Related posts:Costa Rica launches catalog of premium food products Food and Fútbol: Learning from the Netherlands Seaweed can help feed the world. But will we eat it? Recipe VIDEO: Rebooting Costa Rican cuisine at Al Mercat For a country with slogans like “pura vida” and “sin ingredientes artificiales,” Costa Rica isn’t an easy place to find organic produce, hempseeds or gluten free flours. In fact, the average Costa Rican citizen consumes more than six pounds of pesticides in food every year, and more than 20 percent of the population is obese.Ana Victoria Granera Varela, proprietor of the Moravia based “eco-store” Mundo Verde, has joined a growing number Costa Ricans offering organic food and a corresponding education on more healthy eating in Costa Rica. “The situation for Ticos right now is that they are realizing that their nutrition has become very bad, so now they are making a conscious movement,” Varela says.She’s right. Although the market for healthy goods in Costa Rica isn’t quite as strong as the U.S. market, it has been growing since the 1990s and is expected to continue. Lee Kaplan-Unsoeld/The Tico TimesHaving lived in San Francisco, Varela got the inspiration for Mundo Verde when she went to a nearby town called Sebastopol, where local, organic agriculture was popular. “I went to a Whole Foods Market and loved it, and I thought that there wasn’t anything as diverse in Costa Rica with local and organic foods. From there I started to look for local producers. I found Feria Verde (in Barrio Aranjuez) and Feria Treque (in Barrio Carmen) as well, and Mundo Verde came as a result.”Having been open for around seven months, the store attracts health junkies who want gluten free flours and super-foods like chia seeds, as well as people looking for local, organic chocolates or jams. In addition to the take-home products, Varela offers fresh organic smoothies, and her family’s artisan bakery is across the street.While certain health foods are available at supermarkets like Automercado, the majority of these products are imported from other countries. Varela mentioned that in addition to supporting local farmers and small businesses, local products often “don’t have as many chemicals; they’re free of a huge amount of preservatives.”People in Costa Rica seeking local options take advantage of the farmers markets and make sure to stock up on locally grown vegetables and other products, but these usually take place just once a week. A craving for healthy food on a Tuesday is tough to satisfy.Varela pointed out that other health food stores do exist around San José, including Ecomercado in San Pedro, Iriria Tienda Verde in Aranjuez, El Mercadito de San Rafael in Escazú, and Minisuper Verde in Rohmoser, and others. She says she’s glad to have the competition if it means everybody gets to eat better food. “I see them as support for others, support in between everyone.” Shelves at Mundo Verde. Lee Kaplan-Unsoeld/The Tico TimesVarela recognizes that healthy food is often expensive food, and admits that most of her customers are middle-to-upper-class. But she wonders if it really has to be that way. While many companies break into the health foods and organic markets to capitalize on the growing number of interested consumers, as evidenced by Wall Street’s takeover of organic companies in the U.S., Varela says her aim is different.Like most businesses, Mundo Verde hopes to expand and create new locations around the country. However, Varela’s plans to turn the back area of the store into an educational space. She envisions workshops on urban and organic agriculture taking place, as well as yoga, tai chi and other alternative therapies taking place in the space.More than three-quarters of the U.S. natural foods market is controlled by large retail chains, which hasn’t been ideal for local farmers and small businesses. With the future of the Costa Rican natural foods market still being mapped out, stores like Mundo Verde are a good thing. They can see that profits are distributed more equitably than in the U.S., while selling delicious and healthy food to anyone willing to pay for it.More information can be found at https://www.facebook.com/MundoVerdeCostaRica, Mundo Verde is located 25 meters North of the Megasuper in San Vincente Moravia, San José, Costa Rica. Facebook Comments
