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Spain Economy

Prime Minister Pedro Sánchez's Socialists won Spain's national election on Sunday but large gains by the upstart far-right Vox party appear certain to widen the political deadlock in the European Union's fifth-largest economy. | 11/11/19
The country is facing slowing growth and unemployment that is the second-highest in the EU. | 11/8/19

Developments in the telecommunications industry and the broader digital economy have opened up many new markets over the last few decades. Telecoms has changed from a more or less standalone, horizontally-organized industry to one that has become a key facilitator in a range of vertical markets.

The keyword that is used to indicate that change is "smart." We are talking about smart transport, smart energy, smart cities and so on. Essentially what this means is that internet and communication technology (ICT) technologies are increasingly being strategically added on and embedded in these industries.

The technological developments have been mindboggling: broadband, mobile communications, cloud computing, data management, storage, AI and analytics. Combined, these have created the ideal environment for the development of technology platforms on which social and economic transformations can be developed. These platforms are often called "labs" — places where innovation, sharing, collaboration and piloting can take place.

The telecoms industry was right at the forefront of the digital explosion, but for a long time, telcos concentrated on protecting their very lucrative incumbent voice businesses.

And so companies such as Google, Apple, Facebook, Amazon, and many others in the internet market had free rein to develop over-the-top (OTT) business models, using the existing telecoms infrastructure to build their own platforms from which to distribute their own services to end-users.

Despite what could be called "missed opportunities" for telcos, they were able to maintain a strong market position in the basic telecoms market (connectivity). The massive increase in OTT services also stimulated a far greater use of the telecoms network. In most cases, telcos remain strong and healthy players in the connectivity market. However, it has become a low-margin utility service. Within their current business models, there is little room for them to develop more value-added products with opportunities for premium-based revenue models.

There are various obvious scenarios for the telcos to pursue:

  • Current model of an integrated telco: a strong focus on technology and engineering, combined with good customer relationships;
  • The wholesale model: full control over the network, intermediaries between vendors and OTT retail providers; and
  • Platform: a more virtual telco model based on first-class infrastructure with a strong focus on innovation and new services and strong relationships with customers, partners and developers.

I would like to concentrate on the third option.

The nature of the telecoms business, its culture, and its business models is not very well-suited to a more vertical approach that can be provided through platform-based models.

For example, let's look at the massive transformations that are taking place in transport, cities and energy. What is needed is a holistic approach to these developments. Telcos could take control of such a platform, rather than just being a supplier to some of the underlying elements of new smart models.

Looking around the globe, we see the car industry, cities and energy companies trying to take charge of the platform. As they often lack in-house ICT skills, the success of these platforms is a hit-and-miss situation. In other cases, IT companies are taking charge (such as Cisco, IBM and Huawei) or companies such as PWC and Accenture. The problem with these latter organizations is that their clients have become increasingly wary of proprietary solutions.

So far, very few telcos have taken a leading position in such developments. Key reasons are that their financial, technology and business models are not well-suited to starting a platform and taking risks involved in setting them up. Instead, we see IT companies taking the lead, like Google (Alphabet), for example, in Smart City Toronto.

Their business models are much better suited to such opportunities, and they are prepared to take risks and accept that several investments may fail. However, this allows them to learn on the job. They know that the total value of the platform markets that will be developed over the next 10-20 years will be in the trillions of dollars.

Perhaps Spain's Telefonica has gone the furthest of all the telcos. While still not adopting the full platform approach, they are taking the lead in a range of international smart city projects. KPN in the Netherlands is another example of a leading participant, but again not a full platform operator.

Of course, telcos quickly become partners in such projects, but most of the time, they are relegated to providing basic telecoms services. Often, these services are tendered for by the project leader, and competition makes sure that the margins for the telcos remain rather subdued.

Looking at the very upbeat messages that the telcos are sending out regarding 5G, the situation will become even more complex. In order to deliver the applications that the technology promotes, such as Internet of Things (IoT) and the much-promoted connected car business, platforms will require cooperation between telcos. Such applications can't rely on one supplier alone. You cannot have a driverless solution that only uses the Telstra network or the Optus one.

Telcos are not used to partnering with competitors. Often the message is "let's partner, but you have to do it my way." Car manufacturers in Europe have already indicated that they are not going to build the roadside IoT platforms and are looking at the telcos to collaborate. So who will develop the "build it and they will come" business model?

If the telcos do want to monetize their network better, they will have to move up the value chain, and this will require a totally different business model. Most likely, this will require setting up structurally separated new companies, each individually specialized, based on the markets they are selecting. The platform would largely be built around a virtual "telco" model, mainly operating in the cloud. They should be open to external developers and partners, securing an ongoing development of new and innovative offerings.

In such a model, the telcos' unique skill sets allow them to take a greater controlling role. Rather than being asked to be a partner, they should set up the ecosystem for the platform, select the partners, develop the financial models around the platform, and be in control. Their independent position also allows them to scale this business model and replicate it where opportunities arise.

There is no doubt that such an approach holds significant risks. Some initiatives will fail. Of course, such a model should be thoroughly assessed through scenario design, but that shouldn't lead to procrastination. If done well, the rewards will be substantial.

The telcos arguably have the deepest insight into customers' behavior, but if they are to move up the value chain, they will need to use this insight to move out of partnerships and establish themselves in a controlling position.

Written by Paul Budde, Managing Director of Paul Budde Communication | 10/31/19

The nominees for this year’s Streamy Awards were announced Wednesday by Dick Clark Productions, Tubefilter and YouTube. David Dobrik leads the way with 11 nominations and murder-mystery reality web series “Escape the Night: Season 4” follows with five nominations.

Lil Nas X and Lizzo are both nominated for the first time.

The awards specifically celebrate the best in online video. This year’s ceremony, the ninth one, will be held Dec. 13 at the Beverly Hilton in Beverly Hills, California. It will stream live globally on YouTube.

“Creators are the heart and soul of YouTube, so we’re excited to celebrate and honor their creativity, diversity and hard work,” Jamie Byrne, director of creator partnerships at YouTube, said in a statement. “Together with the Streamys, we’ve expanded our award categories to even more regions around the world to bring fans some of the biggest and most unforgettable moments from the past year, all from the creators they love.”

See the full list of nominees below:

Creator of the Year
Collins Key
David Dobrik
Emma Chamberlain
Lilly Singh
Loren Gray
Safiya Nygaard
Simply Nailogical
Tana Mongeau

Show of the Year
Chicken Girls
Escape the Night: Season 4
The Game Master
Good Mythical Morning
Hot Ones
The Philip DeFranco Show
Red Table Talk
Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
The Try Guys


Action or Sci-Fi
Mordeo • CryptTV
Sam and Colby
Super Science Friends
Weird City

Andrei Terbea
Danny Casale

Breakout Creator
Danny Gonzalez
Joana Ceddia
Lizzy Capri

Anwar Jibawi
Gus Johnson
Hannah Stocking
Jack Douglass

The Brave • Great Big Story
BuzzFeed Unsolved Network
The Curse of Don’s Plum • New York Post
The Secret World of Jeffree Star • Shane Dawson
Stonewall: OutLoud • WOWPresents

First Person presented by GoPro HERO8 Black
David Dobrik
Emma Chamberlain
Simply Nailogical
Tana Mongeau

International: Asia Pacific
ACAU Youtube (Korea)
Fischer’s-???????- (Japan)
Kento Bento (Hong Kong)
RackaRacka (Australia)
Ti?n Zombie v4 (Vietnam)

International: Europe, Middle East, and Africa
Fozi Mozi (Palestine)
L’atelier de Roxane (France)
MarkAngelComedy (Nigeria)
Mikecrack (Spain)
Stacia Mar (Russia)

International: Latin America
Camila Loures (Brazil)
Enaldinho (Brazil)
enchufetv (Ecuador)
kevsho (Argentina)
Mis Pastelitos (Mexico)


Indie Series
Beef in Brentwood
Black Girls Guide to Fertility
Damaged Goods • VAM STUDIO
The Feels
Take One Thing Off • Scout Durwood

