0 Comments Share Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald (11) pulls in a touchdown catch as San Francisco 49ers defensive back Tyvis Powell (30) defends during the second half of an NFL football game, Sunday, Oct. 28, 2018, in Glendale, Ariz. (AP Photo/Rick Scuteri) Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Top Stories Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald continued his streak of dominance over the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday.The damage came when it mattered most.Trailing 15-3 in the fourth quarter, Fitzgerald caught a 13-yard touchdown pass from Josh Rosen. It was the 112th touchdown of his career, moving him into sole possession of seventh place in NFL history.That was the 112th TD reception of Larry Fitzgerald’s career. He’s now alone in 7th spot on the NFL’s all-time list for career TD catches. #SFvsAZ pic.twitter.com/72MhO60YgY— Mark Dalton (@CardsMarkD) October 28, 2018 Fitzgerald passed NFL Hall of Famer Tony Gonzalez with the touchdown and is now just four touchdowns away from passing Antonio Gates for sixth place. Jerry Rice holds the NFL reception touchdown record with 197 touchdowns.The Fitzgerald touchdown also tied him for most receiving touchdowns against one team with 18. He also has 18 receiving touchdowns against the Rams.He wasn’t done, though.After wide receiver Christian Kirk caught a touchdown pass late in the fourth quarter to put Arizona up by one, the Cardinals needed a two-point conversion.They called upon Fitzgerald.He caught the pass, fought through a defender to get into the end zone and spiked it to give the Cardinals an 18-15 lead. – / 39
State Rep. Phil Potvin kicked off March is Reading Month in Big Rapids this week at Riverview Elementary School. He was able to visit the second and third grade classrooms of teachers Annette Maat and Anne Orange, where he read “Hooray for Grandparents’ Day.” “Being the grandfather to eight children, I know how important reading to them is and how it really fosters growth in more ways than just academics,” said Rep. Potvin, R-Cadillac. “Books really are a lot of fun for everyone and I was so happy to see all of the kids engaged and excited about reading.”March is Reading Month is an annual event designed to recognize the importance of reading in children’s future success and to encourage their social and intellectual development. Early reading proficiency is shown to be a core element for successful educational pursuits in children.The special nature of Potvin’s visits puts a renewed focus on reading and reinforces how important it is to the students.“We can all do our part to encourage children to read, and this is my way to make it a fun, special occasion for them,” Potvin said. “I hope to use these classroom reading visits this month to inspire our students to explore new interests and hopefully find a few interesting books along the way that will stay with them for a lifetime.”Rep. Potvin has plans to visit many more schools this month and looks forward to sharing his favorite book with students throughout Mecosta, Osceola, and Wexford Counties. Administrators and educators interested in scheduling a time for him to read are encouraged to contact his office by phone at 517-373-1747 or by email at PhilPotvin@house.mi.gov. 06Mar Rep. Potvin visits local school to kick off March is Reading Month Categories: News
Categories: Brann News,News 11Jan Rep. Brann optimistic as experts predict continued economic growth State Rep. Tommy Brann today said he is optimistic about Michigan’s continued steady economic growth following presentation of the Consensus Revenue Estimating Conference, which is the first look at the upcoming economic forecast.The report was compiled by the House and Senate Fiscal agencies, the state budget director and other economic experts, and presented to the House and Senate Appropriations committees. It predicts Michigan’s consistent economic growth will continue.“I am pleased that the growth Michigan has experienced in the past few years is expected to continue into the coming year,” Brann said. “I hope the positive outlook will apply to small businesses as well as manufacturers and bigger companies. I am rooting for small businesses because they are the bedrock of the state’s economy.”Brann said the information presented today will be helpful as the Appropriations Committee begins working on a budget for the 2018-19 fiscal year.“Our conservative budgeting has resulted in a smaller state government with less needless spending and fewer unnecessary regulations on businesses,” Brann said. “We must continue our priority of funding vital services and projects that are important to Michigan families and will improve their quality of life.”#####
09Jan Rep. Berman joined by family for opening of the 100th Legislature Categories: Berman News,Berman Photos State Rep. Ryan Berman of Commerce Township was joined by his family at the state Capitol Wednesday to officially open the 100th Michigan Legislature. Rep. Berman was administered the oath of office by Michigan Supreme Court Justice Stephen Markman.FROM LEFT TO RIGHT: Kathleen Dreifus (mother), Stacie Berman (wife), Sloane Berman (daughter), Morgan Berman (daughter), Ron Berman (father), Laurie Winston (mother-in-law), and Tom Berman (brother).
