Spain 1 dead of heat stroke others struggling in heat wave

first_imgSpain’s meteorological agency issued a warning Saturday saying temperatures would continue to be as high as 104 F (40 C) until at least July 16, describing the heat wave as “unusually long.”Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. MADRID (AP) — One person has reportedly died of heat stroke in Spain and Madrid’s emergency service says it has seen 11 other cases in the last 24 hours as Spain swelters under a prolonged heat wave.The voluntary emergency service Vost Andalucia says an elderly person died Saturday of suspected heat stroke in southwestern Seville.The Madrid emergency service says two men, a 50-year-old cleaner and a 45-year-old, are both in critical condition Sunday with heat stroke in Madrid hospitals. The agency said its crews have been called out help with 144 cases of heat stroke since June 25. New Year’s resolution: don’t spend another year in a kitchen you don’t like Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Comments   Share   Top Stories Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility A woman cools off in a park pond in Madrid, Spain, Thursday, July 9, 2015. Spain has been in a heat wave for nearly two weeks, with temperatures reaching 40 C (104 F). The heatwave is expected to last around another week. (AP Photo/Paul White) Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall Sponsored Stories The difference between men and women when it comes to pain New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Top holiday drink recipeslast_img read more

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Japan to feature on CH9 Getaway

first_imgJapan to feature on CH9 GetawayJapan National Tourism Organization (JNTO) Sydney Office was proud to support a recent trip to Japan by Nine Network’s Getaway.The first of the Japan stories will air on Nine Network at 5.30pm on Saturday October 10th and Saturday November 21st. The remaining stories will air in 2016 on dates to be announced.It was presenter Jesinta Campbell’s first trip to Japan and the country “really turned it on” for her despite some rainy days at the start of the trip. The crew visited the world heritage listed and recently restored Himeji Castle; experienced traditional Japan in Kyoto with a maiko experience and rickshaw ride; indulged in delicious cuisine including ‘fire ramen’; and got adventurous in Nara, training at a ninja village and attending a sushi making lesson. These experiences offered an enchanting adventure in Japan, a land of mixed culture where the modern harmoniously blends in with the traditional.Getaway is Australia’s longest-running and highest-rating holiday and travel program, attracting around 750,000 viewers in Australia every week. Currently in its 24th year of production, Getaway has been on air since 1992 and has attracted consistently high ratings since day one. Detailed story information, including videos, contact numbers and website links will be posted on “Fact Sheets” on the Getaway website at www.9jumpin.com.au/show/getaway/ JNTOSource = JNTOlast_img read more

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Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impa

