A huge tree at the entrance of the Ladysmith Gazette offices in Keate Street was cut down yesterday (Tuesday).The tree has been there for years, but its long branches and root structure had begun to damage the building.Another reason is that expansion will be taking place at the Gazette offices. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
The Daily Crunch is TechCrunch’s roundup of our biggest and most important stories. If you’d like to get this delivered to your inbox every day at around 9am Pacific, you can subscribe here.1. Facebook is losing its last Oculus co-founderNate Mitchell, the final Oculus co-founder remaining at Facebook, announced in an internal memo that he’s leaving the company and “taking time to travel, be with family, and recharge.” His role within the company has shifted several times since Oculus was acquired, but his current title is head of product management for virtual reality.This follows the departures of former Oculus CEO Brendan Iribe and co-founder Palmer Luckey.2. Twitter tests ways for users to follow and snooze specific topicsThe company isn’t getting rid of the ability to follow other users, but it announced yesterday that it will start pushing users to start following topics as well, which will feature highly engaged tweets from a variety of accounts.3. WeWork’s S-1 misses these three key pointsWeWork just released its S-1 ahead of going public, but Danny Crichton argues we still don’t know the health of the core of the company’s business model or fully understand the risks it is undertaking. (Extra Crunch membership required.)4. CBS and Viacom are merging into a combined company called ViacomCBSThe move is, in some ways, a concession to a turbulent media environment driving large-scale M&A, with AT&T buying Time Warner and Disney acquiring most of Fox — both deals are seen as consolidation in preparation for a streaming-centric future.5. Nvidia breaks records in training and inference for real-time conversational AINvidia’s GPU-powered platform for developing and running conversational AI that understands and responds to natural language requests has achieved some key milestones and broken some records, with big implications for anyone building on their tech.6. Corporate carpooling startup Scoop raises $60 millionScoop, which launched back in 2015, is a corporate carpooling service that works with the likes of LinkedIn, Workday, T-Mobile and more than 50 other companies to help their employees get to and from work.7. Domino’s launches e-bike delivery to compete with UberEats, DoorDashDomino’s will start using custom electric bikes for pizza delivery through a partnership with Rad Power Bikes.
Alternatively, watch the video below: “I feel so fortunate and grateful to be a survivor of breast cancer. I see it as a gift”. ~ Olivia Newton-John~As we celebrate National Cancer Awareness month, it also important that we take a look at how to do a breast self-examination (BSE), as this is the best method for early detection. Although 80% of lumps aren’t cancerous, you simply can’t take the chance and a doctor should be promptly seen for further evaluation.If you haven’t done a BSE before, then do so immediately by having a look at our infographic, explaining step-by-step how you can examine yourself in the comfort of your home. You do not need any fancy equipment or any extensive knowledge. WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite
Public Safety officers say that their car allowances are not being paid accordingly by the municipality, and are on foot patrol for the second day now (Wednesday) after their requests have not been met.The officers have expressed exasperation that mileage claims and other claims are not being paid by the municipality.“We warned them in March that if they do not consider our vehicles as being important in doing the job, we would stop using them,” said a Public Safety officer who asked not to be named. “We are still doing law enforcement, just on foot.” WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite WebsiteWebsiteWebsite The officers say they will continue doing foot patrols until something is done about the situation.A businessman commented that, “We feel so bad seeing these officers walking around in the cold instead of being in their cars. We hope that everything will be back to normal soon. We must just pray there is no big fire in Ladysmith, since the officers have no cars to take them to the scene quickly. It’s a worrying situation that needs to receive top priority.”We are awaiting an official response from the municipality.Related stories: Public Safety go on foot patrol
