Tags: MSC Cruises, New Ship Travelweek Group Thursday, October 18, 2018 Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >> MSC Cruises to enter ultra-luxury segment with four new-build ships GENEVA — The ultra-luxury cruise segment will soon welcome a new heavy-hitter into the mix – none other than MSC Cruises.The cruise line announced today that it has signed a memorandum of agreement (MOA) for the construction of four ultra-luxury cruise ships for a total value in excess of EUR 2 billion.The first ship, set for delivery in spring 2023, will feature 500 staterooms and a gross tonnage of approximately 64,000 GT. The remaining three ships will come into service one per year over the following three years. All ships will feature the best and latest environmental technology, cutting-edge maritime solutions at sea and highly-innovative design, said MSC.On its new venture into luxury, MSC Cruises’ Executive Chairman Pierfrancesco Vago said: “It is off the back of the great success of our ship-within-a-ship luxury concept that our guests asked us to enter into the ultra-luxury segment, as a natural evolution of the MSC Yacht Club. These ships will be able to offer unique itineraries, thanks to their size, and the guest services will be taken to another level, including our personalized MSC Yacht Club butler service, available 24/7.”More news: Flights cancelled as British Airways hit by computer problemVago also highlighted the company’s longstanding partnership with Fincantieri. “The award-winning Seaside and Seaside-Evo class have already been recognized as groundbreaking and innovative designs. We are now introducing another new class, which will establish a new standard of ultra-luxury at sea with ships that will showcase the quality and highest standards that are associated with Made in Italy,” said Vago.Roberto Fusaro, Country Manager of MSC Cruises USA, noted how the new ships will be of particular interest to North American cruises.“In addition to our Yacht Club experience, North American guests will enjoy from 2023 onwards an even wider choice of five-star cruises experiences in the highest segment of the market. Our future ultra-luxury ships will come as close as it comes to a private yacht experience.”With the addition of these four new ships, MSC Cruises’ investment plan will now account for a total of 17 new ships to be built by 2027, for an overall investment of EUR 13.6 billion. Of these, three have already come into service since June 2017: MSC Meraviglia, MSC Seaside and MSC Seaview. Two more – MSC Bellissima and MSC Grandiosa – will be delivered in February and October 2019, respectively.More news: Sunwing to further boost Mazatlán service with new flights from OttawaAll five ships will feature MSC Cruises’ existing ship-within-a-ship luxury concept, the award-winning MSC Yacht Club.MSC Seaside Yacht ClubMSC Seaside Yacht Club RestaurantMSC Seaside Yacht Club Private PoolMSC Divina Yacht Club Stateroom Share
John Constable has been appointed to run STA Travel Group, replacing outgoing chief executive, Peter Liney.Effective today, Mr Constable will step into the head role as Mr Liney joins the company’s board as an adviser.Working with the student and youth travel company for up to six year, STA Travel Group board member Angelo van Tol wished Mr Constable “success” in his new role. “I would like to thank Peter for his contribution to the business look forward to working with him in his new position,” Ms van Tol said. Source = e-Travel Blackboard: N.J.
