sale.Following a review by JP Morgan into the company’s strategic options, shareholders have decided not to sell. In a statement, Multimedia Polska said the review found that there were significant future opportunities and that the market prospects were promising.The operator ended June with 1.68 million revenue-generating units, up 16% year-on-year. First half revenues were up 10% to PLN332.5 million (€80 million).“The company intends to continue to invest in its further development, both through further expansion of service offerings including television, internet and telephony, the consolidation of the fragmented cable and internet market in Poland and by increasing its base of loyal subscribers,” the operator said.
Russian service provider TransTeleCom (TTC) has completed the consolidation of 18 regional subsidiaries previously owned by its majority shareholder Russian Railways, according to local reports.The assets of the 18 companies were acquired via a new issue of TTC shares.
Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten has bought international over-the-top service Viki.Rakuten already owns Wuaki.TV, an over the top service that is available in Spain and earlier this year outlined ambitious plans to launch throughout Europe.Viki has bases in Asia and the US and crowd sources subtitles, offering a swathe of international content to its customers in 160 languages. BBC Worldwide acquired a small share in the business in 2011 having previously licensed it programmes.Financial details of the Rakuten deal were not broken out, but reports suggest the Japanese firm paid US$200 million (€150 million).Rakuten Chairman and CEO, Hiroshi ‘Mickey’ Mikitani said: “There are a striking number of synergies and shared philosophies between our two businesses; the Viki model is built on a powerful community, focused on removing the language barriers that have traditionally trapped great content inside geographical borders.”Razmig Hovaghimian, Viki CEO and co-founder, added: “We’ve built a truly global TV platform. While viewers get to enjoy great entertainment they never knew existed anywhere, anytime and in their language, content owners get to reach a globally fragmented market, and increase the size of their target market multiple-fold through localization.”Rakuten said the deal will allow Viki to expand its activities in Japan and other international markets. It added that Viki is a perfect fit with Wuaki.tv.
Episodes of the second season of hit drama Mr Selfridge will debut on iTunes before they go out on free-to-air broadcaster ITV.The series follows Harry Gordon Selfridge (Jeremy Piven), the founder of the titular London department store. It starts on the ITV1 channel this Sunday (January 19) in a 9pm slot and airs weekly thereafter. However, fans can pay to download episodes three days ahead of the broadcast TV from Apple’s iTunes store in the UK.Each episode of the ten-part drama will be made available online before TV, in the same way. Consumers can buy instalments of the series in standard of high definition for £1.89.In terms of windows, the DVD release will follow the TV transmission. ITV Studios produces the series and ITV Studios Global Entertainment distributes it internationally.NBCUniversal has licensed home entertainment and download-to-own rights for the in international territories aside from North America and Japan, and sealed the UK iTunes deal.
Japanese-owned streaming and download service Wuaki is teaming with French media group Lagardère and launching a kids SVoD service in France.It will team with Lagardère kids channel Gulli, using its brand and content for a €3.99 a month SVoD streaming service. Gulli shows such as Pokemon, Power Rangers, Naruto and Littlest Petshop will be available to subs.Wuaki, which is owned by Japanese e-commerce giant Rakuten, has focused on a transactional model, but said it will look to replicate the transactional-and-SVOD model elsewhere in the future. It already utilises the hybrid model in Spain, where it is based.“We are pretty confident that this type of partnerships are a successful model that can easily be replicated across other European countries”, claims CEO and Founder of Wuaki.tv, Jacinto Roca.Wuaki has been rolling out throughout Europe, launching in Italy earlier this year and Austria and Ireland this month. It is now in seven countries in all and plans to be in ten by year-end. It launches as an app for connectedTVs, or as a standalone OTT service.Speaking as the Austria and Ireland roll outs were announced, Roca said: “After establishing ourselves in the bigger markets, we are currently focusing on European countries that may be smaller but are equally strategic because of the level of sophistication of VOD.”
