Government Spokesman Nicos Christodoulides will be among the key-note speakers at an international conference “Journalism, Society and Politics in the Digital Media Era” in Limassol at the beginning of September.The interdisciplinary conference – which is to take place between September 1 and 3 at the University of Technology (Tepak) in Limassol – aims to bring academics and professional journalists to discuss and compare the impact of technology on the relationship between journalism, politics and economics in societies and communities.The conference will also discuss advances in digital journalism and its implications for news production, journalism practices, news sources, journalism content and consumption.Other key-note speakers will be professor of media and communication studies at Uppsala University, Sweden, Nico Carpentier, and assistant professor in the school of communication at Emerson College in Boston, US, Paul Mihailidis.During the conference, journalists and academicians from 45 counties will discuss in 21 panels issues concerning journalism, political life and everyday discussions through the fields of communication, sociology, political science, economics, cultural studies, psychology and anthropology.The conference is organised jointly by the Advanced Media Institute, the Open University (Cyprus), the Centre for the Study of Journalism, Culture and Community at Bournemouth University (UK), and the Laboratory of Research in New Economy and Development at University Hassan II Casablanca (Morocco), with the support of Tepak.For more information: http://amiretreat2017.comYou May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoYahoo SearchResearch Compact SUVs. New SUVs May Make You Want To Trade Yours In Today – See For Yourself!Yahoo SearchUndoUltimate Pet Nutrition Pet SupplementsAging Cat? Help Them Thrive By Doing This One ThingUltimate Pet Nutrition Pet SupplementsUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Martin HowrylakState RepresentativeDistrict 41 01Mar 2017 February E-Newsletter Dear Friends,Hello and welcome to my February e-newsletter!I hope you and your family have taken the opportunity to enjoy the beautiful weather we’ve had recently. These warmer than normal temperatures provided wonderful opportunities to get outside for a long walk or a relaxing bike ride in our community.I’d like to spend a few minutes providing you with a brief update from our state capital. I hope you find this information helpful as you seek to stay informed about the various policy issues being discussed in Lansing.Please keep in mind that this e-newsletter is not exhaustive and is only meant to be a summary. For more information, please do not hesitate to call the office toll-free at 1-877-238-0001 or email MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov.Rep. Howrylak joins bipartisan effort to increase government accountabilityThis month, I joined a bipartisan group of representatives as a co-sponsor of landmark legislation that will expand government transparency in the state of Michigan.If enacted, the bill package (HB 4148 – 4157) will make the executive branch subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) and create a similar records disclosure system for the state House and Senate called the Legislative Open Records Act (LORA). The package is similar to legislation that was put forth by House members in 2016 that did not have the opportunity to reach the Governor’s desk before the conclusion of the 2015-16 legislative session.I am honored to once again be part of this important reform. Our government works best when it is held accountable by the people. For this reason, the Governor and the Legislature should be held to the same level of public scrutiny as other government entities that are subject to the Freedom of Information Act (FIOA).The legislation has been referred to the House Michigan Competitiveness Committee for consideration.Rep. Howrylak introduces bill to reduce tax burden for retirees, seniorsI recently introduced legislation that would significantly lower the tax burden for retirees.In 2011, Michigan made several changes to the tax code, including eliminating the pension and retirement exemption. If enacted, my proposal will increase the retirement income subtractions for both single and joint filers. As a result, this legislation will reduce the portion of one’s retirement income that is subject to state tax and lower the tax obligation for Michigan retirees and seniors.Most senior citizens are dependent on a fixed income and this policy change had a significant impact on their pocketbooks. My bill will greatly reduce the tax burden placed on these hard-working citizens and allow them to keep more of their income during their retirement years.HB 4159 was referred to the Tax Policy Committee for consideration.House committee meetings now underwayAs you may know, my legislative responsibilities include serving on a variety of committees. Committee assignments are determined by House leadership. House committees are responsible for reviewing legislation before the bills proceed to the House floor for consideration by the entire chamber. This deliberative process involves discussing the potential impact of a proposal and hearing testimony from state agencies, outside groups and concerned citizens.During this session I serve as the Vice Chair of the Oversight Committee and as a member of the Judiciary, Law and Justice, and Tax Policy committees. I am pleased that my committee assignments will once again provide valuable opportunities to increase government transparency, reform Michigan’s criminal justice system, and