NCAA MVP Alvarez hopes to see Lady Bombers continue success

first_imgNCAA MVP Shola Alvarez. Photo by Tristan Tamayo/INQUIRER.netShola Alvarez has effectively put Jose Rizal University in the volleyball map, and she wants her successors to continue what she and her teammates started in the 93rd season of the NCAA.And with the MVP trophy serving as the manifestation of Alvarez’ legacy with JRU, the charming captain  wants future Lady Bombers to become a constant fixture in the Final Four.ADVERTISEMENT MOST READ IOC member expelled from Olympics for run-in with guard Steam emission over Taal’s main crater ‘steady’ for past 24 hours READ: JRU star Alvarez captures NCAA MVPAnd Alvarez’ first lesson to Verzosa was to have the confidence to help take the Lady Bombers to the next level.“I heard her saying, because I will already leave the team, that she’s pressured to lead the team,” said Alvarez. “So I told her that they won’t be able to enter the Final Four if even before Season 94 starts she’s already feeling the pressure.”ADVERTISEMENT Sports Related Videospowered by AdSparcRead Next Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano Don’t miss out on the latest news and information. Phivolcs records 2 ‘discrete weak ash explosions’ at Taal Volcano GALLERY: Barangay Ginebra back as PBA Governors’ Cup kings Nueva Ecija warehouse making fake cigarettes raided, 29 Chinese workers nabbed It’s too early to present Duterte’s ‘legacy’ – Lacson READ: Amid MVP talks, JRU star Alvarez told: Focus on team not stats“JRU became known to the public not just because of what I did, this is the product of the hard work of what me and my teammates, and coaches did,” said Alvarez in Filipino Friday at Filoil Flying V Centre.FEATURED STORIESSPORTSTim Cone, Ginebra set their sights on elusive All-Filipino crownSPORTSGinebra beats Meralco again to capture PBA Governors’ Cup titleSPORTSAfter winning title, time for LA Tenorio to give back to Batangas folkThis was Lady Bombers’ first ever semifinals stint in the NCAA.Alvarez, who averaged 21.3 points to lead JRU to the fourth seed with a 9-6 record, will now leave JRU to Rookie of the Year Dolly Verzosa. View comments UK plans Brexit celebrations but warns businesses may suffer LATEST STORIES Trending Articles PLAY LIST 00:50Trending Articles03:30PH’s Rogen Ladon boxing flyweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)03:34PH’s Carlo Paalam boxing light flyweight final (HIGHLIGHTS)02:14Carpio hits red carpet treatment for China Coast Guard02:56NCRPO pledges to donate P3.5 million to victims of Taal eruption00:56Heavy rain brings some relief in Australia02:37Calm moments allow Taal folks some respite03:23Negosyo sa Tagaytay City, bagsak sa pag-aalboroto ng Bulkang Taal01:13Christian Standhardinger wins PBA Best Player award Lights inside SMX hall flicker as Duterte rants vs Ayala, Pangilinan anew Sea turtle trapped in net freed in Legazpi Citylast_img read more

‘We’ll Eradicate Poverty from Liberia’

first_imgDr. Jeremiah Whapoe, standard bearer, VOLTThe leader of one of the newest political parties, the Vision for Liberia’s Transformation Party (VOLT), Dr. Jeremiah Z. Whapoe, has assured his partisans and well-wishers that he is prepared to lead the country come 2017 with a guarantee to eradicate poverty completely.“Ours is not to reduce poverty, but through our merchandized farming system that would give rise to agricultural activities across the country, we will definitely eradicate poverty,” Dr. Whapoe declared.He made the remarks yesterday during a program marking the hoisting of the party’s flag alongside the nation’s flag. The program coincided with the dedication of the party headquarters on 3rd Street in Sinkor, Monrovia. Yesterday’s event, according to Dr. Whapoe, was a display to the public that VOLT has already won the victory ahead of 2017, “because we have visualized the way to transform the country with massive food production through mechanized farming.” He attributed what he considered Liberia’s failure to develop and meet international standards, to the failure of its leaders to listen when their citizens cry in abject poverty. This, he said, is tantamount to creating chaos.Dr. Whapoe inspired and kept the gathering mesmerized when he said, “we don’t have rice, money and other political gifts, but we have wisdom because we want your authority, not power, in order to robustly implement our mechanized farming to eradicate poverty, not to reduce it.”Shortly before hoisting the party’s flag, VOLT partisans in a resolution said the challenges of the country’s post-conflict leadership highlight the need for a new political order and democratic capacity building with clear participatory process involving communities and the leadership. This said the resolution, was a necessary condition to mitigate new or resurrected conflicts, adding, “It is our argument that community capacity building through grassroots leadership is a necessary and sufficient ingredient for the development and sustenance of democracy in post-conflict Liberia.“Reconciliation through an effective justice system, a people centered democratic governance, and political reforms including decentralization, and empowerment of women and underserved communities was a critical variable in this process. It characterizes a transformational agenda to achieving gradual stability and tackling mainstream ills in Liberia,” Said Whapoe.VOLT believes that the dilemmas of an inept government, injustice and undemocratic tenets have made transformative leadership to digress at both state and grassroots levels.National leadership of the so-called “big man” style where decision-making over the distribution of resources, power and authority are exclusively controlled by the president, (indicates) a compelling need for revisiting our laws, Constitution and policies.”Those who signed the party’s six-count resolution were VOLT national chairman, Gus A. Wilson, and other members including Dr. Whapoe, Samuel N. Brown, Chris Chiewolo and Emmanuel Yarl.Share this:Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Blizzard Challenge Cup Results

