WASHINGTON (AP) — Sticky plaque gets the most attention, but now healthy seniors at risk of Alzheimer’s are letting scientists peek into their brains to see if another culprit is lurking.No one knows what actually causes Alzheimer’s, but the suspects are its two hallmarks — the gunky amyloid in those brain plaques or tangles of a protein named tau that clog dying brain cells. New imaging can spot those tangles in living brains, providing a chance to finally better understand what triggers dementia. Milstead says best way to stop wrong-way incidents is driving sober Now researchers are adding tau brain scans to an ambitious study that’s testing if an experimental drug might help healthy but at-risk people stave off Alzheimer’s. Whether that medication works or not, it’s the first drug study where scientists can track how both of Alzheimer’s signature markers begin building up in older adults before memory ever slips.“The combination of amyloid and tau is really the toxic duo,” predicted Dr. Reisa Sperling of Boston’s Brigham and Women’s Hospital and Harvard Medical School, who is leading the so-called A4 study. “To see it in life is really striking.”The A4 study — it stands for Anti-Amyloid Treatment in Asymptomatic Alzheimer’s — aims to enroll 1,000 healthy seniors like Judith Chase Gilbert, 77, of Arlington, Virginia. The recently retired government worker is mentally sharp but learned through the study that her brain harbors amyloid buildup that might increase her risk. Last week, researchers slid Gilbert into a doughnut-shaped PET scanner as she became one of the first study participants to also have their brains scanned for tau.“We know that tau starts entering the picture at some point, and we do not know when. We do not know how that interaction happens. We should know,” said chief science officer Maria Carrillo of the Alzheimer’s Association, which is pushing to add tau scans to other dementia research, too. 5 greatest Kentucky Derby finishes Ex-FBI agent details raid on Phoenix body donation facility Sponsored Stories New Valley school lets students pick career-path academies More than 35 million people worldwide have Alzheimer’s or similar dementias, including about 5 million in the U.S. Those numbers are expected to rise rapidly as the baby boomers get older. There is no good treatment. Today’s medications only temporarily ease symptoms and attempts at new drugs, mostly targeted at sticky amyloid, have failed in recent years.Maybe that’s because treatment didn’t start early enough. Scientists now think Alzheimer’s begins quietly ravaging the brain more than a decade before symptoms appear, much like heart disease is triggered by gradual cholesterol buildup. Brain scans show many healthy older adults quietly harbor those sticky amyloid plaques, not a guarantee that they’ll eventually get Alzheimer’s but an increased risk.Yet more recent research, including a large autopsy study from the Mayo Clinic, suggests that Alzheimer’s other bad actor — that tangle-forming tau protein — also plays a big role. The newest theory: Amyloid sparks a smoldering risk, but later spread of toxic tau speeds the brain destruction.Normal tau acts sort of like railroad tracks to help nerve cells transport food and other molecules. But in Alzheimer’s, the protein’s strands collapse into tangles and eventually the cell dies. Most healthy people have a small amount of dysfunctional tau in one part of the brain by their 70s, Sperling said. But amyloid plaques somehow encourage this bad tau to spread toward the brain’s memory center, she explained. Top Stories Seeing how amyloid and tau interact in living brains “is opening a whole new chapter into possible therapies,” Turner added.For Gilbert, learning she had amyloid buildup “was distressing,” but it has prompted her to take extra steps, in addition to the study, to protect her brain. On her doctor’s advice, she’s exercising more, and exercising her brain in a new way by buying a keyboard to start piano lessons.“It’s exciting to be part of something that’s cutting edge,” said Gilbert, who had never heard of tau before.And she has a spot-on question: “So what’s the medication for the tau?”Stay tuned: A handful of drugs to target tau also are in development but testing will take several years.___Online: www.a4study.orgCopyright © The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed. Comments Share Former Arizona Rep. Don Shooter shows health improvement The vital role family plays in society The A4 study, which is enrolling participants in the U.S., Australia and Canada, may give some clues.The goal is to check up to 500 people for tau three times over the three-year study, as researchers tease out when and how it forms in those who are still healthy. They won’t be told the results — scientists don’t know enough yet about what the scans portend.At the same time, study participants will receive either an experimental anti-amyloid drug — Eli Lilly & Co.’s solanezumab — or a placebo as researchers track their memory. The $140 million study is funded by the National Institutes of Health, Lilly and others; the Alzheimer’s Association helped fund the addition of the tau scans.The idea: If the drug proves to be helpful, it might be tamping down amyloid formation that in turn reins in toxic tau. In previous studies, solanezumab failed to help full-blown Alzheimer’s but appeared to slow mental decline in patients with mild disease, raising interest in testing the still healthy.“We’re trying to remove amyloid’s downstream effects on tau formation,” said Dr. R. Scott Turner of Georgetown University Medical Center, where Gilbert enrolled in the study. 5 treatments for adult scoliosis
