Categories: Barrett News,News 02Feb Barrett boiler bill breaks barriers State Rep. Tom Barrett, chair of the House Military and Veterans Affairs Committee, has introduced key reform legislation to remove red tape for Michigan veterans seeking jobs and a better quality of life.During the 2013-14 session, a number of bills were passed into law allowing veterans to use their military training and experience when seeking civilian licensures in a variety of trades. With the passage of Barrett’s House Bill 4134, service members who worked as a boiler repairer, inspector or installer would be able to receive state certification to perform the same task without having to go through additional state-mandated training.“One of the most important things we can do for our returning veterans is to ensure they have access to good employment,” Barrett said. “I believe removing barriers to give access to work for our servicemen and women is the right thing to do.”Barrett is a freshman lawmaker from Potterville, representing most of Eaton County in the 71st House District. He is the only post-9/11 Iraq War veteran in the state House, and still serves as an UH-72 Lakota helicopter pilot in the Michigan Army National Guard.“I’ve seen a lot of my peers in uniform return from a deployment and struggle to find work back here at home. I hope this bill will ease some of that burden,” Barrett said.HB 4134 was introduced with bipartisan support and a total of 15 co-sponsors.Many automobile factories, schools, armories, commercial businesses and municipal buildings utilize boilers as a means of heating their facilities. Barrett has pledged to do everything he can to improve the lives of Michigan’s veterans.#####
19Apr Rep. Cox and state leaders promote Sexual Assault Awareness Month Categories: Cox News State Rep. Laura Cox of Livonia and other lawmakers today held a bipartisan press conference at the state Capitol to encourage education, awareness and community involvement to prevent sexual violence and create a safer environment for everyone. April is recognized as Sexual Assault Awareness Month across the country.To highlight the need to address sexual assault, Reps. Cox and Kristy Pagan introduced resolutions in the House declaring April 2017 as Sexual Assault Awareness Month in the state of Michigan and Campus Sexual Assault Awareness and Prevention Month in the state of Michigan. Companion resolutions were also introduced in the Senate.“Sexual assault is a serious issue plaguing college campuses across the country,” Rep. Cox said. “The goal of the legislation that I introduced with Senators Schuitmaker and Warren allows courts to properly take into consideration a suspect’s history of sexual assault as we work to take these dangerous predators off our streets. This legislation will be an important tool in cold case prosecutions, to help hold serial sexual assault perpetrators accountable. I am proud to be a part of the team that’s helping to put an end to sexual assault on and off campuses throughout the state of Michigan.”For the past year, Rep. Cox has worked alongside Michigan’s first lady, Sue Snyder, to develop methods to end sexual assault on college campuses. The Let’s End Campus Sexual Assault initiative was formed by Snyder in an effort to research ways to uniformly work with victims. The program intends to end campus sexual assaults by changing the culture that leads authorities to dismiss allegations, encouraging victims to report the crime and developing uniform punishments for offenders.Lore A. Rogers, staff attorney for the Michigan Domestic and Sexual Violence Prevention and Treatment Board, and Kathy Hagenian, executive policy director for the Michigan Coalition to End Domestic & Sexual Violence, also attended the press conference. About one in six women will be the victim of sexual assault in her lifetime, and statistics show that sexual violence is more prevalent at college in comparison to other crimes.State Rep. Laura Cox speaks to the press about promoting Sexual Assault Awareness Month and was joined by, from left, state Reps. Julie Alexander and Michele Hoitenga, state Sen. Tonya Schuitmaker, state Rep. Kristy Pagan, state Sen. Rebekah Warren and State Rep. John Chirkun.
