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Road funding solution passes House

first_img Categories: Canfield News 22Oct Road funding solution passes House Canfield: We are standing behind the best plan for Michigan residentsThe House this week passed a multi-bill package to fix Michigan’s roads.The plan will dedicate $600 million in General Fund revenue to fix roads and bridges while also raising $600 million in new restricted revenue for the same purpose, equaling $1.2 billion in transportation funding when fully phased in over five years. In addition, the package increases the Homestead Property Tax Credit by $200 million for middle-class families, low-income residents and seniors.State Rep. Ned Canfield, chairman of the House Appropriations Subcommittee on the Department of Transportation and sponsor of one of the bills in the package, says that this is a common-sense solution to fix the roads.“This is the compromise plan,” said Rep. Canfield, R-Sebewaing. “The results of Proposal 1 told us that Michigan residents want a roads-focused plan. This plan is about roads.”Rep. Canfield’s bill specifically would require a Request for Proposal process for all projects over $100,000 for MDOT. Local road agencies must do RFP’s for all projects, excluding routine maintenance, over $100,000, unless the local road agency affirmatively finds that they can do it themselves for less.The plan also creates more than $1 billion each year for our infrastructure by increasing registration fees by about $55 on average for all vehicles. In addition, the bills phase in a 3.3-cent gas tax increase per gallon by 2019.The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

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Rep Bollin votes to protect Michigan youth from dangers of ecigarettes

first_img Categories: Bollin News 15May Rep. Bollin votes to protect Michigan youth from dangers of e-cigarettes Pinckney High School students advocate for reformState Rep. Ann Bollin welcomes Pinckney High School students Benjamin Welch and Kalie Alexander to the Capitol.State Rep. Ann Bollin today voted in favor of a plan to ban the sale of e-cigarettes to minors and prevent individuals under 18 from possessing vaping products in Michigan.Bollin, of Brighton Township, welcomed two Pinckney High School students to the House to watch the historic vote. The students, Kalie Alexander and Benjamin Welch, testified before a Senate committee earlier this year to advocate for the reforms.“I applaud Kalie and Benjamin for standing up for an issue they believe in,” Bollin said. “They saw a problem, took action and became part of the solution.”Bollin said the number of teenagers who use e-cigarettes has increased dramatically over the past few years, drawing concern from parents, school administrators and law enforcement officers.“This new way of smoking has become popular among young people, most of whom incorrectly believe it is perfectly harmless,” Bollin said. “Vaping nicotine can have some dangerous long-term health effects for teenagers. It’s critically important that we start taking this more seriously.”Electronic cigarettes are battery-operated devices that deliver nicotine and flavoring without burning tobacco. The devices are small and often look harmless – including a version that looks just like a computer flash drive – making them appealing to teens and difficult to detect in schools. In a recent study, one in five Michigan high school students reported having used an e-cigarette during the previous 30 days.According to the Centers for Disease Control, vaping nicotine can harm adolescent brain development and lead to addiction. Many vaping products also contain diacetyl, which is commonly associated with “popcorn lung” – a condition that damages airways.Senate Bills 106 and 155 received overwhelming support in the House and now head to the governor for consideration.###last_img read more

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A New Bipartisan Movement Prison Reform