Credit Availability Tightens as Lenders Limit Offerings Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Credit Availability Credit Standards Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Bankers Association Qualified Mortgage Service Providers 2013-12-10 Tory Barringer After experiencing a small bump in October, mortgage credit availability reversed course in November as lenders ceased offering certain easy-credit products.[IMAGE][COLUMN_BREAK]The “”Mortgage Bankers Association’s””:http://www.mortgagebankers.org/default.htm (MBA) Mortgage Credit Availability Index (MCAI) slipped 1.2 percent to settle at 110.2 in November, wiping out the 0.7 percent gain recorded a month prior. A decline in the index indicates that lending standards are tightening; the index was benchmarked to 100 in March 2012.According to MBA, the drop comes from the discontinuation of a “”significant number”” of loan programs for loan-to-value ratios of more than 95 percent and programs for borrowers with low-to-mid range FICO scores. Investors also continued to pull back from products featuring terms longer than 30 years and interest-only programs as the mortgage industry prepares for the arrival of January’s new regulations.Those decreases were partly offset by investors increasing cash-out offerings to well-qualified borrowers, MBA reported. in Origination December 10, 2013 416 Views Share
Four Seasons Hotel Kyoto opened 15 October 2016 and immediately saw a full house, because it was new (and a Four Seasons) and then repeats soon started at Christmas and New Year. Next comes the forthcoming sakura cherry blossom season, which officially begins 28 March 2017. And, frankly, Kyoto just does not have enough places to stay. Does GM Alex Porteous have any problems? No, not with marketing this superb luxury hotel. He hired his 270-strong team, currently all Japanese, mainly for attitude, but it is amazing how well they have learned skills, and English, so fast.This 123-room hotel, owned by Berjaya Kyoto and designed by architects Kume Sekkei, with interiors by HBA’s Singapore-based Agnes Ng, is, by the way, an urban design resort, with maximum flexibility. In the wedding chapel with its massive window, for example, turn off the electrically illuminated cross and the space can instantly be used, say, for a course by Danish floral artist Nicolai Bergmann – he has the flower shop here, and also partners with Four Seasons Seoul. (Based in Tokyo, Bergmann is one of the artists featured in the world’s most gorgeous pop-up lifestyle store, Isetan’s Tabisuru, directly opposite Andaz Tokyo – no visitor to Tokyo should miss this store, ideal for all Christmas gifts, and for yourself.)Four Seasons Kyoto is exquisite. First, its location, on the site of a former hospital – where, coincidentally, the guest experience specialist, as well as a concierge, were born – is part of a gorgeous garden, said to date back 800 years, with 60-centimetre-long bright orange koi in its big pond. My room, 106, looked down to the garden and across the pond to a traditional teahouse where Billecart-Salmon and saké are served every evening, and where a maiko, a trainee geisha (or geiko in Kyoto) aged 15-19, visits every weekend. She also dances in the hotel’s main lobby, up on the third floor of the building. Yes, the lobby, at the end of a stone entrance approach flanked by exactly-upright bamboos, is floor three. Above, on the top floor, are 57 residences for sale. Below the lobby are two floors of bedrooms. Further below is the tasteful, quiet and professional spa, where I had an outstanding Biologique Recherche session; they also work with Sodashi and Tatcha. And even further down is the 20-metre pool, and a gym that reminds me, thanks to its wood floor with blocks outlined in black, kind of retro style, of the fitness facility in The Greenwich Hotel, New York (this one here is 24/7 and the equipment is Mantra).Alex Porteous made sure I had plenty of exercise, by the way – although he fortunately stopped short of suggesting I try geisha dancing. He sent me across the road to Chishakuin Temple, affiliated with Shingon-shū Chizan-ha Buddhism, for the daily 6.30am service. It was emotionally draining, and no photos allowed. For 40 minutes over 80 shaven-head monks, mostly men, chanted in unison, in rising and falling tempo, broken only by elders, and visitors, including me, being privileged to add tiny nuggets of incense to three ceremonial burners, with deep bows before and aft. All the monks wear back aprons, generally different colours from their black or saffron knee length coats over matching pleated skirts, all over mid-calf white skirts and white flipflop socks. I learned later that temples are privately owned and that thanks to the high income from burials and regular commemorative memorial services, they are big business. There is also income from visitors wanting to stay in the temple’s own lodging block. Who becomes a trainee monk? Not surprisingly the kids of owners are ‘encouraged’ to train, but with so many there it must be easier to find recruits than the geiko and geisha owners, who apparently have to trawl far and wide to find teenagers prepared to undergo the geisha discipline.There seems to be no shortage of sushi chefs, thank goodness. Four Seasons Kyoto has a partnership with the two-Michelin-starred Sushi Wakon in Tokyo; chef Masashi