first_img Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires – / 37 Indeed, it was. And it began with Stanton, then, a free agent quarterback who had spent his career up until that point as QB-2 for the Detroit Lions, paying a visit to The Meadowlands in New York. “I had some other visits set up and was looking forward to taking those visits as well,” recalled Stanton, “but as soon as I got (to New York), I felt really good about the entire situation, and I sat in Mike Tanenbaum’s office and he told me that if I was to sign on the dotted line that they would not do anything else at the quarterback position.“Mark Sanchez would be the starter, I would be the backup with a chance to compete to start, and then they had Greg McIlroy, who they liked as a young guy that was intelligent that could get them through a football game and they wanted to see how he progressed.”Sounds like a good deal for a guy who was stuck behind Matthew Stafford for years.“So I signed,” said Stanton.But Mike Tannenbaum, the former general manager of the Jets, did not keep his word.Stanton continues the recount of the saga: “Everything would lead you to believe that that was what was going to happen and then a week later, I started hearing rumors.” LISTEN: Drew Stanton, Cardinals QB But it wasn’t just Tebow that Stanton wanted no part of. The lack of togetherness in the Jets’ organization was alarming. The team told him they believed in him, saw one thing, but seemed to believe another. “All of the Jets organization (said) they really wanted to bring me in,” Stanton said. “I was their first priority at quarterback, and they wanted someone they could rely on.”“They said they had done a bunch of homework on me and they wanted somebody who could come in and compete for the starting job to push Mark Sanchez, but also if something went south where I lost to Mark, I’d still be there and could contribute to his development and try to help him out and aid him.”All for naught.The quarterback was traded to the Indianapolis Colts, where he played behind Andrew Luck and under current Cardinals head coach Bruce Arians, with whom he forged and excellent relationship.“I came here because of Coach Arians,” Stanton said.Of course, as luck would have it, the Cardinals signed quarterback Carson Palmer weeks after Stanton’s arrival.But that’s another story. Lost amidst the hoopla that comes with every mention of the names Rex Ryan, Tim Tebow and Mark Sanchez was the Drew Stanton-gets-snubbed-by-Mike-Tannenbaum-and-the-New-York-Jets storyline last season.With help from the offended party himself, who joined Arizona Sports 620’s Burns and Gambo Show Tuesday, here’s how the story goes.“You know, it was a very interesting turn of events,” Stanton explained. Your browser does not support the audio element. The Jets’ lust for TebowMania in New York got the best of the GM and Tim Tebow joined the team as Mark Sanchez’s backup and Rex Ryan’s wildcat novelty.“The trade went down with Tebow and then it was back and forth, back and forth,” told Stanton. “And I’m trying to call people in New York.“I’m trying to get a hold of Tanenbaum. I’m trying to get a hold of everybody else and nobody’s answering my calls. And I’m starting to get aggravated.”With no word from the Jets, who spurned Stanton so bad that they failed to even return his calls, the quarterback and his representation had to stand pat until the trade for Tebow, which was rumored to have fall-through potential, was complete.“Once we saw that the trade was going to go through, my agent gave them a list of names of teams we were interested in,” said Stanton, of his move to get off the team that lied to him.“If you saw some of the stuff that went on with Tebow in Denver, you know, with Kyle Orton being the starting quarterback, and everybody started chanting for him, you know, it becomes a popularity contest at that point and I didn’t want anything to do with that,” he said. 0 Comments   Share   Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Top Stories The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelolast_img read more

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Rep VanSingel issues statement following no vote on income tax

first_img Categories: Featured news,News,VanSingel News Tags: #SB State Rep. Scott VanSingel, of Grant, voted no on the income tax rollback legislation early this morning.Rep. VanSingel issued the following statement:“As a strong fiscal conservative, I understand the importance of lowering taxes for hard-working Michigan families, however, I voted against this tax repeal because it would have created a tremendous budget shortfall.“We need to find a way to pay for an additional $1 billion in future budgets, mostly due to the road package passed in 2015, and I could not support adding another $1 billion shortfall to our budget.“The state would be forced to make significant tax cuts to local and state services without a real, substantial backup plan.“As an accountant, I have a strong background in budgeting and finance and I know the potential tax revenue we would lose without a backup plan in place, and for this reason I simply could not support this bill.“Michigan is still in a period of economic recovery, and we are making significant progress paying down old debt, rebuilding financial reserves, and catching up on badly needed infrastructure improvements. We can, and should, revisit the tax relief issue, but at this time a cut of this magnitude would not be sound policy.”######center_img 23Feb Rep. VanSingel issues statement following ‘no’ vote on income taxlast_img read more

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Rep VanSingel announces upcoming office hours

first_imgMonday, Feb. 267:30 to 8:30 a.m. at The Depot Restaurant, 22 W. Main St. in Grant; and8:45 to 9:45 a.m. at Cronks Oakridge Restaurant, 9103 Mason Drive in Newaygo. Categories: VanSingel News State Rep. Scott VanSingel of Grant invites residents to join him for office hours during the months of February and March.“I was elected to represent our community. The best way for me to do that is to listen to the ideas and concerns people have regarding state government,” VanSingel said. “I invite all residents to join my office hours.”Rep. VanSingel will be available at the following times and locations:Monday, Feb. 198:30 to 9:30 a.m. at Pink Elephant, 207 S. State St. in Hart;10 to 11 a.m. at Good Stuff’s, 111 S. Hancock St. in Pentwater; andNoon to 1 p.m. at Brown Bear, 147 Michigan Ave. in Shelby. 01Feb Rep. VanSingel announces upcoming office hourscenter_img No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. VanSingel’s office at (517) 373-7317 or by email at ScottVanSingel@house.mi.gov. Mar. 29 to 10 a.m. at Iron’s Cafe, 5408 W. 10 ½ Mile Road in Irons;10:30 to 11:30 a.m. at the Luther Library, 115 State St. in Luther; andNoon to 1 p.m. at the Lake County Board of Commissioners Room, 800 10th St. in Baldwin.last_img read more

