in Daily Dose, News, Origination January 17, 2017 609 Views Homebuyers Millennials 2017-01-17 Seth Welborn Share Millennial Homebuyer Capacity is Shrinking Thanks to rising interest rates, the average U.S. millennial homebuyer has lost 9 percent in mortgage capacity since the October 2016, according to Fitch Ratings.Since October, 30-year mortgage rates have increased from 3.42 percent to 4.2 percent and, as a result, since September, the median mortgage that borrowers under 35 could afford dropped from $120,000 to $109,000 as of early January.“Historically low rates have been one of the few factors that have helped young adults to buy homes,” Fitch Ratings reported. “If rates continue to rise, particularly if the rise occurs rapidly over a short time period, this could add yet another obstacle to homeownership. Many first-time homebuyers have seen mortgage capacity eroded by tight loan underwriting standards, rising student loan payments, high rents, and stagnant wages.”Throw in the recent data that homeownership is low on Americans’ 2017 to-do lists, as well as the rising amounts of student loan debt college graduates are dealing with, and this is just one more hurdle millennials must jump before buying a home is an option.“The growth in the cost of higher education outpaced consumer price inflation for several decades,” the report stated. “This led to an increase in both the number of student loan borrowers and the average amount owed. The median student loan monthly payment in 2016 was $203, according to the Federal Reserve Bank of Cleveland.”Tighter lending standards are also boxing the millennial out of the market. FICO scores on conventional loans for first-time buyers are “notably above the 720-730 range level typical prior to the crisis,” Fitch Ratings reported.As a result, more and more millennials are choosing to live with their parents, avoid high rental costs, and put off homeownership for the foreseeable future.“The homeownership rate for under 35-year-olds experienced a large drop,” the report stated, “declining to 35 percent in 2016, from 41 percent in 2000, according to the US Census Bureau. During this time, rental costs increased faster than the incomes millennials earn.”Though these may be short-term decisions for millennials themselves, as a whole, the trends could have a lasting effect on the economy and housing marketing in general.“For younger Americans forced to defer or abandon plans to buy a first home, the long-term financial effect of missing out on home-equity creation could be significant,” the report stated. “Long-lasting shifts in savings and consumption patterns, while difficult to isolate now, will likely emerge more prominently in the coming years. This could mean other long-run affects including downward pressure on durable goods consumption, urban population growth and a decline in affluence, translating into lower birth rates, and less secure retirements.”
Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains has unveiled 12 newly constructed rooms and suites, including the Grand Luxury Suite, complete with vaulted ceilings, dining areas, a gas fireplace and a large master bedroom.In addition are four smaller suites, including the Two Bedroom Deluxe Suite – all with gas fireplaces, Nespresso machines and picturesque views, and seven Superior rooms – bringing the resorts total accommodation offering to 223 rooms.Architect Michael Munro from Hoskins Munro designed the new accommodation wing, while Debbie Schwartz, wife of hotel owner Dr Jerry Schwartz did the interior design.Bernie Boller, General Manager for Fairmont Resort Blue Mountains MGallery said, “we are thrilled with how the new rooms and suites have come together and we were honoured to have had His Holiness the 14th Dalai Lama stay in the Grand Luxury Suite for the duration of his five-day Spiritual retreat at the resort and give it his seal of approval. After His Holiness confirmed he would be staying with us and holding his retreat in the grounds of our resort back in 2013, it was the catalyst for us to get the new build suites built and ready in time for his arrival.” Enhancing the resort’s leisure facilities further, a new 12 treatment room day spa is scheduled to be completed by early 2016, which will include an array of health programs, couples rooms and relaxation space among its features.