Scripted Series
Blame The Hero • Brandon Rogers
Chicken Girls • Brat TV
How To Survive a Break Up w/ Eva Gutowski • AwesomenessTV
Two Sides
You Decide • DeStorm Power

Unscripted Series
Escape the Night: Season 4 • Joey Graceffa
I Spent a Day With… • AnthonyPadilla
Middle Ground • Jubilee
Phone Swap
UNHhhh • WOWPresents


Brad Mondo
Jackie Aina
James Charles
Jeffree Star
Nikita Dragun

Kyle Hanagami
Matt Steffanina
Nicole Laeno
WilldaBeast Adams

Koleen Diaz
Sierra Schultzzie
With Love, Leena

Binging with Babish
Food Fears • Good Mythical Morning
Gordon Ramsay
Rosanna Pansino
Worth It • BuzzFeedVideo

The Completionist
The Game Theorists
Girlfriend Reviews

Health and Wellness
Doctor Mike
The Fitness Marshall
Jay Shetty
Kati Morton
Prince Ea

Kids and Family
Chad Wild Clay
Guava Juice
The Holderness Family
JoJo Siwa
The LaBrant Fam

Brent Rivera
Bretman Rock
Niki and Gabi
Rickey Thompson
Safiya Nygaard

Business Insider Today
The Philip DeFranco Show
Some More News
The Young Turks

Pop Culture
Fan Survey • Teen Vogue
Hot Ones • First We Feast
IMDb Me • IMDb
Sneaker Shopping • Complex

Science and Education
Kurzgesagt – In a Nutshell
Mark Rober
Mind Field: Season 3 • Vsauce

Donut Media
Kristopher London
The NBA Storyteller
People Are Awesome

Marques Brownlee
Sara Dietschy
Unbox Therapy


Live Streamer
Twitch Rivals


Breakthrough Artist
Conan Gray
Lewis Capaldi
Lil Nas X
Lil Tecca


H3 Podcast
On Purpose with Jay Shetty
Tiny Meat Gang Podcast
VIEWS with David Dobrik and Jason Nash


Annie LeBlanc – Chicken Girls
Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
DeStorm Power – You Decide
Raney Branch – Black Girls Guide to Fertility
Tim Manley – The Feels

David Dobrik and Kylie Jenner – SURPRISING PEOPLE WITH KYLIE JENNER!! • David Dobrik
Molly Burke and Dolan Twins – Blindfolded Skydiving w/ The Dolan Twins! • Molly Burke
PatrickStarrr and Naomi Campbell – NAOMI CAMPBELL MAKEUP TUTORIAL • PatrickStarrr
Rebecca Zamolo and The Game Master Network – World’s Largest YOUTUBE Takeover In REAL LIFE at ViDCON! • Rebecca Zamolo
Sofie Dossi and Matt Steffanina – 7 Rings – Ariana Grande • Sofie Dossi

Ensemble Cast
Escape the Night: Season 4 • Joey Graceffa
The Try Guys
The Valleyfolk
Vlog Squad • David Dobrik


Adam Bianchi, Andrew Ilnyckyj, Steven Lim – Worth It • BuzzFeedVideo
Devin Graham – devinsupertramp
Jake Koehler – DALLMYD
Josh Cassidy – Deep Look
Peter McKinnon – Peter McKinnon

Costume Design
Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
Marc Littlejohn – Welcome to Daisyland
Morgan Christensen – Epic Rap Battles of History
Olivia Hines – Escape the Night: Season 4
Samantha Rhodes – Lindsey Stirling

Brandon Rogers – Blame The Hero
Cole Bennett – Lyrical Lemonade
David Dobrik – David Dobrik
Hannah Lehman – Two Sides
Lindsey Stirling, Tom Teller – Lindsey Stirling

David Dobrik – David Dobrik
Elle Mills – ElleOfTheMills
Emma Chamberlain – emma chamberlain
Marc Schneider, Alex “Sedge” Sedgwick, BanditRants – The Game Theorists
Steve Grubel – Escape the Night: Season 4

Visual and Special Effects
Aaron Benitez – Aaron’s Animals
Caleb Natale – Caleb Natale
Jody Steel – Jody Steel
Kevin Parry – Kevin Parry
Martin R. – Buttered Side Down

Alex Ernst – Alex Ernst
Jae Richards, Trey Richards – 4YE Comedy
Kyle Exum – Kyle Exum
Nice Peter, EpicLLOYD, Zach Sherwin – Epic Rap Battles of History
Thomas Sanders, Joan S., Adri White, Quil Cauchon, AJ Hentges – Thomas Sanders


Company or Brand
Ellen & Cheerios – DiversiTEA with Naomi Wadler
WWE – Connor’s Cure – Children’s Hospital of Pittsburgh
Zillow – Finding Home in America • ATTN:

21 Savage – Leading by Example Foundation and Get Schooled
King Bach – RuJohn Foundation
Markiplier – My Friend’s Place

Nonprofit or NGO
It Gets Better Project
St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital – St. Jude PLAY LIVE

Winners previously announced

Brand Engagement
Winner: Chipotle + David Dobrik – Chipotle • Collab
#FindMyiD – Clinique
Barbie – Mattel Digital Engagement Group
David Dobrik x SeatGeek: Becoming a Member of the VlogSquad – SeatGeek
Peace Props – Peace Tea

Branded Content: Series
Winner: The Purple Boys – Purple • Tim and Eric
Cold As Balls – Old Spice
Road to Wizdom – AARP • Washington Wizards
Science of Mortal Kombat – Mortal Kombat • Because Science
Will It Clog? – Liquid-Plumr • VAT19

Branded Content: Video
Winner: Snoop Dogg x NikkieTutorials – Marc Jacobs Beauty
Jurassic World as a Chain Reaction Machine – Jurassic World • WatchMojo
Michelle Khare: Challenge Accepted: I Tried Marine Bootcamp – United States Marine Corps
Rabbit Hole – HTC Vive • FaZe Clan
The Try Guys Try 13 Future Technologies At Google – Google I/O

Emerging Platform
Winner: Jimmy Fallon ‘Tell Me A Joke’ – Amazon Alexa
#findyourmagic – The House with a Clock in Its Walls
Smule Duet with Natasha Bedingfield – MTV’s The Hills: New Beginnings
Tasty x eko – Walmart • BuzzFeed
WrestleMania Kickoff – WWE

Influencer Campaign
Winner: #MyTruth #MyCalvins – Calvin Klein
Chipotle + David Dobrik – Chipotle
David Dobrik x SeatGeek: Becoming a Member of the VlogSquad – SeatGeek
Look, there’s no reason not to use Honey – Honey
Ryan’s World x Colgate – Colgate • Ryan ToysReview

Social Good Campaign
Winner: Teens React to Texting and Driving (Distracted Driving) – AT&T It Can Wait • FBE
Because of You – Ad Council • Brat
Finding Home in America – Zillow • ATTN:
Generation Good – Cheerios • Ellen Digital Network
Let’s Talk About Turbans (Gasp!) – We Are Sikhs • Funny Or Die

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2018 Streamy Awards: Complete Winners List

Village People to Reunite for Live Performance at the Streamy Awards

How Do the Streamy Awards Work? A Short Explainer | 10/16/19

Wednesday’s third-quarter earnings report comes at a critical time for Netflix, only weeks before deep-pocketed competitors in Disney and Apple enter the streaming battle.

The streaming giant and its shareholders have been through a wild 2019. Netflix’s stock, after rocketing up more than 40% during the first half of the year, has dropped 25% since July, when the company reported underwhelming subscriber growth — punctuated by a decline in U.S. subscribers for the first time since it separated its DVD and streaming business in 2011.

Despite the growing pressure on Netflix, analysts are cautiously optimistic it’ll hit its internal projections of about 7 million new subscribers.

Ampere Analysis research director Richard Broughton said he’s anticipating a “bounce back” quarter from Netflix, thanks to the return of several prominent Netflix originals, including “Stranger Things” and “13 Reasons Why,” during Q3. Netflix announced “Stranger Things” Season 3 set a company record when it was streamed by 40 million accounts in the three days following its early July return.

