Out Now, Collette new look Americas BrochureOut Now, Collette new look Americas BrochureCollette has launched their new look ‘The Americas’ 2020-21 brochure with North, Central South America and the Antarctica all included for the first time, totalling 37 unique tours across these spectacular continents.“The new brochure will make it that much easier for travel agents to help travellers plan their trips to this region. We have found that Australian travellers want to get as much out of their long-haul flights and see as much as they can across the Americas and Antarctica, and now all the information is there in one brochure to help them with their research,” said James Hewlett, Head of Marketing for Collette Australia.To launch The Americas 2020-21 brochure, Collette is offering a 10% saving* on their Top 10 Americas tours including favourites: America’s Music Cities; Best of Eastern Canada; Canadian Rockies by Train; Islands of New England; America’s National Parks. As well as popular new tours; Washington DC, Niagara Falls & New York City; Painted Canyons of the West; Bluegrass Country and The Smoky Mountains; and Central/South American tours: Galapagos and Machu Picchu, and Tropical Costa Rica.*Valid for bookings made by 22 August 2019 for departures between 1 January 2020 to 30 April 2021.Visit https://www.gocollette.com/en-AU for bookings and further information.Source = Collette
Share in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Falling Loan Applications Tilt Toward Still-Nascent Recovery Adjustable-Rate Mortgage Agents & Brokers Barack Obama Capital Economics FHA Fixed-Rate Mortgage HARP Home Prices Housing Affordability Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications Mortgage Bankers Association Mortgage Rates Processing Refinance Service Providers 2012-03-07 Ryan Schuette In signs that a stable housing rebound may still be ways off, mortgage applications contracted by 1.2 percent last week, even while the Home Affordable Refinance Program (HARP) offered a still-steady buttress for refinance activity.[IMAGE]The “”Mortgage Bankers Association””:http://www.mbaa.org/default.htm (MBA) found in a weekly survey that mortgage application volume also declined by 10.2 percent on a seasonally adjusted basis.The Purchase Index went up by a seasonally adjusted 2.1 percent from last week, while it climbed by 14.7 percent on a seasonally unadjusted basis.The four-week moving average dipped by 1.77 percent for the seasonally adjusted Market Index, 0.47 for the seasonally adjusted Purchase Index, and 2.04 percent for the Refinance Index.[COLUMN_BREAK]””Paul Diggle””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/property-economics/paul-diggle.html, a property economist with consultancy “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, wrote in a note that “”the continued weakness of mortgage applications highlights that there is little chance of significant and sustained house price gains.””Refinance share of mortgage activity plummeted to 77 percent from last week ├â┬ó├óÔÇÜ┬¼├óÔé¼┼ô the lowest since December last year. Adjustable-rate mortgages scaled up to 5.4 percent from 5 percent of total volume from the week before.He attributed a 9.7-percent rise month-over-month in refinance applications to “”the expanded HARP refinancing scheme”” as government officials continue to deploy broad refi opportunities for the market.The Obama administration announced earlier Tuesday that the “”Federal Housing Administration””:http://portal.hud.gov/hudportal/HUD?src=/program_offices/housing/fhahistory (FHA) would slash refinance premiums to 0.1 percent, estimating that the revisions could impact anywhere from 2 million to 3 million borrowers who refinance their government-backed mortgages.The Capital Economics note coincided with a “”CoreLogic””:http://www.corelogic.com/ index that found prices falling 3.1 percent year-over-year and 1.1 percent in January, which Diggle deflected with analysis that suggests prices rose 0.9 percent month-over-month in lieu of normal seasonal variations.Suggesting that market conditions may keep a hold on the still-nascent recovery, the MBA said that interest rates for fixed-rate mortgages largely remained flat last week, with a marginal decline for the 30-year loan and a slight increase for FHA-insured loans. March 7, 2012 438 Views
