ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares February 5, 2014; Accounting TodayU.S. House Ways and Means Chair Dave Camp (R-MI) sent an official letter to IRS Commissioner John Koskinen requesting copies of all documents pertaining to the proposed changes in regulations affecting 501(c)(4) social welfare organizations. In the letter, the IRS Commissioner has until February 13 to reply to the request and provide the documents.Statements from Treasury officials indicated that the proposed 501(c)(4) regulations were drafted in 2013 in response to the “confusion” surrounding the issues of nonprofit political activity and applications for tax exemption by some conservative groups. However, Rep. Camp cited an email from a Treasury employee, Ruth Madrigal, to former IRS Exempt Organizations (EO) Director Lois Lerner and others as evidence that the proposed regulations were planned much earlier and possibly in secret.In the June 2012 email, Madrigal says, “Don’t know who in your organizations is keeping tabs on c4s, but since we mentioned potentially addressing them (off-plan) in 2013, I’ve got my radar up and this seemed interesting….” The term “off-plan” appears to refer to work performed by Treasury but not included in the agency’s official, publicly available list of priorities. Camp cites the email as evidence that there were plans to change 501(c)(4) regulations for the first time since 1959 as part of an attempt by the government to limit legitimate activities by groups with which the Obama administration disagreed. Democrats on the House Ways and Means Committee say that the Madrigal email is nothing new and is being used by Republicans to renew interest in a nonexistent scandal.The proposed regulations were issued by the IRS late in November of 2013 and included a 90-day comment period. According to Koskinen, the IRS has received “an unprecedented number of public comments” thus far (almost 21,000, according to the Federal Register website). Due in part to the large number of public comments to be reviewed, Koskinen believes the regulations “will not be finalized anytime soon,” according to the article in Accounting Today.—Michael WylandShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares May 17, 2014; Jewish Daily ForwardFor everyone who suggests that the divestment decisions of individual universities don’t matter, this controversy at UCLA concerning whether to divest from companies doing business in the Israeli-occupied West Bank is evidence to the contrary.Decades ago, Nelson Mandela credited the decision of the California state higher education system with playing a critically important role in overturning South African apartheid. If UCLA were to divest from Israeli goods related to West Bank production facilities, it would be an important victory for the Boycott Divestment Sanctions movement—symbolically as much as anything else. For the other side, defeating UCLA’s potential joining of the BDS effort would put an activist university on the side of rejecting the BDS strategy.The UCLA issue doesn’t even rise to the level of an official university decision. In this instance, the controversy involved whether the student government would even recommend divestment. According to the Jewish Daily Forward, the UCLA chapter of Students for Justice in Palestine filed a complaint saying that two students on the Undergraduate Students Association Council had taken free trips to Israel, sponsored by the Anti-Defamation League in one instance and the American Jewish Committee on the other. Both students involved were not Jewish. Students for Justice complained that the students should have disclosed their free trips and abstained before the vote and further proposed that candidates for the Council pledge not to accept free trips to Israel sponsored by the ADL, the AJC, or the American Israel Public Affairs Committee.Prior to the complaint, the divestment decision failed to win the Council’s support, losing seven to five. Since the complaint, students on two of the three major slates for election to the Council, including the student eventually elected as student council president, agreed to the pledge to reject free trips.The free trips pose an interesting challenge to students whose positions and decisions on big policy issues clearly aren’t considered inconsequential to activists on either side. For the supporters of the BDS campaign, the free trips for student council members who would eventually vote on divestment represent a conflict of interest that should have been disclosed. For the opponents of BDS, the campaign to get student leaders to renounce free trips to Israel by groups like AIPAC is an effort to “stigmatize those taking trips to Israel sponsored by Jewish organizations.” As Jonathan Tobin wrote in Commentary, “the BDSers have decided that any vote cast by someone who had actually been to the Jewish state must be tainted by filing complaints with a student judicial board…since the most potent threat to support for BDS is knowledge of what kind of country Israel is and the challenges it faces.” To Tobin and others, the ethics of accepting free trips to Israel is a “bogus” issue. Students in the University of California system appear to be sharply divided on divestment. The U.C. Davis student senate just recently rejected a divestment resolution following a similar decision at U.C. Santa Barbara, while U.C. San Diego and U.C. Riverside student councils voted in favor of divestment.Like other divestment campaigns, the BDS campaign against companies that do business on the West Bank is unlikely to bring any significant financial distress to the companies that were named in the U.C. Davis resolution: the U.S.