Categories: Berman News 30May Rep. Berman: Auto insurance reforms to bring Oakland County drivers savings, protections Long-overdue auto insurance reform supported by Rep. Ryan Berman was signed into state law today, guaranteeing lower rates for drivers in Oakland County and across Michigan.The bipartisan reforms – approved earlier by Berman and the Legislature – give drivers more choice on personal injury protection (PIP) coverage, combat fraudulent claims and take steps to rein in medical costs. Berman said depending on the PIP coverage level chosen, motorists could see hundreds of dollars or more in cost savings each year.“During the last five months I’ve heard from countless people about the need to reform our state’s no-fault system,” said Berman, of Commerce Township. “This bipartisan plan guarantees rate reductions for all Michigan drivers and reduces medical costs for auto accident victims.”Michigan has had the most expensive auto insurance in the nation mainly because it was the only state mandating unlimited lifetime health care coverage through car insurance, without any cost containment. The new law will provide drivers more affordable options while allowing those who currently use the unlimited coverage to keep it, and those who want it in the future to continue buying it.Starting in July 2020, many drivers will be able to opt out of personal injury protection altogether, including seniors with retiree health coverage such as Medicare and those with health insurance policies that cover auto accident-related injuries. Others will be able to continue with unlimited coverage or choose PIP limits of $250,000 or $500,000. A $50,000 option will be available for drivers on Medicaid.Other reforms include:A fee schedule to rein in runaway costs that result from medical care providers charging far more to treat auto accident victims than other patients.Non-driving factors, such as ZIP codes, home ownership, and educational level, cannot be used to determine rates.An anti-fraud unit will help crack down on those abusing the system, helping further lower auto insurance rates.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares March 30, 2014; New York TimesYou can always count on Nobel Prize winner Paul Krugman to raise issues that many of us in nonprofits may not have fully considered or examined. Last week, in the New York Times, Krugman challenged the concept of the “skills gap,” a core concept embedded in many workforce development programs. His point was to address an article by JPMorgan chief Jamie Dimon and Marlene Seltzer, the CEO of the nonprofit Jobs for the Future. Their argument is that there are 4 million jobs unfilled that would be filled by some of the 11 million unemployed Americans were it not for the “the gulf between the skills job seekers currently have and the skills employers need.”Krugman counters that “multiple careful studies have found no support for claims that inadequate worker skills explain high unemployment…[but] the belief that America suffers from a severe ‘skills gap’ is one of those things that everyone important knows must be true, because everyone they know says it’s true.” He says that this “zombie idea…that should have been killed by evidence…does a lot of harm.”“Yes, workers with a lot of formal education have lower unemployment than those with less, but that’s always true, in good times and bad,” Krugman writes. “The crucial point is that unemployment remains much higher among workers at all education levels than it was before the financial crisis. The same is true across occupations: workers in every major category are doing worse than they were in 2007.”What is Krugman’s evidence that the skills gap is a myth? He argues, “if employers are really crying out for certain skills, they should be willing to offer higher wages to attract workers with those skills.” He cites a study from the Boston Consulting Group, among many others, that concluded, “worries of a skills gap crisis are overblown.” Krugman says, for example, that the long-term unemployed are “pretty much indistinguishable in skills from laid-off workers who quickly find new jobs.” He suggests that the problem for the long-term unemployed is really “the very fact of being out of work, which makes employers unwilling even to look at their qualifications.” By reiterating the myth of the skills gap, Krugman believes that public policy is “blaming workers for their own plight…[and] shift[ing] attention away from the spectacle of soaring profits and bonuses even as employment and wages stagnate.” This suits corporate executives, he indicates, but mischaracterizes the nature of the problem that has to be addressed if long-term unemployment is going to be attacked.A little more than a month ago, President Obama raised something of the same issue. He announced a program to get some of the nation’s largest employers, such as Wal-Mart, General Motors, Ford, and Apple, to commit to hiring practices that would eliminate discrimination against job applicants who have been unemployed for a long time. It was oblique recognition of Krugman’s point by the president, though he has frequently cited the skills gap as a primary target for workforce development public policy.Why is this a problem? Because in blaming workers for lacking skills, this theory lets government off the hook from what it could and should be doing, which is to create jobs to absorb the unemployed. “The skills-gap hypothesis is troubling because policymakers can use it as an excuse for government not to take the lead in job creation,” according to the authors of the Ending Hunger report. “After all, if high unemployment is due to significant skills deficits among U.S. workers, the solution must be education and training.”When employers complain about a shortage of skilled workers, “it’s hard not to break out laughing,” says Mark Price, a labor economist at the Keystone Research Center. “If there’s a skill shortage, there has to be rises in wages. It’s basic economics.” It certainly is basic economics—unless employers want to keep wages low.Have nonprofits bought into a counterproductive myth about the skills gap? Krugman thinks we have. “We need to kill this zombie, if we can,” he writes, “and stop making excuses for an economy that punishes workers.”