2030 Homeowners and Renters Senior Households Urban Institute 2015-06-15 Staff Writer in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Senior households have been rising slowly over the decades, but this is about to change in the coming years. Urban Institute’s recent analysis of housing trends determined that senior households are expected to grow dramatically by 2030.Authors, Laurie Goodman, Housing Finance Policy Center director at the Urban Institute, Rolf Pendall, Metropolitan Housing and Communities Policy Center director at the institute, and Jun Zhu senior financial methodologist at the institute found that in 1990, there were 20 million households for seniors ages 65 and up. In 2010, this number had reached 25.8 million, and by 2030, the institute projects that aging baby boomer households will reach 46 million.“This dramatic growth will occur among both senior homeowners and renters, the authors said. “Our research suggests that from 2010 to 2030, senior homeowners will increase from 20 million to almost 34 million, and senior renters—who include both homeowners who will shift to renting and baby boomers who already rent—will increase from 5.8 million to 12.2 million.”The dramatic rise in senior citizens calls attention to needed policies that will allow them to stay in their homes as they age, the authors wrote.Urban Institute called for three measures of innovation and action to address this issue: We must prepare to address a large increase in cost-burdened households. Seniors’ incomes drop after they retire, but their housing costs often don’t go down by much. This increased cost burden forces seniors to draw down on savings and forego other expenditures. Already in 2011, 2.6 million senior homeowners (13 percent) and 1.7 million senior renters (30 percent) paid more than half of their income for rent. If a proportionate number of senior households pay half their income on housing in 2030, these numbers will rise to 4.4 and 3.7 million.We need to encourage and support home modifications that make homes safer, healthier, and more efficient for seniors.Adaptations to reduce the numbers of debilitating trip-and-fall injuries, increase indoor air quality, and make homes more comfortable and energy efficient promise to improve seniors’ quality of life, maintain the value of their homes, and potentially save taxpayers’ contribution to Medicare and Medicaid. The investment in older homes also will increase their resale value in a rapidly aging society. We need to encourage and support changes in the community. Community support is necessary for seniors to have a high quality of life. In many communities, zoning laws should be changed to allow for house sharing and construction of accessory apartments. The drop in the proportion of senior homeowners will intensify the challenges of providing a safety net for an increasing share of the population. And senior homeowners need community supports to live a fulfilled life in their own homes without feeling lonely or trapped when family and friends are far way. Elderly adults that own their own home are much less likely to be cost burdened than those that don’t.“In sum, the aging of the baby boomers means that senior housing issues are becoming much more pressing,” the authors said. “The sheer number of baby boomers will force policymakers and communities to confront these challenges. With the right incentives and models, this challenge may emerge as a transformative opportunity for cities and suburbs across the U.S. to reinvigorate both the bricks and mortar and the community ties in our neighborhoods.”Click here to view Urban Institute’s complete analysis. June 15, 2015 674 Views Senior Households Expected to Nearly Double by 2030 Share
April 9, 2018 597 Views If luxury living means having a mansion close to the sea, then it’s time to head to Santa Monica, California, a city that has seen the steepest rise in luxury home prices over the past one year according to a study by Realtor.com.The study looked at luxury markets across the country to determine where the prices for luxury homes were rising the fastest and which were the slowest markets for luxury home appreciation. To determine these markets, the Realtor team pulled housing data for over 600 ZIP codes where a median home listing price was above $1million between April 2016 and March 2017. The data was then compared to the previous year to see which ZIP codes saw the largest median price increases and declines. The list was limited to two ZIP codes per state for geographical diversity.With a median home list price of more than $3 million and a 60.7 percent increase in median home prices over a year, 90401 in Santa Monica, California emerged as the priciest market for luxury homes. The ZIP code which is a part of the downtown neighborhood of the city and stretches along a swathe of Santa Monica’s beach boasts of condos ranging from $1.9 million to almost $4.8 million.Second on the list was 02465 in West Newton, Massachusetts, which is just outside Boston. With a median home list price of $2.2 million and a 60.4 percent increase in median home prices over the past one year, this upscale suburb boasts homes that are priced between $525,000 and $2 million.How can Silicon Valley not get a mention when speaking of luxury markets? At No. 3 Palo Alto, California has some of the newest multi-million dollar mansions with ZIP code 94301 