Some 180 business leaders from 30 countries are signed up for the 15th edition of the Buyers Trade Mission (BTM), taking place Sept. 17-19, Costa Rica’s Foreign Trade Promotion Office (PROCOMER) announced.The event will be held at the Hotel Real InterContinental in Escazú, southwest of the capital, and aims to connect businesses offering products and services with international buyers.Some 250 Costa Rican companies – mostly small and medium-sized – will offer export products.The volume of business at the BTM has steadily increased in recent years, according to PROCOMER. The 2010 edition led to $35 million in business deals. In 2011, that figure increased to $38 million, and in 2012, deals reached $40 million.Participating companies will present products in agricultural, food, metalworking, construction, plastics, chemicals and pharmaceuticals sectors, as well as products for the aerospace and automotive industries.Lectures by international participants also will be offered free to the general public. Facebook Comments No related posts.
Hong Kong has been one of the most popular destinations among Indians. Recently, Hong Kong has seen a rising interest among young, mid-career independent travellers who are looking for more undiscovered and lesser-known experiences. To lure more Indians to visit the city and get a taste of its local culture, the Hong Kong Tourism Board collaborated with Bollywood actress Yami Gautam to boost its ‘Discover Hong Kong Like A Local’ campaign in India. As a part of the collaboration, Gautam was invited to get an in-depth experience of Hong Kong’s unique and rich local culture and to become an advocate and endorser for experiences that Indian travellers can try.The Hong Kong Tourism Board (HKTB), Cathay Pacific and The Landmark, Mandarin Oriental together curated an experiential programme for Gautam. Through the programme, HKTB wants to showcase the captivating and authentic culture of Hong Kong through Yami’s eyes. Yami’s itinerary featured activities recommended by locals like visiting city attractions, local temples and monasteries, sampling street shopping and street food, going on walking tours of revamped old districts, enjoying some water sports and relaxing at local spas. Talking about her collaboration, Yami said, “I never realised how beautiful and fun Hong Kong is as a holiday destination. There is so much to explore here and it’s been absolutely thrilling to discover Hong Kong as a local would. I have truly enjoyed. The people have been so warm and welcoming and all the discoveries I’ve made from chic, charming districts to temples and monasteries, secret markets and fashion spots to delicious local food have been beyond impressive. I would love to come back to explore more of this vibrant city.”Puneet Kumar, Senior Manager, Marketing development for India region said, “Yami is a youth icon and has a huge fan following in India. We are delighted to collaborate with Yami to bring alive our new campaign “Discover Hong Kong Like a Local” to showcase Hong Kong’s local culture in neighbourhoods, unique retail and dining experiences and green outdoors. We have certainly impressed Gautam to become a fan of Hong Kong and we invite her fans to come and discover Hong Kong like Gautam on their next holiday in Hong Kong.”As a part of the programme, Yami was seen exploring districts like Old Town Central, which represents the beautiful union of eastern and western influences with ancient temples and streets alongside modern eateries and bars and Sham Shui Po, the fashion hub of Hong Kong where she will interact with local designers and get acquainted with local culture. Her other local experiences also included a ride on Aqua Luna, a visit to Big Buddha and Po Lin Monastery and a tea appreciation class.