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Kindergartner Sues County over Bible Class

first_imgShare35TweetShare3Email38 SharesMarch 22, 2017; Washington Post“So, picture Adam being able to crawl up on the back of a dinosaur! He and Eve could have their own personal water slide! Wouldn’t that be so wild!”That’s not an Old or New Testament verse, but a kid-friendly biblical exegesis in a lesson of the Mercer County, West Virginia “Bible in the Schools” program that “provides bible study to elementary and middle school students in 19 public schools throughout Mercer County.”This imaginative rendering of Christian Creationism gets right to the bottom of this latest battle over bibles in public schools, Freedom from Religion Foundation, Inc. et al v. Mercer County Board of Education, et al. Hiram S. Sasser, an attorney for co-defendant Mercer County Board of Education, considers this line an exemplar of “history and literature,” apropos for the county’s public schools, while the plaintiffs say in their January 2017 complaint cited above that this statement is part of an unconstitutional program that “advances and endorses one religion, improperly entangles public schools in religious affairs, and violates the personal consciences of nonreligious and non-Christian parents and students.”Co-plaintiff Jane Doe is the mother of kindergartner Jamie Doe, who faces the prospect next year of 30 minutes one day per week of the bible study program offered to elementary school students, while middle-schoolers in Mercer County receive 45 minutes weekly—all during the normal school day, unless an individual student opts out. Only four district schools do not provide bible study classes. The plaintiffs’ complaint states that according to school district policy, the classes are optional and those declining are provided “reasonable alternatives,” but that “upon information and belief, students at many schools have not been receiving alternative instruction.”The most crucial nub of the controversy is the destructive stigma attached to the minority of students whose families keep them out of the religious instruction. Parents who don’t want their children in the bible classes are stuck with a hapless Morton’s Fork—either they abandon their First Amendment rights under the federal constitution (and similar rights under the West Virginia state constitution as well) or isolate and subject their children to the painful crucible of youth social pressure: “Jamie will therefore be made conspicuous by absence, and essentially be identified as a non-Christian or nonbeliever, subjecting Jamie to the risk of ostracism from peers and even school staff.”The plaintiffs complain that the bible study program’s plethora of “scripted interpretations” are anything but history and literature and serve “no legitimate secular purpose.” The complaint states that Mercer County public schools have housed bible study classes since 1939, and that the county modified the program in 1985 after several parents complained to the state’s Education Department, leading to the current funding of bible classes privately, though in all other aspects, the program is administered by the Mercer County Board of Education.The defendants in their motion to dismiss call the plaintiffs’ claims, including the alleged ostracism, “speculative,” as Jamie Doe is not yet of the age of bible study instruction, which begins with first graders. They also point out the exclusively private funding, which comes from Bluefield Bible Study Fund, Inc. The complaint describes Bluefield as a “501(c)(3) corporation created to organize, form, and operate a fund to pay for teachers of the bible in Mercer County Schools for approximately 4,000 students.”Attorney Sasser, who works for First Liberty Institute, a Texas-based nonprofit focused on religious freedom, states that the bible study classes serve a “cultural enrichment objective, to make sure that students obviously have the social currency to interpret Western literature.” The Christian bible, comprising the books of the Old and New Testament, is regarded close to universally as a foundational work of literature itself, but Sasser doesn’t explain how such things as dinosaurs providing a water theme park for Adam and Eve are lenses through which young minds can get a foothold in the globally-infused foundation of writing that undergirds our diverse culture.Annie Laurie Gaylor, president of lead plaintiff Freedom From Religion Foundation of Wisconsin, has noticed the rising trend of religious teaching violating the federal Constitution. She sees greater challenges for the enforcement of the First Amendment coming under the Trump administration, with DOE Secretary Betsy DeVos leading efforts to expand use of school vouchers, which will draw funds from public education spending towards private schools, of which a large percentage are religious institutions.The Mercer County case may take years to wind its way through the federal court system before a final determination is made, perhaps by the Supreme Court itself. And regardless of who conclusively wins in court, the enforcement of any holding will likely engender more suits for many years before a clear and uniform principle can guide all school districts throughout the fifty states. The plaintiffs are seeking an injunction to halt bible study classes, while the defendants have filed a motion to dismiss the case in its entirety, stating that there is no viable claim due to “the fact that over a half century of well-settled law holds that the Constitution permits Bible classes in public schools.” No decision has been made yet for either request.With the prospect of a return to a decidedly-right leaning Supreme Court, and with Trump’s potential to nominate hundreds of conservative judges throughout the federal court system, the fate of what many interpret as the Constitutionally-enshrined freedom from religion, as well as the freedom to practice the religion of their choice, is uncertain.—Louis AltmanShare35TweetShare3Email38 Shareslast_img read more