Another Countrywide lawsuit has been finalized, with the announcement that “”Syncora Guarantee Inc.””:http://www.syncora.com/ has settled its claims with the company and its affiliates. [IMAGE]Syncora, a subsidiary of “”Syncora Holdings Ltd.””:www.syncora.com/, received $375 million from Countrywide to conclude its litigation against the company.[COLUMN_BREAK]In exchange for the payout, Syncora has agreed to release all claims against Countrywide and “”Bank of America Corporation””:https://www.bankofamerica.com/. An official release about the lawsuit noted that Syncora’s filing originally stemmed from the “”provision of insurance in relation to five second lien transactions,”” as well as “”claims in relation to nine other first and second lien transactions.””The statement went on to state that in wrapping up the case, Syncora transferred assets to subsidiaries of BofA, and accordingly, BofA “”transferred or agreed to transfer”” certain preferred shares, surplus notes, and other securities held by Syncora and its parent company.Since posting its first-quarter financials, Syncora has reportedly “”remediated several credits with total cash disbursements . . .of approximately $96 million.”” Comments from Syncora following the release of first-quarter data expressed the company’s expectation that the “”materially positive effect”” of the surplus would be reflected in its second-quarter financial statements.In closing, however, Syncora admitted that it continues to face “”significant risks and uncertainties,”” as per the company’s latest financial analysis. Share Syncora Settles Lawsuit Against Countrywide for $375M July 20, 2012 438 Views in Data, Government, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing, Technology Agents & Brokers Attorneys & Title Companies Bank of America Company News Investors Lenders & Servicers Processing Service Providers 2012-07-20 Abby Gregory
Capella Singapore, a hotel of distinction on Sentosa Island, welcomed its first guests today.Michael Luible, general manager, Capella Singapore, commented “As the first Capella in Asia, it is our intention to set a new standard of personalized service. Our guests are invited to determine the experiences they desire, and we will do everything to facilitate it. Our personal assistants, a Capella hallmark, are well equipped to facilitate every need – from planning a culinary tour of Singapore specialties, to booking a corporate meeting, to arranging a romantic dinner, children’s birthday party, deep sea fishing or even a private jet.”The hotel has opened with two high-profile events in its first days. Iconic luxury brand Rolls-Royce Motor Cars is previewing its new 200EX model, while Gucci will be showcasing their spring/summer 2009 collection with a fashion show lounge event in the ballroom.Capella Singapore is situated just ten minutes from the bustling business and shopping district; however, once within the 30 acres of lush greenery, you will be instantly captivated by the serenity and discreet splendor of the hotel. Once settled in, explore the history of the majestic colonial buildings, appreciate the specially commissioned art pieces, or embark on a culinary journey at one of the dining venues, Cassia and The Knolls.Guests can opt for one of the four Constellation Rooms, each featuring its own private rooftop Jacuzzi for an indulgent treat. Even more spacious are the Sentosa Suites at 83 square meters (893 sq ft) and Capella Suites at 99 square meters (1,066 sq ft), targeted at the discerning traveler who values space and privacy.www.capellasingapore.com
09Jan Rep. Barrett opens Lansing office, focused on constituents and veterans Categories: Barrett News,News State Rep. Tom Barrett today announced the opening of his Lansing office, along with important information for residents to contact him.Residents of the 71st House District may contact Barrett toll free at 1-855-EATON71 (855-328-6671). He can also be reached at his Lansing office at (517) 373-0853, via email at TomBarrett@house.mi.gov, and by mail at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514.“I am here to serve the hard-working families in the district, and am eager to hear their ideas and suggestions on how to improve state and local government,” said Barrett, R-Potterville.Legislative staffers Kyle DeMars and Ronald Kendall join Barrett in his Lansing office. DeMars, a Potterville High School graduate, served in Iraq with the U.S. Marines, and is a graduate of Central Michigan University.“Improving Veterans employment is one of my top priorities. I am proud to lead by example by hiring a highly qualified veteran like Kyle,” said Barrett, who currently serves as a helicopter pilot in the Michigan Army National Guard and served in South Korea, Guantanamo Bay, Kuwait and Iraq. “We must make the transition from military to civilian life smoother for veterans returning to Michigan after serving their country.”Kendall worked in the House of Representatives in 2012 and 2013 and is a graduate of Western Michigan University.“Ron knows our district so well that I am thrilled to have him join me in serving Eaton County,” Barrett said. “He will do an excellent job responding to our constituent concerns. We will have a very robust outreach program.”Rep. Barrett’s office is located at 124 N. Capitol Ave., Room 1090, Lansing, MI 48933. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.#####
