TONACATEPEQUE, El Salvador — Painted carts carrying torches and characters from mythology paraded through the city of Tonacatepeque, 25 kilometers north of San Salvador, on Nov. 1. The indigenous tradition known as “La Calabiuza” precedes the arrival of the Spanish to Americas. Only recently has the festival regained its prominence as the country’s most popular way to celebrate the Day of the Dead.The caravan of chanting revelers – some painted an ashen red and others acting as skeletons – attract the attention of locals and foreign tourists. Other characters in the mythology include La Siguanaba, a beautiful woman who flirts with all the men, and is later punished by a god for abandoning her son Cipitío. La Siguanaba is cursed to look lovely from far away and hideous up close. There also is the devil, el Cadejo (a frightening, otherworldly black dog) and la Llorona (the Weeping Woman). All these characters are seen throughout Central American folklore, but with their own twists in each country. In Costa Rica, La Siguanaba is known as La Segua – a siren-like woman who woos drunken men to come to her rescue before transforming into a terrifying horse-beast.But El Salvador’s La Calabiuza brings together all these legends into one full day of partying.In the central plaza of Tonacetepeque, residents cook with improvised stoves and use huge metal bowls to cook pumpkin and honey to share with attendees late into the night. The Day of the Dead concludes on a dais in the downtown plaza where the participants with the best costumes are honored. In 1530, Spanish conquerors tried to enforce their own traditions on El Salvador. But Tonacatepeque historian Luis Silva, 66, explained that Salvadoran ancestors did not attend the festival and instead fought hard to emphasize “La Calabiuza,” a word that means “skull” in the local language.“What the Spanish brought has virtually disappeared, and this has stayed the same and it is an hour for us,” Silva said.Tonacetepeque Mayor Roberto Herrera said the festival not only maintains tradition but most importantly it turns young people away from violence. Due to gang violence, El Salvador has the second highest homicide rate in the world, only surpassed by its neighbor Honduras. No related posts. Facebook Comments “We participate in the Calabiuza festival to not lose the tradition and to reject the Halloween of the United States,” said 15-year-old Francisco Siliezar, while dressed as Cipitío, a person that according to the legend loves the most sympathetic woman after his mother left him. The chubby character eats ashes and wears a wide pointy hat.The tradition disappeared due to the country’s civil war from 1980 to 1992. But after young people started to the imported Halloween, the community decided to take up La Calabiuza again, and today it is one of the most prominent festivals in the country.
Categories: Vaupel News State Rep. Hank Vaupel invites all area residents to join him for coffee and conversation on Monday, Aug 3 at any of the following in-district locations:Randy’s Service Station from 8 to 9 a.m. – 8030 Mason Road, FowlervilleFowlerville Farms from 10 to 11 a.m. – 941 Grand Ave., FowlervilleLivingston Greene Apartments from 1:30 to 2:30 p.m. – 470 N. Grand Ave., FowlervilleGlenwood Apartments from 3 to 4 p.m. – 797 Hazelnut St., Fowlerville“Coffee hours are a great opportunity for me to spend face-to-face time with people and learn what questions and concerns they have about state government.” Rep. Vaupel, said.Residents who are unable to attend coffee hours are encouraged to contact the representative’s office with any questions or concerns. The office can be reached by phone, at 866-828-4863 or by email at HankVaupel@house.mi.gov.### 20Jul Rep. Vaupel invites residents to join him for coffee and conversation
23Jan Local bank president joins Rep. VanderWall for State of the State Categories: VanderWall News,VanderWall Photos Photo Information: State Rep. Curt VanderWall (right), of Ludington, hosted Ray Biggs (left), president of West Shore Bank in Ludington and immediate past chairperson of the Michigan Chamber of Commerce, as his guest on the House floor during Gov. Rick Snyder’s State of the State address. The governor discussed priorities for the coming year during the speech.
