<< Previous PostNext Post >> Travelweek Group Share Posted by Thursday, January 26, 2017 DUBLIN — Less than two months after its official launch, Ryanair Holidays has officially suspended service due to “illegal screenscraping and mis-selling of flights” by its software provider.According to TravelMole, the suspension is temporary and will hopefully be lifted by the end of February.In an official statement, the low-cost airline said: “Ryanair today confirmed it has temporarily suspended its Holidays service, and terminated its agreement with the software provider who was found to be unlawfully scraping Ryanair’s low fares.“All existing Ryanair Holidays bookings are secure and Ryanair is currently finalizing an agreement with a new software provider, who it expects to appoint shortly.”The airline also issued an apology to its customers for “any inconvenience caused” but also re-emphasized that it will “not allow any third party software provider to ‘screenscrape’ and unlawfully re-sell Ryanair’s low fares.”Spain-based Logitravel, the software provider in question, confirmed that Ryanair terminated their agreement, reports TraveMole, but also denied it had used screenscraping.More news: ‘Turn around year’ for TPI brings double-digit growthRyanair Holidays first launched on Dec. 1, 2016 with the promise of offering flights, accommodation and transfer packages on its website. It was launched in partnership with Logitravel and World2Meet in the U.K., Ireland and Germany, with plans to debut in other markets this year. Ryanair Holidays suspends service following illegal screenscraping
in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, Market Studies, News Economy Remains Stable in the Midst of Global Implications Economic growth is expected to move upward in the fourth quarter following a disappointing third quarter, according to Fannie Mae’s Economic & Strategic Research (ESR) Group.The research shows that economic growth for all of 2015 is projected to reach 2.2 percent, with another increase in 2016 to 2.4 percent. The ESR Group attributes the growth spurt to solid consumer spending growth, an uptick in construction activity, and growing home sales and prices. These positive economic conditions should offset global headwinds.However, Fannie Mae reported that a strong U.S. dollar and weak global growth will likely continue to place negative pressure on manufacturing and exports in the near term.“We see consumer spending as the biggest driver of growth moving into 2016, backed by positive fundamentals including an improving labor market and household net worth,” said Doug Duncan, Fannie Mae Chief Economist.He continued, “An uptick in average hourly earnings and low unemployment numbers in the October jobs report are contributing to a positive outlook for consumer spending. In addition, recent data suggesting that consumers are becoming more comfortable using their credit cards and that banks are loosening lending standards amid rising demand for consumer loans bodes well for future growth.”In terms of the housing market, Fannie Mae says that “recent housing and mortgage news has been mixed.”Housing starts rebounded in September to more than 1.2 million units, following two months of declines, the report showed. Meanwhile permits and new home sales both decreased in September. Existing home sales did well in September, almost returning to July’s expansion best, while pending home sales fell.“Despite mixed housing and mortgage market data, our forecast for housing activity is little changed over the past several months,” Duncan noted. “The supply of existing homes remains lean amid slowing new single-family construction, putting significant upward pressure on home prices. While this helps boost home equity, it hurts affordability, especially for potential first-time homebuyers.””Meanwhile, we expect mortgage rates to rise only gradually through next year, and an improving income trend should help support affordability. We foresee total home sales improving further in 2016, albeit at less than half of the 8.0 percent increase expected this year,” he said.Click here to view the full report. November 19, 2015 452 Views Economic Growth Fannie Mae Global Risks 2015-11-19 Staff Writer Share
Legislation sponsored by Rep. Holly Hughes, R-Montague, became law this morning when Gov. Rick Snyder signed House Bill 4059 during a bill signing ceremony.HB 4059, now Public Act 219, allows for retired teachers to maintain their retirement benefits if they return to the classroom as substitute teachers and teach classes that are on the ‘critical shortage’ subject list.“I am very happy that this common-sense bill has been signed into law, allowing our talented retired educators to help out when needed,” said Rep. Hughes. “I thank Gov. Snyder for signing this bill so quickly after Senate and House approval.”Many of the superintendents from Rep. Hughes’ legislative district joined her for the bill signing and are very appreciative of the new law.“This legislation will permit schools to utilize, when needed, the talents of retired educators for classrooms and other educational positions,” said Dr. John Severson, superintendent of Muskegon Area Intermediate School District. “Such flexibility for schools will further allow teaching and learning to continue at high levels when the regular teacher or educator is in professional development sessions, attending to other duties within the school system, or when there are immediate needs that cannot be filled.”PA 219 has benefits beyond the classroom as well.“It is almost daily that a principal has to cover a class because there are not enough substitute teachers available to meet the demand,” said Bob Szymoniak, superintendent of Fruitport Community Schools. “When that happens, the building and ultimately the children suffer because of the vacuum in leadership this situation creates. Principals need to be principals every day and this bill will help make sure that happens.