in Daily Dose, Data, Headlines, News May 11, 2017 632 Views The confidence of existing homeowners is rising, and it could mean more starter-home inventory will hit the market in the near future, according to an analysis released by ValueInsured on Thursday.ValueInsured’s Housing Confidence Index shows existing homeowners who are considering upgrading to a larger one have a confidence level of 75 out of 100 in their potential purchase. That’s higher than the confidence levels of first-time buyers, non-homeowners, and all Americans as a whole.“Existing homeowners are also the only group that reported an increase in housing confidence since January 2017,” ValueInsured reported. “This comes as no surprise as rising interest rates, higher home prices, and what has been dubbed ‘the strongest seller’s market ever’ have most benefitted existing homeowners in the current housing climate.”But given homeowners’ high levels of confidence, inventory is still strapped, and there just aren’t enough starter homes on the market. It will take getting these owners to start selling in order to alleviate the market’s inventory problem, ValueInsured says.“It has been reported that home sales this Spring has been slowed by low inventory; and one key reason for the shortage is would-be sellers holding onto their current homes, concerned that they may not be able to find desirable homes to upgrade to,” ValueInsured reported. “In other words, it is not far-fetched to say that not only are repeat buyers responsible for two-thirds of all home sales, they have a hand in helping close the other one-third as well.”Ultimate, ValueInsured says, it’s expected interest rate hikes and timing that are keeping people from selling. According to the site’s recent Modern Homebuyer Survey, 76 percent of homeowners believe interest rates will continue to rise this year, and another 71 percent say “the era of affordable mortgages are coming to an end.”“Given the historically low levels of interest rates and record high refinancing applications in the past four years, many of these potential upgrade buyers likely have recently refinanced and are hesitant to give up their existing low rate mortgage,” ValueInsured reported.The survey also showed that 56 percent of homeowners think prices would come down if they bought a new home now, and half think six months from now is a better time to sell. Move-up Buyer Confidence on the Rise Share homebuyer confidence move-up buyers repeat buyers valueinsured 2017-05-11 Aly J. Yale
January 11, 2019 819 Views Eagle Home Mortgage Lennar loans mortgage Movement Mortgage Originations Retail 2019-01-11 Radhika Ojha in Headlines, News, Origination Movement Mortgage Buys Eagle’s Retail Operations South-Carolina based Movement Mortgage is expanding its operations and reach in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West market through the acquisition of Lennar’s Eagle Home Mortgage’s retail operations. The transaction is expected to add $1.5 billion in additional annual mortgage loan volume to Movement’s origination platform, the company said in a statement.The acquisition, which is scheduled to close later this month, will also increase Movement’s national retail mortgage footprint by 230 additional mortgage professionals and 35 branch offices. “We want to grow, and we relentlessly look for purpose-filled, growth-minded mortgage professionals who want to make a meaningful difference in their industry and communities. We found all of those qualities and more in the team at Eagle Home Mortgage,” said Casey Crawford, CEO, Movement Mortgage. “I’m excited and honored to welcome these talented individuals to Movement.”The Eagle Home Mortgage assets are concentrated in the Pacific Northwest and Mountain West regions, including offices and operations in Washington, Oregon, Idaho, Wyoming, Utah, and Colorado. Movement expects to retain the staff across the acquired branch network and integrate the business with its existing retail network of more than 650 branches and 1,500 loan officers nationwide.“Movement provides our loan officers and support teams with the industry’s best process and service, innovative technology and a culture that emphasizes caring for customers, teammates, and communities,” said Kisha Weir, SVP, Eagle Home Mortgage.Movement kicked off the acquisition announcement with a four-day roadshow across four states, as executive sales and operations leadership visited Eagle associates in Seattle, Portland, Oregon; Boise, Idaho; and Denver. Share
