Emirates, a connector of people, places and economies, has announced plans to offer a double daily service to Barcelona, less than three years after its initial launch to the city.From 2nd May 2015 Emirates will add a further 3724 seats per week to Barcelona increasing overall capacity by 51 percent. The extra service will be operated by a Boeing 777-200LR in a three class configuration, complementing the airline’s already successful daily A380 service. Timings for the new flight have been scheduled to create and facilitate more effective connections between Barcelona and key cities in the Far East, Middle East, Australia and Africa, via Emirates’ Dubai hub.“Barcelona continues to be a huge success story for Emirates. In less than three years we have not only launched a new service but also added significant capacity in order to keep up with customer demand. This extra daily flight is a major boost to our operations and firmly underscores our commitment to the Spanish market,” said Hubert Frach, Emirates’ Divisional Senior Vice President, Commercial Operations, West.“Customers love the Emirates product and repeat usage continues to play a key role in our success. Our onboard product and service is second to none and we are committed to offering seamless connections for our customers both in and out of Barcelona. It’s no surprise that we have been able to increase capacity on this route so quickly,” added Mr. Frach.Barcelona frequently tops the must see destinations in Europe with over 7.3 million tourists visiting annually, making the city the 11th most visited destination in the world.The introduction of a Boeing 777-200LR will also add significant cargo capacity to the route with just over 230 tonnes per week to be added by Emirates SkyCargo. This additional capacity is expected to further support the movement of clothes, one of Catalonia’s main exports to the Gulf.The new flight will offer eight luxurious First Class Private Suites, 42 lie-flat seats in Business Class and 216 seats in Economy Class. Emirates customers in all classes will enjoy over 2000 channels of inflight entertainment on ice in addition to gourmet cuisine and a generous baggage allowance of 50kg in First Class, 40kg in Business Class and 30kg in Economy Class.EK 188 will depart Dubai at 1545hrs and arrive at Barcelona El Prat Airport at 2100hrs. EK 189 will take off daily from Barcelona at 2245hrs and land in Dubai at 0725hrs the following day.In addition to Barcelona, Emirates also operates a double daily service to Madrid. Emirates first launched flights to Spain in 2010 and now offers a total of 21,042 seats per week to and from the country.Source = Emirates
The video showcases the innovators of the future and how they would be changing the way we travel in the future. Source: CNN
State Rep. Beau LaFave of Iron Mountain will hold local office hours and meet with residents to discuss matters of state government.“Holding office hours gives me the opportunity to talk with the people of the Upper Peninsula and listen to their thoughts and concerns,” Rep. LaFave said. “As your representative, I am here to make Lansing more responsible to the people. That’s why office hours are a top priority of mine.”The schedule for office hours is as follows:Dickinson County:Monday, April 3 at Breitung Township Hall, 3851 Menominee St. in Quinnesec from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST; andMonday, April 10 at Breitung Township Hall, 3851 Menominee St. in Quinnesec from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST.Delta County:Tuesday, April 4 at Escanaba City Hall, 410 Ludington St. in Escanaba from 2 to 2:50 p.m. EST.Menominee County:Wednesday, April 5 at Menominee City Hall, 2511 10th St. in Menominee from 2 to 2:50 p.m. CST; andTuesday, April 11 at Stephenson City Hall, W628 Samuel St. in Stephenson from 3 to 3:50 p.m. CST.Residents also may contact LaFave at his Lansing office at (517) 373-0156 or BeauLaFave@house.mi.gov. Categories: LaFave News 03Apr Rep. LaFave holds multiple local office hours throughout the south central U.P.