“Who better to substitute teach than retired teachers who already understand building routines, emergency procedures and have a track record for proven teaching experience?” added Szymoniak. “This bill is a huge win for the kids in our state.”Greg Helmer, superintendent of Mona Shores Public Schools, pointed to Rep. Hughes’ determination to helping all students in Michigan.“I appreciate Rep. Hughes’ relentless passion and leadership to help districts get the best people in front of our students,” he said. “This law will help local districts fill hard-to-fill position with very qualified, certified teachers who have retired and have proven themselves in front of our kids.”Without Hughes’ legislation, retired teachers would experience a stoppage of their retirement benefits if they returned to a school district in an instructional capacity. PA 219 stipulates that the retired teacher can return to the school in which they retired in a substitute teaching capacity without losing their retirement benefits, so long as they earn no more than one-third of their average final average compensation. Additionally, retired teachers can return to the classroom in a critical shortage area and work for up to three years without losing their retirement benefits.“This legislation makes it easier for everyone – the teachers, the school districts and primarily our kids – to make sure qualified instructors are helping our kids learn for their future success in life,” said Rep. HughesThe legislation replaced Public Act 464 of 2012, which allowed for retirees to retain their benefits while providing services, but expired on July 1, 2014. PA 219 will sunset on July 1, 2018.“I’m so appreciative of the leadership Holly Hughes has provided on this issue,” said Szymoniak. “She has been very thorough and conscientious in the development of the critical shortage bill, having visited not only my school district but many others while seeking input and guidance.” 16Dec Rep. Hughes bill helps school districts address substitute shortage Categories: Hughes News,News
Categories: Maturen News People deserve to know how tax dollars are being spentState Rep. David Maturen, of Vicksburg, today applauded a policy change that gives the public easy access to how their tax dollars are being spent at the Michigan House of Representatives.The policy change will make public the salaries of representatives and their staff members, a move Maturen says will lead to a more accountable government.“People I talk to here in Calhoun and Kalamazoo counties want to know how their tax dollars are being spent, and we’ve been listening,” Maturen said. “Now anyone will be able to go online and see where the money they entrust to us is being spent. This is a step in the right direction for a state government that is more transparent and accountable to the public.”An online database with information about salaries and benefits of House employees can be found at house.mi.gov/FinancialsEmployee.asp.### 23Jan Rep. Maturen lauds increased transparency for Michigan House
20Sep Lower proposes solution to Sandhill crane overpopulation State Rep. Jim Lower today introduced a House resolution encouraging the Natural Resources Commission to add Sandhill cranes to the game species list and seek U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service approval establishing a Sandhill crane hunting season.Michigan is home to an increasing number of Sandhill cranes, with an estimated 23,082 reported in a 2015 population survey. Over the past 10 years, the population has grown an average of 9.4 percent annually, creating a conflict with Michigan farmers as the species feed on seeds of germinating corn during their spring migratory season. The number of nuisance permits issued to farmers to eradicate Sandhill cranes from their crops has increased from 13 to 85 in just seven years.“The cranes killed under these permits are a wasted resource, as the meat is not harvested,” Lower said. “Allowing the hunt of Sandhill cranes would both help control the damage they cause and offer hunters an opportunity to harvest exceptional game meat.”The representative stated Sandhill cranes are already hunted in Minnesota, Tennessee and Kentucky when they migrate beyond Michigan’s borders and are classified as game meat under the federal Migratory Bird Treaty Act of 1916.“The population continues to grow even as the number of issued nuisance permits increases,” Lower said. “Overpopulation and continued damage to crops is a real concern. A hunting season will benefit farmers, hunters and the growing Sandhill crane population.”The resolution was referred to the House Natural Resources Committee.### Categories: Lower News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 20, 2013; Grand Rapids Business JournalAll over the country, buildings formerly owned by the Catholic Church are being repurposed. (NPQ has done a number of stories about it.) Now, in Grand Rapids, Michigan, Genesis Nonprofit Housing is transforming the former St. James School into affordable housing for older people. The school closed in 2007.The Genesis nonprofit housing corporation, which develops and operates housing for older people and people with disabilities, bought the two-story brick 42,000 square foot elementary school building from the Catholic Diocese for $465,000. The location includes 92 parking spaces.Genesis Executive Director John Wynbeek said Genesis is still in the process of deciding how to rehabilitate the property, which is convenient to downtown and will help them serve a segment of the market more effectively, and with what kind of financial support. “What we’re looking at is to create apartments in the school building and add some new construction, as well. There is a nice large parking lot there that I think can be useful, and I think it will enhance the neighborhood a little bit by filling in First Street with additional housing, which benefits everybody,” he said.The church’s divestment of buildings has been going on for a decade. Sometimes, there’s pushback from the parishes where divestment occurs, which in many cases supported the development and maintenance of those properties. NPQ would love to hear how other buildings sold by the Catholic Church are being put to new uses, and how the local parishes and community have responded.