LOS ANGELES, Calif. – The Latest on criminal charges against a man accused of stealing Frances McDormand’s best actress Academy Award (all times local):4 p.m.A man who is charged with stealing Frances McDormand’s best actress Oscar will be released on his own recognizance.Terry Bryant pleaded not guilty to felony grand theft during his arraignment Wednesday in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom. Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Deborah S. Brazil ruled the 47-year-old could be released without posting bail.Brazil says Bryant does not pose a threat to the community.Authorities say Bryant walked out of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party with the trophy on Sunday night and quickly gave it up when confronted by a photographer.Bryant’s attorney Daniel Brookman acknowledged Wednesday that his client can be seen on an Associated Press video holding McDormand’s best actress statuette, but says there’s a big difference between holding it and being convicted of grand theft.___1:10 p.m.A lawyer for a man charged with stealing Frances McDormand’s Academy Award says his client will fight the allegation.Attorney Daniel Brookman acknowledged Wednesday that suspect Terry Bryant can be seen on an Associated Press video holding McDormand’s best actress statuette.But Brookman says there’s a big difference between holding an Oscar and being convicted of a felony grand theft charge.Authorities say Bryant walked out of the Governors Ball Oscars after-party with the trophy on Sunday night and quickly gave it up when confronted by a photographer.Bryant, who is still in jail, is scheduled to be arraigned Wednesday.Brookman says Bryant will plead not guilty and ask for a reduction of his $20,000 bail.___12 a.m.A man charged with swiping and taking off with Frances McDormand’s Oscar during an Academy Awards after-party is set to make his first appearance in court.Terry Bryant is expected to be arraigned in a downtown Los Angeles courtroom on Wednesday.Prosecutors on Tuesday charged Bryant with felony grand theft, a crime that could get him three years in prison.The 47-year-old Bryant remains jailed on $20,000 bail. It’s not clear if he has hired an attorney who can comment.Authorities say Bryant took McDormand’s best actress statuette Sunday night during the Governors Ball, the official post-Oscars party.Associated Press video shows what appears to be Bryant walking out with the trophy and proudly holding it high.A photographer followed Bryant and confronted him, and he was arrested. by The Associated Press Posted Mar 7, 2018 4:04 pm PDT Last Updated Mar 7, 2018 at 4:40 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email The Latest: Man accused of Oscar theft to be released
Show tells backstory of icons like Rushmore, Lady Liberty Did you know that the original symbolism of the Statue of Liberty had nothing to do with welcoming immigrants? And that Mount Rushmore was basically built as a scheme to get road-trippers to make the trip out to South Dakota?You’ll hear the inside story on these icons and others from Geoffrey Baer, host of the PBS television series “10 That Changed America,” in three new episodes airing this summer. In addition to famous monuments, other episodes focus on streets that changed America — like New York’s Broadway — and on modern marvels like the Hoover Dam.Baer is based in Chicago, where he works for the local public television station WTTW and also gives tours for the Chicago Architecture Foundation. He spoke about the show and the backstory of some of the monuments featured in the episode airing July 17 in an interview with AP Travel’s weekly podcast “Get Outta Here !” Here are some excerpts from the podcast, edited for brevity and clarity.MOUNT RUSHMOREWhen cars were a new form of transportation, “a state official in South Dakota really didn’t think in the early days of the road trip that scenery was going to be enough” to lure people to drive all the way there, Baer said. So he decided to “create the world’s biggest roadside attraction.” Originally the carvings were going to depict heroes of the American West, but that wasn’t deemed a big enough draw, so the concept was changed to presidents.STATUE OF LIBERTYThe Statue of Liberty was a gift from France to America, but what was the meaning of the gift?Baer says America was seen in the late 19th century as a “beacon of democracy and freedom” in an era when French democracy was eroding. So the French used the statue as a way of sending “a message” to their own country by giving “America a gift of this great French figure of liberty.”The statue is often romanticized as a symbol of welcome for immigrants, partly due to its location within sight of Ellis Island, where millions of immigrants arriving in the U.S. were processed. They could see Lady Liberty as their ships pulled into the harbour. But Ellis Island didn’t open until 1892, six years after the statue was dedicated in 1886.