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares October 3, 2014;Indian Country TodayThere must be some way to explain the birthday party that Nike threw for NBA all-star Kevin Durant. The theme of the party was the racially derogatory nickname and caricatures of the Washington D.C. NFL franchise owned by Daniel Snyder. Perhaps it is because Durant is from Washington, D.C. Perhaps it is because Snyder has shown personal interest in Durant, including giving Durant a special football from the team’s 41-to-10 victory over the Jacksonville Jaguars. Accompanying Durant’s birthday cake, in the shape of a basketball court, was a jersey from the football team. Washington, D.C. is a football-mad town, so perhaps hosting a birthday party in Beaverton highlighting Durant’s hometown football team had special meaning for him.Nike’s party for Durant is a terrible contrast with Nike’s N7 campaign, a fund capitalized by sales of certain Nike products to help finance youth sport and physical activities in Native communities. A component of the program are the N7 “ambassadors”—Native American sports stars such as golfer Notah Begay III, St. Louis Rams quarterback Sam Bradford, and long time Red Sox center fielder (now with the Yankees) Jacoby Ellsbury—listed as supporting the N7 initiative. Indian Country Today reported that Durant has “partnered” with Nike ambassadors to promote N7.Durant didn’t seem to protest the use of the Washington team’s racial slur as the theme of his birthday party, but a group called Eradicating Offensive Native Mascotry was disturbed.“It is more important than ever that Nike demonstrate support for Native American families, particularly after Nike’s insulting racial slur themed birthday party last week for National Basketball Association player Kevin Durant,” EONM said in a news release. “Nike Inc. has demonstrated that part of what they want Native American families to do is trade in their identity for inclusion because they want to sell a culturally marketable shoe or other merchandise to Native Americans and yet, still sell ‘Chief Wahoo,’ Tomahawk chop, FSU, Chiefs, and Washington team gear for profit as well.”In 2013, in a Nike press release (probably connected because of Durant’s marketing contract with Nike’s Under Armour products), Durant endorsed N7:“Playing in Oklahoma City has connected me to the mission of Nike N7 and the meaningful impact that it has with Native Americans here and across North America. I believe in the power of sport to change lives, and I support helping youth in Native American communities experience the positive benefits of being physically active.”EONM doesn’t find Nike’s N7 program to be all that valuable: “We may be consumers, but our culture has been a mass marketing commodity for far too long and is an exploitation that is doing measurable harm to the self worth of Native children. Nike must support Native Americans speaking out about Native Mascotry in sports; otherwise it looks like all the good N7 is wanting to do is more about bribery than empowerment. That form of bribery is nothing new and looks much like Dan Snyder’s Original Americans Foundation.”Nike responded with a press release highlighting its commitment to diversity: “Nike has a long history of supporting the Native American community and we encourage the teams and leagues to engage in constructive dialogue with their communities.” The company also said, regarding its marketing of the horribly racist “Chief Wahoo” caricature used by the Cleveland Indians, that “Nike has a contractual partnership with Major League Baseball as the licensing agent for MLB team-approved marks…Each MLB team is responsible for choosing their team logos and marks and we understand that the Cleveland Indians are engaging their fans and the local community in conversation concerning their logo.”When Los Angeles Clippers owner Donald Sterling unleashed some racial invective in a conversation with his girlfriend, NBA players stood up just about in unison against the long-time racist. While the owner of the Washington NFL team promotes a racial epithet as his team’s nickname or when the Cleveland Indians employ a cartoonish Native American character as their emblem, major league professionals have been sadly silent. To see Nike joining the fray by using the Washington team’s name as a party theme while pitching the N7 fund as a philanthropic response, it looks all too much like Dan Snyder’s Original Americans Foundation. Philanthropic support from Nike or Snyder doesn’t erase the incalculable damage caused by the use of derogatory racial mascots and names by pro teams and the corporations that engage them and their players in marketing schemes.