Hoping to integrate its air freight product across its domestic and international networks, Qantas has sold its 50 percent stake in StarTrack to acquire 100 percent of air freight business, Australian air Express.The agreement signed this morning will see the termination of an arrangement signed in 2003 that saw the two parties own 50 percent of both Australian air Express and StarTrack.Although still subject to regulatory and shareholder approval, Qantas expects the transaction to be completed in the fourth quarter this year, with a profit of up to $30 million.As well as issue return, the airline’s chief executive Alan Joyce said the 100 percent acquisition was in line with growth plans and will strengthen the carrier’s air cargo network. “By leveraging the best from both businesses and delivering efficiencies, we will provide a market-leading service to our customers,” Mr Joyce said. “It enables us to improve a core business area while divesting a non-core asset, StarTrack.”“We will continue to have a close commercial relationship with Australia Post and StarTrack remaining major customers of Australian air Express and Qantas Freight.”Late last week, the Australian flag carrier announced it had “successfully refinanced” up to AU$300 million undrawn tranche due to mature in May 2013.The airline said the undrawn tranche had increased by AU$100 million, with maturity date extended to September 2015.Qantas noted that as it was an undrawn facility, there would be no changes to its overall debt position. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J
Iquitos, Peru – Consistently dedicated to improving the guest experience, Aqua Expeditions, Peru’s first five-star luxury-cruise company that ventures through rarely seen areas of the Peruvian Amazon, has recently made major headway on both the environmental and culinary fronts.Manatee and Dolphin Rescue Center Now all Aqua Expeditions itineraries include a visit to a Manatee and Dolphin Rescue Center, where guests can observe first-hand while biologists and volunteers care for endangered Amazon manatees and dolphins. The population of these mammals, specifically manatees, has been steadily declining over the past century due to hunting, destruction of their habitats and pollution. Although travelers often spot dolphins while aboard theM/V Aqua, manatees are impossible to see from the surface of the water, making this rare contact with them all the more special. Freeing Turtles into the Pacaya Samiria Reserve Peru’s Pacaya-Samiria reserve is home to the endangered Taricaya turtles, a river turtle that has been threatened for decades, primarily by humans, through the over-consumption of its eggs. In November 2008, Aqua Expeditions and many of its guests assisted in the release of 300,000 of these newborn turtles into the reserve. The entire process required the construction of artificial beaches in July (the river naturally recedes during this month), collecting eggs throughout August, incubating these eggs in September and October, and finally freeing the turtles in November. This method gives Taricaya turtles a 40 percent chance of living full lives, which can span more than 60 years, and has already begun to reverse the threat of their extinction in the area.Aqua Gives Back Aqua Expeditions has always made it a priority to support surrounding local communities, and is now taking it to a global level, supporting key foundations for world-wide medical research and education, including Stop Cancer and the Fernbank Museum of Natural History.Culinary News Aqua Expedition’s Executive Chef Pedro Miguel Schiaffino has created entirely new – and refreshingly imaginative – lunch and dinner menus that change daily, and a special kid’s menu. Guests will enjoy Italian, American, and Asian-inspired menus, as well as locally inspired dishes, such as cured salmon filled with local pepper mousse, crème fresh and cucumber salad, ceviche with corn and sweet potato, baked scallops with parmesan cheese and pisco and crunchy brazil nut cones filled with local guava cream and caramel-rum sauce. Latin classics such as fried plantains, churros, empanadas and tamales are available as well. Widely recognized for his culinary talent, Schiaffino was recently nominated as the only South American Chef to Madrid Fusion, an annual event in Madrid hosting high-profile chefs from around the world.www.aquaexpeditions.com
The electoral court, following a request by both sides, on Monday set June 1 for the first hearing in the case of a recount for last December’s Limassol municipal election.It also set subsequent hearing dates for June 2, 6, 7 and 9.The court ordered that within seven days from Monday, the applicant – the side of former mayor Andreas Christou – must provide more detail, and that the legal service be allowed five days to evaluate the documents. The legal service made the latter request.The documents concern the receipt of ballot boxes by the officials in charge of the polling stations.In statements, Christou’s lawyer Fotini Michaelides said that what was important on Monday was that they had been given dates for the hearings and that the merits of the case could finally be heard.She said the details requested by the legal service would be filed well within the seven days ordered by the court.Christou, his party Akel, and other supporters, filed for a recount after he lost to Nicos Nicolaides by just nine votes.You May LikeClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