first_imgBlaine “Cannonball” Richter won Challenge Cup #13 in Grande Prairie, Sunday, with a time of 2:06:29 hours for the 75 km Tee Pee Creek circuit. Pat Ferris of the Blizzards was second at 2:17:03 and GPís Dave Kay third at 2:23:10.Peter King of the Blizzards won the 40 km distance with a 1:24:50 and Ken Nix was second at 1:30:00.Steve Magusin of GP won the 20 km with 40:00 minutes and Estelle Nix was second at 55:00.Grande Prairie won the day, narrowly, with 33 points to the Blizzards 30. The Blizzards still have a solid lead in the series with 575 points to GPís 302 and DCís 209.- Advertisement -Two more races to go, of the fifteen race series.Other times in the 75 k were Dave Jaeger 2:25:47, Sandy McDonald 2:32:10 and Francis Plum 2:33:12.Gord “The Hammer” Harris was in Penticton to do his second Ironman and Colter Young is doing the Tour of Belize. No results available at press time.Advertisement Coming up:-Final Thursday Baldonnel time trial of the season at 7 pm .-A weekend of Mountain Bike – River Madness coming up. The first is Sunday and the next is holiday Monday, both at 2 pm at Beatton River Park. www.ferrisfastcycles.comlast_img read more

Juventus move to next target as AC Milan ‘lick wounds’

first_img0Shares0000(Visited 1 times, 1 visits today) 0Shares0000“Forward to the next target:” Cristiano Ronaldo’s Juventus return to Serie A action after lifting the Italian Super Cup trophy © AFP / GIUSEPPE CACACEMILAN, Italy, Jan 18 – AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso conceded his side will have to lick their wounds and come out fighting after losing the Italian Super Cup trophy to an all-conquering Juventus who turn their focus back to their next target — an eighth consecutive Serie A title — after the three-week winter break in Italy.Unbeaten Juventus host bottom club Chievo in Turin on Monday, a team they opened their season against with a 3-2 win in Verona, looking to stretch their lead to 12 points after 20 games. Massimiliano Allegri’s side currently have a nine-point advantage on second-placed Napoli who face a tricky test against Lazio on Sunday.“We’ve started 2019 on the right foot. Forward to the next target,” warned Cristiano Ronaldo, who scored the only goal in Jeddah against Milan in midweek to bring his tally to 16 in all competitions.It was Allegri’s tenth trophy as Juventus boss and, after losing two of the last three Super Cup trophies, a boost in his side’s assault on all fronts including the Champions League.AC Milan — in fifth, one point behind Lazio — are looking for a morale-boosting return to the Champions League places against a Genoa side who have just one win in their last 12 league games.“We lick our wounds,” said Gattuso, who will watch the match from the stands after receiving a one-match touchline ban for angrily protesting a refereeing decision in Jeddah.It was a punishing game in the heat for AC Milan who will also be without suspended trio Franck Kessie, Alessio Romagnoli and Davide Calabria in Genoa.AC Milan coach Gennaro Gattuso will watch the game in Genoa from the stands © AFP / Marco BERTORELLOKessie was shown a straight red card while Calabria was booked for a foul and captain Romagnoli also given a yellow card for dissent.Spanish midfielder Suso however returns from suspension after missing the Super Cup.“We have to remain calm,” said Gattuso. “The important thing is recouping our energy.”– No fans, no problem for Inter –Inter Milan host Sassuolo behind closed doors in their San Siro stadium as punishment for racist chanting by their fans towards Napoli defender Kalidou Koulibaly before the winter break.The club — comfortably in third place seven points ahead of fourth-placed Lazio — have been allowed to invite local schoolchildren to the match against Sassuolo.But Luciano Spalletti’s side proved that an empty stadium was no obstacle as they cruised into the Coppa Italia quarter-finals with a 6-2 win over second-tier Benevento last week.Koulibaly, meanwhile, remains suspended for Napoli’s game against Lazio at the San Paolo Stadium.The Senegalese defender will serve the second of a two-match ban for his sending off against Inter, for sarcastically applauding the referee.Resurgent Roma, in sixth, continue their push for Champions League football at home against Torino.“Despite some difficulties we are still there,” said Roma midfielder Lorenzo Pellegrini.“It would be absurd for Roma not to get into the top four of the Italian championship.”FixturesSaturdayAS Roma v Torino (5PM), Udinese v Parma (8PM), Inter Milan v Sassuolo (10:30PM)SundayFrosinone v Atalanta (2:30pm), Fiorentina v Sampdoria, SPAL v Bologna, Cagliari v Empoli, Napoli v Lazio (10:30pm)MondayGenoa v AC Milan (5pm), Juventus v Chievo (10:30pm)last_img read more