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares March 11, 2014; National Public Radio         Here’s a public policy proposal guaranteed to raise the hackles of both Democrats and Republicans, at least some of them. Before the U.S. fell into a mode of viewing prison as purely for punishment, there used to be widespread support for rehabilitative programs for prison inmates, including publicly funded college education. New York Governor Andrew Cuomo has proposed to reinstate taxpayer-funded college courses in the state’s prisons, explaining that it is simply common sense and just about guaranteed to reduce, though not eliminate, recidivism.“Let’s talk about self-interest,” Cuomo says. “You pay $60,000 for a prison cell for a year. You put a guy away for 10 years, that’s 600 grand. Right now, chances are almost half, that once he’s released, he’s going to come right back.” In other words, it’s much cheaper to pay for college classes for inmates than to house and rehouse them in expensive jail cells.The reaction of some constituents is to be expected—why should inmates get free educations when kids from law-abiding middle class families can’t? But the tough-on-crime crowd is still vocal, even though many experts suggest that the almost total elimination of prison education programs across the nation in the mid-1990s was a mistake.In Cuomo’s upcoming budget, there is funding for college classes in 10 prisons on a trial basis. Unlike national politicians who cannot seem to figure out how to work with legislators on both sides of the aisle, Governor Cuomo, like his dad, knows politics and often gets programs approved despite controversy and opposition.Perhaps troglodytes of both parties may be wont to oppose ideas like this, hoping to see a return of the stocks and pillory, but Republicans and Democrats are warming up to prison reforms that really should have been considered long ago. In an unexpected twist, one of the leading Republican voices for prison reform is Kentucky senator Rand Paul, who won the presidential straw poll at the Conservative Political Action Conference in Washington last week where common themes from presenters included criminal justice reform, the elimination of mandatory minimum prison sentences, and a rethinking of the nation’s war on drugs. Among the other CPAC speakers touting Republican initiatives on prison reform was outgoing Texas governor Rick Perry, joined by Grover Norquist, president of Americans for Tax Reform. Writing for the Washington Post, Wesley Lowery suggested that these CPAC discussions presaged the Republican Party’s plan to make criminal justice reform “a true pathway forward for a party that desperately wants to expand demographically.”Whatever the motivations, something is happening. “I’ve been working this field since 1990 and this is certainly the most hopeful time I’ve seen in that 25-year period,” said David Fathi, director of the ACLU National Prison Project. “There is an openness to fundamentally rethinking our approach to crime and deviant behavior in a way that I’ve never seen before.” In the U.S. Senate, Rand Paul and Pat Leahy (D-VT) are promoting changes in federal mandatory minimum sentences and Leahy’s committee recently held hearings on the awful practice of solitary confinement.When Governor Cuomo presented his prison education ideas to a largely black church congregation in Albany, he received a standing ovation. If Republicans are going to make inroads into that demographic, they might have to send Rand Paul to explain that his ideas about limited government also mean limiting what government does under the guise of crime and punishment.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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500 Refugees Drown in Overloaded Boat to Europe The Real Costs of

first_imgShare14TweetShareEmail14 SharesApril 20, 2016; NPR, “The Two-Way”Sometimes it is important to provide a little human context for the politics of immigration in Europe and the United States.A UN Refugee Agency team reports that a boat with as many as 500 refugees sank last week as it was trying to make the journey between Libya and Italy. Only 41 survived—37 men, 3 women and one three-year-old child—who were all adrift on the Mediterranean for three days before they were rescued.The tragedy, according to the survivors, happened when smugglers moved 200 people to another already overcrowded vessel. The survivors appear to be those who had not yet transferred to the larger vessel. About half of those on board were from Somalia, with the rest being from Ethiopia, Egypt, and Sudan.But the tragedy also has other policy-based roots. Sudarsan Rughavan writes in the Washington Post:A controversial agreement between the European Union and Turkey has dramatically reduced the number of refugees reaching the Greek islands. Balkan nations are closing their borders as well, preventing travel from Greece to Germany and beyond. That has triggered fears that more refugees and migrants could attempt to enter Europe from Egypt or Libya.Last year, more than 1 million migrants and refugees crossed the Mediterranean. They were mostly fleeing the wars in Syria, Iraq and Afghanistan, using Turkey as a launching pad to Greece and then deeper into Europe. But the crossing from North Africa to Italy has historically been more perilous than the one from Turkey to Greece.According to Rughavan, one Ethiopian man told the International Organization for Migration, “I saw my wife and my 2-month-old child die at sea, together with my brother-in-law. […] The boat was going down. All the people died in a matter of minutes.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare14TweetShareEmail14 Shareslast_img read more

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Why Are Patient Advocacy Groups Silent on 400 Rise in EpiPen Prices

