New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Comments Share Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall WASHINGTON (AP) — A panel that advises Congress on Medicare policy says the government should make it easier for seniors to get covered for rehab after a short hospital stay.MedPAC said in a report Monday that Congress should revamp a rule that says to qualify for rehabilitation at a nursing facility, beneficiaries first must be hospitalized for three days as inpatients.The panel recommended that Medicare count up to two hospital “observation days” toward the three-day requirement. Top holiday drink recipes Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Top Stories Sponsored Stories 5 ways to recognize low testosterone Hospitals routinely admit patients for observation, but that has Medicare billing implications. It can mean higher out of pocket costs for certain services.Hospitals should be required to clearly explain the billing consequences to patients, MedPAC said. Another recommendation would reduce medication costs for patients on observation.Medicare is reviewing its policy on observation stays.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Quick workouts for men
State Rep. Klint Kesto today announced he will conduct coffee hours on a regular basis in the district, as well as a monthly legislative update at a local community center.Kesto, R-Commerce Township, said coffee hours will take place on the third Friday of each month at the following locations:Dunkin’ Donuts located at the Commerce Towne Center, 3050 Union Lake Road, from 9 to 10 a.m.; andMiracle Coffee, located at 40200 W. 14 Mile Road, from 1 to 2 p.m.Kesto also will host legislative updates for the community from 11 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. every third Friday of the month at the Ralph C. Richardson Community Center, 1485 Oakley Park Road in Commerce Township. Kesto, his staff or a special speaker will deliver information to community members during the event.“It is very important that I receive valuable feedback and ideas from residents of the community regarding state and local government at these events,” Kesto said. “Equally important is letting community members know what is transpiring in Lansing and how it will affect their quality of life. I always look forward to meeting with hard-working taxpayers in the 39th District.”No appointments are necessary. Those unable to attend may contact Kesto at 517-373-1799 or via email at KlintKesto@house.mi.gov.##### Categories: Kesto News,News 13Jan Kesto sets regular coffee hours, legislative updates in district
29Jul Rep. Webber lauds MSF for responsible investment in Rochester Hills Categories: Webber News State Rep. Michael Webber applauded the Michigan Strategic Fund (MSF) for pledging collateral nearing $5 million to back a $10 million line of credit for a local business focused on finding employment opportunities for residents in the area.“This investment will pave the way for new, sustainable jobs in our community,” said Rep. Webber, R-Rochester Hills.Technical Training, Inc. (TTI) – headquartered in Rochester Hills – is a global provider of research applications, consulting, and staffing solutions for an array of industries, including the automotive, financial services and retail industries.“I’d like to thank the Michigan Strategic Fund for confidently investing in the Rochester community,” Rep. Webber said. “Our friends and neighbors who are currently in search of employment will surely appreciate the help.”TTI expects to add 86 employees within six months of the loan closing, and an additional 100 employees in the following 18 months.###
Categories: News 11Jan Wentworth sworn into office in Lansing State Rep. Jason Wentworth, R-Clare, takes the ceremonial oath of office administered by Michigan Supreme Court Chief Justice Stephen Markman on the House floor today.Joining the 97th House District lawmaker for the event, from left, were his wife, Heather; daughters Alexa, Makayla and Kiley; and his mother and father, Robin and Leonard.This is Wentworth’s first term representing Clare, Gladwin and Arenac counties, and much of eastern Osceola County. He can be contacted by calling 517-373-8962, emailing JasonWentworth@house.mi.gov or by mail at Anderson House Office Building, S-1286, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.