A woman reported to police that her home was broken into and jewellery and old coins worth some €40,000 were stolen while she was away during Christmas.The woman said the thief or thieves took a safe that contained the valuables.Investigators found that the wooden shutters and the door to a room in the rear of the house had been breached.The house did not have an alarm system not where the valuables insured. You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GamePlay this for 1 minute and see why everyone is addictedPlarium I Vikings: Free Online GameUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoThe Deniz boat incident showed clearly the intentions of the Turkish sideUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News 12Feb Callton, Lyons introduce bills to improve patient access to medical marihuana Medical marihuana patients statewide are one step closer to safe access, thanks to legislation introduced at the state Capitol today by Reps. Mike Callton and Lisa Posthumus Lyons.The bills improve legislation that passed the House last term, implementing ideas developed at lengthy workgroup meetings with stakeholders, including patients, caregivers, law enforcement, and officials from cities, villages and townships.Legislation authored by Callton, R-Nashville, would transition what are known today as dispensaries into “provisioning centers” to dispense marihuana in a clean, regulated environment. Lyons’s bill will allow patients to use non-smokeable forms of marihuana, such as tinctures and other liquid forms more suitable for children and the elderly.“People traditionally think of marihuana as a liberal issue,” Callton said. “This is a conservative bill that provides for local control. Furthermore, this isn’t a criminal matter. It’s a health care issue. As a medical professional, I recognize that patients who suffer from some of the worst conditions – epilepsy, cancer, chronic pain – need safe treatment options that give them relief without fear of criminal prosecution.”“The bottom line here is that we need to implement common-sense measures to ensure patients have safe access to medicinal marihuana,” said Lyons, R-Alto. “Additionally, we badly need to provide for alternative forms of medicinal marihuana because smoking may not be the most effective or healthy choice for patients, especially children. It is absurd that patients and parents face prosecution for using a method that best meets their medical needs, and we need to fix it.”Callton’s measure states that provisioning centers can supply marihuana products but that they cannot be used on site. It gives cities, villages and townships the option to opt into the law, meaning they can allow a certain number of provisioning centers or ban them entirely.The bills were unveiled today at a press conference with participants including sponsors of Senate companion bills Mike Shirkey and David Knezek, Sen. Coleman Young, Detroit City Councilman James Tate, and City of Lansing Chief of Police Michael Yankowski. Ida Chinonis of Grand Blanc, the mother of six-year-old Bella Chinonis, also spoke at the press conference. Bella suffers from 1p36 deletion syndrome, meaning she is missing the tip of her first chromosome, and her mother seeks access to safe, tested, non-smokeable medical marihuana for her daughter to prevent life-threatening seizures.Callton and Lyons have collected numerous bipartisan cosponsors for both measures.
16Mar Rep. Jacobsen fights back against false tax increase rumors Tags: #SB, auto insurance companies, Jacobsen Categories: Featured news,News State Rep. Brad Jacobsen, R-Oxford, today criticized the Michigan Insurance Coalition for falsely claiming that he supports a tax increase on Michigan motorists.Rep. Jacobsen is among a group of lawmakers who have been the target of a Facebook advertising scheme paid for by the insurance industry. While the advertisements imply that Rep. Jacobsen and his colleagues are advocating for a tax increase, the truth of the matter is Rep. Jacobsen is working with his colleagues to fix a tax loophole that gave insurance companies windfall profits.“I actually find the position of these insurance companies hypocritical,” Rep. Jacobsen said. “They are taking tens of millions of dollars in tax credits from the state budget without reducing their rates and now they are threatening to increase their customers’ rates if we eliminate this tax loophole.“Eliminating this $80 million loophole being utilized by the auto insurance companies is not a tax increase. The claims of a tax increase is a desperate attempt by the auto insurance companies to keep the taxpayer-funded credits they were not supposed to be receiving in the first place. I’m personally and professionally offended by this group falsely inferring that I support a tax increases. It is a flat-out lie.”Rep. Jacobsen has consistently supported eliminating a wide variety of unnecessary corporate tax credits to help save money for our hard-working Michiganders.#######