first_imgShare84TweetShare29Email113 SharesAugust 23, 2016; Consumer AffairsEditor’s Note: After we published this story, we were contacted by a representative of the Allergy and Asthma Network, who felt that their efforts to mitigate the effects of the Mylan price hike weren’t accurately reflected. We reprint their statement below.Allergy & Asthma Network has been at the forefront of pivotal conversations with Mylan for over six months regarding this matter, speaking out and standing up for families that have been affected. While the Network is continuing these conversations and advocating for patients each day, it is also providing patients with resources to lower the price, such as discount coupons and decoding health insurance plans to minimize out-of-pocket costs. The Network has followed, tracked, and published papers over the past four years discussing the cost shifting of healthcare to patients. The Network has spoken out regarding the EpiPen price increase in over 100 media outlets, including The New York Times and CNN.com, addressing our concerns for families with high deductible health insurance plans who are now unable to afford this life-saving medication from Mylan. The goal is to get all epinephrine auto injectors placed on Preventive Drug Lists of government and commercial insurance plans to help eliminate out-of-pocket expenses for families, as well as ensure access to life-saving medications for all.NPQ has written often over the past few years about unconscionable price hikes by pharmaceutical companies combined with so-called philanthropy that subsidizes those prices. As we have previously reported, the combination of practices is seen by critics as aligned elements of a business plan aimed at milking taxpayers even at the risk of leaving many untreated. This story fits right in with that pattern.Federal and state legislators are expressing outrage at the precipitous price hike on EpiPens, the life-saving emergency medication broadly used by people with severe allergies, including many children. Consumer Affairs (CA) writes that patent advocacy groups have remained strangely silent.According to CA, the EpiPen contains only around $1 worth of epinephrine, but its U.S. price is now $600 or more for a two-pack, and it stands virtually on its own in the market due to some delivery issues with its competitor.“This outrageous increase in the price of EpiPens is occurring at the same time that Mylan Pharmaceutical is exploiting a monopoly market advantage that has fallen into its lap,” says Senator Amy Klobuchar (D-MN), who is asking for a Judiciary Committee hearing on the situation. “Patients all over the U.S. rely on these products, including my own daughter. Not only should the Judiciary Committee hold a hearing, the Federal Trade Commission should investigate these price increases immediately.”Notably, Klobuchar is the ranking member of the Antitrust Subcommittee. Klobuchar has also asked the FTC to “report to Congress on why these outrageous price increases have become common and propose solutions that will better protect consumers within 90 days.”Mylan has responded as you might think they would: “Mylan has worked tirelessly over the past years advocating for increased anaphylaxis awareness, preparedness and access to treatment for those living with potentially life-threatening allergies.”But James Hood, the founder of Consumer Affairs, wonders why patient advocacy groups have remained so silent on the issue even as it heats up in the press and legislatively and begs for the voices of patients and their families. He reports:A New York public relations firm sent a cheery news release last week on behalf of the Allergy & Asthma Network entitled, “Why patients don’t have to worry about the EpiPen price increase.”And why should patients not worry? Here are its recommendations to patients, parents, and others.Allergy & Asthma Network is concerned about the rising costs of epinephrine auto injectors. We are committed to working in the following three ways:Directly with Mylan. We have asked them to assist families with large out of pocket expenses and high deductible health plans with a new program.Directly with government and commercial insurance plans to get epinephrine on preventive drug lists. This would ensure epinephrine is no longer subject to deductibles or copays and reduce the cost burden for families.Directly with families to navigate the complex healthcare system. Choose a health plan fully understanding what is and is not covered. Beware of high deductible plans as they can result in significant out of pocket expenses throughout the year. Take advantage of savings programs like My Epi Savings Card to reduce your financial burden.Note that none of these suggestions have anything to do with preventing price gouging.The American Lung Association also had nothing at all to say to say. We’ll keep an eye on that aspect of the story.Consumer Watchdog called this price hike “yet another example of the stranglehold on pricing that drug companies have.” Carmen Balber, Watchdog’s executive director, said, “This is medication that is mandatory for a lot of people, it’s life-saving, it’s not something you can do without and for that reason, Mylan has been able to jack up the price at will.”U.S. Senator Richard Blumenthal (D-CT) says in a letter to the company:My office has heard from first responders on this issue, with one emergency medical services (EMS) supplier offering “lists of EMS representatives who can show you that EpiPen prices are destroying” their EMS budgets. In fact, first responders in other states have turned to directly injecting epinephrine using syringes, a method that is far less safe but increasingly necessary. Along with ambulances, schools in Connecticut are also required to stock epinephrine auto-injectors. The costs that Mylan’s price increases have waged not only on individual families, but on each taxpayer in Connecticut, [are] unacceptable.Blumenthal also notes he had previously supported legislation that has since been signed into law requiring epinephrine in schools. “However,” he said, “I am concerned that your company has failed to recognize that affordability in health care is key to ensuring accessibility. When families, schools, and first responders struggle to purchase your product, any effort to mandate its availability becomes an expensive burden that they are forced to bear.”James Hood asks why patient advocacy groups have been so silent on getting this price rolled back when everyone else is so ready to go. We can think of many reasons, including that it might be intimidating to testify against a corporation whom—through an intermediary—you must ask for charity to support your or your children’s life-saving medication. Just a guess. But it’s the nature of democracy that, with the advocacy groups or without them, some families will come forward.—Ruth McCambridgeShare84TweetShare29Email113 Shareslast_img read more

