Share Low-balling appraisals, job loss, and denials for mortgage applications helped scuttle closed contracts over October, which crept forward by a seasonally adjusted 13.5 percent more than figures seen for the same month last year, according to the “”National Association of Realtors””:http://www.realtor.org/ (NAR).[IMAGE]The trade group reported closed sales for single-family homes, town homes, and condominiums rising to a seasonally adjusted annual rate of 4.97 million over October, down from revisions for 4.90 million over September. “”Lawrence Yun””:http://www.realtor.org/research/chief_economist_bio, chief economist with NAR, attributed still-low figures in a “”statement””:http://www.realtor.org/press_room/news_releases/2011/11/ehs_oct to a “”higher rate of contract failures”” responsible for helping delay a recovery.He said that NAR members reported that their contract failures rose to 33 percent in October, up from 18 percent [COLUMN_BREAK]over September and 8 percent from the year before.””Home sales have been stuck in a narrow range despite several improving factors that generally lead to higher home sales such as job creation, rising rents and high affordability conditions,”” he said. “”Many people who are attempting to buy homes are thwarted in the process.””NAR tracked one trend it called positive: a continuing decline in housing inventory. The number of houses on the market underwent a 2.2-precent squeeze, falling to 3.33 million existing homes available.Cash buyers sopped up 29 percent of all October purchases, largely unmoved from earlier percentages recorded in October last year.Of these, investors picked up 18 percent of all homes in October, not far above 19 percent seen in September and the same recorded in October last year.The national median existing-home price leveled out at $162,500 over October, reflecting a 4.7-percent fall below levels seen in October last year. “”The modest rise in existing home sales in October may reflect the recent improvements in economic activity and the labour [sic] market,”” “”Paul Diggle””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/staff/property-economics/paul-diggle.html, a property economist with “”Capital Economics””:http://www.capitaleconomics.com/, said in a note. “”But a sustained and significant recovery in home sales is just not on the cards when large numbers of potential buyers are constrained by negative equity and tight credit conditions,”” he added. November 21, 2011 387 Views Existing-Home Sales Rise 13.5% Year-Over-Year: NAR in Data, Origination, Secondary Market, Servicing Agents & Brokers Appraisals Capital Economics Existing-Home Sales First-Time Homebuyers Home Prices Home Sales Housing Affordability Investment Investors Lenders & Servicers Mortgage Applications National Association of Realtors Pending-Home Prices Processing Service Providers Underwriting Standards Valuation 2011-11-21 Ryan Schuette
Categories: Theis News 17Jan Theis: Overriding veto will provide sales tax relief for Michigan families State Rep. Lana Theis today voted to accelerate sales tax relief for Michigan families buying motor vehicles by overriding a gubernatorial veto with her House colleagues.The House vote means additional tax relief for people buying cars, trucks and SUVs with a trade-in. Current law calls for phasing in planned sales and use tax deductions on purchases including a trade-in through 2039. With today’s vote, the reductions will be fully implemented a decade earlier.“I voted in favor of the veto override because providing tax relief on trade-ins will provide an incentive for residents across the state to buy new vehicles,” said Theis, of Brighton, after the House joined the Senate in overriding a veto of legislation from Gov. Rick Snyder. “This will ultimately lead to further support of our car industry – Michigan’s most vital industry.”The Senate bills overwhelmingly approved by the Legislature were vetoed by the governor in July.The new law speeds reforms approved in 2013, allowing buyers to subtract the value of their trade-ins from the purchase price of a vehicle for sales tax purposes. The accelerated sales tax relief also will apply to boats and recreational vehicles bought with a trade-in.
Categories: LaFave News,News 25Jan Rep. LaFave notes state’s progress, but work to be done for U.P. families in 2018 State Rep. Beau LaFave agreed with many of the remarks made by Gov. Rick Snyder during his 2018 State of the State speech Tuesday at the state Capitol, while also acknowledging much needs to be done for residents in south-central Upper Peninsula.Regarding the state’s progress made since Snyder became governor in 2010, LaFave agreed Michigan is a transformed and much stronger state from eight years ago.“Michigan has made it a long way since the ‘Lost Decade’ of the Granholm administration,” said LaFave, of Iron Mountain. “The strides we have made have been incredible. We’ve created over 500,000 private sector jobs. We have been able to lower taxes, while also growing our rainy day fund from basically nothing to nearly a billion dollars. That gives us a much stronger foundation to help build our state for an even brighter and prosperous future.”Snyder’s speech noted local programs across the state, with one ‘shout out’ – LaFave’s favorite moment of the night – going to Delta County.“We all know about the great accomplishments that have come from the Angel Program,” LaFave said. “Delta County and prosecutor Phil Strom really deserved our governor’s ‘shout out’ for this initiative to help those seeking to overcome drug addiction in our community. It’s doing tremendous work and obviously is getting notice statewide.”LaFave also hopes Snyder will support House legislation to help foster growing workforce training legislation, in particular better cooperation between education and local businesses.“That is the opportunity we need in Dickinson, Menominee and Delta counties, getting our businesses working closer with our educators to help fill local jobs and keep our future growing here,” LaFave said. “That is why I submitted legislation, such as House Bill 4106 to grant academic credit to high school students for internships, because that will strengthen and build our communities.”As for the rest of 2018, LaFave is already working hard on many key issues.“We need to continue what we were sent to Lansing to do,” LaFave said. “We must continue to budget responsibly, improve our focus on workforce training, and decrease taxes and regulations. I want us to improve our dual enrollment programs with community colleges, expand broadband evenly across the state, and find a way to move Michigan forward in a civil and responsible manner. That’s all within our grasp.”LaFave was disappointed by one omission during the speech, and it’s a top priority for him: the reform of car insurance with the focus on reducing rates and give residents coverage options.“It was surprising that a key barrier preventing us from drawing more people and businesses to Michigan is having the highest rates in the country, but that wasn’t even mentioned,” LaFave said. “This is an incredibly important issue that gouges into the wallets of many U.P. families. I will focus on this reform every day in 2018 until we get the job done.”#####