15Jan Rep. Vaupel is ceremoniously sworn into office and announces office contact information State Rep. Hank Vaupel was ceremoniously sworn into office today at the Capitol by Michigan State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr.State Rep. Hank Vaupel, is sworn in by Michigan State Supreme Court Chief Justice Robert Young Jr. (left). He was joined by (from left) friends Wanda Hummel, Larry Hummel, Pastor Diane Greble, Ed Alverson, and his wife Cathy Vaupel.“I am so pleased to welcome my family and friends to Lansing today as I officially begin my work for the people of the 47th House District,” said Vaupel, R-Fowlerville.Vaupel also announced his office contact information for constituents.“As I begin my first term as representative I want to ensure that residents know how to contact me with their ideas and concerns,” Vaupel said. “I would not be here without them so it is my top priority to continue to stand for the ideas and issues that are important to the constituents of Livingston County.”Residents can contact Rep. Vaupel in Lansing at (517) 373-8835, at P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909-7514 or by email at email@example.com.Legislative staffers Cindy Denby and Sue Dolato will join Vaupel in his Lansing office. Denby, the former representative for the district as well as a former legislative staffer, will continue to work with the 47th District as Rep. Vaupel’s legislative director. Dolato, who was on staff with Rep. Denby will continue on as legislative aide in charge of constituent work.Vaupel’s office is located at 124 N. Capitol Ave., Room 896, Lansing. The office is open Monday through Friday from 9 a.m. to 5 p.m.### Categories: Vaupel News,Vaupel Photos
Categories: Sheppard News 21Jun State Rep. Jason Sheppard unveils plan to rein in Michigan’s exorbitant auto insurance rates Plan would provide much-needed relief to Michigan drivers, who are paying some of the highest car insurance premiums in the countryState Rep. Jason Sheppard (R-Temperance) on Monday unveiled a plan to tackle Michigan’s outrageously high auto insurance rates, which are among the costliest in the nation.“Under my plan, consumers would be offered options, which would open the door to more insurance choices increased competition and ultimately drive down costs,” said Sheppard. “The plan preserves Michigan’s one-of-a-kind unlimited benefits for those hurt in a car crash, while offering a range of more cost-effective options.”A driver in Michigan will pay, on average, more than $2,000 a year for car insurance – which is twice the national average. Drivers in Michigan pay nearly three times more than drivers in neighboring Ohio and Wisconsin.One of the contributing factors to the high cost of auto insurance in Michigan is the mandate that drivers purchase unlimited lifetime medical benefits, which are the most generous in the country.“What makes this plan unique is its simplicity,” said Sheppard. “Customers would have four clear options when choosing their car insurance, including retaining the generous, unlimited lifetime medical benefits. However, some of the other options could save drivers 30 percent or more on their car insurance premiums.”Rep. Sheppard laid out the plan during a town hall meeting Monday night at the Bedford Public Library in Temperance. Additional town halls are planned throughout the state to educate the public on his proposal and to discuss drivers’ concerns about the rising cost of auto insurance.###
25Jan Sheppard helps approve bills giving families, workers, seniors tax relief Categories: Sheppard News State Rep. Jason Sheppard of Temperance joined his colleagues in the Michigan House today in approving legislation giving Michigan families and seniors income tax relief.The legislation continues and increases personal exemptions for Michigan taxpayers and their dependents on their state income taxes. Other bills in the package provide additional tax relief for senior citizens.“I voted today for tax reforms that are necessary because of changes made by the federal government,” Sheppard said. “Not only did we vote to keep the personal exemptions for Michigan’s taxpayers, but we also provided for an additional credit for seniors.”One of the bills ensures Michigan taxpayers will be able to continue claiming personal exemptions on their income taxes after federal tax reforms signed into law last month. In addition, the legislation increases the state personal exemption from the current $4,000 to $4,800 by the 2020 tax year.Another measure provides a tax credit for those 62 and older — $100 for single filers and $200 for joint filers – in addition to the personal exemption increase. A third bill would allow taxpayers in Michigan cities with an income tax to continue to claim exemptions.The House specifically added a provision to make sure public school funding is not affected by the proposal.House Bills 5420-22 advance to the Senate for consideration.