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share36Tweet7ShareEmail43 SharesSchool Choice Week microphone / Gage SkidmoreJuly 11, 2016; Washington PostSchool choice has been central to the increasingly controversial national strategy for school improvement. Proponents look at choice as the energizing force that will push traditional public schools toward providing better education and as a cure for the widening gap between affluent white students and poorer students who are often black, Hispanic, immigrants, or in need of special educational support. Opponents of choice see it as exacerbating this gap, destroying critical neighborhood structures and worsening educational outcomes. The argument is heated and often more about opinion than facts.A recently published study by Mathematica Policy Research looks at the reasons parents choose schools for their children and the overall impact of choice on one district’s schools. Steven Glazerman, one of the co-authors, said in a Washington Post interview that the study used its data “to find out better what parents want, how they trade off attributes of schools and then how that information can be used to predict consequences of different policy choices.”Funded by the Walton Family Foundation, a major supporter of choice and school privatization, it is not surprising that the study found that choice brings positive results. Mathematica gathered its information about how parents go about selecting a school from a sample of 22,000 Washington, D.C. students who, in 2014, participated in the district’s school selection lottery. Three unsurprising factors were found to be the strongest driver of school choice: Shorter and easier commutes to school are preferred. Parents want their children in schools where they will be in the ethnic majority. And parents want better academically performing schools for their children. While all subgroups rank these three factors as important, the tradeoffs that parents will make differ in important ways.Lower-income choosers did not share the preference for schools with higher percentages of students of the same race/ethnicity and lower percentages of low-income students as higher income choosers. Also their distance preference was weaker by a statistically significant margin.The study’s authors see these differences as demonstrating that school choice, properly supported, works.Simulations suggest segregation by race and income would be reduced and enrollment in high-performing schools increased if policymakers were to expand school choice by relaxing school capacity constraints in individual campuses. The simulations also suggest that closing the lowest-performing schools could further reduce segregation and increase enrollment in high-performing schools.Based on parental feedback and the current reality of school districts, it seems urban school districts should continue with this policy. Faced with schools that don’t teach their children well, parents are willing to send their children to schools that are more diverse and farther away. If you close low-performing schools in their neighborhoods, they’ll support moving their children to better-performing schools where the classrooms will have fewer children with similar backgrounds. But those are not the only options open to policymakers. Parents were never asked if they’d prefer better neighborhood schools. And without asking this critical question, the voice of the “customer” may be less clear than it appears. The impact of poverty and racism on children, both forces we know do much to determine educational outcomes, go ignored. It also ignores the serious underfunding of many of our most challenged school districts (D.C. spending per student in FY 2013 was $17,953, second only to New York according to U.S. Census figures reported by Governing magazine), the community-building role that public schools play for neighborhoods already deficient in community infrastructure, and the lack of positive results from cities that have implemented this approach.Chicago used this rationale when it closed 50 schools designated as “low-performing” and let parents choose replacements for their children. Two years later, there has been little indication of improved schooling or decreased segregation. For many families, the only result has been a longer, more dangerous commute to school.Parents have an important voice as advocates for their children. But if the choice they are given is between two less-than-optimal outcomes, we fail them.—Martin LevineShare36Tweet7ShareEmail43 Shares
Share53Tweet24ShareEmail77 Shares“Homeless in San Francisco Mission District, California,” Shani HeckmanMay 6, 2018; Washington PostIncreasingly, as wealthy people move back into urban areas, cities are instituting austere policies to criminalize homelessness or remove homeless people from encampments. These effects have left homeless individuals scrambling to find safe shelter. While there have been some cities that have officially declared an end to veteran homelessness, states like California have experienced a steady increase in overall homelessness, along with the impacts that accompany such a trend.The case of California is significant and a microcosm of the overall issue due to the high concentration of homeless people residing in the state. According to the 2017 Point in Time Count by the US Department of Housing and Urban Development’s Office of Community Planning and Development, California had the nation’s highest homeless population, more than a quarter of the national