Several tech companies report earnings, including Amazon and Alphabet. The European Central Bank will discuss monetary policy.
www.nytimes.com | 10/21/18
The vast majority of British firms are poised to implement their Brexit contingency plans by Christmas if there isn't greater clarity over the country's exit from the European Union, a leading business lobby group warned Sunday.
www.foxnews.com | 10/21/18
By Matt Young, VP and Industry Lead, Entertainment, Oath
When’s the last time you felt caught up on the season’s hit TV shows? Last summer? Ten years ago? In an era of competing and diverse content providers, it’s nearly impossible to keep up with the vast choices available. In fact, last year, the number of TV shows released in the U.S. hit a new high, up to 487 compared to 455 in 2016.
This swell in TV programming combined with the massive growth of over-the-top (OTT) and trend of cord-cutting– which, according to eMarketer, will jump 32 Percent this year–begs the question: what does this mean for TV marketers and how can they keep up?
They adapt. Innovations in Advanced TV and mobile advertising have opened doors for advertisers to go beyond the large-scale TV ad buys and focus more on targeted advertising that makes an impact. As our watch lists continue to grow and more and more consumers cut the cord, we need a new playbook for TV marketers looking to cut through the entertainment clutter and capture consumer attention. Here are four ways to navigate the new landscape of TV.
Lean into Advanced TV
In today’s fragmented landscape, where viewers turn to alternative methods for traditional TV content, advertisers are finding it increasingly difficult to reach audiences in one place. There are too many ways to reach consumers and at too many times throughout the day. Advanced TV ditches the one-size-fits-all approach of getting in front of broad audiences to help marketers connect with consumers at the right place and the right time through addressability and interactive ads.
Recent innovations in addressable TV are putting advertisers in the driver’s seat with more sophisticated models for targeting. Leveraging first-and-third-party data, marketers now have the ability to show different ads to different households during the same TV program, and it works! A study from Forrester reported a 19 percent increase in overall brand efficiency, 39 percent increase in overall brand awareness and 67 percent ad recall in addressable TV ads versus traditional TV ads.
For a more engaging experience, consider leveraging interactive TV ads, such as overlays with clickable video, or ACR-powered ads on connected TVs that drive engaged viewers to a website or send promotions to viewers’ smartphones. Interactive ads offer a cross-device experience that connects the dots between TV and mobile.
Another benefit to advanced TV? The medium allows marketers to close the loop on reporting. Advanced TV allows precise measurement after a campaign airs, so that brands can measure their ROI with precision.
Don’t Ignore OTT
Speaking of the changing living-room and viewer consumption habits, OTT advertising shouldn’t be forgotten. Advertising on these platforms, like Xbox, offers marketers a unique opportunity to connect with engaged viewers. And, results are not only measured by the number of viewers reached, but also on how audiences are engaging with the ad.
What can marketers do? Take advantage of the personalization available with OTT advertising and connect with viewers in a compelling and customized way. Whether it’s transactional video on demand (TVOD), subscription video on demand (SVOD) or ad-supported video on demand (AVOD), consumers continue to spend time with OTT video services. According to a recent Oath study on video consumption, 51 percent of video viewers use an OTT video streaming service to watch TV shows or movies. Earlier this summer PwC released its Global Entertainment and Media Outlook for 2018-2022, which forecasts that OTT will show an average of 10 percent growth for the next five years.
Diversify your video advertising spend
The need to diversify video advertising spend has never been more apparent. According to Forrester’s recent Video Advertising Forecast, TV Everywhere is expected to grow from 89 million users in 2018 to 111 million in 2023, and virtual multichannel video programming distributor users will grow from 24.2 million this year to 44.3 million in 2023.
Close to a quarter of video viewers now use an app to watch TV shows or movies from a cable, satellite, telco TV service or TV network with higher levels among Millennials (33 percent) and Gen Z (31 percent) according to the same video consumption study from Oath. What’s more, when it comes to watching free, ad-supported content, consumers are in — particularly GenZers, who are more open to learning about new products that are relevant.
This presents a massive opportunity for marketers to put their money where consumer eyeballs are. The key is ensuring your strategy integrates both TV and digital video so you have a consistent message across every touchpoint.
Invest in mobile video to capitalize on OTT and all-access apps
U.S. consumers spend an average of five hours a day on mobile, and it shows no signs of slowing down. From social media to news, consumers are turning to their phones to stay connected — and that also means making their phones a second screen for TV shows and video content. With the rise of OTT and all-access apps, the opportunity for mobile video advertising continues to grow. But to effectively engage consumers via mobile video, creating a personalized experience that works seamlessly is critical.
Pre-roll video and native video ads are some of the most effective video formats on mobile because they provide an uninterrupted video viewing experience. And research shows that native video ads between 15-22 seconds in length on mobile are significantly more engaging than desktop ads. This is great news for advertisers; 15-22 seconds gives marketers more opportunity to engage consumers in a personalized and meaningful way. Finally, if you’re looking to reach specific audience segments, consider going programmatic. Combining the data and targeting of programmatic advertising with the creativity of native video ensures you’re reaching viewers on smartphones with meaningful content that is tailored to their interests.
As we move further away from primetime and closer to TV everywhere, the video advertising landscape is ripe for innovation. Marketers need a new playbook that incorporates these strategies to ensure they’re making the most out of their TV and video ad spend.
About the author:
Young has been growing new, scalable and profitable businesses in the technology and media space for the last 15 years. Currently, as the VP, industry lead for Entertainment, Media and Gaming at Oath, he oversees industry advertising revenue for all of Oath’s content and ad tech products. Prior to Oath, Young led the programmatic initiatives for the field sales team at Yahoo! (acquired by Verizon for $4.48B in 2017) and held various leadership positions in mobile and programmatic at BrightRoll (acquired by Yahoo! for $640M in 2014). Early in his career he worked on the content and production side of media, starting as a journalist in South America, and then running his own entertainment company in Los Angeles.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/19/18
LYON, France — As part of its efforts to improve the distribution and cross-border consumption of European film, the European Commission on Thursday unveiled its new directory of European films. Presenting the project at the Lumière Film Festival in Lyon, Mariya Gabriel, the European Commissioner for Digital Economy and Society, said the directory was the […]
variety.com | 10/19/18
Gaining clarity on the NTIA-Verisign Cooperative Agreement.
Prior to November 30th of this year, the National Telecommunications and Information Administration (NTIA) must decide whether to renew or allow to expire its Cooperative Agreement with Verisign, the private-sector corporation that operationally controls the root of the Internet.
Addressing Competition Concerns vs. Internet Governance
The Cooperative Agreement is unusually obscure, especially considering its central role in the operation of the Internet's Domain Name System (DNS). In fact, the original document is strangely unavailable. It is possible to determine that it, historically, has contained provisions governing the DNS. However, over the years, various amendments have made obsolete most, if not all, of those provisions. Today, the only component remaining of any consequence is NTIA's unilateral right to review and amend the .COM registry agreement for purposes of promoting competition and consumer choice in the DNS.
The nature and scope of NTIA's wide-ranging authority to regulate competition are often misperceived. But, historically, any issue pertaining to the .COM registry agreement was deferred to NTIA for final approval. For example, many remember, in 2012, when NTIA acted unilaterally to limit the wholesale pricing of .COM registrations to $7.85. But far fewer are likely to remember that the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) deferred to NTIA for final approval of its' 2006 settlement agreement with Verisign — pertaining to competition concerns involving Verisign's 2003 SiteFinder initiative — saying in a press release at the time, that the settlement:
Investment Indicates Importance
Verisign has a demonstrated track record of excellence at performing a focused set of essential functions that don't require breakthrough innovation nor competitive proficiency. One of the biggest risks to the Verisign-run Internet infrastructure are Distributed Denial-of-Service (DDoS) attacks, which are mitigated by maintaining enough available network resources to absorb the attack. With 21 years of uptime, Verisign is so confident in their massive overprovisioning that they even sell DDoS mitigation as a service.
A review of several years of publicly available financial reports reveals this: the world's leading provider of key Internet infrastructure and services — the entity more responsible than any other for the integrity of the root zone of the global Internet — allocates less than 7% of free cash flow to reinvestment in core infrastructure and pockets the rest in the form of stock buybacks.
Getting to the heart of the matter, if Verisign requires so little of the money they make from "the public interest" to maintain the critical Internet infrastructure with which they are entrusted - then why is it permitted to maintain such extraordinary margins?
Inaction Risks Corrosive Consequences
To be sure, this makes Verisign a Wall Street darling, and a favorite of Warren Buffett whose Berkshire Hathaway holds 14% or more of the company in its portfolio.
Mr. Buffet's enthusiasm is understandable when you consider that, in 2017, the company generated free cash flow of $703 million on $1.17 billion in revenue — that's more than 60% margin. But it keeps getting better — this year's forecast predicts profit margins approaching 68%.