“So it wasn’t until later that the statue took on this additional new meaning as a kind of beacon to immigrants,” Baer said.LINCOLN MEMORIALAbraham Lincoln signed the Emancipation Proclamation declaring “all persons held as slaves” to be free. But almost nothing at the Lincoln Memorial in Washington, D.C., mentions slavery.That’s because the intended message of the Lincoln Memorial was “that the Civil War was really brother against brother and now we’ve reconciled,” Baer said. Two of Lincoln’s speeches — his second inaugural address and the Gettysburg Address — are engraved on the walls, but not the Emancipation Proclamation.“It only was later that the monument became a platform for the civil rights movement,” Baer added. That tradition began in 1939 when the great opera singer Marian Anderson was denied permission to sing at Constitution Hall in Washington because she was African-American. Instead she sang on the steps of the Lincoln Memorial. Later in the 1960s, the monument became a site for civil rights protests, including Martin Luther King Jr.’s “I have a dream” speech.Baer said one of the show’s most important themes is that whatever the original context may be for a memorial or monument, its meaning often changes with time. “Society is always changing,” he said, “even as the built environment stays where it is.”—Listen to AP Travel’s “Get Outta Here!” podcast with Geoffrey Baer on iTunes http://apple.co/2s2ruHY or on APNews.com https://apnews.com/afs:Content:2109900157Geoffrey Baer’s “10 That Changed America” https://www.pbs.org/show/10-changed-america/ FILE – In this Dec. 9, 2016, file photo, the faces of the presidents that make up the Mount Rushmore monument are shown near Keystone, S.D. The PBS host Geoffrey Baer is back this summer with new episodes of his series “10 That Changed America” focusing on streets, monuments and marvels, including one show that gives the surprising inside story behind icons like the Statue of Liberty and Mount Rushmore. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski, File) by Beth J. Harpaz, The Associated Press Posted Jul 11, 2018 8:00 am PDT Last Updated Jul 11, 2018 at 8:40 am PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Email
Avocados weighing around 1,000 kilogrammes have been reported stolen from an orchard in Achelia, in Paphos on Monday.The owner of the orchard reported that avocados, weighing around 1,000kg, had been cut from 20 trees sometime between Saturday and Monday. The estimated worth of the stolen fruit is €2,000.Police said that it appears the perpetrators have entered the orchard at a point where there was no fence. You May LikeDogsome31 Dogs That Love Their Cat Brothers And SistersDogsomeUndoPastFactoryIf You Can Pass This Quiz, You Must Have Lived Through The 20th CenturyPastFactoryUndoAppurseWhen A Lion Family Caught An Injured Fox: The Most Unexpected Just happened (16 Pics)AppurseUndo The Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoLimassol police investigating attempted murderUndoVerstappen wins crazy German Grand PrixUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Auditor-general Odysseas Michaelides said on Monday that Finance Minister Harris Georgiades publicly lied and misled the both the council of ministers and the bank’s supervisor over the donation of Co-op stock to the its customers.The European Central Bank’s (ECB) Single Supervisory Mechanism (SSM), which together with the Central Bank of Cyprus supervised the bailed out state-owned bank, had dismissed the idea of allocating stock to the customers, Michaelides told the committee investigating the demise of the Cyprus Cooperative Bank, according to the Cyprus News Agency. The idea had first been tabled by Georgiades in 2016.Georgiades “had a letter from the supervisor listing 1,000 reasons why he should forget this matter, had (also) a letter from the Central Bank of Cyprus, and he still lied publicly that (it) was not conflicting with supervisory requirements,” which included additional €1bn in capital, Michaelides said. “I believe that this serious delay in taking action was the basic reason why the Co-op failed.”It was the second part of the deposition of the head of the government’s Audit Office, after he had accused the finance ministry on Thursday of resorting to blackmail to bar his agency from auditing the lender. The committee was appointed by Attorney-General Costas Clerides.Michaelides presented correspondence as exhibits related to the bank’s initial plan of tapping €200m in private equity as part of a capital increase which referred to expected losses of up to €1bn at the Cyprus Co-operative Bank.The Co-op, which in June agreed to sell its healthy operations to Hellenic Bank after it failed to reduce its non-performing loans (NPLs) stock fast enough, has not produced yet accounts for the financial year 2017. Its NPLs account for six tenths of its total loan portfolio.