improve our Tax Code.Committees began meeting in early February. Some of our initial meetings included presentations from relevant state agencies and subject matter experts to help enhance our knowledge on the topics that will be discussed by the committee. Many House committees are now deliberating legislative proposals to determine if they should proceed to the House floor.Did you know you can get involved in the committee process right from the comfort of your home? I encourage you to click here to visit the House Committee webpage where you can sign up for email alerts that will let you know which bills are being debated in the policy committees that interest you. In addition, you can also view a live web-stream of House Session and select committee meetings online by clicking here.Rep. Howrylak bill that reforms school discipline signed into lawOn February 15th I participated in Governor Rick Snyder’s ceremonial bill signing in recognition of Public Act 364 of 2016. For this special occasion, I was joined by Rep. Peter Lucido, Rep. Andy Schor, Rep. Adam Zemke, and Rep. David LaGrand.This legislation was part of a bill package that will provide schools with greater discretion regarding the decision to suspend or expel a student to ensure more children have the opportunity to remain in school and participate in restorative practices. As a result, schools will now consider a variety of factors before choosing to expel or suspend a student such as a student’s age, previous disciplinary history and seriousness of the offense.I was honored to sponsor House Bill 5693 in this bill package, which is now PA 364.Consumer Education EventOnce again I am partnering with the Michigan Attorney General’s office to host a Consumer Education (formerly Senior Brigade) event on Friday, March 3rd. This month’s presentation will cover investment fraud warning signs, how to recognize affinity fraud, Ponzi and pyramid schemes. A light lunch will be provided.The event will start at 11 a.m. at Clawson’s Hunter Community Center, located at 509 Fisher Court. Individuals looking for more information may contact my office toll-free at (877) 248-0001 or by emailing firstname.lastname@example.org. Additionally, more information is available on my office website www.RepHowrylak.com.Rep. Howrylak introduces legislation in honor of Troy police officerOn February 10th, I introduced legislation in honor of Troy Police Officer Martin “Marty” Chivas.If enacted, this legislation would name the portion of I-75, located at the Rochester Road exit, as the “Officer Martin ‘Marty’ Chivas Memorial Highway.” Our community is a wonderful place to live, work, and raise a family thanks to the hard-working men and women of the Troy Police Department. Officer Chivas gave the ultimate sacrifice protecting our community on April 22, 1974. If my bill is enacted, this portion of I-75 will serve as a solemn reminder of the unwavering commitment to public safety possessed by every member of the Troy Police Department.Officer Chivas was killed in the line of duty while investigating a burglary in progress at a service station on Rochester Road at I-75. During the incident, Officer Chivas was killed by the intruders. The individuals were two prison escapees who were later recaptured and are now serving life sentences. Officer Chivas was only 24 years old.HB 4191 was referred to the House Transportation Committee for consideration.Troy Union Elementary Visits House FloorOn February 23rd, I had the pleasure of visiting with two groups of students and adults from Troy Union Elementary School. During their visit to the Capitol, I had the opportunity to take the students on the House floor for a closer look at the chamber and take a few questions from students. It is always exciting to see children taking an interest in our democratic process and the inner workings of state government.FY 2018 Budget Process BeginsOn February 8th, Governor Snyder released his FY 2018 budget proposal. The House and Senate have begun working on separate budget proposals that will be heavily debated in each chamber before an agreement on the FY 2018 budget is made. Over the last six years, the Legislature has passed a budget months ahead of schedule to allow ample time for state departments and local governments to plan accordingly. Therefore, you can plan for the budget to be finalized by May or June of this year.After reviewing the Governor’s proposed budget, I was pleased to see he seeks to invest an additional $128 million to provide schools with a per-pupil foundation allowance increase between $50 and $100. Similarly, I was encouraged to see transportation funding was also prioritized in the proposed budget. Under the Governor’s plan, the Michigan Transportation Fund would receive a $130 million increase to support local roads and $84.3 million in additional funding for state roads. Lastly, the proposal includes $48.8 million in additional funding for the City of Flint, which will be used for water filter and cartridge replacement, the lead poison prevention program, nutritional services, and early childhood and health services.As the legislature continues to debate the FY 2018 budget, I encourage you to contact me regarding the state budget priorities that are most important to you. Throughout the budget process, program and department funding can change. Although I am not a member of the Appropriations Committee, you can rest assured that I will be following the budget process closely and discussing any concerns I may have with my colleagues on the committee.District office hoursAs an elected representative, it is important for me to be