Share21TweetShare7Email28 SharesJune 1, 2016, New York TimesIn 2014, U.S. college graduation rates ranked 19th out of 28 countries studied by the OECD. In 1995, the United States was first. A new report, “Incomplete: The Quality Crisis at America’s Private, Non-Profit Colleges,” by Tamara Hiler, Lanae Erickson Hatalsky, and Megan John at Third Way, points to further decline:Only 55 percent of these students who attend private nonprofit colleges graduate within six years. Of the 1,027 private colleges studied, 761 have graduation rates of less than 67 percent. At public universities, which the report does not study, the rate is even lower, 46 percent. Historically, public universities are charged with providing education to the masses and have less control over their admission standards.NPQ has reported on the barriers to college graduation that low-income students face and how structural racism can play a role. Nearly 60 percent of first-year college students discover that they are not ready for postsecondary studies. They are required to take remedial courses, which do not earn college credits. First-generation students face academic, economic, and social challenges in postsecondary education that some schools address better than others. Changing demographics of postsecondary education also include the rising tide of nontraditional students, many with work and family responsibilities in addition to the concerns and barriers faced by traditional students.If there were a single reason for the nation’s abysmal college dropout rate at both private nonprofit and public institutions, there might be a silver bullet solution, but this issue is far too complex.This degree of institutional failure revealed in this new report calls into question whether private, nonprofit colleges are worth the cost. A few of America’s universities may offer the best education in the world, but in terms helping the average teenager become a college graduate, most of the system is failing.The Third Way report points out that high schools in which more than a third of students do not graduate on time are labeled to receive special attention by federal standards. If colleges were held to that measure, 74 percent of the private nonprofit colleges and 83 percent of public colleges would fail. But there isn’t a widely accepted bar for college graduation rates; a college can have a graduation rate as low as 2 percent and still preserve its accreditation.Students who do not earn a degree within six years are unlikely to finish at all. Michael Dell said, “You don’t have to be a genius or a visionary or even a college graduate to be successful. You just need a framework and a dream.” Drawing inspiration from billionaire entrepreneurs like Dell, Jobs, Gates, and others who hold up their example of dropping out as a badge of honor would be like hoping to be drafted by the NFL or NBA or winning the lottery. The reality is that those who can achieve success after dropping out most often rely on a set of skills and a network of relationships they possessed before college. The vast majority of America’s college dropouts are more likely than graduates to be unemployed, poor, and to default on their student loans.“Graduation rates are primarily two factors: what the student brings and what the college brings to the experience,” said Bob Shireman, senior fellow at the Century Foundation, who specializes in accountability for for-profit colleges.Colleges that have high graduation rates tend to be more selective and tend to have students who are more affluent and more academically prepared. Colleges with lower graduation rates tend to admit a higher percentage of students with Pell grants, which usually go to lower-income students.“It’s not that the low-income students are destined to fail,” Mr. Shireman said. “It’s just that they have more challenges, so it takes a lot more resources to ensure that they succeed.”NPQ reported in 2012 that student loan debt exceeds $1 trillion. With tuition rising, inflation-adjusted wages falling, and even college graduates struggling to find good jobs, the value of a college degree may seem to be in doubt. However, research shows that higher education levels generally lead to higher earnings, better health, more community engagement and more trust in governments and institutions. Investing in a college education remains a wise economic decision for the average person, especially when the student’s investment is prudent, evaluating complex issues such as student debt accumulation and the varying marketability of courses of study.While there is a strong statistical correlation among student family income, selective admissions, and graduation rates, there are surely enough good colleges with support systems defying the odds and offering all college students true opportunity to achieve their life’s goals.—James SchafferShare21TweetShare7Email28 Shares
Share333TweetShare20Email353 SharesBy Christo and Melissa Philips [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 15, 2017; Minneapolis Star TribuneThe Mayo Clinic has an international reputation for being among the best nonprofit medical centers in the world. When its CEO, John Noseworthy, announced to employees that Mayo would begin giving preference to privately insured patients over Medicare and Medicaid patients “if they seek care at the same time and have comparable conditions,” it was big news.Mayo will still accept all patients regardless of payment source, following its own mission and tradition as well as applicable federal law. However, when space and resources are tight at Mayo facilities, patients with private insurance, or who are wealthy enough to self-insure, will receive preference. Roughly half of Mayo’s patients are covered by Medicare and Medicaid; there will be times when they will have to wait, or wait longer, for tests and surgeries.The problem for Mayo, as for all U.S. hospitals, is that overall revenue margins are shrinking due to a variety of factors. Among these is that government-paid health insurance like Medicare and Medicaid reimburse hospitals at a lower rate than do private insurance companies. The Affordable Care Act (ACA) has added millions of new patients to the Medicaid rolls, and Medicaid only pays between 50 percent and 85 percent of the cost to treat a patient. This stress on hospital finances is combined with increasing percentages of Medicare eligible patients as the “baby boom” generation enters its 60s and 70s.