Categories: Bollin News State Rep. Ann Bollin of Brighton Township will host district coffee hours on Monday, Feb. 25 to meet with local residents of the 42nd District.“Thank you to everyone who attended my first round of coffee hours,” Rep. Bollin said. “I appreciate your thoughts and ideas, and look forward to hearing from even more of you on Feb. 25!”Coffee hours are scheduled for the following times and locations:4:30 to 5:30 p.m. at Lake Trust Credit Union Headquarters, 4605 Old US 23, Brighton 48114; and6:30 to 7:30 p.m. at Hamburg Township Library, 10411 Merrill Road, Whitmore Lake 48189.No appointment is necessary. Residents unable to attend may contact Rep. Bollin’s office by calling (517) 373-1784 or by email at AnnBollin@house.mi.gov. 19Feb Rep. Bollin to host local coffee hours
25Apr Rep. Kahle votes to ‘Raise the Age’ for juvenile justice in Michigan Categories: Kahle News,News Legislation ends policy requiring 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in courtState Rep. Bronna Kahle today voted to end the policy requiring all 17-year-olds to be treated as adults in Michigan’s criminal justice system.The plan was overwhelmingly approved by the Michigan House and now advances to the Senate for consideration.Michigan is one of just four states still requiring all 17-year-olds to be prosecuted as adults – even those who commit the most minor offenses. Kahle said eliminating this outdated practice will help rehabilitate young offenders and reduce the likelihood of them breaking the law again in the future.“Putting teenagers who commit non-violent offenses into prisons alongside hardened adult criminals is a harmful and ineffective practice,” said Kahle, of Adrian. “We will rehabilitate more troubled teens and save taxpayer dollars by allowing 17-year-olds to be included in the juvenile system, where they will have access to crucial educational and technical training opportunities.”Including 17-year-olds in the juvenile system has been shown to reduce reoffending by 34 percent, according to the Centers for Disease Control.House Bills 4133-46, 4443 and 4452 would raise the age at which individuals are considered adults for the purposes of prosecuting and adjudicating criminal offenses, allowing 17-year-olds to be treated as minors within the juvenile system in most circumstances beginning Oct. 1, 2021. Prosecutors will continue to have discretion, allowing them to waive minors who commit violent crimes into the adult system when appropriate.The measure also includes a funding plan to ensure local communities do not incur any additional costs associated with keeping 17-year-old offenders in the juvenile system, which is administered at the local level.Kahle said the reform is expected to improve public safety and save public tax dollars over time. Connecticut, Illinois and Massachusetts are among the states that have experienced millions of dollars in savings, decreases in the number of reoffending youth and declines in judicial costs after raising the age of juvenile court jurisdiction to 18.
Share447TweetShare10Email457 SharesJune 16, 2015; PoliticoIt isn’t news that Bill Clinton and Hillary Rodham Clinton have charged hefty speaking fees for some of their appearances. It is news that they have taken in some $11.7 million as speaking fees from nonprofit groups.Politico’s Kenneth Vogel points out that Hillary Clinton’s approach to nonprofit speaking fees differs from that of her predecessor, Condoleezza Rice. Secretary Rice, Vogel reports, got $60,000 in 2009 for a luncheon appearance at the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach and then, according to multiple sources familiar with the club’s finances, gave “almost all” of the fee back to the sponsor. Secretary Clinton got $200,000 from the same group for the same event five years later and gave nothing back to the club. Instead, her speaking fee went to the Clinton Foundation. Vogel adds that Rice’s appearance raised twice as much as Clinton’s for the Long Beach charity.The $11.7 million take represents the cumulative speaking fees of the Clintons since the end of the Clinton presidency. The providers of the speaking fees ranges from groups such as Chicago House, an AIDS service provider, to trade associations, large universities, and public policy advocacy groups.In fairness to the Clintons, these are all different kinds of nonprofit entities. The list of nonprofits that paid the Clintons to speak is a motley group of 501(c)(3) public charities, 501(c)(4) political entities, and 501(c)(6) business and trade associations, and organizations of very different sizes, with the speaking fees, much like the Clinton Foundation’s disclosures of donations, given in ranges: Amount: $500,001 to $1,000,000DMC Communications Ltd., on behalf of All Ireland Scholarships* Amount: $250,001 to $500,000Colgate University+Fundación Telmex+Hamilton College+UB Foundation Activities, Inc.