UBS analyst Eric Sheridan, in a note to clients last week, also pointed to Q3’s improved slate compared to Q2, but warned fan sentiment is mixed. UBS data based on Google searches showed “Stranger Things” and “Mindhunter” showed “increased interest” from fans and “Orange Is the New Black” enjoyed a relative boost to prior seasons, while the latest season of “13 Reasons Why” indicated “substantially lower” interest. This might not be a huge concern, though, he added.

“Declining interest could be due to the maturity of the shows with the majority of U.S. viewers already familiar with the respective show,” Sheridan said.

Also Read: The Disney-Amazon Streaming Standoff: Who Holds the Leverage?

Several well-known Netflix Originals returned during Q3, sparking the belief U.S. subscriber growth will rebound from Q2. But UBS data indicates some shows are not as anticipated as they once were (via UBS)

Avoiding a second-straight dip in U.S. subscribers is essential, if only to reassure investors that Netflix’s perch at the top of the streaming mountain is still firmly in tact. Netflix, even after losing about 130,000 domestic subscribers, has 60 million U.S. customers — or more than double Hulu and Amazon Prime Video in the states. Netflix also will be another quarter removed from price hikes that went into effect earlier this year, something the company blamed for its underwhelming Q2 performance.

Both analysts agreed international growth will be vital for Netflix. In the last year, Netflix has added six times as many international customers as it has in the U.S. Netflix already sits on 151 million global customers  — more than any other streaming company — heading into Wednesday; extending its lead now becomes the priority as new competitors line up.

“Netflix has already reached [about] half of U.S. households, so it’s reaching – realistically – a saturation point. But most international markets are still significantly under-penetrated in comparison, which offers substantial future growth opportunity,” Broughton added.

Local productions now play an integral part in Netflix’s international push. Sheridan noted the second season of “Sacred Games” in India and the third season of “La Casa de Pael” in Spain, both returning shows during Q3, spurred increased interest for Netflix abroad. With the bulk of Netflix’s new subscribers coming from outside the U.S., this bodes well for it reporting better Q3 subscriber growth. Analysts expect Netflix to increase revenue 33% year-over-year to about $5.25 billion — a figure it should exceed if it reaches its subscriber projections.

Also Read: How USA Hopes to Breathe New Life into Jason Bourne and 'The Purge' Film Franchises

Netflix could certainly use a good quarter. Missing on subscriber projections, coupled with the debut of Disney+ and Apple TV+ next month, could push the company from its current $285 share price to below its $267 price at the beginning of the year. Investors will be looking for CEO Reed Hastings or Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos to say something about how it plans to counter these new competitors on Wednesday. But Goldman Sachs analyst Heath Terry, in a note to clients last week, said Netflix’s best counter-punch is already in place: a strong lineup of Q4 releases.

High-profile movies like Vince Gilligan’s “El Camino” and Martin Scorsese’s mafia epic “The Irishman” hit the service this quarter, along with a number of popular shows like “Peaky Blinders,” “The Crown” and “The Kominsky Method” coming back. Expect Netflix to mention this in its letter to shareholders and investor call on Wednesday. That should give Netflix enough ammo to fight off subscriber churn — or customers that were looking to temporarily ditch their service for Disney or Apple — at least through the end of the year, according to Terry.

“There is some risk that access to Disney’s back-catalog and high brand value of Disney’s [intellectual property] (i.e. ‘Star Wars’/’Mandalorian’) will drive some initial pressure for Netflix, though we believe Netflix’s original content releases around the launch will offset any meaningful near-term impact,” Terry said.

Of course, Netflix’s array of content comes at a cost.

Investors will want to keep an eye on how much the company has spent, as Netflix had already racked up more than $6 billion in content costs through the second quarter. Netflix likely won’t raise prices again until mid-2020 on its customers, so to offset its growing content spend, it has to keep the subscribers flooding in. If Netflix can top its projection of 7 million new subscribers, investors will look the other way as content costs balloon.

Related stories from TheWrap:

Ivana Lombardi Exits Annapurna, Joins Netflix as Director of Indie Films

Ava DuVernay, Netflix Sued Over Portrayal of Interrogation Technique in 'When They See Us'

Kerry Washington Joins Ryan Murphy's Netflix Film 'The Prom' | 10/15/19
MADRID  — In 1996, when still at high school, Spain’s Arturo Guillen, having flunked some exams, took a summer job at Entertainment Data Inc.(EDI), which had just set up in Spain, intent on delivering computer-collected box office results to distributors. Cinema theaters would start relaying results from 10 pm, Guillén recalls. Sometimes the computer froze, […] | 10/1/19

There now can be no doubt that fixed wireless, mostly 5G, will be a viable business in the right locations. Today's wireless has enormous capacity, enough to supply the broadband needs of a significant population. It's better than most DSL and a workable alternative to cable in many locations. Traffic demand is falling, with Cisco predicting the U.S. will fall to 31% growth in 2021.

John Legere of T-Mobile committed to 9.5 million in-home broadband subs by 2024 to get FCC approval of the Sprint takeover. Brett Feldman of Goldman Sachs estimated Verizon would have 8 million by 2023. AT&T;CEO says they expect a fixed market to grow in a few years. Wireless ISPs already have over a million. Starry and others are growing. In five years, at least a fifth of the 120 million U.S. homes will be connected wirelessly.

Three in the UK and Sunrise in Switzerland are also promoting fixed. Deutsche Telekom and many others are actively selling fixed in rural areas, replacing or supplementing DSL.

When a carrier has a good landline offering, fixed will be a small niche. Orange in France and Spain will have fiber to most of the country, leaving few areas where fixed wireless makes sense. Similarly, a non-incumbent with a good deal on unbundling rarely will look to sell wireless to the home.

Since 2016 or before, wireless technology has been improving at a faster rate than traffic demand. Carrier aggregation easily doubles the spectrum a telco can use. Massive MIMO raises the capacity of the right spectrum by three to five times. 256 QAM is worth another 30%, 5G NR, SON, and a dozen other technologies also make a difference. The lobbyists think its never enough, but most countries are or soon will add 100s of MHz of new spectrum. Depending on the starting point and how you measure, wireless capacity is going up 10 to 25 times within the current capex budget.

The result: telcos can't sell all they can deliver in most of their territory and need new products.

Written by Dave Burstein, Editor, DSL Prime | 7/31/19

The new regulations establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks out of business.

New Cuban regulations regarding private WiFi networks went into effect yesterday, and the New York Times and others proclaimed that "Cuba expands Internet access to private homes and businesses." Yes, Cubans can legally import and install WiFi routers in their homes, small cafes, B&Bs, etc., but these regulations will make little difference in Internet access.

For a start, very few homes and small businesses in Cuba have links to the Internet. Furthermore, my guess is that most people in homes that are connected to the Internet have already installed registered or unregistered WiFi routers. (Resolution No. 65/2003 dated June 5, 2003, states the procedure for registering a private data network).

If that is the case, what do these new regulations change?

They establish constraints on private network transmission power and cabling that, if enforced, will put Cuba's cooperatively-owned community networks, the largest of which is SNET in Havana, out of business. Even if they are not enforced today, they will hang like the sword of Damocles over their heads.

That's the bad news. The good news is that the Ministry of Communication has postponed enforcement for 60 days while they negotiate with SNET.

SNET will remain up during 60 days of negotiation (source).

Why would the Cuban government want to eliminate community networks? Do they see them as economic competitors to the government Internet service provider, ETECSA? Is ETECSA embarrassed by the fact that community networks connect so many people at so little cost? Do they fear clandestine, anti-government communication? I really don't know. the world's largest Internet-connected community networkIf Cuba aspires to what the International Telecommunication Union refers to as fourth-generation policy, which they characterize as "Integrated regulation — led by economic and social policy goals," they should regard the community networks as collaborators, not competitors. They should legitimatize SNET and the others, subsidize and work with them and provide them with Internet connectivity. SNET is the world's largest community network that is not connected to the Internet. Cuba should follow the lead set by Spain, where they have provided Internet connectivity to, the world's largest Internet-connected community network. Looking to the future, community networkers could play a valuable role in the installation of Cuba's 5G wireless infrastructure.