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share7TweetShare2Email9 SharesDecember 7, 2015; Washington PostFor the millions of part-time and contract workers who now earn their living in what has been called the “gig economy,” achieving the level of safety and security that has long been provided in the traditional workplace has been a challenge. Last month, we ended a report on initial efforts toward that ended with a question for policy makers. Earlier this week, members of New York City’s City Council took a first step toward this objective.The proposed legislation, the “Freelance Isn’t Free” bill, seeks to protect contracted workers from employers who refuse to pay them for work done. “Independent workers are one of the fastest growing sectors of the workforce and the backbone of New York City’s economy—but they’re getting stiffed out of thousands of dollars every year by deadbeat companies,” said Freelancers Union’s founder and executive director, Sara Horowitz.While, as freelancer and young professional Rachel Northrop told the Washington Post, “regular employees at least have some administrative recourse if a company shorts them on wages, being a contractor means hav[ing] to [go] to small claims court in order to collect. Non-payment paralyzes the most motivated sector of people, who are willing to work on their own schedule, be independent and self-sufficient.”The proposed legislation would require all employers to put contracts in writing, impose civil and criminal penalties for taking longer than 30 days to deliver payments, and award double damages plus attorney’s fees to contractors who’ve been stiffed—similar to the protections now enjoyed by regular employees.The bill’s list of endorsers provides some insight to the diverse nature of the workforce for whom a new safety net seems necessary:Many of the city’s coworking spaces and tech schools like General Assembly…Make the Road New York, which works mostly with the city’s low-income Hispanic population….the National Domestic Workers Alliance, whose housekeepers and nannies sometimes work on contract and don’t have the resources to sue when employers don’t hold up their end of the deal…[as well as] on-demand services like Uber and Taskrabbit.“Independent workers come from many different socioeconomic backgrounds but they’re vulnerable in similar ways. Whether you’re a day laborer, a freelance journalist or a self-employed CPA— if you work on your own, you’ve probably been a victim of wage theft at some point in your career,” said Hector Figueroa, President of 32BJ SEIU. “That’s why we’re coming together in this coalition. The union movement was built on solidarity and strength in numbers and that’s how we’ll win independent workers the equal protection they deserve.”New York City Councilman Brad Lander of Brooklyn, sponsor of the legislation, has said, “It’s clear that there are some companies that have made it a business practice to not pay freelancers. I see this as one critical step in one broader project of building protections for workers in the independent economy.” It is but a first step toward creating a comprehensive safety net.—Martin LevineShare7TweetShare2Email9 Shares
Share37TweetShare1Email38 SharesAmerican as American pie / jenn March 23, 2016; MicThanks to non-stop media coverage and political venting deluging nearly every social media feed, it’s practically impossible to escape the chatter surrounding the presidential campaign. Although it seems this election cycle has left the general public nothing less than transfixed, there is a nationwide effort to ensure that voters hold their attention all the way to the polls come November 8th.Democracy Works, a nonpartisan nonprofit organization, has teamed up with online millennial news magazine Mic and several other partners to launch the TurboVote Challenge. The online awareness campaign aims to grow voter participation to 80 percent by 2020, a level of civic engagement