in Daily Dose, Data, Featured, News Confidence Fannie Mae Home Prices 2014-10-07 Tory Barringer October 7, 2014 433 Views Americans Show Renewed Optimism for Housing Consumer attitudes toward housing and the economy brightened modestly in September, starting the fall season off on a positive note after a tumultuous summer.According to results from Fannie Mae’s September 2014 National Housing Survey, Americans’ optimism about the housing market recovered last month following declines in both July and August, with the share of respondents saying now is a good time to buy a home jumping 4 percentage points to 68 percent.The share of consumers saying they would purchase a home if they were going to move also picked up, increasing 2 percentage points to 66 percent after August’s three-point drop.Meanwhile, home price expectations saw a slight improvement: 45 percent of respondents expect prices to rise in the next year, up from 42 percent in August and July, with the average price change expectation edging up to 2.2 percent.”The September National Housing Survey shows a slight recovery in consumer housing sentiment after a two-month setback, bringing us back to the modestly positive trend we’ve seen over the last year,” said Doug Duncan, SVP and chief economist at Fannie Mae.While admitting “[i]t might be too late to save this year’s home sales from posting the first decline in five years,” Duncan added that “the return to an upward trend in housing sentiment, combined with this month’s positive news on the jobs front, suggests that a broad-based, albeit measured, housing recovery is on track to resume in 2015.”Attitudes also improved about the economy in general. According to Fannie Mae, 40 percent of respondents in the September survey said they believe the economy is on the right track, up 5 percentage points from August. Still, more than half—54 percent—insist the economy is on the wrong track, down only 2 percentage points.Offering insights on their own personal financial situation, a quarter of those surveyed said their household income has increased significantly in the last year, up from 23 percent in August but down from 28 percent as recently as July. Meanwhile, 37 percent said their expenses are significantly higher, up from 36 percent in the prior two months.Projecting ahead, 41 percent of Americans said they anticipate their situation will improve in the next 12 months, down from 44 percent in the previous survey. At the same time, fewer expect their situation will worsen—12 percent compared to August’s 14 percent.”The results of the past few months show that consumer optimism remains cautious and somewhat volatile, and we’ll likely continue to see bumps on the housing recovery path reflected in our survey results,” Duncan said. Share
The construction of the new wing of Larnaca general hospital has been delayed again, MPs heard during a meeting of the House transport committee on Friday.The project will be delayed for at least another year and Larnaca MPs called the state of affairs an ‘unacceptable situation’ and ‘blackmailing of the state by the contractor’ and said patients in the region are the victims.The new postponement is due to differences between the contractor and the government. The contractor is demanding money from work it has carried out on the supreme court building and Nicosia general hospital.Construction work on the hospital wing started in September 2013 with a 36-month implementation schedule. However, due to the financial disputes extensions were agreed upon, first until December 30, 2017, then until April 2018.The House transport committee members said the project is being highjacked by the contractor and called on the president to intervene to resolve the issue.Larnaca Disy MPs warned they will not tolerate the situation.Head of the committee, Diko’s Georgios Prokopiou, said the situation is unacceptable.“It exposes the President of the Republic himself because the project should have been delivered by the end of 2017. The project has been halted for four months and today we have unfortunately been told that it still needs a year,” he said.He added that as head of the committee he has sent a letter to the president asking him to resolve the problem.“It is inconceivable to play with lives. It is absolutely right for people to shout because no one can play with their lives.”“As residents of Larnaca, we are completely disappointed by the bureaucracy of the state that owes the contractor money,” said Disy MP Zacharias Zachariou.“The contractor has virtually been trapped into blackmailing to get the money to complete the project at Larnaca hospital,” he added,He also said a new project for the construction of a family court was signed just days ago between the state and the same contractor.“I do not see the logic of a contractor who blackmails a province and its patients being rewarded by the state with new work.”Disy MP Annita Demetriou said that solving the situation is a matter of the highest priority for Larnaca and its residents and that the city should get what it is entitled to.Larnaca Akel MPs Giorgos Georgiou and Evanthis Savva also called for immediate completion of the project.You May LikeLCR HealthTop Doctor Warns Against Abdominal “Deep” Fat (And How To Get Rid Of It)LCR HealthUndoLuxuriousHotels15 Good Example How to Become One of the 15 Richest People Around the WorldLuxuriousHotelsUndoLittle FriesHealthiest Dog Breeds: 10 Dogs With The Least Health ProblemsLittle FriesUndo Britain preparing for a no-deal BrexitUndoFilm review: Child’s Play ***UndoCypriot ambassadors gather in Nicosia for annual briefingUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
