WEYMOUTH, MASS. – Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners (MGOP) announced today that it has completed the acquisition of the jet membership, retail charter and fuel management business units previously owned by Sentient Jet Holdings, LLC. The businesses are now operating as a standalone company and will retain the Sentient brand. Terms were not disclosed.The new company, Sentient Flight Group (Sentient) will continue its successful focus on developing solutions for private jet travelers delivered with Sentient’s hallmark commitment to service and safety and will include:-Sentient Jet Membership – with 3,500 active members, Sentient Jet Membership is one of the industry’s premier programs based on its innovative, flexible product which offers guaranteed availability and fixed one-way pricing. -Sentient Charter – alongside the membership business, Sentient also offers a leading retail charter broker program. With extensive sales and service teams located around the country, Sentient Charter adds to the company’s range of solutions to meet clients’ private flying needs with concierge-style service for specific, on-demand itineraries. -AvBuy – Sentient’s fuel business, AvBuy, is a leading national volume aggregator and provides a full service fuel management program for aircraft owners that are Sentient clients and operators that support Sentient’s other programs.As announced in August, Sentient will be led by Steven Hankin, the former CEO of Sentient Jet Holdings. “We are excited to join forces with MGOP whose financial strength and aviation experience will enhance our ability to provide clients with unique, flexible solutions anchored on exceptional service and an uncompromising safety culture,” said Hankin. “Together, we will focus on continuing Sentient’s strong track record of growth in private aviation.”Through funds that it manages on behalf of investors or as principal, the Macquarie Group (Macquarie) is a leading global investor and manager across a range of specialist asset classes around the world, with over $200 billion in assets under management. In particular, Macquarie has significant experience managing and/or owning investments in the aviation industry including Fixed-Base Operations (FBOs), Maintenance Repair & Overhaul operations (MRO), airports, aircraft leasing and jet engine leasing.Michael Cook, Senior Managing Director of MGOP, said, “We are pleased to complete the acquisition of Sentient Flight Group and partner with Steve and his original team that built Sentient into the leading company it is today. Through this transaction we have acquired three strong, profitable businesses – Sentient Jet Membership, Sentient Charter, and AvBuy – each with a unique offering that when combined establishes a platform for continued growth in the highly fragmented private aviation industry.”About Sentient Flight Group Sentient Flight Group is a leading private aviation company in the United States. The Sentient Jet Membership program is the most flexible and economically sound approach to private aviation. Members enjoy access to premium executive-class aircraft with a guaranteed response time of as little as ten hours anywhere in the continental United States. The program features guaranteed availability as well as both one-way and round-trip pricing at fixed hourly rates. Sentient Charter is built off the company’s superb reputation for service and safety and offers clients expert solutions for specific itineraries, including complex road shows, international travel, and large group commercial charter. Sentient Flight Group also includes the national fuel management program, AvBuy, and the online charter marketplace, www.privatejets.com.Sentient Membership and Sentient Charter arrange flights on behalf of clients through access to a strong network of certified operators and aircraft. Flights are conducted by FAR certified air carriers that exercise full operational control at all times. Operators approved to provide service for Sentient must meet all FAA safety standards and additional safety standards established by Sentient.About Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners Macquarie Global Opportunities Partners (MGOP) is an unlisted fund focused on making private equity investments in privileged cash flow businesses globally. Established in 2007, MGOP is managed by a subsidiary of the Macquarie Group (Macquarie). Macquarie is a global provider of banking, financial, advisory, investment and funds management services. Macquarie’s main business focus is making returns by providing a diversified range of services to clients, acting on behalf of institutional, corporate and retail clients and counterparties around the world. Macquarie Group Limited is listed in Australia (ASX: MQG) with total assets under management of $212 billion (June 30, 2008).