24May Rep. Lauwers: DEQ rules-making process should be transparent When a local resident suggested that state Rep. Dan Lauwers run a study to determine which state department draws the most complaints, Rep. Lauwers said he didn’t need a study. He knew the Michigan Department of Environmental Quality (DEQ) and Treasury Department were hands down the winners in the complaints department.That’s why Rep. Lauwers, of Brockway Township, voted for a Senate plan to rein in the powers of the DEQ and establish a method by which residents and other stakeholders can be involved early in the rules-making process.“I voted for the plan because DEQ and Treasury go overboard with their interpretation of the law, changing what has been common practice for years based on statute,” said Rep. Lauwers, who serves as House Majority Floor Leader. “And when you have a new stakeholder who doesn’t know an issue come in and misinterpret law – that’s when we have major complications and we hear from people in our communities.“When dealing with the DEQ, you are considered guilty until proven innocent,” Rep. Lauwers said. “Other than through the courts, no appeals process exists for people regarding most permits or operational licenses issued by the DEQ.”The Senate plan approved by the House this week will:Create an 11-member Environmental Rules Review Committee charged with oversight of all rule-making of the DEQ;Establish the Environmental Permit Appeal Panel, which would make final decisions on permits or operational licenses issued by the DEQ when an applicant appeals a decision by petition to the DEQ director; andReinstates the Environmental Science Advisory Board within the Department of Technology, Management and Budget to review environmental issues at the request of the governor and provide science-based recommendations. Votes to provide oversight, science-based criteria Categories: Lauwers News,News “A perfect example of the extremes the DEQ goes to was when the department fined a county in northern Michigan $11 billion dollars – that’s billion, with a B,” Rep. Lauwers said. “That in itself is ludicrous, but to find out that the reason the DEQ was assessing that large a fine was because the department only wanted the county to comply, not actually pay the penalty. That is over-reaching. The DEQ needs to be reined in and this solution will do that.”The Senate bills approved by the House this week are Senate Bills 652, 653 and 654. The measures now go to the governor for consideration.####
13Mar Rep. Hoitenga proposal protects private property rights Categories: Hoitenga News,News State Rep. Michele Hoitenga, of Manton, recently introduced a plan addressing drone usage guidelines for the state’s Department of Natural Resources.House Bill 4300 states the DNR, or a person acting on its behalf, cannot utilize a drone to surveil, inspect or collect information about private property without consent, a warrant or probable cause.“Currently, the DNR does not need a warrant to do its job when going on private land,” said Hoitenga, who chairs the House Communications and Technology Committee. “I want to make sure a middle ground is forged within our state’s laws. We must respect the positives of advancing law enforcement technology while not infringing on private property rights.”Aerial reconnaissance can aid the DNR in efforts to monitor environmental situations such as forest fires or contaminants in lakes and rivers.Now in her second term representing residents in Wexford, Mecosta and Osceola counties, Hoitenga has worked extensively to incorporate the rise of drone use – whether for hobbyist, commercial or government purposes – into state law.Two Hoitenga proposals involving drones were eventually signed by former governor Rick Snyder during the 2017-18 legislative term. Public Act 446 of 2018 tasks the Michigan Aeronautics Commission with providing education and information on unmanned aircraft to various departments, the public, law enforcement and other entities.Public Act 448 of 2018 declares drone use as an extension of a person regarding criminal activity. Under the enacted law, illegal activity carried out with the use of a drone is treated the same as an individual breaking the law without unmanned aircraft as an aid.HB 4300 was referred to the House Communications and Technology Committee for consideration.