Cuba proudly proclaims (Trumpets) that they are working toward the computerization of society. The outcome of these negotiations with SNET will shed light on the veracity of that claim.

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University | 7/31/19

ABC’s new primetime summer soap “Grand Hotel” has all the trappings of an ABC primetime soap: murder, intrigue, steamy romance and secret affairs. But it also does something few shows before it have ever done.

Executive produced by Eva Longoria and created by her “Desperate Housewives” and “Devious Maids” collaborator Brian Tanen, “Grand Hotel” takes the classic upstairs/downstairs format and centers it around an affluent, powerful and glamorous Latino family.

“I was obsessed with making sure this wasn’t just going to be developed, that this was going to be on the air,” said Longoria, whose company UnbeliEVAble Entertainment first secured the rights to the Spanish series upon which the show is based. “Iwas a dog with a bone. I was like, ‘This will be on the air.'”

Also Read: Summer TV 2019: Complete List of Premiere Dates for New and Returning Broadcast Shows (Updating)

The drama, debuting Monday, transplants the original tale from 20th Century Spain to present-day Miami Beach, where Demián Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez star as the wealthy owners of the last family-owned hotel on the strip. They’re surrounded by their mildly spoiled adult children, the hotel’s rich guests and support staff who struggling just to keep their jobs.

All that makes for a show predominantly populated by Latino actors. And Longoria, who directs and guest stars in addition to producing, made a point of hiring women and people of color in key roles behind the camera as well.

“All of my producing really is with purpose, like, how do I produce with purpose? Why am I doing this show? why this show, why this cast?” Longoria said. “And for me, this show was about doing an upstairs/downstairs show on television where the upstairs were Latino. And that’s something you don’t really get to see, affluent, intelligent, successful Latinos.

“I really thought, ‘Let’s explore this family, what does this family look like on TV?'” she said.

Also Read: 8 New Summer TV Shows Ranked by Premiere Viewers: From 'Songland' to 'First Responders Live' (Updating)

Read TheWrap’s full interview with Longoria below.

ABC/Eric McCandless

TheWrap: Can you first tell me how you came to the project? I know it’s an adaptation of a Spanish series, but how did you come to this adaptation?

Longoria: I fell in love with the Spanish format, and I was like, “I have to adapt this in English. It’s so good, so juicy.” And I became obsessed with it and then I found Brian Tanen who I worked with on “Desperate Housewives,” and “Devious Maids.” He wrote the adaptation, put it in Miami, made it modern day, and it was just so delicious reading from the first script until the end.

I wanted to ask you about working with Brian because I know you’ve worked with him quite a bit. What is it about your working relationship or his writing?

I love his sensibility. He does family drama and really weaves in so much complexity, whether it’s the mystery storyline, or the romance storyline, or the conflict of business. He’s just so layered in his approach to characters and to plots. And he really has that great tone that “Desperate Housewives” had, and “Devious” where it’s dramatic, but it has a little bit of humor in certain places. And it just really makes for good TV.

The original series is a period piece, so how did you guys settle on the decision to kind of make “Grand Hotel” more contemporary?

Well, we decided to make it contemporary the minute I optioned the format. To really bring those themes into modern times and to see how do those they withstand contemporary times: family, love, work, career, children. Those were some really great themes, so we knew we wanted to make it contemporary and relatable at the same time, so that was a lot of fun, really creating this last family-owned hotel in South Beach and giving this, whenever you say it’s not personal, it’s just business. But what happens when the business is the family business? Everything is personal.

Why Miami? How did you decide on that location?

Brian’s from Miami, that’s his hometown, so he knows it well and chose to set it there. He’s the genius that said, “Let’s do a sexy family drama based in Miami,” and we were like, “Great.” Any chance to shoot in Miami, we were like, “Done.”

How much of the series was shot in Miami? Just the pilot?

The pilot shot in Miami, and then we rebuilt the set. We shot [the pilot] at Fontainebleau, and then we rebuilt Fontainebleau in LA on sound stages.

The sets are fantastic.

Amazing. I mean, they’re jaw dropping.

Did you guys look to the original when you were putting together the adaptation? How much do you borrow and how much of it is its own creation?

I think if you’re a fan of the original, you’re going to recognize some characters, and be pleasantly satisfied with finding those characters. And then, I think if you’re not familiar with the original format, you’re going to really find everybody just to be so juicy and complex. Because there are adaptations and new characters that are not in the original. So I would say both, we really leaned into the original series, and then we also at the same time made it new enough for even fans of the original to want to watch.

ABC/Eric McCandless

The show has this large ensemble cast, but it really is anchored by Demian Bichir and Roselyn Sanchez, these two really accomplished actors kind of at the center of the show. Can you talk a little bit about casting those two roles?

Yeah. The head of the family is this patriarch character that is basically the puppet master of everything that happens in the hotel. And we really couldn’t see anybody else doing this role. I mean, a complex man who has secrets, who is navigating some difficult times right now. Not only with the business, but with his family. And Demian really grounded the whole show in this beautiful character, this big patriarch character. And his character is actually not in the original. He’s actually the combination of a couple of characters. Roselyn, I’ve worked with many times before, but Brian Tanen and I worked with her on “Devious.” So when Brian wrote the character of Gigi, he did it with Roselyn in mind. I don’t think anybody can play this character like Roselyn.

And when it came to filling out the rest of the ensemble, did you guys have kind of a vision in mind? What were you looking for?

When it came to casting, the show is based in Miami, so we wanted to authentically  represent what Miami would look like. That of course means Latino. And we had some young characters, so really looking at some untapped talent. There’s some great new talent coming. For some of them, this is their first thing they’ve ever done. And just tapping into a different well of talent, into the Latino talent pool. That was exciting. Then we have some veterans like Shalim Ortiz who I’ve worked with before and is just a fantastic actor. Shalim has to be Mateo. Jencarlos Canela played El Rey, who is this King of Miami rapper. I’ve worked with him before, we did “Telenovela” together. And then just rounding out the cast with newcomers and veterans, and balancing it all out.

I also wanted to ask you how you kind of view your role as producer. It’s a position that can vary so much from person to person, and project to project, but with this show, how did you approach that role?

I was obsessed with making sure this wasn’t just going to be developed, that this was going to be on the air. I was a dog with a bone. I was like, “This will be on the air.” All of my producing really is with purpose, like, how do I produce with purpose? Why am I doing this show? why this show, why this cast? And for me, this show was about doing an upstairs, downstairs show on television where the upstairs were Latino. And that’s something you don’t really get to see, affluent, intelligent, successful Latinos. I really thought, “Let’s explore this family, what does this family look like on TV?”

You wear quite a few hats: director, actor, producer. And you’ve taken on quite a few projects, including the CW pilot “Glamorous” just recently. What is it that you look for when you’re taking on new projects?

Well, especially if I’m going to be a director-for-hire, it has to be something that speaks to me. When I directed the “Glamorous” pilot for CW, it was a beautiful world that I didn’t see on TV. We called it a queer utopia, and it had every spectrum of people in that show. The creator, Jordon Nardino, just really, on the page, created this world in which queerness was celebrated. I wanted to be definitely a part of building that out with him. And, again, working with a new talent pool. I mean, a lot of the actors in “Glamorous” were untapped potential. Ben J. Pierce, the lead, is a star just waiting to burst onto the scene. We had Chester Lockhart, who is known in the queer community, and just a great, great actor, great talent. Their stories of their journey in Hollywood, of not getting opportunities that they deserve was heartbreaking. So to have a show that says, “This is me, this reflects me, this reflects my life, this reflects people I know,” that’s what drew me to that project.

And it’s not over. We’re still re-shooting some stuff to see if we can get it to series. Oh my gosh, it’s such an important show. The CW really likes the world, and I think we’re going to make it happen.

That’s great to hear. Last thing, I know you’re going to appear on “Grand Hotel” later this season playing Beatriz, the matriarch character whose absence kind of looms over the early couple of episodes. Can you tease a little bit about the character?

Well, I will tell you, I’m dead.

But really, really dead? It is a telenovela, after all.

I’m dead in the show, yes. You only see me in flashbacks. I’m not in many episodes, but I’m a very important part of the season long mystery. And a lot of questions will be answered. There’s actually a flashback episode later in the season. The whole episode is almost one big flashback, and it really gets to let the audience in as to what did happen with Gigi and Beatriz, and Beatriz and Santiago, and what happened with her kids. And you get to see it all happen.

ABC/Eric McCandless

“Grand Hotel” airs Mondays at 10/9c on ABC.

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Cuba has legalized WiFi access to public Internet hotspots from nearby homes and small businesses, but SNET and other community networks remain illegal under the new regulations. Does this signify a significant policy change?

Soon after ETECSA began rolling out WiFi hotspots for Internet access, people began linking to them from homes and community street nets. These connections and importing the WiFi equipment they used were illegal, but generally tolerated as long as they remained apolitical and avoided pornography. Regulations passed last month legalized some of this activity in a bid to boost connectivity by allowing Internet access from homes and small private businesses like restaurants and vacation rentals that are located close enough to a hotspot to establish a WiFi connection.

The added convenience may generate more revenue for ETECSA, and it will give the Ministry of Communication some small fees and, more important, registration data on the local-area network operators. (If you license a connection, you have the power to rescind the license). It will also generate some additional network traffic, which may strain network capacity. There are two WiFi frequency bands — 2.4 and 5 GHz — and a friend told me that currently only the 2.4 GHz band is being used. The new regulations allow use of the 5 GHz band as well, which will add capacity from homes and businesses to the hotspots, but backhaul capacity from the hotspots to the Internet may become more of a bottleneck and exacerbate quality of service problems.

So much for small networks, but what, if anything, will be the impact of these regulations and their enforcement be on larger, community networks, the largest of which is Havana's SNET? The new regulations bar cables that cross streets and radio transmitter power over 100 mW. SNET uses cables and higher-powered transmitters, so, if these regulations were enforced, they would put SNET and smaller community networks out of business.

However, community networks have been illegal and tolerated since their inception, so it may be that they will continue to be ignored. If that is the case, the new regulations don't really change the status quo, but what if these new regulations foreshadow a policy change? What if ETECSA were willing to collaborate with community networks following the example of in Spain?

If that were the case, ETECSA could take steps like providing high-speed wireless or fiber Internet connections at the locations of the central SNET backbone "pillars" and allowing cables and faster wireless links to and within second-level networks that serve up to 200 users. They could also cooperate with SNET administrators in purchasing supplies and equipment and network management and they could do the same for smaller community networks outside of Havana.

So, which is it — a step backward with cracking down on SNET and other community networks, a slightly positive step adding locations from which one can access a WiFi hotspot, or a positive indication of a policy change and a step toward incorporating community networks into the recognized and supported Cuban Internet infrastructure?

We will know the answer when the new rules go into effect on July 29, but my guess is that it will be the middle choice, a slightly positive step. Cracking down on SNET would be disruptive — eliminating jobs and depriving thousands of users of services they value, and I don't think the government would want those problems. At the other extreme, full cooperation with community networks would mean ETECSA giving up control and the dilution of their bureaucratic and financial monopoly, which seems unlikely. That leaves "meh" — much ado about not much.

But, to end on a more upbeat note — a friend tells me that he has heard that SNET community representatives are talking with the government. Could ETECSA and the Communication Ministry have different views and, if so, who is in charge?

Written by Larry Press, Professor of Information Systems at California State University | 6/13/19

This story on Antonio Banderas first appeared in TheWrap’s Cannes magazine.

Salvador Mallo, the main character in Pedro Almodóvar’s “Pain and Glory,” is not Almodóvar himself. Sure, he’s a film director from Spain who dresses like Almodóvar, lives in a house that looks like Almodóvar’s house, makes movies with the same obsessions as Almodóvar, family and sexuality foremost among them, and even has spiky hair reminiscent of Almodóvar’s.

But there’s a difference, said Antonio Banderas, who ought to know. The two have been close collaborators since they began making movies together in 1981, when Almodóvar was launching a transgressive career that would help Spain shake off the repressive 36-year reign of dictator Francisco Franco. Their eight films together include “Labyrinth of Passion,” “Women on the Verge of a Nervous Breakdown,” “Tie Me Up! Tie Me Down!” and “The Skin I Live In.”

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Banderas wasn’t imitating his old friend when they made “Pain and Glory,” the story of a director who reflects on a tumultuous life as he tries to find peace and salvation in his art and with the people who’ve impacted him along the way. But at the same time, he knew that the character was deeply rooted in Almodóvar’s own life. “Pain and Glory” is a very simple movie, Banderas said more than once in an interview about the film, which screens in the main competition at Cannes.

And achieving that simplicity, he added, was very complicated.

What is special to you about your relationship with Pedro?
Well, we practically started together, making movies at the beginning of the ’80s. Pedro is not only a filmmaker, he is a thinker, and he’s a person that actually had a very strong influence on Spanish society for many years, especially in terms of the morality of the time.

When we were working together on the first movies, those were only five years after Franco died, and Spain was still under the influence of that. So in terms of morality and equality in our society, there were a number of things that Pedro Almodóvar helped change, and I was not only a witness to that, but a participant in that.

It was very special to be part of it. We are lucky to have him. You can count directors like this with all the fingers of two hands. Maybe one hand.

Also Read: How Antonio Banderas Overcame His Fear of Playing Hometown Legend Pablo Picasso

How did you two meet?
I was performing at the Spanish National Theater. I was just having a coffee with my fellow actors in a coffee shop that was very famous, where intellectuals in the ’30s used to go, and he appeared there with a briefcase.

He was ingenious and funny, and when he left he said to me, “You have a very romantic face, you should do movies.” And I asked the other actors, “Who is that?”

They said, “His name is Pedro Almodóvar. He made one movie and will never do another.” [Laughs] My country is filled with prophets.

You’ve now made eight movies with him, going back to “Labyrinth of Passion.” Has he changed much as a director?
He was always very demanding of actors. He wants something from you that is very complicated. In the ’80s, probably, we were more playful, more crazy, almost like a rock ‘n’ roll group, in a way.

We worked with the same people — we were the Almodóvar group, we were recognized in Madrid. We were the Almodóvars.

But then I didn’t work with him for more than 20 years. And when I went back to do “The Skin I Live In” in 2011, I went there with a backpack filled with all I’d learned for 22 years. And he said, “No. I understand that works for you, but it doesn’t work for me. We have to deconstruct you and construct you in a different way.”

And that was painful. We confronted each other at the time, but at the end of the process I saw the movie and I understood him, I understood what he was looking for. There was something I didn’t even know I had. It made me think a lot about my own career, and about how I can draw from and reflect about the things I’ve done without falling back on the things that make me comfortable.

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So did you go into “Pain and Glory” with a different attitude?
The lesson was learned. I went to him and said, “I come here like a soldier. I am not a general, I am not a captain, I am a soldier that listens to you. What do you want from me for this movie? How do you want me to perform you? This is not a strategy–this is the truth.”

So we started working from a completely different place to create this character. The whole movie is very simple, almost minimalist. It’s like embroidering something little by little — nothing big, counting very much on economy.

But you’re also playing a character who is largely based on Pedro himself.
I don’t know how many times people have worked performing a character that not only exists but is directing you. It’s very complicated. Even if he said, “It’s not me, it’s my alter ego” — OK, but it’s in you. It’s not self-biography, but it’s self-fiction. Some of the things the character does are things you wanted to do but never did, but that is part of you, too.

So we started playing the game, and I immediately realized we were going somewhere new. It was beautiful to go on that road, because I would see how Pedro was almost taking weight off his shoulders as we went on. It was a very personal thing we were doing, and he was becoming happier and happier.

He solved problems with his family, with actors, with ex-boyfriends, with many different things and different people. He was lighter by the end of the movie. I saw Pedro Almodóvar leave happier than we ever saw before.

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The setting is designed after his house, the clothes are his, your hair is sort of like his… Were there moments that just felt too weird?
You know what? What I didn’t try to do was an imitation. It was way more subtle than that. It was him, but I wasn’t trying to do an imitation of his voice or the way he walks.

Yeah, he put me in the colorful clothes he wears, and we were working in a place that was an imitation of his house. And sometimes he said to me, “If you want to do an imitation, you can do it.” I said, “No, no, no. That would be a pastiche. I want to look at things–for example, your solitude. I am very aware of the problems you have to solve with family, especially your mom…”  There were a number of things I knew, because I knew him as a friend. But I didn’t want to go to an imitation.

I read some comments that he has made that made me kind of happy. He said, “I was watching the movie and thought, ‘Oh, my God, I am imitating Antonio performing me.'” [Laughs] I treated it like a character.

I couldn’t be all the time thinking, “Oh, my God, I’m playing the guy who’s giving me direction.” Otherwise it is going to be too much pressure. I couldn’t work like that. I preferred to take it as a character with very specific coordinates.

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Was your process itself any different than usual?
In a way, what I did was what any actor would have done — grab that script and talk. We had a very long period of rehearsal, which is common with Pedro. You sit with him for a month, every day for three or four hours, and you talk about what you’re going to do. You talk, and he rewrites the scenes.

The creation process is longer than people think. Even though the movie seems very simple and improvised, it’s nothing like that. Pedro Almodóvar is responsible for every word, every comma. That’s something that actors find hard with Pedro. It was a complicated process to do something simple.

The character is a man who finds some kind of salvation from pain and misery in his art. Do you identify with that?
I identify not personally, but with his persona, in both stages of this movie. In the pain part of the movie, we don’t talk about just depression, we are talking about physical pain. And then you have the glory side — the glory side comes as optimistic, as he closes the circles that he didn’t close before. And he’s telling all of us, “If you don’t close those circles, there’s no way to step on the glory side of your life.”

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Pedro has said that this film is your “rebirth as an actor,” and called it “the start of a new era” for you.
Well, I am almost 60. [Laughs] That’s beautiful, I love those comments. I’ve been working my whole entire life trying to be honest in everything I do, no matter who I’m working with. I felt that I tried to be sincere when I was doing “Zorro,” or working on “Evita” with Alan Parker.

But it’s true that my history with Almodóvar is completely different than anything I have done before. Only the eight movies that I have done with Pedro — just for that, it was worth it for me to be an actor.

I always say to the people of my country, “If you want to know ourselves, look at our artists. Look at Goya, look at Picasso, read the poet García Lorca and then you will know what you are.” And I am pretty sure that in the future, somebody is going to say that about Pedro Almodóvar, as somebody who showed us how Spain thought and felt at a particular time. And I like that I was there, that I was part of that.

Read the rest of TheWrap’s Cannes magazine.

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Executives at four major publishing houses said they had shot down a proposed memoir by Woody Allen that  had shopped late last year, the New York Times reported on Thursday.

The publishing executives, none of whom were named by the Times, all said they decided not to make an offer for the book, citing the marketing challenges in the #MeToo era.

Several executives described the Oscar-winning filmmaker as “toxic” to the Times since the resurfacing of old accusations that Allen inappropriately touched Dylan Farrow, his then-7-year-old daughter with ex-girlfriend Mia Farrow. (Investigators found no evidence of abuse, and Allen has repeatedly denied the accusations.)

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Reps for Allen did not immediately respond to request for comment from TheWrap; his longtime agent, ICM Partners’ John Burnham, told the Times: “For the 30 years that I’ve worked with Woody, the standard mantra on anything is, ‘I can’t discuss his business.'”

Despite Allen’s insistence on his innocence, he has increasingly become a pariah in Hollywood with A-listers like Michael Caine, Timothée Chalamet Ellen Page and others all publicly expressing their regrets for working with him in the past.

In February, Allen filed a $68 million suit against Amazon after it canceled a four-movie deal, including the already completed A Rainy Day in New York,” starring Chalamet. Allen argued that the media giant knew full well about Dylan Farrow’s decades-old accusations but proceeded with the deal anyway.

“There simply was no legitimate ground for Amazon to renege on its promises,” the suit reads. Amazon has insisted that that Allen’s poor response to the MeToo movement as well as a rising tide criticism from stars was the real reason the film was shelved, according to the Times.

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Spain's third parliamentary election in less than four years has done little to dispel uncertainty over the political future of the eurozone's fourth largest economy. | 4/29/19

Antigua and Barbuda will host the eighteenth regional meeting of the Caribbean Network Operators Group (CaribNOG) from September 25 to 27.

CaribNOG is a vibrant community of professionals committed to improving the region’s networks, expanding the technical capacity of those who build and secure them, and strengthening the interconnections among all actors in the Internet space.

Called CaribNOG 18, the upcoming meeting is themed “Securing Caribbean Networks,” and will focus on a range of stability, security and resiliency issues that are central to Internet development. IT and security professionals, network administrators, telecommunications and computer engineers, Internet exchange point operators and data centre managers from across the region are expected to attend.

Stephen Lee, CaribNOG Program Director invited all interested stakeholders to submit proposals for topics, lightning presentations or full sessions for the consideration of the CaribNOG 18 coordination team.

“It’s an opportunity for anyone with an interest in Caribbean development to let us know how the community of people who take responsibility for developing the Internet in the region can focus our attention, efforts and resources, to align with the evolving development priorities of the region,” Lee said.

Meeting registration, provisional agenda, as well as a call for presentations and sponsors, will be available online soon.

Bevil Wooding, Caribbean Outreach Liaison at the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN) and one of the founders of CaribNOG, announced the date and venue of the upcoming meeting on the closing day of CaribNOG 17, held at Hilton Barbados Resort, Bridgetown from April 10 to 12. The September meeting is one of several highlights of the group’s 2019 calendar.

On April 30 and May 1, CaribNOG will be a part of the Caribbean Telecommunications Union’s “Caribbean FutureScape” event at Hyatt Regency Trinidad in Port of Spain, which aims to provide participants with an immersive and interactive experience demonstrating the possibility of a fully integrated digital Caribbean.

On June 3 and 4, CaribNOG will work alongside the American Registry for Internet Numbers (ARIN), the Internet Corporation for Assigned Names and Numbers (ICANN) and the Internet Society, to support an “ARIN in the Caribbean” outreach event targeting network operators, business leaders, regulators, and government officials in Nassau, Bahamas. Since 2018, the “ARIN in the Caribbean” series has touched eight Caribbean countries: Antigua and Barbuda, Barbados, the British Virgin Islands, Grenada, Jamaica, St. Kitts and Nevis, Saint Lucia, and the US Virgin Islands.

On June 11 to 13, CaribNOG will support the fifth meeting of the Caribbean Peering and Interconnection Forum, called CarPIF 5, to be held in St George’s, Grenada. CarPIF is a CaribNOG initiative held in collaboration with the Internet Society as well as local, regional and international stakeholders. At CarPIF, Internet service providers, data centre managers, Internet exchange point coordinators, content delivery network operators and technology professionals come together to exchange practical knowledge and strike deals to develop and improve the region’s Internet sector. Content providers such as Google, Akamai and Facebook have regularly attended at the event.

Apart from its upcoming events, the CaribNOG community will also focus on a range of capacity-building activities, including collaborative research projects, resource development, expanded communication channels and new outreach initiatives throughout the year.

Written by Gerard Best, Development Journalist | 4/26/19

Remember when Amazon was criticized for not turning a profit? Those days are a distant memory, after the e-commerce giant smashed Wall Street earnings expectations when it reported its first quarter financials on Thursday afternoon.

Amazon reported a company-record quarterly profit of $3.6 billion — a 100% increase from the same period last year — and earnings of $7.09 per share, easily lapping analyst estimates of 4.72 EPS. It’s quarterly revenue of $59.7 billion matched Wall Street estimates and marked an increase of nearly 17 percent year-over-year.

Amazon shares increased 1.5% in after-hours trading, hitting $1,930 per share. The Seattle-based company has a market cap of about $940 billion on Thursday, putting it within striking distance of passing the $1 trillion threshold once again. Amazon became the second company ever, after Apple, to hit the $1 trillion valuation last September.

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Amazon noted Fire TV now has 30 million users in its note to shareholders. Last week, Amazon and Google put an end to their long-running feud, with Amazon’s Prime Video app coming to Chromecast and Google-owned YouTube coming to Amazon’s Fire TV.

Amazon Studios greenlit more than 20 new and continuing Prime Original Series during the quarter, including the third season of “Jack Ryan” starring John Krasinski, as well as a number of international series like “La Templanza” in Spain and “El Presidente” in Mexico.

The company’s cloud business, Amazon Web Services, made $7.7 billion in revenue and accounted for more than half of the company’s quarterly profit. AWS sales increased 41% year-over-year.

In February, Amazon notably canceled plans for a second headquarters located in New York City. The company said it made the decision after “a number of state and local politicians have made it clear that they oppose our presence Amazon had said the new campus would employ up to 25,000 people. The company’s similar “HQ2” campus in Arlington, Virginia is still expected to open.

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Heading into Thursday afternoon, Amazon’s stock had increased more than 20% since the beginning of the year. At about $1,900 per share when the market closed Thursday, Amazon was nearing its all-time high of $2,012 per share, set last summer.

Amazon will hold a webcast at 5:30 p.m. ET to discuss its earnings.

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With ticket presale records smashed around the globe, it feels like a guarantee that “Avengers: Endgame” will supplant “Avengers: Infinity War” as the biggest box office opening ever. But could it actually gross $1 billion in its opening weekend?

The fact that Marvel Studios’ titanic blockbuster even has a puncher’s chance of hitting this mark speaks to the overwhelming demand that it has generated. Last year, “Infinity War” broke new ground on how big a blockbuster could open to with a $257.6 million domestic opening and a $640 million global launch. Both of those records are expected to be left in the dust.

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But reaching $1 billion would require “Endgame” to soar beyond even the sky-high expectations that box office analysts are projecting. First, the film’s domestic opening would likely have to exceed $300 million, which would be a 16% increase in grosses over what “Infinity War” made in its opening. For now, analysts are keeping relatively cautious, projecting a still-record $270 million start.

So how could “Avengers: Endgame” make the jump from $270 million to $300 million? Boxoffice Magazine analyst Shawn Robbins says that premium formats will play a major factor. Among the industry-record 4,600 screens that will present “Endgame” this weekend are more than 3,900 3D locations, 410 IMAX screens, 785 Premium Large Format screens and 250 D-Box/4D locations. The surcharge to see “Endgame” on any of these formats will give its weekend totals an extra boost.

“In many areas of the country, moviegoers pay twice as much for an IMAX, Dolby, or other PLF ticket as they do for a standard screen. As those continue selling out morning and late-night shows around the standard matinee and evening business, the probability of unprecedented box office sales increases,” said Robbins.

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Another factor is the extra screenings that cinemas in major markets have made to answer the overwhelming demand. On Monday, AMC announced that 67 locations in top 10 markets will stay open at least overnight on Thursday with after-dark “Endgame” screenings, with 17 staying open for more than 72 hours. Likely only the most die-hard and desperate Marvel fans will want to see “Endgame” at 2 a.m. on Friday, but the creation of these extra screenings provides another source of revenue for the film that could push it to $300 million.

Finally, there’s the one factor that analysts can’t predict: the word of mouth. Reactions from the film’s premiere have been predictably enthusiastic, and in general, Marvel Studios knows how to satisfy both critics and audiences. But if “Endgame” provides an ending that leaves fans gushing and ensures weeks of water-cooler talk, it could trigger even further walk-up business from casual audiences.

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The shocking ending to “Infinity War,” capped by Peter Parker’s heartbreaking death, became a cultural touchstone akin to the Red Wedding on “Game of Thrones.” The memes and fan theories that it spawned became such a social juggernaut that “Endgame” has barely had to promote itself beyond a trailer revealing its title, and a handful of additional trailers and TV spots with footage taken almost entirely from just the first 20 minutes of the film.

If “Endgame” provides an even bigger dose of catharsis for audiences — possibly through the expected exit for Chris Evans and Captain America — it will only cause walk-up sales on Saturday and Sunday to further surge.

This word of mouth will also be essential outside the U.S., where “Endgame” has also set presale records in major overseas markets. Presale totals in China have reached $90 million, blowing past the $65 million in presales for “Infinity War.” In the U.K., where the ticketing website for Vue crashed within minutes of tickets going on sale, analytics firm Applaudience projects that the film will break the country’s $63.7 million opening weekend record, set by “Spectre” in 2015.

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In Brazil, “Endgame” surpassed the total number of presale tickets sold by “Infinity War” in just three days, with similar records broken in Australia, Spain and Mexico, among many other countries.

If all of these countries see an opening weekend higher than “Infinity War,” a $1 billion opening will happen. The combined global opening total for “Infinity War” reached $830 million, including the $190 million made in China one week after its opening in all other major territories.

Unlike “Infinity War,” “Endgame” will release in China on the same weekend as the rest of the world. If we take that $830 million figure as a baseline, then a $300 million U.S. opening and a $250 million Chinese opening would push “Endgame” to $933 million. A U.K. opening of $71 million — roughly $30 million higher than “Infinity War” — would bring the total to $963 million and leave “Endgame” needing $37 million more than what “Infinity War” made from all other countries to hit that elusive $1 billion opening mark.

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In other words, “Endgame” would have to set all-time opening weekend records in possibly dozens of countries. But if there’s any team that could do it, any cast of characters that could assemble literally hundreds of millions of moviegoers around the world in a single weekend, it’s the Avengers.

“It seems like an insane number. To get there, it requires a perfect storm: record capacity, strong word of mouth beyond opening night, and a high share of premium screen ticket sales,” said Robbins.  “But this is about as four-quad as a film gets.”