“We’re asking … if the patient has commercial insurance, or they’re Medicaid or Medicare patients and they’re equal, that we prioritize the commercial insured patients enough so … we can be financially strong at the end of the year to continue to advance, advance our mission,” Noseworthy said.Mayo is still profitable, with net revenue of $526 million on more than $10 billion in total revenue, including $277 million in philanthropic gifts. Mayo serves more than one million patients each year from all 50 states and 140 countries, according to its web site. However, the “payer mix” of patients has changed, with a 3.7 percent surge in Medicaid patients between 2012 and 2016 contributing to financial losses from Medicaid-paid services climbing from $321 million in 2012 to $548 million in 2016.Prioritizing patient care based on ability to pay, or pay at an acceptable level, is a very troubling development. Mayo is regarded as a medical leader in so many ways that Noseworthy’s public acknowledgement that private pay patients will sometimes be served before others may be seen as a signal to other hospitals that it’s OK to do the same thing. This will only increase the divide between health care services to those who can pay the going rate and those who cannot, even with help. – Michael WylandShare333TweetShare20Email353 Shares
Share98TweetShare12Email110 SharesBy ArtofCulturalEvolution (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsApril 11, 2017; BloombergStudent debt is a personal challenge for more than 44 million Americans, but a lucrative business opportunity to the firms that manage the more than $1 trillion now outstanding. With a delinquency rate currently exceeding 11 percent, some see student loans as a major risk to the U.S. economy, one rivaling the mortgage loan market that crashed in 2007. There has also been widespread concern about the effects of college debt on the lives of individual students “what authorities describe as systematic mistreatment of borrowers.” Because these loans are guaranteed or are made directly by the federal government, the U.S. Department of Education is responsible for managing this complex system and balancing the competing interests of the various stakeholders.Last week, Education Secretary Elizabeth DeVos took action to reverse the course she inherited from the prior administration. In 2015, President Obama announced his Student Aid Bill of Rights, which aimed both to create a more efficient loan management system and to “reduce student loan defaults and encourage borrower success.” In recognizing the needs of borrowers, it sought to more fairly balance the interests of individual borrowers with those of the federal government and those doing business managing the debt under government contract. Two policy directives from the Obama administration’s Department of Education, which Bloomberg News described as directing the Federal Student Aid office to “do more to help borrowers manage, or even discharge, their debt,” were cancelled.The Obama administration sought to balance the interests of those taking out student loans and the business interests of the private firms contracted to service and collect these debts. Ideally, by taking borrowers’ interests into account, the amount of unpaid debt would be decreased, as would the cost to the federal government, and the harmful effect of predatory practices could be lessened. In her memo to the FSA, Secretary DeVos showed that efficient repayment was the singular goal of her new department: “We have a duty to do right by both borrowers and taxpayers…to acquire new federal student loan capabilities that will provide borrowers with the tools necessary to efficiently repay their debt.” She described the prior guidance she was cancelling as confusing and inconsistent but did not cite any specific actions that illustrated her concerns.Student loan expert Heather Jarvis saw the Education Department’s new direction as clearly choosing the interests of business over those of students. She told NBC News, “Borrowers don’t get to decide who their servicers are and [the servicers] can make your life miserable if they’re not doing a good job, and they’re not. For years, the government was content to award contracts based on the collection success of servicers. But Obama became aware of the problems students and families face and decided we want you to do better.” The federal government spends $800 million annually to collect student loan debt.Former Deputy Treasury Secretary Sarah Bloom Raskin, who had worked on these issue from the perspective of managing U.S. debt, interpreted the secretary’s actions as “the Trump administration…placing the welfare of loan contractors above those of student debtors.” She confessed to Bloomberg her worries over the harm that could come from by cancelling the plan “with no coherent explanation or substitute.”Secretary DeVos’ latest act was preceded by another by the Trump administration that favored banks and loan servicers. In March, the Department of Education reversed another Obama-era policy that disallowed the charging of some fees on those who had fallen behind in student loan repayments. According to Politico, this “2015 