The people of Michigan aren’t interested in talk – they’re interested in results. For far too long, government officials have steered clear of delivering solutions and ignored the desires of those who entrusted them to represent them in Lansing.Forty years. That’s how long Monroe and Wayne county drivers have demanded car insurance reform. For four decades, drivers have been sacked by nation-high car insurance premiums melting away their hard-earned savings – only to be continuously overlooked in the blind spot of their elected officials.This is why I was inspired to serve our community as state representative. I, like you, was sick and tired of the excuse cards played by politicians. I made a promise to listen to the priorities of Michigan families and deliver solutions. I made fixing our state’s broken no-fault car insurance system my top priority because it was the priority of the elderly woman in Flat Rock on a fixed income, the single mother in Berlin Township trying to feed her children, and the Monroe High School student merely trying to afford driving to his minimum wage job.These are real people who I refused to let down, and the very people I had in mind when I voted for a bipartisan plan delivering real cost-savings to every Michigan driver. After good-faith negotiations, the governor signed our landmark no-fault overhaul into law, putting an end to decades of partisan gridlock and Michigan’s long-standing tenure as the state with the most expensive car insurance.The willingness of both the Legislature and the governor to come and work toward a compromised solution for the largest budget issue facing Michigan signifies that we can accomplish anything when we work together.Powerful players such as medical providers, insurance companies and trial lawyers have already voiced their concerns about the new law. However, that only reassures me this law is a big victory for the people of Michigan, not special interest groups.Beginning in July 2020, every family across Michigan will have the freedom to choose how much personal injury protection (PIP) coverage they want for the first time in the state’s history, resulting in hundreds of dollars in guaranteed cost-savings each year. Drivers will be able to choose affordable, alternative PIP coverage levels that best meet their personal and family needs. Those with retiree health coverage or adequate health insurance policies will be able to opt out of PIP coverage altogether, saving up to 50 percent on their annual premiums. Michiganders interested in purchasing unlimited PIP coverage may continue doing so.The new law also establishes a fee schedule to rein in runaway costs that result from medical providers gouging prices for car accident victims. Non-driving factors, such as ZIP codes, home ownership, credit score and educational level, are banned from determining rates. Lastly, an anti-fraud unit will crack down on fraudulent claims and bad actors abusing the system, helping further drive down costs for everyone.I was just an average Monroe store owner known as “Joe Babe” around town then, and I still am now. I listened to your frustrations, and I dedicated my time in Lansing working hard to find and deliver a meaningful solution. I couldn’t be more proud of our historic fix to Michigan’s much-maligned car insurance system and what it will mean for Monroe and Wayne county drivers. Categories: Bellino News 12Jun Government officials listen to deliver for Michigan drivers on car insurance reform
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 6, 2014; WFAA-8When a judge orders a defendant to do community service at a nonprofit or make a donation as a condition of probation, there are some ethical and common-sense considerations that need to be applied.In Texas, District Judge Jeanine Howard has been requiring that defendants, as part of the conditions of their probation, contribute money to a charity of her choice. To make it worse, Howard, a Catholic, has been ordering payments to the St. Vincent dePaul Pantry, a Catholic Charity. News 8 reports that tens of thousands of dollars in donations have flowed to St. Vincent dePaul through Howard’s judicial orders. Experts agree that the practice is a problem because it indicates bias or partiality for that particular charity. The opinion issued by the State Commission on Judicial Conduct reads, in part, “Judicial power should not be used to force litigants to provide gifts or services to specified charities or to other organizations; judges should not be choosing among competing charities.” This is not the only recent problem this judge has had relative to nonprofits. Last week, Howard sentenced Sir Young, a rape defendant, to five years of deferred adjudication probation, but it had as a condition “250 hours of community service at a rape crisis center.” The Dallas Area Rape Crisis Center naturally protested the order, saying that he wasn’t welcome at the center. The judge then reversed her order on that and other more standard sex offender conditions, including refraining from contact with children, going through sex offender treatment, undergoing a sex offender evaluation, and taking annual polygraph exams. Howard also made inappropriate comments about the victim in the case even though Young pled guilt and admitted that he did not have the girl’s consent.