ACV now the only tour op to offer all-inc privileges at Curaçao resort MISSISSAUGA — Got clients looking for an all-inclusive stay in Curacao? ACV has just announced that it’s now the only tour operator to offer the three-star Kura Hulanda Lodge & Beach Club as an all-inclusive property.Selling features of the resort include two bars, a pool, playground, tennis court and fitness facility, and three restaurants –two of which are at an additional cost. Guests also have free use of snorkelling equipment, one free diving lesson, free shuttle service to downtown and access to facilities at nearby property Sonesta Kura Hulanda Village & Spa.Kura Hulanda is part of ACV’s Privileges program, which offers clients preferred room locations, early check-in and late checkout, free Internet and three guaranteed à la carte dinners.Another featured property in Curaçao is the four-star Kunuku Aqua Resort. Exclusive to ACV, this resort is ideal for families and groups, and includes 114 rooms and apartments that can accommodate up to six guests. It also features an outdoor pool, a children’s pool with waterslides as well as a playground. Complimentary shuttle service is also available to nearby Sambil, Willemstad and Daaibooi beach.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaKunuku is part of ACV’s Play program, which offers a free eat, play and stay for kids aged 12 and under. With Play, families also receive an exclusive flight experience including free seat selection, priority boarding and a $10 in-flight meal voucher for every member. For more information, visit vacations.aircanada.com. << Previous PostNext Post >> Tuesday, February 21, 2017 Travelweek Group Tags: Air Canada Vacations, Curacao Share Posted by
Marriott International on track for breakthrough year in Asia PacificOn the back of a strong first quarter, Marriott International today announced that 2017 is on track for a progressive year in Asia Pacific with nearly 80 hotels targeted to open, bringing 19,000 new rooms to the region. Additionally, the company will debut two brands in Asia Pacific offering guests a total of 23 desirable brands that will cater to every occasion and traveler; forging ahead and growing its leadership position as a luxury, premium and select service hotel operator.Craig S. Smith, President and Managing Director for Marriott International Asia Pacific, said: “2017 is already shaping up to be a great year for Marriott across Asia Pacific. We are looking at nearly 80 new properties slated to open their doors this year, which means an average of two hotels a week from now till the end of the year. With our larger portfolio of individually distinctive brands across destinations, we now provide guests greater access unprecedented choices and unparalleled benefits on their travels whether for business or leisure.”Live the Journey: Recharge and explore with more than 20 brands across even more Marriott resorts and destinations by end of 2017With over 550 operating hotels and more than 170,000 rooms, growth momentum in Marriott’s Asia Pacific business remains strong. Debuting in the region this year is MOXY Hotels, Marriott’s Next Gen boutique-hotel brand for the ‘always on’ and digitally savvy. The brand will mark its entry with the anticipated opening of MOXY Tokyo before end 2017. Furthermore, Delta Hotels, a premium brand distinguished by its rich Canadian heritage, is set to debut with Delta Hotels by Marriott Shanghai Baoshan slated for this summer in suburban Shanghai, China.As members of Marriott’s best-in-class loyalty programs consisting of Starwood Preferred Guest (SPG), Marriott Rewards and Ritz-Carlton Rewards, travelers can now access over 6,100 properties across the globe. Specifically in Asia Pacific, Marriott plans to further enhance its resorts portfolio with 16 new hotels expected to open in 2017. From The Ritz-Carlton Langkawi in Malaysia, Courtyard by Marriott Siem Reap in Cambodia to the Fiji Marriott Resort Momi Bay in Fiji, Marriott’s global community of more than 100 million loyalty members will now be able to enjoy enriching experiences and valuable access to local culture, design accents, culinary delights and entertainment.People and Community at the Heart Of Growth: Marriott Solidifies Its Commitment to Developing People and PlacesIn line with its growth vision, Marriott expects that over 140,000 associates will wear the Marriott badge at its company operated and franchised hotels in Asia Pacific by the end of 2017. In China, Marriott is working closely with over 150 hospitality schools and colleges through robust internship programs to help talented youth launch their careers in Asia’s booming hospitality industry. Cementing this commitment, the company will also look to foster a strategic partnership with the Asian University for Women (AUW) based in Bangladesh, with plans to be laid out in mid-2017.Mr. Smith added, “As a company that puts people first, our growth is really a reflection of our talented associates. By the end of 2017 we will have created over 20,000 jobs across Asia Pacific, offering our talented people the chance to grow and achieve their career goals with us.”Hot off the heels following a year of record growth for Marriott, including the acquisition of Starwood Hotels & Resorts Worldwide, Inc, in late 2016, Marriott International has enhanced its global portfolio of 30 world-renowned brands including St. Regis®, W®, JW Marriott®, The Luxury Collection®, Westin®, Le Méridien®, Renaissance® Hotels, Sheraton®, Autograph Collection® Hotels, Tribute Portfolio™, Four Points® by Sheraton, Fairfield Inn & Suites®, Aloft®, and Element®. Marriott now has over 500 properties in its development pipeline in Asia Pacific which are expected to open by 2021. Marriott InternationalSource = Marriott International
