Brisbane’s reputation as a world-class destination for business events was internationally recognised this week with the announcement the Brisbane Convention Bureau had received an international award for the quality of two of its guides.The Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau’s Meeting Planners Guide and Unique Venues Guide were awarded the silver medal in the Best Brochure category at the prestigious international Meetings Industry Marketing Awards (MIMA).The Meeting Planners Guide 2011-13 is a definitive source of information on Brisbane venue and accommodation options, professional support services and leisure activities and the Unique Venues Guide offers an insight into the unique, unusual and intriguing venues in Brisbane and the service suppliers who can make an event come to life.With a vision to be Australia’s most sustainable city and carbon neutral by 2026, the Guides and packaging are made from recycled, FSC certified materials. Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau director Annabel Sullivan said the award, which was presented at a banquet dinner in London, was great recognition of the world-class venues and business events products and services on offer in Brisbane. “As Brisbane continues to grow, the Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau has met this growth, consistently producing new and innovative ways to showcase all that is on offer in Australia’s new world city,” she said.“This award, coming on the heels of the announcement Brisbane would hosting the G20 Summit in 2014, is a ringing endorsement of the forward-thinking, innovative and collaborative business events offerings in Brisbane.“The Brisbane Marketing Convention Bureau is committed to ensuring it continues to build on what we offer event planners.“In fact this is the last year we will provide printed guides, as we have just combined our award-winning Meeting Planners and Unique Venues Guides and produced the online Brisbane Event Planning Directory,” she said. “This dedicated online city directory is the first of its kind in Australia and was driven by the demand for online business tools.” The Brisbane Event Planning Directory (www.brisbaneeventplanner.com.au ) has become the go-to-tool for meeting planners organising events and conferences in Brisbane.The directory incorporates venues, accommodation and services and users can compare venues, create and share a shortlist and learn more about what Brisbane has to offer. The new Brisbane Event Planning Directory will complement the Convention Bureau’s www.meetinbrisbane.com.au website.Planners can view the new directory on smartphones and tablets making this essential information easier to access anywhere, anytime.Site visitors also have the option to subscribe to monthly directory updates to always keep apprised of the latest developments, openings and renovations occurring throughout different venues and services around Brisbane. Source = Brisbane Convention Bureau
The Greek medical association on Tuesday said it was against the move of doctors from Greece to Cyprus to work as family doctors (GPs) and specialists under the National Health Scheme (Gesy), pledging solidarity to their Cypriot colleagues.Head of the Greek medical association Michalis Vlastarakos told the Cyprus News Agency he did not eye positively the possible mass arrival of doctors from Greece to offer their services under Gesy.The association took a stance following reports that the Cypriot government would try to bring in doctors from Greece in the case an insufficient number of Cypriot doctors did not join Gesy.The Cypriot medical association (CyMA) said some two weeks ago that it had the authority to refuse to grant medical licences if it deemed this would threaten local physicians.“As the Panhellenic Medical Association, we are against this,” Vlastarakos said. “We do not want to experience a new migratory wave of doctors, like that we have experienced in previous years. Nor do we wish the possible influx of Greek doctors to be a problem for our Cypriot colleagues.”Vlastarakos said his association is in constant communication and cooperation with CyMA and is monitoring the public debate concerning Gesy.He said that CyMA’s concerns as regards Gesy, are the same expressed by his association when the same dialogue took place in Greece for the introduction of the country’s health scheme.Health Minister Constantinos Ioannou said on Monday that there has been interest by doctors from other countries, mainly Greece, due to the salaries offered which he said are much higher than in Greece.He said he did not know if this would result in a mass arrival of Greek doctors but his ministry’s intention, he said, was not to bring in doctors from abroad but get those in Cyprus to join Gesy.Last week, the Citizens Alliance said it would table an amendment to the law which would prevent CyMA from stopping the employment of foreign doctors in Gesy.You May LikePopularEverythingColorado Mom Adopted Two Children, Months Later She Learned Who They Really ArePopularEverythingUndoLivestlyChip And Joanna’s $18M Mansion Is Perfect, But It’s The Backyard Everyone Is Talking AboutLivestlyUndoYahoo SearchYou’ve Never Seen Luxury Like This On A Cruise Ship. Search Luxury Mediterranean CruisesYahoo SearchUndo Pensioner dies after crash on Paphos-Polis roadUndoCruise passenger airlifted to Paphos hospitalUndoRemand for pair in alleged property fraud (Updated)Undoby Taboolaby Taboola