accessible to the public and to be available to listen to the ideas, concerns and suggestions of our neighbors. This is why I place such a large emphasis on office hours, community outreach and events.I believe talking to friends and neighbors face to face is the best way to gather ideas, answer questions and listen to suggestions. I rely on the perspective of people like you to guide me as I work to make state government more responsive, responsible and effective. I encourage citizens of the 41st District to attend the events below.My upcoming office hours are as follows (No appointment necessary):Saturday, March 25th from 3:00 p.m. – 4:30 p.m.Troy Library, 510 W. Big Beaver Rd., Troy, MI 48084Monday, March 27th from 3:30 p.m. – 5:00 p.m.Blair Memorial Library, 416 N Main St, Clawson, MI 48017Rep. Howrylak’s Lansing OfficeMailing Address: N-890 House Office BuildingP.O. Box 30014Lansing, MI 48909Website: http://www.RepHowrylak.comPhone: (517) 373-1783Toll Free: (877) 248-0001Email: MartinHowrylak@house.mi.govAs always, please do not hesitate to contact my office if you have any questions or concerns. I will continue to work on removing barriers to job creation, retaining our valuable businesses, growing our economy, and getting Michigan back to work again. If you have any suggestions, comments, or questions please let me know.Warm regards, Categories: Howrylak News
State Rep. Joe Bellino of Monroe will host office hours on Monday, Jan. 22 to meet with residents of Monroe and Wayne counties.“I appreciate all of the feedback from our community throughout my first year in office,” Rep. Bellino said. “Listening to your ideas and having these conversations helps me effectively represent the people in our community. I look forward to continuing them in 2018.”Rep. Bellino will meet with residents at the following times and locations:8 to 9 a.m. at Senor Cactus, 128 E. Front St. in Monroe;9:30 to 10:30 a.m. at Biggby, 26614 Telegraph Road in Flat Rock; and11 a.m. to noon at Sumpter Township Senior Center, 23501 Sumpter Road in Sumpter Township.Appointments are not necessary during office hours. Anyone unable to attend is encouraged to contact Rep. Bellino’s office at (517) 373-1530, email JosephBellino@house.mi.gov or visit www.RepBellino.com. Categories: Bellino News 11Jan Rep. Bellino announces local office hours
21Dec Rep. Howrylak addresses bill swap, ‘no’ vote on tax policy measure Rep. Martin Howrylak today voted against a bill that reduces the portion of the state income tax that goes to public schools after the Legislature abandoned the original intent of legislation he had introduced.Howrylak introduced House Bill 4991 in 2017. The bill – as introduced and as approved by the House in May 2018 – was designed to ensure compensation for wrongful imprisonment was not subject to Michigan’s income tax.House Bill 4991 was substituted in the Senate to add a completely different intent this week. The final bill as approved by the House on Friday dealt with the income tax distribution formula.This technique is sometimes used to help the Legislature quickly approve measures when time is too short for new bills to be considered due to legislative rules. But Howrylak took exception to using his bill for this purpose and disagreed with the substituted bill.“I have worked six years in the Michigan House and my time is coming to an end because of term limits,” said Howrylak, of Troy. “The ‘wrongful conviction’ bill was a priority, and it should become part of Michigan law. It was designed to ensure we don’t add insult to injury by taxing compensation awarded to someone who spent time in prison for a crime they didn’t commit.“The hijacking of this bill to serve an entirely different purpose contributed to my final ‘no’ vote on House Bill 4991.”Howrylak also said the substitute itself is flawed.“We should not be reducing the portion of the income tax collection that goes to the School Aid Fund in order to solve a funding issue that could be resolved through the normal appropriations process,” Howrylak said. “I can assure you there are better ways to achieve the goals of this legislation.”Howrylak had his name removed as sponsor of the legislation.### Categories: Howrylak News,News
Categories: Wentworth News Conviction will soon be required before civil asset forfeiture is initiatedState Rep. Jason Wentworth, second from right, joins Gov. Gretchen Whitmer as she signs his civil asset forfeiture reform plan into law. Shown from left are Policy Advisor Aaron Van Langevelde, House Speaker Lee Chatfield, Lt. Gov. Garlin Gilchrist, Gov. Whitmer, Rep. Wentworth and Chief Legislative Advisor Joe Perry.A civil asset forfeiture reform plan spearheaded by state Rep. Jason Wentworth was signed into law today, strengthening the due process rights of all Michigan residents.Prior to these reforms, Wentworth said law enforcement agencies throughout Michigan could take and keep property from individuals without ever charging them with a crime. The new law will require a criminal conviction before private property is seized from people through the civil asset forfeiture process.“The rights of every single Michigan resident are stronger with this reform,” said Wentworth, R-Clare. “Innocent people will no longer be treated like criminals when it comes to civil asset forfeiture, and our law enforcement officers will still have the tools they need to continue doing a great job protecting the public.”The new law continues to allow officers to seize property based on probable cause, but requires a criminal conviction before law enforcement agencies can sell or use the property. This will ensure an individual’s personal property can easily be returned if they are found not guilty.In 2017, Michigan law enforcement agencies reported confiscating $13.1 million in cash and property through civil asset forfeiture. In more than 200 cases, people who were later found not guilty were forced to forfeit their property, never to have it returned. Charges were never even filed in a staggering 736 cases.Wentworth sponsored the bipartisan solution alongside Rep. David LaGrand, D-Grand Rapids, and Sen. Peter Lucido, R-Shelby Township.### 09May Wentworth: New law safeguards due process rights of all Michigan residents