Categories: Hoitenga News,News 26Nov Rep. Hoitenga named to important House panel Michigan House Speaker-elect Lee Chatfield recently announced that state Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, will serve on the newly created Policy Action Plan Committee within the Michigan House.The temporary, 14-member panel will work with incoming Republican members to develop policy ideas for the upcoming legislative term and construct an updated House Republican action plan.“This nomination is an honor to me because it involves shaping how we operate as a caucus going forward the next two years,” Hoitenga said. “It’s essential that we come through for the people of Michigan and take on pressing issues to make sure our state continues to be a great place to live, work and raise a family.”Hoitenga is nearing the end of her first term serving residents in Wexford, Mecosta and Osceola Counties and will begin her second in January as part of the 2019-20 Legislature. She has voted to cut taxes and lower auto insurance rates for Northern Michigan families while supporting record statewide school and road funding.“Working on these issues and casting votes in support of them helped Michigan make significant strides, but our work is never done,” Hoitenga said. “I’m excited to work with my colleagues and put forth solid ideas for our state and Northern Michigan.”
Categories: Howrylak News State Rep. Martin Howrylak will host his monthly office hours on Monday, Dec. 17 from 3:30 to 5 p.m. at the Blair Memorial Library, 416 N. Main St. in Clawson.“I am committed to making state government accessible and accountable to the people,” Rep. Howrylak said. “Local residents interested in discussing legislative matters or have questions related to state government are encouraged to stop by at their convenience.”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Howrylak at 517-373-1783 or via email at MartinHowrylak@house.mi.gov. 03Dec Residents can meet with Rep. Howrylak on Dec. 17
Share34TweetShare20Email54 SharesImage Credit: Diego Torres SilvestreAugust 10, 2015; Office of the Premier (Ontario, CAN)The Premier of Ontario, Kathleen Wynne, has been working with an advisory group on a plan to create “community hubs.” The idea is to use schools, neighborhood centers, or other public facilities as venues for coordinating and providing healthcare, education, and other services. A year ago, in the premier’s letters to several cabinet officers (ministers), she made it clear that she expects to see movement on a community hubs strategy that would “promote efficient use of public assets and build better ties among schools, municipalities and community organizations.”The Premier’s advisory group just released its report, Community Hubs in Ontario: A Strategic Framework and Action Plan, with specific recommendations based on over 70 meetings with 350 organizations. Just the membership of the advisory group was kind of interesting, a broader collection of nonprofit leaders than is usually convened in the U.S. by almost anything—even by some nonprofit leadership organizations themselves. Members of the Community Hub Framework Advisory Group included representatives of the Pillar Nonprofit Network, with a track record in linking people to volunteer positions; Trillium Health Partners, a hospital network; People for Education, dedicated to supporting and promoting public schools; and CivicAction, a multi-sectoral effort to mobilize civic leadership to address social and economic issues in the Greater Toronto region, just to name a few of the nonprofit entities, in addition to some public sector and other members.The report defined community hubs in this way:Community hubs provide a central access point for a range of needed health and social services, along with cultural, recreational, and green spaces to nourish community life. A community hub can be a school, a neighbourhood centre, an early learning centre, a library, an elderly persons centre, a community health centre, an old government building, a place of worship or another public space. Whether virtual or located in a physical building, whether located in a high-density urban neighbourhood or an isolated rural community, each hub is as unique as the community it serves and is defined by local needs, services and resources.When people think of community hubs, they think of places where people come together to get services, meet one another and plan together. We’ve heard that community hubs are gathering places that help communities live, build and grow together. No community hub is like another, as each brings together a variety of different services, programs and/or social and cultural activities to reflect local community needs. It is this diversity of activity that allows community hubs to play a critical role in building economic and social cohesion in the community.The definition is interesting in that it moves from a framework of coordinating service delivery to a vision of hubs as building and sustaining community. Given Ontario’s rapid and projected growth with an increasingly diverse population, the community hub idea seems meant to