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 12, 2014;KPBS and The AtlanticEconomic data on major sectors of the economy are regularly collected and reported in the media and in industry-specific reports. For example, data about the real estate and financial markets are regularly published and available for use in decision-making by sector leaders, government officials, investors, and consumers.Nonprofit sector leaders do not typically have the same access to timely, sector-specific information. In fact, data regarding the nonprofit sector is usually derived from the IRS Form 990 and, consequently, has a lag time of at least a year or more.To address this lack of timely data, the Caster Center at the University of San Diego developed in 2011 the State of Nonprofits Quarterly Index (SoNP). Published quarterly, the SoNP reports on six distinct indicators that have a direct impact on the economic health of San Diego’s nonprofit sector: public confidence, individual giving, volunteering, demand for services, nonprofit employment, and overall unemployment.Quantitative data is collected by the Caster Center through quarterly surveys of approximately 500 local residents, 2-1-1 call data, job posting websites, and via the California Employment Development Department. Additionally, a panel of nonprofit leaders serving as Trend Reporters provides quantitative data about their organizations and qualitative data about trends they observe in the sector.The SoNP has been systemically tracking data on these indicators for eleven quarters, and on June 5th the Caster Center released its second annual State of Nonprofits Report. In addition to presenting longitudinal SoNP data, the report benchmarks key facts about San Diego’s nonprofit sector such as the number of nonprofits, revenue sources, and employment. For example, currently there are:9,364 501(c)(3) nonprofits in San Diego3,700 nonprofits with revenues greater than $50,0002,140 nonprofits with paid employees241 nonprofits with more than 50 paid employeesSan Diego’s nonprofit sector makes significant contributions to the local economy by employing more than 103,000 individuals and contributing more than $5.1 billion in wages each year. It also boasts $19.77 billion in total assets, $13.77 billion in total revenue, and $12.52 billion in total expenses.Nonprofit leaders—Trend Reporters—are quoted in the report as describing a sector in flux. Specifically, they report that overall economic health of San Diego nonprofits is improving, nonprofits are continuing to hire, demand for service is shifting away from the desperation that characterized much of the recession and into what may be called a new normal, and the landscape of giving and volunteering is evolving rapidly. In this environment, Trend Reporters identified five key strategies employed by nonprofit leaders. Specifically, the report indicates that nonprofit leaders are:Redesigning internal operationsFocusing on staff developmentImproving measurement and communication of outcomesEnhancing donor engagement through social mediaEngaging in more strategic collaborationAdditional information about the SoNP can be found online. This information is specific to the San Diego region; however, the Caster Center is currently working with CalNonprofits to publish in late July a comprehensive report of the economic impact of nonprofits in California.—Jennifer Amanda Jones[Disclosure: The author of this newswire helped develop the index and was a second author on the report in question.ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share183Tweet2ShareEmail185 SharesOrin Zebest [CC BY 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsJanuary 15, 2019; Modesto BeeUnited Cerebral Palsy (UCP) of Stanislaus County’s bench program has a great setup: The nonprofit pays the city for the right to sell advertising on city benches and buses, which they do successfully, so both the organization and the city make money. UCP then hires adults with disabilities to maintain and repair the benches, paying them full minimum wage and teaching them job skills. The ad revenue covers most of the program costs and according to the city, the work on the benches is “stellar.” Everybody wins!That harmonious cycle was disrupted recently when Modesto issued an RFP for the bus benches and, for the first time ever, a competing bid was offered. For-profit Creative Outdoor Advertising of America, which is based in Florida, put in a bid, and the staff have recommended it to the city council over UCP’s. City spokesman Thomas Reeves said the decision was about money: Creative Outdoor offered $36,000 for the advertising rights, and UCP offered $18,000, a 25 percent increase over what they paid last year but still not enough to be competitive with the for-profit bid.UCP Executive Director Keenon Krick argued that money isn’t the only factor. “This is about employing individuals with disabilities,” he said. UCP runs a number of employment programs for adults with disabilities, including janitorial and landscaping services, and a camp that provides “healing, respite, education and recreation” to people with “special needs.”Modesto’s revenues have been growing, but not fast enough to keep pace with growing pension and salary obligations. They posted a budget shortfall in 2018 for the first time in years, and though tax revenue is rising, that shortfall is only projected to grow. Mayor Ted Brandvold wrote,My first and foremost priority has been the long-term strengthening of the financial condition of our city.