guidance had prohibited guaranty agencies that collect federally-backed loans from imposing collection fees when borrowers default on their debt but quickly agree to start repaying. The guidance affected hundreds of millions of dollars in fees for tens of thousands of student loan borrowers.”The Obama administration also acted to hold companies contracted by the federal government to service student debt more accountable for their actions and had targeted four specific firms based on their predatory practices. According to Politico, “The Obama administration said it wanted to cut ties with the companies because it determined they made ‘materially inaccurate representations’ to borrowers trying to get their loans out of default.” The four firms went to court to challenge the federal action and demand they be reinstated. Recently, “an Education Department official wrote in court documents that the agency has decided to ‘reconsider’ the Obama administration’s February 2015 decision.” The official also told the court that prior findings of improper behavior by these firms would not be taken into account as part of this new review.In the Trump era, it’s better to be a lender or loan servicer than a borrower. For students looking to finance their college educations, caveat emptor is the best advice they can expect.—Martin LevineShare98TweetShare12Email110 Shares
Share70Tweet26ShareEmail96 Shares“Sandal Castle 2,” by Tim GreenMarch 29, 2018; City Lab“When cities and states offer tax deals for large companies, public education suffers and incomes eventually fall,” writes Sarah Holder for City Lab. Such is the central finding, Holden notes, of a newly released 179-page report by Timothy J. Bartik, a nationally known senior economist at the W.E. Upjohn Institute.Last September, NPQ called attention to this potential tradeoff, noting that dollars “currently paid in corporate subsidies [might be better employed] to prepar[e] the next generation for success.” Bartik’s research, however, provides more specificity of just where the tradeoffs lie. Bartik’s research is also timely, as bidding for Amazon continues and the use of tax abatements continues to rise. For example, as Jill Cowan in the Dallas News explains in a series of articles published this week, an “economic arms race” has engulfed the Dallas-Fort Worth metropolitan region, with cities and suburbs within the region often bidding against each other.“There’s no free lunch,” says Bartik. “The incentives have to be paid for, and the money comes from somewhere.”“Bartik,” Holder explains, created “a model of a typical local economy to find out where, and to put real numbers to some conventional wisdom (and controversial assumptions) regarding economic development agreements.”Holder’s model allows him to make some estimates regarding leading questions in the economic development field. For example, one common question is “To what extent are economic incentives even responsible for new job creation at all?” Bartik’s conclusion, building upon his previous research, is that “only 10–15 percent of the new jobs companies create in incentive-offering cities and states can really be credited to the incentives they offer.”Bartik’s model does find that, initially, relocation businesses do create new jobs. These jobs are often filled by migrants, not current residents, but the jobs, typically, do materialize, and a typical business might create an additional 1.5 jobs at other area businesses due to “multiplier” effects caused by the increased incomes and purchases that the new business generates.But there is also a significant downside. Holder notes that, “Bartik says the most drastic cuts often come out of K–12 education—and skimping on schooling causes the worst damage to communities later. Every 10 percent siphoned from K–12 spending results in a long-term wage decrease in the community of eight percent.”Then, there is the cost-shifting required to cover for the taxes that the companies who have their taxes abated by definition do not pay. “The lowest income group tends to bear more than its share” due to incidence of sales taxes while “gains in property value benefit upper-income residents,” Bartik’s research shows.“In all,” Holder notes, Bartik finds “that the net benefits of incentives on local incomes…amount to only 22.3 percent of incentive costs.…In the end, the net income for those in the lowest income quintiles (and the second-highest, surprisingly) actually drops as a result of incentive policies. In places where incentives are explicitly paid for by cutting K-12 spending, state per capita income drops by more than $4 for each $1 spent on tax incentives.”Bartik doesn’t advocate eliminating economic development incentives, but he does advise reducing them and targeting those that remain. Specifically, Bartik recommends that:Tax incentives to large corporations should be more targeted. The most important targeting is…on high-multiplier firms. But tax incentives should also be targeted on export-base and high-wage firms, on places and time periods of high unemployment, and on hiring the local unemployed. Tax incentives should be more up front and should not undermine long-term tax bases.Resources should be shifted away from tax incentives to large out-of-state corporations, and toward customized services to locally owned small and medium-sized businesses.Incentives should be financed by increasing business tax rates, not by cutting education and other local skills development.Bartik adds, “The politics of incentives would be quite different if it were understood by all that incentives are best financed by increasing business taxes, and not by cutting education spending. Business tax incentives should be seen as a tool for redistributing business tax burdens away from job-creating businesses and toward other businesses, rather than as a way to lower overall business taxes, or lower overall tax revenues and public services.”“If you did that targeting, you would be turning down those bigger deals,” Bartik explains. “Then that frees up funds you can use for manufacturing, customized job training, setting up business incubator programs, and doing a variety of things to foster the growth of locally owned businesses through services.”“The context is that there’s a threat these costs will escalate out of control,” Bartik observes. “If they do, it might impinge even more on educational spending and on the potential for services to small business.”—Steve DubbShare70Tweet26ShareEmail96 Shares