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Survey Reveals PartisanBased Confidence Gaps in Institutions—But Not for Nonprofits

first_imgShare31TweetShareEmail31 SharesOctober 24, 2018; Washington PostWe have to admit that the Washington Post’s 2018 American Institutional Confidence Poll, sponsored by the John S. and James L. Knight Foundation and Georgetown University’s Baker Center for Leadership & Governance, is a bit weird, but there are a few clear bright spots among the partisan detritus of our current political state.First, one weird blip is that the survey concerns institutions described as being associated with American democracy, asking respondents to rate how much confidence they had in 20 public and private institutions and then to explain in their own words why they rated each institution as they did. But oddly, the only category in which specific entities are named separately is in business, and those named are Google, Facebook, and Amazon. We can kind of understand why the first two might be included, but why Amazon is listed separately while, for instance, Catholicism is not listed separately from “Religion” is something to think about. The respondents were divided by party affiliation and confidence levels in various institutions compared against party lines.A few institutional types stood out as being having a similarly high rating across party lines. One of those was “nonprofits,” which was ranked sixth by Democrats and seventh by Republicans. Others in that category included the military, which was rated third by Democrats and first by Republicans, and…well, Amazon, which was rated first by Democrats and third by Republicans. (Again, this survey is a little odd.)Unsurprisingly, confidence in the executive branch has the largest gap, with Republicans ranking it fourth and Democrats ranking it dead last on the 20-item list.  The press was rated dead last by Republicans, though it was seventh for Democrats. Respondents from both parties rated Congress very low.Philanthropy was ranked the same across party lines but comes in a bit later than nonprofits in the middle of the institutional pack.InstitutionDemocratic Rank, 1=Highest, 20=LowestRepublican Rank, 1=Highest, 20=LowestExecutive Branch204Religion165Banks146Major Companies158Local Police92Congress1916Local Government119Military31Courts1211Political Parties1818State Government1313Philanthropy1010Nonprofits67Facebook1719Amazon13Google412Organized Labor817FBI514Press720Colleges215Levels of institutional confidence, by partisanship. Data: 2018 American Institutional Confidence Poll; figure: Sean KatesOne of the most intriguing things about the reports are juxtaposed quotes like:“I think people’s voices are heard well today.”—A 45-year-old conservative Republican woman from California who is “somewhat satisfied” with American democracy“I’m scared for this country right now. If Trump is allowed to keep going the way he is, we will become like Nazi Germany.”—A 51-year-old liberal Independent woman from Florida who is “somewhat dissatisfied” with American democracy.The “somewhat dissatisfied” self-designation of that woman who believes we are headed for something akin to a Nazi state maybe a little strange—unless you believe, as some still do, that we can save ourselves from that. Sadly, the report indicates that voters are angry and negative no matter which party they belong to, a conclusion that was reached in this way:Using a common text-analysis tool, we were able to grade how frequently respondents showed anger or used negatively charged language. In the figures below, you can see that a substantial minority showed both. While their anger was generally directed at different institutions, Republicans and Democrats showed anger or negativity at roughly the same rate.No surprise there, but I am glad nonprofits don’t show up on these angry and negative lists. Neither does Amazon.The full report can be accessed here.—Ruth McCambridgeShare31TweetShareEmail31 Shareslast_img read more