BT has thrown support behind a London-based video creation startup that aims to help BT Sports “put fans at the heart of sports broadcasting”.SeenIt won the BT Infinity Lab competition for digital innovators, with a pitch to embed sports fans’ reactions to events during, pre- and post-match.SeenIt will now receive six months of support from BT’s research and innovation teams and its idea could be trialled by BT Sport. The company will also get six month’s membership to entrepreneur community TechHub.“I loved the pitch from SeenIt. User Generated Content is not a fad, or a short-lived trend, it’s an integral part of broadcasting live events in the future, and this relationship with BT Sport really does put the viewers at the heart of our content. I’m really excited about it,” said BT Sport presenter Jake Humphrey.BT launched its startup competition in November to BT find start-ups and entrepreneurs with “innovative digital media and production solutions” that can be used in sports broadcasting.SeenIt has already previously received backing from BBC Worldwide’s Labs startup initiative. The firm lets partners launch video-filming campaigns and mobilise smartphone users to co-create content.Separately, Sky this week announced it has invested £300,000 (€396,000) in mobile fan engagement and sports marketing company InCrowd.
The EBU’s Eurovision network is to deploy its new Flex platform in the premises of a number of member broadcasters participating in the next Eurovision Song Contest to enhance the competition’s voting procedure.Eurovision’s goal is to ensure that each participating Member is connected through at least two independent networks allowing maximum protection.Flex is a self-managed digital transmission tool that enables broadcasters to deliver live content over multiple networks. When internet and mobile networks are combined with the Eurovision FiNE network, it allows fast, secured and reliable delivery of the content from any location, according to the EBU.“The Eurovision Song Contest is the EBU’s flagship event, the longest running annual TV music competition in the world,” said Graham Warren, Director of Eurovision Network.“Last year the three live shows reached an audience of 197 million viewers. We have decided to complement our satellite and fibre connectivity by deploying the Flex IP hybrid technology to ensure full security and smooth delivery of the voting results.”Separately, Euroviaion has opened a new office in Dubai to support its activities in the region. The organisation has named Jorge Simao as bureau chief, Eurovision Middle East.“This is a logical step in our strategic development and we are delighted to be reinforcing services to our valued customers in the region while creating and managing new opportunities to develop Eurovision business beyond its current activities”, said Stefan Kuerten, Director of Eurovision Services and Sports Rights.“Eurovision Middle East will also serve as a bridge between Europe and Asia and a gateway to Africa.”
Multi-channel network 2btube is moving into the children’s content space with the launch of 2bkids.Juan Baixeras will lead 2bkids as general manager. He joins from Zinkia Entertainment, the production company behind pre-school animation brand Zinkia.2bkids is 2btube’s first move outside the Spanish-speaking markets and will be supported by 2btube’s 60-strong team based in Madrid, Miami and Mexico City.Dedicated to kids and family content, 2btube claims that the new service already includes 30 channels, receiving more than 80 million monthly views and will focus on bringing together independent creators, content IP from the kids industry.“2bkids is a new adventure for 2btube. When we noticed that more than 15% of our audience of 500 million video views a month was coming from pre-school content we decided to step-up our efforts and hire Juan to launch 2bkids,” said Bastian Manintveld, executive chairman of 2btube.Baixeras said: “Digital platforms are increasingly important to both independent as well as industry producers of children’s content. Few teams are as well organised and prepared to capitalise on this as the 2btube team, and it will be a great pleasure to build 2bkids together.”
CME co-CEO Michael Del NinCME’s underlying profits more than doubled year-on-year in Q3, with the broadcast group reporting a rise this year in ad revenues, subscriptions and carriage fees.Announcing its third quarter results, Central European Media Enterprises said that operating income before depreciation and amortisation (OIBDA) came in at US$18.0 million, compared to US$8.35 million a year earlier.For the first nine months of the year, CME said that TV ad revenues increased nearly 5% at constant rates, which included growth in the three largest markets, the Czech Republic, Romania and the Slovak Republic.Over the same period, carriage fees and subscription revenues increased 8%, which CME said was primarily due to subscriber growth, better channel offerings and new channel launches.“These results are, on a relative basis, arguably the best we have seen all year,” said CME co-CEO, Michael Del Nin.“Due to the combination of robust revenue growth and effective cost control, we’ve more than doubled OIBDA in the quarter compared to the same period in 2015.”Del Nin added that the results will keep CME “well on track” to deliver an “excellent financial performance” for full year 2016.For the quarter, net revenues increased 8% year-on-year to US$126.7 million.Operating income decreased 71% at constant rates to US$8.4 million in the quarter, but was up 25% in the first nine months of the year to US$60.0 million.“Our results today reflect not just an improvement in profitability, but also better engagement with our audiences as the gap between us and our closest commercial competitor widened in five out of six markets during the third quarter,” said co-CEO Christoph Mainusch.“We believe we continue to provide the most efficient medium for advertisers to reach consumers in all countries in which we operate.”