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Pakistan says it has hosted a round of KabulTaliban talks

first_img Mesa family survives lightning strike to home Patients with chronic pain give advice How men can have a healthy 2019 ISLAMABAD (AP) — Pakistan confirmed on Wednesday that it hosted a round of peace talks between Afghan government officials and the Taliban the previous day, and that another round is planned for after the Muslim holy month of Ramadan.The Foreign Ministry in Islamabad said the one-day talks ended with both sides agreeing to meet again. Tuesday’s talks took place at Murree, a hilly resort near the Pakistani capital. Representatives of China and the United States were also present during the meeting, the statement said. Comments   Share   Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Previous efforts to start a dialogue stalled, however, largely due the lack of trust and confidence between the two sides.Also, there have been differences among the Taliban over the talks in the past. It was not clear whether the Taliban representatives who attended the Pakistan meeting had a go ahead from their supreme leader, Mullah Omar, or the insurgents’ political office in Qatar, specifically set up with the goal toward a peace deal.A Taliban statement emailed to media in Kabul by the group’s spokesman Zabihullah Mujahid did not provide clarity whether the talks have been fully endorsed by the Taliban leadership.“Our political office has complete authority and capability … to hold or suspend talks whenever or wherever it wants,” Mujahid said.Pakistan’s prime minister, Nawaz Sharif on Tuesday night described the holding of the talks as “a major breakthrough.” His comments were recorded for Pakistani TV from the Norwegian capital of Oslo, where he is on a three-day visit.“I hope there will be a positive outcome which will certainly be very helpful for peace and stability in Afghanistan,” Sharif said.Earlier Tuesday, Ghani’s office announced that a delegation from the government’s High Peace Council traveled to Islamabad for the talks. Deputy Foreign Minister Hekmat Karzai was reported to be among the government representatives. New Valley school lets students pick career-path academiescenter_img Sponsored Stories Here’s how to repair and patch damaged drywall The participants exchanged views on ways to bring peace and reconciliation to Afghanistan, where fighting has continued since the Taliban were removed from power by U.S.-led forces in 2001. Since taking office in September, Afghan President Ashraf Ghani has made it a priority to find a peace settlement.Both sides “expressed their collective desire to bring peace to Afghanistan and the region,” the ministry statement said. The next meeting would be held at a mutually convenient date after Ramadan ends later this month, it added.The Afghan Ministry of Foreign Affairs welcomed the peace talks, praising Pakistan for hosting them and thanking Washington and China for taking part. “We believe that if there is a good and strong intention in the peace process, there will be good results,” Kabul said Wednesday.The talks came after repeated informal meetings between the Taliban and Afghan government representatives, most recently in Qatar and Norway. The fact that Tuesday’s talks were the first formally acknowledged by the Afghan government and the semi-public nature of the talks suggested possible progress, after years of frustration in trying to bring the two sides together. Top Stories Ghani said the talks aim to “change this meeting into a process of continuing talks,” build trust and develop the agenda for the negotiations, according to his office.The Afghan president has sought Pakistan’s help in bringing the Taliban to the negotiations, since Islamabad is believed to wield influence over the group.But some Afghan politicians have been suspicious of Pakistan’s hosting of the talks, considering it interference in Afghan affairs. Nasrullah Sadieqizada, an Afghan parliament member, denounced the talks “Pakistani propaganda.”The White House praised the Pakistani government for helping facilitate the meeting.“This is an important step in advancing prospects for a credible peace,” White House spokesman Josh Earnest said. “The United States commends the government of Afghanistan’s prioritization of peace and reconciliation efforts with the Taliban.”___Associated Press Writers Amir Shah and Rahim Faiez in Kabul, Afghanistan, and Julie Pace in Washington contributed to this report.Copyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. 4 ways to protect your company from cyber breacheslast_img read more