integrate services and people toward a stronger vision of what community means.While identifying examples of hubs from the UK, the U.S., and elsewhere in Canada, the report identified challenges in bringing more hubs into existence:The lack of a database of surplus public properties that might be available for use as community hubs (and challenges in the procedures for accessing, purchasing, etc. surplus public properties)Bureaucratic barriers such as the tendency of programs to operate within silos despite the best of intentions to do otherwiseThe need for start-up funding to establish hubs (the report said that the Ontario Trillium Foundation was contemplating seed grants)Challenges in measuring the impacts and outcomes of community hubs, especially with the separate measurement regimes applicable to the specific programs to be located in the hubsAccess to funding that will support the services to be co-located in the hubsAccess to capital funding needed to establish and maintain the community hubsGeographic and population issues, such as establishing community hubs in rural areas where access is long and difficult or creating community hubs that respond to and respect the needs of French-speaking and Aboriginal communities, including avoiding the tendency to force French-speakers to assimilateBasically, the advisory group laid out challenges and issues for the premier and the province’s nonprofit sector to address and overcome. The onus is to get moving with these ideas and test them before opportunities pass the boards by. For example, in Toronto, there is planning underway by the school district for the potential repurposing of 68 school buildings.Elizabeth McIsaac and Alan Broadbent of Maytree, an anti-poverty-focused charitable foundation, called on Toronto to factor in the idea of community hubs as a potential use for these schools. They wrote, “By converting these schools to community hubs…the spaces remain designated to community benefit, and could be re-purposed again if neighbourhood demographics change in the future and a new generation of students needs those schools.”Our friends at the Ontario Nonprofit Network greeted the advisory group’s report with a statement of support of “the principled approach and overall direction proposed in the Action Plan and look forward to working with the Ontario government and other partners on its implementation.” ONN’s recommendations to the advisory group, submitted earlier this summer, are obviously well reflected in the advisory group’s final report. One paragraph of the ONN letter on community hubs is particularly important:Above all, we ask that the Ontario government co-creates this hub initiative “with” our sector, and not “to” our sector. Community nonprofits are eager partners and would like a significant voice in how hubs are supported, funded, evaluated, and sustained.NPQ will be watching to see how the Ontario government and its nonprofit partners make progress on the community hubs idea before options on public facilities that might serve as hubs are lost to the real estate market or other purposes.—Rick CohenShare34TweetShare20Email54 Shares
Share7TweetShareEmail7 SharesBeverly LaHaye, Concerned Women of AmericaNovember 15, 2018; The ConversationThe phrase “Year of the Woman” has been rolling off tongues of pundits and media types over the course of the midterm elections. We saw an increase in female candidates for public office—not just at the national level, where women sought US Senate and Congressional seats, but at the state levels, where gubernatorial and state legislative positions were contested, and down to the local levels, where municipal positions attracted more and more women candidates than ever before. And women won in record numbers.The celebrations continue, and much seems to be attributed to a “Blue Wave.” But some serious analysis by Deana Rohlinger, professor of sociology at Florida State University, opens the door to some other aspects of the women’s movement in politics. Dr. Rohlinger suggests that not all is blue, and that not all is liberal. She contends that the women’s movement is made up of more than just those women who would uphold reproductive rights, equal pay, and equal rights. And she points to three key areas to support this position.First, while more women vote than men, not all women are Democrats. If you look only at gender, you get a very different picture than if you start to disaggregate the data by race and ethnicity.Fifty-four percent of women identify as Democrats or lean Democrat, and only 38 percent of women identify as Republican or lean Republican.The problem is that these numbers miss key demographic differences that divide women’s votes. A lot of white, married women vote Republican. According to the Pew Research Center, 47 percent of white women identified as Republican or Republican-leaning in 2016…This thin margin among white women was clear in the 2016 presidential election: 45 percent of white women voted for Hillary Clinton and 47 percent voted for Donald Trump. Compare this to women of color: 98 percent of black women and 67 percent of Hispanic women