Yamaguchi, in charge of the 10-seat counter and restaurant here, trained there for 15 years. Today he not only made a Nigiri lunch, from Japanese flounder through to sea eel, with gari, ginger, as between-bite palate cleanser, but gave me, via my translator Maaya Arakawa, so much explanation. Now I know that men’s hands are colder than women’s, that chopsticks should be made of cedar, and that Kyoto water is not the best either for sushi rice or green tea – some bring water from Tokyo but Yamaguchi-san prefers bottled drinking water (and the thick soy sauce he uses for brushing sea eel, his own particular favourite nigiri, starts with fish broth boiled gently for two weeks).Mary Gostelow travels over 300 days a year, doing one-night stands in top hotels around the world. Read her daily travelogue, www.girlahead.com
Go back to the enewsletterSix months after opening in the heart of this city’s historic district, the Al Bait Sharjah is emerging as one of the region’s most ambitious new properties.Renowned for the five historic homes at its foundation, the 53-room resort by GHM debuted in marked contrast to the world-famous hotel towers of nearby Dubai, cultivating a low-slung profile and an aesthetic that celebrates indigenous building design and materials. Its historic barjeel, or wind tower, punctuates the district’s age-old appeal.The name of this new Leading Hotel of the World – Al Bait – means home in Arabic and is a reference to both the intimate atmospherics of the property’s design and to its five residential chambers.The homes are each named for former inhabitants and are designed to recall their original purpose as residences that doubled as a post office, a customs’ house and a salon – or majlis – for the city’s intellectual elite.The hotel’s accommodation ranges from 31 to 44 square-metres in the deluxe rooms, to 102 square-metres in each of the resorts’ two grand suites. Its decor marries an Arabian ambiance to Eastern minimalism.The Al Bait Sharjah is managed by GHM (General Hotel Management Ltd).Go back to the enewsletter
Riyadh, Saudi Arabia – Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineIn keeping with their commitment to the Middle East and an ongoing strategy to develop hotels in cities with high demand for luxury lodging, Ritz-Carlton has unveiled its first property in Saudi Arabia. The palatial Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh, located in the heart of the Diplomatic Quarter, is reached via a kilometer long driveway that meanders through 52 acres of elegantly landscaped gardens and up to stunning fountains that front the imposing ochre façade. Originally envisioned as a royal guest palace for visiting dignitaries and heads of state, the hotel, designed by Al Rasheed Engineering Company and constructed by Oger International, is architecturally inspired by traditional Arabian palaces and homes. A stunning indoor swimming pool on the ground level features floor-to-ceiling windows that overlook the gardens, dotted with native palms, 600-year-old stately olive trees from Lebanon, and bubbling water fountains.The 493 rooms and suites are styled using decorative elements that recall the Kingdom’s heritage, including pulsating colors and the rich ethnic textures of the Arabian Peninsula. Modern amenities are threaded throughout; wireless and wired internet access, flat screen televisions and DVD players are standard. Most spectacularly, there is not just one, as is regular, but 49 exquisitely appointed two-bedroom Royal Suites, each liberally measuring 4,574-square-feet. The opulent accommodations are rounded out with 50 one-bedroom Executive Suites, which, at 1,022-square-feet, are ideal for VIP guests.The conference and catering team at The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh is set to accommodate the largest of international summits and social gala events. The hotel offers more than 62,000-square-feet of conference space combined, including two colossal. They are complemented by two vast auditorium-styled theaters with stepped floors and built-in stages, perfect for press conferences and symposium lectures, and a generous variety of smaller meeting rooms. Completing the conference area is Aubergine, a restaurant that caters exclusively for the invited delegates, journalists and accompanying security personnel.Guests are spoiled for gastronomical choice. Dining venues include Al Orjouan, the signature all-day dining buffet restaurant featuring Lebanese favorites; Asian restaurant Hong features a contemporary fusion of fresh Oriental ingredients with a western flair; and Azzuro offers authentic Italian from the old country. Other entertaining spots include Turquoise, a cigar lounge set to house one of the widest selections of Cuban cigars in Saudi Arabia and Strike, which offers mocktails and smoothies within a 10,700-square-feet indoor six-lane bowling alley.“This majestic hotel’s prime location in the literal heart of the Arabian Peninsula offers many significant advantages to visiting guests and dignitaries,” said Herve Humler, president and chief operations officer of The Ritz-Carlton Hotel Company, L.L.C. “We are extremely proud that The Ritz-Carlton, Riyadh represents our first hotel into the Kingdom. We believe our service is as exceptional as the surroundings, and the hotel will be the first choice for the local community, as well as visitors.”