State Rep. Amanda Price, R-Park Township, will continue her monthly office hour visits during the summer months, making regular stops in Spring Lake, Park Township and Grand Haven.“My commitment to the residents of the 89th District does not change, whether the state House of Representatives are in session or not,” said Rep. Price. “I have scheduled office hours on the first and third Fridays, as well as the third Monday of every month to make it as simple as possible for area residents to share their thoughts on state government. I look forward to meeting constituents to discuss issues of importance to them.”During the month of June, Rep. Price will be available atFriday, June 17, 9-10 a.m. at Coffee Grounds, 41 Washington Ave. No. 180, Grand Haven 08Jun Rep. Price invites 89th District residents to June office hour events Categories: News Monday, June 20, 10-11 a.m. at the Park Township Hall, 52 152nd, HollandNo appointment is necessary. Anyone unable to attend the office hour events can contact Rep. Price’s Lansing office at 517-373-0838. The representative also can be reached by email at firstname.lastname@example.org or by mail at N-1193 House Office Building, P.O. Box 30014, Lansing, MI 48909.
21Feb House committee approves Johnson bill to repeal case mandate Categories: Steven Johnson News This week, the House Judiciary Committee approved Rep. Steve Johnson’s House Bill 5417, which would remove a mandate that bows, crossbows and slingshots be cased while being transported in a vehicle.“I view this change as a simple criminal justice issue,” said Johnson, R-Wayland. “By not knowing and following this subtle aspect of Michigan law, hunters simply traveling from one location to another with a bow or crossbow could be found guilty of a misdemeanor, putting them at risk of jail time.”Rep. Johnson’s bill removes the current mandate that bows, crossbows and slingshots be cased when transported in a motor vehicle, including an off-road vehicle. The legislation includes a provision that bows, crossbows and slingshots would need to be unloaded and uncocked to transport without a case. This change would bring Michigan in line with several other Great Lakes states that have similar transport provisions.House Bill 5417 now moves to the full House for consideration.###
Plan includes money specifically for Barry and Ionia countiesRoads in Barry and Ionia counties would benefit from legislation approved today by Rep. Julie Calley and the Michigan House.The $175 million bill provides additional money for road preservation and construction across Michigan as early as this summer.“Our drivers need safe, dependable roads, and the winter is really taking a toll on our streets and highways,” said Calley, of Portland. “Our communities need the funding to combat the seasonal damage and our save roads from further decay.”In addition to state projects, the bill includes money for county, city and village roads throughout Michigan. Estimated local allocations include Barry County ($539,459), Ionia County ($538,333), the cities of Portland ($32,483), Hastings ($57,157) and Freeport ($5,685), and the villages of Middleville ($24,546), Nashville ($13,545) Woodland ($3,391), Pewamo ($5,504), Lake Odessa ($16,221), Saranac ($10,429), Clarksville ($3,858), Lyons ($8,441) Muir ($5,541) and Hubbardston ($5,336).The money is left over from a previous state government budget cycle and is already available, meaning no budget cuts or additional fees or taxes are required for the investment. The money included in the bill approved today comes in addition to previous changes providing more funding for road and bridge projects across the state.House Bill 4321 advances to the Senate for further consideration.### Categories: Calley News 21Feb Rep. Calley approves more money for road repairs Tags: road funding
10May Rep. Julie Calley: Michigan House school safety plan emphasizes ‘teamwork and unity’ Categories: Calley News,News A plan approved by the Michigan House this week would establish a system to help all schools in the state become safer and more secure, state Rep. Julie Calley said.Calley, of Portland, supported the legislation establishing a statewide commission to help review and audit security procedures in school buildings. Grants to improve security would be distributed with priority going to schools with the greatest need. Schools would have local liaisons to work with the statewide commission.The commission is the cornerstone of the multi-faceted plan that received overwhelming bipartisan support in the House and is now headed to the Senate for further consideration.