first_imgHarps grabbed a vital away point against Wexford Youths last night.The Ballybofey outfit traveled to Ferrycarraig hoping for three vital away points but had to settle for a share of the spoils.Former Derry City striker Ryan Curran put Harps ahead in the 24th minute form the penalty spot. But Wexford’s equaliser was scored by Andy Mulligan six minutes into the second half.Harps pushed for the winner but it just didn’t come.Ollie Horgan will be happy enough with his side’s start to the campaign with 11 points on the board and sitting mid-table.It’s very much a “building season” for Harps but they must continue to hope to win at home and snatch as many points away if they are to consolidate their place throughout the season. HARPS GRAB DECENT POINT AFTER 1-1 DRAW WITH WEXFORD YOUTHS was last modified: April 30th, 2016 by StephenShare this:Click to share on Facebook (Opens in new window)Click to share on Twitter (Opens in new window)Click to share on LinkedIn (Opens in new window)Click to share on Reddit (Opens in new window)Click to share on Pocket (Opens in new window)Click to share on Telegram (Opens in new window)Click to share on WhatsApp (Opens in new window)Click to share on Skype (Opens in new window)Click to print (Opens in new window)last_img read more

Six Flags’ figures are 5% higher

first_img AD Quality Auto 360p 720p 1080p Top articles1/5READ MORERose Parade grand marshal Rita Moreno talks New Year’s Day outfit and ‘West Side Story’ remake Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, had 3.1 million, good enough for 18th but off 2 percent from last year. Worldwide, amusement park attendance increased 2.2 percent to 253 million visitors in 2005. Most major parks don’t release their attendance figures, but the Amusement Business numbers are considered the most reliable estimates in the industry. Six Flags Inc., which invested $135 million in new rides and attractions around the nation for the 2005 season, was rewarded with a 5.7 percent increase across the chain, according to Amusement Business. The opening of a water park at its Six Flags Great America park in Gurnee, Ill., helped boost attendance by 24 percent. Magic Mountain opened its new Batman Stunt Show feature and will follow up in the spring with the new thrill ride Tatsu. Six Flags California ranked 22nd. Attendance rose 5 percent in 2005 at Six Flags California’s two Valencia theme parks, together among the top 25 theme parks in the nation. An estimated 176 million visitors – 2.8 million locally at Magic Mountain and Hurricane Harbor – visited North America’s most popular parks, according to an annual survey released this week by the trade publication Amusement Business and the research firm Economics Research Associates. Attendance at the nation’s 50 most popular amusement parks rose 4.2 percent overall this year, powered by strong investments in new rides, the 50th anniversary of Disneyland and a hurricane season that bypassed the theme park capital of Orlando, Fla. Attendance was off at two Ohio facilities in the publication’s list of the top 25 best-attended North American amusement parks. Paramount’s Kings Island in southwest Ohio had 3.3 million visitors in 2005 to place 16th, but was down 5.1 percent overall. The Cedar Fair parks saw attendance rise 1.6 percent. But its California-based Knott’s Berry Farm park declined 3 percent, mainly because of a rainy first quarter, and its flagship Cedar Point park in Ohio declined despite the introduction of the maXair ride. Cedar Point planned to lower admission prices by $5 a ticket, a counterintuitive move in an industry that annually raises its prices. The goal is to have more people go through the turnstiles in a market that has struggled economically with layoffs in the automotive industry, said Brian Witherow, a Cedar Fair vice president. The Sandusky-based park’s three biggest markets are Detroit, Cleveland and Toledo, Ohio. “Clearly, we can’t control things like gas prices and unemployment rates in our core market … but one thing we can control is the admission price,” Witherow said. Neither a rainy spring in California nor a parade of destructive hurricanes in the southeast slowed down growth in the $10 billion industry, which had strong momentum from last year, the first year attendance had increased since the 2001 terrorist attacks hobbled the U.S. tourism and travel industry. Those parks that acquired new rides in 2005 saw their investments pay off while those parks that had an off-year in their capital investment cycle, for the most part, experienced attendance dips, said James Zoltak, editor of