“When the ship was sinking, even in May 2018, they were still preparing notes about the free of charge allocation of shares,” Michaelides was quoted as saying. “This is proof of amateurism, superficiality, incompetence and stubbornness in the handling of a serious matter, which though it did not materialise and therefore had no consequences, was a distraction from the ultimate goal which was finding equity.”This may have been “an attempt to save face if they had to admit that their idea was wrong,” he said.A note prepared by Dionysis Dionysiou, a finance minister official who oversaw the government’s investment in the bank, dated November 2016 and sent to the finance minister, says that the European Commission warned that in case the bank needed additional capital and failed to have its stock listed at the stock exchange or the bank was not attractive to investors, a bail-in would be the only option.The chairwoman of the SSM Danièle Nouy expressed in June 2017 her disagreement with the minister’s intention to hand over shares of the then struggling bank which would have been detrimental, as well as her disappointment over the bank’s unacceptably unambitious target setting, Michaelides said. Nouy had said that introducing new capital and expertise was both critical and urgent.Two months later, in August 2017, Dionysiou prepared another note, this time to the permanent secretary of the finance ministry ahead of a meeting of the parliament’s watchdog committee. He wrote that the number one challenge the bank was facing was implementing a listing on the stock exchange based on the cabinet’s decision, which provided for the donation of stock, Michaelides said.“Even after the supervisor told them that it would be disastrous, he prepared a note saying that the foremost challenge was to implement the cabinet’s decision,” Michaelides exclaimed.Georgiades then misled Nouy by letting her know in November that the idea to donate stock had been shelved, “while the minister was forwarding draft bills to the Attorney General about the stock grant”, the auditor said.Nouy warned that the situation in the meantime had deteriorated at the Co-op both in regarding corporate governance and non-performing loans and as a result the bank would need more than €200m initially estimated in private equity, Michaelides said.Dionysiou said in a note to the minister on January 3, 2018 that the SSM’s in situ inspection was going to show that “the situation is worse than that reflected in data and that the attempt to find an investor will fail” as the capital requirements were in the range of €500m and €1bn, he continued.“He (was the) one who was telling in a note to the council of ministers that everything was well,” he exclaimed again.On March 13, just six days before the Co-op announced its decision to sell its assets, Georgiades complained to the Central Bank of Cyprus about the SSM’s “extreme assumptions” in calculating the Co-op’s capital needs, just to receive a response from governor Chrystalla Georghadji that the Co-op’s representatives did not contest the assumptions in an earlier meeting with a delegation of SSM, the auditor said.Michaelides also said that the way the bank’s chief executive Nicholas Hadjiyiannis, the bank’s former chairman and childhood friend of Georgiades, who was appointed under questionable circumstances, acted in the selection of Spain’s Altamira for the handling of the Co-op’s €7bn in non-performing loans was “flawed and unacceptable”.He added that Hadjiyiannis may have been inept “beyond description” when he was publicly saying that the Co-op had met its targets and would need additional capital only if it decided to change its plans on the management of the non-performing loans, when the supervisor was saying that they needed up to €1bn in fresh capital.Hadjiyiannis’s actions led to the Co-op ending up having only one option to choose a partner to negotiate the management of its delinquent stock, the auditor said.“It looks like Hadjiyiannis played a defining role in leading the Cyprus Co-operative Bank to having Altamira as the only option and there are negative comments made also by the (bank’s former) chairman (Christakis) Taoushanis about his role,” Michaelides continued.He also alleged that Hadjiyiannis, before joining the Co-op first as chairman, had left Bank of Cyprus after the latter had initiated a disciplinary probe against him. When asked by the committee how he got the information, Michaelides said that he received it from a reliable source. He did not disclose the source but clarified that it was not Hadjiyiannis’s predecessor Marios Clerides who told the committee on August 3 that there were rumours about Hadjjiyiannis’ departure from Bank of Cyprus.Altamira, which started managing the bank’s bad loans in January after the Co-op entered their agreement a year ago, is failing to meet its targets, he added, citing a document prepared by Dionysiou. The actual reduction in non-performing loans is €300m below that of the target while the reduction of loans in arrears for 90 days or more is €60m below, he said.The government’s chief auditor said that the finance minister is also to blame for approving the deal with Altamira which the shareholders passed in a general meeting.