29Apr Speaker Cotter appoints Rep. Cole to serve on Council of State Governments Mancelona lawmaker on MLC Agriculture and Natural Resources CommitteeState Rep. Triston Cole, R-Mancelona, was recently appointed by Speaker Kevin Cotter, R-Mt. Pleasant, to serve on The Council of State Governments as a member of The Midwestern Legislative Conference Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee for the 2015-2016 biennium.“Rep. Cole has a very unique agricultural background that will add diversity and depth to the Agriculture and Natural Resources Committee on a national front,” said Speaker Cotter. “Rep. Cole will excel serving on the CSG and will represent the economic interests of Michigan very well.”“I am humbled that Speaker Cotter considered me for this position and I am very thankful for this opportunity,” Rep. Cole said. “I am eager to learn more about the key policy issues on a regional and national level and start networking on ways to promote the importance of agriculture and its profound benefits on the U.S. economy.”As an appointed member, Rep. Cole will be part of an exclusive group of lawmakers that meet and collaborate biannually to shape state policy initiatives. The Council of State Governments is the nation’s only nonpartisan association of state officials serving all three branches of government in all 50 states and the U.S. territories.### Categories: Cole News,News Tags: #SB
03Feb Rep. Chatfield announces February office hours State Rep. Lee Chatfield invites residents of the 107th House District to join him during local office hours for the month of February.“My door is always open and I encourage residents to come forward with any concerns they have, or they are welcome to just drop by to introduce themselves,” said Rep. Chatfield, R-Levering.Since taking office a year ago, Rep. Chatfield has held monthly office hours in every county that he represents. His February office hours schedule is:Monday, Feb. 8Cheboygan CountyAudie’s Restaurant314 N. Nicolet St. in Mackinaw City9-10:30 a.m.Emmet CountyCrooked River Tavern7515 Burr Ave. in Alanson12-1:30 p.m.Monday, Feb. 15Mackinac CountyBeary Patch RestaurantW14740 U.S. Hwy. 2 in Engadine9-10:30 a.m.Chippewa CountySault Chamber of Commerce2581 I-75 Business Spur in Sault Ste. Marie12-1:30 p.m.No appointment is necessary and there is no cost to attend. Anyone unable to attend may contact Rep. Chatfield’s office by calling (517) 373-2629, via email at firstname.lastname@example.org or through his website at www.RepChatfield.com.### Categories: Chatfield News
23Feb Rep. Hooker announces CPR In Schools legislation at Capitol news conference Categories: News,Photos State Rep. Tom Hooker, R-Byron Center, speaks during a CPR In School news conference Tuesday, Feb. 23, in the Capitol rotunda. Rep. Hooker introduced House Bill 5160, which calls for all Michigan students to be trained in Cardiopulmonary Resuscitation (CPR) in order to graduate from high school.
Categories: Bellino News,News A Monroe performing arts center will benefit from the new state budget, Rep. Joe Bellino said.Bellino successfully secured final legislative approval of $73,000 for the River Raisin Centre for the Arts in the new state budget. The money is allocated for maintenance.“The RRCA is the ‘Arts Heart’ of Monroe,” Bellino said. “It is a true non-profit involved in every part of the art scene — theatre, dance, music and instruction. This grant will help keep the building in good shape.”For about 30 years, since the conversion of an old movie theater, the RRCA has provided great entertainment to Monroe County, Bellino said. The money will help provide a ventilation update, help with maintenance and other physical plant issues.The budget bills are headed to Gov. Rick Snyder for his consideration. 18Jun Rep. Bellino: State budget will help Monroe performing arts center
Categories: Mueller News 10May Rep. Mueller welcomes new challenge Today, state Rep. Mike Mueller of Linden expressed his excitement to get to work on the recently created Michigan Joint Task Force on Jail and Pretrial Incarceration. The representative was appointed by Speaker of the House Lee Chatfield to the task force, created through Executive Order 2019-10 to evaluate Michigan’s justice system and identify best practices for reform. Rep. Mueller will serve as the sole designee of the Speaker.“This issue hits very close to home for me,” Rep. Mueller said. “As a former deputy, I have seen these issues firsthand and know how the system works and doesn’t work. Reforming our justice system and making it better for all Michiganders is something I am passionate about. I look forward to working with my fellow members to dig deep and find real solutions.”The bipartisan, interbranch task force is comprised of 21 members from the executive, judicial, and legislative branches and community leaders from across the state, including representatives from law enforcement. The members will take an all-aspect approach by examining data, research, and constitutional principles to set recommendations for statewide policy and budgetary practices.Residents of the 51st House District who have questions or ideas regarding the task force or any other state issues may contact Rep. Mueller’s office by calling (517) 373-1780 or emailing MikeMueller@house.mi.gov.