5 questions for Panamanian band Señor Loop

first_imgHaving no expectations while creating music, and simply enjoying the creative process of exploring sounds: that’s the essence of Panamanian bandSeñor Loop. For almost 20 years, the band, known for its contagious and rhythmic Latin alternative rock music, has seen musical composition as a process that should happen naturally.“Señor Loop’s story is a story about the [band’s] evolution. About learning. A family’s story over almost 20 years,”  vocalist Lilo Sánchez told The Tico Times. “[It’s about] a movement in Panama that did not exist before, and unleashed other things within the younger generations. It’s a cultural phenomenon.”Since the beginning of their journey as band, they’ve released four different albums: Señor Loop Vol. 1 (2000), Madretambor (2004), MCMLXXXII (2008) and Vikorg (2013). The foursome – made up of Lilo Sánchez (vocals and guitar), Iñaki Iriberri (guitar, keyboard  and vocals), Carlos Ucar (bass) and Chale Icaza (drums) – has traveled to Colombia, Venezuela, Costa Rica, Guatemala, Mexico and the United States.During the Costa Rican visit they’ve just concluded, they played an electro acoustic session at El Steinvorth in downtown San José, and two concerts at Jazz Café Escazú and Jazz Café San Pedro. On a warm morning at Hotel Presidente in the city center, The Tico Times sat down and spoke with the group members about their life and work. Excerpts follow.Why did you name the band Señor Loop?LS: That was something that happened without us noticing it.II: We were called to play at a concert…LS: And we had no name yet. Señor Loop was this relaxing thing we had, a sort of imaginary boss because we didn’t have a boss. We worked together. Iñaki had a company with another associate called Loop Audio, so we didn’t really have [anyone to answer to]. We were young and we only wanted to go to the beach.Señor Loop was a way to control ourselves and try to work. When we were invited to play it was like: ok, Señor Loop presents… then Señor Loop became a group. We realized, 12 years later, that we couldn’t change the name. When you’re Tom Cruise, you’re already Tom Cruise. You can’t do anything about it. It’s another story that it simply happened and became a monster without us having control over it. Related posts:5 questions for Cuban pianist Leonardo Gell – ‘I believe in love and effort’ 5 questions for composer Pieter Schlosser – ‘The idea is to extract the emotion’ Pop icon Prince dead at 57 5 questions for Costa Rican DJ Esteban Howell Why do you like coming to Costa Rica so much?LS: First, because there’s love and an energy that attracts us. The first trips I did were to Costa Rica because we live next to each other and we could afford it. Afterwards, Señor Loop started and there’s a big love between Señor Loop and Costa Rica. You also have great coffee.Our “Weekend Arts Spotlight” presents Sunday interviews with artists who are from, working in, or inspired by Costa Rica, ranging from writers and actors to dancers and musicians. Do you know of an artist we should consider, whether a long-time favorite or an up-and-comer? Email us at kstanley@ticotimes.net. Facebook Commentscenter_img What does music represent for you?LS: For me it represents everything: where I’ve been able to get in life and the places I’ve gone to. All of the people I’ve met. All the great moments. Work. Learning. Without music there wouldn’t be life for me.CU: Even though professionally I work on something else, for me music is the most important thing. It’s my passion, and I think about it 24 hours a day.II: For me, music is life. From the moment I wake up, I’m recording and making music of all sorts. It may be recording, commercial things, television or whatever. My work is about music all day long.CI: Music is a great gift because not everyone has it, so because you have this special thing, you have to do it responsibly. Duke Ellington would say that he received a calling… It’s mysterious. Not everyone can do it. Señor Loop during its concert at Jazz Café Escazú on Sept. 29. (Courtesy of Pablo Cambronero)What’s the creative process for your albums?LS: Ahhhh. For every album there are different processes. Complicated processes of logistics, but mostly, they’re processes in search of something. Each of us seeks different things.For example, Iñaki records and mixes the albums. He’s looking for the album to sound great, but I’m seeking to sing in the best way possible as well as making the guitar sound as I want it to. That also applies for the bass and drums. Everyone is trying to do their best in the moment.II: We also need to escape our jobs and the city. We always go to a friend’s house in the mountains. It’s a super nice place like Monteverde, but not as pretty. We go to Cerro Punto and stay there with no worries. We always try to look for that.LS: The albums have never been recorded in a studio. For example, we go for dinner at Carlos’s in-laws house, go in the living room and say: wow, this living room is great. Suddenly, we ask if we can record there. Maybe the guitars or the drums were recorded [in a house] at the beach.This happens because in those places there are no studios, or we had no money for studios and no one will do the job as well as Iñaki.II: There’s also communication.LS: With low ego levels.How did you create the song El Mono y la Culebra (The Monkey and the Snake)?LS: Very interesting question. [Our collaborator] Jonathan Harker comes into this process. This song was ready: we thought about it, but we had no words for it. We couldn’t do it… Jonathan appeared one day, imagined the story, and wrote it down with Iñaki. I came by the next day, read the story and was like: what? It was incredible. We just went on with it.II: The album was ready and everything was very organic and simple… I wanted to make a loop out of something with a piano, and it came out. We put a beat to it, recorded it, and there was the snake’s mode from beginning to end.LS: This song is a hit with children. It’s incredible. All the kids go crazy. In ten or fifteen years we’ll do a reunion just to play for the kids and their parents.Listen to Señor Loop’s El Mono y la Culebralast_img read more