…Unless Modesto sheds its “business as usual” approach and acts soon on multiple fronts, it is possible that the city general fund will struggle to supply even the most vital services to its citizens within five or ten years….The private sector—both for-profit and not-for-profit—will have to do more because the city cannot.Modesto is attempting to attract tech startups with a new passenger rail service, opening a new hospital, and otherwise taking a “pro-business approach,” according to city manager Joseph P. Lopez, to increase its tax base. While a study from UC Berkeley’s Urban Displacement Project did not predict significant gentrification in the area, it’s not impossible that higher taxes and more tech businesses might bump up the cost of living.Which brings us back to the competitive bidding process. The loss of this contract won’t crush UCP; it represents less than one percent of their program revenue and expenditure and employs only about two dozen people. They seem to have a number of contracts, and like most contract-based nonprofits, they also do some fundraising to cover full costs.But if the city’s point is that it needs to be able to cover services for their residents, then scrapping a program that not only provides city revenue but employs people with disabilities seems like shooting themselves in the foot.The extra $18,000 Modesto makes by contracting with Creative Outdoors is unlikely to cover the expense of providing services to the people with disabilities who now don’t have jobs. It’s significantly harder for people with disabilities to find employment, and Creative Outdoors has made no promises. When asked about whether he would hire UCP’s workers, company president David Gray said, “In order to live up to our obligation to the city, we need a strong financial environment,” echoing language from the mayor’s financial report.NPQ reported in 2017 that the rate of unemployment among people with disabilities was 70 percent, in part due to failure by employers to follow through with recruitment. Even if there were no human factors in this equation, it seems shortsighted for Modesto to end a successful employment program.The city council is only allowed to consider “the technical ability to provide the service and provide the city with revenue” when it decides between UCP and Creative Outdoors, according to Kevin Valine at the Modesto Bee. But other factors are at work here, including the quality of life of some of Modesto’s most vulnerable residents. Modesto must decide: will it be driven by profits or by the care of its citizens?—Erin RubinShare183Tweet2ShareEmail185 Shares
Canal Plus France added 158,000 subscriptions to services in 2011 to take its total to 11.216 million, including 9.76 million in mainland France.Canal Plus France’s subscription base in territories operated by Canal Plus Overseas saw strong growth in Africa, taking its total to 1.456 million. Overall, including Poland and Vietnam, Canal Plus Group had 12.946 million subscriptions sold by the end of the year.Canal Plus Group posted revenues of €4.86 billion for the year, up 3.1%. Canal Plus France’s revenues were up 2.4% to €4 billion. Group EBITA was €701 million, up 1.6%.Parent group Vivendi posted revenues of €28.8 billion, up 0.5% at constant currency, while EBITA was €5.86 billion, up 3.3% at constant currency. Adjusted net income grew by 9.4% to €2.95 billion, thanks in part to Vivendi’s acquisition of 100% ownership of SFR in June.Telco SFR attracted 589,000 customer to its multi-play Neufbox Evolution service by the end of the year, and the operator’s overall quad-play base in December was 1.174 million. However, the telco’s revenues for the year fell by 3.1% to €12.2 billion, partly due to new VAT rules on multi-play offerings, and EBITA fell 7.8% to €2.28 billion.
Google has struck a deal with Hollywood studio Paramount Pictures in make the latter’s movies available via the YouTube and Google Play services in the US and Canada.Google will add about 500 Paramount titles to the two services over the next few weeks.The deal means that Google has signed up five of the six Hollywood majors as well as independent studios for the services.
Swedish commercial broadcaster TV4 and public broadcaster SVT have struck an eight-year agreement securing the rights to show the FIFA World Cup in 2018 and 2022 as well as the FIFA World Cup for Women in 2015 and 2019 and the FIFA Confederations Cup in 2017 and 2021.For the World Cup for men, the pair have guaranteed that 46 of 64 marches will be shown on free TV. The division of the tournaments and matches will be made later.