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share55Tweet23Share5Email83 Shares“Day 36/366…..I Voted.” Denise Cross Photography.January 5, 2018; Mother Jones and SCOTUSBlogAs elections, whether local, state, or national, garner more and more attention, the issues that swirl around them, especially concerning who votes in those elections, become highly politicized. The issue of voting rights crosses the line into multiple areas of partisanship: racial discrimination, civil rights, disability rights, and more. And voting rights will again be on the docket of the Supreme Court this week as it takes up the issue of states’ rights to purge from registration lists voters who have not voted for two consecutive years.The case of Husted v. A. Philip Randolph Institute was initiated when an Ohio Navy veteran who had resided in his home for more than 16 years was denied the right to vote in 2015 due to his decision not to vote in 2010 and 2011. That decision triggered a notice from the state’s elections board in June 2011 to confirm he was still eligible to vote. The veteran says he does not remember receiving the notice, so he did not return it—and thus he was removed from the voter registration lists. He is one of more than two million voters removed from Ohio’s voter registration lists since 2011 when John Husted became secretary of state. This method is one of many used to keep voters from the polls, and they often target specific voter populations. Other methods are better known—poll taxes, literacy tests—but the purpose is almost always to limit the voting power of specific racial and ethnic minority groups. And the justification used is almost always to eliminate voter fraud.Civil rights groups say that Ohio’s policy discriminates against minorities, who tend to vote less often, and that it prevents eligible voters from casting ballots. According to a Reuters analysis of voter rolls in Ohio’s three largest counties, people in Democratic neighborhoods were struck from the rolls at twice the rate of people in Republican areas. Moreover, Reuters notes, “neighborhoods that have a high proportion of poor, African American residents are hit hardest.” Five other states use similar processes to purge their voter rolls, but Ohio’s program is the most aggressive.An interesting twist in this case is the National Voter Registration Act of 1993, sometimes referred to as the Motor Voter Act, which was enacted to increase opportunities for citizens to register to vote by allowing them to register at their local DMVs. This law also placed limits on how states could remove voters from the rolls once they registered. It specifically prohibited removal based on failure to vote. Clearly, this provision will be debated at the Supreme Court when this Ohio case is heard this week.Nonprofits have long seen voter registration and “get out the vote” activities as nonpartisan and highly patriotic activities. Adherence to the guidelines of their 501c3 status that does not allow endorsement of candidates does not limit their ability to work on these voting activities and voting rights. The national Voting Rights Coalition lists more than 90 national and DC-based organizations on its website that work on both voter registration, voting rights and voting protection. All these organizations as well as others will be closely watching as this case unfolds. The stakes are high for many, as this court decision could either support citizens’ rights to vote or disenfranchise many.In 2015, Nonprofit Quarterly’s Rick Cohen wrote about the challenges to nonprofits working to secure voting rights. He pointed to the ongoing work of the League of Women Voters and their stalwart work on nonpartisan voter registration, despite efforts to make that process more difficult in many states. As Cohen prophetically wrote in 2015, “It is no less true about the issue of voting rights—that is, the efforts of many states to restrict the voting rights and deter the voter turnout of communities of color. The courageous efforts of the League of Women Voters and other nonprofits like the Advancement Project no less dedicated to the issue ought to be a reminder that the issue of voting rights is an issue for all nonprofits that are concerned about this country’s increasingly tattered democracy.”—Carole LevineShare55Tweet23Share5Email83 Shares
Fashion and entertainment channel Fashion One TV has inked a satellite deal that will see it being transmitted to millions of homes across Europe and North Africa.It has inked an agreement with GlobeCast that gives it access to a potential 42 million DTH, 55 million cable and 2.3 million DTT homes in the region.