Club Med Reigns as Best Hotel Resort Group at NTIA 2019

first_imgClub Med Reigns as Best Hotel Resort Group at NTIA 2019Winners are Grinners: Club Med Reigns as Best Hotel Resort Group at NTIA 2019The premium all-inclusive resort brand, Club Med, has yet again walked away with the title of Best Hotel/Resort Group at the annual National Tourism Industry Awards 2019. In a category nominated and voted for by travel agents, this is the second year in a row Club Med has taken home the title, showing their unwavering commitment to providing ongoing support to trade partners nation-wide.The travel industry night of nights was held at Sydney’s International Convention Centre and welcomed a crowd of over 1000 travel industry representatives for a night of glitz, glam, and toasting to excellence. A combination of panel-judged and travel agent-voted categories were highlighted, with Club Med taking out arguably one of the most prestigious and competitive awards of the night.“We are incredibly humbled to be recognised in a category with brands who like us, try every day to be innovative and responsible,” says Rachael Harding, General Manager Club Med Australia and New Zealand, “When we won last year, we vowed we would do all we could to listen and deliver so our partners knew their vote counted. The fact that we’ve retained this incredibly prestigious title for another year is validation that we’re on the right track.”“Our mission is to create happiness through amazing holiday experiences in the most beautiful places around the world, so thank you for trusting us to deliver this to your clients.”Club Med has seen double digit growth for five years running, with future sales on track to continue the sales growth record for Pacific market. Such success can be put down to a continually-evolving product to keep up with client expectations, as well as partners understanding the value proposition when it comes to selling and delivering an all-inclusive Club Med holiday.Harding further credits Club Med’s success to building a team that understands the importance of trade partnerships and spreads the passionate values of Club Med. The team of trade-dedicated representatives has grown this year to include two new Business Development Managers for added on-the-ground support to agents nation-wide, as well as ongoing online support through a dedicated trade portal, Facebook page, training videos, customisable booking resources, and a robust agent familiarisation program.The agent benefits don’t stop at selling tools alone, with 2018/19 marking a record-breaking year of Club Med famils and over 200 travel agents visiting their resorts worldwide from the French Alps, to Japan, Mauritius, and the Maldives. The Great Agents Loyalty Program (GALP) also gives travel agents the opportunity to earn up to harness additional support plus a host of additional benefits.“We’re incredibly proud to see this award on the mantle and can’t wait to look back again in a years’ time to see the impact our current projects are having for our valued partners. It’s going to be another big year full of fun and surprises so this award has provided us with the courage to grow bigger and better than ever before!” says Harding.About Club MedClub Med provides amazing holiday experiences, made easy, in the world’s most beautiful destinations. With over 70 premium and luxury all-inclusive sun and snow resorts located in some of the most beautiful places on earth, Club Med resorts blend seamlessly with their environment, drawing inspiration from the local culture and nature to immerse guests in the destination.Since 1950, Club Med has been dedicated to providing guests with amazing new experiences that make for an unforgettable holiday – from the rejuvenating to the exhilarating, and everything in-between. Each resort offers a vast selection of opportunities to try something new, immerse in local culture, revive body and mind, and give back to the local community and environment.Club Med holidays are a truly hassle-free experience, with premium all-inclusive packages and a wide range of innovative services – giving guests more time to spend doing what they love.For more information, visit www.clubmedta.com.au / www.clubmedta.co.nz, www.clubmed.com.au or follow Club Med at: · Instagram @clubmed · Facebook /ClubMedAustralia · Twitter @ClubMed_Au · Travel agent Facebook /ClubMedforTravelAgentsSource = Club Medlast_img read more

Marineland founder John Holer dies at 83 lawyer s

first_imgMarineland founder John Holer dies at 83, lawyer says A sign for Marineland is shown in Niagara Falls, Ont., Monday, August 14, 2017. John Holer, the founder of the Marineland theme park in Niagara Falls, Ont., has died at the age of 83. His lawyer Andrew Burns says Holer died in his home Saturday morning surrounded by family.THE CANADIAN PRESS/Tara Walton by Morgan Lowrie, The Canadian Press Posted Jun 24, 2018 6:28 pm PDT Last Updated Jun 24, 2018 at 9:20 pm PDT AddThis Sharing ButtonsShare to TwitterTwitterShare to FacebookFacebookShare to RedditRedditShare to 電子郵件Emailcenter_img John Holer, who founded the Marineland theme park in Niagara Falls, Ont., and unapologetically defended it against all critics, has died at the age of 83.His lawyer Andrew Burns says Holer died in his home Saturday morning surrounded by family.“On behalf of Marineland, I can confirm that Mr. Holer passed away Saturday morning at his home, peacefully, comforted by his wife and son,” said Burns, who declined to comment further.Holer founded Marineland in 1963 when he started giving shows with a few sea lions in a small pool in Niagara Falls.Since then, it has grown into a large amusement park with whales, dolphins, walruses, seals, sea lions and other animals such as deer, bears, birds and fish.Over the years, Holder vigorously defended Marineland against protests and complaints by animal welfare activists who maintain it should be shut down.In 2000, he told The Canadian Press that anonymous online activists had threatened to burn down his home and the park in response to the death of a whale.”They (the threats) used to bother me, but I don’t give a damn,” Holer said at the time.”The more they bark, the more business we get. If I didn’t take care of my animals, I’d be out of business.”The criticism of Marineland intensified two years later, when former employees went public with allegations of animal abuse at the park among both its marine and land animals in 2012. The OSPCA did not lay charges at the time but issued several orders, which Marineland complied with.More recently, Marineland was charged with 11 counts of animal cruelty following an investigation by the Ontario Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals, but all of them were dropped by the Crown in 2017.In response, the theme park sued the OSPCA, alleging the organization targeted the theme park to boost fundraising and appease animal activists.Marineland has always steadfastly denied all allegations against the park.“Few people have the time or funds to encounter these animals in their natural habitat, not to mention the potential disruption and negative impact that would result to the animals’ natural environments from having the millions of visitors that visit facilities like Marineland visit these animals in the wild,” reads a “message from the owner” on the park’s web site.Online reaction to Holer’s death was mixed, with some people praising his entrepreneurial spirit and the jobs he created, and others condemning him for what they see as a legacy of animal abuse.Manitoba Sen. Don Plett was among those who praised the Slovenian-born Holer as an immigrant success story.“His story as a newcomer to Canada is truly inspiring. Rest In Peace, Mr. Holer,” he wrote on his Twitter account.Mike Garrett, a former activist who has faced legal action by Marineland over his protests of the facility, urged the public to be respectful in the wake of Holer’s death.“His legacy will surely be contentious and we had our own personal and legal battles, however, my condolences go out to his family at this difficult time,” he wrote in a statement published on social media.“Regardless of personal beliefs Mr. Holer, was from a different generation and accomplished much with very little. He was a husband, brother and father and his family should be given compassion and privacy.”Marineland was not able to comment Sunday, but said it would issue a statement on Holer’s death Monday.Note to readers: This is a corrected story. A previous version erroneously said John Holer was born in Slovakia.last_img read more

