Inland NSW welcomes new air services to Tamworth

first_imgInland New South Wales (NSW) welcomes the announcement of new air services commencing this year that will bring the total of Tamworth’s commercial carriers from one to three.From 2 March 2015, Brisbane-based airline JETGO will introduce three flights a week to Tamworth and from 6 April 2015 they will increase flights to twice a day three times a week.As of 25 May 2015, Virgin Australia will introduce six return flights a week between Tamworth and Sydney in addition to the current Qantas Link Sydney to Tamworth services offered daily.Across the three carriers, a total of 96 flights in and out of Tamworth will be available each week, aimed at both corporate and leisure passengers.Inland NSW chief executive officer Graham Perry says the inclusion of these new flights prove Tamworth is a successful commercial hub and will provide better services for increased domestic and international tourists.“It also highlights the potential and benefit of increasing air capacity for targeted regional routes, which is very important for growing regional centres,” Mr Perry said.“Qantas Link must be recognised for the long and supportive service it has provided our regional destinations.“Coupled with the NSW Government’s announcement of increased funding for the business conferencing and events market, these announcements are good news for Tamworth and the broader New England region, which will benefit from the improved air capacity.”Mr Perry also noted the increased air capacity will help the city in peak periods like during the annual Tamworth Country Music Festival which welcomes Australian and international visitors.In February this year, Tamworth Regional Council approved modifications to the Tamworth Regional Airport valued at over AUD$500,000 which will help cater for the increased passengers soon to come.Source = ETB Travel News: Brittney Levinsonlast_img read more

Irvine California Reported by Elite Traveler th

first_imgIrvine, California- Reported by Elite Traveler, the private jet lifestyle magazineJetsetters can now have their cake and eat it too with JetSuite’s new expansions. The company recently announced their new service in the Northeast, a hotspot for many travelers, and revolutionary booking method, which offers guaranteed price quotes online. The expansions are part of JetSuite’s vision to enable private air travel to more people through affordable, no obligation programs.JetSuite, the world’s most experienced Phenom operator, offers service to hundreds of airports throughout Northeast’s major metro areas, including New York, Washington D.C., Boston, and Toronto. The national expansion aims to attract private jet customers throughout the Northeast, adding services to popular destinations such as Teterboro, Martha’s Vineyard, Bedford and Westchester County. The company exclusively flies a fleet of brand-new Embraer Phenom 100s, ensuring you will arrive to your next destination in style.“Our mission is to make private air travel accessible to more people than ever before,” explains JetSuite CEO Alex Wilcox. “Expanding our services to the Northeast brings us to the biggest market in the world.The company also announced a revolutionary booking method on their redesigned website. JetSuite is the first private aviation company in history to quote and guarantee prices online, offering some of the most competitive fares in the industry. Consumers are offered three levels of membership at low, hourly rates to which airport fees are added. The redesigned website allows consumers to easily compare various fees to determine the best airport for their trip, coinciding with the company’s affordable private jet mission. JetSuite also continues to offer their popular SuiteDeals on their Facebook page. The promotion allows consumers to select a destination and flight for the following day offered at prices as low as $499 to the first fan that comments with a qualified booking request.www.jetsuite.comlast_img read more

Footage from peace protest in Nicosia Video

first_imgOver the past week, the bicommunal group Unite Cyprus NOW has been organising nightly or near-nightly demonstrations at the Ledra Street checkpoint in Nicosia. A small but dedicated number of demonstrators have attended regularly, and tonight were joined by UN Secretary-General Special Advisor on Cyprus Espen Barth Eide. You May LikeClassmates.comLook For Any High School Yearbook, It’s FreeClassmates.comUndoFigLeaf Beta AppHow to Become Fully Anonymous Online in Less Than 3 Minutes? Better safe than sorryFigLeaf Beta AppUndoSUVs | Search AdsThese SUVs Are Leading The Pack. Research 2019 Luxury Crossover SUV DealsSUVs | Search AdsUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoAuthorities release five of 12 Israeli rape suspects, seven due in court FridayUndoPensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoby Taboolaby Taboolalast_img read more