October 9, 2006 Welcome to the October 1. 2006 workshop participants. Back from left: Angela Truffa, Errin Turner, Jung Ju Lee, David Hutchens and Alfonso Elia. Front from left: Stanford Mandizha and Ilaria Ferraboli. [Photo & text: sa]
After five years police appear to have in their hands the suspected mastermind of a scam who managed to steal some €300,000 from Cypriot craftsmen and workers seeking employment in the aftermath of the economic collapse.Tunisian Mohamet Jamel Ben Hassen, 63, aka Giorgos Krasopoulos, a Greek national, was on Saturday remanded in custody for six days after he was extradited from Greece in connection with stealing €290,000 from desperate people between June and September 2013 who had been promised work in France.Police said the suspect had registered a construction company on the island, G. Krasopoulos International Ltd, with headquarters in Larnaca and branches in Limassol and Dherynia.Through ads in the press and on the internet, the company sought craftsmen and workers for a project it was undertaking in Lille, France.It presented contracts to the candidates stipulating they had to pay €620 upon signing and an additional €600 when they started work in France.The suspect, according to police, presented himself to staff as the director, Giorgos Krasopoulos, and claimed he had an agreement with a French company for a large housing project.The court heard 470 people signed contracts and paid the initial €620 between June and September 2013, when the island was reeling from the economic collapse.Between September 4 and 8, a total of 72 individuals from Cyprus flew to Lille to start working but when they arrived, they realised they had been conned.During the investigation, police found that the suspect had used a copy of a counterfeit identity card to hire people who later registered the company for him.The ID had been issued in Greece in June 2011. It later transpired that Giorgos Krasopoulos was a real person living in Greece who had declared his ID lost at some point.The ID was used at the social insurance office in Larnaca to secure an employer’s tax registration number and register a company in Nicosia. It was also used at the VAT and inland revenue departments.According to Interpol, the man had been arrested in the Netherlands in July 2013 in possession of the Greek ID and a Bulgarian one. Both documents had his photo.He told the authorities the Greek ID was forged and that he had it because he was wanted in Greece because he owed the state €500,000.In August 2013, he was also arrested in Germany with the same ID.In his possession, the authorities also found a forged residence permit and forged Belgian and Cypriot driver’s licences.He told German authorities he was Krasopoulos and that his personal documents had been stolen in Bulgaria, forcing him to obtain the forged ID from an unknown foreigner in Athens.The suspect also claimed he could not get a new Greek ID because he owed the government €2m.German authorities took photos and his fingerprints, which they communicated to Interpol. The suspect was released after paying a €1,000 bail.Cypriot authorities matched the fingerprints to Hassen, whom it emerged had been arrested and convicted in Cyprus back in 1978 for fraud.Police said they have evidence showing the cash collected from the workers ended up in the suspect’s pocket, either through transfer companies or carriers who met him overseas.The suspect had flats in Hungary and Bulgaria, which posed as his company offices, police said.Two of his associates were arrested in 2013 in Bulgaria and Serbia and were later extradited to Cyprus.Hassen was arrested in Greece in August 2016 and was sentenced to nine years in jail for fraud and forgery a year later.In December 2018, Greek authorities notified Cyprus they had decided to extradite the suspect.You May LikeSolar SolutionsCalifornia Will Pay Homeowners to Install SolarSolar SolutionsUndoLifestyle Daily ReviewsThese Top-Rated Online Degrees Are Perfect For Seniors (See The List)Lifestyle Daily ReviewsUndoGundry MDThis Is What Happens To Dark Spots (When You Do This Every MorningGundry MDUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRape suspects look set to go through police line-upUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: Cole News 15Dec Rep. Cole’s bill to help couples recognize private marriages on public record becomes law State Rep. Triston Cole’s legislation to allow private marriages between minors to be made public after both parties are at least 18 was signed into law by the governor this week.Only persons at least 18 years of age may be married without parental consent. A probate judge may marry minors between the ages of 16 and 18 years old if these individuals have their parents’ permission – but these marriages are not put on public record. Cole’s bill will allow the marriage record of these individuals to be made public once they reach 18 years old, if both parties in the marriage agree.