“I don’t believe that the finance minister’s responsibility concerns the final approval, but the fact is that he knew via Dionysiou very well of what was happening, and should have intervened,” Michaelides said. “The final approval he gave shows that he could have had a say.”Dionysiou, Michaelides added, while being on the finance ministry’s payroll, also got paid by the Co-op for participating in board meetings as observer.“That person whom the parliament placed in charge of approving the board’s decisions, was getting a €25,000 baksheesh every year on top of his salary,” he said.In addition to his annual salary and the remuneration from the Co-op, the finance ministry official also got another €6,000 in 2014, €5,754 in 2015 and €11,000, in the form of allowances from the ministry.Lastly, Michaelides said that the finance ministry requested in 2015 from the Co-op to write down loans and other favours including, restructuring and grace periods, in the case of 54 loans of communal councils, municipalities and various individuals, which violated the principle of the government staying out of the management of the Co-op. 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Categories: Featured news,News,Victory News State Rep. Roger Victory, R- Hudsonville, with special guest Georgetown Township Sergeant Jeff Steigenga, took part in the annual Michigan House of Representatives 9/11 memorial service today.The ceremony marked the anniversary of the Sept. 11, 2001 terrorist attacks on the United States, and honored military members and service members.House representatives invited guests to join them in honoring the victims and heroes of 9/11, and men and woman serving today.The names of 14 first responders and service members from Michigan who died in the line of duty during the past year were read during the ceremony. 10Sep Rep. Victory honors local heroes at 9/11 ceremony ##### Tags: memorial, Sept. 11, Victory
05Mar House Appropriations Chair Shane Hernandez responds to governor’s budget proposal State Rep. Shane Hernandez – chair of the Michigan House Appropriations Committee – issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer’s budget proposal presentation:“Tax increases aren’t solutions. Unfortunately, what we heard from the governor are plans to tax and spend — not real solutions for fixing our roads, improving our schools or continuing Michigan’s economic comeback.”Rep. Hernandez on roads:“Michigan drivers deserve every possible effort to make sure the taxes they’re already paying are used effectively and efficiently. But I didn’t see that in her plan. Coming out of the gate by proposing a 45-cent per gallon tax increase starts the conversation on the wrong foot. Taxpayers deserve better.”Rep. Hernandez on schools:“I strongly support investing in Michigan schools. All children deserve a quality education. I have concerns the proposal to put more money into separate categories for separate purposes does not treat all children equally. The most effective way to improve education for all is to focus more on investing in the per-student allotment, and close the funding gap between school districts so all children are treated equally.”Rep. Hernandez on next steps:“I will work with the governor to eliminate taxes whenever possible and ensure we no longer balance the budget on the backs of our seniors. But I am concerned about other proposals that would raise costs for seniors and all taxpayers, and for many types of small businesses. We need to dig into each and every part of our state budget and find efficiencies to deliver more value to taxpayers – that’s where this conversation must begin.“In the past several years, our financially sound budgeting practices have helped improve Michigan’s economy and put state government on solid financial footing. These efforts must continue, and that will be my focus as I work on our next budget plan with the governor and the Senate.”### Categories: Hernandez News,News
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 13, 2014; SeacoastOnlineA report from Portland, Maine about the closing of a city-run clinic that provided healthcare for 2300 homeless people each year should remind us that wherever possible, we should guard against overdependence on one source of funding. The clinic’s fate was decided when it lost a federal grant that provided approximately a third of its annual budget of $1.8 million.The $680,000 grant will be redistributed to the Portland Community Health Center, but city officials are worried that this will not meet the special needs of homeless patients. And although the clinic was not formally a nonprofit, it provides a reason to take a moment to stop and reflect.NPQ has written quite a bit about revenue mixes in nonprofits. Some of these articles can be accessed here: Jon Pratt’s classic “Analyzing the Dynamics of Funding: Reliability and Autonomy” and “In Search of Sustainable Funding: Is Diversity Really the Answer?” from William Foster, Ben Dixon, and Matt Hochstetler.