In Nashville Corporate Tax Subsidies Are Questioned as School Revenues Fall Short

first_imgShare2Tweet4ShareEmail6 Shares“Money on a hook.” Photo credit: TaxCredits.netJune 19, 2018; Tennessean“As Nashville prepares to raid its reserves to pay for unexpected school costs, some of the shortfall can be traced to tax breaks awarded to developers,” reports Mike Reicher in the Tennessean. “The city,” Reicher adds, “diverted $9.3 million of property taxes from schools to pay off redevelopment loans—for downtown hotels, luxury condos and other projects.”As Reicher details,Metro Nashville Public Schools may cut 30 central office positions and pause new programs to make up for a $17 million hole in its budget next fiscal year. The city’s financial woes have drawn new scrutiny to economic development subsidies and caused many to ask fundamental questions about Nashville’s perceived prosperity.How, they wonder, can a city with gleaming hotel towers, record-low unemployment, and years of real estate market growth, not afford to pay for its children’s education? Who, exactly, has benefited from the development boom?These questions are not unique to Nashville, however. As NPQ covered earlier this year, a study by Thomas Bartik of the Upjohn Institute noted that economic development incentives frequently come at the expense of public education. Indeed, Sarah Holder, writing in City Lab, summarized one key Bartik finding as follows: “When cities and states offer tax deals for large companies, public education suffers.”Aided by new disclosure rules, as set forth in Government Accounting Standards Board Statement No. 77 (GASB 77) of the nonprofit Financial Accounting Foundation, which now requires compliant cities to disclose their corporate tax abatement costs on an annual basis, the conflict between public school funding and corporate tax abatements is becoming increasingly evidence-based. For instance, this past March, St. Louis Post-Dispatch ran a story titled “Tax breaks cost St. Louis, school district almost $30 million in 2017.”Nashville’s $9.3 million price tag is smaller, but still significant. “It makes no sense for the City of Nashville to rob the reserves of the schools to do redevelopment,” says Erick Huth, president of the Metropolitan Nashville Education Association, the local teachers’ union.Reicher details how incentives in Nashville work:Nashville’s redevelopment program uses “tax-increment financing” as its primary tool. The Metropolitan Development Housing Authority backs loans to developers for land acquisition, demolition, and off-site infrastructure such as utilities and sidewalks. Any future increases in property taxes at those sites are directed to repay the loans. Once the loans are repaid, the full property tax bill is available for schools and city services.As NPQ has noted, corporate tax abatements in Nashville are already under increased scrutiny. This past January, the 35-member Metro Nashville Council approved a new rule by voice vote requiring firms seeking economic development incentives to “disclose details like how many county residents they’ll hire, the wages they’ll pay and whether they’ve had any safety violations in the past,” before an up-or-down vote on their requests can be held.As for the current state of affairs, Reicher notes that the subsidies were designed to spur development in “blighted” areas of the city. But now the neighborhood is booming. “The Westin hotel, for instance, was awarded $15 million in economic development subsidies,” notes Reicher. This was done in 2014, well after revitalization had occurred. “The city collected nearly $200,000 in property tax on the property in the year ending September 30, 2017,” Reicher adds, “but that was redirected to pay off a redevelopment loan.” All told, in fiscal 2017, Nashville paid $24.8 million on such loans, of which $9.3 million was diverted from public schools.It does not help that the city has failed to adequately track the effectiveness of its spending. A city audit released this past March recommended that Nashville “create quantifiable goals to evaluate performance of development incentives.”“It’s impossible to track the benefits to the community from the loans,” laments John Cooper, an at-large councilperson. “We don’t even have the records to show where it went and what we got for it.”—Steve DubbShare2Tweet4ShareEmail6 Shareslast_img read more