agentseventsSouth African TourismThe Lion King Wildlife Safari recently partnered with South African Tourism for a series of exclusive cinema screenings of The Lion King to select travel consultants in Perth, Sydney, Melbourne and Adelaide. The Swahili words, ‘Hakuna Matata’, loosely translates to no worries, and travel consultants who attended the screening of The Lion King had “no worries” as they enjoyed pre theatre canapes and beverages prior to relaxing in generous platinum class seats with the essential movie snacks of popcorn and ice cream to watch the remake of the classic movie with its memorable wildlife characters and iconic African landscapes.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 25, 2014; Chicago Sun-TimesIt seems like there was a little due diligence shortcoming in Illinois with the $15,770 grant from the state gave to address prisoner re-entry issues in Thornton Township.Project Hope isn’t in Thornton Township, but in suburban Dixmoor.The nonprofit operates out of a day care center, which one might say isn’t typical for prisoner re-entry programs.Apparently, Project Hope doesn’t have a re-entry program and hadn’t delivered any re-entry services for the state grant.Project Hope, a subcontractor of the Healthcare Consortium of Illinois, stumbled along for some time until HCI came down on it for having done little or nothing in the state’s anti-violence initiative. HCI might have been deficient in its selection and monitoring of Project Hope, but the Sun-Times reports that the state’s Violence Prevention Authority (IVPA), designed by the state government to administer the program, played an active role in vetting and signing off on subcontractors. The administrator of the Healthcare Consortium in charge of the program in the Township happened to be the spouse of a state legislator, which may be a factor in the insufficient due diligence. The Sun-Times implies that the qualifications of Project Hope for the work may be difficult to discern from the outset.While there were clearly problems with the Project Hope initiative, if the Sun-Times reporting is accurate, the problems were embedded into the state’s Neighborhood Recovery Initiative under which these grants were made. The state auditor’s report on this program is devastating, excoriating “pervasive deficiencies in IVPA’s planning, implementation, and management of the NRI program”:Overly hasty implementation of the NRI which adversely affecting the IVPA’s ability for planning and deployment of NRI resourcesNo documentation on IVPA’s selection of NRI communitiesFailure to select and appropriate resources to all of the most violent neighborhoods in Chicago, odd given that the program was an anti-violence programAs in the case of HCI, deficiencies in IVPA’s due diligence in selecting lead agenciesFailure to approve contracts with community partners in a timely manner.Substantial modifications of lead agencies’ budgets and late and frequently modified quarterly reports from lead agencies and community partners“Contractually required staffing levels were not met by community partners,”“IVPA did not adequately monitor the expenses incurred by lead agencies and community partners”The details behind these findings are actually worse than the items sound. IVPA’s implementation of the program started out of control and seemed to get worse over time. Here are two lessons from this sad story for nonprofits:The nonprofit sector has a stake in programs like the IVPA’s implementation of the NRI, not simply in seeing that they exist and provide dollars to contractors. Programs that are constructed and run like a shambles do damage to the nonprofit sector because they create the conditions for incidents like the Project Hope story in the Sun-Times. When state or federal programs rely on nonprofits, the nonprofit grant or contract recipients have an obligation to make sure that they advocate that they work. When entities like IVPA or HCI muck up the works, the reverberations extend far and wide and often negatively on nonprofit service deliverers.Much of the intended content of the IVPA/NRI program reads like a description of some of the program thinking behind the My Brother’s Keeper collaborative initiative of the White House and private foundations. The auditors summarized the four major touchpoints of the program: “1) Mentoring Plus Jobs – provide youth with part-time jobs, mentoring, and social/emotional skills and support; 2) Parent Leadership – provide parents with skills that would enable them to be community leaders, educators, and mentors for other parents; 3) School-Based Counseling – provide funding for community providers to provide school-based early intervention and trauma-informed counseling services for students; and 4) Reentry – provide Reentry services for youth and young adults returning to the community from youth and adult correctional facilities.” In a way, the muck-up in Illinois undermines the serious thinking going on in this country on what to do to help reverse the negative trends for black men and black boys. The Illinois state government should be condemned for its pathetic implementation of an important resource, and other state governments and their nonprofit partners should be strenuously distinguishing their serious efforts in this realm of work from the embarrassing program design and implementation in Illinois.Project Hope, HCI, IVPA, and the NRA all seem to have been terribly troubled. But their problems in this case emanated from the top, from the highest levels of Illinois state government that did a lousy job with an important program initiative. When state governments get concerned with making nonprofits work better, sometimes part of the solution is making state governments work better.