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Technicolor is to beta-launch its M-GO multiscreen video service in the US in the summer ahead of a planned commercial launch in the autumn, with expansion in Europe penned in for 2013.Speaking to DTVE, Greg Gudorf, chief operating officer, M-GO at Technicolor (pictured), said the venture would offer films for rental as well as titles for sell-through via an UltraViolet digital locker. M-GO will initially offer a catalogue of “several thousand titles” that “will quickly grow” to between 10-15,000 titles, according to the company.Gudorf said one of the key differentiators for M-GO against other over-the-top services would be its “uber-catalogue” of titles from other service providers and catalogues, amounting to over 100,000 movie titles and 300,000 TV shows, enabling users to access a much wider range of content. “Even if something is not in our transactional catalogue, we can point you which way to go,” said Gudorf.Technicolor will offer electronic sell-through and transactional video-on-demand to M-GO users. The company has teamed up with Samsung, Vizeo and Intel to preload M-GO on devices including Samsung Smart TVs, Vizeo TVs and Blu-ray players and Intel Ultrabook computers. M-GO will also be available on iOS and Android devices as a free downloadable app.Gudorf said pricing would be comparable with competitive offerings. He said Technicolor would also consider a subscription offering later. He said the offering would be comparable to Apple’s iTunes offering rather than a service such as Netflix.Gudorf said the company would look to international expansion in 2013. “We have ongoing conversations with European operators,” he said. While M-GO has been developed by Technicolor as a consumer brand, the company is also looking to tie up with service providers in the US and – potentially – internationally to provide them with a multiscreen content offering and user experience. According to Gudorf, M-GO could also be deployed as a companion screen offering enabling service providers to deliver access to its own and third-party content via user interfaces on tablets and other devices.“One core principle with us is to keep the big screen big,” said Gudorf. “Entertainment happens on the big screen and smaller screens can help consumers to navigate.”M-GO, initially unveiled at the Consumer Electronics Show earlier this year, provides unified search and recommendation driven by users’ previous viewing habits, ratings and recommendations from social networks.Gudorf said multiple users within a household could be identified via users choosing an avatar, or potentially by voice or facial recognition.Although M-GO could be seen as a potential competitor to existing pay TV offerings, Gudorf said Technicolor was also looking to partner with service providers. “Operators with legacy equipment are looking to experiment in embracing multicsreen to hold onto their customers,” he said. He said there were “several different paths” by which M-GO and operators could work in partnership. One was to act as a replacement technology for legacy user interfaces, while another was to help pay TV providers unable to swap out existing set-top boxes to reach new screens. Another was for existing pay TV providers to outsource all or part of their VOD offering to M-GO, he said.
Belgian telco Belgacom is planning to become its own IPTV system integrator by acquiring the rights from Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN).Since the launch of Belgacom TV in 2005, the telco has worked with NSN to build a scalable end-to-end platform integrating various media technologies and software to enable a convergent IPTV offer. The agreement with NSN comprises the rights for Belgacom to further develop the IPTV platform.The telco said the deal would allow it to quickly respond to customer needs and to release new entertainment products, services and applications on a regular basis.As part of the planned transaction, approximately 25 NSN employees in Belgium are expected to transfer to Belgacom.
Black Eyed Peas frontman – and Intel creative innovation director – will.i.am is to deliver a keynote at the forthcoming IBC in Amsterdam.The recording artist will deliver his keynote in a session entitled ‘Creativity and Technology Forces Combine – Transcend the Barriers of Convention and Rethink What Can Be Achieved’, co-hosted by Johan Jervøe, vice-president of partner marketing at Intel.“We want people to rethink what they believe is possible,” said will.i.am. “I’m always thinking about tomorrow. What are the new beats? What is the new music? What will people like? What will we be capable of doing? Technology allows us to amplify our ideas, amplify our creativity, and find new ways of solving our problems and genuinely start living in those future tomorrows, and that’s what I want to share at IBC.”The session will take place at 14:00 on Friday September 7.Other announced IBC conference speakers this year include Liberty Global president and CEO Mike Fries, Walt Disney corporate strategy and business development chief Kevin Mayer, Sky Deutschland CEO Brian Sullivan, BSkyB chief operating officer Mike Darcey and Discovery Networks International chief Mark Hollinger.