A Transparency Shell Game in Hawaii Poses Problems for Civil Society

first_imgShare14Tweet3ShareEmail17 Shares“Hawaiian Shell Lei.”February 6, 2019; Honolulu Civic BeatThere is a lot of talk about transparency in government these days. People, the media, and policy organizations alike expect to be able to access information and records, including their own, without being subject to roadblocks. In Hawaii, despite a lot of pushback that includes lawsuits and audits, a glimmer of sunlight is beginning to shine through. Getting there was not easy, and the reasons for the blockades remain somewhat puzzling.Of some concern is what was called the “gut and replace” practice of the Hawaii Legislature, whereby the contents of a bill can be removed and replaced with entirely different language, even after the bill has had public hearings and been approved by certain committees. To combat this, a lawsuit was filed by the League of Women Voters and Common Cause and joined by others, including media and party-affiliated groups. The Circuit Court dismissed the suit, but the League and Common Cause plan to appeal.In some cases, made-up policies block transparency. Consider Hawaii’s “deliberative process privilege.” Public agencies had been using this nonexistent “privilege” to withhold records from the public. But the Hawaii Supreme Court ruled that no such privilege existed. Following up on this legal ruling, the Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, joined by more than 20 media outlets and nonprofit policy organizations, sent a letter to all four county [island] mayors, urging them to improve public access to government information and documents.Lawsuits get the best results when seeking information in Hawaii. Even when laws exist, it seems they can be ignored until someone files a suit to get information that should be publicly available. Employment records are one of those areas. Civil Beat has filed a lawsuit against the Hawaii Department of Education to gain access to information about why employees are terminated and students disciplined.The DOE refused to turn over most of the records or provided heavily redacted documents in response to a public records request last May.“It is clear that DOE is not following the law, and this case provides an opportunity for the courts to reaffirm several principles of open government established in OIP (Office of Information Practices) opinions,” said Brian Black, executive director of The Civil Beat Law Center for the Public Interest, which is representing Civil Beat in the case.Under the Uniform Information Practices Act, Hawaii’s public records law, government agencies must disclose records relating to employment-related misconduct that results in termination or suspension.Recognizing that transparency and privacy issues often collide, Civil Beat says that it is not seeking identities of students or individual contact information. What it does want are the reasons for the terminations or the discipline, and the offenses that caused the investigations in the first place. It is, however, seeking the names of employees, their schools, and the grades they taught. This was enough for the agency to cite “personal privacy” and “frustration of a legitimate government function” as their reasons to withhold information.Indeed, an argument can be made for both transparency and privacy when employment and employability is at stake. Civil Beat argues in its filing that the state department of education should not be withholding minor reprimands (after redacting identifying information) from the public. State officials have not commented on the lawsuit.As the struggle to access information continues, so will the cry for greater transparency and the counter-cries for the need for privacy and protection. In Hawaii, it has taken lawsuits and lawyers, audits and outrage, and much time and money to resolve some of this and peel back the barriers to greater access and transparency. More work remains, and the pushback isn’t going away.—Carole LevineShare14Tweet3ShareEmail17 Shareslast_img read more

Cable operator Ono stabilised its customer base an

first_imgCable operator Ono stabilised its customer base and grew its revenues and EBITDA in the first quarter, despite tough economic conditions in Spain.Ono ended the quarter with 4.387 million revenue-generating units, up 0.1% year-on-year. The company said that over 60% of its base with access to its fibre network could now sign up to its TiVo advanced TV service. Ono said that 85% of its base now took at least two services, while 40% took a triple-play package. ARPU reached €52.10, up from €51 a year earlier.Ono grew its internet base by 1.5%, with about 530,000 customers, or 37% of the total, taking high-speed internet services of 30, 50 and 100Mbps. Ono now has 1.79 million residential fibre subscribers, with 1.428 million internet customers, 906,000 TV customers and 1.697 million telephony customers.Ono posted revenues of €383 million, up 5%, and EBITDA of €186 million, up 4%.last_img read more