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share28TweetShareEmail28 SharesSeptember 23, 2015; The Hill Apparently GOP leadership is beginning to cotton on to the fact that if they shut down the government in an attempt to defund Planned Parenthood they may be shooting themselves in their collective foot. In fact Republican strategist Karl Rove in a op-ed published in The Wall Street Journal on Wednesday declared that the move would be a “disaster for the pro-life cause.” For Rove, it is the right cause but the wrong tactic in that recent polls have indicated that most of the public not only does not want funding to Planned Parenthood cut and also oppose a government shutdown for that purpose.“Republicans in Congress who want to risk a shutdown over Planned Parenthood have an obligation to spell out how they would get it done. They can’t,” Rove wrote. “That’s why any Republicans who engineer a shutdown will be unwitting allies of the abortion movement,” not to mention that they would be risking a descent in the polls similar or worse than the 28% plummet they experienced after the last shutdownHe called the advocates of the strategy a “suicide caucus” bent on self-promotion and acknowledged Planned Parenthood’s widespread support albeit in a backhanded way, saying, “A shutdown would give Planned Parenthood an opportunity to play the victim, and the majority of taxpayer dollars it receives are from mandatory spending programs like Medicaid, which is not subject to a shutdown.” he said.Meanwhile the Senate did block the bill yesterday, but House Speaker John Boehner apparently may have plans to advance a bill separate from the budget that would proceed with the attempt to defund Planned Parenthood. Any action like that would likely be vetoed by the President. Reportedly GOP leadership is also considering ramping up investigations of the nonprofit.—Ruth McCambridgeShare28TweetShareEmail28 Shares
Share50TweetShare2Email52 SharesCredit: Tom PageJune 14, 2017; New York Times, “The Upshot”As a small group of the Republican senators confer in secret to craft their version of the American Health Care Act (AHCA), they seem oblivious to the opinions and concerns of their constituents and of anyone outside of their meeting rooms in D.C. Inside the beltway, in Washington, D.C, where its voters have no representation in the Senate, 70 percent of that electorate oppose the AHCA. Massachusetts, Hawaii, and the state of Washington follow D.C. as the states with the next highest levels of opposition at 59 percent. The other 47 states fall into place, all with levels of opposition for the AHCA ranging from 57 to 40 percent. The poll shows that actual support for the AHCA is limited to a high of 38 percent in Oklahoma to a low of 22 percent in Massachusetts. There is no state that supports the secret plan that the GOP senators are currently writing to replace Obamacare.The authors of this polling information, Christopher Warshaw and David Brookman, utilized multiple polls to get to this data.To get a sense of support by state, we combined recent polls to estimate support for the AHCA in every senator’s home state. Our estimates indicate that not one state favors it. Even though very few state polls have been conducted on views of the AHCA, we are able to estimate views on the bill in each state using a statistical method called MRP (multilevel regress and post-stratification) and eight national polls that the Kaiser Family Foundation, YouGov, and Public Policy Polling shared with us on people’s views of the AHCA.Warshaw and Brookman, both political science professors (at MIT and Stanford), cited those findings as a surprising show of unity among red states and blue states. But they also indicated that elected officials (in this case, senators) are not totally oblivious to the opposition to this legislation back home.With AHCA support in the subbasement, Republican senators have indicated they hope to make changes to the law. Although we can’t be sure exactly what they will change or how it might influence public support, the YouGov data indicate that Republicans in the House had little success softening the public’s opposition with their own modifications. In fact, support for the AHCA was even lower in the three YouGov polls after the House made its changes than in the two YouGov polls conducted before it.What is, perhaps, most surprising in all of this opposition is the limited amount of information known about the Senate version of the AHCA. “The bill’s secrecy is garnering more and more attention, and more and more outrage,” Paul Waldman writes in an opinion piece for the Washington Post. “It has become one of the leading complaints Democrats make about it. And as any marketer knows, suspense is a terrific tool to increase public interest in your product. Tell people that your new movie or album is coming out soon, but give them only a taste of what it contains, and you’ll heighten the anticipation.”