Viacom has unveiled the results of a study into how viewers of its channels use social media to interact with TV.The US-based company, which runs channels including MTV, VH1 and Nickelodeon, surveyed over 5,000 viewers across the US, UK, Germany, Brazil and Russia.The respondents were all in the 13-to-49 demo all regularly used social media. Across the sample, people engaged in ten TV-related activities a week on social media.Within that, 72% said they were interacting with friends and fans, making it the most popular activity ahead of the 66% searching for programme information, 61% who were watching clips and trailers, 57% who were following or liking a particular show and 49% who were signing up for freebies.Viacom said that three distinct types of motivations for TV-related social media use emerged: ‘functional’, including searching for programme information, ‘playful’ covering gaming and competitions and ‘communal’, which is effectively connecting with others.By country, Viacom said viewers in Brazil embrace TV-related social media activities the most frequently, while those in Germany are the least likely to do so.“Our objective with this research was not only to understand what drives our audiences to social media, but also to see how their social media activity impacts viewing behaviours,” said Colleen Fahey Rush, executive vice-president and chief research officer, Viacom Media Networks.
French cable operator Numericable has teamed up with IBM to launch a cloud-based service targeted at business customers.The pair have signed a deal to develop Intrastructure-as-a-Service offerings to public and private companies via Numericable’s Completel unit.Applications to be supported by the combination of Numericable’s fibre network with IBM’s SoftLayer Cloud Computing platform include nomadism, social business, IT availability and communication as a service.“This collaboration was born out of a shared desire with IBM to offer our private and public clients a global package that meets their needs, current and future,” said Paul Zenou, CEO of Completel.“The alliance between our optical fibre network and IBM’s expertise in cloud solutions ensures the performance and safety of the solutions offered to our customers.”
Masstech Group has acquired the products and technology assets of channel-in-a-box playout specialist PlayBox Technology.The shareholders of PlayBox Technology will continue to own and operate Playbox’ system integration, support centre and worldwide distribution through its eight offices in Europe, Asia and the US, and their associated reseller networks.Solutions from the two companies will be on display side-by-side at the NAB Show in Las Vegas next week.Masstechsaid that its expanded solution will be the first in which assets will be managed by an open platform across the entire broadcast chain, including ingest, production, and transmission, and embracing legacy infrastructure across all popular editing, automation and playout systems.“The success of Masstech’s solutions and the dynamic changes being driven by consolidation in the broadcast market signaled to our shareholders, who represent some of the largest Venture Capital and Private Equity firms in Canada, that now is the right time to make strategic additions to the Masstech product portfolio,” said Masstech CEO Joe French.“Adding PlayBox enables us to extend the Masstech platform to create the first fully integrated broadcast environment that includes playout and graphics within the asset management system. Our partnership with PlayBox will also significantly expand the worldwide distribution of Masstech’s products and solutions through the PlayBox network.”
Omnifone founder Rob Lewis is targeting the music streaming market with a new HDMI dongle, Electric Jukebox, that streams music over Wifi via the TV.The device is being marketed at £179 (€240) in the UK including a year’s access to its music catalogue. Thereafter, users will pay £60 a year for the service, while those who unsubscribe will continue to enjoy access to advertising-supported internet radio stations via the device.Electric Jukebox will also be available in the US, priced at US$229 for the device and first year, and US$60 for the ongoing subscription.Lewis has secured the support of former U2 manager Rob Dickins and former EMI Music CEO Alain Levy, who sit on the company’s board.Artists who have signed up to provide playlists for the service include Sheryl Crow, Robbie Williams and Alesha Dixon.
Google is due to launch a dedicated YouTube VR app later this year for its forthcoming mobile virtual reality platform, Daydream.Announcing the launch at its I/O developer conference in Mountain View, California, Google said it is creating the YouTube VR app to provide an “easier, more immersive way to find and experience virtual reality content on YouTube”.The new app will give users access to all of YouTube content – including 16×9 videos, 360-degree footage and VR experiences in “full 3D”.YouTube is collaborating with partners like the NBA, BuzzFeed and Tastemade to “explore new ways of storytelling in virtual environments”, according to Kurt Wilms, senior product manager, YouTube Virtual Reality.It is also working with camera partners such as GoPro to help make the production of VR video more accessible to content creators.GoPro Odyssey cameras are compatible with Google’s VR Jump camera rig – which consists of 16 camera modules in a circular array – and YouTube plans to roll out its Jump programme to all its YouTube Space creator studios around the world, starting this week in LA and New York.Speaking at Google I/O this week, Google’s vice-president of virtual reality, Clay Bavor, said: “We’ve rebuilt YouTube from the ground up for VR. In it is voice search, discovery, your favourite playlists – all in VR.“We’ve added spatial audio, improved VR video streaming so you’ll be able to step inside the world’s largest collection of VR videos and experience places and concerts and events like you’re actually there. And by the way, you’ll also be able to watch every single standard video currently on YouTube, but in a very different way.”Discussing Google’s other VR app developments, Bavor said that Google Play Movies is coming to Daydream, with high definition DRM video support. “That means you’ll be able to watch movies and TV shows from Play, but in a virtual movie theatre.”He said that Google Street View is coming to Daydream, “so you’ll be able to walk the streets of the world without having to fly around the world.”Bavor also revealed that Google Photos will support VR, “so you can step inside and re-live favourite moments.”The launch of the YouTube VR app follows a number of developments in this area in the last year, with the rollout of new video and audio formats on YouTube like 360-degree video, VR video and Spatial Audio.