voted for Clinton in the 2016 election.When women of color do not turn out in large numbers, the elections may turn out quite differently. Alabama and South Dakota both elected female governors. Both are Republicans. Both are staunch conservatives. If the voting data for each state were analyzed, it might show the power of the women’s vote, but not, perhaps the Blue Wave vote.The second point that Professor Rohlinger makes is that conservative women see themselves as a part of the women’s movement. If you poll the average “woman on the street” about who comprises the women’s movement, you most likely would get back a composite of a liberal-leaning feminist who supports abortion rights, equal rights, and other “leftist” causes. But experts who talked to Republican women found they, too, consider themselves part of the women’s movement…with a different set of values that they see as also widely shared. And they have built a political power base to support their positions and uphold those values.Concerned Women for America founder Beverly LaHaye, whose late husband was a politically prominent evangelical minister and conservative activist, saw her organization as a way to represent more traditional and religious values in the women’s movement. The organization pushed back against legal abortion, the Equal Rights Amendment, and infringements on religious expression such as restrictions on school prayer.Today, Concerned Women of America is a political powerhouse that mobilizes its half-million members to elect Republican candidates. Virtually every Republican running for the presidency since 1980 has stopped in at the organization’s annual convention in an effort to gain the group’s favor and conservative women’s votes.One might point to the power of groups such as Concerned Women for America for the successful election of Kay Ivey as Alabama’s second female governor (a Republican, of course). Ivey drew more than 60 percent of the vote and promised to stand for a socially conservative issues, including the sanctity of unborn life. This is not the same “women’s movement” that took to the streets after the election of Donald Trump in 2016.The third point Rohlinger makes is that there are clear variances in women’s power at the state level. She points to differences in gender norms in various states, particularly how many Southern states still view women in a “lesser” place than men. To demonstrate, Rohlinger compares the state elections in Nevada and South Carolina, where she looked at seven races with women running for office in each state. The two states’ rankings on women’s equality, reckoned by a personal finance website, are vastly different with Nevada ranking 4th and South Carolina 45th. And this seems to have played out in these elections as well. In Nevada, five women (both Democrats and Republicans) won their races, with one still too close to call. In South Carolina, only two won (both Republicans). According to the National Conference of State Legislatures, in 2016 Nevada’s state legislature was 30.2 percent female compared to South Carolina’s, which was 14.7 percent female. It seems to depend on where you live as much as what your politics are if you are a woman seeking political power.All of this reflects a somewhat different, perhaps broader picture of both the “Year of the Woman” and the “Blue Wave” that has been the focus of much of the news. Yes, we are seeing more women take office, and the faces are, indeed, younger and more diverse. And, yes, the Democrats have now taken the majority in the House of Representatives. But let us not lose sight of the total picture in understanding that the women’s movement has components that do not align. We have racial, ethnic, and geographic divides that are often discounted.—Carole LevineShare7TweetShareEmail7 Shares
Al Jazeera is to make its two new sports channels in France available for €13 a month, according to local reports. The price is one third that of pay TV operator Canal Plus’s service.According to daily newspaper Le Figaro, the price point is likely to provoke complaints from Al Jazeera’s rivals to the country’s competition regulator.Al Jazeera has acquired a package of French Ligue 1 football matches from next season, as well as European Champions League rights. It is also expected to offer €130 million for rights to the Euro 2012 and 2016 championships.
British public broadcaster the BBC has promoted Wendy Darke as head of its Natural History Unit. This follows the departure of Andrew Jackson, who has joined international factual broadcaster Discovery in a global production role.Darke has worked at the unit for 20 years and has produced big budget factual series including Big Cat Diary, Wild and Dangerous and Natural Born Hunters. She also created kids series Deadly 60 for CBBC.She will work closely with NHU creative director Mike Gunton and controller of factual production Tom Archer.“There are some exciting challenges ahead and I look forward to seeing the NHU broaden its range of quality output whilst maintaining its reputation as number one in the world in natural history landmark production,” said Darke.