NZ Seekas profits soar in 2018 as kiwifruit volu

first_img NZ: Seeka’s profits soar in 2018 as kiwifruit volu … New Zealand authorities have suspended imports of U.S. citrus following the detection of a fruit fly species on an orange consignment.Biosecurity New Zealand officers detected spotted wing drosophila larvae in a single fruit from a consignment of oranges from the U.S. on April 8 during a routine inspection. The fly is a serious pest that could harm a range of fruit crops in New Zealand, the organization said. “The interception shows our biosecurity controls are working well,” says Roger Smith, head of Biosecurity New Zealand. “There is no suggestion the fly is in New Zealand.”Smith says the ministry’s technical experts are assessing the find and any measures that might need to be taken as the fly is not normally associated with citrus.“As a precautionary measure, we have put a temporary hold on citrus consignments from the USA. This will allow us to investigate further,” he said.“We are working with authorities in the United States to identify the source of the contamination and possible treatment options for consignments on their way to New Zealand.”He says the move is unlikely to have an impact on the supply of citrus to New Zealand consumers. NZKGI hails success of labor shortage declaration … NZ horticultural export value grows to NZ$5.5B … center_img April 11 , 2019 You might also be interested in Egypt gains access to New Zealand orange market …last_img read more

LAS VEGAS – MGM Grand continues to raise the bar f

first_imgLAS VEGAS – MGM Grand continues to raise the bar for exceptional guest service with its new Mobile Concierge program.Guests of the AAA Four Diamond hotel now can receive exclusive discounts directly to their personal mobile devices, including offers for MGM Grand’s award-winning restaurants, pampering spa and salon and spectacular shows, KÀ and Crazy Horse Paris. This new communication service takes a proactive, state-of-the-art approach to accommodating guests’ needs.Once a hotel reservation is booked, the guest receives a pre-arrival email with the option to sign up for offers sent directly to their cell phones, iPhones or PDAs via Short Message Service communication, commonly known as text messaging.The pre-arrival email allows guests to specify whether they would like information only on specific amenities or on all offers available during their stay.Alternatively, guests may conveniently register for the customized service at the front desk upon arrival.Redeeming the offer is as simple as presenting the text message to an MGM Grand concierge or participating venue – from Cristophe Salon to the electric nightlife at Tabú Ultra Lounge and Studio 54.“With one touch of a button, our Mobile Concierge program conveniently connects our guests to special discounts, offering personalized attention and the chance to indulge in MGM Grand’s “Maximum Vegas” experience,” said Tim Kelly, vice president of Hotel Operations for MGM Grand.Offered in conjunction with digital marketing service provider, mobileStorm, the MGM Grand Mobile Concierge program currently is available to mobile service providers within the United States only.Standard text messaging rates apply.To book a reservation at MGM Grand and participate in this new service, call (800) 929-1111 or visit www.mgmgrand.com.last_img read more

Lebanon hopes oil and gas will help boost peace and stability

first_imgTHE discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the eastern Mediterranean can and should work as a tool for peace, stability, and cooperation in the region, Cyprus and Lebanon said yesterday.During a meeting between Foreign Minister Ioannis Kasoulides and his Lebanese counterpart Gebran Bassil, it was agreed to strengthen their relations in the energy sector as well as in areas such as search and rescue, liberalisation of flights, tourism and defence.Speaking after the meeting, Bassil said they agreed that the discovery of hydrocarbon reserves in the region served as a catalyst for bilateral cooperation, adding that they decided to continue their negotiations with pending issues.One such matter is the delineation of the sea borders between the two countries.Cyprus has signed agreements with Egypt, Israel and Lebanon, in an effort to clear the way for peaceful exploration of the hydrocarbons in its own economic zone, but the Lebanese parliament has so far failed to ratify the agreement.Lebanon argues the Exclusive Economic Zone agreement signed between Israel and Cyprus included disputed waters that Lebanon claims belong to it, but which Israel has included as its own.Israel’s action had worsened the situation, Bassil said, but he added that “we are in a process where amicably we can, with Cyprus, sort our problems.”The minister was also asked about Lebanon’s offshore licensing round and when it would get back on track.Bassil said the process would restart no matter how much time it would take.He added that this process will pave the way for a better connection between Lebanon and Cyprus.“We have dreams to share together for a prosperous future between Lebanon and Cyprus,” he said.You May LikeLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoPopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoKelley Blue BookYou Won’t Believe How Affordable These Ford Car Models AreKelley Blue BookUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Reps Marino Yaroch We must explore all options to remove Bucci from