March 10, 2016 561 Views Interest rates for mortgage loans, which continue to remain at historic lows, saw another increase for the second time this year.Freddie Mac’s Primary Mortgage Market Survey (PMMS) showed that mortgage rates rose for the second time this year “making mortgage rates very attractive for the upcoming spring home buying season.”The report showed that the 30-year fixed mortgage rate averaged 3.68 percent with an average 0.5 point for the week ending March 10, 2016. Last week the 30-year rate averaged 3.64 percent.”The 10-year Treasury yield ended the survey week exactly where it started, however the solid February employment report boosted the yield noticeably on Friday and Monday,” said Sean Becketti, Chief Economist, Freddie Mac. “Our mortgage rate survey captured the impact of this temporary increase in yield, and the 30-year mortgage rate rose 4 basis points to 3.68 percent. This marks the second increase this year. Nonetheless, the mortgage rate remains 33 basis points lower than its end-of-2015 level.”The February 2016 Employment Summary from the Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) showed a mixed bag in the U.S. labor market. While February’s job gains were solid at 242,000 and the labor force participation rate shot up to a 15-month high, a noticeable weakness in the labor market is wage growth.Amid all the positives in the February employment summary, however, the average hourly earnings for all employees declined by 3 cents down to $25.35 after an increase of 12 cents in January. The average workweek also declined in February by 0.2 hours down to approximately 34.4 hours. The lack of wage growth combined with house price appreciation has caused some concenrs as far as affordability in the housing market, according to Fannie Mae chief economist Doug Duncan.“On the housing front, builders continue to hire more workers, but at a steadily slowing pace since last November, suggesting little relief to one factor underlying extremely tight inventories,” Duncan said. “Our forecast of a more modest gain in home sales this year reflects our concern of declining housing affordability from income growth that is trailing home price appreciation. Today’s jobs report is consistent with our view of an affordability-constrained housing expansion.”According to Freddie Mac, the 15-year FRM averaged 2.96 percent this week with an average 0.5 point, up from last week when it averaged 2.94 percent. The 15-year FRM averaged 3.10 percent a year ago at this time.The five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid adjustable-rate mortgage (ARM) averaged 2.92 percent this week with an average 0.4 point, the report showed. Last week, the five-year Treasury-indexed hybrid ARM averaged 2.84 percent and one year ago, it averaged 3.01 percent. in Daily Dose, Data, Government, Headlines, News Freddie Mac Homebuyers Mortgage Interest Rates 2016-03-10 Staff Writer Mortgage Rates Climb for the Second Time This Year Share
Share1TweetShareEmail1 Shares March 31, 2014; EntrepreneurSumAll.com has taken data analytics from the social media activities of a series of companies, from larger corporations to small businesses, to determine the best times to post on social media platforms. SumAll is a data-analyzing firm that has allocated 10 percent of its ownership to a nonprofit the company created to leverage the power of data for social good.The infographic below features the optimal times to post on Facebook, Google+, Instagram, Pinterest, Tumblr, and Twitter:The graphic shows that platforms such as Facebook and Twitter tend to be more popular in the afternoon, when the work day is slowing down, while image sharing networks like Tumblr and Pinterest are more commonly used in the evening and later into the night. The SumAll.com data also showed that Pinterest is used most over weekends, when users most likely have more time for crafts and DIY projects.One noteworthy point was online users tend to be active on the majority of social networks during their downtime, such as during work commutes or the evening hours at home.Organizations should also take time to collect their own data on when posts are getting the most attention and be aware of your audience for posting times—for example, an organization serving students might find that the times they are most active online vary closer to when school is ending. Those who use social media for marketing or fundraising campaigns should find this information valuable in reaching your online audience at the best times.