“This plan stresses teamwork and unity,” Calley said. “Everyone must do their part to make our schools safer for students, teachers and all who visit. This legislation is a significant step in the right direction, providing a structure and support to improve school security, while upholding local control for school districts.”Other details of the plan include:–Requiring schools to submit incident reports to the statewide commission. The reports would provide the commission with examples of how incidents and threats were handled to develop best practices for other Michigan schools to follow.–Requiring new school construction or major renovation projects include safety features such as reinforced entryways and remote door locks.–Making the OK2SAY program permanent by eliminating an expiration date currently in state law. The program allows the confidential reporting of tips on potentially harmful or criminal activity directed at students, school employees or school buildings.–Mandating consistent, standardized training related to school violence incidents in the requirements to be a licensed law enforcement officer in Michigan.###The legislation: House Bills 5828-30 and 5850-52.
Share7TweetShare3Email10 SharesKuay Makuach, farmer, Lankien, South Sudan / Oxfam East AfricaFebruary 20, 2017; GuardianThe ongoing ethnic conflict in South Sudan, which has displaced over a quarter of its population, now threatens the food security of the people who remain. According to a government official, South Sudan is suffering from famine in Unity State, along the northern border with Sudan. As the Guardian reports:About 4.9 million people—more than 40 percent of South Sudan’s population—are in need of urgent food, agriculture and nutrition assistance, according to an Integrated Food Security Phase Classification (IPC) update released on Monday. […] The IPC update, which was based on information built up over recent months, added that the total number of food insecure people is expected to rise to 5.5 million in July if nothing is done to curb the severity and spread of the food crisis.The United States recently lifted sanctions on Sudan, South Sudan’s neighbor to the north, hoping to quicken the flow of international aid, but aid workers in both countries have struggled to safely reach the rural areas where their help is needed. Aid workers have claimed that government and rebel forces have prevented their movements, and though the UN maintains over 10,000 peacekeeping troops in the region, it is often unsafe for convoys to travel.The United Nations defines famine as when at least 20 percent of households in an area face extreme food shortages, acute malnutrition rates exceed 30 percent, and two or more people per 10,000 are dying per day. So by the time famine is officially declared, it’s already an enormous problem that aid agencies have been trying to solve.South Sudan has a great deal of oil. However, it has not been able to capitalize on its wealth due to ongoing conflicts among leaders and ethnic groups as well as the lack of modernization in its industry. NPQ has covered the civil war, which was recently restarted when President Salva Kiir dismissed several officials and accused one, former warlord Riek Machar, of plotting a coup.South Sudan actually has a large amount of arable land, and 85 percent of its people rely on agriculture for their livelihood. Its farmers grow cereal crops like sorghum, millet, and rice, which are among the easier crops to transport and sell, since they don’t spoil in the heat like produce, and they don’t carry water weight. However, according to the African Development Bank, the lack of modernized techniques, the difficulty of market access, the lack of farmer associations that can provide loans and stabilize prices, and the uncertainty of property rights force farmers to operate at a subsistence level rather than for market production, leaving them unable to build long-term wealth.According to the AFDB,Two and a half decades ago, the country was a net exporter of agricultural product to regional markets; due to war-related destruction, poor infrastructure and lack of investment in the agriculture sector, South Sudan is now a net importer of food. It currently imports as much as 50 percent of its needs, including 40 percent of its cereals from neighboring countries, particularly Uganda and Kenya. Total food imports are estimated to be in the range of $200–300 million a year.Since President Kiir cut off the oil supply lines in 2011, the country experienced a freefall in revenue and inflation rates of over 800 percent, making it impossible to pay for so much imported food.Neighboring Uganda now has well over half a million South Sudanese refugees from violence and famine, in addition to nearly 50,000 refugees from violence in Burundi. Refugee camps, which are already filled to over capacity, may soon be facing their own food shortages.World Food Program director Joyce Luma said, “This famine is manmade.” Astronomical rates of displacement and violence have made it impossible for farmers to grow food, and subsistence farming means that they rely on yearly production for survival. The WFP, the UN, and other agencies are importing and distributing food, but according to Luma, “There is only so much that humanitarian assistance can achieve in the absence of meaningful peace and security.”— Erin RubinShare7TweetShare3Email10 Shares