But how much time will elapse before ICANN, facing a budget shortfall, remembers that it also represents the public interest and is justified in receiving extra financial assistance from its largest ratepayer?
The answer to this doesn't require a crystal ball — it's already happened. The 2011 registry agreement renewal of .NET included a provision creating a "special development fund" to collect $0.75 per domain name registration per year. The funds are placed into ICANN's general treasury with no required reporting or audits. So far, it's generated more than $80 million in unaccountable cash payments to ICANN from its largest ratepayer — the same thing applied to .COM would have generated more than $800 million since 2011. That is a transformative number for ICANN, yet would be written off — literally a tax deduction - as the cost of doing business by its' largest ratepayer.
In 2011, when the .NET registry agreement was renewed, a senior Verisign executive was quoted saying, "Except with respect to the need for Department of Commerce approval under the Cooperative Agreement, the terms governing the renewal of both the .net and .com agreements are similar." Because of the "special development fund" this statement was not entirely true. This underscores the critical nature of NTIA's right to review and amend the .COM registry agreement as an essential regulatory tool and effective accountability safeguard.
This matter pertains to regulatory activities that address competition concerns regarding an Internet infrastructure company — not strictly an Internet governance issue. Modifying the price restriction and/or other possible regulatory actions are domestic concerns. Nobody claims that the European Union can't bring enforcement actions against Internet businesses nor argues that ICANN should launch stakeholder working groups to settle specific competition concerns.
As I've suggested in comments previously submitted to NTIA, a consent decree could be an effective solution that would transition oversight from NTIA to the U.S. Department of Justice which has an Antitrust Division with the requisite expertise. If this avenue isn't available, then the Cooperative Agreement should be renewed for another full term with NTIA committed to a full review and vigorous oversight that protects "the public interest."
The data used here is publicly available for anyone to review and draw their own conclusions. I encourage anyone interested to examine the data and draw their own conclusions.
Written by Greg Thomas, Managing Director of The Viking Group LLC
www.circleid.com | 10/19/18
The “Today” is facing pushback after dedicating time Wednesday to an interview with Patrick Casey, executive director of the white “identitarian” group Identity Evropa.
“We are telling this story to pull back the curtain so parents and college students are aware that these groups are out there,” said NBC correspondent Peter Alexander. “The Southern Poverty Law Center calls Identity Evropa one of the most active new hate groups in America. There members are clean cut, they are conservatively dressed and they’re recruiting on a campus near you.”
In the interview, Casey, whose organization only accepts white members and marched in the deadly Unite The Right rally in Charlottesville, laid out his case matter of factly.
“Ethnic diversity has been proven time and time again, it’s not a good model for society,” he said. “We do want to return our immigration laws to what have historically been America’s immigration laws — which are laws that favor European immigrants.
“I do think that we need to maintain a supermajority in this country,” he added.
Reps for “Today” did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap.
Despite Alexander’s assertion that his intent was service journalism, many people on Twitter slammed “Today” for giving Casey a “platform,” arguing that by doing so he would help the group gain attention and recruit members.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/17/18
Right now, data compliance is top of mind for practically every South African business, and for good reason. The European Union’s GDPR (General Data Protection Regulation) came into force earlier this year, and by this time next year, our own POPIA (Protection of Personal Information Act) will almost certainly be in place. POPIA is based [&hellip
www.itnewsafrica.com | 10/16/18
Fox has its own version of NBC’s “American Ninja Warrior,” picking up “Big Bounce Battle,” an obstacle course competition series based on a European format.
The reality competition series will be produced by Endemol Shine North America. Sharon Levy, DJ Nurre and Michael Heyerman will executive produce.
Originally created by Endemol Shine Netherlands and co-developed with Endemol Shine Germany for RTL, “Big Bounce Battle” features trampoline obstacle courses that contestants have to complete as fast as they can. The trampoline tracks become more difficult as the series progresses toward the final where the fastest contestant wins a cash prize.
The format made its debut earlier this year, under the name “Big Bounce — Die Trampolin Show,” on Germany’s RTL. TF1 has also commissioned a version of “Big Bounce Battle” in France.
“Big Bounce Battle” joins “Mental Samurai,” “Spin the Wheel” and “The Masked Singer” (also produced by Endemol Shine North America) is new unscripted formats picked up by Fox.
You can get a taste of “Big Bounce Battle” by watching the trailer for the German version below:
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www.thewrap.com | 10/15/18
Germany slashed its economic growth forecast, invoking a shortage of skilled workers at home and global trade tensions aboard, a fresh sign that the European powerhouse is increasingly vulnerable to U.S.-China trade disputes.
www.wsj.com | 10/11/18
Amy Kuessner is the senior vice president of Content Partnerships for Pluto TV, where she is responsible for acquiring content, curating programming and developing channel strategy for the free streaming television service. During her tenure, she has negotiated more than 75 deals with major Hollywood studios, TV networks, production companies, digital media, news, and publishing outfits. Kuessner has spent more than two decades in entertainment, specializing in creating distinctive content experiences and strategic programs within emerging digital technologies to include SVOD, OTT, MVPDs and digital cinema.
Prior to Pluto TV, Kuessner held marketing and business development roles at reputed companies including NBC, Liberty Media, Sony, TBS and Directv, as well as startups including CineMedia/Fathom Entertainment and By Experience.
This week we caught up with Kuessner to discuss her thought process when searching for content and what Pluto’s recent integration with Facebook’s VR app, Oculus TV, means for the streamer’s future programming decisions.
VideoInk: How important is data when deciding what content will be a good fit for Pluto TV?
Amy Kuessner: Pluto TV has a comprehensive programming/channel strategy that naturally determines what types of premium content we are seeking and from whom. We are unique in that we curate 90 percent of our channels and there is a great deal of time, effort, and strategy that goes into channel conception/creation/programming. Data is critical to guiding us as to what is working on the platform and what is not. Using data to aid in content selection/programming our channels helps us cater to consumer preferences and make more informed choices.
How do you measure the success of programming on your platform and which metric are you most focused on improving?
Pluto TV uses a variety of metrics when measuring success on our platform with the two most critical being session duration (the length of time they are watching – are they enjoying the programming) and frequency (how many times they return – do they want to come back for more).
Pluto TV was recently made available on Facebook’s Oculus VR headset via Oculus TV. Will this new partnership lead to Pluto TV one day offering interactive content geared for a VR experience?
Pluto TV has many factors contributing to our success, content/programming and distribution being two of our key tenets. Being named an official launch partner for Oculus GO was a huge coup for us. We often work in concert, internally, to identify ways that we can marry content and distribution to create truly unique, state-of-the-art, entertainment options for our audiences. We embrace innovation as a whole, rule nothing out and are continually seeking ways to optimize and deliver content designed to deliver the maximum viewing experiences – no matter the medium.
“Starship Troopers,” a cult classic, was recently made available on Pluto TV via a distribution deal with Sony Pictures. What levels of engagement does cult classic content like this experience versus newer films?
With over 100+ channels on Pluto TV, we strive to offer the best of both worlds with a lineup that marries mainstream with niche channels and programming. Cult classic films are one example where we are able to generate crossover appeal by programming across multiple themed and movie channels, throughout our licensing window. Pluto TV’s focus on curation and original channels allows us the opportunity to evaluate titles, library and new, with a different perspective and opportunity by focusing on category, theme and genre vs. production and release dates.
When working out the details of a content partnership, which holds more value in your eyes: film or TV series? Why?
Both are equally important and strategic to Pluto TV, enabling us to create the ultimate lean back, entertainment viewing experience. We curate entertainment channels and lineups thematically designed to be diverse and appealing to both broad and niche audiences. We program our channels with genre over format in mind, with both TV and movies being instrumental to our success. Big budget films help to drive instant brand recognition, while TV series allow us to capitalize on habitual viewing patterns. Together, they enable us to deliver the most comprehensive and robust offering that is designed to attract mass appeal and provide entertainment for everyone.
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www.thewrap.com | 10/9/18
Ireland is growing faster than any other European economy but the budget its government is due to announce Tuesday will be notably cautious for one reason: Brexit.
www.wsj.com | 10/9/18
Bethenny Frankel has a new man in her life!
The Real Housewives of New York City star was in Boston over the weekend, when she was spotted getting affectionate with a mystery man, according to photos obtained by TMZ.
On Sunday, Frankel was photographed holding hands with a man while waiting at a crosswalk in Boston. He sported an all-black outfit with sneakers while she kept it casual in a cream sweater, dark grey pants and high heel sneakers. A day later, the mother of one was snapped kissing him on Monday morning near Boston College, where she grasped his face with her left hand as he leaned in for a smooch.