“By the time we actually get a look at the Senate’s bill,” Waldman writes, “all that waiting may have primed the media to give it a great deal of attention, primed Democratic officeholders to run to the cameras to denounce it, and primed liberal activists to mount an all-out assault on the bill, pressuring potentially wavering senators to oppose it.”How damaging will reelection prospects be for senators who support the AHCA in spite of the lack of support in their home states? A study from March 2012 found that “Democrats who supported Obamacare lost about six percentage points in the vote in 2010, a dangerous omen for the 15 sitting Republican senators who won their most recent elections by less than that number.”The verdict is out as to whether senators will actually pay attention to the objections of their constituents. But sometimes public opinion can be persuasive. As the Times says, the evidence shows that “when politicians learn that a majority of their constituents oppose a bill, many change their votes as a result. In one study, academics randomly assigned some legislators to receive information on public opinion in their districts, and found that legislators were much more likely to vote along with constituency opinion when they were informed of it. Research shows that politicians are surprisingly poor at estimating public opinion in their districts and states, Republicans in particular. GOP politicians tend to overestimate support for conservative healthcare views by about 20 percentage points—meaning Senate Republicans might see their states as just barely supporting the AHCA.”As the Republican leadership continues to huddle behind closed doors, with even members of their own party not privy to any information about the AHCA, they all might do well to pay closer attention to the views and concerns of voters in their home states before they embrace this unknown plan.—Carole LevineShare50TweetShare2Email52 Shares
Share3TweetShareEmail3 SharesBy Marcelo Camargo/Agência Brasil [CC BY 3.0 br], via Wikimedia CommonsOctober 29, 2018; North American Congress on Latin AmericaIn a runoff election this Sunday, Jair Bolsonaro, a former army captain and congressman, won the presidency in Brazil by a margin of 55.1 percent to 44.9 percent, defeating Fernando Haddad, a son of Lebanese immigrants, former Mayor of São Paulo, and former Minister of Education. Haddad ran for the Partido dos Trabalhadores (Workers Party) or PT, which had led Brazil’s government from 2003 to 2016. All told, more than 114 million Brazilians cast their ballots, with 57.7 million favoring Balsonaro and 47 million favoring Haddad.On the surface, Bolsonaro’s victory might appear to be an ordinary vote by the world’s fourth most populous electoral democracy. But that would be a gross misreading of the situation. As Ernesto Londoño and Shasta Darlington write in the New York Times, “The president-elect, Jair Balsonaro, has exalted the country’s military dictatorship, advocated torture and threatened to destroy, jail or drive into exile his political opponents.” Moreover, Bolsonaro’s victory is not an isolated event. It is, rather, the latest in a series of steps that have eroded Brazil’s institutions, similar to what we’ve seen in Poland recently.In August 2016, former PT president Dilma Rousseff was impeached—not for corruption, not for electoral manipulation, not for a sex scandal—but as Catesby Holmes explained in an article written six months ago, for “bad budgeting.” Specifically, as Daniel Gallas writes for the BBC, the charges Rousseff faced concerned “allowing creative accounting techniques involving loans from public banks to the treasury that artificially enhanced the budget surplus. This gave the appearance that government accounts were in better shape than they actually were.”It would be difficult to find a government that has not engaged in creative accounting, but in the face of her widespread unpopularity stemming from an economic recession, this was enough for Brazil’s lower house to impeach Rousseff, after which the upper house removed her from office.Then, a year later, Rousseff’s predecessor Luiz Ignacio “Lula” de Silva was found guilty of accepting a seaside apartment as a bribe; for this offence, he has been sentenced to 12 years in jail and banned from competing in the 2018 election. As with Rousseff, though, the charges against Lula were hardly airtight.As Mark Weisbrot, codirector of the Center for Economic and Policy Research (CEPR), a nonprofit advocacy group, said in a New York Times op-ed, “The bribe alleged to have been received by Mr. da Silva is an apartment owned by [the construction company]. But there is no documentary evidence that either Mr. da Silva or his wife ever received title to, rented or even stayed in the apartment, nor that they tried to accept this gift.” It is widely believed that if Lula had been allowed to run for president this year, he would have won, and quite possibly by a sizeable margin. In office, Lula’s “Bolsa Familia” and related programs had helped reduce inequality that