leading the way with median listed home prices at $5.6 million and a 59.1 percent rise in median home prices through the year.Other cities with ZIP codes that saw some of the fastest price increases in luxury living included, Katskill Bay, New York; Seattle, Washington; Bellevue, Washington; Lower East Side Manhattan in New York, New York; Aspen, Colorado; Kilauea, Hawaii; and North Chatham, Massachusetts.Conversely, some of the best-known luxury markets saw home prices drop during the year, and leading this list was 10004 in New York, New York where prices fell 35.6 percent to $1.2 million over the past year. Beverly Hills, California was another big name that saw a decrease in prices that dropped 28.2 percent to $1.4 million. Other cities with ZIP codes that saw a drop in prices included Laie, Hawaii; Denver, Colorado; Bedford Hills, New York; Paia, Hawaii; and Somerset, Colorado. in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Share The 10 Priciest Luxury Markets in the U.S. Beach Home List Price Home price homes HOUSING luxury median home values Realtor.com Suburb 2018-04-09 Radhika Ojha
Churchill Mortgage announced that Founder and President Mike Hardwick has been named one of Nashville Business Journal’s Most Admired CEOs of the year. Churchill provides conventional, FHA, VA, and USDA residential mortgages across 46 states.For the seventh consecutive year, the Nashville Business Journal has recognized Middle Tennessee executives for their leadership skills, business acumen, and community impact. This year’s award recipients were curated through closed voting by award nominees themselves to carefully identify which business leaders are most admired by their peers, Churchill Mortgage said in a statement.“To be recognized by my fellow business leaders in Nashville, who all lead with integrity and care deeply for our community, is not only an honor for myself but for the entire Churchill team,” said Hardwick. “I have had the pleasure of leading Churchill these past 26 years, but it is only through the support and commitment of each and every employee that we have achieved such great success.”A Nashville native, Hardwick founded Churchill Mortgage over 26 years ago. Under his leadership, Churchill’s team of over 350 employees has helped more than 100,000 families through the mortgage process. Hardwick is also involved in the Nashville community and serves on numerous boards and committees, including the Churchill Foundation and as Founder and Board Director of Studio Bank. Hardwick previously served on the Friends of the Arts Board at Belmont University, on the board of Christ Church Nashville, as Chairman of the Finance and Endowment Committees of Christ Church, as Founder and Board Director of Franklin National Bank, Founder and CEO of SEC Realty Corporation, Founder and Owner of Escrow Services of Tennessee and founder and Owner of Churchill Insurance. in Headlines, journal, Media, News, Origination Churchill Mortgage HOUSING Mike Hardwick mortgage Nashville Business Journal 2018-11-16 Donna Joseph November 16, 2018 696 Views Churchill’s Mike Hardwick Honored by Nashville Business Journal Share
16Jan Moving Michigan Forward: A recap of Gov. Snyder’s State of the State address Gov. Rick Snyder delivers his fourth State of the State addressGov. Rick Snyder delivered his fourth State of the State address on Thursday night, highlighting the growth that has taken place in Michigan over the past three years.Snyder focused on a number of areas where Michigan has made gains, stressing the fact that when he first took office, he knew it wasn’t good enough to just change Michigan – Michigan had to be reinvented.Over the past three years, home sales have increased; home prices have gone up; the state’s population has grown in both 2012 and 2013; crime has decreased in Flint, Saginaw, Pontiac and Detroit; automotive production has increased and agricultural exports have grown by 16 percent.More than 221,000 private-sector jobs have been created since 2011 and more people are entering the workforce.From these examples – and many other ones – it is clear that Michigan is on the road to recovery, but there is still much to be done.During his address, the governor called for an additional investment in early childhood education, which is both an area that Michigan is leading the nation and an area where there is still room for improvement.A full House chamber listens to the governor’s addressThanks to a $65 million investment in the 2013-14 budget, 18,000 additional preschoolers were able to enter school for the first time, which led, in turn, to a federal grant to further support those programs. Snyder was a proponent of this additional money, and again this year, he called for another boost of $65 million to invest in our students and in K-12 education, making Michigan a no-wait state for preschoolers.The governor also focused on adoption, veterans services, blight and the scrap metal industry as areas for continued improvement, and he called on the Legislature to take a hard look at ways to create more jobs, address school truancy, provide better in-home services to our elderly and hold the federal government accountable for a balanced budget.With so many topics discussed during his hour-long address, Snyder’s fourth State of the State address commended Michigan for its accomplishments but, more importantly, challenged lawmakers to continue to move the state forward. Categories: Comeback State,Reinventing MI,State of the State