State Rep. Jason Wentworth today voted in favor of a package of bills that brings an end to ineffective driver responsibility fees and forgives all outstanding debt associated with them.Wentworth, of Clare, said he voted to end the fees because they never accomplished – nor were they intended to – better driving skills for people forced to pay them.“This was a bad law that was enacted only to resolve a budget shortfall in 2003 that was caused by reckless spending of taxpayer money,” Wentworth said. “People who were forced to pay the fees also often lost their jobs since they had no transportation, and turned to public assistance to care for their families.”Under the legislation passed by the House today, the fees will be eliminated on Oct. 1, 2018, and all debt will be forgiven.The legislation also creates a grace period from enactment of the bill thorough Dec. 31 that enables them to get their driver’s licenses back without paying a $125 restoration fee. People on monthly payment plans will receive immediate forgiveness, and others may participate in workplace development training programs to regain their driver’s licenses prior to Oct. 1.The bills now go to the governor for consideration.##### Categories: News,Wentworth News Lawmaker votes for repeal, debt forgiveness 14Feb Rep. Wentworth applauds end to driver responsibility fees
The House Oversight Committee today approved a joint resolution offered by state Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake that amends the state’s Constitution, allowing the Legislature to make laws governing the protection of free speech on Michigan’s public university and public community college campuses.“The expression of diverse viewpoints is foundational to the process of growth and discovery and expands the education of all people in a free society.” Runestad said. “Abuses over many years by numerous institutions necessitates that the Legislature must be permitted to intervene for the protection of civil liberties of students at universities receiving taxpayer money. These cases, seen over many years, demonstrate that without legislative oversight many of these institutions restrict the rights of students, staff, and faculty. We have no way of knowing just how many students have considered lawsuits over the years, only to walk away because they don’t have the money to defend their rights.”Proponents of the legislation state that public universities and community colleges have frequently failed to follow the Constitution by not providing for the protection of free speech while discriminating on the basis of political viewpoints. Free speech violations that are cited include limiting student assembly to “free speech zones” on campus, deciding who is approved to post on student bulletin boards, choosing which student clubs are funded with mandatory student activity fees and picking which speakers are allowed on campus.House Joint Resolution P now moves to the full House for further consideration.Photo Information: State Rep. Jim Runestad of White Lake testifies in support of his Michigan Constitution amendment before the House Oversight Committee today. 15Feb Runestad: Universities could be subject to new legislative oversight Categories: Runestad News
28Feb Rep. Calley’s resolution to name March as Reading Month adopted Categories: Calley News State Rep. Julie Calley of Portland introduced a resolution on Wednesday to name March as Reading Month in the state of Michigan. The resolution was unanimously adopted by the House of Representatives.“Reading opens doors in many ways,” Rep. Calley said. “It is a cornerstone of education, leads to lifelong learning, and is crucial to assist students in reaching their individualized potential. I applaud all of the families, educators, librarians, and community members who support strong literacy skills.”Each year during the month of March, students across Michigan celebrate Reading Month by participating in contests and literacy events. The goal is to motivate kids to read every day of the year.Rep. Calley is scheduled to read in school classrooms across the 87th district throughout March. Teachers or administrators who would like to have Rep. Calley read in their classroom may contact her Lansing office at 517-373-0842 or by email at JulieCalley@house.mi.gov.
Categories: Vaupel News Assaults on medical staff are on the rise in hospitals and healthcare facilities, and many times the instances go unreported or are not acted upon. Many emergency personnel no longer report issues because they know nothing will come of it, and others have left the field entirely for their own safety. Due to this, I have reintroduced a measure I sponsored last term which would enhance criminal penalties for assault against healthcare professionals and medical volunteers, providing a clear deterrent for violent actions against these individuals.