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesDecember 1, 2015; Chicago TribuneIn the latest bit of controversy involving the shooting of a young black male by a white police officer, the Chicago Police Department officials and Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel are facing the scrutiny of local leaders, commentators, and the national media. For nearly a year, police officials and Emanuel have fought to suppress a dashboard camera recording in which Officer Jason van Dyke shoots 17-year-old Laquan McDonald 16 times. That video was released last week, and on Tuesday, December 1st, Emanuel announced the firing of Police Superintendent Garry McCarthy, due to a lack of public trust in the police and his handling of McDonald’s shooting.“This morning, I formally asked for his resignation,” said Emanuel at a press conference, while also praising McCarthy’s tenure at the department. “Now is the time for fresh eyes and new leadership to confront the challenges the department and our community and our city are facing as we go forward.” In the aftermath of the shooting, Emanuel has said that he has appointed a task force to delve into police accountability in Chicago.The backlash from the release of the video was swift, leading to more than a week of protests in Chicago and around the country that left many supporting the decision to terminate McCarthy. Some see signs in the McDonald case of a cover-up that extends through the Chicago Police Department, the mayor’s office, and the Cook County State Attorney’s office, which waited a full year to charge Van Dyke for the shooting.The Washington Post was one of many voices to indict McCarthy. “This time in Chicago, the police cover-up failed,” said the Post in an editorial after the video was released last week. “It was the police who maintained a code of silence despite at least seven other officers who witnessed the shooting at close range. That’s outrageous and should lead to further criminal inquiries and the immediate firing of the city’s police superintendent, Garry McCarthy.”For her part, State’s Attorney Anita Alvarez has said that she was waiting for the federal investigation to be completed before bringing charges.Fueling the theory of a cover-up, while Emanuel has said for a year that his reason for preventing the dashboard video from being released was to preserve the integrity of the investigation, a judge on November 19th said there were no grounds for such suppression. Most significantly, immediately after McDonald’s shooting, the Chicago Police Department said that the 17-year-old was shot because he was lunging toward police officers with a knife.The video revealed a different story when it was released. In the video, McDonald can be seen carrying a knife, but there is no moment where it can be construed that the 17-year-old was lunging at the police officer. A later autopsy found that McDonald had PCP, a hallucinogenic drug, in his system. It’s possible the officer was genuinely threatened by McDonald’s appearance, but it hardly makes the case for continuing to shoot a man when he is making no attempts to get up, as the video shows.Pat Camden, who acts as the spokesperson for the Chicago Fraternal Order of Police, said those statements were preliminary when they were given to reporters. “It’s hearsay, is basically what I’m putting out at that point,” he said. “It’s information that’s being given to me by a third party that gathered that information from other parties.” But an official police statement made on October 20th, 2014, said McDonald “refused to comply with orders to drop the knife and continued to approach the officers.” It seems the mischaracterization was more than a woeful misconstruing of words or perspectives; it may have been a calculated statement made to protect the officers, and when that didn’t work, officials campaigned for the video to be suppressed.The now-discredited original account has built the case against McCarthy’s leadership during the shooting, but it also raises several questions about why Emanuel fought the release of the video to begin with. Emanuel may be concerned about police accountability, but many in Chicago and nationally are wondering who is holding him accountable. Under Emanuel and McCarthy’s joint leadership, Chicago has seen a precipitous hike in violent crime and the continued disgrace of the Chicago Police Force, known for its corruption and leniency toward police misconduct.While McCarthy may be out, social media users are using the hashtag #resignRahm to similarly oust the 55th mayor of Chicago. At least according to the Chicago Monitor, “#ResignRahm is Not a Hashtag, It’s a Demand.”Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel might as well clean out his desk as well. #ResignRahm— Yukio Strachan (@boldandworthy) December 1, 2015The killing of #LaquanMcDonald was awful, but the bigger problem is @RahmEmanuel covered it up. A task force doesn’t fix that. #ResignRahm— William Maggos (@wjmaggos) December 1, 2015 Just because you rightfully fired McCarthy doesn’t mean you shouldn’t still #ResignRahm.— J.W. Basilo (@jwbaz) December 1, 2015 We won’t be satisfied until you’re out of office, @RahmEmanuel #RahmResign #ResignRahm https://t.co/ew842twaSA— Josh-oo-wuh (@joshoowuh) December 1, 2015Rahm just admitted his role, “everyone has a role to play. I’m as just as accountable and responsible…” Okay, we say #ResignRahm!— Fair Trade Ervin (@fairtrade_ervin) December 1, 2015—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