had been among the world’s worst—so bad that Brazilian had once been widely known as Belindia because the south was as wealthy as Belgium while the northeast was as poor as India before its recent tech-fueled economic growth. The regional disparity persists, but the gap under Lula was getting smaller, as Brazil’s northeast enjoyed rapid economic growth.Earlier this month, Bolsonaro announced that, if elected president, he would “put an end to all activism in the country.” He is not alone in this desire. In Vox, Amy Erica Smith reports that in the last week, “Brazilian police have been staging raids, at times without warrants, in universities across the country…In these raids, police have been questioning professors and confiscating materials belonging to students and professors.”Writing in NACLA, Gianpaolo Baiocchi and Marcelo Silva note that many gains made in Brazil over the past two decades—“Bolsa Família, the cash transfer program, affirmative action policies, and the expansion of access to education, construction of housing for the poor, improved access to basic healthcare”—are now under threat. Bolsonaro, they note, has also pledged to “reduce social spending and all manner of “pity policies” for “northeasterners, gays, blacks, and women,” as well as weakening worker rights and privatizing state companies. These claims may sound familiar to worried US voters, and indeed, the growing prominence of far-right, nationalist movements across the globe has emboldened individual leaders to make statements that might have been considered unthinkable ten years ago.More broadly, Baiocchi and Silva note that Brazilian democracy is itself at risk. Were Brazilian democracy to collapse entirely, it would not be the first time.This is what happened in 1930, and then again in 1964. The first time, it took 16 years until the return of democracy; the second, 21…with hobbled institutions, weakened political parties, and only the thinnest veneer of protections for the most vulnerable and for dissent, we must remember that Brazil’s democracy, however imperfect, had accomplishments worth defending.—Steve DubbShare3TweetShareEmail3 Shares
PBS’s UK service will be carried on cable after the US public broadcast service inked a carriage deal with Virgin Media.PBS will launch on Virgin on November 1 and the deal also allows the MSO to make PBS content available on its on-demand services and on mobile and connected devices.PBS announced it would launch in the UK in August, at which point it had agreed a carriage deal with DTH platform operator BSkyB, but not Virgin Media.Cindy Rose, executive director of digital entertainment at Virgin Media said, “This new channel opens up a whole new world of fresh, high-quality programming that’s never before been seen in the UK.”Richard Kingsbury, general manager PBS (UK) said, “We are delighted to secure distribution with Virgin Media. It gives PBS the best chance of reaching the widest audience.”
Slovenia-based middleware provider BeeSmart has teamed up with Finland-based Icareus to offer new Facebook and Twitter applications as part of the BeeSmart Platform.Icareus, which offers a range of products for interactive TV content and interactive TV software tools, developed specific Facebook and Twitter applications for BeeSmart middleware, allowing TV viewers to share information about content via social networks.“We welcome Icareus in the BeeSmart community of development partners. With their addition, BeeSmart middleware is even more appealing for end-users and operators, which is something that both companies are striving for,” said Marko Hiti, chief technology officer of BeeSmart.
Kantar Media, a market research firm owned by ad giant WPP, has partnered with Twitter to develop a new suite of tools for TV planning and analytics in the UK. Kantar said it would combine social TV data from Twitter with its own audience research expertise to let broadcasters assess the performance of programmes, plan effective show promotions and help media buyers and sellers integrate social data into the TV side of its business.The first of these new products will be available commercially to UK broadcasters, media agencies and the wider industry next year, said Kantar Media.“Broadcasters and advertisers alike are experiencing phenomenal growth in the level of buzz related to TV programming and associated commercials in recent years. Within the social media landscape, Twitter is the only platform that is public, real-time, and conversational. These characteristics have made Twitter a unique data set for the purposes of measuring live social TV conversation at scale and bringing new tools to broadcasters, agencies, and brands to understand and amplify the social engagement about their programming,” said Andy Brown, chairman of Kantar Media.Twitter COO Ali Rowghani added: “Our users love using Twitter while tuned into television to interact with talent and participate in the live social conversation about TV. In this way, Twitter has become a live companion to the TV viewing experience for millions of people in the UK and around the world, and we are thrilled that Kantar Media will be bringing its considerable audience measurement experience to bear to develop tools and standards for the industry.”