Missing persons burial location difficult to excavate

first_imgMissing Greek Cypriots from the village of Ashia are believed to have been buried in a now-restored landfill, making it difficult for experts to find them, the Greek Cypriot member of the Committee on Missing Persons (CMP) Nestoras Nestoros said.Around 70 people from the Turkish occupied village of Ashia, murdered during the 1974 invasion, are believed to be buried at a now-restored landfill in Dikomo.According to witnesses, the remains were transferred there from the village of Ornithi. The relocation took place between 1995-1996.The landfill was closed between 2009-2012 as part of an EU-funded project to restore the area. The EU was not aware of the issue at the time.Nestoros told the Cyprus News Agency that the site was restored but no trees were planted in the area where rubbish was dumped in the past. ATrees were planted around the area where the rubbish was dumped, he said.‘’All necessary procedures and studies are being carried out to determine whether the site can be excavated. There are many difficulties and we need to take them into consideration,’’ he said.Nestoros said it is expected to be a costly excavation and additional funding will be sought from the EU.The CMP receives €2.6m funding each year from the EU, with its annual budget being €3.5m.You May LikeWealthIntroTaylor Swift Learns That Fan Need A House, Does This For HerWealthIntroUndoTymOut8 Signs Your Cholesterol Levels Are Too High!TymOutUndoFinance NancyThis Is What Julia Roberts Drives On The WeekendsFinance NancyUndo Heroes’ welcome for Israeli teens after woman detained for false rape claim (Update 2)UndoUK plays Brexit hardball with ‘stubborn’ EUUndoCompanies must use buying power to root out slavery, says UK officialUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

Rep Howell hails House budget approval

first_img Categories: Howell News,News 03May Rep. Howell hails House budget approval State Rep. Gary Howell voted on Tuesday for approval of the House version of the state budget, which includes record funding for K-12 education and funds the state at a level below that recommended by the governor.Howell, of North Branch, voted in favor of the budget for the new fiscal year, a conservative blueprint that invests in the state’s future.“I am pleased that we are providing K-12 schools the most money they have ever had, including additional funding for at-risk students,” Rep. Howell said. “We also are opening more opportunities for skilled trades training, which will help fill high-demand jobs in the state.“Additionally, our budget is restrained to the point that our proposal is below the amount recommended by Gov. Snyder,” Howell said. “We have trimmed inefficiencies and government waste to save taxpayer money.”Highlights of the budget include:Allocating the highest funding in state history for K-12 schools with a proposed $14.3 billion; improving access to skilled trades training through career and technical education.Making life better in communities across Michigan by adding money for road repairs, public safety departments, parks and other programs to improve our daily lives.Increasing funding for public safety by adding 100 more Michigan State Police troopers.Making health care more effective and efficient, with an enhanced focus on improving mental health care.Paying down retiree debt and adding to state government’s main savings account for tough times, pushing that emergency fund above $1 billion.The bills now go to the Senate for consideration.last_img read more

Rep LaFave votes in favor of right to carry legislation

first_img State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, today voted on the House floor to support a four-bill package allowing law-abiding citizens to carry concealed pistols without a permit.“Legal gun owners shouldn’t be required to obtain special permission from the government to exercise a right guaranteed in both the state and federal constitutions,” LaFave said. “I’m proud to support this common-sense legislation, and I urge the Senate and Gov. Snyder to do the same so we can give law-abiding citizens back the fundamental right our Founding Fathers laid out in the Second Amendment.”The legislation does not give criminals more access to pistols, LaFave said, because it retains the current requirement that a background check be completed before a handgun purchase is made.Under the plan, the current CPL permitting structure will remain in place to allow Michigan residents an option to obtain a CPL to continue to carry and receive reciprocity in states that recognize Michigan’s permit. A CPL will also continue to allow people to carry openly in certain restricted zones.House Bills 4416-19 now move to the Senate for consideration.### 07Jun Rep. LaFave votes in favor of ‘right to carry’ legislation Categories: LaFave News,Newslast_img read more