According to Daily Mail, the man is 29-year-old tech startup investor and advisor, Ben Kosinski, who Frankel, 47, follows on Instagram. Kosinski graduated from the University of Miami with a degree in economics in 2011 and is a managing partner at Kosinski Ventures, his LinkedIn profile states.
Frankel’s rep had no comment and PEOPLE is out to Kosinski for comment.
RELATED: Bethenny Frankel Says Late Boyfriend Dennis Shields Would Have Been ‘Cheering Her On’ at HSN Debut
The Skinnygirl mogul documented her trip to Boston and Boston University on her Instagram Story Monday, including Warren Towers, the residence where lived. “I lived here! This is Warren Towers! I went to B.U. for two years and so did Andy Cohen. Andy Cohen and I both lived in this building. This is it! Hi Boston, hi B.U. Look at this,” she said.
She also shared footage of the bar where she worked as a cocktail waitress. “I was always in the cocktail business. Who knew? Midnight to 2 a.m., you could make like almost $1,000 because there were so many European, international, wealthy people ordering sex on the beach shots. That’s how I was able to bring money to live in France for a semester,” she explained about her “old stomping grounds.”
While driving, Frankel drove past a restaurant called Papa Razzi. “How about we not eat at that restaurant today? Would that be a good idea?” she said on her Instagram Story. She then added with a smile, “I didn’t even know they had paparazzi in Boston,” possibly hinting at the photos captured over the weekend.
RELATED: Bethenny Frankel Says She’s ‘Going Through an Emotional Storm’ as She Mourns Dennis Shields
Her new romance comes nearly two months after Frankel’s late boyfriend Dennis Shields was found dead of a suspected overdose in his Trump Tower apartment at age 51.
“It’s hard to breathe & I appreciate you giving me the space & support to try to do so,” she tweeted, 16 days after his Aug. 10 death.
“It’s excruciating-sudden death is no closure & constant ?s & memories,” wrote Frankel. “Our relationship is current so it’s painfully raw. Trying to stay healthy & move through it w tears & close friends. Xo.”
His death has also taken a physical toll on Frankel, who confirmed that she’s lost weight as a result of the grieving process.
Responding to a fan last month who asked “how/are you losing weight?” the reality star replied, “Death will do that to a person.”
“#griefdiet I don’t recommend it,” added Frankel, who revealed over the weekend that she accidentally texted her late boyfriend.
people.com | 10/9/18
Thanksgiving is just around the corner in Canada. It's a time of year when the harvest is in, the weather grows colder and families gather to give thanks for all they have.
It is in this moment of gratitude that I want to highlight one of the most valuable and unique offerings in our industry: the ways in which country code top-level domains (ccTLDs) give back. Canadians who choose to use a ccTLD, which for us is .CA, help contribute to investments in the internet community.
CIRA believes that it is important to give back to the internet, whether that be the Canadian internet community or the global internet in which we operate the .CA TLD and participate as a strong contributor. Further, as a not-for-profit organization, CIRA invests its resources into our aspirational goal of building a better online Canada. In fact, we believe so much in this goal that we've invested $6 million dollars over the last five years toward this goal, outside of the investment in our core mandate of bringing .CA to more Canadians and operating a safe, secure and trusted top-level domain.
Many of our ccTLD peers contribute to the internet ecosystem as well. While each organization's program is a little bit different, the intent is the same: to invest in a purpose greater than profit with a return on investment that benefits the communities we serve.
With the exception of a handful of generic TLDs, you won't find this from our more profit-driven peers.
It's a cycle: From community to ccTLD and back
At CIRA, we hold ourselves to high standards in stewarding .CA, which includes providing a safe, secure and stable .CA and underlying domain name system (DNS). We make every effort to provide the best service possible for our customers — .CA holders and others who subscribe to our cybersecurity services.
A portion of the revenue we make, thanks to our customers' trust in us, is funneled back into the Canadian internet community. Here's how:
All of that investment improves and expands the internet, gets more Canadians online, safely and securely, and makes it easier and more practical for them to participate in the digital economy. It also creates more opportunities to choose a .CA. Thus, the cycle starts again.
And it's global. We've long shared "giving back" experiences with our European peers — but examples are found around the globe. A recent visit to Brazil showed me a ccTLD highly committed to this cycle of giving back. I was impressed with all they do with their resources and encourage others to learn more from them.
Thanks for making a choice to give back
In Canada, as we gather around the dinner table for our Thanksgiving dinners, I want to give thanks to CIRA's customers for making it possible for our organization to give back. Consumers have more choices than ever when it comes to domain names. They can choose to go with .com or .net, or one of nearly a thousand new domain extensions. But what sets CIRA apart, alongside some of our ccTLD peers, is the determination to give back to the internet ecosystem in our countries. To invest what we earn into a higher purpose.
Thank you to those consumers who chose a ccTLD over others — because of you we're getting closer to a stronger, higher performing and more secure internet every day.
* * *
There are several ccTLDs that give back to the internet community. Here are a few examples.
Sweden: The Internet Foundation in Sweden, IIS invests funds to improve the stability of internet infrastructure in Sweden and to promote internet-focused research, training and education. For example, IIS invested 1 million SEK (about $145,000 CAD) roughly one year ago into Foo Café, a meeting place for developers, which sponsors meetups and events to help developers grow their competence and share knowledge.
Brazil: The Brazilian Internet Steering Committee — a multi-sectoral configuration of 21 members from civil society, the government, the business sector and the academic community — guide the healthy growth of the network in Brazil. One of their initiatives is the Web Technologies Study Center (Ceweb.br), created to help the Brazilian public participate in the global development of the web and public policymaking.
The Netherlands: SIDN not only operates .nl, it also provides funding support to ideas and projects that aim to make the internet stronger or that use the internet in innovative ways. For example, SIDN funded AI for GOOD, a project that aims to use artificial intelligence to improve the world. This online platform presents AI programming challenges to students, start-ups, hackers and developers to solve.
United Kingdom: Nominet funded a granting program for 10 years under the name Nominet Trust. In 2017, that fund began independent operation as the Social Tech Trust and Nominet is now focusing funding on connection, inclusivity and security. For example, they are working with Scouts UK to develop a cybersecurity curriculum and with the Prince's Trust on a digital platform to mentor troubled youth online.
Written by Byron Holland, President and CEO of CIRA
www.circleid.com | 10/4/18
Business groups criticise a proposed crackdown on "low-skilled" migrants from Europe.
www.bbc.co.uk | 10/2/18
Britain’s economy will shrink if it leaves the European Union without a Brexit deal and it will suffer some damage whatever terms it agrees, the International Monetary Fund (IMF) said Monday, challenging the promises of some Brexit supporters.
www.dailystar.com.lb | 9/18/18
The IMF said an abrupt break from the European Union would cause harm to the British economy, adding that the U.K. won’t be prepared for such an outcome when it leaves next March.
www.wsj.com | 9/17/18
With the UK six months from Brexit, Dover council outlines concerns for the port and the economy.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/17/18
The European Central Bank said it would press ahead with a carefully telegraphed plan to phase out easy money, signaling a cautious confidence in the eurozone economy despite recent signs of a slowdown.
www.wsj.com | 9/13/18
The European Central Bank said it would press ahead with a carefully telegraphed plan to phase out easy money, signaling a cautious confidence in the eurozone economy despite recent signs of a slowdown.
www.wsj.com | 9/13/18
The European Central Bank is expected to ratchet back its stimulus efforts again on Thursday as it gingerly phases out extraordinary support for the economy left over from the Great Recession and the euro currency union's debt crisis.
www.foxnews.com | 9/13/18
Bank of England Gov. Mark Carney agreed to stay on at the central bank until 2020 to help steer the economy after the U.K. exits the European Union, the second time that Brexit has prompted the Canadian to delay his departure.
www.wsj.com | 9/12/18
The bank's chief executive says it could shed European business customers in the event of a no-deal Brexit.