AMC Networks and Chellomedia are jointly rolling o

first_imgAMC Networks and Chellomedia are jointly rolling out the Sundance Channel in the Netherlands.The channel, which will be available in both standard and high definition, will be part of Chello’s Film1 bouquet of premium offerings and launch on March 1.“As a leading global provider and packager of independent content, we look forward to partnering with Chellomedia which will allow us to reach nearly universal penetration of the Dutch market and bring significant new value to Film 1 subscribers and consumers across the Netherlands,” said Bruce Tuchman, president, AMC/Sundance Channel Global.Chello is part of Liberty Global. AMC Networks comprises Sundance, IFC and WeTV.last_img read more

US ice hockey league the NHL has secured a raft of

first_imgUS ice hockey league the NHL has secured a raft of broadcast deals in Europe.The Hockey channel has bought the rights to up to 15 live NHL games per week for the next five seasons in Ukraine. Arena Sports has signed with the league to air multiple matches each week in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Croatia, Montenegro and Serbia. All games will be broadcast in HD and in the local language.last_img

Russian broadcaster CTC Medias international chan

first_imgRussian broadcaster CTC Media’s international channel CTC International is launching in the central Asian state of Kyrgyzstan after striking a deal with broadcast group Europe Asia.The channel, which is available in the US, Israel, Europe, the Middle East and North Africa and other parts of central Asia via Eutelsat’s Hot Bird satellite platform, will be available over the air in Kyrgyzstan. CTC Media deputy CEO Marat Kildeyev said that the channel would be available to about 25% of the country’s population of approximately 5.5 million.last_img read more

An Italian court has ruled that Italian broadcaste

first_imgAn Italian court has ruled that Italian broadcaster Rai must allow Sky Italia to broadcast its channels free-to-air.The two parties have been in a long-running dispute because Rai encrypts some its content on the Sky platform, including football matches and entertainment shows. Sky customers that want to watch encrypted programmes have to use a decoder, such as that supplied by the TivùSat service that Rai operates along with Mediaset and Telecom Italia.The court said Rai was breaching its duty as a public sector broadcaster because it didn’t offer universal access to its free-to-air programming. It said Rai’s operations favoured TivùSat and that regulator AGCOM allowing Rai to block some of its content amounted to an illegitimate use of state aid.Sky Italia released a statement saying, “The ruling of the Regional Administrative Court of Lazio is a victory for all Sky subscribers and represents an important reminder that Rai must comply with its public service obligations towards all Italian citizens. With this ruling, the Regional Administrative Court reaffirmed a principle of justice and a principle of non-discrimination towards Sky subscribers who, over the last years, have unfortunately seen some programs being blacked out on their Sky decoders – as recently happened again on the occasion of the European Football Championship – even though they pay Rai’s licence fee.”last_img read more