—Aine Creedon Nonprofit timesShare1TweetShareEmail1 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 24, 2014; Twin Falls Times-NewsIn January 2013, Joseph Talbot, a nursing home worker at the Desert View Care Center in Buhl, Idaho, was fired for a Facebook post wherein he wrote that he would like to “slap the ever loving bat snot” out of a patient. He went on to say that being insulted by residents made him less motivated to “make sure your call light gets answered every time.”A nursing professor saw the post and emailed it to the nursing home.After being fired, Talbot applied for unemployment benefits and was granted them, only to have that decision reversed by the Idaho Industrial Commission on the basis that Talbot’s actions were counter to Desert View’s social media policy. But Talbot appealed, saying that Desert View had not communicated its social media policy to him.Now the Idaho Supreme Court has rejected that appeal, saying that Talbot had acknowledged receiving it and agreeing to it when he signed for his first paycheck, according to court documents.There have been a number of firings of nursing staff based on their social media posts, but many of them have to do with patient confidentiality. In one case, a number of hospital staff were involved in posting a photograph of a man who had been attacked and slashed by another resident in a nursing home. In the Buhl case, confidentiality was not an issue, but patient safety and the reputation of the facility must have been, even if noncompliance with policies was what the court based its final decision upon.Apparently, a social media policy does make sense for some organizations.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares July 11, 2014; Pacific Business NewsIn years past, the question of whether or not to diversify was considered settled—of course your nonprofit needed a diverse mix of sources to be both successful and safe. A mix was considered by its very nature to create less vulnerability, because even if one source disappeared, there was always the opportunity to fill in from another stream…except that is not exactly how it works.A panel made up of Stephan Jost, director of the Honolulu Museum of Art; Lisa Maruyama, president and CEO of the Hawaii Alliance of Nonprofit Organizations; Joan Naguwa, executive director for HUGS (Help, Understanding and Group Support); Claire Shimabukuro, executive director for Hawaii Meals on Wheels; and Kelvin Taketa, president and CEO of Hawaii Community Foundation, recently took up the question.Citing a Bridgespan study, the results of which can be found in this NPQ article, Taketa said he thought it was “very dangerous to pray to the god of revenue diversification.” The study looked at youth-serving groups and, as Taketa pointed out, “They grew to scale by becoming really good at the revenue source they were primarily involved with.” Maruyama had a different take on the issue, saying that relying on single funding sources such as government grants can hurt an organization when times get tough. “It’s worth it, at some point, to diversify a little bit so that you’re resilient in those times,” she said.What was not mentioned in this article however are two other points that should be considered. First, each different type of income requires a different transactional infrastructure. A large donor base needs care and feeding and federal contracts need reporting and compliance and grantwriting of a particular type. Each stream of income has its own transactional costs in other words and so there is a tradeoff with establishing a new stream. This is covered in “Transactional Analysis, Nonprofit Style” with Richard Brewster. Additionally, we suggest that readers may also wish to read the NPQ classic by Jon Pratt, “The Dynamics of Funding: Reliability and Autonomy,” for another look at costs of nonprofit money.In the end, we like what Kate Barr said in our webinar last week, paraphrasing Andrew Carnegie: Sometimes it makes sense to put all of your eggs in one basket, but if you do, you must watch that basket very carefully.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares September 30, 2014; Voice of America (via All Africa)In an effort to gain control of the Ebola epidemic, Liberia, a country among those hit hardest by the disease, has had to temporarily shut its schools, universities, and public gathering places for the past several months. With little to do and barred from returning to school, Liberian students have been protesting in the streets of the capital, Monrovia, to release their frustrations in trying to find a way to help fight the disease. Monrovia is currently the epicenter of the virus’ outbreak.In response, the Department of Children and Family, a small Liberian NGO, has been trying to mobilize this influx of students and direct them to nonpaying jobs to help with the efforts.