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first_imgInteractive TV technology company ActiveVideo has won additional damages in a patent infringement case against US telco Verizon.The latest judgement, in the Eastern District of Virginia court, takes the total award of damages against Verison to almost US$140 million (€100 million), following ActiveVideo’s court win in August, in which it was awarded US$115 million.The court found in August that Verizon had infringed four of ActiveVideo’s patents covering interactive TV services.last_img

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Some 14 of smartphone and tablet users used TV ch

first_imgSome 14% of smartphone and tablet users used TV channel apps from networks like MTV, Nickelodeon and USA Networks in the first quarter of the year, according to US research firm Parks Associates.The study found increasing consumer use of apps from TV channels and shows and reported a 75% satisfaction rate among those that did use TV content apps in the quarter.The most common consumer activities with these apps were watching video, looking up information related to programs, and purchasing related music or merchandise, according to the TV Channel and Network App Users study. Viewers also used the apps to check broadcast dates and times.The research found millennials to have “much higher” interest in programme and channel specific apps than older consumer segments, and said that shows aimed specifically at this audience – like Gossip Girl – were “wise to develop a robust app offering.”“This ‘second-screen’ generation is accustomed to consuming content on multiple devices,” said John Barrett, director of consumer analytics, Parks Associates.Brett Sappington, director of research at Parks Associates added: “Companies in the television industry are experimenting with several approaches to TV-related apps for mobile devices. Some are already noting several benefits, including greater viewer immersion, the ability to appeal to viewers outside of the broadcast window, and new aspects to storytelling. However, the most important implication may be for advertising. As consumers increasingly tune into mobile devices during commercial breaks, these apps provide a way to keep viewer attention.”last_img read more

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first_imgHBO is launching its online streaming service HBO Go as an app for PlayStation 3 games consoles, with a PlayStation 4 release to follow.The US app gives HBO subscribers unlimited, on-demand access to shows such as Game of Thrones, Boardwalk Empire and True Detective, as well as movies, sports, documentaries, and comedy specials,HBO CEO Richard Plepler announced the move at a Buzzfeed-organised event in New York.last_img

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first_imgThe BBC’s new international channel brand Brit has commissioned its first series Mud, Sweat & Gears.The new show will be coproduced by BBC Worldwide channels Brit and BBC America as part of a wider push into original content.The show will be fronted by British car journalists Tom ‘Wookie’ Ford and Jonny Smith and follow the pair as they head up two team s competing over 24 hours to reconstruct and modify cars and other vehicles.The series will be shot in California and was ordered by Perry Simon, general manager, BBC America and Tracy Forsyth, vice president, commissioning, Original Content BBC Worldwide.Simon said: “Mud, Sweat & Gears is a perfect fit for BBC America’s Top Gear-driven Monday night line-up, where we’ve built an audience that loves joining clever hosts engaging in humorous challenges and activities. BBC Worldwide Productions has created a series to showcase the talents of hosts Wookie and Jonny, and will be delivered to a global audience through our partnership with BBC Worldwide Channels.”The male-skewing BBC Brit channel will start rolling out this year. It is one of three new brands from BBC Worldwide alongside factual channel BBC Earth and the upcoming premium drama and entertainment network BBC First.BBC Worldwide is on an original programming drive for its own channels and recent commissions include: Rachel Khoo’s Kitchen Notebook: Cosmopolitan Cities, Factomania and Million Dollar Intern.last_img read more

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first_imgAntony Root, EVP original programming and production, HBO Europelast_img

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Khalid Balkheyour Hellassat a majority owned sub