US media firm Time Warner has increased its stake

first_imgUS media firm Time Warner has increased its stake in CEE broadcaster Central European Media Enterprises (CME).The company has acquired 9.9 million shares of the company’s Class A common stock, which means that its ownership increases to 40% on a diluted basis. Ronald Lauder has also increased his stake with the purchase of 2.2 million shares through his RSL Capital company. Adrian Sarbu, president and CEO of CME, said: “The continued support from our major shareholders during volatile market conditions allows us to proceed with achieving our targets of reducing our leverage and interest costs.”last_img read more

Russian service provider VimpelCom which operates

first_imgRussian service provider VimpelCom, which operates under the Beeline brand, has introduced an automatic top-up payment service for internet and digital TV subscribers.The move means that Beeline internet and TV customers will be able to pay for services used during the prior month via their Visa or Mastercard bank cards on a recurring basis via the Beeline customer care portal.last_img

US DTH pay TV provider DirecTVs vicepresident t

first_imgUS DTH pay TV provider DirecTV’s vice-president, technology and ventures John Norin has joined the board of the Multimedia over Coax Alliance (MoCA).DirecTV is a promoter member of MoCA, which promotes an open standard for the delivery of in-home connectivity over coax. The latest addition to MoCA’s board follows that of Intel’s Jim Crammond last week.“MoCA technology is and will continue to be a critical element of our whole home DVR expansion throughout our footprint,” said Norin. “We look forward to helping the organisation in its mission of becoming a worldwide standard.”last_img read more

German consumer electronics association Gfu expect

first_imgGerman consumer electronics association Gfu expected some 26.5 million Smart devices to be sold in the country by the end of 2012.According to the Gfu, some 15 million smartphones, 1.4 million tablets, seven million notebook PCs and 3.1 million smart TVs were sold up to the end of last year.According to the organisation, over a third of all flat screen TVs sold in Germany were now equipped with internet connectivity, bringing the total to over four million, with 48% of 42-inch models, 75% of 46-inch screens and 75% of 50-inch TVs now being internet-connectable. For 50-inch models the proportion rises to 90%, according to the Gfu.Some 30% of Smart TV users use their devices to watch free, short video clips, while 18% watch moves and 15% use the on-demand libraries offered by TV broadcasters. Some 15% use Smart TVs to look for news and information, while a further 15% listen to music from internet radio stations and online services.last_img read more

UK satcaster BSkyB has paid tribute to its ad sale

first_imgUK satcaster BSkyB has paid tribute to its ad sales managing director, Nick Milligan, who died along with his daughter in a speedboat accident over the weekend.Tributes poured in for Sky Media managing director Milligan, who had worked in TV ad sales for three decades for companies such as Sky, ITV and Channel 5, after he was identified as one of two people killed in the accident in Cornwall, UK, on Sunday. His eight-year-old daughter also died in the accident, while four others were injured.Current employer Sky said: “Everyone at Sky is deeply shocked and saddened to learn of the tragic accident involving the Milligan family. Nick has been a great friend and colleague for many years and his loss will be felt across our company and the industry. Our very deepest sympathies are with his family at this time.”Social network Twitter was awash with media industry figures paying tribute to the man. Among them, former FT media editor Ben Fenton called him “one of the kindest, nicest funniest men I have ever met”.Nigel Walley, managing director of media strategy firm Decipher, said: “Nick Milligan was a wonderful man whom I was proud to call a friend.”Milligan had been managing director of Sky Media since 2004. In the role he was responsible for selling advertising space across 100 channels on the Sky platform.last_img read more

Polish cable operator Multimedia Polska has called

first_imgPolish cable operator Multimedia Polska has called off plans to float on the Warsaw stock market, citing weak demand among potential investors. According to Bloomberg and Reuters reports, Poland’s number three cable operator called off the IPO plans after initially pricing its offering at PLN950 million (€230 million).Multimedia Polska delisted from the Warsaw stock market in 2011, and its return was tipped to be the country’s biggest IPO since electricity company Energa’s  PLN2.17 billion offer in December.Earlier this month the firm said it added 23,500 revenue-generating units but saw revenues flatten in the quarter to March. Revenues amounted to PLN175.7 million (€41.9 million) for the quarter, 0.7% down year-on-year and 0.1% up on the last quarter of 2013. Adjusted EBITDA was PLN91.4 million, up 0.3% year-on-year.last_img read more