23Mar Lawmakers: New state education board LGBTQ policy erodes parental rights Categories: Glenn News Concerned parents, public not told of potential changesA group of House lawmakers today condemned a draft policy initiative by the Michigan State Board of Education that could allow students to use any school restroom they choose and allow male students to try out for girls’ sports teams, all while keeping parents in the dark about their children’s everyday activities.“As the parent of a 15-year-old daughter I am outraged at the Michigan Board of Education. This policy is evidence of a government bureaucracy run amok and goes well beyond their scope of educating our children,” said Rep. Lana Theis, R-Brighton. “The board has no business trying to take away parental rights, and this ill-conceived policy would put the health and safety of our children at risk.”Rep. Gary Glenn, R-Midland, said: “This outrageous policy forcing K-12 girls to share their bathrooms, locker rooms, or showers with boys—and hide that bizarre, radical practice from parents—not only violates parental rights but threatens the privacy, security, and comfort of our public school students.“The state board should drop such attempts at radical left-wing schemes and focus its resources and staff time on actually educating students.”The Michigan Board of Education has proposed a State Board of Education “Statement and Guidance on Safe and Supportive Learning Environments for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender and Questioning Students” that the board is expected to vote on at its May 10 meeting. Public comments are being accepted on the proposal through Monday, April 11.“We strongly encourage all parents and residents of Michigan take time to submit their thoughts to the state board for review,” said Rep. Theis. “It is imperative for parents to let the board know this policy is unacceptable and encourage the board members to reject the proposal.”The board proposes six additional recommendations for schools, which include:Recognizing students by chosen names and corresponding pronouns;Using chosen names on unofficial student records, such as class/team rosters, yearbook and school newspapers/newsletters;Using case-by-case determinations for locker room options;Ensuring school dress codes are gender-neutral without restrictions based on gender identity; andEvaluating all gender-based programs and maintaining only those with clear educational purposes.“As a parent and former foster parent I am committed to protecting my teenage daughter’s safety and privacy,” said Rep. Jim Runestad, R-White Lake. “For safety purposes in public bathrooms, gender should be clearly defined as biological. These considerations are not relevant to career preparation and should not interfere with other children’s privacy rights.”State Rep. Thomas Hooker said: “The American College of Pediatricians recently said that, ‘Conditioning children into believing a lifetime of chemical and surgical impersonation of the opposite sex is normal and healthful is child abuse.’ I, for one, want the MDE’s budget zeroed out until this guidance policy is revoked and an apology issued.”The public can read the draft guidance policy and provide public comment online at the SBE website, www.everyvoicecountsmi.org, or fax public comments to 517-373-1233.Questions and concerns also can be sent to individual legislators at:Lana Theis, 42nd District, LanaTheis@house.mi.govThomas Hooker, 77th District, ThomasHooker@house.mi.govGary Glenn, 98th District, GaryGlenn@house.mi.govJim Runestad, 44th District, JimRunestad@house.mi.govLee Chatfield, 107th District, LeeChatfield@house.mi.govRay Franz, 101st District, RayFranz@house.mi.gov#####
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesApril 23, 2014; Miami New TimesThis week in Miami-Dade, the County Finance Committee meets to develop government budgets for the upcoming fiscal year—among them, the county’s library system, already subject to significant cuts during the Great Recession, according to an article in the Miami New Times. The system is facing a $20 million cut without new taxes.And for the first time, says the paper, “the public—led by groups such as the Coalition to Save Our Libraries—is able to voice its concerns directly to the county.” A broad coalition of activists and library supporters will be out in force at the hearing to advocate for increased funding.It’s a textbook example of grassroots community groups advocating on behalf of critical—and beleaguered—public institutions. There are similar examples of “friends of” groups trying to preserve and enhance government institutions, either through fundraising or advocacy, across America’s big cities.“This is where the commissioners get a first taste of what the community support is like for the libraries,” a library activist told the New Times. If there is no new funding, the library system would probably reduce hours by as much as a third at many branches. However, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez won’t back new taxes without a public referendum.The community library advocates state the obvious irony: County politicians resist raising taxes, but always portray themselves, often through photo opportunities, as library supporters. They view their mission as holding the county government accountable for this basic public service. Groups in other cities do the same for such things as libraries and parks, in addition to seeking private philanthropic support to augment shrinking municipal budgets.