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesNovember 27, 2015; Wall Street JournalWhat does it mean to be an affirmative member of the nonprofit or “independent” sector?Earlier this month, Governor Chris Christie directed the New Jersey Department of Human Services not to resettle any Syrian refugees in that state, although the state has a Syrian community with a 150-year history, and he ordered nonprofit organizations to notify the state of any Syrian placements in New Jersey. The State Department tries to place refugees where they have family ties, and New Jersey has the sixth-highest population of Syrians in the country, with almost 12,000 residents of Syrian ancestry.Resettlement groups immediately declared their independence. “We don’t believe the directive the governor put in place is necessarily enforceable,” said Erol Kekic, executive director of immigration and refugee programs for Church World Service. “Immigration is a federal issue. He can’t control who lives in his state.” And as for reporting any contact, Kekic said that information on any refugees settled in New Jersey is already easily available to governors by calling the State Department in Washington, D.C. “It’s not something very secret, nor it is hard to obtain,” said Kekic, “If Christie and these other governors want to know who and where these refugees are, maybe they should pick up the phone?”But as we have written before, even though governors do not have the power to exclude refugees (according to the Refugee Act of 1980) and the U.S. Department of State oversees their screening and resettlement, states are responsible for regranting federal dollars to local resettlement nonprofits, and some states have been using that position to block resettlement through threatening nonprofits with state contracts in order to get them to withhold services from Syrian refugees. Kekic, however, has declared that if the state were to cut his agency off, they could get funds elsewhere.Still, the Central New Jersey Interfaith Coalition for Refugee Resettlement, which includes 30 faith communities, has raised $11,000 to help the Alroustoms, a Syrian refugee family, pay for housing and other necessaries in Paterson, where a large longstanding community of Syrians already exists. Rabbi Philip Bazeley of the Anshe Emeth Memorial Temple in New Brunswick, where congregants have been raising money for refugees, including the Alroustoms, is quoted as saying that politicians are making “xenophobic” comments and playing on people’s “fear of the other” to make political points.“As a Jew,” Rabbi Bazeley says, “that worries me tremendously.”The American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey filed a request Tuesday to be notified of any communication or directives sent to refugee-serving agencies.Elsewhere, last Monday, after a family had been diverted from Indiana to Connecticut, the American Civil Liberties Union of Indiana filed a federal lawsuit on behalf of Indianapolis nonprofit Exodus Refugee Immigration, accusing Gov. Mike Pence of violating the U.S. Constitution’s Equal Protection Clause and Title VI of the Civil Rights Act by accepting refugees from other countries but not from Syria.“There is no border around the state of Indiana that prevents people from entering our state who may move freely within the United States,” ACLU of Indiana legal director Ken Falk said in a statement. “Decisions concerning immigration and refugee resettlement are exclusively the province of the federal government, and attempts to pre-empt that authority violate both equal protection and civil rights laws and intrude on authority that is exclusively federal.”The willingness of nonprofits to not only refuse to comply with bad policy but also to challenge it in court and in public is something that should be celebrated by all of us in this resource-dependent sector. It makes us all a bit more free.—Ruth McCambridgeShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Share23TweetShare1Email24 SharesJune 16, 2016; WBUR-FM (Boston Public Radio)Senator Charles E. Grassley of the Senate Judiciary and Finance Committees issued a letter on Thursday essentially declaring that the American Red Cross (ARC) is stonewalling his investigation on questions of accountability where its activities and spending in Haiti are concerned. The ARC received approximately $487 million dollars to provide food and shelter in the aftermath of the 2010 earthquake.Eventually, questions began to be raised about the organization’s effectiveness in Haiti, with charges about inefficiencies and waste. Grassley mentioned that reports also surfaced about the ARC viewing the disaster as a public relations and fundraising opportunity.Most of the work the ARC did in Haiti under the Haiti Assistance Project (HAP) was in fact subcontracted to other organizations. Still, the Red Cross retained around 25 percent of that money, or $124 million, for its own operations and program costs. The rest, around $367 million, went to contracts with partner agencies, but the whole