—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Sharesspirit of america / Shutterstock.comAugust 8, 2014; Charlotte ObserverIn a 2012 report, “Dental Therapists: Expanding Care to Every Community,” the Kellogg Foundation reported that “roughly 83 million Americans face barriers to dental care.” Dental care is critically important to people’s health and well-being but it is often either priced out of sight or just not accessible so not only are community health centers offering the services more often but also free health clinics are popping up across the United States – as here in the CarolinasPeople showed up as much as two days early for a recent first come first served free dental clinic at the First Baptist Church in Rockhill, South Carolina. The sixth annual S.C. Dental Access Days clinic started at 6 a.m and ran through 3 p.m. for two days. Dale Dove of the Renew Our Community ministry said he helped to persuade the clinic to locate at Rock Hill because the need there was acute and it would not only address some of that need but also highlight the painful and health destroying gap between that need and access to dental care. Hundreds of dentists, hygienists, and suppliers joined with hundreds of local volunteers to stage the event which used 80 chairs to see approximately 1,500 people for all types of services.Meanwhile, in North Carolina the North Carolina Missions of Mercy will transform the Charlotte Convention Center into a marathon 36 hour free dental clinic on September 5th and its intention this year is to help 2,500 patients. They need to recruit 300 volunteer dentists and hygienists, and 200 medical volunteers to carry that event off, as well as a whole slew of lay volunteers. That event will be one of six put on by MOM in North Carolina this year.Mission of Mercy also offers free clinics in many other states including Oregon where at dawn on July 14th, there were already about 300 people lined up, some having waited for 24 hours. The first two in line were Kory Brown who needed a root canal and his wife Leslie Bowers who was hoping for a removable partial denture, to replace a dead tooth.According to the same Kellogg report there are good financial reasons why access to dental care should be a priority issue. “In 2006, Americans made more than 330,000 trips to hospital emergency rooms primarily due to tooth pain or other preventable dental problems. These ER visits cost nearly $110 million.For states, the financial penalty is severe. A study of Medicaid enrollees found that in-patient ER treatment for dental problems cost nearly 10 times more per patient than preventive care in a dentist’s office.”—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesOctober 26, 2014; New York MagazineKaci Hickox was taken into custody on Friday, October 24th, as the first person to be subjected to the mandatory quarantine rules now imposed by three states. Hickox, a nurse, was returning to the states after a month caring for Ebola victims in Sierra Leone. Though Hickox is still asymptomatic and has not tested positive for the disease, she is being kept at University Hospital in Newark, New Jersey, in an unheated tent without a flushable toilet.Doctors Without Borders/Médecins sans Frontières has expressed concern about the “lack of clarity” of the quarantine rules and the haphazard ways they were implemented in this case. Among other things, MSF believes that policies badly implemented have the potential to discourage badly needed medical volunteers.“We are attempting to clarify the details of the protocols with each state’s departments of health to gain a full understanding of their requirements and implications,” MSF said in a statement:“While measures to protect public health are of paramount importance, they must be balanced against the rights of health workers returning from fighting the Ebola outbreak in West Africa to fair and reasonable treatment and the full disclosure of information to them, along with information about intended courses of action from local and state health authorities.“Ebola is a public health issue and the government’s response should be driven by science and facts and not by fear. We must treat our medical workers who put their lives at risk, and are the only ones who can contain this epidemic, with compassion and not like criminals. Coercive measures like mandatory quarantine of people exhibiting no symptoms of Ebola and when not medically necessary raise serious constitutional concerns about the state abusing its powers. By forcibly detaining people we are also frightening the public and may deter genuinely sick people who fear quarantine from seeking the treatments they deserve, while also discouraging caregivers and first responders from helping sick patients who need their assistance. This is a challenging time for New Jersey, but decisions must be made based on sound medicine, and not on fear. Governor Christie must provide more information to the public about how the state came to the conclusion that mandatory quarantine of our healthcare workers was medically necessary.”Meanwhile, the splits between government bodies do not promise a well-coordinated response in the near future. Yesterday evening, the White House made it clear that it was not in agreement with the policies’ implementation but it stopped short of a clear request for any rescission, although a senior administration official characterized the decision by the