ShareTweetShareEmail0 SharesSupreme Court / Matt WadeMarch 2, 2016; New York TimesMore than a decade after it last heard a case on the subject, the Supreme Court of the United States heard its first major case involving abortion. The case concerns a 2013 Texas law that requires all abortions performed after 16 weeks to be performed in an ambulatory surgical center (ASC), potentially expensive facilities that are equipped to provide same-day surgical care, among other regulations regarding buildings and equipment. Clinics and challengers to the law contend several abortion clinics in Texas have shut down, depriving women of legally available healthcare options. The case comes after months of heavy campaigning to defund Planned Parenthood, leaving tensions high among activists on both sides of the abortion debate.The case targets two portions of the 2013 law. One, as mentioned already, requires clinics to satisfy several regulations to continue to perform abortions. The other mandates the doctor performing an abortion to have admitting privileges at a hospital nearby. Lawmakers say the law is necessary to protect women and ensure abortions are safely performed, whereas clinics protest that the law only further limits the accessibility of abortion services.In their brief to the Court, the Texas clinics challenging the law say:The Texas requirements will not enhance abortion safety. Abortion is one of the safest and most common procedures in contemporary medicine. It typically involves either taking medication or undergoing a ten-minute procedure, without general anesthesia, in the outpatient setting of a doctor’s office or clinic.… Those requirements will instead make it harder for women to end a pregnancy safely by reducing their access to legal abortion.According to the New York Times, as arguments started on Wednesday, the eight justices seemed evenly divided, with the three remaining conservative justices questioning whether there was enough evidence to conclude that clinics have closed or will close due to the restrictions in the law. Justice Anthony Kennedy, often identified as a “swing” vote on the Supreme Court, even suggested passing the case back to the lower court to gather more information. The four liberal justices remained steadfast that the law did not have any medical purpose and was unconstitutional.While the conservative justices may believe there isn’t enough information for them to decide the case, the clinics that brought suit adamantly charge that the law has already resulted in the closure of nearly half of Texas’s abortion clinics, which has had a precipitous effect on women. Fewer clinics keeping up with the same demand left many women delaying abortions, some even taking to self-induction at home. Joint studies released last November by the Texas Policy Evaluation Project released the first ever statistics on self-induction on the general population following the passage of the 2013 law. According to the studies, abortions in Texas declined by 13 percent just after six months after the law began to be enforced. In some cities, the wait times for abortions have lasted as long as 20 to 25 days, potentially endangering some women as their abortions are pushed into the second trimester of a pregnancy.Although Justice Kennedy may think there isn’t enough evidence to consider the case, there is an effect when clinics close. The remaining clinics offering abortion services are clustered around metropolitan areas such as Austin, Dallas-Forth Worth, Houston, and San Antonio, leaving them inaccessible to those in more rural areas without transportation. Moreover, as the clinics allege in their brief, the clusters leave an entire area south and west of San Antonio—about the size of the state of California—without any clinics.Despite the clinics’ efforts, there may already be some hints as to which direction the Supreme Court may vote. On February 24th, the Fifth Circuit Court upheld a similar restriction in Louisiana that would require doctors performing abortions to have admitting privileges at a nearby hospital. The Court found the law largely did not place an undue burden on one’s right to an abortion.Regardless, the public was energized. The hearing brought pro-life and pro-choice activists out in hordes to the Supreme Court Wednesday morning, with demonstrations lining the sidewalks outside the courthouse. The last abortion case Gonzales v. Carhart (2007) upheld the federal Partial-Birth Abortion Ban Act.There is no question that the dynamics of the court’s consideration of this case will be closely watched in the absence of Scalia.—Shafaq HasanShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Shareholder advisory group Pensions & Investment Research Consultants (PIRC) has advised investors to vote against re-electing James Murdoch chairman of UK pay TV platform BSkyB.PIRC said that Murdoch’s involvement in the ongoing newspaper phone-hacking scandal engulfing News International risks impacting negatively on Sky’s image. Murdoch is COO of News Corp, the largest shareholder in Sky and News International’s parent company.PIRC added that Murdoch’s New York-based COO role at News Corp and other non-executive director positions at companies including pharmaceutical giant GlaxoSmithKline. Sky shareholders will be asked to vote on whether to re-elect Murdoch at the company’s AGM on November 29.