Amusement Business. Universal’s two parks in Orlando, Universal Studios and Islands of Adventures, each saw declines of 8.5 percent, while attendance at Universal Studios Hollywood dipped 6 percent. All three parks came off strong attendance increases in 2004 and the parks in 2005 didn’t introduce an excitement-generating thrill ride comparable to 2004’s Revenge of the Mummy ride. Tom Schroder, a Universal spokesman, said 2004’s high-flying attendance figures were a tough act to follow. “The bar was raised so incredibly high for us by spectacular attendance in 2004, combined with a very competitive environment to higher gas prices,” Schroder said. “2005 was just slightly less great than 2004.” Amusement Business also said a worldwide marketing juggernaut highlighting the 50th anniversary of Disneyland at Disney’s parks around the world may also have siphoned off some attendance at the Universal parks. The Walt Disney Co.’s four parks in Florida and two parks in California benefited from the celebration with new rides, stage shows and parades. The Florida parks had attendance increases of between 5 percent and 6.5 percent, while Disneyland and Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, respectively, saw growth of 8.5 percent and 3.6 percent. The Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, with 16.1 million visitors, and Disneyland in California, with 14.5 million visitors, were not only the two most visited parks in North America in 2005, but they were the best-attended parks in the world. In North America, the remaining top five spots were filled out with Disney’s other Florida parks: Epcot, Disney- MGM Studios and Animal Kingdom. Disney parks in the United States, Japan and France took up the top eight spots in attendance worldwide. “We think that certainly the 50th anniversary of Disneyland has resonated with consumers, not just here in California but really all over the world,” said Lisa Haines, vice president of strategic communications at Walt Disney Parks & Resorts. Anheuser Busch-owned parks saw sharp increases at locations with new thrill rides. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay added the Sheikra ride this year and saw an attendance boost of 5.1 percent, while Busch Gardens in Williamsburg, Va., added the DarKastle thrill ride and had an 8.3 percent jump. Viacom Inc.’s Paramount Parks unit had a chainwide increase of 2.2 percent. A list of the 25 best-attended amusement parks in 2005 The top 25 best-attended North American amusement parks in 2005, their attendance and the percentage change from last year. 1. Magic Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Fla., 16.1 million, up 6.5 percent 2. Disneyland in Anaheim, 14.5 million, up 8.5 percent 3. Epcot at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 9.9 million, up 5.5 percent 4. Disney-MGM Studios at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 8.6 million, up 5 percent 5. Disney’s Animal Kingdom at Walt Disney World in Orlando, 8.2 million, up 5 percent 6. Universal Studios in Orlando, 6.1 million, down 8.5 percent 7. Disney’s California Adventure in Anaheim, 5.8 million, up 3.6 percent 8. Islands of Adventure at Universal Orlando, 5.76 million, down 8.5 percent 9. SeaWorld Orlando, 5.6 million, up 0.2 percent 10. Universal Studios Hollywood, 4.7 million, down 6 percent 11. Adventuredome at Circus Circus in Las Vegas, 4.5 million, up 2.3 percent 12. Busch Gardens Tampa Bay, Fla., 4.3 million, up 5.1 percent 13. SeaWorld San Diego, 4.1 million, up 2.5 percent 14. Paramount Canada’s Wonderland in Maple, Ontario, 3.6 million, up 7 percent 15. Knott’s Berry Farm in Buena Park, 3.47 million, up 3 percent 16. Paramount’s Kings Island in Kings Island, Ohio, 3.3 million, down 5.1 percent 17. Morey’s Piers in Wildwood, N.J., 3.1 million, up 1 percent 18. Cedar Point in Sandusky, Ohio, 3.1 million, down 2 percent 19. Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk in Santa Cruz, Calif., 3 million, flat 20. Six Flags Great Adventure in Jackson, N.J., 2.9 million, up 6 percent 21. Six Flags Great America in Gurnee, Ill., 2.8 million, up 24 percent 22. Six Flags California’s Magic Mountain in Valencia, 2.8 million, up 5 percent 23. Hersheypark in Hershey, Pa., 2.7 million, flat 24. Busch Gardens, Williamsburg, Va., 2.6 million, up 8.3 percent 25. Dollywood in Pigeon Forge, Tenn., 2.3 million, up 7.3 percent Source: Amusement Business and Economics Research Associates 160Want local news?Sign up for the Localist and stay informed Something went wrong. Please try again.subscribeCongratulations! You’re all set!last_img read more