first_img Categories: Marino News,News,Yaroch News State Reps. Steve Marino and Jeff Yaroch today unveiled details about a new state-level plan to remove Macomb Township Trustee Dino Bucci from office.The legislators detailed a resolution that could start impeachment proceedings against Bucci, who was indicted by a federal grand jury nine months ago and hasn’t shown up for a township board meeting since.“Macomb and its residents deserve better than Dino Bucci,” said Marino, of Harrison Township, the primary sponsor of the resolution. “We must be prepared to act at the state level in case further remedies are needed.”Marino and Yaroch have sought Bucci’s removal from office for months. Bucci faces 18 counts of conspiracy, bribery, embezzlement, extortion, mail fraud and money laundering. The charges come in connection with public contracts in Macomb Township and the Macomb County Department of Public Works.“Mr. Bucci has willfully neglected the duties of trustee at the taxpayers’ expense for nine months now,” said Yaroch, of Richmond, who will co-sponsor the new resolution. “If the governor will not act to remove Mr. Bucci, then it is time for the Legislature to step in to help Macomb Township move forward.”The resolution calls for a three-person Michigan House committee to investigate Bucci’s conduct and make recommendations on what should be done. Those recommendations could include articles of impeachment, which would then be voted on by the Michigan House of Representatives.Earlier this year, Marino introduced a proposal to make sure townships have the power to compel board members to attend meetings. If those members still refuse to show up for work, the plan makes it clear that violators would be guilty of misconduct, giving the governor clear grounds to remove the offender from office.“Bucci isn’t fit to serve the people of Macomb Township,” Marino said. “He is cheating taxpayers and undermining public trust in local government as he fails to fulfill the duties of his office. Simply put, it’s time for him to go.”The resolution is expected to be formally read into the record in the House in September.### 15Aug Reps. Marino, Yaroch: We must explore all options to remove Bucci from officelast_img read more

Rep Bollin issues statement on governors budget proposal

first_img06Mar Rep. Bollin issues statement on governor’s budget proposal State Rep. Ann Bollin issued the following statement after Gov. Gretchen Whitmer announced her state budget proposal:“I appreciated hearing the governor’s budget presentation and agree we have a big job ahead of us.  The governor laid out her solutions to major issues plaguing our great state – however most of them come with a hefty price tag.  I look forward to working with the governor and my colleagues in the Legislature to deliver a budget that is fiscally responsible and provides a platform for structural reform. Our focus must be on finding long-term solutions without hindering the progress Michigan has made over the past eight years.”Bollin added she looks forward to hearing from constituents on their reaction to the budget and their ideas for moving Michigan forward.  She can be contacted at 517-373-1784 or by email at AnnBollin@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Bollin News,Newslast_img read more

Attention to Refugees Ever More Important as Numbers Rise

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesJune 17, 2014; Center for Disaster PhilanthropyWorld Refugee Day was observed last week, and it is ever more important to recognize the parameters of this issue, because they are expanding.The U.N. refugee agency announced recently that the world’s population of refugees had increased by 6 million between 2012 and 2013. For last year, the 51.2 million refugees included 2.5 million new refugees from Syria and another 6.5 million people displaced within the war-torn country.If the refugee census were conducted today, it would include another 1 million refugees who have been displaced in Iraq just this year, half of them in the last couple of weeks. Last week, on June 20th, it was World Refugee Day. According to Susan F. Martin, the day “commemorates the strength and resilience of people forced to leave their homes because of war and serious human rights violations.”Given a 13.3 percent increase in the number of refugees, it seems that the world is doing a very poor job in reversing this dynamic. Martin asks, “how can the international community ensure adequate and effective assistance and protection for the world’s refugees and displaced persons—regardless of the reasons they are forced to move?” In light of recent events in Iraq, the challenge of a solution starts with ceasing the propensity of the nations of the world to create refugees due to sectarian and other kinds of warfare.The news cycle’s attention span is so very short. Last year, people were beginning to recognize the massive refugee problem in Syria, exacerbated by the Assad regime’s strategy of impeding access for providers of humanitarian relief. Now, Iraq has pushed the continuing civil strife in Syria out of the news headlines, so the thousands of Syrians who continue to be added to the numbers of refugees (including those who now comprise a quarter of the population of Lebanon) don’t get much attention.And neither do Iraqis, for that matter. Other than the UN reports, there is little coverage of the million people who have been displaced by the disintegration of Iraq. Nonprofits and foundations tend to think about their roles in generating resources for relief, but the answers are as much in politics as philanthropy. Nonprofits that are aware of and engaged in issues of refugees issues have to be active addressing public policies—like the U.S. invasion of Iraq in 2003—that are likely to create the ever-increasing displacement that now afflicts well over 5 million people.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