—Larry KaplanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares August 21, 2014; New York TimesThis is an interesting story that brings that research about big gifts given locally to ground. In New York City, Citymeals-on-Wheels is, through a program they call the Guardians, appealing to wealthy donors to support meals in whole neighborhoods and boroughs.Leon G. Cooperman, 71, who’s the founder, chairman, and chief executive officer of Omega Advisors Inc., was the first donor in, pledging $183,000 to pay for a year’s worth of meals for people in the South Bronx. The letter sent to him from Citymeals-on-Wheels called him “a son of the Bronx.”But a good fundraiser recognizes opportunity in many different kinds of stories. The group used the story of that pledge to leverage another $100,000 in matching funds from eight other donors.Though it is still early in the campaign, this is a strategy to keep an eye on. Has anyone else tried something similar?—Ruth McCambridge ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share2Tweet2Share4Email8 Shares160814-G-LB502-143 / U.S. Department of Defense Current PhotosAugust 22, 2016; The Advocate, New York Times and Boston Globe (and here)Baton Rouge, a quiet college and government town, was already reeling from catastrophe when the rains began to fall. Just weeks before, the city faced protests over the police shooting of Alton Sterling. Then the killing of three of the city’s police officers shocked the nation soon after the slaying of the police officers in Dallas. The epic flooding hit an already distraught community.The flooding in Louisiana counts as the nation’s worst natural disaster since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. It killed 13 people, damaged more than 110,000 homes, and caused more than 106,000 residents to register for assistance from the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). More than 7,000 people are in 37 shelters. Twenty inches of rain fell in some areas in only 24 hours. Louisiana State University’s campus is closed, and the schools will not be opening next week.Volunteers constitute about 90 percent of the American Red Cross workforce that responds to nearly 70,000 disasters every year, most of them home and apartment fires. Volunteers are always needed. But the number one rule for anyone offering to help the flood victims, unless you are arriving on Air Force One, is to not self-deploy until a need that you can meet has been identified and your aid is requested. The Baton Rouge town paper, The Advocate, reported that when Capt. Clay Higgins, a reserve Lafayette city marshal who is running for Congress, showed up at one of the shelters, the Red Cross asked him to leave.“Red Cross people here are great, but they have Red Cross rules they have to follow,” Capt. Higgins said in his video on Facebook. “A man can’t walk around the shelter and offer love and prayer for people who have been displaced.”Well, no, a man cannot just do that. There are children there. There are distraught people there for whom prayer may not be remotely helpful from an unknown visitor. There are fire code capacity limitations. Should an evacuee be denied entrance because someone is taking up space “walking around offering love and prayer?” Did Capt. Higgins intend to film himself praying with the victims for use in his political campaign? In good times or bad, what shelter, school or hospital would let a stranger through its doors to just “walk around offering love and prayer?”The Red Cross has been responding to natural disasters for more than 100 years. Yes, they have rules and the general public needs to respect them because they are there to save lives.The messaging in a disaster, however, can be confusing. Air Force One landed yesterday to permit President Obama the opportunity to visit those whose belongings lie in a tangled heap.“I know how resilient the people of Louisiana are, and I know you will rebuild again,” Obama, dressed in a blue shirt with the sleeves rolled up, said after touring several homes. He pledged that the federal government would support the victims of the community for the long run.“These are some good people down here,” he said. “They got a lot of work to do, and they shouldn’t have to do it alone.”Louisiana Governor John Bel Edwards declared a state of emergency and said this past weekend that too little attention was being given to this natural disaster, perhaps because it was not the result of a hurricane or named storm. A more cynical view might be that the Olympic games and the presidential campaign captured the attention.