Categories: Markkanen News,News 13Feb Rep. Markkanen’s plan helps county road commission facilities Measure helps fix Michigan’s infrastructure State Rep. Greg Markkanen recently introduced a plan to give county road commissions additional flexibility to improve their facilities and help fix Michigan roads.Under current Michigan law, county road commissions have only up to 15 years to make payments when purchasing property for public use. Markkanen’s plan would double that timeframe, allowing road commissions up to 30 years to complete purchases.The change would assist county road commission finances as they work to improve Michigan’s roads.The reform was brought forward to Rep. Markkanen by Keweenaw County residents.“Giving county road commissions much-needed financial flexibility when upgrading their facilities or buying equipment will help the effort to fix Michigan’s roads,” said Markkanen, of Hancock. “We should not needlessly place restrictions on county road commissions that cramp their budgets. This plan helps eliminates financial roadblocks and will lead to better roads for Michigan drivers.”House Bill 4120 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.####
Share16TweetShareEmail16 SharesCC BY 3.0, LinkOctober 7, 2018; New York Times and Washington PostA new United Nations’ scientific panel on climate change paints a dire picture, writes Coral Davenport in the New York Times. The report, issued on Monday by the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change (IPCC), minces few words, describing “a world of worsening food shortages and wildfires” resulting from continued climate change. The report also indicates that, given current trends, a mass “die-off” of coral reefs by 2040 is highly likely.The challenge facing the world is daunting. As Chris Mooney and Brady Dennis write in the Washington Post, to avoid these kinds of outcomes “would mean that, in a world projected to have more than two billion additional people by 2050, large swaths of land currently used to produce food would instead have to be converted to growing trees that store carbon and crops designated for energy use.” They add that,Most strikingly, the document says the world’s annual carbon dioxide emissions, which amount to more than 40 billion tons per year, would have to be on an extremely steep downward path by 2030 to either hold the world entirely below 1.5 degrees Celsius, or allow only a brief “overshoot” in temperatures. As of 2018, emissions appeared to be still rising, not yet showing the clear peak that would need to occur before any decline.[…]By 2050, the report calls for a total or near-total phaseout of the burning of coal.The report is all the more stunning because IPCC is known to be conservative, write Mooney and Dennis. “If you’re expecting IPCC to jump up and down and wave red flags, you’re going to be disappointed,” Phil Duffy, president of the Woods Hole Research Center, informed the Post. “They’re going to do what they always do, which is to release very cautious reports in extremely dispassionate language.”A total of 91 scientists from 40 countries participated in the writing and editing of the report. Their work was based on the analysis of more than 6,000 scientific studies. Peer review involved “tens of thousands” of comments, add Mooney and Dennis.The report estimates carbon emissions by nation as follows:China10.15 billion tonsUnited States5.31 billion tonsIndia2.3 billion tonsRussia1.63 billion tonsJapan1.21 billion tonsGermany0.8 billion tonsIran0.66 billion tonsSaudi Arabia0.63 billion tonsSouth Korea0.59 billion tonsCanada0.56 billion tonsRest of world12.34 billion tonsTotal direct emissions36.18 billion tonsLoss from deforestation, etc.4.65 billion tonsTotal carbon emissions40.83 billion tonsAs the report outlines, human activities have already caused warming of about 1.8 degrees Fahrenheit, or one degree Celsius, since the burning of coal first became widespread in the 1850s. The report authors contend that while it is technically possible to avoid reaching 2.7 degrees of warming, it would be politically difficult to do so. “For instance,” explains Davenport, “the report says that heavy taxes or prices on carbon dioxide emissions—perhaps as high as $27,000 per ton by 2100—would be required.”At the current rate of warming, the IPCC estimates that temperatures could rise 2.7 degrees Fahrenheit (1.5 degrees Celsius) above preindustrial levels by 2040, “inundating coastlines and intensifying droughts and poverty,” writes Davenport. Avoiding the most serious damage requires transforming the world economy within just a few years. The report authors estimate that the monetary value of damages will total $54 trillion if the world reaches temperatures that are 1.5 degrees Celsius above pre-industrial levels.“Absent aggressive action, many effects once expected only several decades in the future will arrive by 2040,” notes Davenport, citing the report.According to Davenport, achieving the Paris goals would require reducing carbon emissions by 45 percent from 2010 levels by 2030, and 100 percent by 2050. It would also require reducing the use of coal from close to 40 percent of electricity today to less than seven percent by 2050. (This assumes that carbon sinks permit small levels of continued fossil fuel use while maintaining a “net zero” balance). Renewable energy such as wind and solar, which produce about 20 percent of electricity today, would have to increase to as much as 67 percent.—Steve DubbShare16TweetShareEmail16 Shares
Quality assurance specialist Bridge Technologies will use ANGA COM to highlight its VB272 Dual Input Satellite Module, PocketProbe for Android and OTT monitoring and analysis with MPEG-DASH.The VB272 is a dual-input card with a compact form factor and capabilities for monitoring signal distribution, contribution and data traffic. The VB272‘s RF performance allied to its ETR analysis engine are designed for monitoring of central headends, OB (mobile) trucks, mobile production centre vans, and any satellite uplink application.PocketProbe is an app that enables analysis of real network performance of streaming media, in a tool that technical staff can carry anywhere. Like the existing PocketProbe app for iPhone, PocketProbe for Android extends both the existing capabilities of digital media monitoring systems built from Bridge Technologies hardware probes, and the monitoring software environment. PocketProbe contains the same OTT Engine found in the company’s VB1, VB2 and 10G VB3 series digital media monitoring probes, enabling confidence validation and analysis of http variable bit-rate streams from any location.Bridge Technologies will sneak-peek the latest development of its OTT monitoring and Aanalysis engine, now with MPEG-DASH support. Bridge Technologies is also showing its 10G VB330 monitoring system with bulk ETR engine and OTT engine licensing, which is designed to provide end-to-end monitoring for OTT services. Bridge Technologies will be exhibiting at ANGA COM on Stand V10, Hall 10.1.