+University of California Los Angeles+S. Islamic World Conference* Amount: $100,001 to $250,000American Neurological Association*Association for the Development of the National Opera*Boys and Girls Club – Long Beach+Butler University*Catholic Family Counseling Centre*Chicago House+Colgate University*DePauw University*Drug Chemical and Allied Trades Association, Inc.*Edson Queiroz Foundation – University of Fortaleza*Guilford College*Hamilton College*Hofstra University*Hult International Business School*National Association of Broadcasters Education Foundation*Simmons College+State University of New York at Albany*Temple Law School*TJ Martell Foundation*Tufts University*University of California Los Angeles*University of Connecticut+University of Judaism*University of Miami+University of Rochester*UNLV Foundation+UNLV Foundation* Amount: $50,001 to $100,000American University – Kennedy Political Union*Chicago House*Drew University*Jewish Federation of Palm Beach County^Minneapolis Jewish Federation^Rehab Foundation*The Jewish Federation of Greater Los Angeles^University of Florida*University of Missouri – Kansas City^ Amount: $25,001 to $50,000Tanenbaum Center for Interreligious Understanding*TD Bank, on behalf of the OneXOne charity*University of Iowa* Amount: $10,001 to $25,000American Israel Public Affairs Committee*Direct Marketing Association Nonprofit Federation^Minneapolis Heart Institute Foundation*United Jewish Appeal – Federation of Jewish Philanthropies of New York, Inc.(* Indicates a speaking engagement by President Clinton; + Indicates a speaking engagement by Secretary Clinton; ^ Indicates a speaking engagement by Chelsea Clinton.) The diversity of these groups, despite most of them possessing 501(c) tax designations, means they’re not quite in the same place in the nonprofit taxonomy. A political entity such as AIPAC is quite different from an AIDS provider or a Catholic family counseling center. It isn’t necessarily true that the Clintons are sucking money out of tiny, struggling public charities, either—even the Boys and Girls Club of Long Beach raises around $2.8 to $2.9 million annually, and Chicago House’s 2014 revenue was $6.6 million. On the other hand, Vogel cited “fundraising experts and people affiliated with some nonprofits on the list” who felt that the Clintons charged “hefty” fees that were a “significant drain on small charities’ fundraising.” One such expert, a nonprofit fundraising coach named Marc A. Pitman, said, “I don’t know of any other foundation that collects speaking fees.”Even here, however, it is necessary to distinguish types of organizations. The Clinton Foundation isn’t an endowed foundation, but raises money through donations and, as news accounts have explained in the past few months, through the Clinton’s large speaking fees, paid because charities expect that big-name star power will power their fundraising events. (Note: If any NPQ readers find the CEOs of this nation’s large, endowed private foundations charging speaking fees, please let NPQ know.)Vogel adds that a “small charity called the Happy Hearts Fund, which rebuilds schools destroyed by natural disasters, donated $500,000 to the Clinton Foundation in conjunction with a Bill Clinton speech at its 2014 gala, only after trying unsuccessfully to get him to appear for free.” NPQ didn’t see Happy Hearts (raising roughly $3 million annually) on the list of nonprofits paying for a Clinton speech.Readers probably know that charities don’t often land the likes of Bill or Hillary Clinton to utter a few words at a fundraiser. The Long Beach Boys and Girls Club, for example, obviously has juice, having landed other speakers along the lines of Henry Kissinger, Tony Blair, Rudy Giuliani, and former presidents Gerald Ford and George H.W. Bush, Vogel reports. But big speaking fees often mean limited fundraising totals. That partially explains the Boys and Girls Club’s low return on the Clinton speech compared to Rice’s, in that paying Secretary Clinton $200,000 undoubtedly ate into the fundraising luncheon income. Many charities expect that their big name speakers like Rice and Clinton will give back some or all of their fees, but Secretary Clinton didn’t do so. However, Clinton turned over her speaking fee to the Clinton Foundation for its philanthropic activities as opposed to pocketing it as personal income, as Bill Clinton did when he spoke at the Club in 2007.Apparently, unnamed sources close to the Boys and Girls Club weren’t happy that Secretary Clinton gave her speech (closed to the media) and “took off without visiting any of the club’s facilities to meet the children who benefit from its services.” As Vogel notes, “By contrast, Rice spent the morning before her speech (which was open