total. What’s more is that California is one of 22 states to experience a year-over-year increase in homelessness, posting a shocking 13.7 percent increase between 2016 and 2017. These increases are juxtaposed against the dramatic economic rise in California, which recently overtook the United Kingdom as the world’s fifth-largest total economy. The boom has pushed housing prices in many California cities so high that even many residents who have stable housing are just one paycheck away from being homeless themselves.Skyrocketing housing prices resulting from gentrification is a trend throughout the country. According to a 2015 report by Governing called “Gentrification in America,” many neighborhoods have experienced gentrification throughout since 2000. Analyzing census track data for the nation’s largest 50 cities, this report shows that gentrification accelerated in many cities. Nearly 20 percent of neighborhoods with lower incomes and home values experienced gentrification since 2000, compared to only nine percent during the 1990s. This doubling of the rate of gentrification has led to the displacement of low-income residents, as well as an increase in competition for affordable housing.California is at the center of these trends. As NPQ previously reported, Los Angeles has experienced a 75 percent increase in homelessness in the past six years, and has the highest rate of unsheltered people in the country. In response, the mayor in April declared a shelter crisis and announced the creation of a new $20 million fund for emergency shelter services likes tents, trailers, and temporary shelters.The issue of homelessness in California recently came into the national spotlight with dramatic efforts in San Francisco’s Mission District to remove homeless encampments, following in the footsteps of several other cities in California and along the West Coast. In theory, the sweeps were not supposed to connect the people removed from the encampments with agencies who could provide them with housing. But, according to an article by the San Francisco Examiner, during the week-long sweeps in San Francisco, a mere six people were connected with services.This is a shame, and not simply because the supposedly liberal city of San Francisco has chosen to apply a police solution to what is a city policy failure. Even worse, the city is ignoring its history of more effective solutions. Just yesterday, for example, the local San Francisco public radio station KQED ran a story titled, “Why Hasn’t the Tenderloin Gentrified Like the Rest of San Francisco?” The answers come down to four: 1) nonprofit land acquisition (and provision of below-market nonprofit housing on that land; 2) zoning polices that prevent high-rise buildings (making it less profitable for developers to acquire the remaining land), 3) protection for low-cost housing options like single-room occupancy housing, and 4) historic district protections (which again, make it less profitable for developers to acquire property).This is not to deny that the neighborhood still faces challenges (including drug and violence problems), but more productive ways of addressing homelessness than pushing city residents from one place to another are easy to find. Of course, NPQ has also written broadly on Housing First programs across the US.The alternatives to simply putting roofs over heads are not only far less humane, but far more expensive. For years, dating back to the George W. Bush administration’s resurrection of the Interagency Council on Homelessness, along with its focus on 10-year plans to end homelessness, many have documented that homelessness, beyond its human cost, also results in considerable economic costs to the public, costs which are now rising.In Seattle, for example, the Puget Sound Business Journal spent six months examining public and private spending to detail the economic cost of homelessness in the King County area. They found that the area spends over $1 billion a year on homelessness. In California, according to United Way of Orange County, the county and 34 municipal governments in Orange County spent nearly $300 million annually on homelessness. According to the California Homeless Task Force Report 2018, the costs across the state are similarly high: The Santa Clara County spends $520 million a year, Sacramento spends more than $13.6 million annually, and Los Angeles County spent nearly $1 billion to care and manage about 150,000 homeless people.Nonprofits have long been at the forefront of efforts to provide shelter and support services for our community’s most vulnerable. Clearly, the right policies can make a big difference. But solving homelessness requires more than programs; it requires a human vision, one in which homelessness, as Los Angeles mayor Eric Garcetti has put it, is seen for what is—namely, a humanitarian crisis that affects us all.—Derrick RhaynShare53Tweet24ShareEmail77 Shares
Charles Biétry, the head of Al Jazeera’s French sports channels beIN Sport, has revealed that French police raided his offices last week following a complaint by Canal Plus that the Qatar-backed broadcaster had engaged in malpractices in poaching Canal Plus staff.Interviewed by Libération, Biétry, a former head of sports at Canal Plus, said that police had searched his office. He said that beIN Sport had recruited only eight Canal Plus staffers, including two star presenters, out of a total of over 2,000 who worked for the pay TV operator. Biétry said he was unconcerned by the incident and was focusing on the forthcoming launch of the beIN Sport channels, the first of which is set to go on air this Friday.Canal Plus is reportedly considering lodging a complaint against Al Jazeera.Separately, Al Jazeera has denied having any plans to launch a French-language news channel, reported yesterday. A spokesman for the broadcaster told AFP that Al Jazeera had no plans to launch a French channel based in Dakar or anywhere else.