governors as “uncoordinated, very hurried, an immediate reaction to the New York City case that doesn’t comport with science.”The imposition of a quarantine state by state will complicate the return not only of medical volunteers, but also military personnel and other federal workers sent by the U.S. to the West African countries hardest hit hardest by the virus.Hickox has engaged Norman Siegel, a civil rights lawyer, to represent her in a federal lawsuit, so New Jersey’s mandatory quarantine for some traveling from West Africa will likely face its first legal test this week. “We’re not going to dispute that the government has, under certain circumstances, the right to issue a quarantine,” said Siegel, who was on his way to visit Kaci. “The policy is overly broad when applied to her.”Mayor Bill de Blasio has been more plainspoken, saying that Hickox’s treatment was shameful. “The problem here is, this hero, coming back from the front having done the right things was treated with disrespect,” de Blasio said. “We have to think how we treat the people who are doing this noble work. We owe her better than that.”—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share7TweetShare2Email9 SharesImage Credit: Raise the Wage LA Signing, Eric GarcettiJune 24, 2015; Los Angeles TimesMany nonprofit leaders in Los Angeles had mixed emotions about the city’s recent historic hike in the minimum wage—while they strongly supported the social and economic justice of such a move, they were uneasy with the prospect affording the extra payroll expenses, especially those agencies which employed large numbers of low-wage trainees.The City Council heard that message loud and clear, and is now considering an adjustment to the minimum wage law that would grant certain training nonprofits a temporary exemption.The Los Angeles Times reports that “nonprofits that help former gang members, the homeless and other hard-to-employ Angelenos get back into the workforce could get a temporary exemption from Los Angeles’ minimum wage hike, a move intended to ensure they won’t cut back on the number of disadvantaged clients they serve.”This move comes after the L.A. City Council last month voted to gradually raise the citywide minimum wage to $15 an hour by 2020. But one of the unresolved issues was how the requirement should apply to nonprofits that train workers. Now, a proposed exemption approved by a Council committee will exempt those nonprofits for up to 18 months.Workers in such training programs could be paid less than the city minimum wage for their first year and a half of employment through the nonprofit. Supporters of the exemption say those programs provide more than wages, but also invest in their employees by training them, and providing case management and counseling services.Groups that provide those jobs have said that they would have to reduce the number of people they serve if they were required to pay them the increased minimum wage—one agency said it would be forced to eliminate 60 of its 170 trainee positions.Business groups have also backed the proposed exemption, but labor has opposed loosening the rules for nonprofits. The city’s lawyers will draft language that would be specific about eligibility for the exemption, before the proposal goes to the full City Council for consideration.—Larry KaplanShare7TweetShare2Email9 Shares
Consumers in the US are registering a sharp increase in 3D TVs and, to a greater extent, connected sets, according to the latest research.IHS polled consumers about their buying plans and 30.7% of those planning to buy a new TV in the year to June will choose an internet-connected set. That stacks against 18.1% in the corresponding period a year earlier.The proportion planning to buy into 3D TV also grew, albeit at a smaller rate with 18.8% of those surveyed saying they will opt for 3D. That compares with 6.6% a year earlier.“Features most commonly found on high-end TV models and bigger screen-size sets, like 3D and internet-connectivity, are becoming more important to U.S. consumers,” said Veronica Thayer, TV systems analyst at IHS. “But the appeal of 3D TV remains far lower than that of internet-enabled sets – often marketed as smart TVs.”Other key purchase drivers include LCD technology but the biggest deciding factor among US consumers remains size.
Internet TV service Magine will broadcast every World Cup game, both live and on-demand in Germany, thanks to its partnership with broadcasters ARD and ZDF.Speaking at the Connected TV World summit in London yesterday, Magine executive vice-president of business development, Jon Gisby, said that the arrangement was unprecedented in the German market.“Via our broadcast partners, Magine is carrying every World Cup game – not only live, but also in catch-up as part of the service – which I think is the first time it’s been possible to do that on a single service in Germany.”Magine launched fully in Germany in April following a nine-month beta trial. Gisby said that its German proposition is now a package of just over 70 live channels – though catch-up is not yet available on every channel.Speaking at the conference, Gisby said that as a cloud based service, Magine can do very rapid development cycles and that only this week the firm issued an update that delivered “quite a significant upgrade to the interface,” with more likely to follow.“This is something we can upgrade and improve based on real-time feedback very, very quickly and easily,” said GisbyAt the same time, Magine this week launched seven-day catch-up, in addition to live programming, for all SVT’s channels in Sweden.The launch means Magine subscribers in the country will now be able to watch programs for up to a week after their broadcast from SVT 1, SVT2, Kunskapskanalen (Knowledge Channel), Barnkanalen (Children’s Channel) and SVT24 on any device with internet access.