“Privately married couples now have the ability to see their marriage on public record,” said Cole, of Mancelona. “The court will be able to unseal the record of the individuals’ marriage when they both reach 18 years of age.”A couple from Alden Township discussed the bill idea with Rep. Cole. They celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary this year and the only gift they were asking for was to recognize their private marriage on public record.The legislation will allow marriage licenses to be unsealed upon the following conditions:· All petitioners were married without publicity.· The petitioners are both at least 18 years of age at the time of the filing.· Both of the petitioners wish to unseal the record of the marriage.Once the petition has been received and the court determines the above qualifications are met, the court shall forward a copy of the license and certificate of marriage to the clerk in the county the license was issued. The court shall also forward a copy of the marriage record to the state registrar.House Bill 4802 is now Public Act 200 of 2017.###
Categories: Diana Farrington News State Rep. Diana Farrington of Utica today cosponsored legislation encouraging Michigan counties to establish and maintain veteran service offices through a new grant program.Each county with a veteran service office that satisfies pre-approved requirements would receive $25,000, plus an additional amount based on the number of veterans in the county under the proposed legislation. To continue receiving the grant, an established county veteran service office must meet benchmarks for staff performance and reporting while maintaining the previous year’s funding level.“Local veteran service offices give veterans access to advising and assistance on benefits they are eligible for,” Farrington said. “For counties that do not have an accredited county service officer at hand, veterans are sometimes withheld from services they need.”Under the current veterans benefit model, the state supplies the Veteran Service Coalition with a grant to provide benefit services to veterans. Depending on the county, a Veteran Service Officer may only be available for a few hours each month at a single location such as a city library.Eleven Michigan counties are currently without a veteran service office. Farrington said this could be due to the number of veterans in the area, lack of funding or because the county partners with neighboring counties.“While Macomb County already has an accredited veteran service officer at its local department, this grant will still provide funding to help even further expand the level of service provided to veterans,” Farrington said.The measure, House Bill 5536, will be formally read into the record Thursday. 07Feb Farrington sponsors county grant legislation benefiting veteran services
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares May 19, 2014;Associated PressThe Institute of Museum and Library Services (IMLS) announced that it estimates that there are now 35,144 museums in the U.S., which is more than double its working estimate of 17,500 in the 1990s. The designation of “museum” applies to aquariums, arboretums, botanical gardens, art museums, children’s museums, general museums, historic houses and sites, history museums, nature centers, natural history and anthropology museums, planetariums, science and technology centers, specialized museums, and zoological parks. But before anyone starts talking about unprecedented countercyclical growth, it appears that some of the increase in numbers may be due to the counting methodology.In any case, there are a lot of museums, and information about them can be accessed in these data files and maps.Museum Universe Data File Q&AGraphic: Distribution of Museums by Discipline: PDF file | JPEG fileGraphic: Distribution of Museums by State: PDF file | JPEG fileMap: Museums of All Disciplines (Per 100,000 Population) by State: PDF file | JPEG fileBy the way, there are 123,000 libraries. Nice!—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share294TweetShareEmail294 SharesJune 23, 2015; Washington PostIf you need yet another reason to remember the crucial importance of nonprofit advocacy, consider the Museum Square battle going on right now in Washington, D.C. Washington’s Chinatown is one of the most unbelievably hot real estate markets in the region. Over time, Chinatown’s Chinese population has been gentrified out by young condo developers, high-income renters, and upscale restaurants. Half of all of the remaining Chinese in Chinatown live in one apartment complex—Museum Square—but their ability to stay in their neighborhood is in jeopardy.The apartment building—302 units, about 60 percent Chinese in occupancy—has been purchased by the Virginia-based Bush Companies, a developer that plans to terminate the building’s Section 8 rent subsidies that expire this fall, tear down the building at 4th and K Streets NW, and replace it with a new apartment complex targeting the luxury rental market.The Tenant Opportunity to Purchase Act requires that an