-based Caterpillar for providing earth moving equipment that Palestinians say is being used to remove Palestinian homes; G4S, which provides technological equipment used by Israeli military forces at checkpoints; and the French firm Veolia Environnement, which purportedly uses subsidiaries to move waste from Israel into the occupied territories. Like most divestment campaigns, the target is symbolic and political rather than financial.Contrary to some inaccurate descriptions, the BDS strategy does not target all Israeli-made or -connected products because, as Kenneth Stern and Michael Berenbaum write in the Jewish Journal, a broader campaign would pit the BDS movement against corporations such as Microsoft, Intel, Google, and Apple, which all have operations or affiliates in Israel proper. Stern and Berenbaum, suggesting pro-Israel, anti-BDS strategies, note that limiting the divestment targeting to companies with operations in the West Bank rather than expanding to all of Israel is “a smart move by BDS proponents…[because] many Americans (and, indeed, many Israelis) do not feel comfortable supporting the occupation.”Why are university students so crucially involved, pro and con, in the divestment issue? Two students, Becca Caspar-Johnson and Maya Berkman from Wesleyan University, whose student assembly passed a divestment resolution, wrote an interesting explanation.“Whether we agree with it or not, the passage of divestment at Wesleyan can be seen as a bellwether for student activism in the absence of diplomatic progress,” said Caspar-Johnson and Berkman, who are members of J Street U, a network committed to pursuing a two-state solution that believes that both Palestinians and Israelis deserve self-determination, freedom, and security. “The movement towards BDS is emblematic of what happens on many campuses when students no longer see a serious commitment from our communities and our elected officials to end the conflict.”Their analysis resonates with the activism of university students on other issues of broken policy-making in modern U.S. history, going back to student protests against the Vietnam War. Remember how much of the Vietnam era student efforts promoted education for a more informed electorate capable of moving the U.S. government toward reasonable, necessary policies to bring that war to an end? The two Wesleyan undergrads write:“The question remains: what is our role—as students, as Americans, and as activists—to resolve the conflict and end the occupation? …[The result of the divestment debates] must lead to even sharper and more focused efforts as Americans to change our own political dynamics.”That is the kind of sentiment and perspective that explains the importance and seriousness of student activism, and why issues of ethics and accountability are legitimate parts of the picture of student debates and decision-making around divestment, whether fossil fuels or companies connected to the West Bank occupation.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 3, 2014; Washington PostNPQ thinks the idea of the Secret Service wanting to contract for software that can detect sarcasm online is just wonderful! And we look forward to the other additional monitoring devices—maybe an electric shock kind of thing for passive-aggressive behavior! The Secret Service thinks that getting a robot to detect whether or not someone is serious about threatening death and destruction would save a lot of time and effort. The problem is that every time one of these scanning for miscreants ideas comes up, instead of being terrified for our privacy rights, we yawn and turn on the TV or mess around with Facebook, or use a card that provides us with a small discount in return for tracking our buying habits to buy a vat of ice cream or fifth of bourbon to buffer the pain of being so terribly exposed.And then that same government wants the American people to get behind them about Edward Snowden’s invasion of their secrets? Here’s the thing: When the government insists upon and enforces its own privacy prerogatives and we as citizens and residents do not, we are headed into a very troublesome valley where the playing field will have been inexorably changed and the winners will not be ordinary citizens—never mind the activists who may not agree with the government on every detail of its doings. Wait! Didn’t our founders anticipate this?I’m sorry, am I being sarcastic?