Poland-based OSS and BSS provider Comarch is supplying billing software for the new Austrian digital-terrestrial pay TV platform simpliTV.Comarch has been contracted by ORS subsidiary Simpli Services to provide its Smart BSS Suite for simpliTV.Comarch is providing support for a self-care portal, enabling consumers to purchase a set-top at a store and activate it. The portal is integrated with a CRM system and with Simpli Services’ existing financial system.Comarch’s solutions for simpliTV cover CRM, product catalog, service activation, self-care, billing, trouble ticketing, APIs and web shop.Comarch and ORS will jointly implement new features for the service aimed at business customers in the near future.simpliTV offers a range of about 40 channels via set-tops and CI+ modules. Twelve services are available free of charge.
Liz NunnCNN International has hired former Viacom executive Liz Nunn as head of its UK-based ad sales unit.Nunn, formerly Liz Rakowicz, was previously vice-president, international sales at Viacom.Nunn will head CNN’s ad sales in the UK, the Netherlands and Finland and will also coordinate CNN’s business relations with media agencies globally.She will report to Petra Malnicka, vice-president, ad sales for western Europe.Malenicka said: “I am thrilled to be working with Liz again, having seen first-hand what she brings to our sales operation. The UK is a hub of creative excellence and the centre of critical media agency relationships, and we want to build on our leading pan-regional position here. Liz’s energy, sharp mind, market knowledge and industry network are second to none. She will greatly strengthen CNN’s competitive advantage in this key market.”
Samsung UHD S9 Series Smart TVUltra High-Definition, 4K TV is “poised for strong growth in the coming years” according to US technology body, the Consumer Electronics Association (CEA).The organiser of the Consumer Electronics show, which is on now in Las Vegas, predicted in its latest forecast that shipments of 4K UHD displays will reach four million units in 2015, a 208% increase compared to 2014.The CEA’s new ‘4K Ultra HD Update: Consumer Adoption and Awareness’ research also said that 33% of consumers may buy a 4K Ultra-High Definition TV within the next three years, while 44% indicate they are likely to purchase a smart TV.In terms of top features that will drive their next television purchase, 27% ranked 4K UHD capability as the second most important feature, followed by picture quality at 24%. For 54% of consumers, price was the most important aspect to consider when buying a TV.“4K UHD is our future, and the future is now. Consumers recognise that 4K Ultra HD is the next step forward in a long line of outstanding high-definition televisions and displays,” said CEA president and CEO Gary Shapiro.With new next-gen technologies and features being added by manufacturers that help improve the already outstanding picture quality and viewing experience, 4K UHD is set to become the next great success story in television technology.”
In another sign of the synergies between Viacom’s UK channels bouquet TV channels following the acquisition of terrestrial Channel 5, MTV will run repeats of Celebrity Big Brother’s new season.An edited version of each Celebrity Big Brother daily highlights show on Channel 5 will repeat twice each weekday the following day after each show, at 14:00 and 19:00. A weekend version will run at 18:00 on Saturday and Sunday.This arrangement began last night, when the 16th season of the show got underway. This follows a deal Viacom International Media Networks has struck with producer and rights holder Endemol Shine Group.Since Viacom swooped to buy Channel 5 for £450 million mid-way through last year, it has focused on content-sharing initiatives for Channel 5 with VIMN nets such as MTV and Nickelodeon UK.This included the joint commission of reality series 10,000BC, which will air on Channel 5 and MTV. In November, Channel 5 aired the MTV European Music Award to record local numbers.