Slovenian cable operator Telemach has struck a deal with sports broadcaster Ikomedio whereby it will retain the rights to air the latter’s existing Sportklub channels.The company will also air two new Sportklub channels – Sportklub Prime and Sportklub HD – in the near future. SBB-owned Telemach has also secured the exclusive rights to the Golfklub channel, which will also be made available in HD soon.The Sportklub channels include rights to Spanish First Division and English Premier League football, Euroleague baskeball, and various tennis, hockey and golf tournaments.The latest deal will give Telemach rights to air seven SD (Sportklub, Sportklub Plus, SK Prime, Sportklub 3, Sportklub 4, Sportklub 5 and Golfklub) and five HD channels (Sportklub HD, Sportklub Plus HD, SK Prime HD, Golfklub HD and SK Premium HD).
Some 945,000 individual UK households that use signal amplifiers and a further 953,000 homes that use communal aerials could experience TV interference when 4G mobile networks are launched, according to a written parliamentary answer by culture minister Ed Vaizey.Citing Ofcom’s second consultation on the co-existence of DTT services and new mobile services in the 800MHz band, Vaizey said that some 8,500 homes across the country could still be affected once a mix of consumer-based and “selective mobile network-based mitigation methods” are applied.Under government proposals, companies that buy licences in the 800MHz range will have to contribute to a fund to buy filters for homes affected. The government committed in February to £180 million (€225 million) in funding to find solutions to the problem.
Online video distribution specialist Rightster has launched its own studio to finance online programming and channels.Rightster Studios is designed to enable producers from independent viral video creators to large traditional production houses and news organisations to create online video programming, according to the company, which already has a partnership agreement with YouTube.Rightster Studios will initially launch with facilities in London, with a presence in New York, and subsequently Singapore and Los Angeles, to follow.The unit will begin work with programme makers and producers on an invitation basis this summer and open applications up more widely in October. Existing content partners include Viral Spiral Group and ITN Productions.“There has been a huge surge in the growth of original programming online, but traditionally financing of new shows has been done by linear channels, such as TV or radio networks, that have loyal audiences, which means they are able to accurately forecast future revenues,” said Charlie Muirhead, founder and CEO at Rightster. “These linear channels don’t exist online, meaning it can be very hard to forecast the interest, audience, and therefore the revenues for a new show. The lack of financial support and the risk involved to date has created a bottleneck, preventing new talent and original programming from reaching its audience online, which is why we have launched Rightster Studios.”
Device browser provider Access has launched Access Twine, a new platform designed to enable unified content search and discovery across multiscreen platforms.Access is targeting pay TV operators with the new platform which it says can bridge the gap between different multiscreen devices using different DRM, OSS and billing systems. The company has pre-integrated support or conditonal access and DRM systems including Microsoft PlayReady, enabling control and in-home distribution of content from DVRs and other devices.It is diesigned to enable video content discovery and playback on mobiles, tablets and operator branded devices such as set-top boxes. Twine is also designed to enable operators to manage device authorizations, concurrent devices and remote access as well as create managed domains, as well as to provide data collection and enable targeted advertising insertion at different points. Access plans to announce a partnership with an advertising systems provider at the forthcoming IBC.“Fragmentation is the largest technological hurdle operators face when looking to deploy the multiscreen services that are now a consumer must have,” said Neale Foster, COO and VP global sales TV, Access Europe.“Access Twine has been developed to provide a single management platform that helps operators address fragmentation issues in terms of device type, browser and OS, interaction method, screen size, secure content delivery and rights issues. Access Twine provides the simplest route for operators to launch true TV Everywhere while enabling consumers to access the existing operator portfolio and their personal content such as recordings on their PVR devices even when they are outside of the home. This helps operators to focus on providing the best possible services to attract and retain customers as well as maximise ARPUs.”
LG Smart TVRussian streaming video-on-demand service Okko – formerly known as Play – is to make its first 4K UHD movies available via the LG smart TV platform from next month.Okko will stream a range of Hollywood movies encoded in the H.265/HEVC format and delivered using MPEG-DASH adaptive bit-rate streaming.Okko first trailed the deal with LG at the IFA consumer electronics trade fair in Germany earlier this month. The company said it had complied with the security standards of four of the six Hollywood studios.Okko said that, unlike existing 4K services, which require a dedicated box, its service would be preinstalled on LG smart TVs.Okko said it is in talks to make new Hollywood releases available via the 4K service, and has secured rights to The Gunman, starring Sean Penn and Javier Bardem, which will be available next year.The service will kick off in October with a range of documentary movies shot in native 4K.Okko, formerly known as Play, launched as a brand in July.
Roughly a third of European viewers now use mobile and tablet devices to watch video content, with four in ten using more than one screen as part of their viewing habits, according to new research.The study, conducted by technology market research firm Vanson Bourne on behalf of Brightcove, found that 33% use a mobile and 34% use a tablet to watch TV, even though 75% of viewers stated a preference for PCs and laptops.Brightcove said these habits prove the continued need for high-quality, cross-platform services, with the ‘anywhere, any device’ requirement “now an expectation for audiences – not a nice to have.”The study found that 41% use more than one screen as part of their viewing habits, with this ‘second-screening’ adding both an opportunity and a risk for broadcasters— “an opportunity to create interactions across both screens (through social channels, for example), and a risk through added competition for attention from the second screen.”Elsewhere, the study found that online video content is “now being consumed 24/7” – with 55% of viewing taking place in the evening, 24%in the daytime, 15% overnight and 6% in the morning.In terms of advertising, 41% of respondents said advertising was a “nuisance”, but over four in ten said they expect advertising if the content is free.“Despite all these evolving patterns in viewers’ expectations and preferences for digital television, across the board audiences are looking for relevant, varied and high-quality content that entertains or informs them, across platforms and screens,” said Anil Jain, senior vice president and general manager, media at Brightcove.“As broadcasters plan for their future, extra care should be taken to marry rich content with optimal delivery, discoverability and relevant advertising in relation to both the content and viewer. The more tailored the content is, the more accepting viewers are to advertising – which in turn helps broadcasters achieve business goals.The research surveyed 4,000 consumers across the UK, France and Germany about their video consumption habits, preferences and tolerance for advertising.
David ZaslavLarge-screen cinema company Imax has cut its first TV distribution deal for its original programming and will partner with Discovery on a range of films.The deal gives Discovery an exclusive 18-month global rights window on Imax features after they have played in Imax cinemas. Up to ten films are covered by the agreement.“As content is created and consumed across multiple platforms we continue to innovate and look for new ways to maximize the reach of our original films. We are delighted to partner with Discovery to help us achieve this goal,” said IMAX CEO Richard L Gelfond.The features will be produced and released through the Imax Original Film Fund, which was established in 2014 to create educational feature docs, often made in partnership with museums andscientific institutions.David Zaslav, president & CEO, Discovery Communications said: “IMAX is a terrific company and partner, and we are proud to come together to ensure these important documentary films are given, through Discovery’s unmatched global distribution platform, the expanded viewership they deserve.”RichRoss, Group President, Discovery Channel, Animal Planet, and Science Channel added: “This partnership signifies the importance that Discovery is placing on documentary filmmaking that spurs action. Working with IMAX, we can provide audiences multiple global platforms to experience these important stories.”
YouTube will play host to virtual reality coverage of the US Republican and Democratic National Conventions, it has announced.YouTube said that, just like in 2012, it will be the official live stream provider of both convetions. However, this year a number of creators and news organisations will use new tools including mobile live streaming and Jump VR cameras to broadcast on YouTube.“We believe that access to more information can help everyone participate in the political process and we look forward to the YouTube community’s lively discussion as we prepare to elect our next president,” said YouTube News’ Brandon Feldman.The Republican National Convention starts on July 18 in Cleveland, Ohio, and the Democratic National Convention starts on July 25 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania.
Niche SVOD services may eventually end as standalone apps and instead be distributed as part of larger OTT services, according to research from Parrot Analytics and MIPCOM.The study forecasts that current market trends will “eventually lead to a period of aggregation”. This may end with SVOD apps that offer content from one network or provider, such as the Starz and Showtime offers, existing purely as add-on services of larger OTT services such as Hulu and Amazon in the US.“By combining with a more popular OTT service, the niche SVOD providers increase the size of their potential audience, increasing the chance that their content will reach the right people,” the report suggested, adding: “The OTT platforms with the biggest user base, serving the right content to the right audience, will win.”Other predictions in the ‘Who’s Winning in the World of the New Television?’ report, which employed Parrot’s digital data capture technology to induce results, include: Linear and OTT platforms will only be able to keep up with global content demand by getting the “right content, in the right market, at the right time”, and that faster rights and licensing processes would be needed to satisfy demand for immediate accessThe top broadcast shows are untraditional dramas, but that sitcoms and procedurals still demand large audience sharesThe most popular content on cable networks is aimed at young adult demographicsCable channels are the most diverse in terms of genre and audience, while premium cable focuses on “graphic” dramas such as Game of Thrones (pictured)Demand for Netflix’s SVOD titles is as high as that for top premium cable series. In contrast, advertiser-funded VOD has the least demand of the five industry segments (SVOD, AVOD, broadcast, cable, premium cable)Parrot’s demand expression measurement, which is taken from billions of data points online including ratings and social media noise from 249 territories, shows content acquisitions will need to become “market-specific, as consumers in different countries naturally have different content preferences”.For example, fantasy epic Game of Thrones is the most in-demand in Ireland, but trails in second place in Australia, where the lighter Pretty Little Liars is first.“These market-specific preferences mean that even international platforms such as Netflix must curate the content available in each country; a one-size-fits-all approach will not be successful everywhere,” the reported claimed.MIPCOM this year runs from October 17-19 in the Palais des Festivales in Cannes, France.To read the full whitepaper, click here
Sky-owned over-the-top video service, Now TV, is set to increase the price of its Entertainment Pass in mid-August.From August 15 the cost of the entertainment package will increase from £6.99 (€7.98) per-month to £7.99 per-month.The news came ahead of the debut of Game of Thrones season seven, which viewers can live-stream with a Now TV Entertainment Pass from today on a simulcast basis with the show’s US broadcast.The £1 price increase marks the first price change to Now TV’s Entertainment Month Pass since 2014. No price changes are being made to the Now TV’s Sky Cinema, Kids or Sky Sports TV Passes.“Over the last two years we’ve given our customers more channels, new features, and expanded our offering to more than 8,000 individual episodes, including 250 box sets – and until now, we’ve done all that without putting up prices,” said a Now TV spokesperson.“Today’s change will allow us to continue to invest in more great content for the Entertainment pass, bringing customers even more exciting new shows and innovations.”The Now TV Entertainment Pass package gives viewers access to 11 pay TV channels – including Sky Atlantic, Sky One, Fox, Discovery and Viceland – along with more than 250 box-sets on-demand.