Liberty Global-owned Swiss operator UPC Cablecom has extended its deal with TV content delivery specialist S3 Group to include automated testing for connected TVs.UPC Cablecom will extend the use of S3 Group’s StormTest Development Center – a digital TV test automation platform – to include smart TVs, which UPC described as a one element of its comprehensive multiscreen offering.“As web-based applications converge with TV platforms, comprehensive and rigorous testing prior to service roll-out is essential to delivering a quality experience. The ability to extend our existing test platform with StormTest to include connected TVs allows us to adopt a uniform test environment across any device or screen,” said Claus Beck, director of engineering, UPC Cablecom.
Sony has what it claims to be the first 4K video download service, offering feature films and TV shows in the Ultra-HD format. Video Unlimited 4K launched this week with around 70 native 4K films and shows from Sony Pictures Entertainment and other producers, with Sony planning to up this to more than 100 titles by the end of the year.Viewers can rent or buy the content at prices starting at US$3.99 (€3.04) for a TV episode rental and US$7.99 for a 24-hour film rental, and access it through Sony’s 4K Ultra HD Media Player (FMP-X1) for playback on Sony 4K Ultra HD televisions.“We have been spearheading the advancement of 4K Ultra HD technology from the start, and have now reached another milestone as promised with the Video Unlimited 4K service going live,” said Sony Electronics President and COO Phil Molyneux.To coincide with the launch of the download service, Sony also expanded its 4K Ultra HD TV line-up with the addition of the X850A series, which is available in 55- and 65-inch screen sizes.
European media giant Modern Times Group has refinanced its debt arrangement by agreeing to a new SEK5.5 billion (€604.8 million) credit facility and SEK1 billion loan.The new arrangement replaces an existing SEK6.5 billion credit facility due for repayment in October 2015. It is provided by eight international banks and was self-arranged by MTG.MTG – which operates numerous free and pay TV channels across Europe, owns producer Strix and more recently acquired UK distributor DRG and Nordic prodco Novemberfilm through its MTG Studios arm – had net debt of SEK373 million as of September 30, 2013, the company confirmed, which was equivalent to 0.3 times the group’s previous 12 months earnings before interest, tax, depreciation and amortisation.“We have now successfully arranged new long-term financing for the Group at attractive pricing levels. This reflects our healthy growth and strong cash flow generation as well as our good relationships with the banks,” said MTG’s CFO Mathias Hermansson.“The new structure will support our ongoing strategic development, as well as our ambition to explore a potential diversification of funding sources moving forward. We will continue the accelerated pace of our investments ingrowth whilst also continuing to generate healthy total shareholder returns.”Last year, Jørgen Madsen replaced the long-serving Hans-Holger Albrecht. Since then, it has focused on growing its international content business through MTG Studios, which former Zodiak acquisitions boss Patrick Svensk oversees as chairman.
Financial analysts have said the cost of Scripps Networks International’s deal for TVN could rise to US$2 billion (€1.89 billion) if it moves for the outstanding shares in the Polish broadcast group.Having bought 52.7% of TVN, SNI is required by Polish law to move for an additional 13% of its stock, and has the option to tender for more.Including the assumption of US$882 million of TVN debt, the €584 million (US$615 million) deal for TVN will increase SNI’s debt load by about US$1.5 billion, according to Moody’s. The credit ratings agency has SNI on review for downgrade in the wake of the deal.“While Moody’s recognises the strategic rationale of the transaction and with a significantly strong dollar, the timing of the acquisition makes sense, the adverse impact from the incremental debt will lead to a level of deterioration in SNI’s credit metrics,” it said.Moody’s added that on current financial performance, Scripps does have the ability to pay down debt.Scripps has been aggressively expanding internationally. As well as the TVN deal, it is reportedly looking to take full control of the UKTV digital channels group.In the US, it is also expected to move this year for cabler Cox’s 35% stake in Travel Channel. It bought 65% of the cable net from Cox in late 2009.