Tariffs, trade and the battle between supply and demand

first_imgShare Facebook Twitter Google + LinkedIn Pinterest By Doug Tenney, Leist MercantileSupply bulls and demand bears, two terms you have heard much about the past two months. Earlier this summer it was most apparent a huge tug of war was taking place in regard to corn prices. Supply bulls felt they had the upper hand in prices due to huge unknown prevented planted corn acreage. It was most obvious corn planting had been delayed with each release of the Monday afternoon weekly crop progress report from late April into the first half of June. Prevented planting for corn acres grew with each rain event. The supply bulls were utterly disappointed with the June 28 USDA Acres Report. Corn acres were several million acres higher than expected, a bearish surprise. December CBOT corn closed that day at $4.315, down 19.5 cents.Demand bears could see corn planting was at a record slow pace this spring. Yet, they felt they could win the day, knowing demand was falling week after week. U.S. corn export sales and shipments were on the decline. It was evident Brazil was producing a record corn crop. Further demand reduction was apparent with a huge southeast U.S. pork producer securing cheaper corn from Brazil. Corn from Brazil was cheaper even with freight costs compared to rail from the Midwest. This purchase was for 19 million bushels or eight boats to be imported into North Carolina.At the end of July, old corn basis levels were decades strong across Ohio. Many locations were a plus basis with numbers anywhere from 20 to 50 over the September. Several locations in western Ohio had seen basis weakening ten cents or more compared to earlier in July. Expect lots of volatility for both old and new corn into harvest.Weak demand for corn, soybeans, and wheat with plentiful grain stocks around the world were negative for grain prices last month. Grains were all lower in July compared to June. Corn was down 24 cents for the month, soybeans and wheat down 40 cents for the month. Supply bulls were most frustrated as they expected prices to rally above $5 with corn prevented planted acres expected to be record high. Early August some are already suggesting it will take hot weather along with reduced yield to move December CBOT corn above its June 17 high of $4.73.Late last month President Trump announced a 10% tariff on $300 billion of China goods imported into the U.S. would be effective Sept. 1. This follows the disappointing U.S./China trade talks, which ended days earlier. Our U.S. trade officials had been in China desperately working to secure a trade deal. Those talks ended with zero announcements. The lack of a trade deal was not a surprise to the market. The announcement of another round of trade talks in September was a yawner with no price movement.U.S. Midwest weather was non-threatening for much of July with cooler than normal temperatures. Weather and weak demand combined for a powerful dynamo, leaving supply bulls gasping and sputtering for air, exclaiming, “What about acres?” It reminds us a bull needs to be fed every day. Bullish news has been lacking much of the summer. In an arena of growing world stocks for corn, soybeans, and wheat, a one-hit, one time wonder of prevented planted U.S. corn acres, supply has had monumental difficulty battling demand and weather.The August 12 Monthly Supply and Demand Report is awaited with much anticipation. The market has been starved for fresh news in the weeks following the bearish June 28 Acres Report. It will be October and later before the market has a stronger grasp on corn and soybean acres and yields. The long, drawn out planting season will result in a normal start to harvest for some while it will be delayed for others. Expect a longer and later harvest season than normal.last_img read more