apartment building must be offered to residents to purchase before their apartments can be sold or the building torn down. The Bush Companies chose an unusual but effective tactic to get around the tenant purchase requirement. Rather than offering the units at their current market cost, Bush has offered them at their future maximum market value—about $830,000 a unit, or $250 million for the entire property. It’s a pretty solid bet that most Section 8 tenants don’t have $830,000 available to fork over for their apartments. If Bush gets away with this exorbitant offer aimed at pushing the tenants out, you’ll quickly see developers doing the same elsewhere in the District’s real estate market.However, nonprofit advocates are pushing back against the Bush Companies’ strategy and its interpretation of the tenant purchase legislation. On June 23rd, when the Housing Association of Neighborhood Developers held its annual meeting (where this author delivered a presentation on an affordable housing strategy for the region), many program participants also went to a rally in Chinatown in support of the Museum Square tenants. The range of nonprofits joining the tenants included the Coalition for Nonprofit Housing and Economic Development, D.C.’s trade association of nonprofit housing and community developers, and the leaders from the National Alliance of HUD Tenants who were in Washington for their annual conference.At the rally, NAHT’s executive director, Michael Kane, described the issue in forthright terms: “What the Bush Companies is doing amounts to ethnic cleansing: removing communities of color from the city to make room for a high-rise.”“This is not only a struggle to save our homes. It’s a struggle to save our cities, to save the principles of inclusion, community, justice, and values that we all reflect,” Kane also said.To the Bush Companies, this is simply the dynamic of the real estate market, and because all of the tenants would get housing vouchers when they leave, it seems to the company that there is no problem here. To people who have watched the shrinkage of D.C.’s Chinatown, sometimes derided as “Chinablock” or even “Chinacorner,” the developers’ Museum Square plan represents the continuing elimination of America’s in-city Chinatowns. A recent study of shrinking Chinatowns in Boston, New York, and Philadelphia by the Asian American Legal Defense and Education Fund concluded:“Chinatowns on the East Coast are on the verge of disappearing…White populations are now growing faster in Chinatowns than they are overall in each of the three cities in which they are located. In fact, the White population in Boston and Philadelphia’s Chinatown doubled between 2000 and 2010 while the White populations decreased in those cities overall. Furthermore, of all racial groups, only the White population in New York’s Chinatown has grown in the last decade.”The AALDEF study specifically looked at the luxury housing market pressures similar to the Bush Companies’ plan for Museum Square:“In Philadelphia’s Chinatown, developers have converted the area north of Vine Street, which was previously heavily industrial, into lofts and luxury condominiums. Nearly all of the residential development has been for the ‘creative class,’ including art galleries, architects and designers, and other consulting firms… Boston’s Chinatown has experienced an influx in massive luxury condominiums in the past couple decades, ignoring a 1990 ‘Community Master Plan’ that limited the height of buildings. In New York’s Chinatown…the shifting demographics… suggest that non-family households, which include students, young professionals, artists, and designers who often make neighborhoods ‘hip,’ are displacing working-class immigrants who have relied on these affordable units for centuries.”The Museum Square tenants have been getting vital legal counsel from the nonprofit Asian Pacific American Legal Resource Center and the Legal Aid Society of the District of Columbia and as a result scored some important legal victories, including the judge’s rejection of the Bush Companies’ $250 million offer as bona fide, a decision being fought by the Bush Companies. The company has hardly given up on acquiring the lucrative real estate currently occupied by the Museum Square apartments and their low-income tenants. But the luxury market in D.C. is in frenzy. The city is dotted with construction cranes; “counting cranes” is now the measure for D.C.’s economic progress and revival. But as in other cities, luxury development is taking a massive, potentially fatal toll on D.C.’s Chinatown.—Rick CohenShare294TweetShareEmail294 Shares