French service provider Iliad Telecom/Free is now offering the full range of conent provider AB Group’s channels in full HD. AB Group announced in May that it was making its 14 channels available in full HD to distribution partners, and that it was shutting down its standard-definition services. Pay TV platform Canalsat said it would offer foru of the channels – RTL9, Cine FX, Action and Animaux – to its subscribers.AB Group said that it had worked closely with Free to offer the full range of its services to Free subscribers in full HD.The channels – RTL9, AB1, Mangas, AB Moteurs, Golf Channel, Lucky Jack TV, Escales, Animaux, Chasse & Péche, Toute L’Histoire, Encyclo, Polar, Cine FX and Action – have been available to eligible Freebox TV customers in full HD since July 1.
Swisscom has made its TV 2.0 experience, initially launched this spring, available in all packages by adding the Vivo light, XS and S packages to its Vivo range.Swisscom said that 130,000 users had signed up for its TV 2.0 offering in the five months since it was launched and that surveys showed the choice on offer and enhanced options including cloud-based recordings and seven-day catch-up are the features that are most valued by customers. The figure shows strong growth of the offering since June, when the Swiss telco reported 77,000 TV 2.0 custtomers.According to Swisscom, customers with a Vivo 2 or Vivo 3 package can now benefit from upgrading to Vivo XS or S, as they will receive more channels and options for the same price.Customers who don’t wish to sign up for a catch-up service can opt for a TV 2.0 light offering, which features about 85 channels includincg 40 in HD.
Spanish cable operator R, which is based in the Galicia region, has signed a deal with technology provider Arris for Radio Frequency over Glass (RFoG) technology to to improve bandwidth provisioning, increase efficiency across its network and ensure legacy infrastructure can be expanded with fiber-to-the-premises RFoG extensions.The technology will be implemented from November 2014 by Arris reseller bcSistemas, which was selected as the systems integrator following a trial earlier this year. R has selected a range of Arris solutions including optical network units, optical transmitters, optical receivers for RFoG, optical amplifiers, multiplexers and passives to build their offering.RFoG enables cable operators to deploy fibre to new areas while reusing legacy DOCSIS equipment in the headend and in subscribers’ homes.“Arris’s RFoG technology will enable us to deliver fibre to more of our network. This means our commercial and residential customers will see a dramatic improvement in service and overall experience,” said Julio Sánchez Agrelo, director of the network division at R.“We are excited about this technology and its potential to reduce our operating costs and maximize our HFC infrastructure investment over the coming years, even as technology advances.”
BT’s ad campaign for BT SportThe English Premier League opened bidding for TV rights to the three seasons from 2016 by sending out its tender to broadcasters at the end of last week. The new tender adds 14 games per season to the number that can be televised, taking the total to 168 per season. One package will include up to 10 games to be played on Friday nights for the first time, adding to the live matches currently aired on Saturday lunchtimes and evenings, Sunday afternoons and Monday evenings.There are no plans to open Saturday afternoon games to television.The 168 games will be split into seven packages, including five of 28 matches and two of 14 matches. No single buyer will be allowed to buy the rights to more than five packages or 126 matches.The rights, which will be awarded in February, are likely to be hotly contested by Sky and BT Sports. The former currently holds the rights to 116 live matches, with rights to 38 games held by BT, which also holds exclusive live rights to Champions League and Europa League matches. Discovery, owner of Eurosport, and Al Jazeera could also potentially emerge as rival bidders. Sky and BT together paid just over £3 billion (€3.8 billion) for the last set of Premier League rights, a figure that some analysts have estimated could grow by up to 50%.The Premier League is also auctioning a free-to-air highlights package, currently held by the BBC, that is expected to be contested by commercial broadcaster ITV, which will lose its rights to Champions League matches from next season.The Premier League’s sale of rights is currently under investigation by Ofcom, following a complaint by Virgin Media, which has said that fewer games are aired live in England than in other EU territories, while the price charged to subscribers is higher.