Solar Water Heating

first_imgBrattleboro, Vermont is fortunate to have a long history with solar water heating. When I moved to the area in 1980, the company Solar Applications had been installing solar hot water systems for five years, and a spin-off company, Solar Alternatives, was manufacturing quality flat-plate solar collectors—many of which are still in use in the area. While Solar Alternatives closed down in the 1980s with falling energy prices and the end of solar tax credits, Solar Applications, has continued to install and service solar water heating systems for more than thirty years.Frenchman Alain Ratteau, who founded Solar Applications in 1975, sold his company this year to Andy Cay, and it has been renamed Integrated Solar Applications. When interest in solar waned in the mid-80s, my friend Alain shifted most of his focus to oil or gas space heating (specializing in the more sophisticated systems), but I was always impressed that he maintained the company name Solar Applications and maintained a deep commitment to renewables. Alain works with the new company and is helping to establish it as a premier provider of not just solar water heating systems, but also solar space-heating, solar-electric, micro-hydro, wind, and biomass. Visit the company on Spring Tree Road (past the Marina Restaurant).Most solar water heating systems consist of one or more flat-plate collectors mounted on a roof or separate rack through which potable water or another heat-transfer fluid is pumped. This fluid circulates to a storage tank where the solar-heated fluid passes through a heat exchanger to heat water in the tank. With “closed-loop” systems, the heat-transfer fluid—usually a mix of water and nontoxic propylene glycol antifreeze—remains in the collector all the time. In other systems, referred to as “drainback systems,” plain water is used in the collector, and when the collector gets too cold, the water drains back into a small tank in the house.Other systems operate passively by “thermosiphoning” (the principle that heated water rises naturally). With this approach, more common in warmer climates, potable water in the collector naturally circulates into a storage tank located above the collector.A fairly recent option with some solar water heaters is a solar-electric (photovoltaic) panel to power the circulation pump. In this case, the PV panel serves as both the pump’s energy source and the controller. When the sun is shining and the PV panel is generating electricity, the pump operates and water is heated; when there isn’t enough sunlight to power the circulator pump, the solar water heater shuts down—it’s a simple control system.No matter what type of solar water heating system is used, in our climate it is generally used as a “preheater” for a conventional water heater—which can be either a storage-type water heater or an on-demand (tankless) water heater. The standard water heater, which could be electric or gas-fired, boosts the water temperature as needed.Don’t expect a solar water heater to provide all your hot water. A well-designed and properly sized system in our climate may provide all of the summertime hot water, but it is likely to provide less than half of what you need during the winter months. Some homeowners combine solar water heating with a heat exchanger in a wood stove—so that they’re heating their water primarily with renewable energy sources year-round.To maximize the percent of hot water your family can obtain from the sun, it’s important to conserve hot water use: install low-flow showerheads and faucet aerators; insulate your hot-water pipes; buy a top-efficiency dishwasher and only wash full loads; and consider washing clothes in cold water.Installers of solar hot water systems in the area include Integrated Solar Applications in Brattleboro (257-7493), Gary MacArthur in Marlboro (257-7026), John Kondos of Home-Efficiency Resources in Spofford (603-363-4505), Green Energy Options in Keene (603-358-3444), and the Greenfield Solar Store (413-772-3122). Somewhat farther afield are groSolar in White River Junction (802-374-4494, and Solar Works, Inc. in Montpelier (800-339-7804, read more