“We received the first 2,000 people and now we’re above 4,200 people,” said Department director Victor Fayah. “There is [sic] more people still coming in with their CV willing to go to all the counties, to go to the rural villages, to walk even, eight hours walk to get to some villages, to talk to our people in their language that they can understand, the best way that they can understand the issue of Ebola.”Fayah felt that he and other individuals and organizations felt left out of the efforts being organized by larger health organizations, despite having a significant advantage being able to communicate with those directly that have been affected. Instead, Fayah’s NGO is helping these students and other Liberians get involved in the health initiatives and raise awareness of the disease.Fayah has enlisted more than 700 volunteers to help with the efforts. “We Liberians want to get involved properly,” Fayah said, “because we don’t want to sit and wait for the government, for any other person, to educate our people on this.… We want to get involved deeply because we don’t want to wait.”More than 1,800 have died in Liberia. The Center for Disease Control announced on Tuesday evening the first case of Ebola diagnosed in the U.S., and the victim had recently traveled from Liberia. Most recent news indicated the patient had been in contact with some children while he was infected, further raising alarm in the West of the potential of an outbreak beyond Africa.However, the CDC is confident that they will be able to prevent the disease’s spread in the U.S. “I have no doubt that we will control this case of Ebola so that it does not spread widely in this country,” said CDC director Tom Frieden.The Dallas Morning News also implored readers to stay calm:“Time for panic? Absolutely not. This is a time to stay informed and follow the instructions of health professionals so they can ensure that the virus doesn’t spread.”Liberia is in no such situation and continues to struggle with the epidemic, including an infected population that’s oftentimes unwilling to seek help. The country is currently facing an ambulance shortage that compounds the already exponential growth of the disease; many who fall victim do not receive treatment.Yesterday, the United Nations Mission for Ebola Emergency Response announced that it wants 70 percent of those infected with Ebola to go to treatment centers within the next 60 days. Currently, fewer than 20 percent go to treatment centers, instead dying in their homes or on the streets, increasing the risk of infecting someone else.With other regions like the Ivory Coast trying to prevent the infection from spreading to them and Nigeria apparently containing the outbreak, Liberia should use the help of its citizen volunteers to bring awareness of the treatment for Ebola to reluctant patients. Being able to communicate with other Liberians in ways patients can understand will help reduce further anxiety about the treatment and may be more effective than simply mandating that patients attend unfamiliar health centers, as the UN has proposed.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 22, 2015; Daily Mail and Information AgeThe future of “contactless giving” to your favorite nonprofit has now arrived in England. A British medical charity is partnering with Clear Channel Outdoor to allow donations to be made using smart phones and window displays.How does it work? Four window displays in the offices of Cancer Research UK (CRUK) are designed to allow persons to donate by simply touching their cellphone or credit card to the window. A radio-frequency identification (RFID) chip makes this possible by communicating with the display. (Credit cards in the USA don’t typically have these RFID chips.) After the money is donated, donors then receive access to a video showing how the money will be used to fight cancer.According to the Daily Mail, the concept—a world first, the charity says—“marks a welcome move away from ‘charity muggers’ or chuggers.” “Chuggers” is a slang term for the persons who are paid to stand in shopping areas and seek to sign up passers-by to pledge plans. There is a growing public backlash against such street solicitors. Recently, many charities have been searching for less aggressive ways to raise money.The CRUK display will be available 24 hours a day until February 13, which is World Cancer Day. CRUK’s director of innovation, Paul Clarke, said, “We also see this as a great opportunity to use our highly visible shops in 570 locations across the country as a new marketing channel, using interactive creativity that really engages with our supporters old and new.”—Jeanne AllenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share18TweetShareEmail18 SharesHomeless Vet / Vera Yu and David LiNovember 11, 2015; WBUR-FM (Boston NPR)Media and public attention often falls on the most visible issues with veterans—mental health problems, homelessness, and unemployment. Many cities have taken the pledge to end veteran homelessness and have tried to different degrees to tackle the variety of other issues. However, one Massachusetts nonprofit is arguing that to attend to the complexity of issues facing veterans, one must address one of the feeder systems: insufficient access to legal aid. According to Veteran’s Legal Services, (VLS) legal assistance ranks higher than housing in those unmet needs.VLS’ clients may have a variety of family, access to mental health and health services, benefits, and other legal issues that one would not necessarily see as causal to homelessness, but they can have disastrous effects in combination. According to Eve Elliot, a staff attorney at the nonprofit, “I think a lot of the veteran clients