The cost of delivering content over the web means

first_imgThe cost of delivering content over the web means that traditional linear TV distributed by service providers that have invested in infrastructure is likely to remain the dominant mode of video entertainment delivery for some time to come, CTAM Europe EuroSummit attendees heard yesterday.Challenging the assertions made the previous day by futurologist Ben Hammersley that subscription-based services – and the TV itself – were likely to die out relatively quickly as a result of fast-moving social trends, Guy Bisson, research director, television at IHS Screen Digest told EuroSummit attendees that UK CDN costs amount to €1.2 billion currently, the equivalent of the cost of delivering 5,000 satellite channels.Linear TV will still dominate for the near future, but with time-shifted and video-on-demand viewing growing, said Bisson, speaking on a panel session on digital distribution. The costs involved in time-shifting content were so great that it was important to spread the risk, he said. Costs could be reduced by partnering with platform operators and by combining linear broadcast services with on-demand. It was premature to suggest that there would be sudden shift to OTT and non-linear services, he said. Bisson said that Hammersley had failed to address the question of ‘who pays’ and the drive towards low-quality user-generated content.Bisson said that Netflix and other OTT providers were now beginning to see the value of infrastructure to deliver content, and this – together with inflation in content costs to new entrants – would mean that the price difference between the offerings of OTT players and pay TV incumbents would diminish over time.Catherine Powell, senior vice-president and general manager, Disney Media Distribution, EMEA, The Walt Disney Company, speaking on the same panel session, said that Disney was increasingly undertaking digital activities related to its channels and was creating branded stores and services around its ABC branded services. ABC TV On Demand was one example, hosting all of its top series across multiple territories, she said. Powell said that strong brands were crucial to cut through the clutter of the proliferation of OTT and on-demand services. She said that Disney worked with pay TV operators in markets where it partnered with them, such as CanalSat in France, while in Spain, where it was free-to-air, it had developed its own app and replay service.Kate Bradshaw, head of digital, Food Network UK, said that Food Network content lent itself very well to the digital space, with short-form content being available on demand. She said it was important to take content into the catalogues of different on demand aggregators. She said there were opportunities to make additional money from data, which could be supplied to advertisers.Heather Killen, executive chairman, Horse & Country TV, also speaking on the panel, said that her channel had undertaken a range of digital initiatives, catering to a community of people that “spent a lot of money on something they are passionate about”. She said that equestrian sports and lifestyle was an underserved interest area on mainstream TV. Killen said that the broadcast channel was viewed as a way to pull together an interested audience that then could be sold additional products via digital platforms.last_img read more

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The number of digital TV homes in Eastern Europe w

first_imgThe number of digital TV homes in Eastern Europe will double between now and 2018 and pay TV revenues will increase by almost a third in the same period, according to new research.Digital TV Research is forecasting that the number of digital homes in the region will reach 121 million by 2018, with 13 million new digital homes being added this year alone.Pay TV revenues will climb 31% between 2012-2018, taking the regional total to US$7.5 billion (€5.8 billion) as operators drive higher ARPUs from their digital customers.Russia will drive much of the growth and will contribute US$2.2 billion of the 2018 pay TV revenue total – it will be responsible for US$1 billion of the region’s US$1.8 billion additional pay TV revenues between 2012 and 2018.By contrast Hungary, Montenegro, Poland, Slovakia and Slovenia will experience almost flat pay TV revenues across the measurement period.Satellite will overtake cable as the most pay TV platform generating the greatest revenue in 2017 while IPTV revenues will more than double between 2012 and 2018, report author Simon Murray noted.Digital TV Research principal analyst Murray noted that the slow pace of switching off analogue TV has played to the advantage of the region’s pay TV operators. “Slow implementation of analog terrestrial switchover favored the pay TV operators as it gave them more time to convert homes to their packages before free-to-air DTT became established,” he said.last_img read more

Belgian broadcaster SBS has selected Xstreams vid

first_imgBelgian broadcaster SBS has selected Xstream’s video management system, MediaMaker, for its new mobile and web OTT video service due out later this year.Xstream will deliver a solution that includes an ingest module, shop and payment module and Widevine DRM to SBS Belgium. The VOD solution works online and on Android and iOS mobile devices.last_img

Streaming service Wuakitv has attributed a massiv

first_imgStreaming service Wuaki.tv has attributed a massive spike in new release rentals to Sunday’s Academy Awards.Wuaki released seven-Oscar winner Gravity on Monday and this became the site’s biggest ever rental title on its first day of release. Rentals were 273% higher than average day one new release sales.Throughout the week, Gravity has continued to double the average rental figure for a new release.Another Academy winner, Blue Jasmine, saw its rental figures climb 40% on the previous week after its star Cate Blanchett won the Best Actress award.“It’s clear bagging an Academy Award creates a huge amount of interest in a movie amongst our customers and subscribers – especially with new releases,” said Simon Homent, content director, Wuaki.tv.“We expect we’ll continue to see an increase in rentals of Academy Award winners and nominees through the week, especially with all the media attention around the ceremony, and the world’s ‘most shared selfie’. The real peak will come at the weekend, when more of our users will get a chance to sit down and watch the winners they’ve been reading about all week.”last_img read more