—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share55Tweet15Share30Email100 SharesBy M.O. Stevens (Own work) [GFDL or CC BY-SA 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 7, 2017; New York TimesThere are a whole host of reasons why the Affordable Care Act (ACA) replacement needs to be vetted carefully, but its impact on the job market may actually get the attention of ACA naysayers. Health reform helped combat “job lock,” a term that’s not necessarily commonplace but describes a situation that will likely seem familiar.Job lock occurs when people who might otherwise wish to start their own businesses, switch jobs, go part-time, or retire are prevented from doing so because they will lose health insurance coverage. In fact, in a pre-ACA survey conducted by the Employee Benefit Research Institute, a quarter of the employees surveyed indicated that health insurance was “the reason they or an immediate family member passed up an opportunity to change jobs or retire.”With ACA subsidies, health insurance is largely affordable by low- to median-income individuals or those with decreased income. For instance, federal subsidies ensure policies cost less than 10 percent of an individual’s income. Other subsidies limit the cost of deductibles and co-pays. Close to 7 million individuals who do not qualify for subsidies are still able to purchase affordable insurance plans.In a report by the Urban Institute, researchers postulated that, “Because health reform will allow for considerably more flexibility, the movement from job to job will make the labor market more efficient and will increase economic productivity.” With flexible coverage, the result is more productive workers who progressively move within the job market and exit when they are no longer able or willing to be productive. For some, this means early retirement; for others, it means the ability to not work and focus on healing in the face of illnesses such as cancer.Post-ACA surveys indicate that these presumed impacts on the job market are in fact accurate. In a 2015 survey by Thumbtack of 5,400 small business owners, over 30 percent of respondents indicated that they were able to launch their businesses because of access to healthcare afforded to them by the ACA. Further, information from the Center of Economic and Policy Research indicates that voluntary part-time employment is up 10 percent since pre-ACA times.On Monday, the House Ways and Means and Energy and Commerce Committees revealed their proposal, which essentially replaces ACA subsidies with tax credits. These tax credits, however, are based on age as well as income level, so that older Americans receive more subsidies but also carry much of the financial burden. This has further implications on job lock, as older Americans facing high healthcare costs would likely need to continue working longer and put off retirement. Repealing the individual mandate, which the GOP has vowed to do, can also contribute to job lock. With fewer people enrolled in individual plans, the market will shift to offer fewer options and higher costs. Some estimates put this increase at eight percent. With higher premiums, individuals may be better off working full time at a company that offers employee benefits. Thus, we’d likely see a return to pre-ACA times in terms of entrepreneurship, early retirement, and voluntary part-time employment.—Sheela NimishakaviShare55Tweet15Share30Email100 Shares
Share11TweetShare6Email17 Shares“Donald Trump, Official Portrait” [CC BY 3.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 4, 2017; New YorkerWe can recall any number of situations over the last half-century in which individual nonprofits and even whole fields have successfully sought favor from some of the most hostile of administrations by providing a sort of “cover.” But this administration may prove different in yet another way: This president may not believe that a photo op with a group of highly committed and respected advocates pledges him to anything in particular—and the advocates may still be in the process of learning that.Jelani Cobb’s article for the New Yorker last week on the meeting between the heads of historically black colleges and universities (HBCU) and President Trump is hard to read. In it, he portrays an excruciatingly difficult scene in which, he hazards, this group of highly respected academics is treated as window dressing.The hazard of engaging a grandiosity addict is that you will likely be reduced to furniture in the scene. This should have been understood as early as November, when the pageant of visitors began streaming into Trump properties to meet the President-elect—blond Kanye, the millionaire turned supplicant Mitt Romney. We had cause to recall that lesson on Monday, as President