EVS, a provider of live video production systems, has partnered with cloud content services firm Brightcove to power transcoding for its C-Cast solutionC-Cast is a suite of tools that allow broadcasters to deliver complementary content to viewers on second screen devices during live events.By using Brightcove’s Zencoder cloud-based encoding service to power C-Cast transcoding, EVS will let sports and entertainment broadcast customers from around the world create clips from their live broadcast workflow to deliver a wide-range of second screen content to audiences on connected devices, the firm said.“C-Cast is a transformative technology that empowers our customers to maximise their existing content by editing, distributing and monetising clips from live events,” said Johann Schreurs, market solution manager, remote interface, at EVS.“At the same time, it offers audiences unique second screen connectivity to near-live and exclusive content that enhances the overall viewing experience. Our broadcast customers demand a high-quality, highly reliable service, and we chose Zencoder to handle the transcoding of clips due to its unparalleled performance, proven dependability and scalable global footprint.” Brightcove will exhibit at IBC on stand 5.B20 and EVS will exhibit on stands 8.A96 and 8.B90
John StanleyWarner Bros Home Entertainment UK, Ireland, Spain and Nordics home entertainment group chief John Stanley is to take responsibility for digital distribution and consumer products in the UK market. Stanley, who is SVP and managing director, Warner Bros Home Entertainment Group UK, Ireland, Spain and Nordics, will take overall charge at Warner Bros Digital Distribution UK and Warner Bros Consumer Products UK, in addition to his existing responsibilities.Recently appointed consumer products UK general manager Kevin Lewis will report to both Stanley and Pilar Zulueta, executive vice-president and general manager, EMEA, Warner Bros Consumer Products.“In this well-deserved appointment, John’s new broader remit reflects our commitment to cross-category selling, a concept that he has spear-headed to tremendous success over the years,” said Josh Berger, president and managing director, Warner Bros UK, Ireland and Spain, to whom Stanley reports.“With our products being increasingly sold across many different platforms, John is well-positioned to maximise the sales of our key franchises in one joined-up operation.”
Some 84% of US households now subscribe to a pay TV service, with penetration waning from its peak in 2010 following the digital transition, according to new research.The Leichtman Research Group study said that though the reported number of pay TV subscribers has remained fairly flat over the past four years, occupied housing in the US has grown causing a decline in pay TV penetration among residential households.Among non-subscribers, 11% cited the internet or Netflix as the main reasons for not subscribing to a pay TV service, compared to 3% in 2009. Meanwhile, 22% of those who moved in the past year do not currently subscribe to a pay TV service – a higher level than in previous years.“The number of pay-TV subscribers in the US remains about as high as it has ever been, but penetration of pay-TV services in consumers’ homes has declined over the past few years, as subscriber growth has levelled-off, while occupied housing in the US has increased,” said Bruce Leichtman, president and principal analyst for Leichtman Research Group.“Housing growth has been exclusively among renters, who tend to be more challenging for the pay TV industry than home owners because of their comparatively lower income, younger age, and greater likelihood to move.”Among TV households that do not currently subscribe to a pay TV service, 6% said they do plan to subscribe in the next six months.The mean reported monthly spend on a pay TV service was US$89.78, up 36% compared to 2009.
Binge viewing is the “new norm” with full season programme bingeing on the rise, according to new research by DVR maker TiVo.The second annual TiVo Spring 2015 Binge Viewing Survey found that 92% of respondents reported binge viewing at some point, with original streamed series topping the survey as the most popular binged content for the first time.“Bingeing is booming – not just during sparse stretches in the TV schedule over the summer or holidays, but year-round – and as programmers such as Netflix, Hulu and Amazon continue to release original programming a full season at a time, we expect this trend to accelerate,” said TiVo’s chief research officer, Jonathan Steuer.Netflix original series House of Cards and Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt were found to be the “most recently binged shows”, with 66% of season bingers using Netflix to watch their favourite programming in bulk.Some 30% of those surveyed said they prefer to wait to binge-watch certain programs until the entire season or series is over, while 32% said they deliberately put off watching an entire season of a show until they can watch the whole season at once – up slightly on the year before.TiVo found that 61% reported bingeing on three or more episodes of the same show in one day because they fell behind on that series.The TiVo survey was completed by a panel of 12,500 TiVo subscribers and defined ‘binge viewing’ as watching more than three episodes of a series in a day.