“Typically, by this point in a storm, I think Red Cross would be receiving a lot more donations,” Edwards said. “I think there would be more volunteers signing up. Although we have some of that in place now, it would be very helpful if people would donate to the Red Cross, to the Baton Rouge Area Foundation, and also to come in and volunteer to help people get back in their homes as quickly as possible.”Some $30 million in federal housing assistance has been approved for residents. An estimated 1,500 American Red Cross volunteers responded, though the agency was questioned about the speed of their response. The Louisiana Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals attempted to rescue stray pets. Second Harvest Food Bank and the United Way of Southeast Louisiana distributed supplies and food. Singer Taylor Swift gave $1 million to the recovery effort. Local charities such as Cancer Services-Greater Baton Rouge are abandoning their major fundraising events to work together to raise money for the recovery effort.The Advocate initially criticized the president for not cutting his vacation in Martha’s Vineyard short to immediately visit the distressed city. In a follow-up editorial, the newspaper’s editors praised the president’s planned visit with a request that he lead the recovery effort: “We ask the president to head that crusade, and a crusade it must be, for the size of the devastation argues for a massive marshaling of federal resources.”In New Orleans, 75 miles down the road, 2005’s historic Hurricane Katrina produced many local experts who are useful now for this new disaster recovery effort. They know the FEMA process for grants and loans, how to avoid being defrauded by contractors, and the do’s and don’ts in home-salvaging work. They are also determined to avoid abandoning thousands of people for years in “temporary” FEMA trailers.In this flood response, several officials said, FEMA is pursuing a strategy of getting people to move back as quickly as possible into at least one or two rooms of their flood-affected houses, an aim that would depend on quick payments and a work force of volunteers.“Our efforts to help the schools get back open and get as many people back in their home as soon as possible is going to minimize the effect we had after Katrina,” said Lt. Gov. Billy Nungesser, a Republican, who praised the federal response.There are also new organizations that came into existence following Katrina that will prove helpful, like the Louisiana Civil Justice Center that helps the poor navigate difficult legal issues. Crucial lessons, however, remain to be learned and acted upon. Save the Children issued the 2015 National Report Card on Protecting Children in Disasters, its first report since the formation of the National Commission on Children and Disasters in the aftermath of Katrina. The report notes that only 17 of the 44 recommendations put forth by the commission to address the gaps in federal planning that put children at risk have been fully met to date. Children remain vulnerable.The Advocate reported many other complaints about the Red Cross’ response to the flood, such as turning away offers of perishable food, but missed one observation that the Red Cross most needs to reckon with. As we wrote in January:NPQ, as you may remember, wrote in, “What Ails the Red Cross Looks Like a Perfect Storm of the Very Familiar“ that one of the concerns we would have about its current downsizing plan, which entails the closing of local offices, would be the loss of the critical-in-disaster intimacy held by local leadership and volunteers. After Katrina, the scarcity of a local presence in some areas was seen as a fatal flaw in the response, particularly in low-income areas.Finding creative ways for the Red Cross to regularly relate to local community leaders does not require an office.Recent criticism of the Red Cross has highlighted this issue of the potential wages of overconsolidation, but we do not know how this will play out in Louisiana, if indeed it will. In the end, there is nothing to bemoan about too many volunteers, even if they sometimes run into restrictions. That people self-organize at such times makes this country, and the Baton Rouge community in particular, truly great. But prior relationships with the local folk who get listened to are always key. In Baton Rouge, however, we have seen a focused and apparently well organized response with a lot of willing volunteers (which should make us proud and grateful) and not yet enough money to attend to the long tail of this disaster.—James SchafferShare2Tweet2Share4Email8 Shares
Share6TweetShareEmail6 Shares“When working people come together there is nothing we can’t accomplish.” Credit: New York State AFL-CIOMay 22, 2017; The ConversationLast month at Yale, students went on a hunger strike to support the formation of a union, Local 33 of Unite Here, to negotiate labor agreements for graduate student-teachers. According to an article in The Conversation, an independent news source for the academic community, the students want “fair wages, mental health care insurance, better protections against gender discrimination, and other benefits that faculty enjoy.” This effort addresses the challenges of a trend in higher education towards using graduate student teachers to do the work formerly done by full-time, tenure-track professors, referred to as “casual labor.”The organizers used a controversial labor organizing strategy called “micro-unit,” where a subset of employees “organize and negotiate on issues that impact a larger group of employees.” It is easier and less costly to organize smaller units. Nine micro-units were organized at Yale along departmental lines. As a result, only 228 put of approximately 2,600 employees voted to become unionized.The strategy is endorsed by the National Labor Relations Board (NLRB). Pro-management organizations, such as the U.S. Chamber of Commerce, oppose the strategy.The Yale case illustrates the legal environment for private