www.bbc.co.uk | 9/2/18
President Vladimir Putin and Prime Minister Dmitry Medvedev have played the game of bad cop and good cop in their efforts to explain the essence of the pension reform to the people of Russia. Putin's behaviour in relation to the prime minister looks unethical, just as it looks wrong in relation to his electors. It appears that Putin may eventually lose control of the patriotic idea - the only idea that still helps him stay in his office. After the president's televised address to the nation on August 29, it became clear that it was Putin who initiated the pension reform in Russia. This is evidenced by his harsh affirmation about the lack of alternatives to the reform. Until recently, however, Putin tried to distance himself from his government, which he had allegedly commissioned to develop and implement the unpopular reform. As a result, Medvedev failed to handle the psychological burden and disappeared from the public eye for a while. When he reappeared in front of the cameras, one could see him as a tired and sick person.Putin is being unethical towards his voters as well. Putin's voter is commonly known in Russia as "vatnik", who values Putin's achievements in building the Russian world, limiting the influence of American globalism and oligarchic structures.During the above-mentioned speech, Putin referred to experts twice without naming them. Apparently, it goes about Alexei Kudrin, experts of the Higher School of Economics - liberal, pro-Western people, whom Putin's voters despise. Thus, Putin has shown disrespect to his electors in a hope that people are ignorant and they do not need to know any names. Addressing the nation with his speech, Putin said: "Even if we sell all buildings of the Pension Fund, the money will be enough only for a few months. And then what?" However, we understand that it goes about all the knick-knacks, apartments and plots of land that our fat officials, MPs and oligarchs have. Putin clearly gave it to understand that he would never rip epaulettes off their shoulders. As a matter of fact, we do not understand now what makes Putin different from late Boris Yeltsin, who also entrusted everything to "Chicago boys" and plunged the country into chaos. We can see Putin threatening us now that the system will not have money for pensions in six or seven years if everything remains the same. The first reason for the looming crisis, as Putin says, is demography. "In 2005, the ratio of working citizens, who replenish the Pension Fund regularly, and citizens receiving old-age insurance pensions, is nearly 1.7 to one, but in 2019, it will be 1.2 to one," Putin said noting that life expectancy in Russia had increased by eight years.The trend is the same in Western countries. Robots continue to replace humans depriving them of jobs, but the pension system in the West is far from collapsing. In Western countries, the pension fund gets replenished through the growth in people's wages and, accordingly, deductions to the budget. The most surprising thing is that such a system works identically in Russia too, although officials tend to conceal it in order to speculate on the topic of who feeds whom. Thus, the average Russian citizen during his work service of 20 years and an average salary of 40,000 rubles gives away about 2.4 million rubles to the Pension Fund. Russian male pensioners live for an average of eight years, during which they receive back only 1.600 million, and the state keeps the remaining 800,000 rubles in the budget. No one knows what that money goes for, although it is obvious that the state wants to take and spend even more. It is worthy of note that when speaking about the growth, Putin refers to Russia during the 1990s. Why not compare indicators of the year 2018 to 2014, when the West started imposing sanctions on Russia one after another, and the Russian economy started rolling down the hill?Putin dismisses all alternative proposals for financing the Pension Fund. He did not mention the amendment on the progressive scale of taxation, although there was such a proposal made at the hearings in the State Duma on August 21. That money could be used to compensate entrepreneurs for their contributions to the Pension Fund to support people of pre-retirement age.Putin does not want to attract oil revenues to finance the Pension Fund either. According to him, this money will not be enough to pay pensions for as little as two months. Yet, oil revenues constitute a supplementary, rather than the only source of income for the Pension Fund. "What if oil prices go down?" Putin says. Indeed, the government would then need to find a way to increase tax collection from other sources.For comparison, the deficit of the Pension Fund in 2018 will amount to 257 billion rubles, while the net outflow of capital in 2017 was 31.3 billion dollars, which is about 1 trillion 966 billion rubles. The National Welfare Fund holds 4 trillion 844 billion rubles. Gazprom's profit is evaluated at 997 billion rubles. The profit of Russia's largest state-run bank, Sberbank, is 542 billion rubles. The Russian shadow economy is evaluated at 33.6 trillion rubles, or 39 percent of GDP, said business ombudsman Boris Titov.Therefore, all of the measures that Putin voiced in his speech look superficial. We have an impression that all of the "gifts" that Putin mentioned in his speech had been included in the reform in advance. Obviously, the inflation will eat up the promised addition of 1,000 rubles per year. Putin speaks about a pension of 20,000 rubles by 2024, whereas in Europe, pensions make up 40 percent of what a people get during their work service. One can only guess why Putin takes such a position. Probably, this is due to the overwhelming external pressure. If Putin had tried to explain that, people would have probably understood. Instead, they saw their president laying the burden of responsibility for the future of the country on the population. Putin does not feel guilty for the fact that Russia has not been able to amass enough money during the 2000s to finance social programs and build an independent financial system. He does not feel guilty for showing insufficient resistance to the shadow economy and corruption. Instead, he was trying to come to terms with oligarchs. An agreement with them has turned out to be more important for him than an agreement with the people.Putin's voters want a strong social state that would successfully support the foreign policy of the Kremlin from the inside. The living standard in Russia has been decreasing for the last five years, and Putin wants his electors to pedal back. Putin's rating may eventually collapse, and the president will lose control of the idea of patriotism that he has been talking about for so long. People will feel humiliated and betrayed when they realise that their president lied to them. Lyuba Lulko (Stepushova)Pravda.Ru Read article on the Russian version of Pravda.Ru
www.pravdareport.com | 8/30/18
European digital money transfer service Azimo has announced a strategic partnership with African payments business Interswitch Group. The deal will further enable instant money transfers from 23 countries in Europe to any customer in Nigeria- Azimo’s biggest market. “A huge and rapidly growing population coupled with the explosion of smartphone ownership mean that Africa and [&hellip
www.itnewsafrica.com | 8/30/18
STX Entertainment’s plans for an IPO on the Hong Kong Stock Exchange are facing new questions given a volatile Hong Kong market and a recent string of box office misfires.
Melissa McCarthy’s “Happytime Murders,” which opened to a dismal $10 million last weekend, follows other recent underachievers such as Mark Walhberg’s “Mile 22,” which has pulled in $25 million domestically on a $50 million budget, and “Adrift,” which earned a modest $31 million on a $35 million budget.
STX has helped shield itself somewhat from some of its poor performers by teaming up for co-productions, engaging in various output deals with backend bonuses and other means of mitigating risks.
But the studio which prides itself on mid-budget releases hasn’t had what would be widely considered a blockbuster outside of its two “Bad Moms” comedies.
STX Entertainment entered Hollywood in 2011 with two goals: Be a successful studio banking on the dearth of mid-budget films, while truly becoming a U.S.-China operation.
Now the studio is awaiting regulatory approval in China to be publicly listed on the Hong Kong Exchange, not an easy task for any U.S.-based company.
STX filed documents with the Hong Kong Exchange in April to take the company public, with an IPO that would provide an infusion of roughly $500 million that the company hoped would help fuel growth.
In a prospectus filed with the Hong Kong exchange and Chinese regulators, STX reported that the company has incurred losses every year since it began operations, including gross losses of $28.1 million in its 2017 fiscal year.
However, the company reported it has $100 million in cash.
But President Donald Trump’s trade war with China, coupled with a volatile Chinese market, still makes for a rocky IPO landscape in Hong Kong.
Chinese media had suggested an IPO as early as this month, but the timing is now completely up in the air.
A rep for STX declined to comment for this story.
STX is backed by major players both in the U.S. and China, including Liberty Global, TPG, Tencent — one of the largest conglomerates in China — and Hony Capital.
That has attracted the interest and admiration of investors like Gerber Kawasaki CEO Ross Gerber put it.
“This is a company that gets it. If I were going to start a business in Hollywood today, I can’t imagine not thinking about China. There’s going to be a Chinese IPO because this is basically a Chinese company,” Gerber said, adding that the board consists of “some heavy hitters.”
The company’s current mix of investments are roughly 40 percent from Asia, 40 from the U.S. and 20 percent from Europe. And with coproductions with Alibaba and Tencent in the pipeline, one of STX’s major plays is to be able to leverage its ties to China.
The studio is even distributing Netflix’s “The Irishman” in the country, an insider at STX told TheWrap, because the streaming giant doesn’t have distribution there.
STX is undoubtedly in growth mode. The company has ramped up its theatrical distribution every year from two releases in 2015 to 14 next year, all with budgets ranging from $20 million to $80 million.
And the TV division has six scripted and unscripted series either in development or set up at networks, including the Nat Geo series “Valley of the Boom,” premiering this fall, and an untitled drama series at Amazon from “Crazy Rich Asians” author Kevin Kwan.
“I typically like this kind of company,” Gerber said. “You need to be able to leverage your content over multiple platforms and products.”