UK regulator Ofcom has awarded the last of its currently planned local digital-terrestrial TV licences to YourTV to operate a service in Preston and Blackpool.The award is the second to be granted to YourTV, which had earlier won the licence to run a local TV service for Manchester. The company is backed by former BBC Trust chairman Sir Michael Lyons.“With the award of Manchester and now the Blackpool/Preston licence to YourTV, we believe our offerings in both areas will be even stronger,” said Lyons. “A second licence, particularly one within such geographic proximity, gives us a fantastic opportunity for each station to share knowledge and reduce back room and other administration costs, ensuring an even greater investment in content and quality programming.”The latest award takes to 19 the number of L-DTPS licences granted to date, completing the first phase of the project. Ofcom originally sought bids for 21 areas and received applications to run services in 19 of them. The first phase rollout of services is expected to reach 12 million households.Ofcom received two applications for the Preston licence and judged that YourTV’s bid was more likely to meet the needs of the local population and was based on a sustainable plan for the licence period.
A German court has overturned antitrust regulator the Bundeskartellamt’s 2011 approval of Liberty Global’s acquisition of Baden-Württemburg operator Kabel BW on the grounds that certain conditions set out at the time were not sufficient to compensate for the merged entity’s market power.The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court, acting on a complaint from Deutsche Telekom, ruled that the cartel office will have to look at the case again.According to the court, the regulator’s provisions about termination rights for housing association customers were not sufficient to compensate the dominant market position of the combined Unitymedia and Kabel BW in the fixed access market.Liberty Global said it intends to seek leave to appeal before the Federal Court of Justice. Failing that, the Bundeskartellamt must now look at the merger again.“The Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court today set aside the Federal Cartel Office’s approval of Liberty Global’s acquisition of Kabel BW. We have not yet seen the detailed ruling from the Higher Regional Court, which will be made available by the Court in the next days or weeks. Please understand that we therefore cannot comment on the content of the ruling. However, we will use all legal means available to us to go before the Federal Court of Justice to obtain leave to file an appeal on a point of law against the ruling by Düsseldorf Higher Regional Court. If today’s decision were to be confirmed, this would lead to a new review of the merger by the Federal Cartel Office,” said Liberty Global. “Given the progress being made in market consolidation, we are convinced that infrastructure competition needs the combined Unitymedia KabelBW company more than ever so that sustainable competition can be created with the three national companies DTAG, VF/KDG and O2/E+.”
Liberty Global-owned UPC Slovakia has launched a new TV package of nine news channels, comprising CNN, BBC, CNBC, Euronews, Deutsche Welle, France 24, Russia Today, TV5 and TV8.The package is available for €1.90 a month for entry package customers, while basic package subscribers will receive the service for free.The cable operator has also made Russia Today available in its extended basic package.Separately, UPC Slovakia has added Sony Pictures Television Networks newly branded AXN Black and AXN White to its line-up, replacing the former AXN Sci-Fi and AXN Crime.