sector unions. Public universities are state government entities and as such are governed by state labor laws, while private universities like Yale are regulated by the National Labor Relations Act (NLRA) and federal law.If Yale chooses not to negotiate with the union, it effectively challenges the legality of the micro-unit strategy and triggers an NLRA charge and federal court review. This may not bode well for the nascent Yale union, as Trump is expected to appoint three conservative lawyers to fill NLRB vacancies, constituting a Republican majority likely to overturn previous rulings. This would leave Yale students without a union. Yale critics accuse the university of waiting out negotiations “until the new appointees are in place.”The “altered political environment” is expected to affect public sector higher education unions as well. U.S. Supreme Court Justice Samuel Alito opposes mandatory unionization and in 2012 advocated for an “opt-in” approach where government workers would have to choose to pay union dues rather than automatically being enrolled and having to choose to “opt out.” Antonin Scalia’s death stopped Alito’s attack on unions, but with newly appointed Justice Neil Gorsuch, Alito may finally get his legal defeat of public sector unions.—Cyndi SuarezShare6TweetShareEmail6 Shares
Share35Tweet18ShareEmail53 SharesBy Michael Vadon (Own work) [CC BY-SA 4.0], via Wikimedia CommonsMarch 27, 2018; PBS NewsHour (Associated Press)Yesterday, Sen. Ron Wyden, the ranking Democrat on the Senate Finance Committee, asked the National Rifle Association to provide the committee with internal records about the sources and uses of any foreign funding it has received over the past three years.The committee wants to see whether any of that money was used to influence US elections, as a McClatchy Report suggested in January, saying, “The NRA reported spending a record $55 million on the 2016 elections, including $30 million to support Trump—triple what the group devoted to backing Republican Mitt Romney in the 2012 presidential race. Most of that money was spent by an arm of the NRA that is not required to disclose its donors.”NRA general counsel John Frazer has acknowledged that the nonprofit has received foreign funding, but he says that none of it has gone towards influencing elections or political campaigns—which would be prohibited under law.As readers may remember, an investigation has shown that Donald Trump’s son, Don Jr., met with Alexander Torshin, the deputy governor of Russia’s central bank (who has a close relationship with the NRA) at the 2016 annual meeting of the organization, though it uncovered no evidence that the presidential election was discussed at that time.As we cover this story, we are reminded of the stories we covered when Russia implemented its own rules around NGOs they deemed to be foreign agents, an act widely seen as an attempt to shut down dissent and civil society. In this case, of course, the circumstances are very different, but it’s a moment to sit back and reflect about the underlying issues of cross-boundary funding.—Ruth McCambridgeShare35Tweet18ShareEmail53 Shares
Swiss telco Swisscom added almost 200,000 TV customers last year, ending December with a total of 608,000.The telco ended the year with a total of 1.66 million broadband access lines having added 77,000 new customers during the year. Vivo Tutto, Swisscom’s nationwide bundled offering that includes mobile access lines and launched in August, had attracted 613,000 customers at the end of the year.Swisscom’s Italian subsidiary Fastweb saw revenues decrease 7.1% or €134 million year-on-year to €1.746 billion. Swisscom said price pressure remained strong due to intense competition, resulting in a 10% decline in revenue per broadband customer. Towards the end of the first quarter of 2011, Fastweb launched a new bundled product for satellite TV and broadband internet in partnership with Sky Italia. In 2011, 71,000 customers signed up for this offering, including 34,000 in the fourth quarter.
Polish DTH operator n has added a new premium movie service, called Cinema World, to its nVOD platformThe movie service offers 20 titles each month that can be accessed for PLN6 (€1.40) per month. This month, movies including The Hurt Locker and Grindhouse: Death Proof. Cinema World is the fifth service to be added to n’s nVOD platform that is delivered via the intrenet to connected set-top boxes.
Stingray Digital, the operator of music-based VOD channels including Concert TV, The Karaoke Channel and Galaxie, is to acquire Israeli music broadcaster Musicoola.Based in Tel-Aviv, Musicoola offers a suite of linear music channels to service providers in Israel, Angola, Hungary and Romania. Musicoola’s services will continue to be offered to existing customers, and the integration of the companies will begin immediately, Stingray said. The deal is Stingray’s eight acquisition since the company’s inception in 2007.“Musicoola is an ideal fit for us, since there are ample opportunities for synergies between our respective platforms and services. This acquisition will allow us to expand our product offering to new customers in new countries, strengthening our presence in the Middle East and Africa, while deepening our penetration of the European market,” said Eric Boyko, Stingray Digital’s president and CEO.Stingray has more than 75 million subscribers in 51 countries.