Global IPTV subscribers grew by 6.06% in the third quarter of 2011 to total 54.4 million, according to the latest study by Point Topic for the Broadband Forum.Russia entered the top ten IPTV countries for the first time, taking eighth place. While France is still the world leader and continues to show strong growth, China is set to take top spot soon, according to the report.Total broadband lines worldwide numbered 581.2 million, up 3% on the previous quarter.
Telecom infrastructure provider Alcatel-Lucent is launching a capital increase in the amount of €955 million to strengthen its equity and provide it with greater financial flexibility. Alcatel-Lucent will issue preferential subscription rights to existing stockholders, with shareholders receiving one right for every ordinary share held. The new shares will be priced at €2.10 per share. The company said the intention was to strengthen its equity.The infrastructure giant also plans to raise US$750 million (€556 million) via a high-yield bond offering and execute a commitment letter for the implementation of a new syndicated revolving credit facility of €500 million.The move followed strong third-quarter results for Alcatel-Lucent, with a 7% increase in revenue to €3.668 billion and improved net income of €116 million, or 3.2% of revenues, up from negative 3.5% for the same period last year.Revenue from the fixed networks division amounted to €541 million, up 0.7%, boosted by sales of its VDSL2 vectoring products, new FTTH contracts wnd the launch of its new Ethernet Passive Optical Networking (EPON) fibre system aimed at helping cable operators address the business market.Michel Combes, CEO of Alcatel-Lucent, said: “We are seeing the first positive signs of our new operating model in our day-to-day business and are encouraged by the substantial progress in the Shift Plan key metrics. Going forward, we remain fully focused on execution to leverage the momentum we are building.”Alcatel-Lucent has set an objective of raising €1 billion from the sale of assets as part of its Plan Shift.
Deutsche Telekom has closed the acquisition of central European business-to-business service provider GTS Central Europe.The full operational integration is expected to be completed in the Czech Republic, Poland and the International Business Unit of Deutsche Telekom for October, while legal unity is planned for January 1 next year.Deutsche Telekom plans to integrate its existing operations in the region with GTS.Danny Bottoms, CEO of GTS, will continue to head the operation under Deutsche Telekom. In February, the German telco paid €800 million for the 39% of T-Mobile Czech Republic that it did not already own from a consortium led by Mid Europa Partners.“With the acquisition complete, we look forward to integrating GTS’ business-to-business expertise with our industry-leading technologies and vast European network to become the provider of choice for business customers. The GTS acquisition supports the implementation of our strategy to strengthen and further develop our B2B local and pan-European business including international Wholesale customers,” said Claudia Nemat, board member Europe and technology at Deutsche Telekom.“Most importantly, we want to preserve GTS’ know-how and combine its business approach with the core strengths of Deutsche Telekom.”