***A new bill I’ve introduced will meet a federal requirement for Michigan’s child support program by allowing parents to meet their court-ordered support obligation to provide healthcare coverage for their children. The legislation allows for public healthcare coverage as an option if parents meet certain income level requirements and other criteria to qualify for these programs. This bill would ensure more of Michigan’s children receive the health coverage they need.***It was a great honor to receive the Michigan Humane Society’s 2019 Legislative Partner for Animal Welfare Award for my legislative work to ensure the well-being of animals. It has been a privilege to address issues impacting our pets and farm animals, and I look forward to continuing that work over the next two years. Thank you to the Michigan Humane Society for their support and all they do to help our state!***Last Friday, I attended the first annual Livingston County First Responder Charity Gala supporting local first responders in need. The event benefited law enforcement, firefighters, EMS, and dispatchers who sacrifice for us every day. May we all do our part to help those who give so much to protect us. Thank you to everyone who attended and organized such a successful event!***If you have any ideas, comments or questions for my office, please do not hesitate to call us at 517-373-8835 or send an email to HankVaupel@house.mi.gov. We are happy to hear from you!PHOTO INFORMATION: State Representatives Hank Vaupel of Fowlerville and Tommy Brann of Wyoming are presented Michigan Humane Society’s 2019 Legislative Partner for Animal Welfare Award. 11Mar Rep. Hank Vaupel Weekly Column: March 11, 2019
14Mar Rep. Afendoulis schedules constituent one-on-one meetings Categories: Lynn Afendoulis News State Rep. Lynn Afendoulis of Grand Rapids Township will host constituent one-on-one meetings on Monday, March 18 to talk with the people she represents. The representative will be available from 6:30 to 8 p.m. at Mr. Burger, 5181 Northland Drive NE in Grand Rapids to meet with people in ten-minute increments, hearing input from as many people as possible.“This is a great opportunity to let your voice be heard on issues facing our state,” Rep. Afendoulis said. “I hope you will join me to share your thoughts and ideas. I look forward to meeting you!”No appointment is necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Rep. Afendoulis by phone at (517) 373-0218 or by email at LynnAfendoulis@house.mi.gov.
PHOTO INFORMATION: State Rep. Luke Meerman, of Coopersville, welcomed Pastor Mark Bouslog (middle) from Jenison Bible Church in Hudsonville to the state Capitol last week Thursday to lead the invocation for the Michigan House of Representatives. House tradition calls for a representative or clergy member to begin each day’s session with a prayer. Joining them at the rostrum was Speaker Pro Tempore Jason Wentworth (left).### 24Jun Rep. Meerman welcomes local pastor to lead House invocation Categories: Meerman News
Share27TweetShare4Email31 SharesBy Motown31 (Own work) [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsDecember 19, 2016; ViceThrough no choice of its own, Detroit has become the living laboratory where the key elements of “educational reform” get tried out. Twenty-five years ago, Detroit Public Schools, like many urban school districts, faced serious problems that it appeared unable to solve. Its students were not learning and the public school district was deeply in debt. Something needed to be done to prevent the district from total failure.The depth of the problem proved to be a perfect opening for market-based “reformers” who saw the solution in radically changing the way we provide public schooling. They put forward a vision for improvement driven by two core principles. To improve the schools’ educational effectiveness, it was necessary to create an educational marketplace that allowed parents to choose the schools they believed best for their children. Families would self-select schools that were more effective, resulting in failing schools being driven out of business. Second, strong, businesslike management would cure the district’s economic problems. Reformers saw this approach as one that would give all children, rich and poor, equal opportunity.Allie Gross, in her recent article for Vice, tracked Detroit’s experiences since the experiment began in 1993, when the state of Michigan stepped in to cure Detroit’s ailing school system. As Gary Naeyaert, executive director of the Great Lakes Education Project, told Vice, “The goal of charter public schools was to provide choice and options for students and parents trapped in failing traditional public schools who didn’t have the means to move to the suburbs or pay private school tuition. We’ve always had school choice for rich people, and charter schools provided choice for everyone else.”To give market forces the strength reformers felt they needed, the state’s funding formula was changed to allow funding to directly follow the child. According to Michigan’s governor at the time, John Engler, “The schools that deliver will succeed. The schools that don’t will not.”Market forces have been successful, at least, in bringing new charter schools into Detroit. Last school year, for the first time, more