Viewers are watching an average of six hours of premium content on the web, up from three hours a year ago, with 65% of that viewing being for TV series and shows, according to Ericsson’s ConsumerLab report.Unveiling results at MIPCOM, Stella Medlicott, CMO, broadcast and media services, Ericsson UK said that, apart from the key trends of young people switching to online viewing and YouTube, a rise in premium content viewing online was an interesting development.Forty-five per cent of UK audiences watch BBC Iplayer each week with Netflix in fifth place behind all the pubcaster catch up services.Medlicott said that Binge viewing is growing, with 87% binge viewing once a week and over 50% binge viewing daily, while only 5% never binge.Piracy remains an issue, but is reducing, with the number of people sharing pirated content halving between 3011 and 2015.Finding content remains very difficult, according to the report. Eighty-five per cent find it difficult to find something interesting to watch on TV once a week and 31% experience this difficulty several times a day. Audiences are reverting to habit and familiar processes, defaulting to view familiar content.One in two said they would be happy giving up personal information to receive recommendations, with half of viewers saying they trusted their providers to handle data responsibly.Speaking at the same session, Nick North, director of audiences, BBC, said that the UK pubcaster had been forced to move youth programming online because of financial constraints but that it was also determined to develop multiplatform brands. He said the BBC was developing a My BBC programme where people could sign in to find content that is of interest to them.Susanna Dinnage, EVP and MD, Discovery Networks UK and Ireland, said that Discovery increasingly thinks of itself as a content company rather than as a broadcaster. “The days when the broadcaster was in command and control are over – the viewer is in control, and also the people who create the content,” she said. Dinnage said that Discovery is looking at OTT opportunities with various potential partners. This is the rational behind Discovery’s Dplay service.Both North And Dinnage said catch-up viewing is still a major or the major reason for people to view content online.Sam Toles, VP, content strategy and business development at Vimeo, said that people are annoyed by online advertising. It also had an impact on the kind of content that could be shown, as on broadcast TV. He said that the split between the content creator and the audience was being reduced with the rise in online viewing. “How kids engage with content is different. They feel they have a personal relationship with their audience. Vimeo as a programmer is reaching into the community to find creators of premium content.|” he said that people are willing to pay for premium content. “People will pay…because they feel there is a direct relationship with the creator,” he said.
Ron LamprechtUS operator Comcast has partnered with more than 30 broadcast and cable networks to launch short-form web video on its connected X1 platform. The beta launch will initially focus on news, sports and current events like clips from NBC’s Today Show and Fox Sports Live.Comcast said that catalogue will expand as programmers look to “super-serve their viewers by integrating even more extras, bonus, and complimentary series”Launch partners include A&E, AMC, BBC America, CNBC, Cooking Channel, Discovery, E!, ESPN, Food Network, Fox Sports, History, MSNBC, Music Choice, Sundance TV, TLC, Travel Channel and WE TV.The web content is accessible to Comcast Xfinity customers via X1 boxes, on the web section of Xfinity On Demand and on Xfinity.com.“Integrating our web content into a highly engaged platform like Xfinity On Demand on X1 is a fantastic opportunity to reach and engage millions of viewers on the best screen in the home,” said Ron Lamprecht, executive vice president, digital distribution for NBCUniversal.“With access to platforms like X1, we are able to offer live, on demand and web content around our properties and provide unique, branded experiences for our viewers.”Comcast said that with the launch it is taking “another step” into the online video space, following the launch last month of its ‘YouTube killer’, Watchable – an ad-funded streaming site that debuted with videos from partners including AwesomenessTV, Buzzfeed, Vice and Maker Studios.The operator said it now plans to bring even more content and experiences to the X1 platform as it creates new partnerships and expands existing ones.
There will be 231 million installed devices able to connect to the internet and deliver apps to TVs in the US by 2018, according to NPD Group.NPD said the figure represented growth of 82% between 2014 and 2018. Connected TVs are expected to deliver 37% of the growth over that four-year period, with streaming media players likely to contribute 33%.While Netflix, YouTube, Amazon, Hulu, and HBO Go remain the top five streaming video services used on connected TVs and attached content devices, NPD says that growth is being boosted by the proliferation of streaming services from television networks that no longer require viewers to subscribe to a pay TV channel bundle. As of July 2015, 5% of US internet homes subscribed to at least one of these over-the-top streaming content services, and that rate rises to 7% of homes with a connected TV or attached content device.“The two largest drivers of growth will be the increased acceptance of connected televisions in the homes of U.S. consumers, as well as the continued adoption of streaming media players such as those offered by Google, Apple, Roku, and Amazon,” said John Buffone, executive director, industry analyst, connected intelligence, The NPD Group.“Direct streaming subscriptions to network programming allows broadband providers an opportunity to generate revenue from services above and beyond their broadband offerings, while also further increasing the utility of connected TVs,” added Buffone. “As anticipated, we are already seeing uptake of these services by millennials at levels two times the norm. And, this trend is expected to continue as more networks make unauthenticated apps available to viewers.”