Netflix continues to “slowly increase its domination” of North American fixed internet networks, accounting for 36.5% of downstream traffic in the peak evening hours, according to Sandvine.The broadband network solutions firm said in its latest ‘Global Internet Phenomena’ report noted that Netflix’s share of web traffic was up slightly from its second half of 2014 report, when it accounted for 34.9% of downstream traffic.YouTube accounted for 15.6% of downstream traffic on fixed networks in North America, second to Netflix, but accounted for most mobile downstream traffic at 21.2%. On mobile networks, Facebook came second with 15.8% of downstream traffic.On fixed networks, Amazon Video held “only a fraction of the bandwidth share when compared to Netflix” with 1.97% of peak downstream traffic in North America. However, this was up from 1.90% a year ago.“Network traffic in the Americas seems to be getting increasingly concentrated. Netflix continues to rise as a percent of North American fixed network traffic,” said Sandvine CEO, Dave Caputo.“In Latin America, when you add up the properties of Facebook and Google – including Facebook, Instagram, WhatsApp, YouTube, Google Play, etc. – these two Internet giants control over 60% of mobile network traffic. Corporate decisions by these major players, like Netflix’s recent decision to encrypt their streams or Facebook’s decision to auto-play videos uploaded to its site, can instantly and dramatically impact subscribers and all internet access networks.”
Over-the-top (OTT) video usage in Western Europe continues to grow, but still trails North America – particularly for subscription video on-demand (SVOD) uptake – according to Parks Associates.The research firm’s OTT Video Market Tracker report claims that 55% of UK broadband households and 51% of French internet homes watch TV programmes and movies online, compared to 70% in the US.In terms of SVoD use, some 30% of broadband households in the UK and just 17% in France subscribe to an online video service, compared to 64% of US broadband homes, according to the research.“OTT is definitely gaining traction across Europe. We are seeing new OTT video services spring up but not as many as in North America,” said Brett Sappington, director of research, Parks Associates.“In many parts of Europe, pay TV penetration is lower than the US, and European consumers have been reluctant to pay for video in the past due to so many ‘free’ options such as the BBC iPlayer. But, as more pay options enter the market, with content unavailable anywhere else, they are slowly changing the culture of video viewing in Europe.”The research said that an increasing volume of new over-the-top services is driving online viewing in the US and Canada, and that there was a “big increase” in the number of homes subscribing to multiple OTT video services in the US at the end of 2015.The UK remains one of the top markets in Europe for OTT, fuelled by interest in the iPlayer and popular OTT video services from Netflix, Sky, and Amazon, according to Parks.
YouTube is reportedly planning an online TV service that will let customers pay to stream a bundle of cable TV channels over the web.According to Bloomberg, the service, dubbed Unplugged, is one of YouTube’s “biggest priorities” and is due to launch as soon as 2017, with the required technical architecture already in place.Citing people familiar with the plan, the report claims that YouTube has met with the likes of NBCUniversal, Viacom, 21st Century Fox and CBS though is yet to sign any deals.YouTube has been working on the idea since 2012, though its plans have taken on a “new urgency” in recent months as more rivals move into the online TV space, said Bloomberg.Separately Variety reported that YouTube aims to keep the cost of Uplugged under US$35 per-month, though hasn’t yet finalised details of the model for the subscription service.The news comes as Hulu – which is owned by 21st Century Fox, the Walt Disney Company and NBCUniversal – confirmed it too is planning to launch a cable TV-style subscription service that will let users to watch television channels over the web.Speaking to the New York Times this week, Hulu CEO Mike Hopkins said: “this is designed for the people that the marketplace is concerned are falling out of love with pay TV. We want to have a product for them.”He added that the service will be personalised in an effort to make it easier for viewers to find channels that may interest them, particularly on mobile devices.According to a recent Wall Street Journal report, the new Hulu service is expected to launch in the first quarter of 2017 and cost in the region of US$40 per-month.Last October YouTube unveiled YouTube Red, a new pay-monthly offering that lets viewers access an ad-free version of the service and watch videos offline on phones and tablets.The service also includes original content, featuring some of YouTube’s biggest home-grown talent, with the company recently pledging “a lot more original content” throughout this year.