Viacom is preparing to launch a raft of Paramount movie channels internationally and the first launch will be in Spain. In the wake of its quarterly results, Viacom CEO Philippe Dauman told analysts that the company is preparing to launch channels programmed with content from Paramount Pictures globally. “I think very rapidly in the next two to three years, you will see in many, many, many countries Paramount channels. The first will be in Spain,” he said. “We have several others lined up. There’s a lot of demand for the library movie channels and of course, Paramount is an exceptional library and brand. So I see a lot of opportunity in emerging markets with opening them up and opportunities in existing markets to launch more of our brands.”Viacom announced last April that Michael Armstrong had been upped to senior vice-president and general manager, BET International and Paramount Pictures Channels, with a remit to expand BET’s presence in global markets and to launch Paramount Pictures. Spain is the first confirmed Paramount Pictures launch although Dauman did not specify timing.Paramount Pictures will be an international brand. In its domestic US market its content is screened on the Epix cable channel. Its current slate includes Hugo and The Adventures of Tintin, although a large number of new titles will be taken by free and pay TV channels that have output deals with the studio. Library fare includes the Star Trek movies as well as Friday the 13th, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Beverly Hills Cop.The news of the Spanish Paramount Pictures launch came as parent company Viacom reported first-quarter results. Year on year net earnings in the quarter dropped 65%, taking the total to US$212 million (€161 million). The company blamed the effects of a lawsuit relating to the Rock Band video game and soft ratings at its kids network Nickelodeon for the slump. Overall revenue in the quarter was US$3.9 billion compared with US$3.8 billion a year earlier.
Dutch telco KPN has named Joost Farwerch as managing director of its Dutch operations. KPN has also appointed Godert Vinkesteijn as chief financial officer, KPN Netherlands.KPN has set the goal of stabilising its share of the Dutch mobile and fixed-broadband maket by the end of this year and to improve its cost base.Farwerck and Vinkesteijn currently sit on the executive committee of KPN’s home consumer division.
French ISP Iliad Telecom had 5.04 million broadband subscribers at the end of March, up from 4.5 million a year earlier.The company’s Free subscriber base grew from 3.866 million to 4.72 million, while Alice customer numbers decreased from 638,000 to 320,000. During the quarter, 46,000 Alice customers migrated to Free-branded services.Iliad’s consolidated revenues increased by 28.6% to €655.7 million.
The global TV services market grew by 4.1% last year, according to France-based research group IDATE’s Digiworld Yearbook, published this week.The TV service market totaled €329 billion in 2012 and outperformed the consumer electronics market, which fell 7.1% year-on-year to €260 billion.The top 10 media companies in 2012 were all US-based, led by Comcast – now including NBC Universal – followed by DirecTV, Time Warner, Walt Disney, News Corp, Time Warner Cable, Cox Enterprises, Dish Network, Viacom and CBS.Of the market segments measured by IDATE, only growth in telecom equipment sales outperformed TV services, growing by 7.1% to €330 billion. Telecom services remains much larger by volume however, growing by 2.7% to €1,115 billion.Software and computer services grew by 3.7% to €775 billion, while computer hardware sales grew by 4% to €360 billion.Europe’s digital markets together grew by only 0.1% to €869 billion, according to IDATE, and Europe was outperformed by all other global regions. Africa saw the highest growth, up 8.2% to €176 billion, followed by Latin America, up 5.2% to €272 billion, Asia Pacific, up 3.9% to €913 billion, and North America – which remained the largest single market overall – up 2.5% to €939 billion.IDATE said that it expects the global internet services market to double in size between now and 2016, growing 110% from €158 billion to €332 billion. Overall, IDATE expects core digital markets globally to grow by 16% from €3,169 billion to €3,663 billion.Within internet services, IDATE expects OTT video record the highest growth between now and 2016, followed by paid mobile applications and social networks. The biggest sectors by volume however will be cloud services, search and e-commerce.
Ahmed Nassef has left his role as Yahoo!’s VP and managing director for Middle East and Africa to found Telfez, an LA-based start-up focused on social TV services in emerging markets.Nassef has joined forces with Tamer Rashad, former head of Merrill Lynch Middle East & Africa to launch the new business, which will offer affordable social TV solutions to broadcasters, advertisers and media companies, primarily in the Middle East and Africa.“Today the Middle East and Africa region represents an inflection point for television viewership, skyrocketing growth in the penetration of smartphones and connected devices, and heavy social engagement,” said Nassef. “When you combine all of this with the continued growth in both TV and digital advertising budgets, the opportunity is very exciting.”He added: “Broadcasters and advertisers need a way to connect those experiences for their viewers and consumers, and that’s what Telfez will be all about.”