Fox International Channels (FIC) has secured the exclusive broadcast rights to the Euroleague Basketball tournament for multiple countries in Europe and non-exclusive rights for sub-Saharan Africa.FIC will initially air the basketball tournament in Italy and Poland, exclusively broadcasting games of teams including Montepaschi Siena and EA7 Emporio Armani Milan in Italy and Stelmet Zielona Góra in Poland.In sub-Saharan Africa FIC will air at last one game a week on its new acquisition Setanta Africa.Separately, UK-based digital sports media company Perform has struck a deal with basketball federation FIBA to provide a live streaming destination for global basketball. Livebasketball.tv unites the former FIBA Zone and Euroleague.TV platforms, providing coverage of over 300 games from the 2013 national teams’ calendar including the recent 2013 FIBA Asia, FIBA Americas, AfroBasket and EuroBasket Championships and the upcoming Euroleague season.The platform, which is available on desktop, tablets and mobile devices, was launched in June 2013 ahead of the FIBA Continental Championship season.Simon Denyer, joint CEO at Perform said: “Having previously operated separate FIBA and FIBA Zone TV and Euroleague TV platforms, alongside other channels from smaller leagues, the new agreement brings this content together on one portal to become the ultimate destination for global basketball fans. We are looking forward to building upon our successful coverage of the summer FIBA and FIBA Zone Championships on Livebasketball.TV to provide subscribers with the value and quality that they crave.”
DVR maker TiVo has demoed its Network DVR (NDVR) prototype at CES in Las Vegas, as it looks to replicate its TiVo Roamio DVR experience in the cloud.TiVo said that NDVR was a “natural extension of the TiVo solution” and will let viewers find, consume and socially share cloud-delivered content through the TiVo user interface.TiVo’s vice president of innovation, Joshua Danovitz, said that addressing network storage was “one of the cornerstones of TiVo’s overall strategy to deliver an experience that delights the consumer on every screen while driving down pay TV operator costs at the same time as increasing monetisation opportunities.”
Mike FriesLiberty Global is turning to Chile for its next Horizon advanced TV launch, according to president and CEO Mike Fries.Speaking to analysts after Liberty Global’s latest quarterly results, Fries said that Chile, where the company operates cable network VTR, would be next up for a Horizon launch.Liberty is currently trialling a new cloud and RDK-based version of the Horizon platform in Poland, and it is this version of the product that will be launched in Latin America, he said.Liberty Global has invested in RDK – the initiative to provide a common framework for next-generation cable devices – alongside the project’s originator, US cable giant Comcast, and Time Warner Cable.Fries also highlighted the recent launch of the TV everywhere version of the Horizon product, Horizon Go, which has now launched in five markets – the existing Horizon territories of the Netherlands, Switzerland, Germany and Ireland plus Poland.Fries said that the success of Liberty’s video business “hinges on three things” – migration of analogue customers to digital, which generates “more than twice” the analogue ARPU, migration of digital subs to Horizon, and continued innovation in the video platform, including migration of Horizon to RDK and the launch of TV everywhere services.
UK pay TV operator BSkyB has launched a Sky Sports News HQ app on the Now TV box, the Roku-made device that delivers its low-cost OTT TV offering. Subscribers with a Now TV Box and any active Now TV pass – sports, entertainment or movies – will be able to watch Sky Sports News HQ through a dedicated app on their homepage.Customers with a Sky Sports Day Pass or Sky Sports Week Pass will be able to continue watching Sky Sports News HQ via the Now TV Box app when their current pass has expired, for a period of 30 days from the point of activiation. For the first time, Sky Sports News HQ will also become available via the app to those with an active Now TV Entertainment Month Pass or Sky Movies Month Pass without having to purchase a sport pass.“On Monday we’ll see the frenzy of Transfer Deadline Day reach fever pitch as the clock ticks down to 11pm. Sky Sports News HQ is always right at the heart of the latest breaking sports news and the new app on the NOW TV Box means sports fans can now get even more from their NOW TV passes,” said Gidon Katz, director of Now TV.