Vice Media is reportedly planning to launch local language news services in seven more countries and is also looking to make TV deals.Speaking to Reuters, Vice founder and CEO Shane Smith said that the firm was planning to launch news services in Germany, France, Italy, Spain, Brazil, Mexico and Australia in the next six months, and is working on a terrestrial TV deal.Smith is also quoted as saying that a deal to buy TV networks would come “sooner rather than later,” and that negotiations were “on the home stretch.”Smith told Reuters: “We are looking to buy not only a series of networks but also to have pretty much a comprehensive global terrestrial carriage deal, where we’ll be carried in between 150 and 200 countries from day one.”Last month, A+E Networks and Technology Crossover Ventures each invested US$250 million (€190 million) in Vice for 10% stakes in the business. The deal reportedly valued Vice at more than US$2.5 billion.
Hernan LopezFox International Channels is aligning all of its international Fox channels under a unified global brand.Currently, the channel looks different territory-by-territory, but will now carry a single brand and on-air look around the world.“There are key brands like Disney, but they are in kids, or HBO, but it is premium, or YouTube, which has the widest reach, but is not associated with quality in the mind of the consumer,” Hernan Lopez, president and CEO of FIC told DTVE sister title TBI. “The goal is for Fox to be the biggest quality entertainment brand in the world.”Lopez said the worldwide rebrand was about two years in the making and followed a process of rebranding FX and some other FIC channels to Fox in international markets. He added that the unified look will help convince platforms that Fox and the FIC bouquet drive subs growth and retention.The rebrand comes as Fox prepares to launch the latest instalments of The Walking Dead across its 126-channel footprint. There will also be a global launch for Matt Dillon drama Wayward Pines, which will go out internationally on the same day as on the Fox broadcast network in the US.Lopez added that while Fox is in 244 million international homes, there are some key markets where it has yet to launch, namely China, France, the Czech Republic and Romania.He added that ultimately FIC wants to get to 4-to-8 global releases a year. Last year the channel operator launched a dedicated programme sales division to help monetise its original programming internationally.21st Century Fox-owned FIC has been conducting consumer research ahead of the rebrand. It said that a worldwide brand study conducted in 4Q14 showed Fox rated as a stronger brand than channels including Discovery Communications and the Walt Disney Company as well as those from NBCUniversal and Warner Bros. It was also, Fox claimed, a stronger brand than Netflix.As well as a new unified brand, Fox is also consolidating its Facebook presence into one page, a process already completed by another FIC channel, National Geographic.
Netflix has deployed IBM storage systems in a bid to consolidate and manage growing data volumes. Netflix has selected a high-end storage appliance based on IBM’s XIV architecture. It is using the Gen3 cloud storage system to manage its databases, development, testing and back-up operations.According to IBM, Netflix was able to replace 16 existing storage systems with just three XIV systems and reduce actual datacentre floor space used by about 80% as well as boost its database transactions-per-minute.The media streaming giant is also testing IBM’s recently announced Spectrum Storage software, which is designed to optimise storage and ease management within hybrid cloud environments.The move comes just a few weeks after Netflix said it would completely rethink its architecture. The company said rising demand for its service, which is partly deployed on Amazon Web Services’ infrastructure from multiple locations (initially just in the US) has prompted an effort to simplify its architecture so that it can scale more rapidly and reduce outages.
Deutsche Telekom has launched myKIDIO, a new family-oriented app featuring audio books and videos for smartphones, tablets and in-car entertainment systems.The myKIDIO app from local magazine publisher BurdaNews and Telekom is aimed at kids aged three to 13 and is provides audio books, audio dramas, films and TV shows, all selected by the staff of BurdaNews-owned TV Spielfilm.BurdaNews will be in charge of marketing and customer relationships for myKIDIO, while Deutsche Telekom will handle the app’s functionality, operate the platform and advance the technology for use in the car.The app will be available as part of the BMW ConnectedDrive service in BMW cars. If children are running the app on their smartphone or tablet, parents can control the app on their children’s device through BMW ConnectedDrive.Customers will be able to download the app from the Apple App Store and Google Play as of April. Interested customers can either take out a monthly subscription for €8.99 or purchase a two-week pass for €5.99. They can use their user account to sign on to the app for up to three devices at the same time. Content providers include Kiddinx, Sony Music, der Hörverlag, Silberfisch, cbj audio, Wellenreiter, Lübbe Audio, Baumhaus, Argon, Highscore, Cocomico, ZDF Enterprises and the RC Release Company with a selection of programs from WDR mediagroup, Bavaria Media, rbb media, Icestorm Entertainment/DEFA and Morefilms.The app was designed and built by Saffron Digital in partnership with Deutsche Telekom Business Development and Innovation (BDI).Burkhard Graßmann, CEO of BurdaNews, said, “We are bringing our digital and journalistic expertise to this new venture so that we can offer families with children attractive, educational entertainment options.”