UK transmission services outfit Arqiva has confirmed that its shareholders are undertaking a strategic review that could lead to a sale of the company.Reporting solid nine months results to the end of March, Arqiva said that there was no certainty the review would result in a transaction, but that a further announcement would be made as and when appropriate.Arqiva posted revenues growth of 11%, driven by 8% growth in terrestrial broadcast revenue and strong growth in telecoms and machine-to-machine communication.EBITDA was up 12% to £351 million. Operating cash-flow after investment grew by £155 million year-on-year to £326 million.Arqiva said its terrestrial broadcast performance had been boosted by new video streams on its main multiplexes, recurring revenues from new DTT channels, radio contracts and revenue from the continuing clearance of 700MHz spectrum. As of March 31, Arqiva’s two main DVB-T multiplexes had 31 video streams, all of which were utilised.“Arqiva’s strong financial results are driven by excellent operating performances in terrestrial broadcast, telecoms and M2M.The visibility of revenues with a contracted order book of close to £6 billion, inflation-linked pricing, and the opportunity to increase utilisation of our infrastructure, places Arqiva in a very strong position to continue to deliver stable profitable growth,” said CEO Simon Beresford-Wylie. “Our ongoing and significant investment in digital broadcast infrastructure; 4G, 5G, in-building solutions and small cells underlines Arqiva’s commitment to ensuring that the UK truly has a vibrant and globally competitive economy. Alongside our growth strategy, our transformation programme, ‘FutureFit‘, is lowering our cost base; aligning the way we work to better reflect market developments and the needs of our customers; and strengthening our ability to deliver complex projects.”
Vincent BolloréVivendi has acquired Bolloré Group’s majority stake in advertising outfit Havas, following a deal struck between the French media group and the investment vehicle of its chairman, Vincent Bolloré, at the beginning of June.Vivendi paid €9.25 a share for Bolloré’s 59.2% stake in Havas, giving a total of €2.3 billion for the stake. The media group has also make a public offer for the remainder of Havas’s shares.Bolloré, who holds a 20% stake in Vivendi, has long had an ambition to bring the two groups together.The sale of Havas will enable Bolloré to repatriate some of the cash he has invested in Vivendi, leading to speculation that he could use the sale of Havas to further increase his stake in the media group in the future.Vivendi said in June that the combination would improve its share performance thanks to Havas’s high operating margins. Overall, Vivendi produces revenues of around €10 billion against €2 billion for Havas.Some analysts have expressed scepticism about the potential of the combination of advertising with distribution – see as unusual – to deliver meaningful synergies.Separately, Vivendi reportedly seems to have ruled out focusing exclusively on a hostile takeover of games company Ubisoft and could look elsewhere to fulfill its ambition to re-establish itself as a major player in gaming.Vivendi has been involved in a struggle with the Guillemot family for control of the company, in which it holds a 27% stake but only a 24.54% share of voting rights.The Guillemots recently increased their stake in Ubisoft. The family previously lost control of its other games company, Gameloft to Vivendi in a hostile takeover.In an interview with Le Figaro, Gameloft CEO Stéphane Roussel said that Vivendi had not ruled out any scenario with regard to Ubisoft. He said that the company could pull out and seek to acquire another major player in the sector if it is unable to strike a deal with Ubisoft.