first_imgKhalid BalkheyourHellas-sat, a majority owned subsidiary of Arabsat, has signed an agreement with Inmarsat to launch a joint satellite at 39° East.The satellite, which is due to be launched in 2016 will run two missions: to replace the existing Hellas-sat 2 satellite; and to offer aviation passenger connectivity services across Europe.Hellas-sat 2 will be replaced by a 44 Ku-band transponders payload, called Hellas-sat 3, which is designed to offer more growth capacities to its customers with footprints in Europe, Middle East and Africa.The aviation services will be delivered on an S-band payload, named EuropaSat.“This agreement represents the first milestone in fulfilling our commitment to our shareholders to capture additional growth opportunities, especially after the acquisition of Hellas-sat,” said Arabsat president and CEO and chairman of the board of directors at Hellas-sat, Khalid Balkheyour.“Hellas-sat 3 also represents our commitment to Hellas-sat’s existing and loyal customers and partners in maintaining and expanding their business and continue to establish 39° East as one of the leading DTH hotspots in Europe.”Hellas-sat CEO Christodoulos Protopapas added: “Hellas-sat will continue to develop the location 39° East to be the leading DTH hotspot in Europe. Hellas-sat 3 will cater for additional capacities and services for HD and free to air channels and will guarantee additional room for our existing customer base to grow.”last_img read more

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Marco Patuano Vivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré and

first_imgMarco PatuanoVivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré and Telecom Italia deputy director Marco Patuano met in Paris yesterday to discuss the merger of the pair’s Brazilian units GVT and TIM Brasil in exchange for Vivendi taking a stake in Telecom Italia, according to press reports.According to Reuters, citing an unnamed source, Telecom Italia doesn’t plan to increase its capital to finance the acquisition of GVT. Any capital increase will instead be via TIM Brasil. The source indicated that Telecom Italia could made an offer to Vivendi between now and the end of the month.According to the Reuters report, Alberto Nagel, deputy director of Mediobanca, in indirect investor in Telecom Italia, was present at the meeting. Bolloré, who owns 5% of Vivendi’s capital, is also a shareholder in Mediobanca.The Vivendi-Telecom Italia meeting followed a €6.7 billion offer by Telefónica, Telecom Italia’s major shareholder but a competitor with the Italian telco in the Brazilian market, for GVT. That deal included an offer to sell part of Telefónica’s stake in Telecom Italia to Vivendi once the GVT acquisition was completed.Vincent BolloréAccording to Italian financial daily Il Sole 24 Ore, Vivendi’s board is divided on the Telefónica offer, with some board members favouring retaining control of GVT in order to realise synergies within the group including the distribution of pay TV content in the growing Brazilian market.A partnership with Telecom Italia would also possibly offer synergies, particularly if, as some reports suggest, it included Vivendi taking a stake in Telecom Italia Media. Vivendi’s Bolloré is keen to build strategic partnerships and alliances that further his goal of securing distribution channels for Canal+ and Universal Music content.last_img read more

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Liberty Globalowned Swiss cable operator UPC Cabl

first_imgLiberty Global-owned Swiss cable operator UPC Cablecom is launching a new WiFi-enabled modem – the Connect Box – and upgrading its internet speeds throughout its footprint.According to the operator, the Connect Box can process data at over 500Mbps and includes automatic WiFi optimisation, selecting the best possible frequency channel at any given time.The new services offer internet speeds of 40 Mbps, 100 Mbps, 250 Mbips and 500 Mbps for CHF49, CHF65 , CHF89 and CHF109 a month respectively.UPC Cablecom has also launched a new four-in-one package with doubled Internet speed for CHF94 a month for the Christmas period.last_img read more

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Liberty Globalowned Dutch cable operator Ziggo ha

first_imgLiberty Global-owned Dutch cable operator Ziggo has rebranded the business-to-business activities formerly marketed under the names of two subsidiaries as Ziggo Business.The operator has folded the former Esprit Telecom and Zoranet brands and will market all business activities under the Ziggo Business brand from now on.Ziggo is also broadening its enterprise offering with a number of new services.last_img

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Pokemon Go Mobile augmented reality AR could be