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 8/28/18
More than seven years after Tunisians overthrew their country’s dictatorship in a revolution that spawned the Arab Spring, the country’s economy is in crisis and thousands of people are sneaking into Europe.
www.wsj.com | 8/27/18
More than seven years after Tunisians overthrew their country’s dictatorship in a revolution that spawned the Arab Spring, the country’s economy is in crisis and thousands of people are sneaking into Europe.
www.wsj.com | 8/27/18
Niger has been well paid for drastically reducing the number of African migrants using the country as a conduit to Europe. But the effort has hurt parts of the economy and raised security concerns.
www.nytimes.com | 8/25/18
Israeli Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu lashed out Friday at the European Union over its first financial support package to help bolster Iran's flagging economy, calling it "a big mistake" and "like a poison pill to the Iranian people."
www.foxnews.com | 8/24/18
Russian Finance Minister Anton Siluanov announced a possible move that Russia can take in response to new US sanctions. The new sanctions, which the US plans to put in effect against Russia on Aug. 22, include the ban on the supplies of dual-use equipment to Russia, restrict the activities of Russian banks, lower the level of diplomatic interaction and even ban the flights of Russia's Aeroflot to the United States.Many experts believe that Russia will choose to get rid of the US dollar in its economy. Finance Minister Anton Siluanov said that the US dollar was an "unreliable currency." "We have significantly cut investing our reserves in US assets. In fact, the dollar, which was considered the world currency, already becomes a risk instrument for settlements," Siluanov said.The Russian Finance Minister also suggested a solution that may serve as Russia's powerful response to the United States. "We can fix the dollar equivalent, but receive the euro, other freely convertible currencies, and, eventually, the national currency for oil supplies," Siluanov said adding that Russia may continue reducing its investment in US securities. The remarks from the Finance Minister triggered many discussions in social media in Russia. Some believe that Mr. Siluanov was talking about the "beginning of the end" of the domestic market, the reintroduction of the planned economy similar to the one that used to exist in the USSR. Others see more reasons for the Russian ruble to decline further against the dollar. At the same time, the topic of the dollar peg in the Russian economy is not new. When Russian President Putin warned representatives of big business that it was becoming increasingly risky to keep money in foreign accounts and in offshore companies, he spoke about the current situation. In May of this year, Anton Siluanov also spoke about the need for Russia to move away from the dollar, although those statements did not attract much attention. "The restrictions that American partners impose are of an extraterritorial nature. The willingness of Europe to provide its position to American partners will show whether the euro can replace the dollar in settlements," he said. "If our European partners declare their unequivocal position, we certainly see a way out in using the European settlement unit and European organizations for financial settlements, payments for goods and services that often fall under various restrictions today," he added. Today, Siluanov continues this line of thinking and sees other currencies that may replace the dollar - the euro, the ruble and the yuan. The minister believes that one should invest less in dollars and use them less to be less dependent on sanctions. Yet, those who prefer to read between the lines are led to believe that the Russian government was going to ban the use of dollars in Russia. For the time being, Russia's state policy in relation to the US economy eyes further reduction of Russia's investment in US bonds and public debt. Photo credits: Fotodom.ru/Kommersant
www.pravdareport.com | 8/13/18
Europe’s economy has slowed, and seems unlikely to bounce back strongly in what remains of a year that began with high hopes and then hit a series of setbacks.
www.wsj.com | 8/13/18
A mysterious Chinese company went on a buying binge in the Czech Republic following Xi Jinping’s call for greater sway in the region. What was the cost?
www.nytimes.com | 8/12/18
Russia is prepared for another package of US sanctions and may respond to it with a military and strategic blow.The new bill about new sanctions against Russia includes measures against the Kremlin elite and bans transactions with a new Russian sovereign debt. The Russian side will respond to the US with mirrored military and strategic measures, Anatoly Aksakov, the chairman of the Committee for Financial Market at the State Duma said. Russia may revise some of Moscow's international obligations. Aksakov stressed that it goes about new acquisitions of Russia's sovereign debt, which does not need to be increased as the budget operates with a surplus.Russia's budget is based on the price of oil at $40 per barrel. Taking into account the fact that today the price of oil is above $70, the Russian National Welfare Fund, which accumulates reserves, has been growing lately. Thus, the impact of US sanctions in this regard will be minimal.Russia is prepared for the new sanctions, which, as Aksakov believes, are not going to affect the Russian economy. However, foreign investors have been turning their backs on Russian securities lately because of the intention of the US administration to impose new sanctions on Russia. The Kremlin noted that US senators are going too far. As long as Russia's unsubstantiated and far-fetched interference in US elections gives US officials the right to cause economic damage to the Russian economy and to the well-being of the Russian population, Russia has every reason to develop its own measures, including military and strategic ones, that would lead to irreparable losses for the US economy and population. Russia may revise some of its international obligations against the background of its highly strained relations with the West. In the past, Russia had assumed certain obligations under certain international legal conditions. As long as the conditions are changing, the obligations will change too. The US abjures its international responsibilities on a regular basis as well, including in the sphere of control over the non-proliferation of nuclear weapons (Iran nuclear deal), and in terms of tariff and non-tariff protectionism in trade.According to the Nezavisimaya Gazeta newspaper, the document entitled "Defending American Security from Kremlin Aggression Act (DASKAA), is intended to exert economic, political and diplomatic pressure on Russia in response to Russia's ongoing interference in the American electoral process. The authors of the document pay special attention to Russia's "pernicious influence in Syria" and "aggression in the Crimea".The authors of the document are Democrat Ben Cardin, Republican Lindsey Graham, Democrat Robert Menendez, Republican Cory Gardner, Republican John McCain, Democrat Jeanne Shaheen. The measures to be taken against Russia include "sanctions against political figures, oligarchs, family members and others who directly or indirectly contribute to illegal and corrupt activities on behalf of Vladimir Putin."DASKAA also contains a paragraph on restrictive measures against transactions involving investment in energy projects that have the support of state or parastatal organizations of Russia, as well as sectoral sanctions against any person in Russia that could be involved in "malicious cyberactivity."The bill has received a lot of media attention lately because of its requirement to prohibit transactions with the new Russian sovereign debt. Interestingly, the bill appeared soon after the Putin-Trump summit in Helsinki. The DASKAA text also complicates the procedure for the US withdrawal from NATO as much as possible and simplifies the transfer of defense equipment to the countries of the military bloc in order to reduce the dependence of certain NATO countries on Russia's military equipment.US officials started proposing new anti-Russian initiatives after the Helsinki summit. For example, Republican Senator John Barrasso put forward an initiative against Russia's Nord Stream 2 energy project. According to him, European countries need to diversify their imports of natural gas and opt for organic fuels from the United States.Experts believe that such actions could take the world to a global crisis as financial markets would experience the shock that the world has not seen since the bankruptcy of Lehman Brothers in 2008. Restrictions on capital mobilization and sales of energy carriers would imply default on Russia's external obligations, the amount of which is only slightly less than the debts of LB before its bankruptcy. USA's new measures may thus trigger the effect of a house of cards and lead to deleverage on all markets. In the beginning of the current year, when everyone was expecting sanctions on Russia's federal OFZ bonds, the US Treasury Secretary clearly stated that such a move would be dangerous for the world financial system. At the same time, the USA may pass the DASKAA act to keep Russia on a short leash as was the case with the CAATSA act, the implementation of which took place only eight months after the document was adopted.
www.pravdareport.com | 8/6/18
Business managers worry whether a cease-fire between Brussels and the White House will hold. The uncertainty is bad for growth.
www.nytimes.com | 8/2/18
Google is working on a return to China, with the tech giant developing a censored search engine to appease the country’s laws, according to a report from The Intercept on Wednesday.
The search engine would “blacklist sensitive queries,” according to a company whistleblower, who told the outlet he was concerned about the precedent this move would set.
“I’m against large companies and governments collaborating in the oppression of their people, and feel like transparency around what’s being done is in the public interest,” the whistleblower told The Intercept. “What is done in China will become a template for many other nations.”
Google’s clandestine plans have been spearheaded by CEO Sundar Pichai since early 2017, according to the report. The project, operating under the name “Dragonfly,” is limited to a few hundred employees, The Intercept reports. The search engine would strictly be a mobile app when it launches, potentially within the next six to nine months, according to the report.
“We provide a number of mobile apps in China, such as Google Translate and Files Go, help Chinese developers, and have made significant investments in Chinese companies like JD.com. But we don’t comment on speculation about future plans,” a Google spokesperson told TheWrap.
China’s “Great Firewall,” as it has facetiously been dubbed, has stifled free speech online for years through a network of moderators, technical restraints and legislative regulations. The Chinese government blocks access to pornography and news stories that are overly critical of its Communist regime, as well as major sites like YouTube, Twitter and Facebook. Google’s new search engine would scrub results for topics the government doesn’t allow, like the 1989 Tiananmen Square protests, along with certain images, per The Intercept. A parallel online universe exists in China, with popular social media platforms like WeChat and Weibo, a Twitter-esque communication app, filling the void of their blocked Western analogs.
President Xi Jinping has made it clear in recent years he isn’t in favor of a free press.
“All news media run by the party must work to speak for the party’s will and its propositions, and protect the party’s authority and unity,” Xi said in 2016.
Google operated a censored version of its search engine in China between 2006 and 2010. The Mountain View, California-based company pulled out of China as its online censorship became increasingly severe. Attempts “to further limit free speech on the web,” said the company in 2010 had given it reason to back away from the country entirely.