Test and measurement specialist Agama Technologies

first_imgTest and measurement specialist Agama Technologies is to use the IP&TV World Forum next week to showcase its quality assurance system for over-the-top deployments.According to Agama, the solution is currently the only viable and proven offering for fully concurrent and real-time quality monitoring of adaptive bitrate streaming TV services across the complete OTT distribution chain.The Agama OTT solution allows OTT services to be monitored together with traditional IPTV, cable, as well as hybrid satellite and DTH services and includes reporting and APIs for OSS/BSS integration.“OTT technologies represent a tremendous opportunity for operators to reach customers and support new ways of consuming media, such as ‘TV Everywhere’. At the same time it is more complex, introducing completely new requirements and challenges for ensuring the customer experience. Understanding the end-to-end service quality in these systems will be crucial for securing revenue streams, maintaining a satisfied customer base and enforcing SLAs,” said Johan Görsjö, director of product management at Agama Technologies. “To reflect the real-world needs of these operators, we have evolved the Agama DTV Monitoring Solution in close collaboration with our customers who are now expanding their offerings with OTT services. As a result, we are excited to be able to offer the industry’s only viable end-to-end quality assurance solution for all IP, Cable and OTT TV services that provides operators with insight into the service quality for each individual end-customer, regardless of distribution form and player device.”last_img read more

Video technology provider Harmonic has launched th

first_imgVideo technology provider Harmonic has launched the next generation of its Agile Compression Engine (ACE) product.The new version of ACE along with the ProStream 1000 is capable of transcoding up to 20 HD streams and 80 adaptive streaming profiles in a single 1RU appliance, according to Harmonic. The ProStream 1000 with ACE is integrated with Harmonic’s ProMedia file transcoders, adaptive bit rate packager and origin server, and MediaGrid active storage system.“With the proliferation of new premium multiscreen video services, and increasing marketplace demand for high-quality video on high-resolution mobile devices, tablets, and connected televisions, this advancement of ACE is the right product at the right time,” said Orit Kahana, product line manager, stream processing, at Harmonic.last_img read more

Vodafones  €77 billion takeover offer for Kabel

first_imgVodafone’s  €7.7 billion takeover offer for Kabel Deutschland has been accepted by the required 75% minimum of Kabel Deutschland shareholders, the firm confirmed.Despite reports this week that Vodafone was far short of securing the required support ahead of the September 11 offer deadline, Kabel Deutschland said in a statement last night that it had reached the 75% figure and that Vodafone will publish the final acceptance ratio on September 16, 2013.Kabel Deutschland said that a further, two-week extended acceptance period would now run between September 17, 2013 and midnight on September 30, 2013 allowing shareholders who have not yet accepted the offer to tender their shares.Kabel Deutschland’s management and supervisory board recommended in August that shareholders accept Vodafone’s €87 per share offer, saying it considered it to be in the interest of the company. Final takeover completion remains subject to antitrust approval.“Kabel Deutschland will host its Annual General Meeting on October 10, 2013 in Munich. Record date for votes in the AGM will be September 19, 2013. The Company recommends that all shareholders including those who tendered their shares sign up for the AGM and cast their vote at the general meeting,” the firm said in a statement.Vodafone announced its intention to buy Kabel Deutschland back in June, in a deal that will now establish the UK mobile operator as a leading triple-play cable provider in Germany – offering TV, broadband, mobile and fixed-line phone services.At the time, Kabel Deutschland said that the takeover is primarily aimed at delivering growth in a “in a rapidly changing telecommunications and TV market,” which can be realised by combining Kabel Deutschland’s fixed line infrastructure and Vodafone’s strong position in the mobile market.last_img read more