to the media) touring a club facility and talking with its children about the importance of staying in school and chasing their dreams.” Hillary Clinton’s dream is now the White House, which means that she might not be spending time touring charity facilities in a state like California that is already check-marked for the Democratic presidential candidate in 2016.In her 2008 presidential campaign against an upstart unknown first-term senator from Illinois, Hillary Clinton voiced enough support for the policies and programs that charities rely on to warrant her “I ♥ Nonprofits” recognition. But looking to other charities (not trade associations! Charge them the going rate, Hillary!) for six-figure speaking fees that she can use to help fund her own foundation feels a bit self-obsessed and less than generally charitable.—Rick CohenShare447TweetShare10Email457 Shares
Share14TweetShare1Email15 SharesAugust 3, 2015; Portland Press Herald (Portland, ME)Sometimes public-private partnerships that enjoy the support of local government still manage to generate controversy among local communities.The city council of Portland, Maine, is about to give a nonprofit housing developer a 22-year tax break worth more than $700,000 to subsidize the construction of a four-story affordable housing complex in one of the city’s upscale neighborhoods. The project would provide 37 units of new housing for people with limited incomes, but according to the Portland Press Herald it has drawn opposition from some neighbors, both over the loss of parking as well as whether affordable housing fits the historic neighborhood.Avesta Housing says the project will provide workforce housing at a time of high demand and low vacancy rates, and that the waiting list is already long. Avesta’s executive director told the paper that the number of people who have contacted it for housing in the past six months is up 27 percent over last year, while rents in Portland have increased 17.4 percent—the second-highest rate in the U.S., according to Zillow.The half-acre site of the proposed development is being reviewed by the city’s planning and historic preservation boards. The property is currently a parking lot, and opponents are concerned about the loss of spaces and the lack of on-street parking, with one longtime resident claiming the loss of parking may force her to move.Avesta Housing bought the half-acre parking lot and two apartment buildings in 2011 for $6.2 million, and is investing almost $11.5 million into the project, which would have parking spots on site along with the 37 apartments.The housing will be set aside for individuals and families who make at or below 40 to 60 percent of the Portland area’s median income, with rents ranging from $540 to $1,044 a month. The rents are made affordable by taking advantage of housing tax credits offered by Maine Housing and a tax increment financing deal with the city.During the 22-year tax break the council is considering, the nonprofit developer would keep 65 percent of the new tax revenue generated; after 22 years, the city would receive all of the taxes. The local city councilor supports the project and the tax break, saying, “We have a housing crisis.”One local neighborhood association is staying out of the divisive project debate, although another is already on record in opposition, objecting to the loss of parking as well as to the use of tax revenue to subsidize affordable housing.—Larry KaplanShare14TweetShare1Email15 Shares
Share49TweetShare2Email51 SharesBy U.S. government, National Park Service [Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsMay 16, 2016, National GeographicOn May 11, 2016, NPQ reported on the National Park Service’s proposed rules for donor recognition. Critics argue the policy change would open the door to objectionable sponsorships. The public comment period for the proposed rules closed on May 16th.This policy change came as a consequence of the 2015 National Defense Authorization Act, which compels the National Park Service (NPS) to increase private funding through “donor recognition.” Donor recognition allows for corporate logos to appear on temporary freestanding signs, brochures, posters and banners, digital media, some exhibits, and vehicles. It also allows for the sponsorship and naming of interior spaces for five years, branded programs and endowments, and sponsorship of paving stones, benches, theater seats, bear-proof locker, park furnishings and the like.Becky Little reports in National Geographic that the proposed changes are not as excessive as some warn. Asked whether the NPS proposal is just “naming rights” by another name, Bill Chipps, a senior editor for the marketing news and insight website IEG Sponsorship Report, sided with the Park Service’s interpretation. “It’s not naming rights, no way,” he says. “I see