Share3Tweet13ShareEmail16 Shares April 22, 2019; The Root and The InterceptThe way things are now, Jose Bou does not want his story to be held up as an example for others, even though most would find it inspiring. Bou was arrested twice and, while in prison for the second time, enrolled in a Boston University program offering college courses to people behind bars. He graduated with a near-perfect GPA and now has a master’s in criminal justice.But, he says, “Don’t look at Jose Bou and say, ‘Why don’t you do it just like Jose? Straighten up, just like Jose?’ Because they don’t have the opportunity.”That may change soon, if Congress passes the Restoring Education and Learning Act (REAL Act), which was proposed by Senators Brian Schatz (D-HI), Mike Lee (R-UT), and Dick Durbin (D-IL). The bill aims “to reinstate federal Pell grant eligibility for individuals incarcerated in federal and state penal institutions, and for other purposes.”College courses offered to those in prison used to be quite common until the “tough on crime” era, when the 1994 Violent Crime Control and Law Enforcement Act banned incarcerated people from accessing Pell grants. Now, 60 percent of them have no access to post-secondary education. Kevin Ring, president of Families Against Mandatory Minimums, called the ban “a nasty fit of spite.”In 2015, President Obama’s Second Chance Pell pilot program offered Pell grants to a limited number of people behind bars. Arne Duncan, then Secretary of Education, said, “The cost-benefit of this does not take a math genius to figure out. We lock folks up here, $35-40,000 every single year. A Pell grant is less than $6,000 each year.” The program has been a success: according to a study from the Vera Institute of Justice, repealing the ban increased employment rates and decreased recidivism rates among participants. It was renewed just this past February.That’s great, said Nick Turner, president and director of the Vera Institute, but “we encourage Congress and the White House to go one step further.”Remarkably, there seems to be bipartisan agreement on this front. Inside Higher Ed’s Andrew Kreighbaum reports that “a coalition of groups with a broad range of ideological positions” supports repealing the ban, including current Secretary of Education Betsy DeVos.There are some exciting numbers associated with this proposal: The Vera Institute estimates that 463,000 people could benefit from the repeal, and states would save $365 million per year in incarceration costs because enrollment in college courses reduces recidivism rates by nearly half. A 2014 survey found that 70 percent of inmates were interested in post-secondary education—again, something currently only 40 percent of them can access. Children are more likely to pursue higher education when their parents do, so the ban affects generations of potential students. Pell grants do not come from a static pool of money; no one will be denied a grant because someone else got one, so eligibility expansion is mostly a question of political will and about $2.7 billion extra in the budget.But it’s not just about the numbers. Investing in someone’s education is a statement of belief in their worth and potential, a statement those in prison don’t often hear about themselves. The effect of education on recidivism rates demonstrates that behavior characterized and punished as “criminal” is often merely an attempt to survive poverty; if you want it to stop, you have to do something to alleviate the source problem. Aaron Kinzel, a doctoral student who began his bachelor’s degree behind bars, said, “If you give people the opportunity, nobody wants to go back to prison. Nobody wants to sell drugs and do all this grimy shit. It’s just sometimes, you don’t have a choice.”Kinzel recalls the “lifers” he met in prison as “scholars…They have just been reading for decades and had changed their lives,” he said.There is some quiet opposition to the bill from somewhat predictable figures like Senator Tom Cotton and former attorney general Jeff Sessions, and some questions about whether it would be lifted for, say, violent offenders. But it has support from the president and dozens of nonprofit groups, including the American Correctional Association, American Council on Education, Justice Action Network, FreedomWorks, FAMM, Prison Fellowship, Faith & Freedom Coalition, Equal Justice Initiative, Sentencing Project, the NAACP Legal Defense and Education Fund, and others. Reversing the ban would be a powerful step toward reversing harmful cultural narratives about the “justice” of the criminal justice system.—Erin RubinShare3Tweet13ShareEmail16 Shares
Tony Cohen has stepped down as FremantleMedia CEO and will be replaced by Cécile Frot-Coutaz. She is currently the CEO of FremantleMedia North America and has been with the company for seventeen years. FremantleMedia said that Cohen is stepping down to “focus on his non-executive work”.Guillaume de Posch, co-CEO of FremantleMedia parent company RTL Group said: “I want to thank Tony Cohen for his outstanding achievements. He transformed FremantleMedia from a collection of individual entities into a global content power house.”