Trump held an Oval Office meeting with the presidents of historically black colleges and universities. In photos, the blond man seated at the Resolute Desk is smiling; the sixty-four black men and women surrounding him look like human décor.But, Cobb acknowledges, it was something that had to be done to pursue the possibility of an executive order that—they hoped—would ensure more resources. At the end of last year, many of these same college presidents attended a meeting of the National Association for Equal Opportunity in Higher Education where Omarosa Manigault, now a communications director for the White House, promised to press for additional funding and something of an inside-track for HBCUs who wanted the initiative to support them to be brought directly into the White House.But when Trump issued his HBCU executive order on February 28th, there were no substantive changes.Morehouse College’s President John Silvanus Wilson, Jr., released a statement saying that “there was advance talk of changes like an aspirational goal of 5 to 10 percent for federal agency funding to HBCUs, a special HBCU innovation fund, large boosts in Pell Grant and Title III funding, and extra tax breaks for those in the private sector who contribute to HBCUs. But, instead of the long-awaited executive order containing or signaling any of those outcomes, the key change is a symbolic shift of the White House HBCU Initiative from the Department of Education to the White House. It is not possible to measure the impact of this gesture anytime soon, if ever.”Beyond the sheer potential uselessness of such efforts at this point, there are risks involved in appearing willing to collaborate with an administration that may otherwise be acting against the people who you serve and the principles you hold. Pablo Eisenberg, a well-respected commentator on philanthropy, recently challenged Independent Sector on that issue when it sent a letter to the president asking for a meeting. In the Chronicle of Philanthropy, he wrote, “Both the tone and content of the letter were insulting to a large majority of organizations and the people Independent Sector seeks to represent.”It even used President Trump’s words in stating that nonprofits can help the administration “make America great again.” And it talks about assisting the president in “strengthening and uniting this great nation,” when in fact the administration has quickly demonstrated its intent to divide the country in its policies toward Muslims, refugees, and immigrants.When I asked Dan Cardinali, president of Independent Sector, why the letter had not mentioned some of the serious concerns of nonprofit leaders, he said the letter was designed to open a conversation about joint efforts that charities, foundations, and the White House could take to unify and heal divisions in American society. It was meant to open the door to such an exchange of views, not to provoke tensions between nonprofits and the administration.But Eisenberg says that glossing over major disagreements with the administration in order to get a meeting is the wrong end of the stick to grab. He concludes, “What nonprofits need today is a heavy dose of honesty and courage. Independent Sector should be in the forefront of making certain that President Trump and his administration hear the unvarnished truth, that they clearly understand that nonprofits will fight to uphold America’s democratic institutions and processes.”—Ruth McCambridgeShare11TweetShare6Email17 Shares
Share354Tweet18Share1Email373 Shares“Nutritious ingredients,” DC Central KitchenJanuary 2, 2018; Denverite“A 2017 report by the Natural Resources Defense Council (NRDC) says Americans throw out 400 pounds of food per person per year,” notes Kevin Beaty in Denverite—an amount, Beaty adds, equal to roughly 40 percent of all available food in the country. This throwing away of food takes place even though an estimated 41.2 million Americans are, according to the US Department of Agriculture (USDA), food insecure, which the USDA defines as being uncertain of having, or unable to acquire, enough food to meet one’s nutritional needs.Fortunately, efforts to reduce food waste are growing across the country. NRDC itself notes that an initial report it released in 2012 helped lead the USDA in 2015 to declare a goal to reduce food waste in half by 2030. More broadly, a range of innovative nonprofit efforts have expanded. NRDC acknowledges that the data are spotty, but contends that “much progress has occurred.” In Denver, Beaty’s profile of We Don’t Waste tells one such story. Indeed, NRDC itself has profiled Denver and observes that Denver “is fortunate to have a fairly extensive food rescue system.”Denver, Beaty notes, presently salvages up to 70 percent of all grocery waste. Beaty adds that Denver fills “a greater portion of [its] hunger needs with waste than New York City or Nashville and [its] “meal gap” is overall smaller than those two cities.”We Don’t Waste was