NCBUniversal International is set to expand its reality TV SVOD service, Hayu, into the Nordics, in what it described as a “key milestone” for the service.The on-demand offering will launch first in Norway – in partnership with TV 2 – during the fourth quarter of this year, before going live in Finland, Sweden and Denmark.NBCU said the rollouts will expand the number of Hayu markets to seven by the end of 2017 – building on its existing footprint of the UK, Ireland and Australia.It also marks the first time the service will be available in territories where English is not spoken as the first language.“Launching in Norway is a key milestone for Hayu and the beginning of our international expansion plans,” said Hendrik McDermott, senior vice-president, branded on-demand, NBCUniversal.“We have a dual goal of growing reach and distribution via both territory expansion and increasing our presence in existing markets via innovative partnerships.”Commercial broadcaster TV 2 will make Hayu available to subscribers of its on-demand offering, TV 2 Sumo, as part of its entertainment package.Kine Tveito Lundefaret, head of content at TV 2 Sumo, said: “We already have great experience at TV 2 Sumo with popular reality content and are confident this will be a great progression for us.”Hayu launched in the UK, Ireland and Australia in March 2016 and recently agreed distribution deals in Ireland with Eir mobile, in Australia with Fetch TV, and is also due to launch on Sky’s Now TV service in 2018.The service is focused on reality TV programming and offers shows like Keeping Up with The Kardashians, Made in Chelsea and The Real Housewives. It also recently agreed a deal with Viacom International Media Networks for series like The Hills and Jersey Shore – although these shows won’t be available at launch in the the Nordics.Hayu is available to watch on mobile, tablet, laptop, Apple TV, Amazon Fire TV, Amazon Channels or to cast to connected smart TVs. It will be priced at NOK49 in Norway, SEK49 in Sweden, DKK49 in Denmark, and €4.99 in Finland.
YouTube has introduced a host of new features, including channel memberships and merchandise options, as it aims to “think beyond ads”.Announcing the new tools at Vidcon, YouTube’s chief product officer, Neal Mohan, said that the video service has been working on new tools to help creators better engage with their fans and “make money while doing it”.Channel memberships will allow viewers to pay a monthly recurring fee of US$4.99 in order to get badges, emoji, members-only posts in the community tab, and access to ‘custom perks’ offered by creators – such as exclusive livestreams, extra videos, or shout-outs.While YouTube sponsorships have already been available to a select group of creators on the service, YouTube said it is now expanding this to eligible channels with more than 100,000 subscribers under the new name channel memberships.Next, new merchandise tools are being introduced that are designed to make it easier for content creators to sell merch direct from their YouTube channel.YouTube has partnered with Teespring to let creators offer customised merchandise items that they can sell via a ‘shelf’ on their channel. This will initially be available to US-based channels with more than 10,000 subscribers.Finally, YouTube has introduced ‘premieres’ – a new way for YouTube creators to debut pre-recorded videos as a “live moment”. Creators will be able to monetise these by using ‘super chat’, a tool that is also available via channel memberships.“When creators choose to release a premiere, we’ll automatically create a public landing page to build anticipation and hype up new content,” said Mohan.“When all fans show up to watch the premiere, they’ll be able to chat with each other (and with the creator) in real time via live chat. It’s as if a creator’s entire community is in one theatre together watching their latest upload.”
Android TV STB software solutions provider 3 Screen Solutions (3SS), and AI specialist Media Distillery, have announced a partnership to launch and co-commercialise a new pre-integrated AI-based end-to-end platform.The AI-based solution comprises a combination of machine learning methodologies to recognise every visual and audial aspect inside video, including faces, speech, topics, logos and text. This deep content understanding and indexing of what actually makes up an item of video content enables user searches that yield highly diverse and accurate results.3SS says that Media Distillery’s technology is an “ideal complement” to its 3READY front end and UI/UX solution. “While it may be easy to search for content, we all know it is not always easy to find it,” said Roland Sars, CEO of Media Distillery. “With our new joint solution with 3SS, viewers will get much more personal TV experiences, and finding their desired content will be quicker, easier, and more intuitive.”Kai-Christian Borchers, managing director of 3SS added: “With its AI expertise and innovation, Media Distillery is redefining the potential of content aggregation; it transforms an operator’s ability to really harvest content to get maximum yield, benefitting revenues while enabling great, personalized experiences for subscribers. “The TV of the future will be both simple and personal, and the combination of Media Distillery and 3READY is making that future possible today.”