UPC Poland has added a free package of kids channels to its on-demand platform.The cable operator’s MiniMini Plus package features programming aimed at prechool children. It is available for all UPC customers to view via the UPC On Demand service.
International music broadcaster and video-on-demand platform iConcerts is airing the Pitchfork Media Festival in Paris as a live stream after it struck a deal with the US music website.The company will run the live stream of the festival, which runs in Paris from November 1 to November 3 and will include performances from artists including Sébastien Tellier, Robyn, Animal Collective and James Blake.The stream of the festival, which is held at the Grande Halle de la Villette, will be available via iConcerts.com as well as selected performances on its international platforms including its high definition channel and apps.“We’re thrilled to be partnering with iConcerts to bring the Pitchfork Music Festival Paris live stream to fans around the word,” said Chris Kaskie, president, Pitchfork.“iConcerts is entering a new era of expansion as we consolidate and support localised partnerships, as well as becoming an active player within live music/concert production with labels. We have a great respect for Pitchfork, who is a global leader in discovering and promoting the best talents of the new generation. We couldn’t be prouder to work with them, and we hope that this collaboration will enable more brilliant young voices to find an international audience and establish new models for the music industry,” said Natalia Tsarkova, co-founder and editor-in-chief, iConcerts.
Second screen experiences on smartphones are reflecting the “increasingly sophisticated nature” of what viewers expect from their connected TVs, according to Google executive George Panayotopoulos.Speaking at the PEVE Entertainment conference in London yesterday, the Google industry manager for entertainment sales said that the interface for interacting with TVs needed to match the capabilities of smart TVs – at a time when younger viewers are increasingly turning to smaller screens as their primary viewing experience.“One of the things that Google TV learnt in its first outing was that even a WiFi keyboard is a very poor interface to interact with extremely rich and deep content. I think some of the devices like Xbox Glass and YouTube’s own mobile app that syncs with YouTube applications on TVs are very much a reflection of that need of the users to do increasingly complicated things,” said Panayotopoulos.However, he added: “We are now seeing an increasing number of zero TV households, particularly among youths. So the analogy of normally a teenager having a TV in their room – that’s actually decreasing somewhat – because they have a laptop, because they have mobile devices, because they have tablets and they can access the same services through those devices. It negates the need, in some cases for them to be a TV in a room.”Speaking on the same panel, called ‘monestising the smart living room,’ Shazam’s vice-president of advertising Miles Lewis said that it was the desire for users of its music recognition app to find out about content on TV that led the firm to focus more directly on the TV space.“We didn’t set out to create an app that links to TV or TV advertising, it was the consumer that drove us to that position. It was two years ago and we suddenly realised an awful lot of people were Shazaming TV,” he said, claiming that “now in the US, all 160 main channels are Shazam-enabled.”Saffron Digital’s chief commercial officer, Amelia Gammon, however, warned that there could be “a little bit of a bubble” in the hype around connected and second screen activity.“Everybody knows that there is a function and a reason for us to offer second screen apps, but I don’t think there’s some very, very good examples of how those are being used,” she said.
Transmission services provider Antenna Hungária is gearing up for the first wave of Hungary’s digital switchover with analogue terrestrial networks to be shut off in central regions of the country, including Budapest, at the end of July.Antenna Hungária said that the basic All Digital TV Extra service was now available to 98% of Hungary’s population with a room or roof antenna and an encoder but urged viewers not to wait for the switchoff date to tune into digital.The analogue feed is due to go off air on July 31 in the north of the country, Central Transdanubia, Budapest and Pest County and the Southern Great Plain.