founded by Arlan Preblud, a former attorney, in 2009. “He started We Don’t Waste in his Volvo,” Beaty writes. “If you had a loaf of bread, I was willing to take that,” Preblud says. “I didn’t know how it was going to work.”Today, the nonprofit operates a small fleet of trucks. Beaty notes that according to We Don’t Waste’s 2016 annual report, distribution has increased from rescuing $2 million worth of food in 2014 to rescuing almost $33 million worth of food in 2016.Most food waste involves what gets thrown out at home, but, Beaty points out, “about a tenth of food losses come from commercial distribution, usually prepackaged in bulk and ready to eat.” This is the market niche where We Don’t Waste works.In particular, We Don’t Waste, according to its annual report, “focuses on perishable food items such as fresh produce, lean proteins, dairy products and pre-prepared food.” Beaty notes that a typical food distributor might have to reject 10 percent of what comes into the distribution center. Beaty explains that, “Produce can be ugly. Yellow peppers can look a little too green, tomatoes can have slight bruising, squash might be a little too big or a little too small. While beauty might be in the eye of the beholder, commercial grocery stores have objective specifications all their products must meet.” We Don’t Waste, however, can claim these “seconds,” which would otherwise be thrown out, and redistribute the healthy (if blemished) food to those who need it. The nonprofit claims that its cost to distribute a meal in 2016 was six cents per meal. The nonprofit provided Denver residents with over eight million meals that year.Building a food recovery system, however, requires the efforts of many parties. Collecting food is not enough. Tim Sanford, director of operations at We Don’t Waste, says the group could potentially fill twice as many trucks, but collecting more food is not helpful unless there is a network robust enough to distribute the increased supply. “The underlying problem is not recovery,” says Sanford. Rather, reports Beaty, the current constraint in Denver is “the ability of food pantries or shelters to accept it fast enough.”“Nationally,” Beaty writes, “grocery stores are also getting on board” with reducing food waste. Beaty adds that, “there are a slew of pilot projects from Walmart to Whole Foods that have tried to sell ugly vegetables.” But many of these are tentative trials, Beaty observes. A challenge that remains, remarks Beaty, is that “Some buyers just want the cream of the crop.” Sanford concurs that customers often expect “perfect, perfect food.”Given this market reality, the efforts of We Don’t Waste and its partners, Beaty contends, make a critical difference. “If we’re going to be so picky about what we buy,” Beaty concludes, “at least we have ways to get that would-be waste into the hands of someone who can use it.”—Steve DubbShare354Tweet18Share1Email373 Shares
M6’s female-focused channel Téva has moved from pay TV to free-to-air on the Orange TV platform.The company said the move would enable the channel to extend its reach by five million, taking its total audience reach to 25 million.
Set-top manufacturer Topfield has teamed up with browser software company Opera Software to develop an HbbTV platform.Topfield will implement the Opera Devices Software Development Kit (SDK), which provides support for web content such as HTML5 video and audio elements, HTTP adaptive streaming, OpenGL 3D graphics and the CE-HTML video element for HbbTV.The new Topfield hybrid set-top boxes with Opera browser technology inside will be available in the second half of 2012.
Content security specialist Conax has unveiled new branding at IBC in Amsterdam as CEO Morten Solbakken said the company continued to evolve with the industry.Solbakken said, “Conax has been gearing up for taking a new role in the industry. With a revitalized organisation in place, a highly forward-thinking partnering approach, new future-driven solutions and a well-established customer portfolio in over 80 countries, Conax is well-positioned with a leading role in within the evolving media landscape. The industry is changing, and Conax is changing with it. Our aim is to further strengthen our position and grow at an even faster pace through an increased portfolio of world-class security solutions.”The company plans to focus on developing solutions to help operators launch OTT services and advanced content distribution. It pointed out that only 30-40% of TV homes take digital services, which meant there was plenty of business within new digital TV markets.Earlier this week, Conax announced its cooperation with Finnish operator DNA for a multiscreen pilot. Conax launched the Conax Xtend Multiscreen pre-integrated solution with Cubiware, MPS Broadband in June. Conax also announced the launch of an integrated CI Plus Module with SMIT, bundling a CI Plus Module and smart card chip into a single, integrated and pre-paired solution.