picture is obscured by a “complex yet inaccurate process to track…spending.” Consequently, the organization has been unable to answer questions about, for instance, how much went to oversight and evaluation activities—an important accountability measure, as far as Grassley is concerned. He writes that the ARC blames its lack of precision on its reliance on “nonprofit accounting standards which allow for the use of estimates rather than actual numbers.”In the same vein, Grassley charges that the ARC attempted to stop and then successfully limited a GAO audit, whereupon it still refused to respond to requests for information. And, finally, it has downsized its own Investigations, Accountability and Ethics (ICE) unit from 65 full-time employees in the immediate aftermath of Katrina to just three today. Further, that unit reports to the organization’s general counsel, who was the contact pushing limits on the purview of the GAO review.All of this, writes Grassley, creates substantial and fundamental concerns about ARC as an organization. Readers can go here to read the letter and the Red Cross’s response to queries.—Ruth McCambridgeShare23TweetShare1Email24 Shares
Share110Tweet10Share38Email158 SharesJuly 11, 2017; Independent SectorLast week, NPQ ran a feature by Tim Delaney of the National Council of Nonprofits that served as another warning about the progress of a measure to weaken the Johnson Amendment that was attached as a rider to the Financial Services and General Government Appropriations Act.As described on the National Council of Nonprofits’ website:The rider, Section 116 of the House Financial Services and General Government FY2018 Appropriations bill, would prevent the Internal Revenue Service from spending any funds to make a final determination that a house of worship or its affiliate has violated the Johnson Amendment unless the IRS meets three conditions: (1) the IRS Commissioner personally consents to a determination of unlawful conduct; (2) politicians on the House and Senate tax committees are given 30-days’ notice of the law-enforcement determination; and (3) an additional 90-days’ notice is provided before enforcement can commence.According to Newsweek, Section 116 “would make it exponentially more difficult to enforce” even the most blatant violations of the Johnson Amendment. While aimed at houses of worship, most charitable nonprofits as well as faith-based organizations strongly oppose legislative efforts to politicize entities that currently are dedicated to their missions in communities and are above the partisan fray.Once again, NPQ, while still encouraging and celebrating the active involvement of nonprofits in advocacy and nonpartisan political activity, opposes the repeal or weakening of the Johnson Amendment. Political activity of this kind is already legal and involves an ever-widening swath of nonprofits in principled action on behalf of the communities they represent.Today, the Act passed with the rider attached. In response, Delaney released the following statement:There are many problems bedeviling our country, but unleashing partisan politics into our houses of worship will not solve any of them. For charitable nonprofits, houses of worship, and foundations that work every day to solve problems in their communities, nonpartisanship is not merely a concept; it is a way of life. That way of life came under direct assault today when the House Appropriations Committee voted to keep an unconstitutional and unworkable provision (Section 116) in the Financial Services appropriations bill.He continued:The Johnson Amendment has never stopped a discussion of the issues of the day. Rather, it has been a vital protection for nonprofit missions, religious and otherwise, for more than 60 years. Being able to point to current law when saying “no” to politicians and their operatives has enabled nonprofits to focus on serving their communities, rather than catering to the desires of political candidates and their powerful donors.Perhaps it is too much to expect sound decisions on this issue from partisan politicians who may benefit from politicizing the nonprofit community in order to extract money and endorsements from trusted charitable, philanthropic, and religious organizations. For those of us in those nonprofit organizations tasked with getting the work done in communities—while the battling partisans are yelling past each other to score political points—this is a very sad day.We hope that those in Congress will come to their senses and remove this damaging and unconstitutional rider before it advances any further.—Ruth McCambridgeShare110Tweet10Share38Email158 Shares
TV technology provider Access is using the CES show in Las Vegas to unveil a new social video platform, ACCESSMyTV.The platform provides for the creation of personalised web video channels that can be shared with friends and family via social networks such as Facebook and Twitter. The resulting consumer engagement will in turn enable ACCESSMyTV to support targeted advertising, according to Access.“The platform is the simplest and most powerful route to launching a multi-screen OTT service, giving CE device manufacturers, broadcasters and operators the opportunity to embrace the social TV revolution and create new recurring revenues,” said Neale Foster, vice-president of global sales IA, ACCESS. “ACCESSMyTV makes life easy for operators, allowing them to launch a social TV service with an abundance of content from the word go. The platform operator can further serve the needs of the ever-hungry consumer by providing them with access to free web video, premium content, games and apps.”