TV technology provider SeaChange International has

first_imgTV technology provider SeaChange International has launched AdFlow Core, a content management system aimed at tier-two service providers. AdFlow Core is designed to provide simplified ingest and preparation of advertising for billable insertion into linear, on-demand and OTT video streams.  The product will be demonstrated at this week’s SCTE Cable-Tec Expo in the US.“AdFlow Core introduces a layer of operation-wide visibility and extensibility that allows smaller service providers to orchestrate more efficient and capable content workflows as they grow their advertising business on more channels and subscriber devices,” said Venkat Krishnan, vice-president, products, SeaChange.last_img read more

Stéphane Richard French video sharing site Dailymo

first_imgStéphane RichardFrench video sharing site Dailymotion is close to securing a partnership with a major US company, according to Stéphane Richard, the CEO of Dailymotion’s parent company Orange.Richard told Le Web conference in Paris that Orange would likely sign a deal in the coming weeks with “a major player in the digital economy”.According to French reports, Microsoft’s MSN is the most likely candidate for a partnership in the US. Microsoft CEO Steve Ballmer and Richard met a month ago in Paris and the two companies have already collaborated on integrating Dailymotion on Microsoft’s websites.Earlier this year, Orange’s talks with Yahoo to sell a stake in Dailymotion broke down after the controversial intervention of French minister Arnaud Montebourg. Orange subsequently committed to invest €30 million from internal resources in Dailymotion.last_img read more

Basque Region cable operator Euskaltel will begin

first_imgBasque Region cable operator Euskaltel will begin trading on the Spanish stock market tomorrow with an price of €9.50 a share, in the middle of its indicative range of between €8.70 and €11.05.The company is selling 126.5 million shares, giving it a market value of €1.202 billion. Existing shareholders Kutxaband, Trilantic and Iberdrola will purchase 86.8 million shares.The price indicates a perceived strong demand for Euskaltel’s shares, given the turmoil in the markets this week as a result of the crisis in Greece.last_img read more

German broadcaster ProSiebenSat1 has acquired a m

first_imgGerman broadcaster ProSiebenSat.1 has acquired a majority stake in advertising exchange platform Smartstream.tv, one of the major providers of video advertising space in Germany and Europe.ProSiebenSat.1 has held a 25% stake in Smartstream.tv since 2013, which it has now upped to 80%. The deal is subject to regulatory approval.“With annual growth rates approaching 50%, the German programmatic advertising market has demonstrated highly dynamic development. Smartstream.tv supplements our latest investment in Virtual Minds. Both companies are a perfect fit and will help us to compete in the 21st century,” said Christian Wegner, Member of the Executive Board ProSiebenSat.1 Group.“For us, the ProSiebenSat.1 Group is the best possible partner to help us to continue to promote the topics of multiscreen moving image advertising, real-time advertising, and targeted advertising. Our intensive and successful cooperation in recent years has more than confirmed our assessment in this regard,” said Robert Mayer-Uellner, founder of Smartstream.tv.last_img read more

Intelsat has successfully launched Intelsat 29e t

first_imgIntelsat has successfully launched Intelsat 29e, the first of its next generation, Epic-branded, high throughput satellites.Intelsat said that signal with the satellite had been confirmed after it launched into orbit from French Guiana on an Ariane 5 vehicle.Intelsat 29e will provide high throughput capacity in both C- and Ku-band to North and Latin America and the North Atlantic region and will be placed into service at 310° East, where it replaces Intelsat 1R.It is the first of Intelsat’s next generation, all digital, Epic satellites, and combines wide beams and spot beams with frequency reuse technology.“Today’s launch represents a truly ‘epic’ moment in communication’s history, as we begin a new era of high throughput satellite services for our customers,” stated Stephen Spengler, chief executive officer, Intelsat.last_img read more