News network CNN said that CNN.com posted its strongest month ever for digital video in June after logging 212 million video streams.CNN said that the strong figures reflect its “heavy investment and prioritisation of premium, digital-first video.”According to the news network’s stats, CNN outperformed its news rivals in terms of video streams for a second consecutive month in June, with second place Buzzfeed serving 152 million streams and Yahoo! News serving 136 million streams.
Sam BlackmanAmazon Web Services is to acquire video processing specialist Elemental Technologies.Terms of the deal have not been disclosed, but US press reports suggest that it values Elemental about US$500 million (€450 million), or five times the company’s revenue – Amazon’s biggest acquisition since it bought gaming video service Twitch last year.According to the Wall St Journal, Amazon beat off competition from Ericsson to acquire Elemental, with Cisco Systems also believed to be interested. Ericsson and Elemental have collaborated closely in the past, with Ericsson tapping Elemental to provide video compression processing as part of its Ericsson Virtualised Encoding platform.According to Elemental, Amazon’s acquisition will bring together Elemental’s video technologies with the AWS Cloud platform to provide media and entertainment companies with a way to scale their video infrastructure as they move to internet based delivery of services.Elemental will continue to operate its business under its existing brand, delivering its full range of offerings for pay TV operators, content programmers, broadcasters, governments, and enterprise customers, the company said. It will also expand the integration of its offerings with AWS, and through close collaboration with AWS, “accelerate the innovation of next-generation services that feature a range of solutions for customers leveraging on-premises assets, hybrid architectures, and cloud”.The acquisition is expected to close in the fourth quarter of 2015.“Elemental shares Amazon’s passion for invention and putting the customer first. Together, we’ll collaborate on deeper technology integrations and new infrastructure offerings so that media and entertainment companies can evolve their hybrid and cloud models as they continue to innovate their services for viewers,” said Andy Jassy, Senior Vice President of Amazon Web Services.“The media and entertainment industry is at a unique inflection point, and as a part of Amazon, we will be in an even stronger position to help our customers delight their viewers globally. We’re thrilled to have Amazon supporting our growth and ongoing commitment to our customers’ success,” said Sam Blackman, co-founder and CEO of Elemental.
FilmBox Arthouse, Trace Sports Stars and Sky Atlantic HD were among the winners at the Eutelsat TV Awards in Rome on Friday evening.Sky Atlantic HD in Italy won the award for best fiction/general entertainment channel, and also shared the award for Best programme with German channel Spiegel TV Wissen. Sky Atlantic HD Italy was recognized for 1992, while Spiegel TV Wissen was recognized for Inside IS – War in the Name of Allah.FilmBox Arthouse won in the best cinema channel category, while Trace Sports Stars took the prize for best lifestyle channel.The People’s Choice award went to Al Jazeera Balkans from Bosnia & Herzegovina. Eutelsat also presented an award to Discovery “for 30 years in the business and for its relentless drive to generate outstanding content matched to diversified age groups, demographics and regions” and another to the Vatican’s CTV for its work in UHD.Serbian pay TV operator SBB’s Total TV satellite platform was given award for accelerating its transition from SD to 100% HD.Other winners included Slovakia’s DuckTV, which won in the kids category, Russia’s 365 Days TV, which took the prize for best culture/documentary channel, Germany’s Classica, which won the prize for best music channel, Rai News 24, winner in the news category and Mexico’s PXTV, which took home the prize for best sports channel.The Eutelsat TV Awards is an annual competition that recognizes the quality of the channels broadcasting via Eutelsat satellites.Michel de Rosen, Eutelsat CEO, said: “The Awards is a unique opportunity to take the pulse of our industry. We are seeing channels that have started on Internet platforms move to satellite to expand their reach. We are in awe of the bravery of reporters who confront challenging and complex subjects and we are thrilled by the outstanding technical quality achieved for live concerts, matches and documentaries. It is a privilege to salute these achievements.”