Paul EricksonGoogle’s forthcoming Android TV platform could have a major disruptive impact on the growing streaming media player business, with Roku likely to be vulnerable to an Android assault on the market, according to research by IHS Technology.According to IHS, the global base of streaming media players will reach 50 million units by the end of this year, with the US accounting for almost half of the global total with 24 million units, up from 16 million last year and 10 million in 2012.IHS expects the number of dedicated streaming media players installed in the US to reach 44 million by 2017, joining an estimated combined total of 169 million Blu-ray Disc players, game consoles and smart TVs, taking the US 2017 total for all connected TV devices to 213 million units.IHS estimates that Apple and Roku together currently account for 94% of the streaming media player base. However, it expects the availability of Android TV to provide a strong competitor to Roku in particular, with the Apple platform insulated to some extent by a preference for this device on the part of iPhone and iPad owners.Android TV’s strengths include access to content from Google Play and third-party apps, Google-delivered content search and discovery with voice recognition, integration with other Android devices and built-in Chromecast support enabling media ‘casting’ and mirroring of multiple devices, according to IHS.“Although standalone media player products utilizing Android TV do not have the brand recognition, established brand equity, or level of retail distribution that products from companies like Apple, Amazon, and Roku possess, over time these standalone players are expected to create competitive pricing and positioning concerns by delivering previously absent levels of polish, capability, ecosystem integration, and content access to consumers at lower price points,” said Paul Erickson, senior analyst for the connected home at IHS.
Liberty Interactive Corporation, the parent company of shopping channel QVC, has agreed to buy e-commerce site Zulily for US$2.4 billion (€2.2 billion).Under the terms of the planned deal, Zulily will join the QVC Group to create a “discovery-driven and experiential digital commerce powerhouse” aimed at a female audience.Commenting on the agreement, Liberty Interactive president and CEO, Greg Maffei, said that Zulily’s founders “have built an impressive business around entertainment, discovery and value to the customer, which fits perfectly with the QVC philosophy. Combined under Liberty, we have an incredible opportunity to delight shoppers from the TV to the Internet.”Zulily president and CEO Darrell Cavens added: “This combination under Liberty is about investing in our future and providing a tremendous opportunity to accelerate our platform for growth of the Zulily brand through the partnership with QVC.”Liberty Interactive has entered a definitive agreement to buy all outstanding shares of Zulily for US$18.75 per share. After the deal closes, Zulily will remain based in Seattle and will continue to be run by existing management team led by Cavens.The transaction has been approved by the boards of directors of both companies and is expected to close during the fourth quarter of 2015.Join the discussion on LinkedIn.
Scott RuppModern Times Group has appointed Digital Artists Entertainment boss, Scott Rupp, to develop the presence of its MTGx digital arm in the US.Rupp will be tasked with developing US opportunities for MTGx’s portfolio, expanding the company’s international network and sourcing new digital investments.Rupp has 20 years experience in digital media and entertainment and will be based in San Francisco. Before joining MTGx he was CEO of Digital Artists Entertainment, the VC-backed start-up behind Ignition – an influencer content sharing platform.Prior to this he worked at companies including Gazillion Entertainment, McKinsey and Company and Deutsche Bank.“Our portfolio companies have a strong presence in the US, along with many of the world’s largest digital media businesses. It’s a natural next step for MTGx to put a man on the ground in this global entertainment and technology centre,” said MTGx CEO and executive vice-president of MTG, Arnd Benninghoff.“Scott’s amazing experience and relationships will open up even more fantastic opportunities for our business, while giving us the inside track on the very latest trends such as 360 video, VR and AR.”MTGx already has a presence in the US through investments in companies that have a footprint there. Last month, MTG bought a 35% stake in German online games developer and publisher, InnoGames, which claims that a quarter of its gamers are based in the US.Last year, MTG also acquired a 74% majority stake in Cologne-based eSports specialist Turtle Entertainment, which operates the ESL brand, has a studio and office in California and organises eSports events in the US such as ESL One New York.On top of this, the US is an important market for MTGx’s multi-channel network Zoomin.TV. MTG bought a 51% stake in the MCN for roughly €44.9 million last year.Rupp’s appointment comes a week after MTG’s Sweden-based executive chairman of MTG’s digital MTGx, Mathias Hermansson, announced he would leave the company in early 2017.