That decision appears to be reconsidered under Pichai’s stewardship.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 8/1/18
National Geographic Partners will lose three of its top executives in a restructuring, CEO Gary Knell wrote in an internal memo on Tuesday.
Rachel Webber, executive vice president of digital; Rosa Zeegers, executive vice president of consumer products and experiences; and Laura Nichols, senior vice president and chief communications officer, are all set to depart the company by the end of the month.
Webber will transition into an advisory role in which she will “identify growth opportunities,” including exploring VR experiences and developing an OTT strategy.
The reorganization comes under the leadership of Knell — who was appointed CEO of Nat Geo Partners in February — in an attempt to streamline the company’s editorial operations, combining print and digital efforts.
Susan Goldberg, currently editor-in-chief of the print magazine, will serve as serve as editorial director for the new combined-print-and-digitial division, NG Media. David Miller, currently general manager of digital, will expand his duties to become general manager for NG Media.
“As in any newly constructed enterprise, it takes concerted effort to pull pieces together and create clear goals through which we can identify success,” Knell wrote. “We must decide at times what to ‘double down’ on and what to minimize. These are often hard choices and not crystal clear. But decisions need to be made and history, of course, will judge their success.”
“As in nearly all reorganizations, we face the unhappy reality of parting with outstanding colleagues who have contributed greatly to Nat Geo’s success,” he continued. “Please join me in thanking Rosa Zeegers and Laura Nichols for their work in setting up a new foundation for NGP. We wish them nothing but the best in all future endeavors.”
A joint venture between National Geographic Society and 21st Century Fox, National Geographic Partners combines the brand’s television channels with its media and consumer-oriented assets, including the magazines, National Geographic studios, books and related digital and social media platforms.
Read Knell’s full memo below.
When National Geographic Partners was formed in 2015, the objective was simple: transform one of the world’s most iconic media brands into a streamlined global business, aligned in every way with the Society’s historic excellence in science, adventure and exploration.
As in any newly constructed enterprise, it takes concerted effort to pull pieces together and create clear goals through which we can identify success. We must decide at times what to “double down” on and what to minimize. These are often hard choices and not crystal clear. But decisions need to be made and history, of course, will judge their success.
In order to best realize our potential and at the same time recognize the competitive world in which we operate, we are announcing today some important changes to our structure and operating model.
First, understanding how vital our global television platforms remain, we cannot emphasize enough how critical the Nat Geo Channel 2.0 strategy is to support. It makes Nat Geo relevant by creating outstanding world-class programming, it creates a great buzz with audiences, it pays off with important cable and satellite affiliates, and it brings in vital sponsors to support our work. Over three-fourths of our revenues come from these platforms.
Courteney Monroe will continue her outstanding work as CEO of Nat Geo Global Networks, overseeing a team of producers, schedulers and promoters, and coordinating with our international teams in Europe, Latin America and Asia. We have an incredibly exciting program agenda this next season with such major platforms as “Mars,” “Cosmos,” “Valley of the Boom” and others. These will build off a year in which our ratings are up and we have received a record 18 Emmy nominations. In order to centralize relationships with producers and talent, Courteney will also oversee a reenergized National Geographic Studios, which will combine our video formats – long-form and branded – that will allow us to drive creative excellence across NGP video platforms.
We need to look at our editorial hub as “one newsroom” and work to eliminate artificial divisions between print or digital-only staff. Our editorial staff will thus be aligned across all platforms and in collaboration with Courteney’s team on tentpole series. Susan Goldberg will serve as Editorial Director of the newly founded NG Media unit. There, all short-form content, photography, storytelling across platforms, cartography and graphics will be centrally organized under Susan’s leadership. The content verticals around animals, science, travel, culture and environment will be overseen by editors. And each platform, from the magazine to Facebook to Instagram, will have teams focused on what best performs there. We need to work across all platforms, in keeping with many other major media companies, mirroring the way our audiences access content. Susan will, of course, remain Editor in Chief of National Geographic Magazine.
I’ve asked David Miller, currently General Manager of Digital, to expand his duties to become General Manager of NG Media – co-leading this new unit together with Susan. David will be charged with driving subscriptions and membership for print (magazines and books) and digital platforms, as well as coordinating on sponsorships and ad-driven content. We will work to roll out a more directed agenda around membership focusing on print renewals first. David will also oversee our Photography Business and NG Creative teams, as well as our Maps group in Colorado.
As we continue to face ever-changing consumer behavior, we need to keep thinking ahead and prepare for the next big opportunity. In that context, Rachel Webber will transition into a strategic advisor role and help us identify growth opportunities in areas like AR, VR, live experiences and gaming, as well as an OTT strategy.
Our Strategic Partnerships team, led by Brendan Ripp, will continue to develop innovative sponsorships across television, digital and print platforms, working with our colleagues at 21CF. The Strategic Partnerships team will add product licensing into their portfolio so that brand extensions in non-media iterations, such as kids products, apparel and other consumer goods consistent with Nat Geo’s high standards, will be managed there to better reflect our desire to engage with world-class organizations.
Nancy Schumacher will continue to lead our successful Travel group. It’s impressive what these folks have achieved and how they continue to grow. With the integration of our private jet business, we are well prepared for running this high-profit engine that brings our brand to life in a unique way.
We will create a combined Marketing, Communications, Research, Data and Insights team under Jill Cress. It will be a “one-stop shop” to help drive a consumer-inspired approach to support our growth and revenue priorities. Key areas of focus include creating premium marketing to drive engagement and revenue around our priorities – including the Channel, magazine and membership. In this context, we need to better design performance metrics to measure how our investments are delivering results with our audiences in financial and brand-building terms. We need to simplify the direct-to-consumer marketing of our shows and platforms to better promote our great content and build affection with our audiences.
As part of that effort, the Global Communications team will now move into Jill’s group, with Chris Albert and Courtney Rowe reporting directly to Jill. Chris will continue to lead communications around all Channel priorities as well as continue to strengthen our talent relations efforts and lead the events team. Courtney Rowe will lead our internal and external corporate communications including the work she has been doing with the partnerships team. There will be more clarity on specific roles related to the defined priorities, which Jill, Chris and Courtney will review and share in the near future.
In recognition of her outstanding work before and during the transition, I’ve asked Marcela Martin to add to her important role as CFO by taking on a Chief Administrative Officer (CAO) function to coordinate our operations, facilities, and technology platforms. Marcela will also be chairing our new Operations Council that will coordinate the corporate support functions – Legal, HR and IT. As part of this change, Marcus East will now report to Marcela as Chief Technology Officer. Craig Mutch and Jeff Schneider – who have done outstanding work through this transition – will continue to report into their respective 21CF HR and Legal structures. They will also partner with Marcela on the Operations Council so that we have a more cohesive, responsive and efficient corporate structure to serve the content-driven agenda for NGP.
And as you recently heard, I’m delighted that Timo Gorner has become our Chief of Staff. He will help me push things faster through the enterprise and should be a resource to improve decision making and drive our priorities across the board.
As in nearly all reorganizations, we face the unhappy reality of parting with outstanding colleagues who have contributed greatly to Nat Geo’s success. Please join me in thanking Rosa Zeegers and Laura Nichols for their work in setting up a new foundation for NGP. We wish them nothing but the best in all future endeavors.
Finally, we will ask our newly appointed leadership team to come back with detailed operational plans in the next couple months. There is no shortcut to aligning all the pieces and we will work diligently over the summer to create the best, most common-sense approach to our work.
It is my sincere hope for us to focus on what we do best: create great content which will continue to inspire wonder and inform the world of the many challenges facing our planet. We are all in this together, and recognize our brand’s singular power and role as leaders and keepers of history. We will provide resources through subscriptions and advertising to support that content. That was true 130 years ago….and is still true today. Different skill sets, but the basic business hasn’t changed.
To hear more about these organizational changes, I encourage you to join me for an All-Hands Meeting at 10 a.m. ET in Grosvenor or via livestream (details will be sent shortly).
Thank you for what you do every day and we look forward to engaging with each of you on what you can do to help us all succeed together.
Variety first reported the news.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/31/18
Matthew Weiner’s “The Romanoffs” is finally coming to Amazon Prime, the streamer announced Saturday during the Television Critics Association press tour. The news was a bit of a surprise, as Amazon hasn’t said a word about the long-gestating project for months, following accusations of sexual misconduct posed against the “Mad Men” creator last fall by a writer who worked on the AMC series.
Amazon revealed the highly-anticipated original anthology series will debut on Friday, October 12. And, because you’ve been waiting so long to find out when it’s coming, Amazon also decided to tell you who is coming when it lands, with a teaser announcing a line-up of huge guest stars.