Georgian media company JSC Global Contact Consulting has partnered with Eutelsat Communications to launch a new satellite broadcasting platform called Global TV.Global Contact Consulting is to launch its DTH service later this month, starting with four free-to-air channels before expanding to include a wider range of Georgian and international stations.It has signed a multi-year lease for capacity on the Eutelsat 36B satellite, which provides coverage to Georgia and its surrounding regions.“Satellite broadcasting in Georgia is poised to enter a new era and we look forward to building a longstanding relationship with our new partner,” said Eutelsat’s chief commercial officer Jean-François Leprince-Ringuet, adding that Eutelsat’s 36B satellite offers “strong opportunities for continued growth.”
The BBC’s rollout of updates to its iPlayer catch-up TV service has continued with the launch of a new version of the kids version of the service, CBBC iPlayer, on computers, tablets and mobile phones.The homepages of CBBC iPlayer now include an image-led “curated experience”, showcasing key programmes, seasons, events and themes. The service also now features a restart feature for simulcast streams allowing users to rewind through the last two hours of the programming schedule.Children’s iPlayer is also now available for the first time on smartphones and tablets, seen as key devices for the target audience.The Children’s iPlayer websites are built using the same components and technology as the main version of iPlayer and is based on responsive design, enabling it to be adapted for different screens.The BBC has emphasised the care it has take to ensure a safe environment for kids. In a blog posting, Graham Matthews, business analyst, BBC iPlayer said: “The driving principle behind this is to try to deliver the most appropriate experience for all users of the websites. In Children’s iPlayer we have different navigation for CBBC and CBeebies which highlights the relevant programmes and schedules for these channels. This also separates the children’s content from the rest of the programmes in the main version of iPlayer, which may feature content that is inappropriate for young children. We have also scoped search results and recommendations so that only CBBC and CBeebies programmes are returned.”Matthews said the BBC had also taken care to ensure that links from the site have been considered for appropriateness, and social sharing tools on the playback page are not displayed to children. Links to the main iPlayer are accompanied by pop-ups informating users they leaving the children’s area.The BBC will roll out a Cbeebies iPlayer for younger kids in the weeks to come.
Matthias KurthSpectrum stakeholders need to work together to create a Europe-wide spectrum strategy, according to Matthias Kurth, executive chairman of cable industry body Cable Europe.Speaking at the European Spectrum Management Conference in Brussels, Kurth said that stakeholders need to plan for the explosion in video and television demand both linear and non-linear, an increase in access points as mobility grows, and growing demand for WiFi spectrum.“We need to ask ourselves three questions before assigning spectrum,” said Kurth. “Is the usage the most efficient possible? Is there a risk of interference with existing, efficient spectrum users? And where is the strongest demand likely to be in the future? This, combined with comprehensive impact assessments and clear policy recommendations flowing from the Commission, will safeguard the future coexistence which is an imperative for industry and consumers alike”.Kurth also called for the principles of coexistence and future-oriented planning to guarantee the security of new and existing services to be placed at the centre of spectrum planning.
Simon PittsSTV has appointed ITV’s managing director, online, pay TV, interactive and technology, Simon Pitts, as its next CEO.Pitts, who has worked at ITV for 17 years in various senior roles, is due to join the Scottish broadcaster’s board as chief executive on January 3, 2018.His appointment comes after STV’s current CEO, Rob Woodward, said in April that he planned to step down within 12 months.“After a thorough and rigorous search process we are delighted that Simon has agreed to join STV as Chief Executive Officer,” said chairman of STV Group, Baroness Margaret Ford.“The combination of Simon’s sector experience, drive and track record in delivering strategic change make him an ideal candidate to lead STV’s next phase of growth. I am looking forward to working with him.”Simon Pitts said: “I have got to know STV well during my time at ITV and I’m excited by the opportunity to lead a company with such a strong brand and relationship with its audience. I’m looking forward to working with everyone at STV to make the most of its great potential in the future.”Pitts was reported to be in the running for the ITV top job after CEO Adam Crozier announced his exit earlier this year. However, Carolyn McCall, the CEO of low-cost airline EasyJet, was named Crozier’s successor last month.