get into situations where they fall behind in their child support, and child support arrears is one of the leading causes of veteran homelessness.”Traditionally veterans haven’t been a group that have been prioritized for receiving legal assistance. […] The push to end veterans homelessness has certainly helped us in explaining why our legal services are necessary.VLS makes good use of pro bono attorneys in its practice. “I think in some ways it’s hard for an attorney whose background is in corporate matters, to be willing to go into family and probate court or go into housing court, but if they have that willingness to learn then they’re a huge asset to us,” she said.While the nonprofit serves five counties in the Boston area, there is a call for its service elsewhere in the state. “We don’t cover Worcester, we don’t cover Western Mass., and we’re always getting phone calls, because, unfortunately, there are no legal services agencies that cover those areas, which is one of the reasons we’ve worked on expanding our volunteer attorney program so we can cover more of those cases,” said Elliot.VLS and other legal aid organizations like it may help tackle the nationwide vet homelessness issue indirectly, but to really help veterans will take a more collaborative effort. For one thing, organizations and the public must understand what veterans need in the first place. In large part, the public seems woefully unaware of the hardships and the struggles of military and post-military life. In a 2011 Pew Research Center survey, 84 percent of military personnel who participated felt that “Americans have little awareness of the problems faced by those in the military.”—Shafaq HasanShare18TweetShareEmail18 Shares
Share8TweetShareEmail8 SharesNovember 29, 2015; New York TimesDistrict of Columbia Public Housing (DCPH) has decided to sell 28 “scattered site” units that were providing homes to public housing tenants, some of them elderly or disabled. In an Associated Press story entitled “In D.C., Public Housing Tenants Forced Out, Then Homes Flipped,” AP reports that DCHA is rehabbing and selling these units to upper-income homeowners, relocating the tenants into other public housing units, and using the proceeds of the sales to improve public housing units elsewhere.The renovations, at a cost of more than $300,000 per home, are outfitting the houses with luxury amenities, and some of the houses have sold for nearly $900,000. Others, however, have sat vacant for a year or longer after tenants were forced out. The housing authority plans to use the profits to renovate existing subsidized rental units and build new ones. But most of that work hasn’t started, and none of the money has gone to new construction yet, according to the agency. Meanwhile, sales have been slow-moving and haphazard.Within a week and all the way across the continent comes the story of Los Angeles County supervisors deciding to deny permission to the Housing Authority of the City of Los Angeles (HACLA) to sell 241 scattered site units in South L.A. The story suggests that the supervisors were swayed by protests from homeless and affordable housing advocates: “In the face of increased concern about homelessness and the lack of affordable housing in Los Angeles, county officials decided Tuesday to hang on to the apartments.”Scattered-site public housing may be unfamiliar even to a housing-savvy professional. That’s because scattered-site public housing is a relic from HUD’s past that involves the purchase of existing properties (singles, duplexes or small multis) in areas where “a project” might not be suitable or acceptable. Purchasing an existing single family home could be a way for a Public Housing Authority (PHA) to meet the needs of a large household when a right-sized unit (four or more bedrooms) was not available in the PHA inventory.The stories from D.C. and L.A. underscore three policy challenges for PHAs.Encouraging PHAs to use private sector capital in public housing renewal is the main feature of HUD’s Rental Assistance Demonstration (RAD) program, and that feature is a source of contention among tenant advocates around the country. While the L.A. plan doesn’t explicitly reference a RAD conversion, the plan outlined in the A. Times article sounds a lot like the RAD deal. By contrast, the D.C. plan is more clearly a market-rate real estate transaction. Proceeds of the market sales of scattered site units will be directly reinvested in conventional public housing developments. RAD plans encourage flexibility and adaptability by the local PHA in meeting its needs.At the same time, new HUD regulations on Affirmatively Furthering Fair Housing will soon require that PHAs take more action to deconcentrate public housing. This impending duty could weigh heavily on decisions to shift away from scattered sites back to traditional “projects.” One can imagine that in both cases, the PHAs were rushing their plans to unload scattered site units before AFFH regulations become effective. These new regulations are widely viewed to be much more proscriptive than past regulations.Thus, HUD is seeking to promote PHA autonomy and discretion while at the same time establishing more uniform policies and procedures. No