According to the show’s official logline, “The Romanoffs” is a contemporary anthology series, set around the globe, featuring eight separate stories about people who believe themselves to be descendants of the Russian royal family. The Romanoffs was shot on location in three continents and seven countries collaborating with local productions and creative talent across Europe, the Americas and the Far East.
And each one of these stories will take place in a new location with a new cast, which includes the impressive list of guest stars that were announced in the teaser clip (seen above) today.
See the crazy long lineup of actors below:
Noah Wyle (“Falling Skies”), Kathryn Hahn (“Transparent”), Kerry Bishé (“Halt & Catch Fire”), Jay R. Ferguson (“Mad Men”), Ben Miles (“Collateral”), Mary Kay Place (“Big Love”), Griffin Dunne (“Imposters”), Cara Buono (“Mad Men”), Ron Livingston (“The Conjuring”), Jon Tenney (“Hand of God”), Clea DuVall (“Veep”), Radha Mitchell (“Silent Hill”), Hugh Skinner (“Mamma Mia! Here We Go Again”), Juan Pablo Castañeda (“The Debt of Maximillian”), Emily Rudd (“Electric Dreams”), Adèle Anderson (“Company Business”), Annet Mahendru (“The Americans”), Louise Bourgoin (“I Am a Soldier”), Hera Hilmar (“Two Birds”) and Inès Melab (“Agathe Koltès”).
The previously announced “Romanoffs” cast includes Isabelle Huppert (“Elle”), Marthe Keller (“Marathon Man”), Aaron Eckhart (“Sully”), Diane Lane (“Unfaithful”), Christina Hendricks (“Mad Men”), John Slattery (“Mad Men”), Amanda Peet (“Togetherness”), Jack Huston (“Boardwalk Empire”), Corey Stoll (“The Strain”), Andrew Rannells (“Girls”), Mike Doyle (“Odd Mom Out”), JJ Field (“TURN: Washington’s Spies”), Janet Montgomery (“Salem,” “This Is Us”) and Paul Reiser (“Red Oaks”).
The series is written and executive produced by creator Weiner and “Mad Men” alum Semi Chellas. Co-executive producers include Kriss Turner Towner (“The Bernie Mac Show”), Blake McCormick (“Mad Men”) and Kathy Ciric (“Z: The Beginning of Everything”). Also joining the series from the old “Mad Men” team are Andre Jacquemetton and Maria Jacquemetton, who will act as consulting producers and writers.
Watch the teaser (which, again, is mainly just a list of names) above.
“The Romanoffs” will debut Friday, October 12, on Amazon Prime.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/28/18
The state of the eurozone economy and the ECB’s next policy steps are some of the issues President Mario Draghi will likely address at a news conference Thursday.
www.wsj.com | 7/26/18
Bitcoin's unreal hype has obscured that it is mostly used to facilitate drug deals, ransomware, tax evasion, and even the occasional murder for hire. After the 60% price drop, demand for bitcoin mining gear has fallen so much TSMC has to lower sales estimates for 2018. (That's good news for telecom. Qualcomm and probably others are close to going into production on 5G chips at TSMC. But Apple has bought up so much of TSMC's 7 nm capacity that chip quantities could be severely limited until well into 2019 unless TSMC demand drops.)
Now, Austrian Ambassador in Tehran Stefan Scholz has suggested it could be a powerful boost to the European intent to bypass the U.S. economic blockade. That could provide demand for $billions of bitcoins.
Financial Express quotes Scholz, "One of the ways for safeguarding European interests in Iran is to tap the digital payment methods and cryptocurrency channels." He added, ”unorthodox and innovative measures" were being considered to allow banking transactions to continue. We are all in this together, since the EU is facing a net loss of 10 billion euros ($11.7 billion) in lost trade with Iran next year."
Blockchain is potentially good stuff, routing around institutions in a sometimes useful way.
The illustration from Vint Cerf is right that few if any need blockchain when a database suffices. However, Jonathan Askin is persuasive that blockchain makes interesting disintermediation practical, maybe even community alternatives to Facebook/Google. Bitcoin fools distract from real uses.
Several Nobel Laureates think Bitcoin is a scam and Ponzi scheme. I'm pretty sure they are 90% but not 100% correct.
From Baidu, some of what they are doing with Blockchain. (Source: https://xchain.baidu.com/introduce)
Super Chain Product Introduction
What is a super chain?
The Super Chain is a blockchain 3.0 solution that Baidu plans to open source with powerful network throughput and high concurrency for general smart contract processing. Based on the pluggable consensus mechanism, DAG parallel computing network and stereo network, it truly breaks through the technical bottleneck of the current blockchain and paves the way for the wide application of blockchain. In addition, XuperChain's maximum compatibility with Bitcoin and Ethereum is friendly to blockchain developers and has a low migration threshold. The global deployment of XuperChain is the foundation of XuperChain's credibility. Supernodes with powerful performance participate in the competition of accounting rights to ensure the efficiency of the whole network operation; while other lightweight nodes act as supervisory nodes, monitoring supernodes to perform their duties, thus forming a more credible autonomous blockchain operation. system.
The Superchain is a blockchain operating system that supports the operation of a large number of parallel blockchains. Each blockchain supports intra-chain concurrent and sidechain technologies. Analogous to the traditional operating system has processes and threads, then in the definition of the super chain, the parallel chain is the process, the side chain is the thread.
The superchain proposes the concept of supercomputing nodes, using supercomputers and distributed architectures to solve blockchain network computing power and storage problems. At the same time, the DAG network is combined with the side chain and parallel chain technology to realize the core technology that makes maximum use of parallel computing power. The network form of the entire superchain is as follows:
How to use
The superchain manages the entire superchain network through a root chain. The root chain can be upgraded to any consensus mechanism through voting mechanisms, including but not limited to POW, POS, etc.
The functions of the super chain mainly include: creating parallel chain and super chain network management. Anyone wants to use the superchain network, it just needs to call the interface of the root chain and create a block of its own. When creating, you can specify a consensus mechanism. Any call to the Root API interface and functionality requires fuel consumption. When creating a blockchain, you can specify the Genesis block parameters to determine the creation rules.
User-created blockchain capabilities
1. Each application has an independent chain instead of sharing a chain like the application on the Ethereum
2. Has a complete blockchain computing power, do not need to share computing power with others (there is no such an application service coexisting soaring, resulting in the entire super-chain network ?? situation)
3 Can develop their own consensus mechanism and mining incentive strategy
4. Can write their own smart contracts and have independent resources to run
We will open up the superchain ecosystem to help developers quickly create blockchain applications. The Superchain will provide the underlying support and developer tools that enable enterprise and individual developers to focus on application innovation and feature development, making it easy to get the business up. A series of support plans will be launched to promote the block-level application of the blockchain, and work together with developers to create a super-chain application ecosystem.
Open source plan
In July 2018, Baidu's internal open source
2, 2019, Q1 open source to the whole society
Written by Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime
www.circleid.com | 7/22/18
The president turned his ire on the American central bank, as well as trading partners that are fighting back against his tariffs, in a series of Twitter posts.
www.nytimes.com | 7/21/18
Comcast called off its battle with Disney over much of 21st Century Fox’s TV and film business on Thursday, sending shares of both companies higher in the process.
Comcast stock increased 2.6 percent to $34.91 a share as markets closed, while Disney also enjoyed a 1.3 percent bump, hitting $112.13 a share. Fox shares dipped about 2 percent in early trading, but rallied to close only 0.3 percent down on the day.
Fox shareholders have enjoyed a nice run since Disney first announced its buyout plans in December 2017. The dueling Comcast-Disney offers have helped spark a 40 percent jump since Disney’s initial offer.
Wall Street appears to approve of Comcast waving the white flag, with shareholders happy to see the company isn’t increasing its $66 billion all-cash bid for Fox. At the same time, Comcast is turning its attention to European broadcaster Sky, a company that is 39 percent owned by Fox. Both companies will now fight over the remaining control of Sky.
Comcast’s move clears the way for Disney to acquire the film and TV studios, among other assets, from Fox. “Our incredible enthusiasm for this acquisition and the value it will create has continued to grow as we’ve come to know 21st Century Fox’s stellar array of talent and assets,” said Disney CEO Bob Iger in a statement. “We’re extremely pleased with today’s news, and our focus now is on completing the regulatory process and ultimately moving toward integrating our businesses.”
Upon completion of its $71.3 billion buyout of Fox’s assets, Disney will add to its content arsenal as it prepares to launch its own streaming service to take on Netflix. Iger was apparently thrilled when CNBC’s David Faber broke the news to him Thursday that Comcast is backing down, saying “holy crap” in response.
Related stories from TheWrap:
www.thewrap.com | 7/19/18
The U.K.’s planned exit from the EU will have a “small” negative impact on the bloc’s economy, although it will prove more damaging to countries such as Ireland, the Netherlands and Belgium that have closer links with Britain, the IMF said.
www.wsj.com | 7/19/18
The European Data Protection Board certainly has been keeping its records straight. Its 27 May statement starts with the following:
"WP29 has been offering guidance to ICANN on how to bring WHOIS in compliance with European data protection law since 2003."