than half of Detroit’s 100,000 school-aged children attended charters operated independently from a central Detroit school authority. But, as reported by CNS News, the increasing competitive marketplace has not created more excellent schools or improved outcomes for their students:In 2015, 21 large urban school districts participated in the NAEP tests in reading and mathematics as part of what the Department of Education calls its Trial Urban District Assessment (TUDA). Among these 21 districts, the Detroit Public Schools had the smallest percentages of eighth graders scoring proficient or better in reading and math.To resolve Detroit’s fiscal problems, state-appointed managers were given the power to control expenses and manage the public schools. Despite years of cost cutting, “by July 2015, the district’s general fund deficit was close to $216 million and the net deficit was a yelp-inducing $1.6 billion.” With money following each child to their chosen public school (whether charter or traditional) and no common management authority for public education in Detroit, the public school district has been unable to deal with its fixed costs under the weight of hundreds of millions of dollars of school funding being diverted to the charter sector.A new state plan to keep Detroit schools from bankruptcy continues to see strong management as the solution: “Starting this year,” according to Gross, “the district could hire uncertified teachers, penalize striking employees and outsource academic roles, like the superintendent position, to surrounding districts.” Deeper, systemic changes were not part of the plan.If the experiment is truly about saving public education, Peter Hammer, the director of the Damon Keith Center for Civil Rights at Wayne State’s law school, sees it as doomed to failure:Trying to run a traditional model, where schools are a public good and require a certain amount of public support and public resources, in parallel with a charter system is a death by a thousand cuts. It’s a way that will guarantee the destruction of the traditional public schools but not place anything effective as an alternative.But, at least in Michigan, this lack of success has not led to a rethinking of the basic strategy. While the economics remain disastrous and the educational results still poor, those in charge don’t consider the strategy itself flawed.Detroit’s experience is important for more than just its students and citizens. These same strategies fueled school reform efforts in the George W. Bush and Obama years, and we can expect the incoming Trump administration to support their expansion. Incoming Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos was a major force behind the Detroit experiment, and she strongly supports converting traditional public schools into fully market-driven entities.If the Detroit experiment were really about educating children, the poor results would surely prompt a look into what other forces, like poverty, are affecting outcomes. Instead, the goal may really be to end public education as a service of effective government and turn it into another product to be bought. In that light, Detroit is a success story: More than half of its schools are now privately operated, many by for-profit corporations. The remaining traditional public schools are in failing health, just awaiting, as in Detroit, the clock to run out before they too become publicly chartered private schools supported by public monies.—Martin LevineShare27TweetShare4Email31 Shares
Share12Tweet11Share2Email25 SharesBy MarkBuckawicki (Own work) [CC0], via Wikimedia CommonsOctober 9, 2017; Charlotte ObserverPresident Trump has claimed time and again that between 3 and 5 million voters cast illegal ballots in the 2016 election, causing him to lose the popular vote to Hillary Clinton. Research has not supported his claims; indeed, voter fraud has been found to be virtually nonexistent. The national Advisory Commission on Election Integrity, appointed by the president, has yet to find any evidence of widespread voter fraud.With all of these claims swirling about, a North Carolina organization sympathetic to Trump has raised questions as to why their current district attorney will not prosecute the two cases of voter fraud that they have uncovered. It should be noted that District Attorney Andrew Murray has been nominated by Trump to become a US Attorney. Based on Murray’s refusal to prosecute voter fraud cases, this appointment is now being opposed by the Voter Integrity Project of North Carolina, which aligns with the president on his claims of rampant voter fraud.That’s the crux of the conflict: At a time when the current administration is pursuing ways to document voter fraud, an administration nominee is saying this is not worth his office’s time and effort—and a nonprofit organization is saying it is. (The two cases being pursued are not from the 2016 election, but date back to 2012.)A statement from Murray’s office says, “This office prosecutes crimes of every level every day. But prosecuting people when sufficient evidence does not exist simply for the sake of media attention to the Voter Integrity Project’s cause…is simply wrong and unjust. This office does not—and will not—operate that way.” Countering this, the Voter Integrity Project is laser-focused on pursuing the issue of voter fraud and believes that all cases found should be prosecuted to the fullest extent of the law.