Dutch telco KPN has named Wouter Stammeijer as executive vice-president of strategy.Wouter StammeijerStammeijer, 37, who is currently head of investor relations for KPN, replaces Jan Wildeboer, 65. He will take up his post on June 1.Stammeijer worked in the telecom sector team for ING Wholesale Banking before joining KPN in 2010.Reinout Van Ierschot, currently senior investor relations officer, will take over responsibility for day-to-day management of the investor relations team.In its most recently quarterly results, KPN reported a 4.8% increase in its IPTV base to 2.127 million and a19% decline in its base of Digitenne digital-terrestrial and analogue TV customers, taking that total to 248,000.
Dutch teclo KPN is due to shut down its over-the-top TV service KPN Play on July 2 citing “insufficient demand”.In a statement the company said that the subscription online service, which offered a new way of watching TV when it launched in 2015, did not get sufficient traction.During June the company will make KPN Play available for free, stopping subscriptions automatically. Programmes will be unavailable after July 2.The KPN Play website will remain online until October 1, during which time users will be able to log-in and manage their account. KPN Play’s customer service will remain available until July 13.“We have learned a great deal from KPN Play and are using this for other products, including the KPN Interactive TV (iTV) app that is part of KPN’s internet and TV packages,” the company said in a statement posted to the KPN Play website.“Now you can also watch TV on a big screen with the interactive TV app from KPN, thanks to Chromecast support, just as you are used to with KPN Play.”KPN said its iTV service – which is only available to KPN’s internet and TV subscribers, not on a standalone basis – will be offered to KPN Play customers as part of a special promotion.KPN launched Play in November 2015, offering a range of live channels and on-demand content for €11.99 a month for the first year, without an ongoing contract commitment.At launch it offered 22 linear TV channels including HBO, Comedy Central, TLC, Nickelodeon, Discovery personalised music channel Xite. The service also provided seven-day catch-up content from public broadcaster NPO’s three channels and the commercial stations SBS6, Net 5 and Veronica.
China Literature Limited, the publically listed e-books unit of Tencent holdings, is set to acquire film and TV studio New Classics Media (NCM) for US$2.25 billion.The First Half of My LifeNCM is a renowned TV series, web series and film producer in China with a track record of creating popular content from The First Half of My Life (pictured) to Yu Zui.This transaction combines China Literature’s extensive content library and NCM’s industry expertise in script development and production, to create a host of new titles.The current management of NCM will continue to oversee the TV series, web series and film production business and will have the authority to select titles both within and without China Literature’s library.The transaction, which is currently expected to close during the second half of 2018. It will require shareholder approval by the majority of independent shareholders of China Literature.Mr Wenhui Wu, co-chief executive officer of China Literature, said: “Users are increasingly demanding high quality video entertainment content which in turn drives the demand for literary works for various content adaptations.“We are the pioneer and leader in online literature market and thus in providing source material for China’s most-watched TV series, web series and films.“Further enhancing our content adaptation expertise is a natural next step for China Literature to unleash the commercial potential of our content library, drive integrated development of blockbuster titles, and enhance engagement of our writers and users.”
POLICE say that the security alert in Balbane Pass in Derry’s Creggan area has now ended.A suspicious object discovered in the area was examined by ATO and has been declared to be an elaborate hoax.This has now been removed for further examination. ShareTweet ATOBALBANE PASSCRegganDC DONNELLPSNIUPDATED NEWS: ELABORATE HOAX DEVICE FOUND IN DERRY SECURITY ALERT Detective Constable Donnell said : “I am appealing for anyone who was in Balbane Pass late last night or early this morning and who witnessed any suspicious activity or anyone with any information that can assist with the investigation to contact Detectives in Strand Road on 101 quoting reference number 372 of 09/12/17.“Alternatively, information can also be provided to the independent charity Crimestoppers on 0800 555 111 which is 100% anonymous and gives people the power to speak up and stop crime.”All roads in the area have now reopened to traffic and a number of residents who had left their homes during the incident have now returned.UPDATED NEWS: ELABORATE HOAX DEVICE FOUND IN DERRY SECURITY ALERT was last modified: December 9th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: