Share8Tweet6ShareEmail14 SharesBy Charles Keck [Public domain or Public domain], via Wikimedia CommonsDecember 19, 2017; Washington PostVirginians went to the polls on November 7th, but the race for the 94th District in the House of Delegates wasn’t decided until Tuesday, December 19th. When the final tally came in after a recount, Democrat Shelly Simonds had 11,608 votes, while incumbent Republican David Yancey fell just one vote short with 11,607.Going into the recount, Yancey led by 10 votes, but there was an 11-vote shift. This marks the first time a recount had altered an election outcome in Virginia in almost 30 years. The Washington Post notes that “A three-judge panel still must certify the results,” an event scheduled for today, but no challenges are expected. The Republican leader in the House of Delegates already sent his congratulations to Simonds.The result would appear to create a “rare 50-50 tie between the parties in the House of Delegates.” We use the word “appear” because, despite the definitive Washington Post statement, Ballotpedia reports that at present the breakdown is really 49-49, with two more seats—one leaning Democratic and the other leaning Republican—still to be decided.Ballotpedia adds:On December 20, a recount is being held for District 68, where Dawn Adams (D) leads Delegate Manoli Loupassi (R) by over 300 votes. If the result of that election holds, Democrats will control 50 of 100 seats in the Virginia House in 2018. They will have an opportunity to pick up their 51st seat when a recount is held for the District 28 race on December 21st. In that contest, Robert Thomas Jr. (R) leads Joshua Cole (D) by 82 votes. Democrats have also filed a lawsuit in the District 28 race due to a finding by the Department of Elections that 147 voters cast a ballot in the incorrect election, potentially impacting the results of the District 28 race. If their lawsuit moves forward, Democrats could potentially ask for a new election to be held for the seat.Regardless of how this plays out, the outcome is a stunning turnabout from the nearly 2-1 majority (66 seats out of 100) that Republicans had enjoyed before November 7th. The even split, if it stands, would be the first time in 18 years that Republicans have lacked a majority in Virginia’s lower house. It is notable, too, that two years ago, when Simonds and Yancey also competed for the 94th District seat, Yancey prevailed by more than 15 percentage points, a stark illustration of the shift required to move the House from two-thirds Republican to an even split.“This is part of a huge wave election in Virginia where voters came out in record numbers to force a change in Virginia,” Simonds said. “I’m really proud to be part of that change and part of that wave election.”As in Alabama, voter turnout efforts in communities of color proved key in Virginia. Mother Jones covered these efforts before the election in October. Advocacy groups promoting turnout included the Black Progressive Action Coalition, the New Virginia Majority, the NAACP, and the Virginia Black Leadership Organizing Collaborative. In a district where more than one in five residents is Black, these turnout efforts would appear to have succeeded. According to the Virginia Pilot, the top two candidates in the 94th District combined had just over 14,000 votes in 2015, but over 23,000 in 2017. While having the governor’s race on the ballot surely helped, the 64-percent increase is very impressive.As for the impact of the shift in the state capitol, it will certainly be significant, but the details may be complicated. The Post reports that:Power sharing in the House of Delegates is an awkward exercise. Committee chairs have to be negotiated as does the person who will serve as Speaker. With the parties split 50-50, there is no mechanism to break ties and any legislation short of 51 votes does not advance. Republicans hold a slight 21-19 edge in the state senate but with a Democratic lieutenant governor to break ties, and a Democratic governor with veto power, Republicans may be forced to advance a more bipartisan agenda.As Simonds enjoyed her victory with good humor. Noting that another Democrat had won a seat by one vote in 1991 and was named “Landslide Jim,” Shelley remarked, “I may become Landslide Shelly. As long as they call me delegate, I’m okay with it.”—Steve DubbShare8Tweet6ShareEmail14 Shares
BSkyB is launching a dedicated Formula 1 auto racing channel. UK pay TV operator won rights to the racing series earlier this year in a deal that runs from 2012 to 2018.Sky Sports F1 HD will show every race live, practice and qualifying sessions and various wraparound programming and interactive services giving statistics and information about the races, teams and drivers. The channel will be free for subscribers signed up to Sky Sports 1 and Sky Sports 2 or the pay TV operator’s HD package.Sky will share the rights with UK public broadcaster the BBC under the terms of a deal inked in July. Sky will show all Grand Prix live and qualifying and practice sessions while the BBC will show half of the live races and qualifying and practice.“This is another example of the value we are creating for customers through our content leadership. It follows the recent launch of other high-quality new channels like Sky Atlantic and Sky 3D as well as our growing commitment to UK original content in areas such as drama, comedy and the arts,” said Sky CEO, Jeremy Darroch. “It will give even more value to Sky customers and create another reason for others to consider pay TV.”
Online video streaming service Netflix is to launch in Sweden and across the Nordic region, as first revealed by DTVE sister publication TBI in May. This move will mark the latest international launch for the service, which has already launched across Latin America, in Canada and in the UK and Ireland. The service will launch in Sweden, Norway, Denmark and Finland by the end of 2012. It will be available on PCs, Macs, smart TVs, games consoles, Blu-ray disc players, smartphones and tablets.TBI revealed in May that the company, run by CEO Reed Hastings, was planning to launch in Scandinavia by the end of the year and was in talks with local content partners and international distributors to secure programming.Netflix had previously put its international expansion plans on hold in order to return to profitability in the US and had planned to roll out in Spain before pulling the launch.
Russian broadcaster CTC Media has appointed former Goldman Sachs managing director Lorenzo Grabau as member and co-chairman of CTC’s board, effective of the close of its annual general meeting (AGM) on April 30. Grabau, who is also non-executive member of the board of Modern Times Group (MTG), CTC’s largest shareholder, will replace Hans-Holger Albrecht, who resigns as of the end of the AGM.Albrecht, formerly the chief executive of MTG, will focus on his current role as president and CEO of Millicom International Cellular. MTG Russia and Telcrest Investments – another major shareholder in CTC- agreed Grabau’s appointment.At the same time, CTC said it was nominating Dmitry Lebedev and Werner Klatter for re-election to its board at the AGM. MTG Russia has also designated MTG president and CEO Jørgen Madsen Lindemann be elected as director. Mathias Hermansson will not stand for re-election to the board.
Gábor Mátrai, the vice-president of communications at Hungarian media and telecom regulator the NMHH is to leave the organisation by mutual consent.Mátrai’s departure follows the appointment by Hungarian premier Viktor Orbán of Mónika Karas as president of the NMHH, following the death of the previous president Annamárai Szalai.Mátrai was last year named as vice-president of the Body of European Regulators for Electronic Communications (BEREC), the body set up to facilitate the exchange of information between European national telecom regulators and to advise the EC.
Consumer electronics provider Vestel and Swedish operating system platform maker Zenterio are partnering on a DVB-T2 set-top box that it is launching commercially in Uganda and Rwanda.The move comes ahead of a planned analogue terrestrial switch-off for much of Africa by June 2015, with DVB-T2, a system used to carry HDTV signals on terrestrial TV channels, expected to be important to this transition.The set-top will let viewers watch dozens of free-to-air digital channels and supports a high-quality HD picture.The companies said they will work with local partners SysCorp and TACT to analyse customer expectations and offer future services if they fit market demands – such as DVB-T2 hybrid with additional interactive services such as video-on-demand or catch-up TV.“Africa is an important market for Vestel and we are happy to begin set-top box sales into this market. We are aiming to expand DVB-T2 STB sales into other African countries in the coming years,” said Hakan Kutlu, Deputy General Manager, Vestel Trade.Zenterio CEO Samuel Lindstedt told DTVE: “Putting the Zenterio Operating System into this new retail DVB-T2 set-top box in Africa, specifically Rwanda and Uganda, shows the unparalleled flexibility and performance of our software and is proof that we can implement this technology for other emerging markets around the world.”
The ad hoc committee set up by Vivendi to weigh the rival offers for telecom unit SFR tabled by Numericable shareholder Altice and construction-to-telecoms conglomerate Bouygues came out yesterday in favour of a deal with Numericable, according to a report in financial daily Les Echos, without citing sources.According to the paper, the committee’s opinion is not decisive but is likely to carry weight as Vivendi’s board meets to consider the matter this morning. Vivendi has confirmed that its supervisory board is meeting now to consider the two offers.The belief that Vivendi is leaning towards a deal with Numericable was given weight by an interview given by industry minister Arnaud Montebourg to the Europe 1 radio station this morning. Montebourg, who is know to favour a deal with Bouygues, in part due to his belief that France would benefit from a reduction in the number of mobile telecom players from four to three, said that he “understood” that Vivendi “prefers the choice of Numericable”.Montebourg underlined what he sees as the risks of the Numericable option, citing the latter’s debt levels and the relatively small size of Numericable relative to SFR.Montebourg also criticised the tax arrangements of Altice proprietor Patrick Drahi, citing the fact that Numericable is owned by a holding company based in Luxembourg and quoted on the Amsterdam stock exchange, while Drahi is a Swiss resident with holding based in Guernsey.
The BBC’s commercial arm has selected six new start-ups to take part in its BBC Worldwide Labs project, covering business areas including audience research, video search and advertising.BBCWW kicked off its Labs scheme in 2012 to offer new companies guidance from industry experts and mentors from around the business, securing commercial partnerships without taking an equity state in the companies.The six startups chosen this year include: Seenit, an app that lets brands launch video-filming campaigns; Rezonence, an ad format that allows publishers to monetise digital content by asking consumers to engage; and CrowdEmotion, a software firm that analyses facial expressions to measure emotions.The other three start-ups are: video and audio search firm OP3NVoice; real-time ad and e-commerce system Verticly; and Buddy Bounce, a platform designed to let celebrities and brands better connect with their fans.BBCWW said that this year’s new start-ups have been selected based on their “natural alignment” with Worldwide’s existing business units and international brands, and their potential global reach.
Liberty Global CEO, Mike Fries.Virgin Media’s £3 billion (€4 billion) Project Lightning broadband investment programme will extend the company’s reach to two thirds of UK homes and generate up to £1 billion in incremental revenue by 2020, according to parent company Liberty Global’s president and CEO Mike Fries.Fries, speaking on an analyst call after Liberty Global released its full-year results at the end of last week, said that the company believed Virgin Media could replicate its existing footprint rates of 40% penetration and £50 ARPU, based on its experience with field trials in Glasgow and Teeside, where expansion to 10,000 homes achieved penetration of 23% and ARPU of £48.Fries said the build-out of Virgin Media’s network to new areas would be “demand led” based on its reception in various areas. While the headline price tag of £3 billion implies a cost of about £625 per home built out, Fries said the some of the investment would be variable based on take up, such as investment in consumer premise equipment. He said the company would launch with broadband speeds of 150Mbps.Speaking on the same call, Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockridge said that the cost of building out infrastructure is much less than it was a few years ago, thanks to advances in technology. The network in new areas will be fibre-deep and will not include a copper overlay to deliver telephony services, as is the case with Virgin Media’s legacy network.Mockridge said Virgin Media would look to build in cities where it already has a presence, filling in gaps in its network and taking customers from rival providers as well as growing penetration in areas where it is not already present.
BBC Radio 1 now has more than 2 million subscribers to its YouTube channel, and more than 2 million followers on Twitter and Facebook, the BBC Trust revealed as part of a radio service review.The review by the BBC’s governing body, which relates to BBC Radio 1, 1Xtra, Radio 2, Radio 3, 6 Music and Asian Network, called for BBC radio to “continue to develop its online strategy” and said it should engage on a regular basis with the UK music sector and commercial radio.“As the current definition of ‘new’ music is becoming invalid, the BBC should work with the music industry to find a more appropriate way to define new music on BBC radio,” according to the Trust.The review claimed that BBC Radio 1’s own website is used by around 2.5 million unique browsers each week. Though this is the highest of all the BBC’s network radio stations, it has not grown over the last few, the Trust added.In late 2014, Radio1 launched a branded space on the BBC’s TV iPlayer, marking an extension of its existing online presence.
Italy’s antitrust regulator has ordered an investigation into the circumstances surrounding the division of Serie A football rights between Sky and Mediaset for the 2015-18 seasons, according to local reports.Sky and Mediaset are suspected of colluding to carve up the rights, freezing out rivals including Discovery-owned Eurosport.Last year Mediaset at the last minute secured DTT rights to the matches of leading teams in the face of what it saw as a threat to allocate both major packages on offer to Sky. Serie A clubs agreed to allocate package A, with exclusive satellite rights to the matches of the eight leading teams to Sky, while package B, with DTT rights, went to Mediaset along with a package covering the matches of the 12 remaining teams.In a statement, Mediaset said that the deal had been approved by regulator AgCom at the time. It said that no alternative broadcaster had submitted a bid above the price threshold for each package at the time, and that therefore such players could not have been discriminated against. It also argued that the sale of both major packages to a single player – such as Sky – would have been against the rules governing the central sale of rights.
EPG data specialist EBS is showcasing its Pawa software at this year’s IBC.Pawa enables linear and non-linear EPG data to be aggregated, restructured and delivered to any platform in any format, according to EBS. Customers include BBC Worldwide, BT Sport, DStv, AMC Networks, Turner Broadcasting, Euronews, and QVC.According to the company, the Pawa system is able to fulfill the full range of distribution requirements necessary for broadcasters, driving linear and non-linear EPG data from a single database.Pawa can import listings from a variety of formats storing them centrally in preparation for distribution. Editors can then add any additional data required such as translations, editorial, images or cast before the listings are delivered wherever required, including platform operators both linear and non-linear, web, print, apps and more.Pawa can be bought as a managed service, whereby EBS handles the entire EPG data process, or alternatively as a software-as-a-service option with full training and support.“Pawa is unique as it enables us to deliver unrivalled client focussed propositions around the delivery of EPG data, which is increasingly rich in the connected era. This highly flexible approach allows us to easily deliver exactly what the customer requires and our recent announcements with customers, including BT Sport, BBC Worldwide and AMC Networks, further highlights our strength in the market,” explains Keith Bedford, EBS’ managing director.EBS will be exhibiting at IBC on stand 14.B01
Bruno CattanCanal+ Overseas will broadcast a new package of digital terrestrial TV (DTT) channels in French-speaking Africa, starting from the end of 2015.The Canal+ subsidiary will transmit the new pay TV offering of channels to DTT transmitters in approximately ten French-speaking countries.The service is due to launch by the end of the year will comprise a basic package of 25 channels and a selection of national channels per country.“Digital switchover is a unique opportunity for Africa and its broadcasting landscape. It opens the door to new channels with improved image quality and more locally produced programmes that better meet viewer expectations,” said Bruno Cattan, technology and web director of Canal+ Overseas.“We wanted to seize this opportunity and will use Eutelsat’s powerful African satellite resources to launch a television service that will enable a large number of households on the continent to enjoy the best that television can offer.”Canal+ Overseas has leased a 72MHz transponder on the Eutelsat 3B satellite to deliver the Canal+ channel offering.Michel Azibert, Eutelsat’s deputy CEO and chief commercial and development officer said: “Satellite technology is a natural ally for DTT roll-out in the countries targeted by our partner, as the reach we deliver can feed terrestrial networks spread over a huge landmass.”“This contract with Canal+ Overseas also cements a longstanding partnership with Canal+ with whom we have been collaborating in Poland and French overseas territories for over 20 years.”
Vodafone plans to launch a cloud-based TV service in the UK and Italy this year that can be ported to multiple markets, and is also planning to ensure that mobile video services are available wherever it offers mobile voice, according to chief technology officer Johan Wibergh.Speaking on an analyst call after Vodafone reported its full-year results, Wibergh said that Vodafone would introduce its cloud-based TV service this year, delivering services from its private cloud to low-cost boxes.He said that the product could be deployed once and then subsequently sold “in many markets”.Wibergh also said that Vodafone would upgrade its cable networks to DOCSIS 3.1 and use next-generation PON technology on its fibre networks to deliver “multi-gigabit speeds”.Referring to Vodafone’s mobile business, Wibergh said that the company’s goal was to have video available everywhere that voice is available, with a “continuous experience” of around 10Mbps.Also speaking on the call, Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao said that Vodafone was now “the fastest-growing fixed broadband provider in Europe by quite a distance”, with 21% of the company’s revenues now coming from its fixed networks.Colao said that on mobile, Vodafone was now delivering 3Mbps or above on 91% of its data sessions, meaning that it could support video.
French online retailer Cdiscount, owned by supermarket group Casino, has launched a Netflix-type OTT streaming service with the twist that it combines video, music and books for a single monthly price of €9.99.Cstream Video will offer over 300 movie titles and 1,000 TV episodes aimed at kids, with new content to be added each month, according to the company.The video offering comes via white-label video-on-demand specialist VOD Factory, which is behind FnacPlay, the on-demand player of electronic goods and music retailer Fnac. The video service is available via a native player, and is compatible with Google Cast. An Android TV version is in the works, according to Cstream.Cstream Music will be organised in 100 playlists, featuring what the company described as millions of titles for all occasions, personalized according to the taste of the listener.Cstream Books, the third leg of the offering, will include access to 50,000 novels, graphic novels, non-fiction and kids books from French e-books specialist Youboox, along with 30 magazine titles.The service will be available on PC, Mac, smartphone and iOS and Android tablets, alongside TVs for video content only, according to Cdiscount. Content will be available to download for offline viewing, listening and reading.The group said it was targeting the 90% of French people who have not signed up for a paid-for streaming service with a service that brought three media together in a single offering for the first time.Subscribers are being offered a trial first month’s subscription for €1. Users will not be required to commit to a minimum contract period.Cdiscount has about eight million active users in France, with an annual turnover of about €2.7 billion.
IET.tv has launched a new video transcript search function that allows users to keyword-search its entire video database.The IET said that the new ‘Engineering Video Intelligence’ functionality will take away hours of trawling through video content to find specific extracts and will be highly beneficial to practising engineers, technologists, academics and researchers.IET.tv is an online engineering and technology video database that is run by the Institution of Engineering and Technology (IET).
Spanish regional cable operator Euskaltel increased its subscriber base and grew revenue and profit in Q1, with CEO Francisco Arteche saying that the company’s bundling strategy was paying dividends.Francisco ArtecheEuskaltel’s revenue rose 26.6% to €176.6 million for the quarter, while EBITDA grew by 23.8% to €84.2 million. Operating cash flow was up 12.3% to €50.3 million, and Euskaltel posted a net profit of €14.6 million, up 10.9%.The company, which combines Basque Country operator Euskaltel, Asturias-based Telecable and Galician operator R, added 25,000 new contract sales in Q1, taking its revenue-generating untie base to 2.3 million.Euskaltel said that triple- and quad-play customers now account for 68.6% of the overall base, with an average of 3.6 products per customer.Euskaltel added 6,000 pay TV customers in the qurter, taking its base to 400,000, which was attributed to the success of its new 4K Android-based set0top box and the addition of a Netflix button to its remote control.The company added 3,000 broadband subscribers, taking its base to 492,000, and 18,000 mobile lines, taking its overall base of mobile lines to 933,000.Euskaltel said that its growth had been boosted by its expansion into the Navarre region, where it is selling its products over Orange’s network, although it did not break out numbers.“We have honoured our market announcement: a net rise in new customers and growth in revenue, EBITDA and profits,” said Arteche.Euskaltel’s management came under criticism in March from shareholder Zegona Communications, the former majority owner of Telecable. Zegona said that it was “disappointed” Euskaltel’s performance, which it claimed had resulted in a €41.5 million decline in the value of its investment.
Vivendi has condemned what it sees as a move by its rival for the control of Telecom Italia (TIM), Elliott Advisors, to take advantage of the ongoing decline in TIM’s share price to acquire more stock.Responding to an SEC filing that revealed that Elliott has increased its stake in TIM to 9.4%, up from the 8.8% it held in April last year, Vivendi said that Elliott was acting opportunistically to benefit from a fall in the telco’s share price that it had brought about.Elliott said it its SEC document that TIM share were “undervalued and represent an attractive investment opportunity”.The hedge fund said that there were “several pathways” to increase shareholder value going forward, including “but not limited to” the “separation of its fixed-line access network (NetCo) and the evaluation of market consolidation operations” as well as the conversion of saving shares to common shares.Elliott also stated its opposition to Vivendi’s plans to engineer a change in the composition of the TIM board at the forthcoming March 29 shareholders meeting called for by the French media company. The hedge fund said that “any change in composition of the board at this juncture would be detrimental to the execution and delivery of [TIM’s] anticipated value creation plans”.“Elliott is acting as a pure financial investor, that is to say, using an opportunistic approach to take advantage of the 45% drop in the share price. The share price is currently so low because of Elliott’s own terrible governance since May 4. There is currently no industrial plan,” said a Vivendi spokesperson.TIM’s new Elliott-backed CEO Luigi Gubitosi, who replaced Vivendi-appointed Amos Genish in a move engineered by Elliott’s board members at the end of last year, is due to unveil a new strategy for the operator on February 21, which could involve the separation of the fixed network.
DETECTIVES from the PSNI’s Terrorist Investigation Unit investigating violent dissident republican activity have carried out a number of searches in Derry yesterday and today.One man was arrested and police have revealed lethal bomb device has also been taken out of the hands of dissident terrorists.Dective Inspector Adrian Brown of Maydown-based TIU said: “A 48 year old man was arrested following the search of a house in the Creggan area on Friday night. VIABLE BOMB FOUND DURING SEARCHES INTO VIOLENT DISSIDENT REPUBLICAN ACTIVITY IN DERRY was last modified: July 9th, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: CRegganDI ADRIAN BROWNgalliaghTERRORIST INVESTIGATION UNITVIABLE BOMB FOUND DURING SEARCHES INTO VIOLENT DISSIDENT REPUBLICAN ACTIVITY IN DERRY “He was taken into custody, where he remains, assisting us with our enquiries.“Further searches took place on Saturday morning in the Creggan and Galliagh areas where a viable improvised explosive device and various other component parts were recovered at a location in Galliagh.“These items were made safe at the scene and have been taken away for further forensic examination.”Detective Inspector Brown added: “I would appeal to anyone with any information that could assist us in combatting violent dissident republican activity to contact police on 101 or Crimestoppers anonymously on 0800 555 111.” ShareTweet
The alert on the Glengalliagh Road area of the city began just after 10.30 pm last night.The road has now been re-opened.SECURITY ALERT IN DERRY ENDS AFTER HOAX DEVICE UNCOVERED was last modified: July 22nd, 2016 by John2John2 Tags: A security alert in Derry has now ended.Police have declared a suspicious object to be a hoax after the alarm was raised late last night.British Army Technical Officers examined the object before it was removed from the scene. ShareTweet BRITISH ARMY TECHNICAL OFFICERSGLENGALLIAGH ROADPSNISECURITY ALERT IN DERRY ENDS AFTER HOAX DEVICE UNCOVERED