Changing viewing habits mean that service providers need to deliver cross-platform reach to advertisers, but content owners continue to value pay TV and OTT audiences differently, according to a survey of US MPVDs, OTT providers, content owners and advertisers commissioned by ad technology outfit SpotX from S&P Global Market Intelligence-owned Kagan.According to the survey of 41 US respondents, some 80% agreed that changing viewing habits had resulted in the requirement or ability to deliver cross-platform audience reach, with 100% of advertisers saying that this was the biggest resulting strategy change for them.Despite this, over 60% of respondents said they value pay TV and OTT audiences differently, with the proportion differing between content owners and advertisers. Some 69% of content owners value audiences differently, while only 44% of advertisers do, according to the survey.Some 36% of respondents said that OTT offers higher audience valuations on total reach. Currently, only 11% of advertisers spend 21-40% of their advertising dollars on OTT platforms. Within 24 months, however, this percentage is expected to grow to 67%.Around 85% of respondents believe leveraging third-party data is a strong driver for the adoption of audience-based buying and selling of ads on OTT, according to the survey.Advertisers unanimously agreed that third-party data was a strong driver for the adoption of audience-based buying and selling of ads, while 94% of content owners said that leveraging third-party data is the primary business driver for moving to audience-based buying and selling of ads.Some 69% of content owners said that they would be focusing more on contextual advertising as a result of changing viewing habits.For advertisers, 78% of respondents, ranked data security and measurement as the primary challenges in adopting audience-based buying of ads.
Netflix has priced a bond offering of US$1.9 billion, which it plans to use for “general corporate purposes” – including content acquisitions, production and development.The senior note offering was upped from US$1.5 billion, which was initially announced yesterday. The sale for the revised amount expected to close on April 26, 2018.The notes will mature on November 15, 2028, unless earlier repurchased or redeemed. Interest will be payable in cash semi-annually in arrears, beginning on November 15, 2018.“Netflix intends to use the net proceeds from this offering for general corporate purposes, which may include content acquisitions, production and development, capital expenditures, investments, working capital and potential acquisitions and strategic transactions,” the company said in a statement.The news comes a week after Netflix announced strong first quarter results, adding a record number of first quarter subscribers and growing its streaming revenues by 43% year-on-year.In its letter to shareholders, the SVOD giant said that it will spend US$7.5-US$8 billion on a profit and loss basis on content in 2018 across a wide variety of formats – series, films, unscripted, docs, comedy specials and non-English language content.In February, Netflix CFO David Wells told delegates at the Morgan Stanley Technology, Media and Telecom Conference that he expects Netflix’s 2018 content spend to result in 700 originals on the service by the end of the year.The latest bond offering follows similar rounds of debt financing in recent years. Netflix made a senior notes offering of €1.3 billion in April 2017 and a US$1 billion offering in October 2016. It also raised US$1.5 billion by selling senior notes in February 2015.
Atlanta-based TV station Gray Television has said that it will buy rival broadcaster Raycom Media in a cash-and-stock deal valued at $3.65 billion.The combined company will reach nearly a quarter of total US households with 142 television stations in 92 markets.Gray’s shares jumped by 16.02% by the end of Monday, after the network made the announcement.The transaction is expected to be completed toward the end of 2018. Raycom president and CEO Pat LaPlatney will become Gray’s president and co-CEO upon completion. Hilton H. Howell, Jr, Gray’s chairman, president and CEO will also be co-CEO.The move arrives as a range of TV players consider consolidation to leverage their offering among the threat of streaming services and increased cord cutting.Recent IHS Markit data showed that the uptake of subscription video services like Netflix, Hulu and Amazon Prime Video was three times that of pay TV services last year.Volker Moerbitz, research analyst at Kagan, said: “Overall, the deal gives Gray improved national scale to better position it to compete for ad dollars, and raise its leverage in negotiations with multichannel operators and network partners.”Howell said: “Combining our company with the excellent Raycom stations and the superb Raycom employees will create a powerhouse local media operation. Together, this new portfolio of leading local media outlets will excel at what they do best, which is to provide the local news that local communities trust, the entertainment and sports content that viewers crave, and the incredible reach that advertisers demand.”