“If President Trump is serious about fighting vote fraud, then he should withdraw Andrew Murray’s nomination,” said Jay DeLancy, director of the Voter Integrity Project. “Murray did not prosecute interstate double voting as the DA, so his being US Attorney would be a disaster.”Even in the face of the Trump administration’s efforts to confirm this alleged rampant voter fraud, it seems the states aren’t spending a lot of time pursuing actual cases. North Carolina may be the poster child for this. A report from the N.C. Board of Elections found that 508 ineligible ballots were cast statewide in the 2016 election—out of 4.8 million votes overall. Most of these illicit votes were submitted by felons serving active sentences. Groups like the Voter Integrity Project believe that these cases should be prosecuted and that they will serve as a platform for the organization’s goal of a photo ID law so voters will have to prove who they are before they are allowed to vote. The Voter Integrity Project disavows any link between voter ID laws and the disenfranchisement of poor and minority voters and, like the president, believes there is much more fraud to be pursued.This back-and-forth reflects the polarizing national debate over the veracity of the ballot, with different sides arguing whether a problem even exists. As the efforts of groups such as the Voter Integrity Project and those of the national Advisory Commission on Election Integrity move forward, we can expect more questions raised from both sides in how time is best spent.—Carole LevineShare12Tweet11Share2Email25 Shares
Share17Tweet5ShareEmail22 SharesPhoto credit: Erin RubinMay 24, 2018; New York Times and Washington PostThe Trump administration released on last Friday proposed language that will restrict federal funding for any Title X–funded clinic that performs abortions. Title X grants, under the US Department of Health and Human Services, have provided funding to community health centers and family planning clinics for over 40 years, providing preventive health services to millions, including low-income and uninsured individuals. This language “proposes to revise…Title X regulations to ensure compliance with, and enhancement implementation of, the statutory requirement that none of the funds appropriated for Title X funding may be used in programs where abortion is a method of family planning.”Current policy enforced by the Hyde Amendment bans federal funding of abortions. This new policy from the Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) would force abortion service providers to operate out of separate facilities, with separate personnel from other family planning activities funded by Title X. Abortion clinics will be required to operate independently from clinics that provide birth control, pregnancy testing, and other family planning services.The administration states in their proposal that the prohibition of funding for abortion should include “any action that directly or indirectly facilitates, encourages, or supports in any way the use of abortion.” This would prohibit the use of Title X funds to “perform, promote, refer for, or support abortion as a method of family planning,” but doctors would be able to provide “nondirective” counseling on abortion to a woman who “clearly states that she has already decided to have an abortion.”The policy has often been referred to as a “domestic gag rule,” forbidding providers from talking to patients about abortion and limiting access to abortion. However, a statement released from the White House denies that. HHS has drawn a line between counseling and referrals—essentially, counseling is allowed as long as it is not directive, and the patient has already decided to receive an abortion. This is unlike other healthcare counseling and decisions, where healthcare providers generally share information about available options. Because HHS is proposing to allow providers to share a “list of licensed, qualified, comprehensive health services providers (some, but not all, of which also provide abortion in addition to comprehensive prenatal care),” this is ostensibly not a gag rule.Antiabortion organization The Susan B. Anthony List has applauded President Trump on this policy, calling this a victory for pro-life voters that frees taxpayers from the burden of “the abortion business.” An official in the Trump administration echoed this sentiment, saying that this policy would give Planned Parenthood and other abortion providers that receive federal family planning funding a choice: “disentangle themselves from abortion or lose government funding.” The Trump administration is actively holding family planning money hostage in exchange for severely restricting the healthcare