Police are inviting residents of Pyrgos in Limassol to a presentation on its neighbourhood watch programme on Monday evening.The meeting is to take place at 7pm at the event hall in the community centre, a police announcement said. It will be chaired by the Deputy Police Chief Kypros Michaelides.“The neighbourhood watch programme is a modern crime prevention strategy, which is implemented through in cooperation with the local authorities and citizens,” the announcement said.“It aims to prevent crime and increase security in municipalities and communities. It helps protects the public from crime, and assists in the drastic reduction of theft, burglary, property destruction and trafficking of illegal substances,” it added.Police said there are now 104,00o people islandwide participating in neighbourhood watch programmes.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndoIcePopMan Notices A Strange Hole In This Lake, So He Gets A Drone, Flies It Inside And Captures ThisIcePopUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: Lilly News 16May Rep. Lilly testifies on plan to make road maintenance funds for MDOT and county roads more efficient State Rep. Jim Lilly this week testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee in support of his plan to allow the Michigan Department of Transportation (MDOT) to carry-over road maintenance funds at the close of the fiscal year.State Rep. Jim Lilly (right), Oakland County Road Commission Director of Highway Maintenance Darryl Heid (middle), and Ottawa County Road Commission Managing Director Brett Laughlin testified before the House Transportation and Infrastructure Committee.Under current law, all work activities under the state trunk line maintenance agreement must be completed before the end of the state fiscal year, which is Sept. 30.Lilly’s plan provides MDOT and county road commissions the ability to complete road maintenance work without rushing to finish the job before the end of the fiscal year.Under Lilly’s plan funds must be used no later than three months after the close of the fiscal year and funds will be allowed to be deferred further in the event of inclement weather.“Eliminating the fiscal year deadline will cut costs and effectively utilize our tax dollars to fix our roads,” said Lilly, of Park Township. “There is a small window to do construction and we must be more efficient on how money is spent.”MDOT is responsible for preserving and maintaining 9,683 miles of state trunkline highways and 4,485 trunkline bridges. The department contracts with 64 country road commissions as well as a number of municipalities for state trunk line services.Both MDOT and county road commissions achieve savings through sharing facilities and equipment.House Bill 5899 remains under consideration by the committee.####
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJanuary 5, 2015; National Council on NonprofitsThe OMB Uniform Guidance, the new rules for nonprofits that work on government contracts which went into effect at the end of 2014, is hugely significant. Prior to this, nonprofits working on government contracts had to study various OMB “circulars,” such as A-110, A-133, A-87, and others, as though they were books of scripture and hope that they all made sense—and that following their directives wouldn’t end up impaling nonprofit operating budgets on a federal regulatory sword. The new Uniform Grant Guidance supersedes all of those circulars and others, streamlining the rules governing administrative requirements, cost principles, and audit requirements on federal awards.The new rules aren’t a panacea, to be sure. They don’t fix many aspects of government contracting that bedevil nonprofit contractors, particularly the agency behavior of not fully funding nonprofits’ service delivery costs or changing contract terms mid-stream. But they do remove plenty of inconsistencies in the old circulars and, probably most importantly in Uniform Guidance text, require that governments pay their nonprofit contractors reasonable indirect costs—administrative costs, that is, or “overhead.”Working on practical solutions for nonprofits that contract to deliver government-funded services has long been a priority of the National Council of Nonprofits under CEO Tim Delaney’s leadership. Delaney’s policy focus at the helm of this association of state nonprofit associations appears to be the quotidian challenges nonprofits face. The Council’s extensive involvement in the effort to replace the old circulars and to ensure that government agencies pay for overhead will affect the lives of tens of thousands of nonprofits.What’s particularly important in the OMB Uniform Guidance for nonprofits?First, as stated, the rules now clearly oblige government to pay for a reasonable share of the indirect costs incurred by nonprofits on government grants and contracts. At a minimum, nonprofits can opt for an indirect cost rate of 10 percent of their total direct contract costs (unless the nonprofit contractor already has had a federally approved indirect cost rate). In trying to stretch funds, however, some government agencies may subtly (or less than subtly) suggest that nonprofits waive their ability to collect an indirect on their grants. The new rules actually prohibit agencies from doing that, but the mechanisms for making a complaint are, of course, political; if your nonprofit gets its proverbial arm twisted by a federal agency to waive its indirect rate, and the fear is that complaining might earn your nonprofit an agency’s enmity, you’ve just discovered