Specialized Mental Health Services at Grave Risk

first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesMay 21, 2014; WGBH NewsNPQ has been watching the very confusing landscape shifts in mental health care with not a little concern. There are still massive problems with insurance coverage for mental health problems and more chronically mentally ill people are in prisons and jails than in psychiatric units. The following story addresses one of the reasons why specialized help is hard to find.The Cambridge Health Alliance, which runs Cambridge Hospital in Massachusetts, has announced that it is closing its special emergency room for psychiatric patients and will be integrating it into its medical emergency room. The move is being billed as a merger within the hospital, but it appears to be more of a consolidation. Nineteen staff members of the psychiatric emergency room have been let go, including Ellen Lyons Connors, who has for the past fifteen years been a nurse in the psychiatric ER.“Everyone in the psychiatric emergency room, excluding the doctors, has been fired,” Connors said. “Several weeks ago we were notified, but the hospital continues to profess this is a merger. There will be no more expert psych nurses caring for patients. There will be medical nurses that are very good at what they do, but they are not experts at providing psych care.”The change means that security guards will watch patients who need surveillance rather than clinicians and the two psych beds will be put next to the busy ambulance bay. Psychiatrist George Cramer, who has resigned in protest, says, “There is a complete change in the treatment philosophy model… This is going to be a consult model. This means that the doc in the ER is going to have complete authority over the case. The psych people will be there as consultants. So that makes it very different.”The hospital should save $1 million annually by making this move, and it needs to save money, since it is only one of 11 hospitals in Massachusetts that are unprofitable. (It is already in the red for this year by $21 million.) A year ago, the Cambridge Health Alliance tried to close its child psychiatric inpatient unit but was blocked when Department of Public Health designated the unit as essential.The problem is in insurance coverage, since reimbursement rates famously do not cover cost of care. This means, according to Marylou Sudders, the former Commissioner of Mental Health for the Commonwealth of Massachusetts, that the greater the market share, the more attractive and competent the service, the more money the facility loses.Sudders said that Cambridge Health Alliance serves more low-income patients than any hospital in the state, and the majority of its psychiatric patients are on Medicaid. The scenario places mental health services in a very vulnerable position.“There are other parts of healthcare that are very well reimbursed and very well financed,” Sudders said. “You see hospitals adding things like surgical practices and orthopedics and the like. You rarely hear of hospitals increasing their behavioral health profile because it is—and I don’t mean this disrespectfully—but it’s a bottom feeder. It loses money for hospitals. It loses money in practices.”Cambridge Hospital’s Chief of Psychiatry Jay Burke said that the consolidated service is more and more the industry standard. But, as Sudders said, “They used to be the gold standard [but now are] run of the mill.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

UK telco BT is redesigning its BT Vision IPTV serv

first_imgUK telco BT is redesigning its BT Vision IPTV service, according to a report in the Financial Times.It says that BT will revamp the service within weeks, introducing social media and personal recommendation elements and greater interactivity to the user experience. The changes come as BT Vision faces increased competition from the likes of Netflix, which has just launched in the UK, and Lovefilm, which has been busily adding content to its streaming service.last_img

ViaccessOrca is planning to highlight secondscre

first_imgViaccess-Orca is planning to highlight second-screen content engagement strategies and solutions to target peer-to-peer web piracy at IBC.Demonstrations at the show will include DEEP, a new family of services providing smart aggregation of second-generation metadata designed to introduce content to the second screen as part of the content service provider offering. Viaccess-Orca’s new partnerships with two leading technology and content vendors, TVersity, for sending content from the second screen to the main screen and Audible Magic, using automatic content recognition (ACR) technology to synchronise the second screen with the content showing on TV, form part of the ecosystem the company is creating for operators to control the second screen market.Viaccess-Orca will also show P2P Tracker, a new service for content service providers and content owners to monitor and measure illegitimate peer-to-peer redistribution of live content. The service enables content service providers to assess the threat, including geo-localisation data of peers, samples of the measured streams and a list of available channels. With this information, as well as additional analysed data, service providers can measure risk levels and take appropriate actions to manage this business threat, according to the company.Viaccess-Orca will be exhibiting at IBC on Stand 1.A51last_img read more

Switzerlandbased online TV service provider Zatto

first_imgSwitzerland-based online TV service provider Zattoo has signed a deal with Swiss commercial broadcaster 3 Plus Group to broadcast its 4+ channel over the web in the country.The recently launched 4+ channel, which went live in October, broadcasts movies – particularly action, fantasy, thriller and comedy titles. It also airs US series in German and documentary series.The news comes a day after Zattoo said it would also stream linear RTL Group channels over the web in Germany by the middle of the year.Zattoo said it will live-stream programmes from the RTL, VOX, n-tv, RTL Nitro, Super RTL and RTL II networks.Zattoo is headquartered in Zurich and is now active in seven European cities, where it offers 200 channels – including 55 in Germany. Users have the choice between ad-supported or subscription viewing models and can access the service from computers, mobiles, tablets, connected TVs and games consoles.last_img read more