it as donor recognition and that’s it.”Chipps says corporations might not be that interested in the new donor recognition options. To most companies, just putting a name on something without any branding material (unlike the branding that comes with naming a stadium) “has pretty limited value,” he says. “So I certainly do not see this opening up the floodgates to any kind of rampant corporate signage in national parks.”However, this headline in the Washington Post was indicative of most media reports on this issue: “Yosemite, sponsored by Starbucks? National Parks to start selling some naming rights.” Other media had their own fun offering possible naming opportunities. From Quartz, Jezebel, and Raw Story, we have many ideas. Here is the list from Quartz: Arches National Park, brought to you by Dr. Scholl’s®; Great Smoky Mountains National Park, brought to you by Jimmy Dean® sausages; Everglades National Park, brought to you by Glade PlugIns®; Yosemite National Park, brought to you by Yosemite Sam’s Gold River Adventure at Six Flags®; National Bison Range, brought to you by Buffalo Wild Wings®. You get the picture.NPQ readers will understand the pressure that chronic underfunding places on NPS superintendents to raise new money. The National Park Foundation raised only $46 million in 2014 (according to its latest annual report). For 2016, the NPS budget set by Congress is $2.85 billion with a backlog of nearly $11.5 billion worth of much-needed repairs.Jeff Ruch, executive director of the Public Employees for Environmental Responsibility (PEER), offers PEER’s thoroughgoing assessment of the NPS proposed rules:The draft of revised Director’s Order (DO) #21: Philanthropic Partnerships posted on March 30, 2016 on the NPS Planning, Environment and Public Comment website (PEPC) would transform the Park Service’s current passive posture of merely accepting donations to one where it would actively press corporations, vendors and other commercial interests for money. This drive by the NPS to begin aggressively pursuing donations from both corporations and park visitors is a major step in the wrong direction.For over a century, private philanthropy has supported the preservation of park lands. To facilitate philanthropic support for national park projects, Congress set up a National Park Foundation to explicitly solicit donations. Rather than build on that foundation, this DO would move from “philanthropy with partners” to co-marketing with corporate donors who expect something from park managers in return.As detailed below, the thrust of our comments is that this revised DO inappropriately diverts public resources to private fundraising, unwisely entangles NPS in corporate marketing schemes and unadvisedly privatizes the national park interpretive function, among other untoward effects.This long and complicated NPS story began in 1872. It includes both the displacement of indigenous inhabitants from parklands and the railroad industry providing crucial financing and marketing of the national parks in the early years—tourism was good for business.In 1903, President Theodore Roosevelt and preservationist John Muir went on a three-day camping trip in the Yosemite Valley. Each man held different views on how, why, and to what extent the environment should be protected, but that encounter did much for the establishment and growth of NPS. Through the decades, the competing demands between preservation and exploitation, the sacred and the profitable, the needs of one generation and its obligations to the next have endured.Even if the proposed “donor recognition” rules are implemented and the NPS superintendents and staff are good at fundraising, will this new money amount to even a fraction of what the National Park Foundation raises each year from private sources, let alone begin to touch the $11.5 billion in needed repairs? Will Congress only reduce the NPS funding in direct correlation to its success in private fundraising? It may be time for another fireside chat among the powers about the destiny of America’s national parklands.—James SchafferShare49TweetShare2Email51 Shares
Middle East pay TV provider OSN has chosen technology supplier KIT Digital to provide the platform for its multi-screen deployment.KIT Digital will work with OSN to design, develop, and deploy a new over-the-top video platform that will deliver OSN’s content to millions of users across 24 countries, as a complement to OSN’s traditional satellite TV service.OSN plans to deploy a multiscreen platform that will support subscription, transactional and advertising-funded business models for video-on-demand and live streaming. The platform will deliver OSN content over a range of connected devices. OSN will use the KIT Connected Device Framework to deliver apps featuring both VOD streaming and live TV channels.