first_imgPokemon GoMobile augmented reality (AR) could be the primary driver of the US$108 billion (€101 billion) virtual reality (VR) and AR market by 2021, according to new research.Digi-Capital’s new Augmented/Virtual Reality Report 2017 claims that by 2021, AR will account for US$83 billion of the combined market and VR US$25 billion.According to the research, the last 12 months have “fundamentally reshaped how the market could grow going forward”, claiming that while Facebook’s Oculus Rift and HTC’s Vive headset have had “growing pains at launch,” Pokemon Go’s success pointed to big opportunities in AR.“The absolute performance of VR/AR in 2016 was not as important as how it changed the trajectory of the market,” said Digi-Capital.“Where at the start of the year we thought 2016 could deliver US$4.4 billion VR/AR revenue (US$3.8 billion VR, US$0.6 billion AR), the launch year’s issues resulted in only US$2.7 billion VR revenue. This was counterbalanced by Pokémon Go’s outperformance helping AR to an unexpected US$1.2 billion revenue, for a total US$3.9 billion VR/AR market in 2016.”Digi-Capital said that Samsung’s recall of it Galaxy Note 7 phones – which were intended to be a part of its VR ambitions – meant that “mobile VR didn’t get off to the flying start it could have”.However, it praised Google as a “quiet achiever” with the launch of its Daydream View mobile VR headset and controller and its first Tango mobile AR phone.The report also said that Sony’s Playstation VR launch and Microsoft’s upcoming Windows 10 VR will be “the boosters VR needs”, and described Microsoft’s offering as a “game-changer” at a price of US$299.last_img read more

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AMC Networks Joel Stillerman is joining streaming

first_imgAMC Networks’ Joel Stillerman is joining streaming service Hulu as chief content officer.The new role will see the exec driving overall content strategy, overseeing acquisitions, expansion of the originals slate, development and content partner management teams.Current content chief Craig Erwich will remain as senior VP and head of content, focusing on original programming after Stillerman joins later this summer.Stillerman’s star has risen at AMC, where is currently president of original programming at The Walking Dead channel AMC and Cleverman network SundanceTV.At AMC, he also played a key role in shows such as Mad Men, Breaking Bad, Better Call Saul, Fear the Walking Dead, Into the Badlands and The Night Manager.Stillerman will join the US broadcaster-backed Hulu management, and report to Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins.He had joined AMC from Yolo Films, an indie he founded in 2003 that produced shows for HBO, MTV and VH1 among others.He also co-founded Sparky Pictures with Ted Demme back in 1995, which led to films such as Blow and Rounders, and HBO movie A Lesson Before Dying.“This year is a transformative year for Hulu – not just in our products, but also our investment in acquired and original content,” said Hopkins. “Over the past several years, we’ve grown our audience and our content offering exponentially, and now is the right time to add Joel’s creative and strategic leadership to the team and drive the next phase of Hulu’s content business.”The news comes after Hulu launched its live pay TV service at its New York Upfront earlier this month.The platform has been ramping up exclusive US acquisitions, recently securing Canadian drama Pure, and originals such as Locke and Key, which is a pilot based on a horror-comedy comic book.last_img read more

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USbased virtual reality startup Vreal has secured

first_imgUS-based virtual reality startup Vreal has secured US$11.7 million (€9.5 million) in funding to launch what it describes as the “first virtual reality broadcast platform”.The Series A round will bring Vreal’s total funding to US$15 million. The company plans to use the cash to launch its VR broadcast platform targeted at gamers.Lead investor Axioma Ventures and new investors Intel Capital and Akatsuki Entertainment Technology Fund are participating in Vreal’s funding round, along with existing funding partners Upfront Ventures Vulcan Capital and CRCM Ventures.Axioma Ventures’ Chet Faliszek and Chris Williams, found and CEO of kids media company pocket.watch, and the former chief audience officer of Maker Studios, the MCN acquired by Disney in 2014, will join the Vreal board.“VR is an immersive medium, and Vreal is the only way for viewers to step inside someone else’s VR gameplay and enjoy VR content the way it’s meant to be experienced. Immersive virtual worlds are the future of gaming, and we’re building the highway that will take viewers to curated gameplay experiences, all alongside their friends and favourite gaming personalities.” said Todd Hooper, founder and CEO of Vreal.“Digital content creators are entertainers, and they are hungry for new kinds of unique programming formats to bring to their audiences. Vreal has been delivering exactly that to its first group of creator partners and I’m confident many, many more will find it valuable,” said Williams.Vreal is focusing on the creation of tools to enable online content creators to record, stream, and share VR experiences with their fans, either via a VR headset or on a 2D screen. The platform is currently in a closed Alpha testing phase.last_img read more