Portuguese cable operator NOS has partnered with Metrological to launch a cloud-based TV app store for its subscribers.NOS will use Metrological’s Application Platform, WPE (Web Platform for Embedded) browser and WPE cloud architecture to bolster its UMA personalised TV service.With the deal, subscribers will be able to access the app store and view ‘the best of OTT programming’ along with live and on-demand TV from a single place, without leaving the main screen or EPG.“Leveraging the Metrological platform, WPE browser and software plugins we are able to quickly launch OTT applications, other high value apps and new integrated services to market much faster with far less integration efforts,” said Pedro Bandeira, head of development, NOS.Thijs Bijleveld, senior vice-president of sales and marketing at Metrological, said: “We are proud to partner with NOS to build this next generation video package bringing OTT experiences to ensure its customer’s television experience is always relevant and interactive.”“Our goal is to make the onboarding and day-to-day content management seamless for NOS. Now NOS can add and change app and premium OTT service line ups quickly and easily, leaving the integration efforts to us.”
Danish telco and cable operator TDC was hit hard by cord-cutting in its home market in the third quarter, with the loss of 18,000 TV customers, adding to already significant TV losses over the previous two quarters.Revenue from TV in Denmark declined by 2.3% to DKK3.121 billion (€419 million) for the first nine months as a whole, which the telco blamed on “sustained cord-cutting”.TDC, which operates under the YouSee brand in the Danish consumer market, has seen its TV base decline by 70,000, or 5%, year-on-year.On a slightly brighter note, the loss in revenue due to a declining customer base was partly offset by higher ARPU, up 0.8% year-on-year thanks to the success of its Blockbuster-branded transactional VOD service. Subscription ARPU remained stable, with the loss in customers offset by higher prices.The company’s domestic broadband base also declined slightly, hit by competition from low-cost providers.TDC has sought to counter the factors hitting its TV base by revamping its offering, providing exclusive content and streaming services as part of its TV packages. The operator also launched a new Android TV app for multi-room viewing and announced a new flexible packaging structure for multi-play customers, including a wider range of TV options, in September.TDC’s Norwegian arm, cable operator Get, lost 2,000 TV customers during the quarter, driven by competition and TV unbundling. Get has lost 10,000 TV subscribers year-on-year, but TV revenue for the first nine months improved thanks to price increases related to the new TV offering with streaming services, a new improved TV app and a new TV platform.TDC said that the loss of TV customers experienced since the first quarter if this year would have a negative quarterly run-rate impact on gross profit year-on-year of DKK30 million.Pernille Erenjberg“Q3 has been eventful and important for TDC Group, with major launches, acquisitions, insourcing and public tender decisions,” said TDC CEO Pernille Erenjberg.“YouSee launched a new loyalty programme, YouSee More, giving customers flexible benefits depending on how many of our products they retain. We expect this programme to increase product holdings within the households, increase customer loyalty and reduce churn. YouSee also announced a new TV portfolio, positioning YouSee as both content aggregator and provider, with exclusive content for our customers and increased flexibility in the TV packages to integrate flow TV and OTT streaming. With YouSee’s new TV portfolio we are aligning our TV offerings in Denmark and Norway,” she said.The company posted overall revenue of DKK15.224 billion for the first nine months of the year, down 2.5%, and EBITDA of DKK6.285 billion, down 2.3%.
Ukrainian cable operator Volia has added Kyiv news and cultural channel 4th Channel to its programming line-up and has announced plans to expand its offering with the addition of a number of other regional and national channels.4th Channel will be available over Volia’s networks in the cities of Vinnytsia, Dnipro, Lviv, Rivne, Obukhiv, Ternopil, Ukrainka, Cherkassy and Khmelnytsky as part of its basic tier and above.The addition of the channel follows the recent addition of local channel Terrnopil 1 from the western Ukrainian city of the same name. Volia said that Dnipro region channel Open would be added soon, alongside tow Ukrianian kdis channels, Niki and Niki Junior, which will be part of the operator’s dedicated kids package.Volia recently signed a distribution agreement with leading commercial broadcaster 1+1 Media that will see Volia broadcast 22 TV channels from the group in its packages, alongside video-on-demand content.