Jason Kilar and Richard Tom the former chief exec

first_imgJason Kilar and Richard Tom, the former chief executive and chief technology officers of Hulu, have put out a call for video content creators ahead of the launch of their new business, Vessel. In a blog post announcing the new venture, Kilar and Tom revealed that they have assembled a team that have experience “building and innovating” at companies like Hulu, Netflix and Amazon.They added: “If you are a content creator, particularly a video content creator, we should talk!”Though precise details of the Vessel service were not revealed, Kilar and Tom said that the team are “passionate about the intersection of media and technology.”“We see an opportunity to improve media, particularly next generation video,” they said, claiming the service will launch this year.Investors backing Vessel include Benchmark, Greylock Partners, and Bezos Expeditions – the personal investment company of Amazon founder and CEO Jeff Bezos.Like in their previous careers at Hulu, Kilar becomes CEO and Tom CTO of Vessel. The pair left the US online TV company during the first quarter of last year.last_img read more

Netflix cofounder and CEO Reed Hastings Netflix

first_imgNetflix co-founder and CEO, Reed HastingsNetflix will win the support of local content creators in France by spending money on productions, even if its Dutch base exempts it from contributing directly to the country’s content creation regime, according to CEO Reed Hastings. Hastings also said that France’s strict movies windowing system will not be a problem for the streaming video company when it launches there as its main focus is on series rather than films.In an interview with French website Télérama, Hastings said that Netflix’s ability to sign “big cheques” would overcome any reservations from the content creation community about the company’s exemption from a direct contribution to the country’s content creation support regime. As Netflix’s European operations will be based in the Netherlands, the company will not be required to make the same funding commitments as groups based in France including Canal+.“Lots of people want to work with us. We distribute lots of French and European productions everywhere in the world,” Hastings told Télérama. He cited the example of Abdellatif Kechiche’s Cannes winner La Vie d’Adèle (Blue is the Warmest Colour), which Netflix had given a much wider distribution in the US than its theatrical release would have secured.Hastings also pointed out that Netflix would be required to pay VAT at the French rather than the Dutch rate thanks to changes in European rules to be implemented from 2015 that will see the tax levied in countries where media is consumed rather than where the company that distributes it is based.Hastings also said that former French digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin had understood that Netflix is ready to contribute by producing content and acquiring local rights when she visited the CES show in Las Vegas in January. He confirmed that Netflix is currently in talks with a producer to create a French political drama series in Marseille, probably to be released next year. Netflix has been linked in France with Luc Besson’s EuropaCorp, although Hastings declined to comment on this.Hastings said he didn’t believe that France’s windowing system, which means that films cannot be shown on subscription VoD for three years after their theatrical release, will be a problem, pointing out that BSkyB’s grip on premium movie rights in the UK had not prevented Netflix from securing a large subscriber base there. He said Netflix’s main business was the distribution of TV content rather than movies.Hastings said that Netflix is open to deals and is in talks with French distribution partners such as Orange, SFR and Free, but that any agreement would depend on the financial conditions. He said that Netflix’s success did not depend on a deal with an operator.last_img read more

Scripps Networks UK and EMEA has launched Travel C

first_imgScripps Networks UK and EMEA has launched Travel Channel on Deutsche Telekom subsidiary, Magyar Telekom’s TV service in Hungary.  The channel is available now on Telekom TV to all digital TV subscribers and will be on the service’s new Minipay package from January 2015.“Travel Channel takes viewers on an exciting adventure each time they tune in, and we are thrilled to bring more globe-trotting stars and high-energy entertainment to a wider audience in Hungary,” said Jon Sichel, managing director, Scripps Networks UK and EMEA.Scripps claims to broadcast the Travel Channel to 130 countries across Europe, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia Pacific in 21 languages.last_img read more