rights of Americans.Despite the insistence of HHS and the White House that this is not a gag rule, Planned Parenthood disagrees. In a press release dated May 18th, Planned Parenthood stated:It removes the guarantee that you’re getting full and accurate information about your health care from your doctor. For nearly two decades, Title X law has been clear: Health care providers cannot withhold information from you about your pregnancy options. This rule means they can.The Trump Administration and conservatives have long targeted Planned Parenthood; Planned Parenthood clinics serve 41 percent of women who receive services under Title X.The American College of Obstetricians and Gynecologists (ACOG), the American College of Physicians, the American Academy of Pediatrics, and numerous other organizations have stated direct opposition to this new rule. In a joint statement, this organizations stated:Policy decisions about women’s health must be firmly rooted in science, and increase access to safe, effective and timely care. Together we strongly urge the administration to put patients first and withdraw this proposed rule without delay. Our organizations will submit comments to further highlight the dangerous negative impact on women’s health and the patient-provider relationship.This policy change comes on the back of what are often referred to as TRAP laws—targeted regulation of abortion providers. In the summer of 2016, the Supreme Court, in the case of Whole Women’s Health v. Hellerstedt, rejected certain TRAP laws, which imposed an “undue burden” on women’s rights. These laws included unnecessary regulations and admitting privileges to hospitals by physicians who provided or worked for abortion providers.Supporters of the proposed new rule point to US Supreme Court precedent from 1991, when a “slightly” broader 1988 restriction on Title X funding for abortion counseling was upheld in Rust vs. Sullivan. (The restrictions approved by the Court were never implemented.) However, according to the Washington Post, opponents believe the new rule would be sufficiently different from the rule upheld in Rust that a new legal challenge could succeed.TRAP laws and restricting Title X funding does not just negatively impact the health of women and those in need of reproductive health care. It also disproportionately affects low-income and uninsured individuals, who use Title X clinics at higher rates. This regulation will reduce funding to family planning services such as birth control and sex education, which reduce the rates of unintended pregnancy and abortion. A report by the Guttmacher Institute in 2008 found that Title X funded clinics helped prevent nearly 1 million unintended pregnancies, which would have caused 400,000 abortions and 400,000 unintentional/unplanned births. This gag rule by the Trump administration has the potential to undo much of the positive preventive health services provided by Title X clinics across the country and limit the level of healthcare clinics are able to provide.—Ember UrbachShare17Tweet5ShareEmail22 Shares
UK broadcaster Channel 4 is to launch a mobile app that reacts to audio triggers within a broadcast to unlock exclusive content.Channel 4 is using technology from Intrasonics to deliver the iPhone app. The broadcaster has teamed up with Hat Trick Productions and Widebeam Digital to allow viewers with the Channel 4 app to listen in on episodes of the Facejacker show to unlock features such as soundboards, a booth to turn viewers into characters in the show, videos and ringtones. The app is triggered by digital watermarks in the content that is picked up by viewers’ iPhones.Content made available by the app includes additional ringtones, ‘Facejack Booth’ masks and up to 30 minutes of original, unseen clips and behind-the-scenes video.Jody Smith, multiplatform commissioning editor for Channel 4, said: “I’m pleased we’ve found a way of taking the hottest technology available right now and used it to create one of the most ridiculous apps you’ll find in the app store. We hope viewers will have a lot of fun tracking down all the audio triggers. It’s a novel layer on an already features-packed app.”
BSkyB has made a further US$1.9 million (€1.4 million) investment in over-the-top set-top provider and platform operator Roku.Sky made an initial investment in Roku in July 2012 and is continuing to provide financing for Roku’s operations and activities. The initial investment gave Sky the option to rebrand and distribute versions of Roku’s devices in the future. Sky launched its Now TV service on Roku boxes at the end of last year.
Belgian telco Belgacom has added high definition feeds of 13 channels to its TV Partout/TV Overal online portal.The HD-quality channels are La Une, La Deux, La Trois, RTL-TVI, Plug RTL, Club RTL, France 2, Eén, Canvas, VTM, 2BE, Vier and Vijf.The Belgian service offers a total of 30 channels that can be accessed on PC, tablet or smartphone either at home via a Belgacom WiFi connection or on the go via the Proximus 3G/4G network or the 600,000-plus national WiFi Fon Spots.