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Russian and Ukrainianlanguage OTT platform Divan

first_imgRussian and Ukrainian-language OTT platform Divan.TV, which offers a combination of live TV and subscription video-on-demand channels to Russian and Ukrainian speakers worldwide, will launch on Google’s Chromecast platform in July as the first Russian language service on the platform, according to Andrey Kolodyuk, founder of Divan.TV and managing partner, AVentures Capital, speaking at the Digital TV CEE conference in Budapest yesterday.Kolodyuk said that the company, which launched in the Ukrainian market, now has 500,000 registered users and is available worldwide in 200 countries. As well as offering subpscription and transactional contnet the company offers a range of free content.Kolodyuk said that Divan.TV is also looking to expand its feature set by launching sharing of recordings and enabling users to send VoD movies as gifts between friends.The service recently launched services including a new TV guide based on a personal TV wall based on personal preferences with links to Facebook accounts and Twitter walls.“We are allowing customers to choose content based on personal preferences and not to bother about channels,” said Kolodyuk. “If I choose sport I can get recommendations about what is playing.”The service has been live for the last couple of weeks and people can comment on their Facebook wall about what they want to see.Divan.TV also recently launched another value-added service in the form of a second screen service related to the World Cup and other football content. This will enable team ratings and will also enable viewers to engage in real time betting, initially to win discounts and other non-cash benefits.“This is engagement not only for sports betters but for people who just want to predict the score and to enable real time interaction with TV shows,” said Kolodyuk.Both services recently launched as pilot projects.Divan.TV goes direct to Russophone end-users worldwide but also partners with pay TV providers such as Virgin Media via the TiVo platform in the UK. The service is currently sold by 25 ISPs. It also partners with Russian language service providers Nimble TV and Viaway.last_img read more

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BSkyBs OTT service Now TV has added kids channels

first_imgBSkyB’s OTT service Now TV has added kids channels Nickelodeon and Nick Jr to its programming line-up.The channels will be part of Now TV’s Entertainment Month Pass for £4.99 (€6.30) a month.The move will make shows including Peppa Pig, Dora the Explorer and Paw Patrol from Nick Jr and Sam & Cat, SpongeBob SquarePants, Victorious, and The Thundermans from Nickelodeon available to younger Now TV viewers.“The Now TV Entertainment Month Pass already gives viewers access to a fantastic selection of live and on demand shows and now with the addition of Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. there is even more for the whole family to enjoy – perfect for the end of a long summer’s day out,” said Gidon Katz, director of Now TV.“Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. are two of the leading entertainment channels for kids in the UK and this summer with weekly films, summer stunts and all the regular favourites, we’re sure that families will love their addition to the Now TV roster,” said Tina McCann, director of Nickelodeon UK and Ireland.last_img read more

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The BBC Trust has approved the partnership between

first_imgThe BBC Trust has approved the partnership between BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks that will see the latter take a 49.9% stake in BBC America.The Trust said it was satisfied that the proposed partnership fitted the four criteria that govern the BBC’s commercial activity: that it fits with the BBC’s public purposes, exhibits commercial efficiency, does not jeopardise the good reputation of the BBC or the values of its brand; and complies with the principles set out in the BBC’s fair trading policy.last_img read more

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Liberty Global CEO Mike Fries Liberty Global hopes

first_imgLiberty Global CEO Mike FriesLiberty Global hopes to reduce the high video losses it experienced in its first quarter as price increases bed in and new services gain customers, according to CEO Mike Fries, speaking to analysts after the cable giant released its first quarter financials. Fries said decisions about how far and fast to increase prices was “not a science”. He said that Liberty Global would “see what happens” as it implements a 10% price rise across its broadband base in Germany. In general, he said, Liberty Global could implement price increases of between 5% and 7% with “pretty good certainty” about the likely impact on churn. He said that after implementing price hikes in 12 of its 14 markets around the turn of the year and subsequently, it was “not completely unexpected” to see “some impact on churn and sales”.Liberty Global lost 169,000 video subs in the first quarter, 98,000 more than it lost in the same period last year. The company attributed this to underperformance in Ziggo’s footprint and the loss of MDU contracts in Germany, as well as the impact in the prior year of the launch of new digital services in the Geneva region in Switzerland.Fries said that Liberty’s rebrand of its services in the Netherlands using the Ziggo brand had been launched in April and he was hopeful that the extension of the Horizon advanced TV service to Ziggo’s footprint would make a difference and lead to an uptick in Liberty’s performance in the Netherlands.Fries said that Liberty Global’s improved performance in April suggested that the first-quarter dip would “taper off”. He said thatFries said that 18 million out of Liberty Global’s 23 million video customers were now able to receive either a version of Horizon or the TiVo service offered by Virgin Media in the UK. The mobile version of Horizon, Horizon Go, is currently available in nine countries, while an RDK-based variant of the big screen version is available in Poland and the Czech Republic.last_img read more