Technology company Lenovo has launched the Ideacentre Stick 300, a high-end HDMI dongle that it says can transform the TV into a Windows-based PC, and which will be priced at a modest US$129.Lenovo says that the Ideacentre Stick will transform the TV in to a multimedia hub that can stream movies, enable video chatting and allow users to work on documents.The device is 1 mm thin, is based on the Intel Atom Processor Z3735F, and has 2GB of memory and 32GB of storage. It will initially ship with Windows 8.1 but will be available for a free upgrade to Windows 10 starting on July 29. The stick is enabled with WiFi and Bluetooth 4.0.“We’ve looked at the computing needs of travellers, business people and families, and realized that a truly portable and affordable solution would be a significant benefit to users of all kinds,” said Jun Ouyang, vice president and general manager, worldwide desktop and visuals, Lenovo.“Our goal with the ideacentre Stick 300 is to give those users a sense of freedom and enhanced mobility, while packing a serious punch in a small device.”
Amazon Prime Instant Video will allow customers to download movies and TV series, making it the only major subscription streaming service to offer such an option.Amazon subs in the US, UK and Germany with access to iOS and Android platforms will be able to download content at no additional charge to the monthly subscription fee.The move, effectively allowing customers to bank content and access it offline, gives Amazon a key point of difference to streaming rivals such as Hulu and Netflix.Customers with Amazon Fire platforms are already able to watch content offline“There’s no doubt that the way people watch entertainment is changing—anytime, anywhere viewing is important and we are excited to provide our Prime members with offline viewing capabilities on iOS and Android platforms starting today,” said Jay Marine, VP of digital video at Amazon EU.“We are proud to be the first and only online subscription streaming service that enables offline viewing – on holiday, in a car, at the beach, on a plane, wherever our Prime members want to watch they can, regardless of internet connection.”Amazon’s content offer includes drama originals such as Bosch (pictured) and Transparent, catalogue titles such as Desperate Housewives and Happy Endings and kids series including Creative Galaxy and Annedroids.
Philip MordecaiUK cinema chain Curzon is looking to launch a curated subscription video-on-demand offering in the next 18 months, to run alongside its existing transactional VOD store Curzon Home Cinema.Speaking exclusively to Digital TV Europe, Curzon Home Cinema director Philip Mordecai said that the subscription offering would feature around 100-200 film titles and be available as a “value-add solution” for Curzon customers.“We have a membership club – Curzon cinemas membership – under various tiers. It would be attributed to those tiers – a bit like Amazon Prime,” said Mordecai.The firm first launched its Curzon Home Cinema TVOD service in beta in 2010 and this now offers between 650 and 700 films. Mordecai claims the service also releases in excess of 70 film titles per year day-and-date with their cinema releases.“We don’t actually call ourselves a VOD platform, we call it a Curzon virtual venue; it’s taking the Curzon to someone’s house,” explains Mordecai, claiming that Curzon Home Cinema is curated “like a TV channel” but in an over-the-top environment.With an SVOD offering, Mordecai said that customers who are engaged with the Curzon brand will trust its “programming nuance” and that the service would add value to the business – both as a cinema chain and as a distribution company, following Curzon’s buyout of UK film distribution company Artificial Eye in 2006.The move is part of a wider development plan for the company. Mordecai says there are “a lot of technical pieces coming into play to make Curzon Home Cinema more like a cinema” – subtle touches like adding film trailers and the classic British Board of Film Classification ratings cards as pre-rolls ahead of streamed content.He also revealed that the company plans to expand outside of the UK and Ireland. “It’s about picking the right market and picking the right partner to enter that market and those conversations are happening now,” said Mordecai.“In the next two years you’ll start to see Curzon internationally in a very meaningful way with day-and-date film releases.”Read more in our ‘independence on-demand’ feature in the MIPTV issue of Digital TV Europe, available online here.