Netflix is aiming for 104 million international su

first_imgNetflix is aiming for 104 million international subscribers by 2020 in the foreign markets where it is already launched, according to Digital TV Research estimates.The figure is extrapolated from comments made by Netflix CEO Reed Hastings last week at the CTAM EuroSummit in Copenhagen, where he said that in general Netflix aims to establish itself in a third of homes seven years after launching in a new market.Based on Digital TV Research’s projected numbers, in 2020 Netflix can expect to have 11.3 million subscribers in Germany, 9.5 million in the UK and 8.3 million in France – the biggest European TV markets where it is currently live.Add to this the Baltic countries, Latin America, and the remainder of its European footprint – namely Luxembourg, Belgium, Austria and Swtizerland, where it rolled out last week – and Netflix’s total 2020 international figures could total 103.9 million.However, in actuality, the figure could well be higher still. At CTAM last week, Hastings said that Netflix will make decisions next year about expanding more in Southern, Central and Eastern Europe.He also hinted at a possible Asian push, saying “over the next three or four years, think of us as at least trying to expand around the world.”last_img read more

Eutelsat has launched an ultra HD channel showing

first_imgEutelsat has launched an ultra HD channel showing HDR (High Dynamic Range) content using HLG (Hybrid Log-Gamma) technology, the new HDR standard developed by the BBC and NHK.Eutelsat has partnered with 4EVER-2, the French collaborative project on Ultra HD, ATEME and Samsung to demo HDR Ultra HD at IBC this week.Called “Hotbird 4k2 HDR”, the new channel is broadcasting across Europe from Eutelsat’s flagship Hotbird neighbourhood and is showing sports, cultural and wildlife content from the 4EVER-2 consortium, dBW Communication, The Explorers Network and RAICom.The channel is broadcast at 50 frames per second, with 10 bits of colour depth (one billion colours) in the BT2020 environment.“This new channel will benefit players in the broadcasting chain who are seeking to acquire expertise in HDR Ultra HD broadcasts,” said Eutelsat’s senior vice president, new TV formats, Michel Chabrol.“Since Ultra HD blazed a trail three years ago Eutelsat’s strategy has been to support our customers as they embrace the race to the highest image quality. HDR is the newest step in this adventure and one that gives new meaning to the industry ambition to deliver a spectacular and immersive viewing experience.”last_img read more

Xavier Couture France Télévisions has appointed fo

first_imgXavier CoutureFrance Télévisions has appointed former TF1, Canal+ and Orange content boss Xavier Couture as deputy programming and strategy chief, replacing Caroline Got, who is taking over as head of flagship channel France 2.The news comes soon after the surprise sacking of Vincent Meslet  earlier this week. He was fired as France 2 suffered a drastic ratings decline and Meslet had clashed with management over the direction of the channel.Got, a former TF1 executive, had taken the top job on an interim basis and has now been confirmed as executive director, making her the full-time channel boss.Couture, formerly of Orange and Canal+, will be managing director, strategy and programming, He will report to France Télévisions’ chief executive Delphine Ernotte-Cunci.Last year he denied he was set for a role at France Télévisions and his new role marks the first time the French media veteran has worked in public service broadcasting.last_img read more

Spott a Belgian secondscreen app that lets users

first_imgSpott, a Belgian second-screen app that lets users buy items they see on TV, has officially launched.The service will be available from today to VTM and RTL channel viewers, with the release following an 18-month trial period.Spott uses sound recognition to identity what programme a user is watching and makes content interactive by detecting various products featured in shows and movies and linking them to an online store.Using the Spott app and Spott.it website, users can buy things they see on TV and create wish lists of products, with the service compatible with both live broadcasts and recorded content.“You can now actually buy the dress that Emily Thorne wears in Revenge while watching the series, or add it to a list for later,” said Michel De Wachter, one of the founders of Appiness, the start-up behind Spott.Appiness co-founder Jonas De Cooman said: “We believe Spott enriches the viewing experience of people who like to be inspired by what they see.”last_img read more

WinView Discovery has contributed to a US12 milli

first_imgWinViewDiscovery has contributed to a US$12 million funding round raised by second-screen live sports prediction platform, WinView.Former TiVo chairman, president and CEO, Tom Rogers, who is currently executive chairman of WinView, was responsible for driving the Series B funding round.Graham Holdings Company, Ted Leonsis’ Monumental Sports and Entertainment and boutique investment bank LionTree Partners all invested alongside Discovery.US-based WinView said it will use the cash to further develop and market its mobile app across a range of sports – including MLB baseball, NBA basketball and NFL football.“This first-class group of investors is a major validation of our live TV sports prediction platform and its upside potential to engage TV viewers in a new way to enjoy televised sports,” said Rogers.“The WinView Games app fills a sports culture void by converting fans and TV viewers from spectators into play-along-live participants.”Launched in 2014, WinView Games previously raised US$8 million and Rogers said the new funding will enable the company to “take a significant step forward toward reaching our mobile, social and gaming business goals”.“We also will strive to be part of the in-stadium experience, enabling fans to predict plays from their seats,” he added.The WinView Games app is available on iOS and Android devices and lets users play along in real time to live televised sports, competing to predict the plays on the field in order to win cash prizes.WinView Games is a free-to-play, ad-supported app. The games available on the service are produced in a live studio by a team of producers based on what is happening in real time.last_img read more