Video transport company T-VIPS has announced that Rai Way, the operator of Italy’s DTT network, has chosen its TNS541 Seamless TS Monitoring Switch.The TNS541s are currently being installed by T-VIPS’ business partner Communication Video Engineering. The project is scheduled to be fully live by the end of 2011.The project is a continuation of the existing cooperation between T-VIPS and Rai Way, which began in 2009 when Rai Way deployed T-VIPS’ solutions for its DVB-T digital terrestrial service.“We are delighted to continue our partnership with T-VIPS, helping to bring its cutting edge technology to the Italian broadcast industry so that terrestrial customers can enjoy an uninterrupted service,” said Luca Catalano, CEO, CVE. “T-VIPS has demonstrated its ability to provide solutions of unrivalled reliability including its TNS541 solution which is the only seamless switch to have been deployed for SFN network operation.”The TNS541s are to be situated at all the transmitter sites, which are being fed by MPEG transport streams over satellite and by an Ethernet connection. The TNS541 seamless switch monitors both incoming MPEG-2 transport streams for status and based upon customer configurable criteria, switches over automatically if required.
Google is to launch a new release of its Plex application for Google TV.Plex is designed to enable users of the platform to stream their home media on the main TV screen in the home in real time and to facilitate access to online video from a variety of sources.The new release includes a new home screen with an On Deck feature to enable easier browsing of media.Viewers need to install the Plex Media Server on a PC or Mac, and tell the server where to find their home media during installation. According to Google, the server will then organise media, pull down cover art, ratings and other material useful to the browsing experience.Viewers then need to download Plex for Google TV from the Android Market, which will then scan the viewers home network and connect to the server.
Pay TV in Spain continued to grow, albeit at a very modest level, last year despite the economic crisis, according to a report prepared by the country’s media and telecoms commission, the CMT.Pay TV services added 32,540 subscribers over the year to end 2011 with 4.517 million. IPTV and digital-terrestrial pay TV saw growth, while cable, satellite and mobile TV services saw a decline. Canal Satelite saw a decline of 16,671 subscribers to end the year with 1.76 million, while cable lost 44.429 TV customers to end the year with 1.5 million.IPTV providers added 57,564 customers to end the year with 913,148, while digital-terrestrial pay TV added 36,076 to end the year with 383,738 subscribers.Separately, Spanish telco Telefónica has launched its Tuenti social network site internationally. The service is now available in English, Spanish, Portuguese, French, German, Italian, Dutch, Slovak, and Czech versions.Tuenti, which has about 13 million users, was acquired by Telefónica in 2010 for €75 million. The telco is adding new services to the site, including an integrated mobile messaging app and beta versions of Android and BlackBerry apps. iOS and Windows Phone versions are expectred in the near future.
German cable operator Tele Columbus is making Thuringian local TV channel SalveTV available on its digital platform in the city of Erfurt and the surrounding region.The channel was previously available on Tele Columbus’s analogue tier.
UK local TV company TV Solent has chosen Canis Media to assist it in the preparation of a Local Digital TV Programming Service (L-DTPS) licence.TV Solent, supported and backed by Southampton Solent University, plans to operate from studio facilities on their campus in the centre of Southampton and make use of the expertise of its students and staff to complement a core team of media professionals.Canis Media is marketing its services to local TV licence applicants in a bid to meet what it describes as demand for a co-operative approach and access to a cost-effective broadcast infrastructure.