Johanna Thulin Bratten, Fredrick Malmberg & Alexandra ForslundSwedish free and pay TV broadcaster TV4 and parent outfit Bonnier Broadcasting have named a new management team for their newly integrated news organisation.TV4 programming director for news and community, Viveka Hansson, will be given a broader remit across the combined TV4 and Bonnier Broadcasting news organisation, while three new appointees will be charged with managing news programming.Johanna Thulin Bratten is now in charge of flagship show Nyhetsmorgon and has responsibility for other community programmes.Alexandra Forslund, previously commissioning editor for Nyhetsmorgon, has been named news and community online director, with responsibility for digital publishing and production development.Fredrick Malmberg, currently deputy news director, is upped to news director, with responsibility for all linear news broadcasts.TV4 recently axed its independent news unit, TV4Nyheterna, as part of a series of cost-cutting measures. The company is bringing all journalistic activity back into its core business and is setting up a new joint unit for studios and production technology across news and sports as part of a wider rationalisation of its activities.
Virtual Reality (VR) is seeing strong interest from US businesses, particularly in the healthcare, retail, consumer packaged goods, and automotive and transportation sectors.This is according to ABI Research, which found in a recent poll of US-based companies that 85% of firms are at least “in the stages of early investigation” into VR – even though only 4% of respondents had VR in operation.Michael InouyeABI Research principal analyst, Michael Inouye, said that despite VR being a new technology, the survey produced some “surprisingly positive results for VR in enterprise and commercials spaces.”“The B2B market will take longer to develop than the consumer space, but its expansion, at least in the US, could occur at a faster rate than we had previously estimated.”Sam Rosen, managing director and vice-president at ABI Research, added: “We still expect the consumer segment of the VR market to hold the largest revenue share over the next five years, but eventually we anticipate the B2B opportunity will overtake the consumer space, especially if VR and related technologies do become the next compute platform.”ABI’s research is based on a business-to-business technology survey of 455 US-based companies across nine vertical markets.
The Coalition Against Piracy members toast the launch of CAP.The Asian branches of companies such as NBCUniversal, Sony Pictures and The Walt Disney Company banded together this week to initiate work against the threat of content piracy.The Coalition Against Piracy (CAP) united at the annual CASBAA conference in Macau yesterday to begin work to address the increasingly complex issues surrounding illegal downloading andstreaming.Among the 18 partner companies involved are Viacom International Media Networks, NBCU, Sony, Disney, HBO Asia, A+E Networks, Fox Networks Group, Turner, BBC Worldwide, TV5Monde, BeIN Asia, PCCW Media and True Visions.Industry body CASBAA recently established CAP after identifying piracy’s effects on the traditional pay TV and OTT markets in the Asia, with one survey recently suggesting as many as 14% of consumers in Sinapore admitting to regularly using an ‘illicit streaming device’ ISD).“Two immediate priorities will be the disruption of the ISD ecosystem at its source and enhanced intermediary engagement with both e-commerce platforms and financial processors to disrupt transactions at the point of sale,” said Neil Gane, CAP’s general manager. “Disrupting illicit commercial transactions is a key component of any anti-piracy strategy.”“The driving force behind establishment of CAP is the need for united, collective action by all branches of the video industry”, said CASBAA’s chief policy officer, John Medeiros.“Sports, films, TV series, international as well as local content – everyone trying to deliver quality content to the public isthreatened by the inundation of ISD boxes and apps from commercial piracy syndicates.”Last week, a Digital TV Research report suggested illegal piracy of films and TV cost companies US$31.8 billion, with the figure expected torise to nearly US$52 billion in 2016.In June, the likes of Netflix, Amazon, BBCWW, CBS Corp., NBCU, Paramount Pictures, Sony, Fox, Disney and Warner Bros. Entertainment came together to form the Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment, a US-based body aiming at similar goals to CAP.