wonder PHAs are confused and wary about how to proceed!If there is a right and wrong way to convert these scattered-site properties, the “how-to” manual has yet to be written. In L.A., the economic motivation seems to involve a reduction in operating expenses, where in the D.C. example, the economic motivation is to realize a capital gain based on rising home prices. Without seeing the balance sheets, it’s hard to know the facts. Still, nonprofits know that proceeds of an asset sale that are reinvested in support of the organization’s mission are not “profit.”In both cases, taking time to engage the many constituencies (tenants, their advocates, developers, their advocates, community leaders and local elected officials) should have resulted in comprehensive plans that resulted in a net increase in affordability choices in each community. Alas, elected officials under pressure to engage in a “War on Homelessness” and PHAs who are anxious to unload high maintenance properties before new regulations take effect seem to be acting before building a local consensus. Volatile real estate markets and heated rhetoric don’t leave much room for planning.—Spencer WellsShare8TweetShareEmail8 Shares
Share4Tweet2ShareEmail6 SharesFebruary 4, 2018; Texas Observer and the Washington PostIt took more than 80 days for the White House to decide that their nominee to head the Council on Environmental Quality, Kathleen Hartnett White, was not going to make the cut. Her name has been withdrawn, which she has described as “in the best interest of facilitating confirmation of the president’s nominees throughout his administration, as well as the needs of my family and work.”After the Senate declined to consider her nomination at the end of last year, rather than failing to renew her as a candidate, the Trump administration renominated White on January 8th. Renomination meant White would have had to start from scratch in the approval process. It appears that after a month, the White House has chalked it up as a lost cause.White was with the Texas Public Policy Foundation (TPPF), a 501c3, at one time, but her name does not appear in the list of highest-paid employees. The conservative think tank has revenue over $10 million and a mission “to promote and defend liberty, personal responsibility, and free enterprise in Texas and the nation by educating and affecting policymakers and the Texas public policy debate with academically sound research and outreach.” As a senior fellow, she directed the think tank’s Armstrong Center for Energy and Environment. Working with that supposedly “academically sound research,” White has declared in public speeches and in her writings that “renewables are a false hope,” that “fossil fuels dissolved the economic justification for slavery,” and that increased carbon dioxide is beneficial.During the hearings in November, she appeared underprepared and unable to answer rudimentary questions regarding environmental policies. She could have been more prepared on some points; less than a week before she appeared before the committee to testify, the federal government’s Climate Science Special Report was released. An assessment that is required by law, the report was the work of over a dozen agencies, and it states that there is “no convincing alternative explanation” other than human influence for the warming the world has experienced in the past 70 years. “It is extremely likely that human influence has been the dominant cause of the observed warming since the mid-20th century.”There were even some Republicans in committee who seemed to be concerned about her ability to do the job.White had made several comments against the Renewable Fuel Standard, which requires ethanol and other biofuels be blended into fuel and has widespread bipartisan support among Midwestern lawmakers. Republicans on the committee worried that White, if confirmed, might flip-flop on the issue and work to repeal the policy, a position she has advocated in the past.Even so, her nomination moved to the full Senate after it was approved at committee on party lines. When White was being quizzed by the Senate, she provided possibly plagiarized replies at least 18 times that could be traced to the EPA’s Scott Pruitt and Bill Wehrum. It seems that it wasn’t her lack of science acumen that was the last straw, but copying someone else’s answers.—Marian ConwayShare4Tweet2ShareEmail6 Shares
Romanian mobile operator Cosmote has partnered with MTV to offer a premium youth-focused entertainment offering to prepaid mobile customers. The Cartela MTV Mobile powered by Cosmote package will give free access to MTV’s Under The Thumb iOS and Android app, which offers more than 300 hours of video content from MTV’s top shows.“We know that today’s millennial generation is ‘always on’, works to its own schedule and watches TV in its own way. MTV fans are connected and driven by social media recommendations and the mobile phone is the device of choice for on-the-go connectivity,” said Bartosz Witak, vice president and general manager, CEE & Israel, Viacom International Media Networks.Cartela MTV Mobile will be activated and given free of charge when prepaid Cosmote customers buy a minimum €5 of mobile top-up.