Dreamworks Animation is looking to launch a number of branded kids channels internationally and will work with Fox on this global roll out.The company, run by chief executive Jeffrey Katzenberg, struck a distribution deal earlier this year with 20th Century Fox. It had previously worked with Paramount Pictures for distribution, both in the United States and internationally.Katzenberg said that it would look to partner with Fox to launch a Dreamworks channel. ”[Fox] has been very excited about the DreamWorks branded channel as something that their international team seems to have a lot of enthusiasm for, and we’ve had good momentum in our conversations with them. So we will look to find as many ways as we can to partner with Fox. They are a very, very, very strong, powerful force internationally in TV distribution. I think they have over 350 channels up and running today. So it’s hard to find a stronger, better force for us as we look at the international marketplace,” he said on a conference call following the company’s latest financial results.Dreamworks’ TV slate currently includes Penguins of Madagascar, Kung Fu Panda: Legends of Awesomeness and Monsters vs. Aliens for Nickelodeon and Dragons: Riders of Berk for Cartoon Network as well as a television series for forthcoming snail franchise Turbo for an as-yet-unannounced broadcaster.
Telekom Slovenia is adding a large number of channels to its SiOL TV programming line-up including, for the first time in Slovenia, BBC Knowledge, and will provide as many as 17 additional HD and five standard-definition channels services in a new upgraded Mega Pack.In addition to boosting the package with existing HD services Animal Planet HD, Dicovery HD, Food Network HD, iConcerts HD Wild TV HD, Travel HD, ESPN America HD and History HD, Telekom Slovenia will add nine new services: Fashion TV HD, Outdoor HD, Mezzo Live HD, Ginx HD, HD Motorvision, DocuBOX HD, HD FightBOX, FashionBOX HD and MTV HD.New standard definition channels in the package will include BBC Knowledge exclusively, Crime & Investigation, Jugoton, OBN and Bloomberg. The price of the package will increase by €2.50.SiOL TV will also offer Eurosport HD and Eurosport 2 HD for an additional €3, while adult channels Hustler HD, EroxHD, EroxxHD and EroxxxHD will be available for €5.BBC Worldwide Channels has secured a distribution deal with Telekom Slovenia that will see BBC Knowledge air in Slovenia for the first time.The subtitled feed of BBC Knowledge will join SiOL TV’s extended basic IPTV and basic cable subscription packages on April 1 and reach more than 64,000 subscribers. The channel includes top BBC factual programming such as Stargazing and Human Planet.Slovenia becomes the fourth territory in Central and Eastern Europe to receive the channel, following launches in Romania (on RCS & RDS and Romtelecom) and Hungary (DIGI) in January; and Cyprus (Cablenet Cyprus) earlier this month.The deal also represents BBCWW Channels’ third net in Slovenia, coming after the launches of BBC World News and BBC Entertainment.BBCWW Channels, the international commercial channels arm of the BBC, will “continue feeding the appetite for BBC Knowledge in the CEE region during 2013″, according to its senior VP and general manager, Ian McDonough.
South African pay TV operator TopTV is to relaunch as StarSat, backed by China-based StarTimes, and has set itself a target of adding 700,000 customers a year, building on its existing base of 100,000 homes, according to local reports.StarSat will offer about 90 channels to take on pay TV leader MultiChoice’s DStv service. StarTimes CEO Pang Xinxing said the company would target the seven million households in South Africa that did not already take pay TV services.The newly branded service is expected to launch in December and will include a bouquet of adult channels for the first time. The Playboy TV UK-supplied service will reportedly include Playboy TV, Desire TV and Private Spice.The relaunch came despite a last-minute lawsuit filed by shareholders to head off the company’s rescue plan, which involved StarTimes taking a 20% stake in its owner On Digital Media that made it eligible to recuperate most of StarSat’s profits.