Discovery Networks International (DNI) is preparing to launch various second screen applications for its channel brands.The broadcaster has signed a deal with Brightcove to use the online video specialist’s App Cloud platform to develop and manage dual screen catch-up TV services. The first service will be developed for DNI’s Italian free-to-air channel DMAX, with an app that enables viewers to find and stream various programming, including Dirty Jobs, LA Ink and Miami Ink using iPads or iPhones to Apple TV-connected TVs. Once the selected programme begins playing on the TV, viewers will be able to access additional content such as actor bios and recaps on their iPad or iPhone. The companion devices will also act as a remote control, enabling users to pause, play, fast-forward and rewind content on the TV.“Discovery Networks International is pleased to build upon our long-standing commitment to innovation in programming and technology by providing our dedicated viewing audience with richer, more contextual opportunities to interact with our content,” said David Schafer, vice-president, international digital media at Discovery Communications. “We are delighted to be working with Brightcove on our first app with DMAX Italy and in the future as we roll out into additional markets.”
Orange had 5.7 million TV subscribers across Europe at the end of September, up 17.5% year-on-year, with most of the growth coming from France and Poland. The TV figure included both IPTV and satellite homes.Orange had a total of 14.8 million fixed broadband subscribers at the end of the third quarter, up 4.1% year-on-year.In France, Orange’s digital TV base grew by 18.4% to 4.882 million, while its fixed broadband base grew by 3.7% to 9.827 million, including 144,000 fibre-to-the-home customers.In Poland, TV subscribers grew by 12.9% year-on-year to 695,000, while fixed broadband customers rose by 0.2% to 2.338 million.Overall, Orange said it expected a more difficult environment in 2013 than it had initially expected thanks to poor macroeconomic conditions, competition in the French mobile market and continued regulatory pressure. Operating cash flow for the next year is expected to be in the range of €7 billion, with a return to OCF growth forecast for 2014.
Some 61% of US adults who stream TV shows from the web admitted they “binge watch regularly,” viewing two to three episodes of a show in one sitting every few weeks, according to a recent survey by Harris Interactive on behalf of Netflix.The study, which looked at the viewing habits of nearly 1,500 TV streamers, found that 73% have “positive feelings towards binge streaming TV,” while 76% claimed that watching multiple episodes of a great TV show “is a welcome refuge from their busy lives.”Of those polled, 76% said that streaming TV shows to their own schedule was “their preferred way” of watching programmes.“Our viewing data shows that the majority of streamers would actually prefer to have a whole season of a show available to watch at their own pace,” said Ted Sarandos, chief content officer of Netflix.“Netflix has pioneered audience choice in programming and has helped free consumers from the limitations of linear television. Our own original series are created for multi-episodic viewing, lining up the content with new norms of viewer control for the first time.”
A group of investors that includes the former head of Apple Europe have acquired a “significant portion” of troubled German TV maker Loewe in a bid to take the brand to a younger customer base.The investment group Panthera – which includes former Apple and Bang & Olufsen executive Jan Gesmar-Larsen and Munich-based entrepreneurs Constantin Sepmeier and Stefan Kalmund – took the unspecified stake in the firm.In a statement the new owners said they want to bring the Loewe brand to a “wider, younger, design- and tech-savvy base of customers throughout Europe, Russia and China.”Gesmar-Larsen will take responsibility for the “strategic realignment” of the firm, alongside Loewe’s CEO Matthias Harsch, who said: “With new generations of high-quality wireless TV and audio devices we will attract a wider audience going forward. Our customers will get a first taste of the new Loewe products at this year’s IFA.”The firm will take a new corporate head office in Munich but will keep its existing development centres in Kronach and Hanover, and its main assembly centre in Kronach. The firm will also extend its collaboration with Chinese technology supplier Hisense.Loewe filed for insolvency in October, but later the same month said it had received a written investment offer that could prove a “crucial milestone” for its restructuring efforts.Commenting on the Panthera investment, Loewe UK managing director James McConnell said “this is the final piece of our restructuring jigsaw.”