Facebook is now supporting closed captions in Face

first_imgFacebook is now supporting closed captions in Facebook Live, as part of its efforts to make the social network “accessible to everyone”.With the update, publishers using the Facebook Live API can now add CEA-608 standard subtitles to Facebook Live broadcasts, allowing them to be enjoyed by audiences who are deaf or hard of hearing.Facebook users who have their captioning settings turned on will automatically see closed captions on Live broadcasts on mobile and desktop whenever they’re available.Facebook said publishers that don’t create their own live closed captions via a CEA-608 data stream can work with third-party captioning companies to generate and insert real-time subtitles into broadcasts.“We’ve been developing and testing this capability at events like this year’s F8, in partnership with captioning services provider Ai-Media. We’re excited to allow publishers of all kinds to reach a broader audience with closed captions in Facebook Live,” said Facebook product manager, Supratik Lahiri.Facebook claims that more video is being shared and watched on the social network “than ever before”  – with one in five videos posted to the social network now a live broadcast.last_img read more

YouTube TV is set to up its price from US35 to US

first_imgYouTube TV is set to up its price from US$35 to US$40 per month, has added a host of Turner channels, and plans to up its sports output.The news came as YouTube said it will also expand its over-the-top pay TV service to 100 US markets in the coming weeks.YouTube is adding TNT, Adult Swim, TBS, CNN, Cartoon Network, truTV and Turner Classic Movies from the Turner stable.On the sports front, it will soon add NBA TV and MLB Network – the National Basketball Association and Major League Baseball’s respective channels – to the YouTube TV base package.In the coming months, YouTube TV viewers will also be able to watch out-of-market live game service NBA League Pass, or sports streaming service MLB.TV, for an extra fee.The overall price increase is due to come into force on March 13, while the 100 market expansion will make YouTube TV available to more than 85% of US households.YouTube first unveiled YouTube TV in March last year and it is currently available in 80 markets. The new rollout markets will include Lexington, Dayton, Honolulu, Richmond, Mobile, and Syracuse.YouTube TV is billed as a cable-free live TV offering that is “built from the ground up for the 21st century”.The service’s channel line-up now includes more than 50 channels, including ABC, CBS, FOX, NBC, plus cable networks like TNT, TBS, CNN, ESPN, AMC, and FX.last_img read more