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On December 20, Russian President Putin started his 14th, large press conference. Interestingly, on December 20 Russia marks the Day of the Security Officer, which has been commonly known in Russia as the "Chekist Day" ('Chekist' is a Russian colloquialism for 'KGB officer'). After the press conference, Putin will attend a gala evening dedicated to this date.A record number of journalists - more than 1,700 people - were accredited for the press conference. Traditionally, Putin started the press conference with a brief report about the economic situation in Russia. The president said that Russia's GDP grew by 1.7 percent over the year. The real level of wages was growing, while the inflation rate remained on an acceptable level. As of 2018, it will exceed the target level of 4 percent and will make up 4.1-4.2 percent. The unemployment level in the country decreased to 4.8 percent having thus set an all-time low, Putin said. Life expectancy in the Russian Federation in 2018 increased to 72.9 years compared to 72.7 years last year.The budget surplus of the Russian Federation in 2018 will make up 2.1 percent of GDP.Putin stressed that Russia needs a breakthrough, a leap into the new technological order. This requires resources, which the government and the administration are looking for. Answering a question of whether the Russian economy is stagnating, Putin said that the government did not rely on "mechanical" calculations in its forecasts. The government plans a growth of three  percent by 2021. Fluctuations are possible, but it is important to enter another league of economies, Putin said, adding that Russia's goal is to become the fifth economy in the world.Speaking about the work of the Russian government, Putin said that he was "generally pleased" with the work that the Russian government conducts under the chairmanship of Dmitry Medvedev. According to the head of state, the budget surplus of 2.1 percent of GDP is a good indicator of the work of the government.Answering the question of whether the fiscal burden on Russian people was too high and how it could be related to the policy of the government that raises VAT, housing and utility tariffs for people and imposes a tax on self-employed individuals, Putin said that in many countries VAT makes up 20% (Russia is raising VAT from 18 to 20 percent from January 1, 2019). Putin said that the change in the VAT rate was necessary to reduce oil and gas budget deficit. He said that during the recent economic crises, Russia was forced to spend petrodollars, which led to an increase in the oil and gas deficit. It became possible to reduce it to 6.6 percent.Answering a question about fears of a new global military conflict, a global nuclear disaster and a world war, Putin noted that the world was underestimating the danger of a nuclear war during the recent years. The danger of such a scenario in the world is being obscured, which may lead to the death of human civilisation and even the whole planet, President Putin said. In the West, there is an idea of using low yield nuclear weapons, but the use of such weapons can lead to a global catastrophe, the Russian leader stressed.Answering a question about unnecessary conflicts between authorities and representatives of the younger generation, about dispersing rap concerts, banning young people from participating in rallies, Putin said that young people make the foundation of today's and future Russia.Yet, there are different kinds of young people, he said. He referred to the story of young paratroopers, who were fighting to death with hordes of terrorists. "Out of several dozen, only six of them remained, and they were fighting against two thousand militants," said Putin making a reference to the feat of 90 paratroopers from Pskov, who engaged in a battle with 2,500 Chechen terrorists near the village of Ulus-Kert in 2000. In addition to young military men, there are a lot of young volunteers and people who are engaged in search and rescue activities. "Those people make the stronghold of today and the future of Russia," Putin said, adding that "there are also talented musicians."He then condemned the drug propaganda in rap songs. "Do we want to degrade? In no way this should be encouraged. At the same time, one should counteract differently here," he said. Therefore, the Russian president considers the arrests of rap singers and the abortion of their concerts unnecessary, since such conflicts are counterproductive."Yet, there is nothing good in the fact that they use foul language in their songs - but let them sing so," Putin noted. "Art does not exist to indulge sordid values," he added. Speaking about the state of affairs in Ukraine, attempts to solve political problems of the Donbass by force are doomed to failure, Vladimir Putin said when answering a question from a correspondent of Ukrainian news agency UNIAN, who asked the Russian president how much money Russia spends on the Donbass, whose people Russia treats like slaves."Attempts to solve political issues with the help of force, and we can see that this is exactly what the Ukrainian authorities have been doing for several years, are doomed to failure. It must be understood," Putin said.Putin also said that Russian-Ukrainian relations are not going to go back to normal until there were Russophobes in power in Ukraine. "As long as there are Russophobes in power in Kiev, who do not understand what the interests of their own people are, an abnormal situation like this will continue regardless of who is in power in the Kremlin," Putin said.At the same time, Russia is interested in peace and prosperity in Ukraine, as Ukraine remains one of the largest economic partners of the Russian Federation. The trade turnover between Russia and Ukraine has increased compared to 2017. "This is not strange, because it is a natural connection, and these natural connections will someday make their presence felt," he added.Russia will continue providing humanitarian and other assistance to people living in the Donbass. "We really provide humanitarian, other type of assistance and support to people who live in this territory. We are doing it so that they do not get crushed, torn and eaten there. And we will do it further," said the head of state.It was not Russia, but the Ukrainian authorities that set up the blockade between the Donbass and the rest of Ukraine. "It is them, who shell the people, whom they consider their own citizens. Every day people get killed there - civilian people," Putin said. Maria Butina, a Russian citizen, who was arrested in the USA, was not executing any tasks for the Russian authorities, no matter what she may say.  Therefore, there are no grounds for accusations against Butina in the United States, Putin said. "They force her to confess, but I do not really understand what she can confess there, because she was not fulfilling any assignments of the state bodies of Russia, and I can responsibly declare this to you, no matter what she's saying there under the influence of threats of imprisonment for 12-15 years," said Putin. "I don't understand why they jailed her. There is simply no reason for it," Putin added.Speaking about the detention of foreign citizens in the United States, Putin said that Moscow would not be acting on an "eye for an eye" principle to subsequently exchange prisoners.Speaking about the case of Skripal poisoning, Putin said that there was nothing to comment on - Skripal and his daughter are alive, but the media hype does not subside. Thus, the Skripal case is only a pretext for an attack on Moscow, Putin said. "If there had been no Skripals, they would have come up with something else just to contain the development of Russia as a competitor," Putin said. At the same time, Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi is dead, but no one introduces sanctions, the Russian president recalled, pointing out the policy of double standards in the West.The Russian president believes that the Russian economy has adapted itself to international sanctions. Generally, Russia has always been living under sanctions which the West impose on Russia at the time when Russia's power and international influence grows. The West has lost the Russian market, and the number of jobs in the West has declined. The unemployment level in Russia is only 4.8 percent, while in EU countries, for example, in Spain, it reaches 15 percent, he said. Moreover, restrictions forced the Russians to think different in many areas. The share of transport engineering currently makes up more than 90 percent, while sales to the foreign market have increased.Answering a question about growing nostalgia for the times of the USSR among the Russians, President Vladimir Putin said that he considered the restoration of socialism in Russia impossible."I think it is impossible," he said. "A profound change in society excludes the restoration of socialism ... this is impossible," the president added.Speaking about elements of socialism that can and even need to be restored, Putin noted the equitable distribution of resources, the aspiration to reduce the level of poverty to a minimum, ensure medical and educational services to people on acceptable conditions. "We are carrying out such policies now. This is what our national projects aim to," Putin said. With regard to the withdrawal of American troops from Syria, Putin said that the United States withdraws troops from Afghanistan every year. The withdrawal of US troops from Syria, is not yet visible either, he noted.Putin said that there was no need for US troops to be present in Syria. "Let us not forget that the presence of US troops in Syria is illegitimate. The UN Security Council had not confirmed the presence of US troops in Syria. It is only the decision of the UN Security Council or the invitation from the legitimate government of Syria that can make the presence of a foreign military contingent in Syria legal," Putin added. Vladimir Putin agreed with Donald Trump who said that the United States contributed to the destruction of terrorists in Syria. "I agree with Donald here," he said but recalled that Russia had taken immense efforts to destroy terrorists."Despite all discrepancies, there's still quite a constructive dialogue between our specialists, our military men and special services to resolve acute problems in the struggle against terrorism in Syria," Putin said. Photo credits:
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The economy of Spain is the twelfth-largest economy in the world, based on nominal GDP comparisons, and the fifth-largest in Europe. It is regarded as the world's 15th most developed country. Until 2008 the economy of Spain had been regarded as one of the most dynamic within the EU, attracting significant amounts of foreign investment. Spain's economy had been credited with having avoided the virtual zero growth rate of some of its largest partners in the EU. In fact, the country's economy had created more than half of all the new jobs in the European Union over the five years ending 2005, a process that is rapidly being reversed. More recently, the Spanish economy had benefited greatly from the global real estate boom, with construction representing an astonishing 16% of GDP and 12% of employment in its final year. According to calculations by the German newspaper Die Welt, Spain had been on course to overtake countries like Germany in per capita income by 2011. However, the downside of the now defunct real estate boom was a corresponding rise in the levels of personal debt; as prospective homeowners had struggled to meet asking prices, the average level of household debt tripled in less than a decade. This placed especially great pressure upon lower to middle income groups; by 2005 the median ratio of indebtedness to income had grown to 125%, due primarily to expensive boom time mortgages that now often exceed the value of the property. A European Commission forecast had predicted Spain would enter a recession by the end of 2008. According to Spain’s Finance Minister, “Spain faces its deepest recession in half a century”. Spain's government forecast the unemployment rate would rise to 16% in 2009. The ESADE business school predicted 20%. Due to its own economic development and the recent EU enlargements up to 27 members (2007), Spain had a GDP per capita of (105%) of EU average per capita GDP in 2006, which placed it slightly ahead of Italy (103%). As for the extremes within Spain, three regions in 2005 were included in the leading EU group exceeding 125% of the GDP per capita average level: Basque Autonomous Community leading with Madrid and Navarre, and one was at the 85% level (Extremadura. According to the growth rates post 2006, noticeable progress from these figures happened until early 2008, when the Spanish economy was heavily affected by the puncturing of its property bubble by the global financial crisis. The centre-right government of former prime minister José María Aznar had worked successfully to gain admission to the group of countries launching the euro in 1999. Unemployment stood at 7.6% in October 2006, a rate that compared favorably to many other European countries, and especially with the early 1990s when it stood at over 20%. Perennial weak points of Spain's economy include high inflation, a large underground economy, and an education system which OECD reports place among the poorest for developed countries. However, the property bubble that had begun building from 1997, fed by historically low interest rates and an immense surge in immigration, imploded in 2008, leading to a rapidly weakening economy and soaring unemployment. By the end of 2010 unemployment had reached 20.33 .

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