Google has rebranded its Chromecast application as

first_imgGoogle has rebranded its Chromecast application as Google Cast to reflect its ability to work across a range of devices in addition to its successful Chromecast HDMI dongle.According to Google, the updated app, which will enable casting of content from multiple devices to TVs, displays and wireless speakers as well as Chromecast dongles, will be rolled out this week in both iOS and Android versions.Google said it was “changing the name of the Chromecast app to Google Cast app, to better reflect that Google Cast technology is now supported across a wide range of devices such as Chromecast, TVs, displays and speakers”.Google has recently worked closely with TV and other consumer electronics manufacturers to integrate its casting technology into their products.The company has just announced that it is bringing its casting technology to Vizio’s new SmartCast P-series displays as well as the electronics manufacturers’ soundbars and speakers. P-series displays will come with Google Cast built in.Google says that there are now over 1,000 cast-enabled apps, able to cast over 200,000 TV shows and movies and over 30 million songs.last_img read more

Content is increasingly being tailored for mobile

first_imgContent is increasingly being tailored for mobile devices, which are fast becoming the primary devices for viewing online video, according to executives from the leading global social media platforms.The march of mobile also means to emergence of new formats including ‘vertical’ videos – content that is filmed to enable viewing on mobile phones held upright by their users rather than lengthwise to view content in a traditional cinematic format, according to the execs.Patrick WalkerSpeaking at a Royal Television Society event this week called Social Media Muscles in on TV, Patrick Walker, Facebook’s director of media partnerships in EMEA said that ‘mobile first’ video was now emerging as a serious phenomenon. “You are seeing more vertical videos and more videos specifically for a mobile audience,” he said.He said that a lot of people were now doing reformatting of video created for other platforms to create vertical videos as part of their workflows.Other features of mobile-first videos include sound only kicking in after a period of a few seconds to fit in with people’s mobile phone usage habits.“Discoverability means sound off at first. Should you think about the first three seconds, vertical and so on if you are being discovered on the news feed.”Facebook’s move into video is “reflecting a massive seachange” in consumption, said Walker. As creation tools are democratised and platforms allow global distribution, the web will be more and more dominated by video, including live video, 360° content and, in the future, virtual reality experiences, he said.Walker said that 500 million people now consume videos on Facebook each day. “If you miss live with text and other tools you create interesting dynamics [about] how to create stories,” he said.Stephen NuttallSpeaking at the same event, Stephen Nuttall, senior director of YouTube, EMEA, said that a lot of people are experimenting with new formats such as VR and 360° video as well as how to tell stories in new ways – including vertical videos. “The pace of change is increasing rather than settling down. There is no playbook that is going to hold for 20 years except tell great stories.”The highlighting by the RTS speakers of the potential of ‘vertical videos’ comes in the same week that the BBC introduced news in this format as part of its development of online content.Making online videos pay is more complex however. The RTS discussion made it clear that ‘monetisation’ is still a work in progress. The speakers highlighted the potential of targeted advertising, enabling production outfits to put content on the platform direct, and of brands created their own content and funding content.Walker said that that brands are increasingly funding programming partly as a result of social media platforms, and that that Facebook is testing new ad formats to make money from video.Dara Nasr, Twitter’s UK managing director, also speaking on the RTS panel, said that “people want analytics”, especially related to high-production value videos.Dara NasrNasr said that about half of video on the platform was currently ‘monetisable’. He said that targeting would be central to making money across all social media platforms.Separately, the social media platforms responded defensively when challenged about the impact of their platforms on news and the way news is perceived.Challenged on the emergence of “fake news” on social media, Walker said that “a small percentage of misinformation has been spread on platforms like Facebook and we are trying to work on ways to improve that.” He said that the platform was working on better ways to flag false content but it could not regulate the content on the platform. He said that Facebook was a platform for others, who were responsible for their content – rather than a publishing company that is responsible for the content itself.Walker also said there had never been a “golden age of truth” in the pre-social media world.Nuttall also defended the social media platforms’ record, arguing that online platforms had enabled a lot of coverage of news events that previously had not been covered.Nuttall said that YouTube worked hard to try to ensure legitimacy about news content, and had adopted the method of tagging news that is used by Google News.He said that “news that is not news” would not be monetized by the platform. However, he added, “it is not for us to become a censor of the internet”.Nuttall claimed that most people still look to mainstream trusted media outlets for coverage of major news events, even on social media platforms. “People do go to major news broadcasters when they look for news,” he said.last_img read more