The English Premier League has launched an invitation to bid for UK TV rights to the three seasons from 2013-14. The League is offering live rights to an increased total of 154 matches split into seven packages and a free-to-air highlights package including catch-up rights.Live rights are split across five packages of 26 matches and two packages of 12 matches. No single buyer will be allowed to buy more than 116 matches.“This creates a more attractive and compelling offering for both broadcasters and fans; whilst allowing the continued protection of the Saturday 3pm ‘closed window’ and minimising further displacement of Premier League fixtures,” the Premier League said.The League will open a separate sales process for two near-live packages each containing 226 matches – one for linear and one for video-on-demand – and an online clips package for all 380 matches.Despite the controversy around the recent court case to determine whether the League could block access to foreign transmissions in the UK, the rights on offer will be for the UK only, with international rights to be sold separately as before. There had been speculation that the League would move to a system of awarding rights on a pan-European basis.
UK online streaming service Lovefilm has struck a deal with NBC Universal International Television Distribution that gives viewers access to films during the second pay window. The multi-year agreement increases the competition between Amazon-owned Lovefilm and Netflix, which launched in the UK and Ireland at the start of the year. The deal is Lovefilm’s latest studio streaming deal after signing deals with Warner Bros, Sony Pictures, Disney as well as Entertainment One and Studiocanal. Movies including Kick Ass, Despicable Me, American Reunion, Battleship and Senna will be available for Lovefilm Instant customers at £4.99 (€6.25) for unlimited streaming.Jim Buckle, managing director of Lovefilm, said: “Lovefilm is proud to offer its members access to the highest quality content across multiple platforms from another of the world’s most respected studios. NBCUniversal is also Lovefilm’s latest exclusive streaming deal in our quest to deliver the widest choice of content on as many platforms as possible.”
Smart TV apps that deliver video content are among the most popular for UK consumers, according to the Rovi Corporation Smart TV Advertising Study, which was conducted by Decipher Research with the support of media firm Red Bull Media House.The Study surveyed 500 owners of Samsung Smart TVs and Blu-ray players and found that video content delivery apps, including BBC iPlayer, BBC News, LoveFilm, and YouTube, were among the most frequently used. The research also revealed that the average household with connected TV devices downloads at least nine apps.As part of the study, Red Bull Media House teamed with Rovi to research how users react to advertising on connected TV devices that were designed to drive awareness and downloads of its new Red Bull TV Smart TV App. The campaign for the Red Bull TV App features banners within the content search and discovery areas of the Samsung Smart Hub. The adverts direct viewers to an interactive microsite where they can watch high-definition clips of shows available on Red Bull TV and directly download the app. The campaign, which runs through June, has generated millions of impressions for Red Bull TV and driven 81% higher interest in downloading the app within its target demographic, Rovi said.“The Rovi Advertising Network enables advertisers to place dynamic, engaging ads in front of consumers as they search for meaningful entertainment across the many content sources and choices available to them on connected devices,” said Jon Hewson, advertising director for Rovi in EMEA. “As our relationship with Red Bull Media House attests, the Rovi Advertising Network is not only a great vehicle for media companies to better engage with consumers in the living room, but also an ideal tool for App developers looking to build an audience.”