Indian Media Face A ‘C’ Change

first_imgThe Big B, Hindi cinema superstar Amitabh Bachchan, was missing at FICCI Frames, the annual meeting of the entertainment and media (E&M) industry held by the Federation of Indian Chambers of Commerce and Industry. So was information and broadcasting minister Priya Ranjan Dasmunshi, who was supposed to inaugurate the recent three-day event in Mumbai. In his absence, there were no policy pronouncements, something that had been eagerly awaited. But most participants shrugged it off, because the unstated theme this year was not change, but three other “C” words: consolidation, corporatization and convergence.Yet change has, in fact, been occurring. As filmmaker Yash Chopra, the Frames chairman, said at the inaugural session: “New technologies and ideas and young and brilliant filmmakers are here to take the [film] industry forward. A revolution has happened in the industry.” Frames co-chairman Kunal Dasgupta, CEO of Multi Screen Media (formerly Sony Entertainment), was equally optimistic about television. “What is happening in the industry is that the professionals are becoming entrepreneurs and are setting up ventures in various fields like digital distribution and content creation,” he said. Consolidation is a topic because growth has slowed. According to a report prepared by PricewaterhouseCoopers (PwC) in conjunction with FICCI, the industry grew 17% last year to $12.8 billion. That is lower than the 23% growth of the previous year and the four-year compound annual growth rate of 19%.The report’s title, “Sustaining Growth,” is a message in itself. A breakdown by industry segment reveals that television, at $5.65 billion, grew 18% last year, compared with 21% in 2006 and 23% in 2005. Filmed entertainment – both Hindi and regional cinema – grew 14% to $2.4 billion, down from 24% growth in 2006. Print, at $3.7 billion, grew at 16%, compared with 17% in 2006. Only online advertising’s growth rate increased, but at $67.5 million, it is just a small part of the larger picture.PwC says the industry is getting its second wind before galloping again. It projects that the television industry will grow at 23% this year and 22% annually through 2012. The numbers for filmed entertainment are not as heartening: 15% growth this year and 13% through 2012. Print is marginally better off, with projections of 14% growth in both cases.The comparative growth rates may look small, but in a global context they are impressive. The global entertainment and media industry grew 6.5% last year to $1.53 trillion. The PwC report estimates annual growth for 2007 through 2011 at 6.4%. But even while the Indian E&M industry is a minnow in the international ocean, everyone seems to want part of it.Private equity and foreign direct investment have been particularly active. Deals struck last year include a $56.6 million investment by Baytree Investments (Mauritius) and others in direct-to-home satellite television player Tata Sky; a $40.2 million infusion by Walt Disney Company in United Home Entertainment (which owns children’s channel Hungama TV); and Reuters Singapore’s investment of $21.9 million in Times Global Broadcasting, the television arm of the Times of India group. Meanwhile, the Abu Dhabi Investment House has announced $400 million in funding for an entertainment city in Navi Mumbai (New Bombay).“This industry is going to see a lot of investment from various sources – private equity, venture capitalists, the public,” says Rajesh Jain, director of information, communications and entertainment for KPMG India. “As we move toward a brand-driven society, more and more advertising bucks will be placed here.” There have also been a number of new alliances. George Soros picked up a 3% stake in Anil Ambani’s Reliance Entertainment last year. One of India’s fastest-growing media conglomerates, Network18, snapped up Infomedia, a leader in business directories and B2B and B2C publications. And Temasek Holdings, Singapore’s state-owned investment company, bought into television broadcaster INX Media.“The E&M industry in India has reached an inflection point,” says Chirag Negandhi, media analyst at Enam Securities. “Opportunities and growth embrace all its segments.” TV channels lead the growth story, he says. Yet while more than 100 are active now, not all of them will survive. A period of consolidation is on the horizon.Consolidation or Convergence?But does consolidation or convergence come first? For many, they are two sides of the same coin. The quickest way to fill technology gaps is through mergers and acquisitions. Consider Network18, which has two general news channels – CNN-IBN and IBN7 – and two business channels – CNBC TV18 and CNBC Awaaz, the latter in Hindi. It has an Internet company, Web18. It provides real-time news services through Newswire18. Homeshop18 is the group’s online and on-air retail venture.Not content with this array, Network18 devoted 2007 to filling its perceived gaps. It formed a joint venture with Viacom, called Viacom18, which will run the channels that were previously under the corporate umbrella of MTV India. Studio18 is a foray into filmed entertainment. The Infomedia acquisition has led to new ventures in print. Network18 now has struck an alliance with Forbes to launch a business magazine in India. The Financial Times of London has broken off its relationship with the Delhi-headquartered Business Standard and formed an online venture with Network18. That arrangement could crystallize into a business newspaper. (The Wall Street Journal’s collaboration with The Hindustan Times group to produce the business newspaper Mint demonstrates that it can be done, despite restrictions on foreign direct investment in media.) Meanwhile, Network18 has launched a joint venture with Jagran Prakashan, the publisher of one of the largest-selling Hindi dailies, for a Hindi business paper. The Network18 story is being repeated in many E&M houses across India.Technology convergence, too, has led to alliances. Hindi daily Dainik Jagran has tied up with Yahoo to launch a co-branded Hindi portal. Digital Media Convergence Ltd., owned by Subhash Chandra, has launched a mobile TV application in collaboration with public sector telecom services provider BSNL. Everywhere you look, companies are fitting pieces of the puzzle together, even if the big picture may take time to evolve.Convergence is a global phenomenon and “it is going to happen here at a faster pace partly because – from a technological point of view – we have leapfrogged,” says Ravi Bapna, associate professor and executive director of the Center for IT and the Networked Economy at the Indian School of Business, Hyderabad. “The wireless networks here, for example, are state-of-the-art and, as soon as 3G rolls out, we are going to see movies on cell phones.”The synergies created by convergence will “increase the size of the pie,” Bapna says. “This will also foster innovation because, with content being delivered across multiple platforms, it will need to be segmented more effectively … and there will be a need for new pricing models, etc. As the market grows, the competitive forces and innovation will decide who gets what share of the pie.” Whether India realizes its potential depends on its ability to foster innovation, Bapna says. “Why is it that the new thinking in media like YouTube is not coming out of India?” he asks. “It’s because the ecosystem for entrepreneurship in this area is still at the very early stages. People have good technical ideas but they don’t know how to