Discovery is to drop the SBS brand from its Nordic unit SBS Discovery and rebrand it as Discovery Networks Sweden. The change will be implemented in full by the summer, with a new logo and corporate identity to be adopted.Discovery Networks International acquired SBS Nordic from ProSiebenSat.1 in 2013 and integrated it in its Discovery Networks, Northern Europe arm last year, under Dee Forbes.Discovery Networks Sweden CEO Jonas Sjögren said the change was a logical move and could be seen in the context of Discovery’s wider European strategy.Discovery Networks Sweden has 20 TV and 19 radio channels. TV channels in the unit are Kanal 5, Kanal 9, Kanal 11, Discovery Channel, TLC, Animal Planet, Investigation Discovery, Discovery World, Discovery Science, Eurosport, Eurosport 2, Kanal 5 HD, Kanal 9 HD, Discovery Showcase HD, Animal Planet HD, Eurosport HD and Eurosport 2 HD.
The number of satellites for commercial and government applications is set to grow more than the market value of the business over the next decade, with an average of 140 satellites with a launch mass over 50Kg expected to launch each year, according to research by Euroconsult.According to the Satellites to be Built & Launched by 2024 report, the bulk of revenues for the manufacturing and launch of satellites will be due to government contracts rather than commercial applications.In the commercial space sector, Euroconsult anticipates a total of 550 satellites to be launched over the decade by 40 companies. Most of these satellites will be for the replacement of the communications capacity currently in orbit. Eighty per cent of the commercial space market will remain concentrated in geostationary orbit, which will be the destination of 300-plus satellites operated by 30 companies for communications and broadcasting services.According to the research group, 10 commercial constellations to be launched into non-geostationary orbits for broadband and narrowband communications and for Earth observation imagery should represent a market of US$1.3 billion per year on average.Governments in 60 countries will be responsible for 75% of the US$255 billion in revenues expected from the manufacturing and launch of the expected 1,400 new satellites over the next decade. Established space countries will replace and expand their in-orbit satellite systems and more countries will acquire their first operational satellite systems, usually for communications and broadcasting or for Earth observation and imagery intelligence, according to Euroconsult.“The increase in satellite number would be significantly higher if two mega-constellation projects for small communications satellites were included in the forecast,” said Rachel Villain, principal advisor at Euroconsult and editor of the report. “The 1,400 satellite count over the decade already includes 350 satellites to be deployed by ten commercial constellations into low or medium Earth orbits for communication or Earth observation.”
Spanish regional cable operator Telecable has chosen Accedo to deliver the technology platform for its cloud DVR service, Tedi, the latest version of which launched earlier this month.Subscribers across Telecable’s Asturias footprint are now able to access Tedi via a dedicated set-top-box, or via iOS or Android apps, which extend DVR capabilities to mobile phones.The Tedi service is free to customers and includes a catalogue of programmes and complete series, including a range of high definition content. An extended EPG gives users an overview of all available channels.Customers are also able to make multiple simultaneous recordings, as well as scheduling programmes to be recorded ahead of time.“It was important for us to not only give our customers a wide selection of content on a range of devices, but also to make discovering our linear content easy and intuitive through cloud DVR capabilities. Having worked with Accedo on previous versions, we were confident it could help us to achieve that,” said Jesús Pérez, chief technology officer, Telecable. ““The Tedi service has already proved to be one of the most innovative OTT service across Spain,” said Jerónimo Macanás, Vice President Latin America and Southern Europe, Accedo. “Extending it with these cloud DVR capabilities is giving customers even more control over their viewing experience, all presented in an easy-to-use User Interface, whichever device they are using.”