OWN: The Oprah Winfrey Network is “starting to pay down the investment Discovery has made in the venture” having turned cash flow-positive, according to Discovery Communication’s CEO.Discovery has pumped in millions of dollars into the cable channel – which also runs a programming block on TLC in the UK – due to a number of teething problems in terms of staff turnaround and ratings but David Zaslav yesterday revealed it was finally paying its way.“I’m proud to report that when combined with the long-term affiliate fees that Discovery has negotiated, OWN is now cash-flow positive,” he said. “This was ahead of the originally anticipated second half of the year goal of cash flow breakeven.“I want to congratulate Oprah and the entire team at OWN for this significant milestone – and we remain very bullish on its long term trajectory and our ability to drive continued asset appreciation in the future.”OWN’s ratings have been growing, which has allowed it to increase subscription fees from pay TV platforms, he added.However, Discovery doesn’t break down performance figures for the channel due to it being a joint venture with talkshow guru Winfrey.The news came in an investors’ call for Discovery’s second quarter financial results, which came in under analysts’ marks despite year-on-year growth.Revenue for the three months to June 30, 2013, of US$1.47 billion was 30% up on the same period in 2012, with operating income before depreciation and amortisation up 23% to US$668 million.Revenue at its flagship US networks came in at US$793 million, up from US$700 million, while operating profit was up 11% to US$472 million.International nets saw huge growth in revenue – up 61% to US$652 million – and profit – up 51% to US$265 million.Discovery attributed this to ad revenue up 119% and distribution revenue up 29%. Subscribers numbers in Latin America and consolidating Discovery Japan also helped the numbers.
European broadcaster Modern Times Group (MTG) is renaming its Viasat-branded broadcast operations base in London.The division will be known simply as MTG, while its wholesales channels business Viasat World is becoming MTG World.The Viasat brand will remain in various territories as a channel name.MTG has also launched a new corporate identity and logo.“Our new identity and values are there to inspire and guide us, every day. It’s important to not only understand the values we need to succeed, but to make sure that the whole organization lives those values. We need to have a healthy balance between working hard and having fun together while we do it. Our new logo is a bold step in this direction, and its open and playful design reflects the digital entertainment company we are today,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG president and CEO.
US cable giant Comcast has unveiled its own home-built DOCSIS 3.1 cable modem and said it will go into production this year ahead of deployment in 2016.Comcast, which has been a driving force behind development of a number of the cable industry’s next-generation technologies, including the Converged Cable Access Platform (CCAP) and the RDK software bundle for consumer premises equipment, has combined a WiFi router, IP video technology and integrated home automation and security capabilities in the device, according to CTO Tony Werner’s blog posting.Werner said that the Comcast Gigabit Home Gateway could deliver speeds in excess of 1Gbps, thanks to DOCSIS 3.1, and that it would be backward compatible with the DOCSIS 3.0 standard to enable deployment in the near term. The device integrates the PowerCloud home network control and monitoring technology acquired by Comcast in 2014, and also uses the RDK-B open-sourced software developed by Comcast with contributions from companies including Cisco.