Free movie and TV show streaming service Popcornflix has signed a deal with Breaking Glass Pictures that will see it add 15 independent films to the service.The titles include: Laurence Anyway, which depicts ten years in a relationship between a transgender woman and her conflicted lover; Blackbird, about an alienated teenager who posts online threats; and Coldwater, about a teenager struggling within a juvenile reform facility.Popcornflix is available online and on Roku, Sony PS3 and PS4, XBox One, XBox 360, Amazon Fire TV and mobile devices.
Zacharias PiperidisZacharias Piperidis, the chief operating officer of Deutsche Telekom-owned Greek service provider OTE, has died suddenly.Piperidis, 47, had served as OTE COO since February 2011 and as chief commercial officer of OTE-owned Cosmote since 2007. OTE said that his contribution was “pivotal to OTE’s transformation into a modern competitive company, offering state-of-the-art products and services that made a difference for our customers and expanded the Greek telecommunications market” and described him as “irreplaceable”.
Bailey RosserRed Arrow’s Ripple Entertainment has hired Bailey Rosser from YouTube as it continues to staff up.Red Arrow, the content arm of ProSiebenSat.1, backed Ripple from its launch last year. The LA-based digital content firm was founded by former FremantleMedia execs Gayle Gilman and Jason Ziemianski.Rosser joins from YouTube where she was an audience development strategist at YouTube Space LA. Prior to that she was at Google as an Adwords strategist.“Bailey’s deep experience with the Adwords product and YouTube strategy are a perfect fit for our data-driven approach to content and marketing,” said Ziemianski.Rosser’s hire follows that of Katie Peck, who joined last November from FremantleMedia’s digital studio Tiny Riot as senior VP Production and Operations.The company has also brought on Desiree Mandelbaum, who has joined as head of talent development and joined from NBC Peacock Productions.“Growing our team with people who have strong expertise across linear and digital platforms is key to our strategy as a content-focused company,” said RippleCEO Gilman.
Croatia-based combat sports channel provider Fight Channel Group has named Jorge Elias as vice-president, charged with enhancing the development of the group, which has just announced the sale of its channel for the western Balkans markets, Fight Channel, to Kohlberg Kravis Roberts-backed United Media.The sale of the regionally-focused channel to United Media, the programming arm of pay TV and cable operator United Group, leaves Fight Channel Group with its international service, Fight Channel World HD, which is distributed in Austria, Czech Republic, Bulgaria, Romania, Israel, Netherlands, Australia, South Africa, Philippines, Croatia, Slovenia and Macedonia. The group also owns and produces Final Fight Championship mixed martial arts and kickboxing events in Europe and the US.Elias has more than 30 years’ senior management experience, including a decade in strategic development and execution in the mixed martial arts world and the TV business. He has worked for UFC, Dream Stage, Pride FC and King of the Cage, and has produced over 400 hours of TV coverage of mixed martial arts for the Hispanic market.“Jorge Elias is the right person for Fight Channel Group. We believe his strong leadership experience, extensive background and business development skills will help our company to strengthen partnerships, develop strategic alliances and expand our worldwide presence,” said Fight Channel Group president Orsat Zovko.“I am very excited to be joining the Fight Channel Group. I believe Orsat Zovko has a great business model and talented management team that uniquely positions it to capitalise on the sport’s revolution that MMA has created. In the last couple of months Orsat and I discussed a lot. We share the same vision and the same way of thinking and the result of our strategy will soon be seen globally,” said Elias.