The EU General Court has partially annulled the European Commission’s 2008 decision that rights collecting societies had acted anti-competitively, ruling that there is not sufficient evidence of concerted anti-competitive practice.The ruling, in the CISAC v Commission and Others case, concerned complaints originally lodged in 2000 and 2003 against a non-binding model contract established in 1936 by CISAC, an umbrella organisation that represents collecting societies, as a guide for reciprocal representation agreements between its members.The EU ruled in 2008 that the model contract breached its antitrust rules because each collecting society limited the right to grant licences relating to its repertoire in the territory of another collecting society party to the agreement, and ordered the societies to end this practice. CISAC and the majority of the collecting societies concerned appealed against the decision with the support of the EBU. The latter argued that the practice of granting one-stop shop licences to national broadcasters should be maintained.
Exane BNP Paribas has raised its target for French cable operator Numericable and upped its recommendation on the company’s stock from neutral to outperform. In a note entitled ‘All’s well that merges well’, the bank’s analysts set a target of €50 for Numericable stock, up from €34.According to Exane BNP Paribas, the fusion of Numericable and SFR is “fundamentally attractive”. It predicts that the combined entity will deliver annual average operational free cash-flow of up to 16% between now and 2020. Synergies between Numericable and SFR, notably from high-speed fixed-line internet, are estimated at €7 billion, up from €4 billion previously.Exane BNP Paribas says that Numericable is best-placed amongst French operators to benefit from consolidation of the sector. How well it performs could depend on which of its competitors succeeds in merging with Bouygues Telecom, which failed to secure a rival deal with Vivendi for SFR.According to Exane BNP Paribas, the best case for Numericable would be if Free buys Bouygues Telecom, while the latter’s acquisition by Orange would be less favourable. If Bouygues remains independent, the resultant downward competitive pressure on fixed-line pricing could prove harmful, however.
Mediaset has agreed to sell an 11.11% stake in its Italian pay TV unit to Telefónica as part of a wider agreement that will also see the Italian media giant sell its 22% in Spanish pay TV operator Canal+ to the Spanish telecom leader.Telefónica has agreed to invest €100 million in Mediaset Premium, which will be spun off by Mediaset. The deal gives the new Italian pay TV company that Mediaset intends to create a value of about €900 million, according to the Italian company.“This partnership marks an important alliance between Mediaset and Telefónica for future cooperation in their respective pay TV activities in terms of technology, know-how and content,” said Mediaset.The Italian media giant said it will open the new pay TV company to other investors. Mediaset is known to be in talks with Al Jazeera, with France’s Vivendi also believed to be interested in taking a stake.Mediaset agreed on Friday to sell its stake in Canal+ Spain holding company DTS for up to €365 million, comprising an initial purchase price of €295 million and a further €70 million that is, in part, dependent on the future performance of the operator.In an interview with Italian daily Corriere della Sera, Mediaset executive vice-president Pier Silvio Berlusconi said that his company would supply channels to Canal+ under the deal and handle advertising sales for them. Berlusconi also said that Mediaset was open to other international partners for Mediaset Premium in addition to Al Jazeera and Vivendi.The valuation placed on Mediaset Premium by the Telefónica deal is three times that estimated for the unit – including the 22% stake in Canal+ – by analysts at Italy’s Mediobanca back in April, when it still faced uncertainty about the future allocation of Serie A football rights.At the time, Mediaset criticised what it described as Mediobanca’s speculative assessment of the unit’s losses. In the Corriere della Sera interview, Berlusconi said that the figure of €400 million in losses that has been speculated represented, in reality, an investment in the future of the company.
Polish pay TV operator nc+ is to launch a new pre-paid service on October 1, offering over 50 channels, including 19 in HD, from PLN19.90 (€4.75) a month.The operator is providing new users with free access to 130 channels, including premium Canal+ channels, for the first month, after which they can choose to subscribe or take the stripped down pre-paid offering.The nc+ telewizja na kartę offering provides a range of channels via the ITI 5800SX HD DVR decoder for upwards of PLN19.90 a month, with a one-off top up offered after three months.Piotr Malicki, sales director for pre-paid products and services, said that the new offers was “an excellent option for those who do not want to be tied to long-term contracts” and offered an extensive range of HD services including Ale kino+ HD, Planete+ HD, Eurosport HD and Eurosport2 HD, TVP Sport HD, TVN24 HD and Romance TV HD.
América Móvil has increased its stake in Telekom Austria by about 8.68% to take its holding to 59.7% as a result of a public tender offer that expired last Thursday.Upon settlement of the shares that participated in the offer during an additional acceptance period, América Móvil will, directly and indirectly, hold 264,470,131 shares in the Austrian telco.Telekom Austria has about 23 million fixed and mobile customers across eight countries, including several in which it provides TV services as part of its offering.