La Box Fibre de SFR Ahead of its formal acquisitio

first_imgLa Box Fibre de SFRAhead of its formal acquisition by Numericable, French telco SFR has launched the latter’s La Box Fibre product to its subscribers, allowing them to access internet speeds of up to 200Mbps over the Numericable network, but under the SFR brand.SFR said the new offer, which will priced between €29.99 and €41.99 depending on the package chosen, will enable users to access fibre-powered internet at speeds up to 10 times that currently available via ADSL.The box will be offered to new customers across Numericable’s fibre footprint. SFR will continue to separately offer its Android-based TV box to other customers.In addition to providing Numericable’s restart service with access to content from 67 channels, picture-in-picture, the ability to simultaneously record two streams to a 500GB hard disk, and access to a 30,000-strong video-on-demand catalogue, the box will also provide access to SFR services such as home-security offering Home by SFR, cloud-storage service SFR Cloud.As a promotional offer, SFR is offering Multi-Packs subscribers signing up for La Box TV Fibre de SFR and a mobile bundle access to its mobile Extras packages – Canalplay, Napster, iCoyote, SFR Jeux, leKiosk and l’Equipe – free between now and January 19.Separately, Numericable parent company Altice’s president, Patrick Drahi, has reportedly chosen an executive committee dominated by Numericable executives to run the combined SFR-Numericable. According to financial daily Les Echos, six of the nine members of the committee are from Numericable, including Eric Klipfel, in charge of branding, products and marketing, Thierry Lemaitre, finance director, d’Angélique Benetti, content director, Philippe Le May, technology director, Olivier Urcel, head of information systems, and Jérôme Yomtov, secretary-general in charge of institutional relations and external communications.According to Les Echos, Pascal Rialland, CEO of Virgin Mobile France, which Numericable is acquiring, will supervise the SFR-Numericable distribution network. Only François Rubichon, who will be in charge of human resources, legal and corporate affairs and internal communications, is the only survivor from SFR’s management team, while current SFR Jean-Yves Charlier will continue to act as an advisor to Drahi to ensure a smooth transition.Eric Denoyer, currently CEO of Numericable, will be chief executive of the new company.Altice last week posted third quarter revenues of €832 million, down 0.3% or down 0.7% on a constant currency basis, and EBITDA of €396 million, up 12%.last_img read more

Sharon White Ofcom has appointed Sharon White as i

first_imgSharon WhiteOfcom has appointed Sharon White as its chief executive. White joins from the UK Treasury where she is second permanent secretary.She will start in her new £275,000 (€347,000) a year position at the UK communications regulator in March 2015.At the Treasury, White is responsible for managing the UK’s public finances. She has held that position since 2013, beforehand she was director general of public spending within the same department.Her other previous work includes stints at the No 10 Policy Unit, and the World Bank. She said said this morning: “The communications sector is vital to the economy and delivers essential services to everyone in the UK. I look forward to starting in this fascinating job and building on Ofcom’s considerable track record.”Ofcom chairman, Dame Patricia Hodgson, said: “Sharon brings with her an outstanding combination of intellect, political acumen and experience leading complex public organisations.“The Ofcom Board is confident that Sharon will provide the leadership and vision to ensure Ofcom continues to promote a thriving communications sector in the UK that operates in the public interest.”Steve Unger will be acting chief executive until White joins. He will take the reins from the end of the year when current chief executive Ed Richards steps down. His departure was announced in October.last_img read more