take them to market. We have the media people and the tech-savvy people but we don’t have people who are coming out with ideas that create new demand from the consumer. The business aspect is where I still see some barriers – our ability to think two years ahead of what the consumers are going to really want and to come up with an application to deliver it. Like in Silicon Valley, the universities and the entrepreneurs here need to work very closely together.”Increased CorporatizationJain of KPMG says that consolidation and corporatization have occurred in almost all E&M segments. “Broadcasting was one of the first movers,” he says. “In print, too, consolidation was there earlier. But with the regional print media now being recognized to be as important as national mainstream print, there is increasing consolidation. Outdoor advertising is very fragmented. But several large players with deep pockets have come in to play.”In the film industry, “a huge amount of corporatization has happened from a viewpoint of where the money comes from,” Jain says. “In distribution, there is a lot of consolidation happening. More and more people are getting into mainstream distribution and this trend will continue.” Direct-to-home is already corporatized like the broadcast industry, he says, while “in the cable industry, because of the fragmentation … the process of corporatization will take time unless regulatory pressures force consolidation.” The advertising industry has always been corporatized, he says.“The new media is still evolving, but given the large amount of private equity, corporatization is only a matter of time,” Jain says. “As more and more private equity comes into play, it brings in significant improvements in governance standards. Over $500 million has been committed by private equity in the past 12 months in some form or other.“Many people tend to look at corporatization as a legal structure,” he adds, “but corporatization needs to be viewed in three or four contexts. The mere fact of having a company and a legal corporate structure alone is not corporatization. The governance around it, consolidation and professionalization are the more important attributes of corporatization. From this perspective, corporatization in the Indian media and entertainment industry is not slow. There is a lot of it already happening.”Except for some very large companies, “we still have miles to go” regarding corporate governance, Jain says. In terms of professionalism, the industry, like many others, is seeing a talent crunch. “One has to realize that this industry cannot be compared with, say, the manufacturing industry. Given the creative nature of the industry, one has to balance the three elements of entrepreneurship, professionalism and creativity. Given that, professionalism is happening and it will continue to grow.”Bapna of the Indian School of Business agrees. “Corporatization was slow for a long time, but in recent times it has been picking up at a good pace,” he says. “In my opinion, we are over the hump. In the film industry, for example, right now everything is aligned with big business, and the corporate sector can get in and start funding movies. It’s more like a regular business than some kind of street-business model. Going forward it will only increase. It will become more and more like Hollywood. We will also see global players getting involved because this is a large market. We have already seen that big studios from the U.S. have been tapping talent in the animation field. But now, like everybody else, these companies will also look at India as a market.”Cricket, Cinema, Comedy and Crime Conference participants raised other areas of concern, among them the credibility of news channels. India has more than 50, all desperate for eyeballs, and news can fall victim to sensationalism. “Today, the consumer demands the 4 C’s, namely cricket, cinema, comedy and crime,” says G. Krishnan, CEO of the India Today Group-owned Aaj Tak Hindi news channel. “There is no option for news channels but to feed the viewers with what they want.”Speakers at a session on “news entertainment” pointed out that the response was limited when serious issues such as farmers’ suicides were aired. This was not just a matter of perception; it was underscored in audience participation programs that involved telephone call-ins or text messages. “We do carry stories that matter, and we do deal with social responsibility,” Krishnan said. “But at times, when things really get demanding and competitive, in the interests of our channels, we have to go for what the viewers want and not think of social responsibility.”No consensus emerged, but it was evident that the era of news as entertainment would continue. And that could be dangerous: As another panel on social responsibility pointed out, it could invite government censorship.Piracy was the other major issue. Asha Swarup, the information and broadcasting secretary who filled in for minister Dasmunshi, touched on the subject the very first day. “Piracy has been hampering the rapid growth of the entertainment business,” she said. “The only way to tackle this is to ensure tight scrutiny from the supply side. Simultaneous or quick release on the Internet or home video could be an alternative to curbing piracy.”The issue came into sharper focus on the conference’s third day, when U.S.-India Business Council president Ron Somers released a study – “The Effects of Counterfeiting and Piracy on India’s Entertainment Industry” – produced by the Council and consulting firm Ernst & Young India. “This study estimates that the Indian entertainment industry loses some 820,000 jobs and about $4 billion annually to the piracy menace,” Somers said. “This is an unacceptable loss by any measure.”In some ways, the Indian E&M industry has itself has maintained a cavalier attitude toward piracy. Almost every successful movie abroad has a clone in Hindi. A visitor from New York would find much that is familiar on local TV channels, even though he did not understand the language. And advertising in India, even as little as a decade ago, gave new meaning to the word “copywriter.”In a globalized environment, intellectual property becomes sacrosanct, and the Indian E&M industry is no longer playing to just a domestic gallery. First, there is the diaspora. Second, in areas including cricket, gaming and animation, India is becoming mainstream. Frames 2008 demonstrated that: Foreign delegates numbered 500. Some of the industry’s big players headed to Las Vegas for April’s National Association of Broadcasters jamboree. The title of one session: “Globalizing Bollywood.”   Related Itemslast_img read more

10 months agoREVEALED: Chelsea give up Hazard option as part of BVB Pulisic deal

first_imgREVEALED: Chelsea give up Hazard option as part of BVB Pulisic dealby Paul Vegas10 months agoSend to a friendShare the loveChelsea have scrapped their option for Borussia Monchengladbach midfielder Thorgan Hazard.BILD says in talks with Borussia Dortmund to sign Christian Pulisic, Chelsea agreed to write off their first refusal clause for Hazard.BVB see Hazard as a replacement for Pulisic and weren’t prepared to sell the American to the Blues unless they agreed not to compete for the Belgium international.Hazard confirmed recently, “Yes, Chelsea has a say in what happens to me. But that’s governed by the clubs.”However, the Blues will now allow BVB to move for the midfielder without any counter offer. TagsTransfersAbout the authorPaul VegasShare the loveHave your saylast_img read more