RTL Group reported strong first half results, despite ad market decreases in all of its core markets except Germany, which remained stable year-on-year. The firm attributed these ad conditions for a slight decrease in revenue, which was down 1.3% year-on-year to €2.78 billion. However, profit was up 52.6% to €418 million, while reported EBITDA was up 9.1% to €552 million.Listed among RTL Group’s “major profit centres” was Mediengruppe RTL Deutschland which recorded a combined audience share of 31.2% among viewers aged 14 to 59 for its portfolio of channels. RTL Group said that EBITDA for this division climbed 9.3% to €306 million – “the best ever first-half operating profit for RTL Group’s largest profit centre.”Other highlights were Groupe M6 in France gaining ad market share and reporting a slight increase in EBITDA at €127 million, despite an estimated 6% drop in the French TV ad market in the first half of the year.FremantleMedia, the content division responsible for shows like The X Factor also reported a higher EBITA of €47 million, which RTL Group said were “mainly driven by increased contributions from FremantleMedia North America and FremantleMedia Asia Pacific.”RTL Nederlands meanwhile reported a stable combined prime time audience share of 32.4% in the commercial target group, maintaining a lead of 12.1 percentage points over its main commercial competitor.“Our strong interim results again demonstrate the resilience of our diversified portfolio and business model. Despite a tough economic environment, all profit indicators – EBITA, profit margin and net result – were significantly up and we generated the second best first-half EBITA in the company’s history,” said Anke Schäferkordt and Guillaume de Posch, co-chief executive officers of RTL Group.“Our broadcast and content brands remain strong. With our recent transactions – the strategic partnership with Broadband TV and the acquisition of the leading pay video-on-demand operator in the Netherlands – we have given a particular boost to our presence and expertise in the digital distribution space. After these investments, RTL Group will attract more than 15 billion online video views for the year 2013. We are clearly on track to reach our goal of being a leading player in online video and online video advertising,” they added.RTL Group’s video services and websites attracted a total 4.8 billion online video views in the first half of the year, up 35% per cent year-on-year. Included in this, FremantleMedia’s more than 100 YouTube channels attracted 2.9 billion online video views, up 86% year-on-year.
Altice, the investment vehicle of Patrick Drahi, is to take its stake in French cable operator Numericable up to 40% by acquiring 5% each of the holdings of private equity groups Carlyle and Cinven.The move, which follows Numericable’s IPO, will take Altice’s holding from 30% to 40%. Carlyle previously held a 26% stake in the operator, while Cinven held a 18% stake.Altice, has stated that its objective is ultimately to hold a majority stake in Numericable.“This new acquisition illustrates my confidence in the future of Numericable and in its management. As anticipated in the shareholders agreement with Cinven and Carlyle, the composition of the administrative council will modified at the conclusion of this acquisition to permit Altice’s representatives to hold the majority of votes,” said Drahi in a statement.Numericable raised €750 million through the sale of 24% of its capital on the French stock exchange.
Discovery Networks has named a new chief financial officer for central and eastern Europe, the Middle East and Africa (CEEMEA).Rafal Ogrodnik, who was previously finance director for central Europe at Avon Cosmetics Europe, will take over his new role from February 1. He will be based in Warsaw and will report to Doug Baker, EVP and CFO Discovery Networks International and Kasia Kieli, president and managing director, Discovery Networks CEEMEA.Ogrodnik replaces Mike Papadimitriou, who has become senior vice-president and chief financial officer at SBS Discovery Media.
Fernando ElizaldeGlobal consumer spend on subscription video-on-demand services is due to grow by 28.1% in 2014 and 18.2% 2015, according to Gartner stats. The research firm claims that, of all the video services that see consumers pay the service provider directly, SVOD has the strongest growth potential – even though the market conditions differ by region.“While North America and Western Europe will drive overall spending on S-VOD services, they are the slowest growing markets globally,” said Gartner principal research analyst, Fernando Elizalde.Spending on SVOD services in North America is expected to grow 28.5% and in Western Europe 18.6% in 2014. In the emerging regions, Gartner estimates that SVOD spending will grow 53% in 2014.“Gartner estimates that households spend anywhere between US$6 and almost US$10 on average per subscription worldwide. The spending varies somewhat regionally with emerging Greater China, Sub-Saharan and Asia Pacific countries paying the least per subscription,” said Elizalde.
Liberty Global-owned German cable operator UnitymediaKabelBW has named Holger Schmieding as head of retail.Schmieding will be responsible for management of UnitymediaKabelBW’s retail operations and for the quality of all end-customer distribution channels. He was previously head of direct consumer sales at Vodafone Germany.