Viacom-owned kids channel Nickelodeon has launched a new app based on its Nella the Princess Knight pre-school animated series on Nick Jr.The app, Nella the Princess Knight: Kingdom Adventures, which features a range of games based on social-emotional lessons, will be available in 12 languages. Its launch followes the March launch of Together We Rock, an app based around School of Rock star Tomika. Nickelodeon teamed up with Milan-based creative studio Colto to develop the Nella the Princess Knight app.Games in the new app include Hide and Seek, Shift Shapes with Bigor the Dragon, Feed the Impkins, Willow Needs Support and Helping Birds Find Home.The app is available free of charge via the iTunes Store and Google Play in Dutch, French, German, Italian, Norwegian, Polish, Russian, European Spanish, Latin American Spanish, Swedish, British English and Brazilian Portuguese.“We are extremely excited about bringing Nella in game format to kids all around the world to inspire important and timely concepts through play, such as compassion and inclusiveness,” said Kate Sils, VP multiplatform and brand engagement, Nickelodeon International.“We put kids first in everything we do at Nickelodeon, and want our characters to serve as role models that help empower kids everywhere to remember they are important, valued and can take on anything while having fun doing so.”
International movie channel provider Eurocinema’s founders Sebastien and Jacques Perioche have unveiled a new mobile-focused short-form content app, Flixsnip, which will launch on December.Sebastien PeriocheSpeaking to DTVE at MIPCOM, Sebastien Perioche said that the service, which will be available globally, would offer a mix of family-focused entertainment, with 30 new hours of content added each month. Flixsnip will focus on one-off short movies rather than episodic series, he said.Perioche said Flixsnip would be “a service for people that have busy lifestyles” but would be interested in viewing short-form content on the move or at home on a range of devices. The service will be offered in partnership with telecom operators and other distributors such as social media platforms and streaming device providers.Perioche said that the 30 hours added to the service each month would be curated and offered in a way that makes it easy for users to find content, with a range of genre categories providing guidance.Perioche said that Flixsnip would offer a global content line-up with English subtitles and localisation options available. He said he expected the service to be offered as part of a mobile or multi-play bundle rather than sold à la carte. Consumers will be able to download the app on their phone or other device and create a user name and password to access the content.He said the target market for the app would be 30-plus adults with families rather than the millennial audience targeted by other short-form initiatives such as Vivendi’s Studio+ or Black Pills.Perioche said he was in talks with about 10-15 potential distribution partners.An earlier version of this story said Flixsnip would add 30 titles each month. This has now been corrected.
Nordic subscription video-on-demand service Viaplay saw viewing time increase by 25% during 2017, according to stats released by parent company MTG.Alexander BastinCustomers spent an average of 32 hours per month streaming Viaplay last year, while the number of started streams rose 40.5% between 2016 and 2017.Over the same period, MTG said the total number of Viaplay customers grew by 21%, with Viaplay original productions among most viewed new series in each Nordic country in 2017.Among Viaplay’s original output, Hassel was the service’s most-watched new series in Sweden and Finland; Veni Vidi Vici was the second most-watched new-series in Demark; and Occupied season two was the second most-watched new series in Norway.Overall eight Viaplay original productions premiered during 2017. MTG said that Viaplay also streamed 50,000 hours of live sport in 2017, including Premier League and UEFA Champions League football.In terms of viewing habits, MTG said that viewing on TVs or projectors surpassed mobile devices for the first time since Viaplay launched in 2011, with a user base of 64% compared to 61% for mobile as of December 2017.“More than one hour every day tells its own story – Viaplay is truly creating moments that matter,” said Anders Jensen, MTG executive vice-president and chairman of Nordic Entertainment.“In just a few years, we’ve become a Nordic drama powerhouse producing amazing original content that’s captivating audiences across the region and beyond. On big screens and small, our stories have never been more relevant.”Alexander Bastin, head of Viaplay, said: “Viaplay is rapidly attracting more customers, and they are watching more than ever before. In parallel, the app for Viafree, our free streaming service in the Nordic region, has been downloaded close to 2.6 million times. It just shows what’s possible when fantastic stories meet the most advanced and accessible platforms in the business.”The news comes shortly after MTG’s plan to sell MTG Studios and Nordic Entertainment – divisions that include Viaplay, Viafree and its entire production output – fell through.MTG announced earlier this month that it had agreed to sell its Nordic broadcasting and entertainment businesses to Danish telco TDC in a deal that valued the assets at SEK19.55 billion (€2.0 billion).However, TDC pulled out of the deal after it accepted a €5.4 billion takeover offer from a consortium of bidders. The offer was contingent on the MTG-TDC deal not proceeding.