By 2018 almost 400 million homes will receive TV signals via satellite, up by almost 100 million compared to the end of 2012, representing a quarter of global TV households.According to the new Digital TV Research stats, the number of pay satellite TV (DBS or DTH) homes will reach 251 million by 2018, up from 178 million at end-2012 and 103 million at the end of 2008.Free-to-air DTH households will also rise, reaching 142.6 million households in 2018, compared to 118 million in 2012.Combined this will result in some 393.8 million homes receiving satellite TV in 2018 out of a total 1.58 billion TV households, according to the study, which looked at 97 countries.“From the 73 million pay satellite TV subscribers added between 2012 and 2018, India will provide 24.4 million, Brazil 9.2 million, Indonesia 6.8 million and Russia 5.9 million. However, the Global Satellite TV Forecasts report estimates that pay satellite TV subscriber totals will fall in 11 countries between 2012 and 2013 as subs convert to other platforms,” said Digital TV Research.In 2018 the top four pay satellite TV countries by subscribers will be India with 61.1 million subscribers, USA with 36.6 million, Brazil with 19 million and Russia with 16.7 million.The US will remain DTH market leader by revenues generated, although its share of the total will fall from 43.5% in 2012 to 38.7% in 2018.Brazil will add the most DTH revenues between 2012 and 2018, the research said, though satellite TV revenues will decline in 20 countries between 2012 and 2018, thanks mainly to greater competition, forcing satellite TV platforms to offer cheaper packages.
M7 Group-owned Czech and Slovak pay TV operator Skylink has added HBO’s TV Everywhere service HBO Go to its offerings.Skylink’s HBO Standard, HBO MaxPack and Komplet customers will be able to use the HBO Go service free-of-charge until the end of March next year.HBO Go will offer about 1,500 hours of programming to Skylink customers, available to view on smartphones, tablets and some smart TVs.
LCD panel shipments are set for a “moderate seasonal decline” this quarter after seeing record shipments for TV and tablets in the last three months of 2013, according to the latest report from IHS Technology.Global LCD panel shipments for the first quarter will reach 220 million units, down 9% on the quarter to December, according to the researchers.December saw exceptionally high panel shipments, according to IHS, with TV panel shipments reaching 20.2 million units. The 50-inch-and-above segment grew its share in the fourth quarter to 14%, up from 10% in the third quarter.Tablet panel shipments grew to 31.1 million in December, up 43% year-on-year.While the notebook panel market also grew, the monitor segment saw panel shipments fall by 2% month-on-month and 8% year—on-year to 13.7 million in December.“After completion of the pre-stocking and rush orders in the fourth quarter, market demand for LCD panels will not be as strong in January, which will affect overall volume for the first quarter,” said Ricky Park, senior manager for large-area displays at IHS.
European channel group SPI International has acquired programming from NBCUniversal, while preparing for the launch of its first 4K network.The NBCU deal gives it close to 100 first-run film titles in the Czech Republic and Slovakia including Fast and Furious 6, Despicable Me 2 and 47 Ronin and run on the FilmBox Premium channel.Meanwhile, the Ulta HD channel will be called 4K FunBox UHD. Acquisitions for the channel are being sought an finalised here in Cannes at MIPTV, and SPI has already secured more than 200 hours of content for it.“Our new Ultra HD library will initially offer very diverse content such as visually stunning nature documentaries, breath taking videos of San Francisco skyline and eye-popping CG animations,” said Berk Uziyel, executive director of FilmBox International, an SPI subsidiary.