Turkish DTH provider DSmart has deployed the umbr

first_imgTurkish DTH provider D-Smart has deployed the umbrellaCDN offering from CDN technology specialist Broadpeak to support its OTT service. D-Smart is using the CDN selection tool, D-Smart to offload traffic to third-party CDNs in order to address peaks in live video consumption.D-Smart is using the umbrellaCDN offload feature to distribute traffic from its own CDN, provided by Broadpeak, to a mix of different CDN service providers. According to Broadpeak, this enables it to set rules to automatically extend its on-net CDN with off-net capacity and tap into virtual CDN resources to extend its on-net video streaming system.. In addition, umbrellaCDN provides D-Smart with analytics and real-time monitoring that can be used to identify trends in audience behaviour across their different CDN systems.“Recently, we began offering viewers an exclusive look at our OTT service with promotional-free viewing of specific popular live events, with the end goal of attracting new customers to our OTT service subscription. To accommodate the anticipated peaks in OTT video consumption, we needed an advanced CDN solution capable of managing a large number of simultaneous sessions without compromising quality,” said Erdogan Simsek, chief technology officer at D-Smart. “As a longtime customer, we have come to trust Broadpeak’s experience in video streaming technologies. umbrellaCDN is one of the industry’s only software-based solutions for CDN selection, bringing us unparalleled flexibility and cost savings while guaranteeing a superior QoE for end users.”said Jacques Le Mancq, president and CEO of Broadpeak, said: “OTT content is extremely popular with consumers, especially for live sporting events. By deploying our umbrellaCDN solution, D-Smart can balance traffic between multiple CDNs, as needed, guaranteeing QoE for all end-users even during events generating a large audience.”last_img read more

BBC director general Tony Hall Tony Hall said Worl

first_imgBBC director general Tony HallTony Hall said Worldwide recorded a ‘very strong’ performance through the year as the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster published its annual results. The Worldwide chairman and BBC director general added the commercial arm of the UK pubcaster will need to deliver 30% more back to the corporation in light of its latest financial settlement with government.Reiterated the need for Worldwide to increase the level of returns to the BBC to make up for shortfalls elsewhere, Hall said: “With a lower financial settlement and increased responsibilities to fund, maximising our commercial revenue is imperative, not optional.”He added: “The Board of the BBC is looking to BBC Worldwide to provide £1.2 billion of returns over the first five years of the next Charter.This represents more than a 15% uplift on the previous five years, or almost 30% adjusted for dividends relating to disposals during that term.”Worldwide notched an increase in sales, but a decline in profits in the first year since offloading half of the BBC America channel.The commercial arm of the UK public broadcaster issued its results this morning. It notched annual revenues of £1.029 billion, a 6.7% increase year on year. Profit of £133.8 million was down 3.5% with the contribution from BBC America effectively halved after its sale to AMC.Worldwide’s contribution to the core BBC was £222.2 million compared with £226.5 million a year earlier.Stripping out the impact of the BBC America sale – the previous year’s results included seven months worth of contributions from a fully owned BBC America – Worldwide said its headline profits were up 4% and contribution to the main Corporation was up 17.6%.Worldwide chief executive Tim Davie said the organisation is delivering on his three-pronged strategy of increased focus on premium programming, growing global brands, and moving to digital products and services. He added that increased investment in drama is paying off, with drama sales now accounting for almost half of the distribution total.In the context of staff cuts at the main BBC, Davie noted that Worldwide shed 176 staff, 9% of its total, through the year, saving £10.8 million. “This has enabled us to invest to meet clients’ and audiences’ future needs, while maintaining our financial performance in the face of very real margin pressure,” Davie said.Looking ahead the Worldwide chief said the company has a strong slate of upcoming series, highlighting new episodes of Sherlock, as well Doctor Who companion piece Class, SS-GB, The Collection, the all-new Top Gear, and Planet Earth II.last_img read more

Facbookowned virtual reality company Oculus has a

first_imgFacbook-owned virtual reality company Oculus has announced plans to “wind down” its VR content arm, Story Studio.   In a company blog post, Oculus’ vice-president of content, Jason Rubin, said that the company had decided to shift its focus away from internal content creation to “support more external production”.“Now that a large community of filmmakers and developers are committed to the narrative VR art form, we’re going to focus on funding and supporting their content,” said Rubin.“This helps us turn our internal research, development, and attention towards exciting but unsolved problems in AR and VR hardware and software.”He added: “We’re still absolutely committed to growing the VR film and creative content ecosystem.”Oculus set up Story Studio two years ago to “prove the possibility and allure” of VR storytelling.Last year Facebook committed an additional US$250 million to fund VR content from developers around the world. Rubin said that Oculus is going to use U$50 million of that to fund non-gaming, experiential VR content.last_img read more