our country hasn’t seen for more than a century. Using online and mobile platforms, the coalition of heavy hitters, including AirBnB, Starbucks, and Spotify, will support Democracy Works’ efforts to heighten awareness, promote voter registration and improve the overall voter experience.While other larger organizations, like Rock the Vote, have been driving young people to the polls since the early 1990s, Democracy Works and projects like TurboVote place specific emphasis on clarifying unclear voter information and simplifying the sometimes-confusing process of casting a ballot. The founder of Democracy Works, a former Harvard graduate student whose frustration over missing several elections while away from home served as the impetus for the organization’s creation, hopes that TurboVote will help disentangle the messiness of the democratic process. Recognizing the need to “make voting easy,” the application disseminates easy-to-digest information such as key voting dates and polling locations, striving to get more people to show up on Election Day.The goal to increase voter turnout by five percent over the next four years is an ambitious one. Voting among the millennial population in particular is dismal, hitting all-time lows in recent elections. In 2008, during what was undoubtedly a momentous election year, participation peaked as 52 percent of young voters made their voices heard. In the subsequent general election in 2012, voter participation among those 18 to 29 sank to 45 percent. During the 2014 election, a meager 17 percent of 18-to-24-year-olds voted, compared with 59 percent of voters 65 and older, according to the United States Census Bureau.Despite their noticeable absence from the polls, millennials are actively participating in national conversations about bedrock issues taking the stage during this election year, including the economy, climate change, foreign policy, and closing the gender gap. In a January 2016 USA Today/Rock the Vote Millennial Poll, millennials surveyed seemed to agree on most issues and also tended not to side with any particular political party. The lack of millennial representation at the polls has been attributed to several factors, namely the disconnect between their stance on certain issues and the position for which frontrunner candidates advocate. But the millennial generation is taking matters into its own hands, leading the charge in social entrepreneurship efforts and creating its own solutions to address local, national and global inadequacies.Whether the spectacle of this year’s presidential election will result in record voter turnout come November is yet to be seen. But with get-out-the-vote efforts like the TurboVote Challenge, many voters—both young and old—have more resources on their side to help them navigate our country’s muddy democratic waters.—Lindsay WalkerShare37TweetShare1Email38 Shares
French media group Lagardère has appointed Remy Dessarts as head of a new unit creating documentary and magazine programming.Dessarts has a journalistic backround, including as launch editor of monthly title Capital.Takis Candilis, chairman of Lagardère Entertainment, said, “We welcome the arrival of Remy, who will bring to the group extensive experience of informative content and will strengthen our growth potential in this area.”
Lithuanian telco Teo has grown its TV subscriber base to almost 162,000 as the country’s digital switchover approaches, an increase of about 10% year-on-year.At the end of the third quarter, Teo had 380,800 broadband customers and 615,800 phone customers. Revenue for the first three quarters was LTL570.5 million (€165 million), up 3%. The company posted a net profit of LTL123.6 million, up from LTL117.3 million.“The continuously improving digital TV and internet services enabled to increase the number of customers using them. Despite the continued shrinking of the Lithuanian telecommunications market this year, Teo increased its revenue, while successful cost control allowed us to improve profitability,” said Arūnas Šikšta, general manager of TEO.
Russian telco TransTeleCom is launching an online TV service.The operator, based in the east of Russia, will launch a 60-channel TV service initially available on PCs. It will be available to all internet customers for an additional RUB120 per month (€3).