New Zealand pay TV operator Sky Network Television has confirmed that it is holding talks with Vodafone about a potential domestic merger.In a statement released to the New Zealand stock exchange, Sky said that it is in discussions with Vodafone Group regarding a “potential transaction involving a combination of the businesses of Sky and Vodafone New Zealand.”“The discussions are ongoing and incomplete and may not result in a transaction occurring,” the company added.The confirmation of the discussions follows recent media speculation about a tie-up between the two companies.News Corp divested its 44% stake in Sky Network Television in 2013 and the company now describes itself as “not a big corporate, we’re a collection of Kiwis doing what we love.” As of the end of 2015 the firm had 860,455 subscribers.Vodafone New Zealand offers mobile, broadband and TV packages. Vodafone TV customers can currently choose to take a TV package with Freeview HD channels, or one with Sky channels through an existing partnership with the TV operator.Earlier this year, Vodafone and Liberty Global agreed to merge their operations in the Netherlands, forming a 50-50 joint venture that will combine Ziggo’s fibre broadband network with Vodafone’s mobile operations.
Freesat has delivered the new Saorview mobile app, web-powered TV guide and Spotlight recommendation service for RTÉ in Ireland as part of its partnership with the public broadcaster.The new services are part of an ongoing deal with RTE to deliver Saorview Connect, a forthcoming service that will let viewers access on-demand content and TV channels from a new set-top box.The Saorview app features a seven-day programme guide, Spotlight editorial recommendation service and is based on Freesat’s own TV guide app.The new services are powered by Metaphor, Freesat’s white label connected TV guide solution that is designed to let operators build a customisable connected TV offering.“It’s exciting to see the Saorview brand brought to life through Freesat’s technology. Saorview customers looking for an enhanced free TV service will enjoy a taste of what’s to come when the Saorview Connect box launches,” said RTÉ chief technology officer, Richard Waghorn.Freesat chief technology officer, Matthew Huntington, said: “Operators are looking for ways to deliver more compelling TV solutions to viewers and our Metaphor solution provides a tried and tested approach. Freesat’s latest delivery for RTÉ will give Irish audiences the chance to experience a connected TV service that rivals pay TV providers.”
EU decision makers should give citizens “the keys to enjoy more TV and radio programmes” from across Europe, according to the EBU and BEUC.At an event yesterday at the European Parliament in Strasbourg, the European Broadcasting Union (EBU) and European Consumer Organisation (BEUC) supported the adoption of draft copyright licensing rules relating to broadcasters’ online transmissions and retransmissions.The draft rules would provide broadcasters and rightholders with new licensing tools to offer more TV programmes and services online and across borders.At the same time, they would not alter the principles of contractual freedom and territorial licensing, which the EBU said are of “utmost importance” for Europe’s audiovisual sector.“Our proposal will make it significantly easier for broadcasters to offer online programmes across borders, but also incentivise the broadcasters to use this possibility,” said European Commission vice-president, Andrus Ansip.“My goal is to double the content available to consumers so that everyone across Europe can get the most out of our rich cultural diversity within the Digital Single Market.”EBU director general, Ingrid Deltenre, described the absence of adapted copyright licensing rules in a digital age as “an anachronism”. She said: “Subject to some improvements, the new rules can give more access to TV and radio programmes online in the EU Digital Single Market and they will not weaken rightsholders’ and broadcasters’ contractual freedom.”BEUC deputy director general, Ursula Pachl, added: “Current copyright rules hamper consumers’ ability to enjoy the full breadth of Europe’s cultural diversity.“When recent studies show that 82% of Europeans want to watch and listen content through legal offers instead of trying to circumvent access barriers, EU legislators should vigorously take the path of more choice rather than upholding artificial borders.”The draft rules were first put forward by the European Commission in September 2016 and are inspired by the 1993 Cable and Satellite Directive.
Polish service provider Netia is launching a new transactional video-on-demand service that it says will be available to all customers.The new VOD service is available via the existing Netia VOD application on the Netia Player decoder and can be used by all Netia TV customers.Movies will be available for rental from PLN4.99 to PLN9.99 for between 24-72 hours.Netia customers will be able to choose from a catalogue initially comprising over 100 titles, including Sama przeciw wszystkim (Miss Sloan), Pitbull. Niebezpieczne kobiety, Planeta Singli, Gwiazdy, Misiek w Nowym Jorku, The Circle and Amok.Nwetia said that the catalogue would be increased in the near future to over 500 titles, including comedies, dramas, cartoons, action movies and documentary features.