Proximus’s TV offeringProximus – formerly Belgacom – added 35,000 TV sales in the first quarter to take its TV subscriber base to 1.795 million.The company said its share of the Belgian TV market now stood at 35.4%, compared with a 46.2% share of the fixed internet market.Revenue from TV grew by 10.5%, helping offset a decline in voice revenue, with overall turnover falling by 3.1% to €1.433 billion for the quarter.Both the Proximus and Scarlet brands increased their respective bases, contributing to an overall year-on-year increase in the TV base of 137,000, 8.3% up on the prior year.Of the 35,000 units added in the quarter, 26,000 were unique customer sales and the remainder were sales of multi-set-top services.Recurring TV ARPU showed a stable year-on-year growth of 1.3% to EUR 20.2 driven by the increased uptake of TV options.
The Asia Pacific region will have 157.78 million subscription video on demand subscribers by 2021, up from 41.68 million in 2015 and 76.12 million expected by end-2016, according to Digital TV Research. However, Netflix’s high price will mean it only acquires a small portion of the overall market, according to the research outfit.Digital TV Research’s Asia Pacific SVOD Forecasts report predicts that the SVOD total in the region will approach 100 million by end-2017.Rapid smartphone subscription growth means that China will account for 47% of the 2021 total, up from 38% in 2015, according to Digital TV Research. From the 82 million additions between 2016 and 2021, China will supply 34 million, Japan nine million and India 15 million.By 2021, 17.5% of the region’s TV households across the 17 countries studied will subscribe to an SVOD platform, up from only 5.1% by end-2015 and an expected 9.1% by the end of this year. Penetration rates in 2021 will vary from 53.5% in Australia, with four countries above 50%, to 8% in Pakistan.Simon Murray, Principal Analyst at Digital TV Research, said: “Although Netflix, Amazon, Iflix, HOOQ and Viu will enjoy rapid growth, they will collectively only account for 16% of the region’s SVOD subscribers by 2021. Netflix is forecast to have 7.59 million subscribers in the region by 2021, up from 3.17 million at end-2016. Australia, Japan, Korea and New Zealand will together account for nearly three-quarters of the total. Netflix is considered expensive in most other countries. We do not believe that Netflix will launch as a standalone platform in China.”
Freeview is to quietly begin the process of clearing the 700MHz spectrum – which it is being forced to relinquish by Ofcom to make way for mobile services – in the Scottish Borders at the beginning of March.BBC channels broadcast from the Selkirk transmitter will change frequencies on the morning of March 1. Viewers will be required to retune their TVs or set-top boxes to continue receiving the public broadcaster’s standard-definition services.The move, which has received little or no publicity, will affect about 18,000 homes in the Borders. Freeview said that BBC HD services will not be affected. YouView set-tops, including those provided by BT TV and TalkTalk, will also require retuning.Freeview said it run an information campaign to prepare people for the change, including advertising and on-screen messages.According to a trade and industry briefing issued by Digital UK, most aerials are expected to be capable of receiving a reliable signal following the changes. However, it said a small proportion of group C/D aerials may need to be updated to wideband models.Digital UK warned that there would be some temporary outages between February 28 and March 1 during the changeover. Homes served by Selkirk’s relay transmitters will not need to retune.A simulcast of the BBC A multiplex will continue to be broadcast on UHF channel 50 until March 29 to help viewers who may require support to receive UHF channel 32. An outfit called Digital Mobile Spectrum Limited has been charged with providing TV aerial support during the transition.The Selkirk move is the first part of a nationwide programme of 700MHz clearance to be carried out between now and 2020, following Ofcom’s decision in 2014 to make part of the 700MHz band available for mobile services.Ofcom claims that fewer than 1% of households will need to replace their rooftop aerials during the 700MHz clearance programme.The wider programme of 700MHz clearance is expected to begin in earnest in July, following Ofcom’s decision in October last year to press ahead with an accelerated transition in the face of opposition from broadcasters.The timetable for clearance could require some services to be converted to the DVB-T2 modulation scheme if the full range of Freeview services is to continue to be broadcast after the switchover, something that may be difficult to achieve by 2020. Older Freeview devices are also not able to receive DVB-T2 signals.