Jeff BewkesUse of UltraViolet ‘digital lockers’ grew by 65% last year, while HBO Go, the premium cable channel’s TV everywhere service, increased its active user base by 30%, according to Time Warner CEO Jeff Bewkes.Speaking on a conference call for Time Warner’s year-end results, Bewkes said that UltraViolet ended the year with over 15 million accounts, up 65% on the end of 2012.“Awareness still needs to improve, but the consumers who use UltraViolet love it. And we think more and more consumers will enjoy its benefits as retail support continues to increase,” he said.Bewkes said UltraViolet, which is currently available in nine countries outside the US, would be expanded further. He said he was hopeful that the company would be able to achieve “stabilisation in international home video revenue over the next few years”.Bewkes said that HBO Go active users grew by 30% and average monthly usage increased by double digits. HBO Go is currently available in 23 countries outside the US.“HBO will be investing even more this year to make the HBO Go user experience even better,” he said.Time Warner generated almost US$10 billion (€7.4 billion) in revenue outside the US in 2013, including US$3 billion from its networks business. International networks generated over US$750 million in adjusted operating income, whichBewkes said would rise to US$1 billion in the next couple of years despite “a continued drag from foreign exchange”, with Latin America leading the charge.Chief financial officer Howard Averill said international accounted for a quarter of HBO’s revenue last year and that it would account for “an even larger portion of HBO’s business in the future”. He said Time Warner is currently investing in the “next generation” of HBO Go.
The channels arm of NBCUniversal is pulling out of the Russian market, citing the challenging economic environment for pay TV channels.The decision comes amid media law changes that have made life difficult for international channel operators and means the E! Entertainment and Universal Channel will no longer have a presence in Russia.NBCU declined to comment, but the closure of the channels will, DTVE sister title TBI understands, mean job losses.The environment for international channels has become challenging following a ban on pay TV advertising that came into effect at the start of the year.Another blow was dealt to the international channels with the news of an impending reduction in the levels of ownership that non-Russian channel groups can hold in Russian channels.The wider economic picture is also gloomy with the Russian economy suffering the impact of sanctions in the wake of the crisis in Ukraine.The pair of channels that are shutting are operated by NBCU’s Universal Networks International division.“Due to the challenging economic environment for our pay-TV channels [Universal Channel and E! Entertainment Television] in Russia, Universal Networks International has made the decision to no longer operate in the market and is looking at alternative opportunities for its channels business,” UNI said in a statement.It added that other parts of the NBCU business that have a presence in Russia will be operating as normal and that the studio “remains committed to the Russian market”.That means that NBCUniversal International Television Distribution and theatrical division Universal Pictures International will continue functioning and are not affected by the channels closure.Other broadcast business such as Scandinavia-based MTG, which owns a significant stake in Russian channel CTC, have been affected by Russia’s media changes in recent months.
Pay TV operator Sky has launched its Sky Go mobile TV service on the Amazon Fire platform.The move will enable Sky TV customers to watch shows on Amazon Fire tablets, including Cinderella, Fungus the Bogeyman, Geordie Shore and Grey’s Anatomy’s, both live and on-demand. Luke Bradley-Jones, Sky’s Director of TV Products, said: “It’s brilliant that Amazon Fire tablets are now compatible with Sky Go in time for the great line up of TV this December. There’s something for everyone to watch including Cinderella for princes and princesses, Geordie Shore for reality TV addicts and the World Darts Championship for those with a competitive spirit. And Sky Go is set to get even better in 2016, with more great content, and a series of exciting updates.Steve Rabuchin, vice-president, Amazon Appstore, said: “We’re focused on adding the highest quality selection to our Appstore, and Sky has one of the strongest content catalogues in the UK. The addition of Sky Go to our store provides our customers with easy access to Sky’s first-class exclusive TV, movies and sports programming. We’re delighted to welcome Sky to the Amazon ecosystem we look forward to working with the Sky team in future.”