As overthetop and nonlinear viewing begins to p

first_imgAs over-the-top and non-linear viewing begins to present a real challenge to the linear distribution model, channel providers are weighing their digital options. Andy Fry reports.The numbers tell us people are watching more television than ever. But they don’t watch it like they used to. While there’s still a divide between developed and emerging economies, there’s no question that regions with high levels of broadband, smartphone and tablet penetration are witnessing paradigm shifts in media consumption patterns.In the US, a January 2012 study from research group Nielsen identified significant trends towards tablet/smartphone ownership, social media and online video consumption among 18-34 year-olds, concluding that they are “taking their personal connection – with each other and content – to new levels, new devices and new experiences like no other demo.”The report echoes the findings in Ericsson’s annual TV and Video Consumer Trends Report – which highlighted the move towards on-demand viewing. Anders Erlandsson, who manages the research programme for the report, argues that: “With the advent of user-friendly set-top boxes such as Roku, the Boxee box and Apple TV – coupled with super-simple and affordable streaming services such as Netflix – the popularity and ubiquity of on-demand viewing is increasing rapidly. [Our] research indicates that on-demand viewing continues to grow in popularity, and might eventually surpass broadcast.”Platform-neutral brandsIt’s no surprise, then, that content owners that used to focus their energy on the international rollout of linear pay TV channels are reorganising their businesses around platform-neutral brands. “This isn’t about reducing the role of our linear pay TV channels which continue to play a very significant role in generating revenues from carriage fees and advertising,” says Turner Broadcasting senior vice-president, EMEA, Casey Harwood, “It’s about protecting and diversifying the revenues you generate around brands, whether those are channels like Cartoon Network, CNN and Adult Swim or programme franchises like Ben 10.”In this brand-centric world, there are two broad commercial themes at play, says Harwood: “The first is the way in which digital distribution supports the core channel business. Increasingly, the platforms we work with expect online and on-demand offers that they can provide to their customers.”The second, he says, is developing new lines of business that take advantage of digital without undermining the existing business: “This could be anything from a paid-for mobile app through to a free channel that drives ancillary revenue. It’s like having 1000 buckets all catching raindrops of revenue.”Straddling these two broad areas are activities that have the potential to perform both marketing and revenue-generating roles – while at the same time meeting the editorial needs of the audience. For example, when Turner put free Adult Swim content on Facebook last autumn it was going where the Adult Swim audience hangs out, extending its offering to advertisers and encouraging users to go and try out the pay TV channel.Similar patterns were at work with Cartoon Network show The Amazing World Of Gumball. In that case, 28 videos were distributed via YouTube in the run up to the launch of the TV series. With high-profile activity on Facebook and Xbox, Turner delivered an immersive editorial product while also gathering insights about the character and behaviour of its audience.Most key players are trying to do some or all of the above, says Philip O’Ferrall, senior vice-president of digital for Viacom International Media Networks: “Linear channels are here for a long time to come, because they are still a defining element of brands like MTV, Nickelodeon and Comedy Central. But it’s critical that you are structured so audiences can interact with your channel and programme brands in as many ways as possible,” he says.This is particularly true when considering the channel operator’s relationship with its advertising clients: “If one of our advertisers is interested in Jersey Shore or SpongeBob SquarePants, they want full-integrated brand solutions,” says O’Ferrall. “You look at a property such as MTV Europe’s Music Awards and it is completely set up as a 360 degree ad buy, across TV, online, mobile, in-house media and third party. Whether the audience goes to Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr or Pinterest, we are set up to follow their social media journey.”This brings with it some significant challenges, says O’Ferrall. “The most obvious is that we need to future proof our rights, so that any content assets we work with can be deployed in this way across every relevant device and window.”No less important is balancing the potential for conflict between what channel operators pump out across platforms like Facebook and what their pay TV affiliate partners charge their customers for. “Part of what we are doing is delivering mass reach and brand engagement for advertisers,” says O’Ferrall. “But the key is to create content and activities that can drive audiences back in the direction of the linear channels with duplicating what those channels set out to achieve.” A point echoed by Turner’s Harwood who says CNN’s mobile app is not designed to replicate its cable channel. [icitspot id=”22890″ template=”box-story”]Catherine Powell, senior vice-president, media distribution, The Walt Disney Company EMEA agrees: “Kids and families are increasingly looking for flexibility in when and where they enjoy entertainment, and we need to be where they are. But our linear Disney Channels are at the heart of everything we do. All non-linear activity is designed to complement and enrich the Disney Channels experience across linear and non-linear, and drive viewers towards the Disney Channels.  The linear experience still offers appointment television, while the digital offerings make this experience immersive and sticky.”The Netflix challengeOf course, the aspects of the digital distribution puzzle that companies prioritise depend, to a large extent, on the maturity of their channel business, the profile of their audience and the landscape of the territory they operate in.Turner and VIMN are well-established EMEA businesses that cater for the fluid, connected audiences Nielsen and Ericsson refer to above. But compare their activity with the launch of Turner’s sister brand HBO (both are part of Time Warner) on the Ziggo cable platform in the Netherlands. Here, the focus is not on supporting advertisers, but achieving the best pay-windowing arrangements for HBO’s premium TV content.Two issues are worth noting about the HBO Ziggo deal. The first, reflecting earlier observations, is that HBO – as a new entrant to the market  –  has given its cable partner all the bells and whistles required to satisfy digital-savvy Dutch customers. In addition to three ad-free linear HD HBO channels, customers who sign up also get online video destination HBO GO and VOD service HBO On Demand. Furthermore, the HBO services are available across PC, Mac, iPad, iPhone, iPod touch and some Android devices (and also TV). All of this is available for ?14.95 a month. So to incentivise Ziggo to promote the package, HBO has so far only done one platform deal in the Netherlands.The second issue is not about carriage negotiations, but about the way HBO’s Dutch launch encapsulates Time Warner’s wider concerns about VOD players like Netflix. In the US, HBO and Time Warner have made it clear that they view Netflix as a long-term risk to their own brands. As a result, they have developed products such as HBO Go and TV Everywhere as mechanisms to try and challenge the company’s rapid expansion.This agenda has now started to surface in EMEA too. In the case of HBO Netherlands, it is illustrated by the way that the company is trying and occupy the premium space that services like Netflix populate. For example, Dutch customers will now see new episodes of series like Boardwalk Empire, Games of Thrones, Luck, Veep and Girls “as early as one day after the HBO US Debut”. In addition, there will be first-run theatrical films from studios such as Sony Pictures and Warner Brothers.Look more widely across Europe and you can see how HBO and Warner are both trying to seal off the gaps that Netflix is trying to occupy. In the UK, for example, HBO has signed a long-term programme distribution deal with Sky, while in central Europe it has moved into original programming. In parallel, Warner Brothers has signed movie distribution deals with Amazon LoveFilm in the UK and Sky Deutschland in Germany, the latter giving the platform exclusive pay and on-demand rights.This overall pattern highlights that a lot of media owner effort in EMEA is focused on how to respond to the arrival of new aggregators including Netflix, which are exploiting the gaps that has opened up between classic programme distribution, the sale of physical DVDs and linear broadcasting.It’s not an easy problem to unravel, because the channel operators are also content owners. In other words, they want to protect channel brands and monetise content, goals which are not always compatible. It’s interesting to note, for example, that Disney has not, so far, responded to the rise of Netflix by launching ABC-branded pay TV channels to house its adult content. Instead, “what has made the most business sense for us has been to launch ABC TV On Demand SVOD services with our partners across EMEA,” says Powell. “These services offer full seasons of ABC Studios series in a second chance window, shortly after their local first broadcast window.” Having debuted on BT Vision’s IPTV/DTT platform in the UK, it expanded to Zon’s cable platform in Portugal and Vodafone’s IPTV service in Germany before joining forces with Amazon-owned Lovefilm – which is now streaming the service into the UK market. As such, it is taking advantage of new content distribution, but keeping open the option of a linear channel.Pay TV fights backThe channel operators aren’t the only ones that have to decide what to do about the likes of Netflix, Amazon and Google-YouTube. Over the last couple of years, analysts have also been asking whether traditional pay TV platforms will survive once open access internet content distribution is the norm.Evidence from the US isn’t encouraging: a report from TDG has shown that pay TV firms are struggling to keep up with the likes of Netflix, whose US subscribers watched 80% more streaming video hours in the fourth quarter than were viewed on all US pay TV VOD. It doesn’t have to be this way though. In its own study of OTT, Nokia Siemens Networks (NSN) argues that platforms can play a lead role in the OTT market if they “promote themselves as value-added orchestrators of services that simplify the digital life of the user. Bundling attractive packages of content, services and billing effectively turns them into a value-added mall that focuses on what the customer wants and offers tailored packages, involving partnerships with OTT players.”NSN also cites the importance of quality, arguing that it is a USP of the established service providers. This is backed up by the Ericsson report referred to earlier, which picks out quality, no commercials, time-shifting and movie releases direct to TV as the things consumers are most happy to pay for currently.Fortunately, European pay TV platforms had time to prepare for the arrival of Netflix and are now getting into gear. In January, Sky in the UK announced plans for a new service that would allow all non-Sky customers to access tranches of its content via broadband-connected devices. Launching in the first half of 2012, the service will offer movies, sport and entertainment across all devices with no minimum contract. Running in parallel with the Sky subscriber bonus service Sky Go, customers will be to pay monthly for unlimited access to Sky Movies or rent a single movie on a pay-as-you-go basis. It is, says Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch, “a new way for us to reach out to consumers who love great content, but may not want the full Sky service.  It will allow us to make our expertise and investment work even harder, extending our options.”Modern Times Group CEO Hans Holger Albrecht is also aware of the threat, which he summarises in his regular blog: “With Netflix, iTunes, YouView, Lovefilm and games consoles offering everything from popular player and catch-up services to movie streaming rentals, it’s safe to say the future is here; and is forcing companies to hurry on with the move from being satellite, cable or even IPTV companies, to being ‘anytime anywhere’ content providers, before players like Apple TV and Google’s YouTube decide to shake things up even further.” Albrecht, though, has long argued that pay TV platforms will have a key role in the OTT space by offering a content aggregation model that is legal, flexible and easy-to-use. His company’s internet pay service Viaplay (available via PCs, smart phones, tablets, set-top boxes and connected Samsung TVs) was launched in 2006 and is seen as a significant part of MTG’s strategy. “The fiercely competitive TV broadcasting landscape and high broadband penetration in Scandinavia created an environment in which we had to adapt to compete and grow,” he says. “This allowed us to launch Viaplay and I believe our multi-tiered subscription offering is the right one. Viaplay’s content library feeds from our integrated free-TV and pay-TV business structure, and the strength of the service lies in offering exclusive and library TV, as well as premium sports in one place, together with both our own and competing catch-up services.” [icitspot id=”22899″ template=”box-story”]It’s important to note that the threat to pay TV platforms may actually come from the broadcasters that operators thought they had left behind in the world of free-to-air terrestrial TV – because they now have the capacity to bypass  operators with their own OTT alliances. Pan-European broadcasting powerhouse RTL is exploring this option at the moment. In January, it announced that its French channel M6 had teamed up with Sync TV to develop an OTT service for the Microsoft Xbox 360 console. “Apart from being one of the best-selling gaming consoles in the world, the Microsoft Xbox 360 is on a trajectory to become a dominant OTT platform for streaming content,” says Christian Bombrun, deputy managing director of M6 Web. M6’s partnership with SyncTV will enable it to offer a range of content to all Xbox 360 users in France.  Adam Gee, head of cross-platform commissioning at Channel 4 UK, similarly says that digital activity around series like Embarrassing Bodies works at a number of levels, not least  “the strategic value in the data we gather”.There’s evidence from across Europe that free broadcasters are starting to realise that there’s more to digital extensions than immersive entertainment.last_img read more