All internet users have dealings with the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers, yet the vast majority have never heard of ICANN. Responsible for deciding how the Domain Name System (DNS) is run, ICANN may be a technical standard-setting body, but its policies and activities acquire political nuances more often than not. At its core, there is a distinction between ICANN the organisation, incorporated in California, and the ICANN community, a multistakeholder group of volunteers who develop the policies that are subsequently implemented by the organisation.
Fifteen years ago, and only a few years after ICANN was established, European data protection regulators had already spotted the flaws with ICANN's WHOIS service, a public database of registrants' contact details. At the end of 2017, mere months before European General Data Protection Regulation (GDPR) came into effect, ICANN had yet to devise a plan to make its WHOIS registrant database compliant. However, this is no longer the era of paltry fines for violating data protection laws, when compliance was at best facultative.
Data protection as a human right
Here it's important to recall the diverse origins of data protection law. At the EU level, the 1995 Data Protection Directive aimed to harmonize the regulation of automated data processing in order to fulfill the EU's goal of free movement of goods and services (see recitals 7 and 8). In parallel, data protection began to be conceived as a human right, a notion that reached a more concrete with the Treaty of Lisbon and the 2009 European Union Charter of Fundamental Rights. Today's GDPR, which replaces the old directive, explicitly relies on the EU's human rights framework for its rationale (see recital 1 and following).
Unlike traditional human rights legislation, the GDPR contains concrete provisions for direct enforcement. That is, it grants entitlements to individuals against other legal persons beyond the state, i.e. companies. In addition, the contemplation of hefty fines for violation (up to 4% of global annual turnover for business entities), which is not an enforcement mechanism usually associated with human rights. This stick is what triggered the compliance rush witnessed over the past year, and the numerous subscription confirmation emails received from organisations long forgotten.
The GDPR is also interesting in that it creates an extremely specific and detailed bundle of rights to the benefit of EU citizens and residents against any data controller and processor, wherever they may be located. The EU thus acted according to a highly pragmatic conceptualisation of "online jurisdiction" similar to that of the Canadian courts in the 2017 Equustek case. In this high-profile copyright infringement case, the Canadian Supreme Court ruled that Google had to delist the incriminated website from its search results on a worldwide basis, not only under the google.ca subdomain. If a full de-listing meant applying Canadian law beyond its borders, so be it (it is worth noting the order failed at the enforcement level in the US.) With the GDPR, the EU adopts a similar perspective: individuals must be protected, even if it means potentially reaching out to every single data controller and processor in the world.
Extraterritoriality in cyberspace?
The application of laws based on residency, citizenship, or other non-territorial bases isn't new. Tax law, notably from the US, is often applied in a similar way. The internet makes such an application of law even more salient, as individuals create and manage legal relationships across territories at an unprecedented scale. This can be unsettling for the "territorial" states, hence the observed trend toward extraterritoriality. States seek to have their laws apply to individuals irrespective of their physical location, particularly when dealing with internet-related issues, as a means of obtaining immediate legal effectivity. Regardless of whether GDPR's alleged extraterritoriality is good or bad, it can be said that states, the EU, and courts will most likely favour an interpretation of "online jurisdiction" which maximizes their power and their perceived efficiency at enforcing their own laws.
An overly cynical (and factually wrong) conclusion would be that ICANN, as a non-profit California corporation, is not subject to human rights law, as they only create legal relations between governments and individuals. This would stem from an understanding of human rights law as a solely vertical arrangement between states and individuals, which disregards how an entity like ICANN can interfere with "horizontal" human rights entitlements, like those put into place by the GDPR. Recent events show that enforcing corporate respect for human rights is not some civil society pipe dream: a German court already ruled that ICANN's last-minute GDPR compliance plan is not quite compliant.
Human rights at ICANN, beyond the Bylaw
ICANN has found itself in a double bind: on one side, an expansive understanding of jurisdiction is gaining ground around the world; on the other, a set of human rights norms, previously constrained to treaties and the often staid world of public international law, is finding a new horizontality. The standard for personal data protection has been decidedly raised, prompting us to rethink what human rights compliance means. ICANN's global mission is tied to the functioning of internet, but its operations can severely interfere with individuals' exercise of human rights, as well as the commitments of governments to uphold these rights.
Developing a high-level commitment, as ICANN did with its 2017 Human Rights Bylaw, is a first step. However, viable solutions must, at the same time, go deeper. Indeed, the operationalisation of ICANN's human rights bylaw must pass through a refocusing of the lens, away from international treaties and into the low-level application of human rights norms at the transnational and national level. Rather than biding time before fines mandate action, the ICANN community should carry out sustained research and documentation of ICANN's concrete interference with human rights, both existent and potential. The multistakeholder community should also put in place the necessary efforts to go beyond the mere human rights bylaw and into real compliance assessment, an ever-evolving activity that requires constant attention and monitoring.
In a 17 May letter, European commissioners asked ICANN, through its CEO, to "show leadership and demonstrate that the multi-stakeholder model actually delivers." Be it taunting or encouraging, this challenge underscores the current need for intentional, proactive leadership from both the ICANN organisation and its community. Beyond enhancing its accountability, proactively identifying and preventing human rights violations might just prevent further debacles the next time a human rights law (not so) suddenly becomes applicable to ICANN. As California adopts its own improved data protection law, that time may come sooner than expected.
Special thanks to Collin Kurre from Article19 for her thoughtful suggestions
Written by Raphaël Beauregard-Lacroix
www.circleid.com | 7/19/18
Travellers stuck in Britain and Europe have blasted the airline for leaving them 'high and dry' and accused them of wrecking their family holidays and business trips.
www.dailymail.co.uk | 7/19/18
The European Union is pressuring China to open its economy to outsiders and help revamp an international trade system now under fire by the Trump administration.
www.wsj.com | 7/19/18
The economy of Europe comprises more than 731 million people in 48 different states. Like other continents, the wealth of Europe's states varies, although the poorest are well above the poorest states of other continents in terms of GDP and living standards. The difference in wealth across Europe can be seen in a rough East-West divide. Whilst Western European states all have high GDPs and living standards, many of Eastern Europe's economies are still rising from the collapse of the communist Soviet Union and former Yugoslavia. Throughout this article "Europe" and derivatives of the word are taken to include selected states whose territory is only partly in Europe – such as Turkey, Azerbaijan, and the Russian Federation – and states that are geographically in Asia, bordering Europe – such as Armenia and Cyprus. Europe was the first continent to industrialize – led by the United Kingdom in the 18th century – and as a result, it has become the richest continent in the world today and the nominal GDP in 2010 is $19.920 trillion (32.4% of the World). Europe's largest national economy is that of Germany, which ranks fourth globally in nominal GDP, and fifth in purchasing power parity (PPP) GDP; followed by France, ranking fifth globally in nominal GDP, followed by the United Kingdom, ranking sixth globally in nominal GDP, followed by Italy, which ranks seventh globally in nominal GDP, then by Russia ranking tenth globally in nominal GDP. These 5 countries are all ranking in the world's top 10, therefore European economies account for half of the 10 wealthiest ones. The end of World War II has since brought European countries closer together, culminating in the formation of the European Union (EU) and in 1999, the introduction of a unified currency – the euro. European Union as a whole is, by far, the wealthiest and largest economy in the world, topping the US by more than 2.000 billions at a time of great economic slowdown– see List of countries by GDP. In 2009 Europe remained the world's wealthiest region. Its $32,7 trillion in assets under management represented more than one-third of the world’s wealth. Unlike North America ($29,3 trillion) it was one of few regions where wealth surpassed its precrisis year-end peak. Of the top 500 largest corporations measured by revenue, 184 have their headquarters in Europe. 161 are located in the EU, 15 in Switzerland, 6 in Russia, 1 in Turkey, 1 in Norway. 19 out of the top 26 nations in the world with the highest nominal GDP per capita are in Europe as of 2010. nr 1 Monaco $203,900 nr 2 Liechtenstein $136,864 nr 3 Luxembourg $104.390 nr 4 Norway $84,543 nr 6 Switzerland $67,074 nr 7 Denmark $55,112 nr 8 San Marino $50,670 nr 10 Sweden $47,667 nr 13 Netherlands 46,418 nr 15 Ireland $45,642 nr 16 Austria $43,723 nr 17 Finland $43,133 nr 19 Belgium $42,596 nr 21 Andorra $41,130 nr 22 France $40,591 nr 23 Germany $40,511 nr 24 Iceland $39,562 nr 25 UK $36,298 nr 26 Italy $33,828