Social content should prioritise personal connecti

first_imgSocial content should prioritise personal connections, be responsive to the audience, and will be the “next leap” in programming, according to Facebook’s recently appointed head of content strategy and planning.Speaking to a busy auditorium at MIPTV yesterday, Facebook’s Matthew Henick outlined his vision of social content and drew a distinction between this and traditional entertainment, describing binge-watching a TV show or seeing a film at the cinema as as a “more solitary experience”.“Television is not a social device, it’s a window,” said Henick. “Phones on the other hand are more than a window. Smartphones allow us to converge creative distribution and technology, which leads me to claim that the next leap is going to be social entertainment.”The former head of BuzzFeed Studio, who announced his move to Facebook just last month, said that with social content it’s important to consider both the script that the actors will follow and what the audience is going to do with the content.“It opens up the possibility of constant engagement,” he said. “You’re not confined necessarily to a programming schedule. The consumption is active, it’s not something that we used to call a leanback experience.”A key part of getting social content right is to tailor it to a specific distribution platform, which means that producers won’t be able to pitch to multiple buyers at once, attendees of the MIPTV keynote heard.Henick acknowledged that this will make monetisation “a little more difficult” and fundamentally questions standard TV industry practises like international windowing and even content markets like MIPTV. However, he said that social entertainment will actually make IP “more valuable than ever”.“The real challenge is that most likely windows start to condense and we don’t think about windows anymore, because they’re not going to be determined by chronology and geography,” said Henick. “If you post a video to YouTube and you want it to perform, most likely you’re going to have to make sure that it goes into every country at once.”“Where that leaves us is we should start thinking about funnels, not necessarily windows. You basically want as many people to see your content and still get compensated for it as possible. Then as you find segments of that audience that are more and more connected to it, you find different ways to draw more money from them.”Discussing monetisation options, Henick referenced AVOD, SVOD, TVOD, brand merchandising, fanclubs and premium ‘IRL’ (in real life) experiences. However, he said Facebook will “lean into ad-supported” so that everyone who uses the platform has access to its content.He also stressed that while Facebook will be funding its own content, it strives to be “an open enough platform” that anyone can make content for it and find a particular audience.Real-world examples of social content cited by Henick included: NRK’s Norwegian teen drama series Skam (Shame), which takes place in real-time and is being adapted by Facebook; BuzzFeed’s food entertainment brand Tasty, which has around 93 million Facebook followers and programmes recipe videos to coincide with viewers’ eating habits; and Facebook’s recently-won Major League Baseball rights, which Henick said will let viewers connect with friends, family and other fans online as if they were in a sports bar.The talk came on the back of a difficult few weeks for Facebook, with the fallout of the Cambridge Analytica scandal raising serious questions about data protection and privacy at Facebook – something Henick didn’t address other than to say he’d only been in his post at Facebook for two weeks.last_img read more

Virgin Media has agreed to buy regional Irish cabl

first_imgVirgin Media has agreed to buy regional Irish cable operator, Casey Cablevision, which is based in Dungarvan, County Waterford, on the south coast of Ireland.The deal, which was agreed for an undisclosed price, will give Casey Cablevision’s existing customers in Dungarvan access to the full suite of Virgin Media’s products and services.Virgin said that it will also allow it to deliver new opportunities for growth and expansion in the region.“At Virgin Media we pride ourselves on having the fastest broadband network in Ireland and we’re very excited about extending the full range of our TV, broadband, phone and mobile services to consumers and businesses in Dungarvan,” said Paul Farrell, vice-president of commercial at Virgin Media Ireland.“The Casey family were true pioneers of the cable industry in Ireland, they were the first to invest in fibre optic cabling which allowed them to offer high speed broadband to customers in the South East when the provision of such services was a distant dream for Irish consumers and businesses.”Casey Cablevision is a family-owned business that provides pay TV, high speed broadband and phone services to over 2,000 customers in Dungarvan and the surrounding areas. It was established in 1979.The acquisition is subject to competition and regulatory approval from the Competition and Consumer Protection Commission and the Department of Communications, Climate Action and Energy, over the coming months.last_img read more