AirTies is exhibiting at IBC on stand 5.B33. SoftAtHome is on stand 4.A51 Set-top box maker AirTies has partnered with software company SoftAtHome to launch a compact, low-priced HEVC set-top box. The new box was built by AirTies and is powered by SoftAtHome’s universal player, based on its SOP embedded software platform for home gateways, set top boxes and media servers.The device also supports AirTies’ Mesh Technology, which allows consumers to extend their wireless coverage around their home at the push of a button, and allows 802.11ac wireless connectivity operating at 2.4 or 5GHz frequencies. It also includes the HEVC/H.265 video decoding standards.“Operators are challenged to meet competing requirements. They typically want high-end features like HEVC streaming support, while on the other hand also needing cost-effective entry-level devices. At the same time their subscribers expect modern form-factor devices with tiny footprints that give access to content from any source and can be displayed on different screens.With SoftAtHome’s agile software platform, we are able to address these three different requirements in a single device,” said Philippe Alcaras, CEO ofAirTies.Michel Degland, CEO of SoftAtHome added: “We are pleased to extend our partnership with AirTies, leveraging their leadership on WiFi technologies such as Home Meshing to deliver the best and most cost-effective solution to our customers.”
Hybrid broadcast channel aggregator and platform provider Vision247 is relocating its London offices to Chiswick Media Park in the West of the city.The company, previously based close to BT Tower in central London, will continue to offer its existing range of services – playout, channel delivery, CDN, online video portals, apps and IP delivery to Freeview – from its new facility.The company has also built a new data centre to offer customers RAID data storage in London, including backup services with access via private fibre and/or secure tier‐1 public internet access.“This move enables us to take advantage of Chiswick Media Park’s strong technical, security and location offering and is a fantastic environment for us to continue to evolve and expand our services in ways that were not possible before with our previous infrastructure,” said Tanya Vidmar, head of international sales, Vision247.
Vincent BolloréVivendi chairman Vincent Bolloré has set his sights on the acquisition of Canal+ rival beIN Sport France, with talks underway, according to French daily Libération, citing unnamed sources.According to the paper, Vivendi is considering two options: an exclusive distribution agreement that would give it the right to distribute beIN Sport France to the exclusion of rival operators; and an outright purchase, with the latter being the preferred choice.An all-share deal could involve the Qatar-owned group taking a stake in Canal+ of around 8%, based on investment bank Nataxis’ recent valuation of beIN Sport France at around €500 million. Alternatively, beIN Sport Group could take a stake in Vivendi itself. Qatar’s sovereign wealth fund already has a holding of around 2% in the media group. Such a deal could also give Vivendi an opening to develop a wider international presence through a partnership with Al Jazeera and BeIN Media Group.Libération cited an unnamed source close to the management of Canal+ as saying that focusing on competing with beIN Group made little sense given the wider challenges facing Canal+, which include a sharp decline in its French subscriber base, the growing cost of sports and drama rights and competition from OTT players including Netflix.The Qataris are also believed to be under some pressure, with a sharp drop in the value of the Gulf state’s sovereign wealth fund’s holdings since the middle of last year, including its interest in troubled car manufacturer Volkswagen, alongside the wider impact of the continuing slide in the price of oil. Al Jazeera was recently forced to close down its US channel after it became clear that the business case for the venture was unsustainable.According to Libération, Vivendi could enlist the help of former French president Nicolas Sarkozy, who is said to be close to the Qatari Emir, as a go-between to help take negotiations forward.
The Man in the High CastleAmazon said that Prime Video continues to grow internationally, reporting nearly double the number of streaming customers in Q4 2015 compared with fourth quarter 2014.Announcing its latest results, Amazon said that it was happy with its original Amazon Studios content and claimed that Prime members made The Man in The High Castle the most watched series on Prime Video by a factor of 4.5 over the holiday period.It also claimed that the Amazon Fire TV “remains the number-one best-selling streaming media player in the US.”