The Zip-R from ZapperBoxTV technology providers ZapperBox and Access and connected home chipset specialist Entropic have teamed up to launch a new HDMI dongle device aimed at enabling cable operators to deliver IP video around the home.ZapperBox’s dongle, the Zip-R, can run the full RDK stack with HTML5 and the DLNA’s CVP-2 guidelines, also known as VidiPath, the DLNA’s remote user interface guidelines that are designed to allow consumers to securely stream content from their service provider set-top box to other devices in the home.The Zip-R is designed to enable cable providers to transition to in-home IP video distribution. The devices comes with a proprietary eight-pin connector that ZapperBox says can deliver a range of optional connectivity direct from the power adapter, including MoCA, Ethernet and Powerline.The Zip-R is based on the EN7589 chipset from Entropic and incorporates Access’s NetFront Living Connect 3.1 technology. Access announced at CES this week that its Chromium Blink-based NetFront BE browser now supports DLNA VidiPath.“The transition to open standards such as DLNA is shifting software development away from traditional set-top box makers, creating a new ecosystem driven by innovation. This solution, which combines Access’s DLNA and Browser expertise, Entropic’s EN7589 dual-core ARM-based System on Chip, and our industry-leading HDMI stick form factor, is a prime example of that ecosystem in practice,” said Mark Samuel, CEO of ZapperBox.“Our partnerships with ZapperBox and Entropic demonstrate ACCESS’ ongoing commitment to innovative, cost-effective solutions for the cable industry. The integration of NetFront Living Connect 3.1 with the DLNA VidiPath on the innovative ZapperBox Zip-R stick, based on Entropic’s EN7589 SoC, showcases how operators can merge technology, security, and simplicity to meet consumer demand for universal content across all devices,” said Neale Foster, COO and VP global sales, TV, Access Europe.
Kabel DeutschlandVodafone majority-owned Kabel Deutschland has been asked to call an extraordinary shareholders’ meeting to look into whether its management gave accurate and timely information to investors at the time of its takeover. Hedge fund group Elliott Management, which holds a stake of about 13.5% in the company, has requested the meeting and has called for the appointment of an independent auditor to look into the matter.Elliott last year initiated legal action against Vodafone, arguing that Kabel Deutschland minority shareholders should receive a higher payout. Its case was boosted by an audit report published in December that found the cable company to be worth €104 a share, considerably more than the €84.53 per share that Vodafone offered to minority shareholders. Elliott told its own investors that Kabel Deutschland could be worth up to €250 a share and that Vodafone could be liable for up to €8 billion in compensation.Vodafone said at the time that the auditor’s report findings were “unrealistic”. Vodafone’s offer was accepted by the majority of Kabel Deutschland’s shareholders.Kabel Deutschland issued a statement that it would review the latest request.“Kabel Deutschland Holding AG, Unterfoehring, today received a request by Cornwall 2 GmbH & Co. KG by telefax to invite to an extraordinary general meeting which shall, inter alia, be provided with the special auditor’s report as well as vote on the appointment of special auditors on matters related to the takeover by Vodafone Vierte Verwaltungs AG and to detect alleged breaches of duty by members of the Company’s boards in connection with the executed special audit,” it said. “The company will review the request and invite to a general meeting in case the legal requirements are met.”
More than half of consumers in pay TV homes have used TV Everywhere services to watch content, according to a North American study by GfK.The report says that though ‘TV Everywhere’ as a brand name is still struggling to build awareness among consumers, 53% of pay TV viewers have used these services – up 10 percentage points compared to 2012.GfK said that mobile devices were the “main driver” of TV everywhere growth, with monthly use of mobile apps and websites from TV providers doubling since 2012.The study also said among the 13-35 and 36-49 age groups use of mobile TV everywhere sites and apps – as well as smart TV apps – was two to four times higher than for those aged 50-64.“Consumer education continues to be a critical missing piece of the puzzle for TV Everywhere (TVE),” said David Tice, senior vice-president in media and entertainment at GfK.“With a notable proportion of people in pay TV homes already using TVE, greater awareness and understanding of the services could drive even higher adoption. Greater success of TV Everywhere could help pay TV services stave off becoming ‘dumb’ broadband pipes, and also assist TV networks in maintaining their status as the original aggregators of high quality video content.”