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Liberty Global and Vodafone Deutschland do not see

first_imgLiberty Global and Vodafone Deutschland do not see OTT video as a significant threat, but rather as something that has stimulated them to provide a better overall experience to their consumers, according to Liberty president and CEO Mike Fries and Vodafone Deutschland managing director Manuel Cubero.Liberty Global’s “opinion has changed” about OTT, Fries told attendees at the opening panel session at ANGA COM in Cologne this morning.“A few years ago we were scared about the changes it might bring about to our video [business],” said Fries, who said that Netflix offered an inferior range of content to cable, but had developed a superior user experience.“It’s not really the content that’s driving people to Netflix, it’s the experience. Today we are providing that kind of experience ourselves,” he said, through the Horizon advanced TV service and mobile app.“Why pay Netflix for a very narrow range of programming when you can get all the broadcast channels, all the great movies and series, and Netflix-like content from cable? It’s really about providing viewers with the experience. We really have Netflix to thank for [stimulating] that. Almost by definition, where an OTT provider exists, consumers who use it are also better consumers of cable services and broadcast channels.”Fries said that there had been virtually no change in viewership of linear channels in recent years, despite the growth in non-linear viewing. “There is no need to worry, consumers are loving TV right now,” he said.Vodafone’s Cubero, who is also CEO of Vodafone-owned Kabel Deutschland, said that without video consumption there would be less demand for broadband, which fed into Kabel Deutschland’s growth. He agreed with Fries that cable had improved its overall TV service thanks to the stimulus provided by OTT services.Cubero said that Vodafone and Kabel Deutschland had already adopted a similar approach to that of Liberty Global in developing advanced TV services. “We have to have partnerships with the TV station providers. In future we will become or remain partners with all providers of public or private stations and provide apps [and so on] in partnership with them,” he said.Cubero is expected to be named as interim CEO of Vodafone Deutschland at the start of next month, replacing outgoing chief Jens Schulte-Bockum. Cubero will take on the role of chief commercial officer of the combined outfit on a permanent basis.last_img read more

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Brett Sappington Some 25 of US overthetop video

first_imgBrett SappingtonSome 25% of US over-the-top video subscribers plan to upgrade their broadband service in the next 12 months, according to Parks Associates.The research firm claims that only 7% of consumers who watch video exclusively on TV plan to upgrade their pay TV service in the next 12 months.By comparison, the figure stands at 22% for consumers with above average viewing on all platforms, including computers and mobile devices.“Evolving usage habits around multiscreen viewing are shaping all aspects of the industry, including service delivery, content production, and the devices consumers use to access content,” said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates.“Today, one-third of broadband households that own three or more connected devices state that they are likely to upgrade their broadband service in the next 12 months. These high-speed connections will enable improved experiences, encouraging consumers to spend even more time with connected entertainment.”last_img read more

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Broadband video will grow from 17 of total viewin

first_imgBroadband video will grow from 17% of total viewing minutes in 2015 to 38% by 2025 as TV viewing declines, according to The Diffusion Group (TDG).The research firm said that over the same time period legacy TV will decline from 80% of total viewing minutes to 53%.This marks an expected 34% decline in TV viewing compared to an 81% anticipated increase in broadband video viewing.“Professionally-produced, TV-quality video is now accessible from a widening array of sources and services, in virtually any context, and on multiple devices,” said TDG senior analyst, Joel Espelien.“Though operators and networks are now aware of these trends, few have any idea what they mean for the future of TV viewing – that is, the extent to and rate at which they will redefine the viewing mix in the next decade.”last_img read more