Comux, the infrastructure joint venture set up to support the launch of local digital-terrestrial TV channels in the UK, yesterday switched on new transmitters at Winter Hill to bring services to Liverpool, Manchester and Preston.The transmitters, overseen by Comux and operated by Arqiva, will extend the reach of the local TV network increase by more than two million to a total of 12,390,000 homes across the country.“Just over a year ago Comux won the Ofcom licence to manage this major infrastructure project and create a business that would help to ensure the long-term future of local television,” said Ed Hall, CEO of Comux.“With today’s launch at Winter Hill, the network now reaches more than 12.3 million homes, and the revenue from the sale of spare capacity is starting to come in. I am pleased to say that the team at Comux has worked successfully with Arqiva to deliver this major project on time and on budget.”
Liberty Global-owned German cable operator Unitymedia Kabel BW has added Sony’s AXN HD and A+E Networks’ History HD to its line-up of channels.The channels are available on the platform from today as part of the Digital TV Highlights and HD Option packages.Christian Hindennach, vice-president of marketing and product management at Unitymedia Kabel BW, said that the addition of the two channels meant that subscribers could now benefit from an event greater variety of HD services.
Nordic pay TV operator TDC has selected Appear TV’s XC5000 video processing platform to provide encoding and multiscreen transcoding for live linear broadcasts.The platform will be deployed for all TDC’s broadcasts, including the YouSee cable service and its OTT and multiscreen offerings.With the deployment, TDC aims to provide high quality picture across 100 linear OTT channels to around 1.2 million subscribers in Denmark and Norway.“When choosing our next generation video compression platform, we were looking for a single, user-friendly platform that would enable us to update our signal processing equipment to offer best in class image quality. This meant that we had to take into account a number of parameters, including video quality, power consumption, ease of integration and operation and the number of switches required to operate multiple TV services with hundreds of channels,” said Mads Arnbjørn Rasmussen, vice-president TV and coaxial technology, TDC.The Appear TV XC5000 platform is designed to accommodate customers’ preferred system architectures while reducing complexity. It is possible to build an entire broadcast system in a single chassis consisting of discreet stages or distributed architectures. Appear TV will exhibit at IBC on stand 1.C61
Channel provider SPI International has struck two commercial agreements with Coca-Cola in Turkey and Lay’s potato chips in Poland to promote its video-on-demand service FilmBox Live. In Turkey, the company is offering a free FilmBox subscription as part of the Coca-Cola Choice Menu offered by online grocery Yemeksepeti.A free one-week subscription to FilmBox Live gives all users who place a Coca-Cola Secilmis Menu order the opportunity to receive a special code via email or SMS, enabling them to access the FilmBox on-demand catalogue and live streaming channels.FilmBox Live has also launched a promotional campaign with Lay’s potato chips in Poland. Promo codes offering 24-hour access to 70 movies can be found in specially marked Lay’s bags available in stores throughout the country.“FilmBox Live, with its great, diverse content, a user-friendly interface and various advanced technological features is currently one of the most valued, reliable and widely available VOD services in Europe. We are looking forward to the successful outcome of the on-going promotional campaigns and we hope to attract more global brands to team up with FilmBox Live in Turkey, Poland as well as other countries where FilmBox Live is available,” said Guney Yasavur, COO of FilmBox Live.
Vivendi has sold its remaining shares in US games company Activision Blizzard, in which it once held a majority stake, for US$1.1 billion (€1 billion), bringing an immediate addition to its cash pile of US$0.4 billion.Vivendi sold 41.5 million shares in the games provider, representing a 5.7% stake, the value of which has increased by about 40% since last June.Following an agreement in 2013, Vivendi sold 85% of shares in Activision Blizzard for US$8.2 billion and then sold a further 5.8% for US$850 million in 2014.Vivendi remains involved in the games business via its acquisition of stakes in French games providers Ubisoft and Gameloft, in which it has progressively upped its interest.
Manfred AronssonBonnier Broadcasting-owned Swedish pay TV outfit C More has signed a six-year deal giving it access to Swedish Hockey League (SHL) matches until the 2023-24 season.The deal, which takes effect from the 2018-19 season and gives C More the right to air live regular season matches and playoffs exclusively, is the longest TV contract entered into by the SHL to date.C More already holds the current rights to SHL matches. The pay TV broadcaster has also recently signed long-term agreements with Sweden’s handball and floorball leagues.C More CEO Manfred Aronsson said that the latest deal was evidence of the pay TV outfit’s long-term investment in Swedish sport and represented a joint declaration of intent to develop the SHL’s international presence and encourage participation.