first_img 2017 GUILDHALL CRAFT FAIR CALL FOR APPLICANTS ShareTweet “Running over twenty years, the fair is well established and features high quality goods from traders who undergo a strict selection process to ensure only the highest standards of handmade crafts are selected for display.“This year there will be a few additions to this year’s programme as the craft fair will now extend to the ground floor of the Guildhall showcasing artisan food products and featuring free Christmas craft demonstrations.“The always popular Kid’s Craft Workshops will now take place in the Main Hall.“Renowned for attracting a large number of visitors looking for a unique gift or purchase, the event is ideal for crafters and makers to sell and promote their products in the run up to Christmas.”All applicants must submit a completed application form which can be downloaded from Derry City and Strabane District Council website, www.derrystrabane.com/craftfair or by contacting Council’s Events Team by email to, Helena.Hasson@derrystrabane.com or telephone on 028 7125 3253.Applicant should read the ‘Guidelines for Applicants 2017’ before completing the application form. Applications can be returned via email or with samples in person to Derry City & Strabane District Council, 98 Strand Rd, Derry BT48 7NN.The deadline for applications to be submitted is Friday 28th July at 4pm.2017 GUILDHALL CRAFT FAIR CALL FOR APPLICANTS was last modified: June 29th, 2017 by John2John2 Tags: AS the annual Guildhall Craft Fair celebrates its twenty third anniversary this year, Derry City and Strabane District Council is making preparations for this year’s event, scheduled to take place between Friday 10th and Sunday 12th of November 2017.Council is now inviting anyone interested in trading at this year’s event to register their interest.Applications are welcome from craft designer-makers and artists working in ceramics, non-precious and precious jewellery, interior textiles, fashion textiles and accessories, knitwear and woven textiles, leather, print-making, wood, lighting, furniture and product design, glass, metal, basket-making and other miscellaneous crafts.In order to maximise the opportunities for crafters to showcase their goods, complimentary and artisan food products will be allocated stands on the ground floor of the Guildhall. Food producers should note that there will be a limited number of stands available.Helena Hasson, Events Coordinator at Derry City and Strabane District Council said, “The Guildhall Craft Fair is an annual event which showcases a wide range of bespoke craft items created by craft designer-makers and artists throughout Ireland.“The fair will take place in the historical Guildhall in Derry city centre and will include a support programme of live music and craft workshops.“The craft fair is a highlight event for those working in the craft industry.last_img read more