The BBC is due to launch a special one-off episode of its medical drama Holby City that will be available exclusively through its Red Button service.The episode will go live after next Tuesday’s episode airs and will focus on two of the show’s most popular characters.Last year the firm aired special Red Button episodes around the shows Casualty and Doctors as a way to add value for loyal fans of the shows.Last month the BBC’s governing body, the BBC Trust, recommended that the BBC merge its online and Red Button operations under a single service license to help them complement each other in the future.
Russia’s CTC Media has appointed former MTV Russia executive Lika Blank as the new head of its female-skewing network, Domashny Channel.Blank, who takes up her new role effective of today, will be tasked with increasing the channel’s audience share among the ‘young female’ demographic.She will also be responsible for planning the channel’s strategic development, strengthening its creative team and “reinforcing the channel’s content policy.”“We all really love Domashny Channel and believe in its huge potential for further growth. With Lika Blank’s appointment, the market and viewers will see a new Domashny this year,” according to CTC Media’s Chief Executive Officer, Yuliana Slashcheva.Blank brings 16 years of TV and journalism experience to the role. From 2010 to 2013, she was general producer at MTV Russia, prior to which she worked for two years as executive producer and head of business development for the national German television channel Das Vierte.She replaces Natalia Korotkova, who had been head of Domashny Channel since October 2012.
German broadcast group ProSiebenSat.1 has struck a long-term rights deal for free TV, pay TV and online platforms in Germany and Austria with the WWE to show wrestling.The deal includes all WWE pay-per-view programming on ProSiebenSat.1’s on-demand platform Maxdome as well as as weekly episodes of SmackDown on ProSieben Maxx free TV and Monday Night Raw and NXT on ProSieben FUN pay TV.“This cooperation with WWE creates tremendous added value for our viewers and customers. WWE is well recognised in Germany and has a loyal and growing fan base,” said Andreas Heyden, chief commercial officer of ProSiebenSat.1 Digital.“We will be showcasing some of the very best programming WWE has to offer across our various platforms including SmackDown on ProSieben Maxx and the huge event WrestleMania 30, which will be available live as a pay-per-view for the first time on Maxdome.”
Russian service provider Rostelecom grew its pay TV base by 7% in the year to March, taking its total to 8.1 million on an adjusted basis. Rostelecom had 2.9 million IPTV customers at the end of March, up 24% year-on-year. The company’s broadband base grew by 4% on an adusted basis to 11.2 million. Fixed phone subscribers fell by 9% on an adjusted basis to 23.7 million.Rostelecom’s TV, broadband and fixed-line numbers were affected negatively by an audit of its accounting systems, bringing the way it counts its customer base in line with an approved methodology. As a result it removed just under 30,000 pay TV customers along with 240,000 broadband customers and 180,000 fixed line customers from its count. The company said its fibre network now reached over 26 million homes.Revenues from TV services for the quarter grew by 25% year-on-year to RUB4.581 billion (€82.6 million), while broadband revenues grew by a more modest 5% to RUB15.74 billion.Rostelecom’s overall revenues for the quarter were RUB71.71 billion, down 11% thanks to declines in fixed telephony, VPN and non-telecom services. Operating income fell by 13% to RUB9.3 billion, thanks to factors including increased personnel costs, increased interconnect charges, mostly related to TV services, and the deconsolidation of the company’s mobile assets.“Our first quarter results clearly demonstrate that we are delivering on our strategic objectives. Our broadband and pay TV subscriber bases continue to expand, ARPU is growing and we remain committed to developing innovative services. As a result, these rapidly growing market segments are gradually increasing their overall contribution to Rostelecom’s revenue, which already accounts for 37%,” said Sergey Kalugin, Rostelecom president.“Despite the promising growth of the digital segments, the high comparison base caused by one-off income gained during the Sochi Winter Olympics in the first quarter of 2014 meant that we were unable to increase revenues in nominal terms this quarter. We are pleased to have achieved a solid OIBDA margin and that our efforts to curb the rise in financial expenses have paid off, despite the increase in the market cost of borrowing and volatility in the capital markets. As reflected by our first quarter results, we are consistently achieving the goals set out in our five-year strategic plan. We remain on track to fulfilling our strategic objectives and we look forward to seeing the Company’s continued growth.”