Digital Rapids will exhibit at ANGA COM on Stand R25, Hall 10.1. Digital Rapids is making its debut at ANGA COM this year. The company will use the show to highlight its Transcode Manager 2.0 powered by Kayak filed-based workflow. Transcode Manager 2.0 automated media processing software blends media file transformation and workflow processes while supporting applications from post production and archive to multiscreen distribution. Powered by the Kayak workflow platform, Transcode Manager 2.0 combines management tools and format flexibility with adaptive, automated decision-making, rich metadata support, visual workflow design tools, integration of new and emerging technologies and an ecosystem of third-party technology partners, according to Digital Rapids.The company will also showcase StreamZ Live 8000EX, an integrated broadcast/multiscreen live encoder. Combining the capabilities of two additional new StreamZ Live models – the StreamZ Live 4000EX premium multiscreen encoder and StreamZ Live 6000EX broadcast encoder – the StreamZ Live 8000EX features simultaneous encoding for broadcast television (H.264 or MPEG-2) and adaptive bit-rate streaming for delivery to platforms including mobile phones, tablets, desktop computers, smart TVs and over-the-top services.Finally, Digital Rapids will show StreamZHD, its multi-format ingest and encoding system in a new version. This features quality and performance enhancements for Digital Rapids’ H.264, MPEG-2 and DVCPro encoding, plus expanded support for transforming advertising insertion markers for multiscreen protocols, according to the company.
Belgian telco Belgacom is deploying Technicolor’s latest ultra-broadband gateway in its next generation b-box 3 modem.The MediaAccess ‘Xtream’ platform uses Quantenna’s dual band wireless video bridge to enable the distribution of multiple HD TV channels over WiFi within the home, without any interruption nor flickering on the screen, Technicolor said. It also supports vectoring technology to offer consumers higher internet speeds.“Thanks to Technicolor’s local presence and understanding of the Belgian market, we are confident that we can build and deploy together innovative services to our customers in the long run,” said Patrick Delcoigne, director of network innovation and engineering at Belgacom.
John MaloneUS MSOs should join forces to make a bid for Hulu, according to Liberty Media boss John Malone.The influential media executive was speaking to Reuters at the fringes of Allen & Co’s Sun Valley conference and said that all US MSOs would benefit from owning an online streaming and catch-up service.Hulu is currently owned by News Corp, Disney and Comcast, which are attempting to sell it with the price tag expected to be about US$1 billion (€765 million).Numerous media companies including Yahoo!, AT&T and Time Warner Cable, have been linked to moves for Hulu, with US pay TV operator DirecTV often cited as the favourite to seal a deal.Malone’s Liberty owns a stake in US cabler Charter.He told Reuters: “On their own, if they were the sole owner of Hulu and if that was the end of it, it wouldn’t make a lot of sense. But if the cable industry were, for instance, to invest in Hulu together in the US or even globally, that would make sense because now you’re starting to talk about scale that allows you to do things that you can’t do if you’re geographically limited.”This week, former Disney chairman Michael Eisner claimed the Hulu’s next owner was almost certain to lose the prized next-day broadcast rights to content from its current parents.
Mobile phones and tablets combined now represent 46% of all online video viewing across the world, according to Ooyala’s Global Video Index Q4 2015.Mobile video plays were up from 34% in the fourth quarter of 2014 and climbed 170% from 17% in 2013, according to Ooyala.“Since 2011, mobile video plays – smartphones and tablets combined – have a compound annual growth rate of more than 116%. That pushes the share of mobile video plays up a stunning 2,084% over the past five years,” according to the report.The smartphone has been the biggest driver of mobile video, with video consumed on these devices more than six-times as often as tablets in Q4 2015, said Ooyala.The study also found that the total share of long-form viewing on connected TVs – of content longer than 10 minutes – grew to 74% in 2015. This was up from 43% in Q1 and 53% in Q2 and 71% in Q3.“The analysis from the recent Video Index shows the convergence of multiple factors in the market – from regional mobile adoption, consumer behaviours on specific devices and buying preferences between publishers and their advertisers – and gives a macro view of new trends in the industry,” said Chief Executive Officer of Ooyala, Ramesh Srinivasan.“Quarter after quarter, the opportunity to build more lucrative and successful businesses with video becomes clearer as mobile-first strategies continue to grow in importance.”
Tony WernerThe Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) and its global arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), has re-elected Tony Werner as chairman of the board.Werner, who is also president, technology and product for Comcast Cable, will retain his role as chairman for the 2016-17 term.He will be joined on the SCTE/ISBE board’s executive committee by: vice chairman Bill Warga, who is also vice president, technology, Liberty Global; treasurer Christine Whitaker, who is senior vice-president, Keystone Region, Comcast; and by secretary Steve Williams, director, DOCSIS network operations, Charter Communications.All three were re-elected to their offices by the board. Jim Hughes, vice president, North American MSO solution sales for CommScope, resigned from the board, while Tom Adams, executive vice president, field operations, Charter Communications joined as a new member.“Jim Hughes’ longstanding commitment of time, talent and expertise has contributed greatly to the worldwide growth of SCTE and ISBE,” said Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of SCTE/ISBE. “We are grateful for his many years of service on the board and look forward to working with Tom Adams and the entire board of directors as SCTE/ISBE continues to build value for our operator, vendor and individual members.”The appointments were made at a board meeting held in conjunction with SCTE/ISBE Cable-Tec Expo 2016.
TIAK AŞ, the joint industry committee for TV ratings in Turkey, has awarded Kantar Media a contract to continue delivering the official TV trading currency for the country until at least 2020, with the option to extend until 2022.The existing service, awarded to Kantar Media in 2009 and reporting since 2012 will be expanded to report TV viewed on tablets, PC’s and smartphones for up to plus seven days.Core TV, or TV viewed on the television set, will be measured through a panel of a minimum 4,000 households. The existing PeopleMeter technology will be enhanced to enable reporting of time-shifted viewing for up to seven days after the original live broadcast in addition to TV monitoring for 40 channels.Extended TV, or TV viewed on tablets, PCs and smartphones, is planned to be measured using a 25% sub-set of the Core TV panel in addition to an independent digital panel planned for 2,000 households. Broadcast content from 150 channels will use comScore streaming tags alongside Kantar Media’s online PeopleMeter to report TV and video viewing across devices. This technology will have the capability to report video-on-demand and native online video content in the future, subject to the consent of the industry and adoption of trusted standards and independent tagging of the content specific to the digital world, according to Kantar.TIAK AŞ members include the Advertisers’ Association Reklam Verenler Dernegi, the Association of Advertising Agencies, Reklamcilar Dernegi, and major media groups.“We are delighted to continue delivering the official TV currency in Turkey and excited that the service is going to be expanded. As the world leader in total TV audience measurement, TIAK AŞ and its members will continue to benefit from our deep experience across the world as we deliver a holistic picture of TV consumption in this exciting market,” said Mesut Sakal, managing director of Kantar Media Turkey.“The growth of device ownership and that of opportunities to view TV & Video content has grown at an unprecedented rate in our country. Equipped with the needs of media and brand owners to expand the scope of TV broadcast measurement, following an open and rigorous tender process, we are delighted to announce that Kantar Media has been awarded as our supplier of choice. Advertising models may change, precedences of the mediums may change, content delivery and consumption may develop but fundamentally TV as the proven medium will remain firm,” said Ibrahim Eren, chairman of TIAK AŞ.
HBO Europe has given more responsibility to a trio of executives as part of a regional restructuring.Jonathan Young, Steve Matthews and Hanka Kastelicova have all been upped to VP roles at the European arm of US premium cable channel HBO following expansion into Spain and the Nordics.News of the promotions comes as HBO Europe gears up for a busy Berlinale International Film Festival, where execs from the company are participating in a Drama Series Days session on European pay TV tomorrow (February 14).Young’s new role sees him become VP, original programming and production, putting him in control of creative teams in Warsaw, Prague, Budapest and Bucharest.He has executive producer credits on previous HBO Europe series such as Czech Republic-produced Mammon and Romania-created Silent Valley, and is currently working on season two of Wahata.While he oversees central Europe, Hanne Palmquist is doing the same for the Nordics and Miguel Salvat for HBO España.Matthews is named VP and executive producer for drama development. The post covers all of three HBO Europe regional hubs.He is currently overseeing Polish series Blinded by the Lights, and has worked on efforts such as Czech show Wasteland and Hungary’s Aranyelet.Kastelicova has been a key player in HBO Europe’s ongoing documentaries push, and now becomes VP and executive producer for the genre.She most recently worked on Polish doc Communion.All three will report to HBO Europe’s executive VP, original programming and production, Antony Root, who said the promotions were recognition for “outstanding agreements over the last few years”.HBO has been operating as a major content producer in central Europe for a number of years, while focus in the Nordics has been upped following the establishment of a SVOD service and a move into original content production, which Root announced to delegates at a Drama Series Days session a year ago.A move into Spain came in November last year with the hire of former Canal+ and Paramount Comedy exec Salvat.
Yesterday, it emerged 21st Century Fox had held talks to sell much of its business to The Walt Disney Company. The questions are why, and why now.According to CNBC, the negotiations took place over the past few weeks, but have stopped for the time being. They could resume at any point, as talks have been stop-start so far.On the table is almost the entire Fox entertainment business – the Hollywood studio, cable channels such as FX and National Geographic, the stake-holdings in European satcaster Sky (whether that is the current 39% or more) and Indian pay TV business Star.Disney already owns ABC, so would not be able to take the Fox broadcasting channel due to US competition laws, and would not snap up Fox’s affiliates.For Fox, such a move would therefore leave it with Empire network Fox, and its popular Fox Sports and Fox News operations, giving it a much smaller, but more-focused business.The wider context is that media companies are running scared of the emerging content giants known collectively as FAANG (Facebook, Amazon, Apple, Netflix and Google).With each of these committing huge resources to video, and in most cases high-end original TV, the traditional media groups are desperate to scale up and future-proof themselves.Disney has already pulled its content from SVOD giant Netflix and will launch its own subscription player, plus a separate ESPN-branded service, before 2020.Owning the Fox library and having a second US production studio would mean it could super-serve the Disney-branded service and help it become the ‘Netflix killer’ that management privately wants it to be.CNBC reports that Fox’s controlling family, the Murdochs, are concerned that the sort of scale needed to remain relevant in the future of entertainment is unattainable due to the limited available assets on the market.The company made an opportunistic approach to buy Time Warner in 2015 for around US$85 billion, but was turned down. Time Warner subsequently sold to telco AT&T for a higher premium, and both sides now have their fingers crossed the deal will pass competition scrutiny, with the Trump administration making its distaste for the agreement public on a number of occasions.There’s no guarantee that Fox selling its entertainment assets and focusing on sports and news would be the right course of action. FAANG companies – Amazon and Facebook especially – have been upping their interests in sports content, buying highlights packages and related programming to serve their audiences.Most believe this is a precursor to outright bids for major sports such as English Premier League football, the NFL and the tennis Grand Slams. Should a FAANG company win one of these major contracts (Amazon has already scored global streaming rights to the ATP World Tour), pay TV would be rocked to the core.As talks have ended for now, Fox and Disney remain competitors and rivals. However, the report proves how content has become the key battleground in the future of media, communications and technology.
Altice USA is to acquire millennial-focused digital news company Cheddar for US$200 million.The US arm of Patrick Drahi’s international cable and telecom group said the acquisition would broaden its portfolio of high-quality news businesses. The deal is expected to close in the next two months subject to regulatory approval.Altice USA was one of the original investors in Cheddar, which provides a digital-first live business and general news service focused with an extensive college network , and is focused on young professional and millennial audiences.Last year Cheddar raised US$22 million in funding, with Liberty Global and Antenna Group coming on board as new investors, and the self-styled ‘post-cable network’ said it would use the cash to strengthen its balance sheet and to move into “Europe and beyond”.The Cheddar networks are currently available in approximately 40 million pay TV homes through service providers, all of the US virtual MVPDS including YouTube TV, Sling, Hulu Live and DirecTV Now, free digital services such as Pluto TV and Roku Channel, and its college network of 1,600 owned and operated screens on 600 campuses.Cheddar recently expanded distribution through carriage agreements with Comcast and Charter as well as Altice USA. In addition to OTT subscription services, it has a large social distribution across Facebook, Instagram, YouTube, Twitter, LinkedIn, Snapchat and other platforms generating over 400 million video views a month.Altice said Cheddar would complement its local and global news offerings that include News 12 Networks and international and current affairs news network i24News.The company said that the combination of News 12 and i24News’ expertise in linear content and distribution plus Cheddar’s expertise in digital-first content and distribution would provide a number of benefits, including the ability to reach broader and more diverse audiences on both digital and linear formats, an engaged young professional and millennial audience, more opportunities for collaborative and complementary programming and the ability to expand Cheddar’s advertising offering via dynamic ad insertion into News 12 and i24News inventory, and the development of additional advertising products on the Altice One box and a4 advertising platform.Cheddar Founder and CEO Jon Steinberg will join Altice USA to lead Altice News, including Cheddar, News 12 and i24News.“Cheddar has demonstrated an innovative approach to live news while building an engaged audience, solid followership and a strong brand. As one of Cheddar’s early investors, we have enjoyed our partnership with Jon and admire the entrepreneurial spirit, energy and smart disruptive mentality that he brings to the news business. The Cheddar culture and mindset are the perfect fit for Altice USA, and we’re excited to welcome Jon and the Cheddar team to the Altice family. We look forward to seeing our growing news team continue to deliver the best content for our viewers and more opportunities for our advertisers,” said Altice USA CEO Dexter Goei.“Our goal is to make Altice News a leader in local, business, national, and international news everywhere as we look to build a live news offering for customers in the traditional pay TV ecosystem, as well as those looking to a la carte alternative SVOD services, vMVPDs, and free systems for their non-news entertainment,” said Steinberg. “The Altice team and Altice Way are as entrepreneurial as it gets with amazing markets, world-class local and international news, an amazing broadband network, and a soon to launch mobile offering. I can’t wait for Cheddar to begin working with Altice’s team.”
Lega Nazionale Pallacanestro (LNP) – Italy’s basketball league – has announced a partnership with streaming platform ViewLift to broadcast the league across Amazon Fire TV, iOS TV and Roku. The companies claim that this will be the first European basketball league to launch on these platforms.LNP’s re-branded subscription service ‘LNP Pass’ will feature all matches live and on-demand across all major OTT devices via the ViewLift platform. “The agreement with ViewLift, one of the most important media companies for digital content distribution on dedicated platform, is a source of great pride for us at Lega Nazionale Pallacanestro,” said Pietro Basciano, LNP president. “At the same time, this is the confirmation of the growth process started five years ago, chasing the desire to make the video content of the championships more and more accessible for LNP fans. With ViewLift, we will be able to reach and grow our subscribers even better, with more capability.”Fabio Manca, LNP Servizi president added: “LNP has shown continuous growth, and to continue this trend it was necessary to have a partner like ViewLift. “Together with Fastweb, for the fiber technology into our venues, we will give a big boost to the spread of the LNP Leagues. Thanks to ViewLift, we’ll have a preferential access to Amazon, Apple TV and Roku users. We are working on further growth of the LNP PASS product, in terms of video quality and statistical integration. In addition, we have launched a very advantageous offer for the season ticket holders who wish to subscribe to LNP PASS. I invite all the fans to contact their referral Club to have access to these packages, designed for them.”The LNP hopes that this streaming platform will also help to raise the profile of the Serie A2 (2nd National League) and Serie B (3rd).ViewLift CEO Rick Allen concluded:”Professional basketball has exploded in popularity and athleticism around the world.“The LNP has been in the forefront of the game, showcasing both native Italians player- who are, the strength and the heart of this League, veterans as well as emerging young pros- and exciting basketball talents from other countries. Having seen the enormous excitement at LNP games myself, we at ViewLift are delighted to bring such great competition and sportsmanship to fans around the globe.”