Swiss service provider Sunrise has announced plans to cut 175 staff, some 9% of its total workforce of 1,890, in a bid to “simplify its structures and processes.”The operator said that it plans to merge its business and residential units, with a new commercial organisation to look after all customer groups under a single leadership – a move designed to improve “cross-divisional efficiency and to avoid duplications.”Operations for residential and business customers will also be united into one customer service organisation, though in-store customer service staff and sales advisors will not be affected.Sunrise said that the cuts will help “strengthen customer focus” and improve its “competitive cost structure” and will be implemented by the end of the month.“The Swiss telecommunications market is constantly evolving. In order to compete successfully, Sunrise has started already in Q1 2015 an initiative to streamline and simplify its products and processes. Sunrise is now adapting its organisation to further meet its customers’ evolving needs for efficiency, simplicity and quality,” the company said.Sunrise claims that it will incur one-off costs of CHF21.0 million (€19.3 million) until the end of 2015, but will drive quarterly savings of CHF5.5 million from Q4 of this year.
Liberty Global-owned cable operator UPC Czech Republic is upgrading its network in the towns of Nachod, Chrudim, Mohelnici, Sternberk and Lipnik in the north-eastern part of the country, making its high-speed internet and digital TV services available to a further 15,000 homes from early next month.The upgrade will bring high-speed internet services with download speeds of up to 300Mbps and its advanced Horizon TV service to residents of the towns.UPC Czech Republic has upgraded 40,000 homes over the course of this year. Marketing director Jan Kohout said the upgrade programme would continue next year.
Chris BastianThe US Society of Cable Telecommunications Engineers (SCTE) has named Chris Bastian as its new senior vice-president and chief technology officer.Bastian joins the SCTE following more than 10 years at Comcast, where he most recently had been executive director focusing on Comcast’s Xfinity WiFi network.In his new role, he will be responsible for all areas of technology and engineering to ensure that SCTE and its international arm, the International Society of Broadband Experts (ISBE), maintain a leadership role in standardising and operationalizing advanced technology, including the SCTE Standards Programme and the SCTE Engineering Committee – as well as efforts such as SCTE’s Energy 2020 programme.“Harnessing the power of new services, maintaining the integrity of our networks and ensuring our customers’ security are among the objectives that will define cable’s future success. Chris Bastian’s strong record of accomplishment in those areas, his background with large and small MSOs and his leadership abilities all made him an ideal fit for our CTO position,” said Mark Dzuban, president and CEO of the SCTE.“One of our goals for SCTE is to anticipate future industry needs and to provide the technical resources operators and vendors need to achieve those objectives. Chris Bastian has the industry vision, the knowledge base and the interpersonal skills to address the broad range of cable technologies, and his background in Wi-Fi, DOCSIS 3.1 and cybersecurity will be of particular value in the years ahead,” said Tony Werner, chairman of the board of directors for the SCTE and executive vice-president and CTO, Comcast Cable.
Channel 5 today announces My5, a free-to-air TV channel set to go live in early August, broadcasting the best content from the breadth of the Channel 5 family.The My5 channel will replace Channel 5+24, taking content from Channel 5’s hugely popular video-on-demand service of the same name, as well as broadcasting programming from across the Channel 5 portfolio, which includes Spike, 5STAR and 5USA, as well as Channel 5.Channel 5 said that the introduction of the My5 channel builds on its VoD offering, which has seen growth of nearly 50% so far this year and seen over one million people register to use the service.The My5 channel will be available free-to-air on a number of platforms, including Freeview, Freesat, Sky TV, Virgin Media, YouView, BT and TalkTalk with further platforms to be confirmed.ames Tatam, Director of Digital Media & Commercial Development, Channel 5 said: “Taking My5 into the linear space is an exciting development following the success of our video-on-demand service, which has enjoyed rapid growth since rebranding in February. Through a mix of sharp and responsive scheduling, curated and thematic content, and data from our TV channels, on-demand platform and social media, viewers can now discover the most popular content on My5 via both TV and on-demand and choose how they want to watch.”