Finnish telco DNA is to become the first operator in country to launch an Android-based open ecosystem 4K-enabled box, the DNA TV-hubi.The device, which will be launched in the spring, will enable users to bring online video services to the TV as well as to watch mainstream TV channels.DNA TV-hubi’s use of the Android operating system is compatible with the applications of Finland’s three largest TV channels, Katsomo, Yle Areena and Ruutu, along with YouTube, Netflix and Viaplay. Subscribers can download applications from the Google Play store.Other services without Android apps can be streamed to the TV via the box’s Google Cast functionality.The box can be used to watch linear TV channels from DNA’s cable network and the Finnish digital-terrestrial network. It comes equipped with two HD tuners, which enables simultaneous viewing and recording. The device includes software-based encryption for pay TV channels.The Sagemcom-manufactured DNA TV-hubi has Bluetooth support for wireless game controllers, and it can be connected to an external hard drive for recording content and be controlled with an application on smart phones, tablets or smart watches. The device also includes voice recognition support.”People are accustomed to accessing content and services flexibly with any device, and DNA TV-hubi is now making this possible with televisions as well,” said Mikko Saarentaus, director at DNA entertainment business.“This device is for anyone who wants to watch diverse television content with minimal hassle. Thanks to DNA TV-hubi, watching and using online programmes and content on your TV is now just as easy as using apps on your smart phone.”Separately, DNA has announced that the remaining DVB-T pay TV services in its digital-terrestrial platform will switch to DVB-T2 as of May 17.The majority of terrestrial-network pay TV and all high-definition channels are already being broadcast in the newer format. Following the change, 85% of the Finnish population will live within the coverage of all terrestrial-network pay TV channels. Customers outside the coverage area can still watch the channels over a broadband connection with the DNA TV application or with the DNA TV-hubi device.”This change will only apply to pay TV channels received over the terrestrial network. For the majority of terrestrial-network households, this will entail no changes to the channel offering. To continue viewing the channels, viewers will need to make a channel search on 17 May. If your receiver does not support automatic channel searches, you may have to update the channels manually,” said Pekka Väisänen, SVP, consumer business at DNA.”We have made extensive investments in a nationwide broadband network, which we can now use for the distribution of pay TV channels. In areas beyond the coverage of the terrestrial network, you can now actually view more channels via broadband than you used to see in the terrestrial network.”
Atlice has abandoned its attempt to acquire the leading Portuguese broadcaster and production group Media Capital in the face of lack of progress to secure regulatory approval of the deal.Altice said that, one year after signing the contract and with no outcome of the regulatory process in site, it was calling time on the merger.Altice has been trying to secure a green light from the Portuguese competition authority, the Autoridade da Concorrencia (AdC), for the acquisition of Prisa’s majority stake in Media Capital in the face of hositility from politicians, other operators and media groups in the country.The telecom giant, which owns the former PT Telecom/Meo telecom operator in Portugal, said that the decision to call a halt came after the contractual deadline for the agreement between it and Prisa was extended for two months in April to allow further time to secure approval from the antitrust watchdog.Altice laid the blame for the collapse of the merger squarely on the regulator. It said that it had proactively set out remedies in line with European Industry practice in the sectore but had encountered a “complete lack of openness” on the part of the AdC, despite both parties to the agreement being initially “confident of a positive assessment”.Atlice said that the AdC had not taken the necessary decisions to enable the impelemtnation of the agreement in a timely manner. It said that it had presented a comprehensive set of long-term commitments that could be monitored by an independent trustee, including the separation of various business areas, ensuring the TVI channel was avaialable to competing platforms at a far and non-discriminatory price and renunciation of exclusivity regarding conent.The telecom group said that “an opportunity has been lost” to create an integrated media and telecom company in Portugal that could compete with international digital giants, and pointed to the US court decision on the AT&T-Time Warner deal as evidience for the case that consolidation is vital if traditional media companies are going to survive competition with internet companies.The AdC initially opened its in-depth probe into the merger in February, after concluding that there was evidence that it could give rise to “significant impediments to competition” in several markets.
Ericsson has pushed back the divestment of its majority stake in MediaKind to the end of the year. having originally planned to close the transaction in the third quarter.Ericsson has partnered with One Equity Partners, which will become the majority owner of MediaKind – formerly Ericsson’s Media Solutions business.“The carve-out of MediaKind from Ericsson’s global structure to create a new company, jointly owned with One Equity Partners, is proceeding with great diligence,” said Ericsson in a statement.“With employees and customers located all over the world, the establishment of appropriate operating entities is necessary to begin operations as an independent company and to ensure a smooth transition for customers and employees.“This process has been more complex than originally expected and is now expected to be completed around year end instead of Q3 2018 as previously communicated.”Ericsson announced in July that Ericsson Media Solutions was rebranding as MediaKind. The new entity recently exhibited at IBC and Ericsson said it is developing in line with its new business plan.Ericsson plans to divest a 51% majority stake in MediaKind to private-equity outfit One Equity Partners.