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Consolidation in the European cable market is far

first_imgConsolidation in the European cable market is far from over and Liberty Global is not the only potential buyer on the lookout for acquisitions, reports Kate Bulkley.John Malone may have lost out to Comcast in the race to lead the next phase of cable consolidation in the US, but Malone’s Liberty Global is very much still heading up cable consolidation in Europe, most recently with a €6.9 billion agreement in January to buy Dutch cable operator Ziggo.Not only is European cable consolidation far from over, but lenders seem happy to find the money for buyers and the appetite among the latter, including Malone’s international cable TV holding company Liberty Global, may not yet be sated, pointing towards possible rising multiples and several more potential acquisitions ahead.But Liberty Global is not the only possible consolidator on the European cable scene: prices may rise and it could lose out to other large players.Deep-pocketed Vodafone paid €7.7 billion to take over Kabel Deutschland, Germany’s largest cable company with some 8.5 million subscribers and 15.3 million connected households, in a deal that was approved late last year by the European Commission.That deal allows Vodafone to offer bundles of TV, broadband and mobile, a potential big differentiator for the operator in Europe’s largest economy and one that it is clearly looking to replicate in other markets.The interest of Vodafone and France’s Orange puts Liberty on notice that it won’t be alone as it looks to add other assets in Europe, including Germany, where Liberty owns the country’s second-largest cable company Unitymedia/Kabel BW with 12.6 million subscribers and could be looking to get bigger.Germany isn’t only attracting the strategic buyers. Financial investors are also circling, including Cinven Group and CVC Capital Partners, which are both seen as bidders for indebted Tele Columbus as part of a possible merger between it and PrimaCom. Other Germany cable companies that could become part of the consolidation wave include Pepcom and Deutsche TeleKabel.In Spain, ONO is now looking at an IPO that could raise around e1 billion for the operator, after months of talks with potential strategic buyers, including Vodafone. Elsewhere in Europe, Portugal’s Zon and France’s Numericable also could be potential consolidation targets.Vodafone has deep pockets – the sale of its 45% stake in Verizon Wireless in the US business reaped it US$130 billion (e95 billion) giving it an acquisition fund of a reported £25 billion (e30 billion) – and it is keen to make its business more competitive by upgrading the speed and quality of its mobile network and adding fixed-line assets to allow it to offer bundled services.Meanwhile, Liberty is looking to add scale and efficiency gains and when negotiating a purchase is patient and smart about the financing.Take the recent Ziggo purchase, which values the Netherlands’ largest cable operator at 11.3 times 2014 EBITDA. This is twice as much as telecom peers, offering comparable growth rates, typically command. The premium comes down when you add in the net present value of the e160 million in annual synergies that Liberty has promised until 2018, achieved by merging its operations with UPC Netherlands.Adding the synergy savings lowers the Ziggo valuation to 9.6 times EBITDA, which is still a healthy multiple but is more in line with the median multiple paid by peer companies, according to Reuters data.Liberty also put in a relatively low cash component of Ziggo, instead using as much of its own stock as possible. It did this to avoid crossing over a self-imposed net debt ceiling of five times EBITDA. In another savvy move, Liberty will cover the cash component of the deal by borrowing fresh debt against Ziggo.But Liberty also has some issues, not least slow growth in some of its European markets, in particular the UK, and these could impact its attitude towards any new moves to acquire more cable properties.Liberty’s fourth quarter revenues were “soft”, including missed top line revenue numbers at Virgin Media, which has seen BT Sports’ high-profile marketing campaign eat into its sales. Net TV losses at Virgin were 4,000 for the quarter against what the company called a “tough comparable”. In the fourth quarter a year earlier, the company had 17,000 net TV additions. Tough, indeed!Liberty Global’s share price has recovered from a low in the last six months of US$74.90 but it is still short of its high for the period of US$89.98, potentially limiting its ability to use its shares as an acquisition currency.Certainly the news in mid-February that Warren Buffett’s Berkshire Hathaway had purchased 2.95 million shares in the company helped cheer Liberty shareholders. Especially interesting was that Buffett sold a stake in Malone’s other holding company Liberty Media, with its US assets.Clearly the European market is becoming increasingly interesting for some.Kate Bulkley is a broadcaster and writer specialising in media and telecommunications. tellkatenow@aol.com.last_img read more

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