Eurosport Player is joining the Amazon Channels line-up in Germany and Austria, in a move that brings live sports – including Bundesliga football – to the platform.Eurosport’s parent company, Discovery Communications, agreed the deal with Amazon, building on an existing partnership that has already seen both Eurosport Player and Discovery launch on Amazon Channels in the UK.As of this season, Eurosport becomes the exclusive home of live Friday night Budesliga football in Germany. The channel also has rights to Grand Slam Tennis, MotoGP and the Olympic Winter Games PyeongChang 2018.Amazon Prime members can subscribe to Eurosport Player via Amazon Channels and watch all its sports coverage live or on-demand via the Prime Video app on smart TVs, mobile iOS and Android devices, Fire tablets, and Amazon Fire TV streaming devices.“As the new home of Bundesliga, Eurosport Player will deliver a more engaging and more accessible experience than ever before,” said Susanne Aigner-Drews, Discovery Communications’ senior vice-president and general manager for Germany, Austria and Switzerland.“This partnership helps us to deliver the ambition to give fans the opportunity to watch the teams and players they love, live through Amazon Channels.”Amazon Channels Europe managing director, Alex Green, said: “We are delighted to offer our millions of Prime members in Germany and Austria access to live premium sports, including Bundesliga football on Eurosport Player via Amazon Channels.”“At €4.99 per month, with no long-term commitment and cancellable anytime, Prime members can enjoy Bundesliga matches and other premium sports at exceptional value and in the most flexible and easy way across all of their favourite devices and screens. This is great news for sports fans.”Amazon launched its Amazon Channels offering in the UK, Germany and Austria in May of this year, allowing Prime users to add live and on-demand TV channels to their subscription package on an a la carte basis.Amazon Channels launched with a line-up of more than 40 channels in the UK and more than 25 in Germany and Austria, with the German line-up including channels like Cirkus, Motorvision.tv and Syfy Horror.Amazon first pioneered the service by launching an a la carte channels offering in the US in December 2015, in partnership with major TV networks and content makers like Showtime, Starz and AMC.To read more about Amazon’s European Channels initiative, see DTVE’s recent feature from our online Multi-Screen and OTT Series.
Satellite ground segment revenues will surpass US$158 billion (€134 billion) over the next decade, according to Northern Sky Research (NSR).According to the satellite research group, satellite TV will continue to be the largest segment within the overall ground-segment market by shipments and revenues, with set-top boxes and antennas generating the largest revenue shares.However, VSAT platforms will provide the highest growth rates, with sales of modems and baseband equipment being driven by growing demand for consumer broadband and mobility.Sectors including aeronautical satellite communications will also expand rapidly. However, the market for satellite communications Earth stations will contract, according to NSR. Overall, says NSR, RF ground segment revenues will be flat year-on-year, with sales amounting to roughly US$1.3 billion per annum.According to NSR, the market for antennas will be commoditized at the low end, while specialised equipment will see strong growth. However, the emergence of flat panel antennas could disrupt the market, according to the research outfit.Llus PalermNSR says that demand from high-throughput satellite paltforms will lead to skyrocketing demand for baseband equipment.“Satellite Ground Equipment is a very dynamic market with opportunities available across the board. However, technologies and business models are changing at a rapid pace and only the most adaptive actors will survive,” said Lluc Palerm, NSR senior analyst and report author.“VSAT platforms will see spectacular developments from emerging verticals like Consumer Broadband and Cellular Backhaul, but to capture these growth opportunities, vendors will need to move platforms to the ‘cloud’ and closely integrate with the space segment.”