the importance of a nonprofit trade association like the National Council on Nonprofits. Industry-wide advocacy is going to be needed so that federal agencies get used to the idea that they must pay indirect costs and cannot pressure grant or contract recipients to do otherwise.Second, that indirect cost requirement applies not just to the federal government agencies as they award grants and contracts to nonprofits, but to the pass-through entities that allocate federal grant dollars, including states, local governments, and even nonprofit intermediaries. Anticipate, however, that some pass-through entities may operate under the belief that the rules for indirect cost recovery somehow don’t apply to the grants and contracts they award—and some really will make that argument, trust us! Regardless, the rules do apply, and the pass-through entities will have to be educated—nicely—to understand the new rules of the grants-and-contracts game. The OMB Guidance requires that pass-through entities acknowledge and notify their nonprofit grant and contract partners that they are using federal funds to make the awards. Again, rather than putting the entire onus of this on individual nonprofits, the importance of sector-wide advocacy that keeps a close eye on federal moneys handled by pass-through governmental entities and nonprofit intermediaries is going to be very important.Third, the rules allow for more of what nonprofits used to classify as program administration (or indirect costs) to be billed to grants and contracts as direct costs.Fourth, even though the new rules took effect in late December, there are still 60 days for nonprofits to propose additional changes. The filing period for comments ends on February 17th, so this is the time to make sure that OMB understands fully what nonprofit contractors really need. In light of the extended comment period, nonprofits would be well advised to inform the National Council of Nonprofits about their grant and contract experiences under the new OMB Guidelines so NCN can present to the federal government an empirically grounded argument for additional modifications in the rules if they are needed.One more comment is warranted: If the federal government is going to gradually get into the necessary and logical mode of including overhead rates in contracts and grants involving federal money, perhaps the lessons should expand so that state and local governments do the same with their non-federal moneys. Even private foundations, some of which favor grant applicants that profess to have unnaturally low or no overhead costs, might be well advised to listen, learn, and get into a mindset that compensates their nonprofit grantees for their indirect as well as direct costs of service delivery.—Rick Cohen: ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share36Tweet1Share4Email41 Shares“Sunset Barrier” by Dawn HuczekMay 19, 2017; News & ObserverEducation and economic success are closely related. The further you progress educationally, the better your earning prospects are. As the Center for Poverty Research at UC Davis noted:[T]hose who had no high school diploma comprise a far greater share of the population in poverty than their share of the general population and those with a high school diploma and no college comprise are overrepresented to a lesser degree. Those with some college but no degree comprise a somewhat lesser share of the population in poverty than their share of the general population and those with a bachelor’s degree or higher are underrepresented to a much greater degree.Moving up the economic ladder remains difficult, and the gap between rich and poor has grown. Is this an indicator, as some assert, of the failings of our public education system? A recent look at the schools in North Carolina by the News & Observer and the Charlotte Observer suggests a need to think about the problem more deeply. Their study of the state’s gifted programs suggests that implicit bias plays a significant role in school and life outcomes:As they start fourth grade, bright children from low-income families are much more likely to be excluded from the more rigorous classes than their peers from families with higher incomes…The unequal treatment during the six years ending in 2015 resulted in 9,000 low-income children in North Carolina being counted out of classes that could have opened a new academic world to them.The support that admission to a gifted track provides has a major and enduring benefit. Keith Poston, executive director of the Public School Forum of North Carolina, told the News & Observer, “Students who show promise need to be challenged. Schools need to see their promise and push them into more rigorous classes early so they aren’t left behind and left out.” The track, once begun in the fourth grade, provides opportunities for learning that make college admission more likely years later. Moreover, subtle benefits accrue from the affirmation of their capability that selection for this track conveys.Conversely, the implicit message to qualified students not so recognized is that they aren’t really that bright and are not expected to perform at a high level. A math coach described the impact when students are left behind: “Once…off the track, it’s almost impossible to get back on. Kids know when they are not being challenged. They know when they’re moved out of that environment. The way they see themselves shifts, and they don’t make it back up until they’re adults.”For families trying to move upward, the cost of a biased system is high. From one mother’s perspective, getting a fair shot at success should not be in question: “As a single mother and a minority, I want to trust the school system to do the best thing for my children. I want them to have my children’s best interest at heart and push them to their potential.”There seems little reason to see these outcomes as unrelated to the bias built into the system. Using test results to compare groups of students, the analysis found, “In Wake County, 24 percent of low-income third graders scoring a 5 in 2014 were labeled gifted in math the following school year. The percentage for their higher-income counterparts was more than twice as high: 54 percent. Overall, 25 percent of Wake’s more affluent fourth-grade students were labeled gifted in math in 2015, versus three percent of students from lower-income households.”The News & Observer and Charlotte Observer found no simple explanation for these outcomes.Experts, educators, and parents cite a range of causes: Educators can unwittingly stereotype low-income and minority students as low achievers. School assignments can leave high achievers with few academic peers or advanced classes. Testing and screening consistently favors higher-income, white, and Asian students. Overworked faculty must sometimes fill gaps for families that lack ability to advocate for their children. And a range of costly private help is available to affluent families whose children compete for recognition and opportunities.The impact of poverty makes escape difficult. Unless that is recognized and taken into account, educational systems will continue to not see how they have stacked the deck against those who need their supports the most.—Marty LevineShare36Tweet1Share4Email41 Shares
Two Russian pay TV service providers with contrasting business models provided interesting insights into some of the dynamics at work in the Russian market at Informa’s Digital TV CEE event in Prague yesterday.Speaking on a panel session on combating churn and delivering revenue growth, Anna Soppova, PR director at Russian mass-market DTH provider Tricolor TV, said that Tricolor’s customers primarily bought the service for ease of connection and ease of usage, for a “fantastic price for services” – €15 a year – and for a long-lasting service based on a single annual payment.Customers want a simple service, she said, without too much additional complexity. However, customers could also buy additional services for small additional fees.Soppova said there was little churn from satellite services in Russia, largely because it was difficult to change provider. Customers had to change their reception equipment, which few were willing to do, she said. While there was some churn in large cities like Moscow and St Petersburg, there was very little in rural areas.Alexander Kosarev, deputy head of network operations and development at Russian cable operator Akado said that while TV packages cost about US$12-15 a month (€9.50-12), ARPU was higher because Akado bundled TV services with internet and telephony. Kosarev said that his company had worked constantly over the last few years to improve quality of service.Kosarev said Akado has seen slow churn on TV but higher churn on internet services and had moved to introduce higher speed DOCSIS 3.0 services to improve the quality of the latter. He said churn on broadband and TV was now stable and around the same level. Churn had also forced the company to improve the quality of its services, he said.Kosarev said that customers had little loyalty to infrastructure or brand and Akado had sought to build a stronger relationship with its base by investing in customer relations, with timely delivery of services at the household level by well-presented staff.Speaking on the same panel, Pawel Fecko, sales and customer care director at Polish cable operator INEA said that customers wanted something that worked. He said that INEA was making 2012 the ‘year of the customer’ and was focusing on implementing an SAP-based IT system to make customer care more efficient. INEA’s ARPU is about €20 a month.Fecko said that technical operations staff had a big impact on customer acquisition and retention. It was also important to deliver as promised on the date the customer chose.
It made no sense to pay an additional 70% to retain English Premier League rights in the UK, given that telco BT viewed holding the sports rights as a way to defend its broadband business rather than as a profit centre in their own right, Murray Barnett, vice-president, media distribution, ESPN, told CTAM Europe EuroSummit attendees this morning.ESPN lost out on English Premier League rights in the most recent bidding round as BT entered the market to acquire a package of rights for its BT Vision service. The UK telco beat competition from ESPN to secure two packages of rights for the 2013/14 to 2015/16 seasons, while pay TV operator BSkyB retained the rights to its five packages.Speaking on a panel session on TV Everywhere at the EuroSummit, Barnett said that ESPN would focus on building an additional experience around sport and cited the example of the BBC’s coverage of the Olympics as an exemplary model. “It’s about a non-linear environment and offering enhanced services around that,” he said.Most sports content was controlled by aggregators, while in the US sports rights-holders additionally exploited rights on their own online players, said Barnett. The opportunity for ESPN was to try different initiatives and to invest in different types of content such as documentary films about sports.
Deutsche Telekom plans to upgrade its DSL network to offer higher speeds and compete more effectively with cable in Germany next year.The telco plans to roll out so-called vectoring technology to improve broadband speeds on its network. Telekom Deutschland CEO Niek Jan van Damme said the upgrade could begin next year if Telekom wins regulatory approval. However, Telekom would not share the vectored DSL lines with rival operators.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Czech Republic has launched a new bundled combining 240Mbps internet access with over 100 TV channels for CZK859 (€33.40) to those subscribers who sign up for a year.The cable operator has also boosted its HD offering with the addition of Film Europe HD, Deluxe Music HD and Auto Motor Sport HD to its line-up.
OTT can benefit rather than threaten pay TV by enabling operators to extend their reach to multiscreen devices, with a business model that charges for content bundles rather than access via a specific technology making most sense, according to Oliver Lewis, SVP, customer propositions, Sky Deutschland.Taking part in a panel session at the Digital TV World Summit in London this morning, Lewis said that the proliferation of devices could only drive up the value of the subscription experience if operators developed experiences for these platforms properly. “Customers can now build up libraries of content that have been promoted to them. The flagship brands have the best opportunity to make the most of this,” he said, citing the example of high-value content such as Game of Thrones. “That’s the type of content that people will search for and consume,” he said.Lewis said that there is a difference between Europe and the US, where Netflix had grown up as a pure OTT competitor to pay TV providers. In Europe, he said, the situation is much more blurred, with Netflix and others entering the market at the same time that traditional pay TV operators were investing in their own OTT platforms. Netflix has therefore been offered over pay TV platforms such as Virgin Media’s – a development that seemed surprising to US observers.Lewis said that the addition of non-linear services had driven uptake of, for example, premium movie services since viewers could now get better value from those by watching films and series at a time of their own convenience. It made much more sense to make money from the “sale of content” than selling non-linear access separately.Lewis said that rights negotiations to secure access to content across multiple devices had improved significantly.Sky’s message to anyone it buys content from is that needs a “full suite of rights…because we need to achieve a degree of simplicity where everyone knows all content is available on all devices,” he said. This also means that content providers understand they should not ‘slice and dice’ linear and VoD rights between different platform operators.“Everyone understands the value of exclusivity can be hugely diluted if someone else pops up selling an SVoD service,” he said.In this context, Lewis pointed out that Sky has itself gone out of its way to cement its status as the home of the Bundesliga in Germany by doing a deal with Deutsche Telekom. He said that restricting the rights of any content to a particular infrastructure could harm pay TV development, which was one reason why Sky sought to secure exclusive rights to content across multiple platforms.
Netflix added fewer new customers than it had previously predicted in its third quarter, causing the US web streaming firm’s shareprice to slump 25% in after-hours trading.Announcing its Q3 results, Netflix said that domestically it added 0.98 million streaming customers in the quarter, and 2.04 million streaming customers. In its last earnings announcement it had anticipated net additions in these markets of 1.33 million and 2.36 million respectively.Separately, year-on-year customer additions were also down from 1.3 million in Q3 2013 to 1 million in Q4 2014.“As best we can tell, the primary cause is the slightly higher prices we now have compared to a year ago. Slightly higher prices result in slightly less growth, other things being equal, and this is manifested more clearly in higher adoption markets such as the US,” said Netflix in a letter to its shareholders.“In hindsight, we believe that late Q2 and early Q3 the impact of higher prices appeared to be offset for about two months by the large positive reception to Season Two of Orange is the New Black.”Factoring in these “slightly higher prices”, Netflix said it now expects to add 1.85 million domestic streaming customers in Q4 2014, and 2.15 million international streaming customers.“We remain happy with the price changes and growth in revenue and will continue to improve our service, with better content, better streaming and better choosing,” said Netflix.“There is no change to our view on the long term attractiveness and US market size of Internet television, and no change to our view of the ultimate size of our US membership.”Overall, Netflix ended the quarter with 37.22 domestic streaming customers and 15.84 international streaming customers.Domestic streaming revenues grew 25% year-on-year to US$877 million, while international revenue grew 89% to $346 million – both were in line with forecasts. Net income came in at US$59 million, up from US$32 million for the same quarter last year.
Roku is reportedly working on plans to file confidentially for an initial public offering, in a move that could see the firm raise up to US$150 million. According to a Wall Street Journal report, which cites people familiar with the plan, Roku has been working to prepare for a potential offering with banks including Bank of America Merrill Lynch and Citigroup.However, the report claims that neither the timing of the stock market floatation or the valuation price Roku will aim for have yet been set.Roku founder and CEO Anthony Wood said back in March 2012, while attending the FT Digital Media conference in London, that “our goal as a company is to go public” after it had raised more financing. He declined to give a timescale for the IPO.Earlier this month, a filing with the Securities and Exchange Commission revealed Roku has raised US$25 million in funding.This came shortly after BSkyB said it had made a further US$0.7 million investment in Roku. At the same time, 21st Century Fox said it had also made a further, undisclosed, equity investment in the firm.In September Roku announced it had sold more than 10 million streaming players in the US since launching in 2008.
US cable operator Charter Communications is to acquire fellow cable providers Bright House Networks for US$10.4 billion (€9.7 billion).Bright House is the sixth largest cable operator in the United States, and serves approximately 2 million video customers in central Floridaincluding Orlando and Tampa Bay, as well as Alabama, Indiana, Michigan, and California.Under the new proposed structure, Bright House owner Advance/Newhouse is expected to own 26.3% of New Charter’s outstanding common shares, and it is expected that Charter shareholder Liberty Broadband’s equity ownership will represent 19.4% of New Charter’s outstanding common shares.Tom Rutledge, President and CEO of Charter Communications said, “Bright House Networks provides Charter with important operating, financial and tax benefits, as well as strategic flexibility. Bright House has built outstanding cable systems in attractive markets that are either complete, or contiguous with the New Charter footprint. This acquisition enhances our scale, and solidifies New Charter as the second largest cable operator in the US. I look forward to working with the Bright House team, whom we have known for years, in delivering great products and services to grow our market share.”Steven Miron, Chief Executive Officer of Bright House Networks said, “We are excited about our transaction with Charter. At Bright House Networks, we are very proud of what we have achieved – from the quality of our infrastructure to the level of service our employees provide to customers every day. We share the same vision for the future of our business as Tom and the Charter leadership team, which is to gain market share by offering customers competitive products and excellent service at a tremendous value. Also, our family has known and worked with Tom Rutledge for more than 20 years. Tom managed cable systems that were part of our partnership with Time Warner Cable prior to the formation of Bright House Networks. We think the combination with Charter gives our employees, our customers and Advance/Newhouse the strongest prospects for the future.”
Jeff BezosAmazon Web Services (AWS), the e-retail giant’s scalable cloud computing offering, is now a US$5 billion business and is “still growing fast,” the company has revealed. Discussing the firm’s first quarter results, Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos said that AWS’s growth “is accelerating”. He added that the ten-year old AWS business is “a good example of how we approach ideas and risk-taking at Amazon.”“We strive to focus relentlessly on the customer, innovate rapidly, and drive operational excellence. We manage by two seemingly contradictory traits: impatience to deliver faster and a willingness to think long term,” said Bezos.Amazon’s Prime subscription business, which offers unlimited free two-day shipping on one million items and in some markets includes Instant Video access, also turned 10-years old in the quarter, and now has “tens of millions” of customers around the world, according to Amazon.Speaking on the company’s Q1 earnings call, Amazon’s chief financial officer, Tom Szkutak, said that customers who come to Prime via a free trial to Amazon’s Prime Instant Video offering convert to Prime customers “at a higher rate.”“We have a great retention of Prime members, but those who stream we retain at a higher rate and we bring in new customers through our video pipeline,” said Szkutak.Amazon revealed on its fourth quarter 2014 earnings call that it has invested US$1.3 billion in content for Prime Instant Video, and Szkutak said it is “certainly still an investment for us.”Elsewhere, Amazon said in its Q1 results that the apps and games selection for its Amazon Fire TV streaming device are up by a factor of five in just one year.Amazon also recently said that pre-orders for its Fire TV Stick in the UK and Germany “broke all previous records for Amazon devices in the first week of availability.”Overall, Amazon said that its net sales in the quarter increased 15% year-on-year to US$22.72 billion. Operating income increased 74% to US$255 million. However, Amazon reported a net loss of US$57 million, compared with net income of $108 million in the same quarter a year earlier.
Sony’s PlayStation Vue cloud TV service is now available to customers as a mobile app for the iPad in New York City, Chicago and Philadelphia. PlayStation Vue Mobile on iPad lets Vue subscribers in these selected markets watch live TV and on demand programming in any room of their home. Users can also manage their shows and schedule recordings from the app.
Middle East and North African VoD streaming service, Icflix, has agreed an exclusive partnership with Maroc Telecom.The deal will allow Maroc Telecom customers to access Icflix for what the VoD service described as an “unprecedented” price of 50 Moroccan Dirhams (€4.62).“Maroc Telecom – a pioneer in the Moroccan industry, will enable us to reach a greater number of viewers through our proposal for high-quality and varied content,” said Icflix founder and CEO, Carlos Tibi.
Luxembourg fixed-line, mobile and internet firm POST has expanded its Cloud-TV offering with an extended range of International French and German channels, in partnership with Netgem.The new channels will be available on any device, through POST’s newly developed Cloud-TV platform, and will be offered alongside video-on-demand, popular catch-up TV services and other internet video apps.The service runs on Netgem’s TelcoTV service and aims to offer a consistent and inutiive user interface.“We have worked with Netgem for many years, enjoying the quality of their TV solutions. Netgem are always able to integrate with the next-generation technologies whilst maintaining an intuitive user experience,” said Bob Lamboray, head of IPTV operations and development at POST Technologies.“This new Cloud-TV platform allows us to bring rapidly and easily new content to our subscribers, and also presents an opportunity to offer the wealth of channels to other Telcos in Europe thanks to our cost efficient content delivery infrastructure.”Netgem CEO, Joseph Haddad, added: “With POST Luxembourg we have built a powerful Cloud-TV platform that delivers a telco-grade end-to-end multi-screen TelcoTV service for its subscribers. POST is now also able to provide a hosted platform for other operators in French and German speaking markets in particular, enabling them to access hundreds of channels immediately with full Network PVR capabilities.”
Ericsson Broadcast and Media Services has announced it is buying Texas-based entertainment metadata company FYI Television.The company gathers and distributes TV content and linear scheduling data from over 9,000 TV networks and aggregates it for clients to use across connected devices.Ericsson said that combining FYI Television’s US market expertise and reach with its content discovery in Europe will create a “powerful global force in content discovery”.“As the TV industry evolves and viewing behaviour changes, we believe that high-quality, rich metadata will be a key component for a personalised TV experience,” said Magnus Mandersson, executive vice president and head of Business Unit Global Services at Ericsson.“Combined with our capabilities in TV platforms and content discovery, we will be able to help our customers to improve the video experience and identify new revenue opportunities.”FYI Television’s 150 employees will join Business Line Broadcast & Media Services, part of Ericsson’s Business Unit Global Services.The deal, which was agreed for undisclosed financial terms, is expected to close in Q1 2016, subject to customary closing conditions.
Liberty Global-owned UK cable operator Virgin Media has committed to provide fibre-to-the-premises to at least a quarter of the four million new homes and businesses being added to its network as part of its Project Lightning investment.Virgin Media has said it will connect a total of 17 million premises to its network by 2019. The operator said the move would make it the largest wholly fibre broadband network in the country.The operator has already begun rolling out FTTP in Cambridgeshire and Leicestershire, with work expected to begin soon in West Yorkshire, Devon and East Sussex. Virgin Media issuing new techniques including ‘narrow trenching to deploy fibre at lower cost and with greater speed than has hitherto been the case.“While some companies talk a good game, Virgin Media is putting its money where its mouth is and laying fibre to the premise alongside our superior HFC network – delivering the fastest widely available broadband speeds,” said CEO Tom Mockridge.“In just over one year we’ve laid enough new cable to stretch all the way from Land’s End to John O’Groats, reaching a quarter of a million more homes and businesses – and there’s much more to come.”