The European Union has given Telenor Group coordination responsibility for its new European project to accelerate the uptake of 5G across Europe.Telenor’s Fornebu HQThe initiative, 5G Verticals INNovation Infrastructure (5G-VINNI), comprises 23 partners including major operators, academia and industry vendors.The project is designed to ease uptake of 5G mobile platforms in Europe by providing afacility that validates the performance of new 5G technologies, and explore applications such as public safety, eHealth, shipping, transportation, media and entertainment services and automotive.The project will use the latest 5G technologies, including results from previous 5G PPP phases, employing techniques such as network virtualization, slicing, radio and core technologies.An automated testing campaign will be employed to validate 5G under various combinations of technologies and network loads.5G-VINNI will be run at four main sites located in Norway, the UK, Spain and Greece. In addition, experimental sites will be established in Germany and Portugal. Open APIs will be provided in order to ensure easy access to the 5G-VINNI facility.The 5G facility in Norway will be run by Telenor Research, Telenor Norway and Telenor Satellite and hosted in two locations: one in Kongsberg, the first city where Telenor will pilot 5G in Norway, and another site in the greater Oslo area. Nokia will provide the virtualization platform and end-to-end orchestration, Ericsson and Huawei will supply 5G radios and core, and Cisco will deliver a distributed IoT data fabric service.The project is scheduled to run for three years and has a budget of €20 million.“We are proud to be given the opportunity to coordinate the 5G-VINNI project and to explore valuable future solutions for the vertical industries. Being one of three large-scale test platforms for Europe, 5G-VINNI will help propel the development of 5G. Our aim is to make it as easy as possible to utilise and test the platform and we now call on industry players in Europe to engage with the project,” said Patrick Waldemar, VP of Telenor Research, who will manage the project for Telenor Group.
The total number of pay TV subscribers in Russia at the end of June stood at 42.46 million as uptake reached around 75%, according to Telecom Daily.The Russian research outfit said that the number of pay TV subscribers in the country was up by roughly 190,000 people quarter-over-quarter, with average revenue per user (ARPU) up 1.2% over the same period to RUB 172 (€2.35).“Growth of the pay TV market in Russia in Q2 was better than in Q1, but it is still lower than in previous years,” said Denis Kuskov, head of TelecomDaily agency.“The main reason of it is market saturation. The growth of regional markets is also very uneven. That is why main strategy of growth for all large players is enlargement of ARPU by introducing more additional services.”According to the research, nine out of 10 new pay TV contracts were signed by Russia’s top-five largest pay TV operators – Tricolor TV (which had 12.24 customers at the end of Q2), Rostelecom (which had 10.02 million), ER-Telecom (3.69m), Orion (3.13m) and MTS (2.82m).
Anna DimitrovaVodafone Deutschland has named Anna Dimitrova as its new chief financial officer. Dimitrova, who previously worked for Vodafone in a number of roles spanning consumer, enterprise and finance, will replace Andreas Siemen, who is leaving the company. She will take up her new position on November 1.Dimitrova, a Bulgarian national, began her career with Vodafone in 2001. She served as chief financial officer of Vodafone Czech Republic from 2012 to 2014 before returning to Germany as head of strategy, where she worked on the integration of Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland and the positioning of Vodafone Deutschland as a high-speed broadband provider.As CFO, she will continue to be responsible for the company’s strategy, tasked with overseeing the further digitization of the company, the creation of a unified Gigabit network via the planned merger with Unitymedia and the development of new business areas in the enterprise, Internet of Things and 5G areas.Hannes Ametsreiter, CEO of Vodafone Deutschland, said that Dimitrova’s appointment – the first of a woman to the CFO role in the company’s history – was a sign of its commitment to advancing women to senior management roles. He said that Dimitrova would bring the benefit of her international experience, with fresh ideas to contribute to Vodafone’s success.Dimitrova’s appointment comes as Vodafone moves towards its acquisition of Unitymedia from Liberty Global, a deal that is attracting strong opposition from the company’s competitors. Two weeks ago Markus Haas, the CEO of the country’s third-placed mobile operator, Telefonica Deutschland, added his voice to those opposing the deal. Haas called for the acquisition to be blocked on competition grounds, arguing that it would damage competition in the cable and fixed broadband markets.