State Rep. Brad Paquette will meet with area residents during scheduled office hours later this month.“Each month, I make it a point to sit down and listen to the ideas, issues, and concerns of those I represent,” Paquette said. “I hope you can join me this month for a cup of coffee and invigorating conversation.”Rep. Paquette will be available Saturday, March 23 at the following times and locations:10 to 11 a.m. at Union Coffee House and Café, 115 E Front St. in Buchanan; and12 to 1 p.m. at Maple Café, 68867 M-62 in Edwardsburg.No appointments are necessary. Those who are unable to attend at the scheduled times, but would like an opportunity to talk with Rep. Paquette may call his office at (517) 373-1796 or email BradPaquette@house.mi.gov.### Categories: Paquette News 21Mar Rep. Paquette announces March office hours
Categories: Berman News 30Apr Rep. Berman invites residents to town hall meeting on road funding State Rep. Ryan Berman of Commerce Township will host a town hall meeting with special guest Rep. Jack O’Malley of Lake Ann on Thursday, May 9 to discuss road funding in Michigan.“We all know how bad Michigan roads are and that we need an affordable solution to fix them. This event is a great way for me to hear from even more people in our community and take ideas tailored to our district back with me to Lansing,” Rep. Berman said. “I encourage everyone to join me and share their thoughts on how we can make our state government better.”Rep. O’Malley chairs the House Transportation Committee and is traveling to different parts of the state discussing road funding directly with local residents. Also participating in the panel will be Road Commission for Oakland County (RCOC) Managing Director Dennis Kolar, who has 32-plus years of experience in the road business at the county and state levels.The town hall will take place at Commerce Township Community Library, 180 E. Commerce St. in Commerce Township. The event begins at 7 p.m., with an informal opportunity for residents to speak one-on-one with Rep. Berman or any of the invited guests. A panel discussion will take place from 7:30 to 8:30 p.m., with time for questions from those in attendance.To register for this free event and for more information, please visit http://bit.ly/2GO13hU.
ShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares October 13, 2014; Washington PostRoseAnn DeMoro, the executive director of National Nurses United, in a Washington Post op-ed, offered a truly important observation in two succinct, powerful paragraphs about America’s readiness to fight Ebola here:“Ebola is exposing a broader problem: the sober reality of our fragmented, uncoordinated private health-care system. We have enormous health-care resources in the United States. What we lack is a national, integrated system needed to respond effectively to a severe national threat such as Ebola. “The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issues guidelines but has no authority to enforce them. Hospitals have wide latitude to pick and choose what protocols they will follow; too often in a corporate medical system those decisions are based on budget priorities, not what is best for the health and safety of patients and caregivers. Congress and state lawmakers put few mandates on what hospitals must do in the face of pandemics or other emergencies, and local health officials do not have the authority to direct procedures and protocols at hospitals.”Where do nonprofits have stakes in this fragmented healthcare system? All over it. Everywhere. Among the 4,999 community hospitals in the U.S., well over half, 2,894, are owned by nonprofits, and another 1,037 are state and local government community hospitals. The Department of Health and Human Services has given grants to 1,278 health center grantees that operate 9,739 health center sites, undoubtedly the vast majority run by nonprofits (for-profits are not eligible). The Kaiser Family Foundation reports that there are another 100 “look-alikes” that offer services roughly equivalent to federally qualified health centers but do not receive federal grant support. Because of the coverage gaps in this system, there are also another 1,200 or so “free and charitable” clinics in the U.S. staffed by volunteer doctors, nurses, dentists, and other healthcare workers.The fragmentation even exists within hospitals themselves. In the wake of the Ebola diagnosis of a second nurse at Texas Health Presbyterian Hospital, where Thomas Eric Duncan was treated after arriving from Liberia, National Nurses United, in a statement based on interviews with Texas Presbyterian nurses, charged that the hospital wasn’t sure about which protocols health workers should follow. (The CDC actually has two, and they don’t totally match.) The hospital left Duncan for hours in an area where other patients were present until a nurse supervisor intervened and demanded that Duncan be moved to an isolation unit—despite opposition from hospital administrators. Fully protective clothing for the nurses wasn’t available at the hospital, and nurses were told to cover exposed body areas (such as their necks) with medical tape that was clearly not impermeable. Duncan’s medical waste piled up, with no one to remove it.In a non-response response to the NNU statement, a hospital spokesperson said that the hospital offers annual training, maintains a 24-7 hotline, and provides a mechanism for anonymous reporting. The disconnect between the immediate specifics of the NNU charges and the hospital’s statement about annual training highlights intra-hospital fragmentation between frontline nurses and less-than-frontline hospital administrators.Harvard University health economics and policy professor Meredith Rosenthal has characterized fragmentation as “the defining characteristic of the U.S. health care system.” In a prescient foreword to his edited volume on U.S. healthcare fragmentation, Einer Elhauge offered this pre-Ebola analysis in 2010:“Looking at the most narrow dimension, we might be concerned about fragmentation in treating particular illnesses, such as the lack of coordination among the various professionals involved in treating a patient during a single hospital stay. This might occur if, for example, a patient tells one nurse she is allergic to some medicine, but the nurse does not communicate this information, so the nurse on the next shift administers that medicine. A somewhat broader conception would focus on fragmentation in treatments for particular patients at any give [sic] time, such as a lack of coordination between different providers that a patient might see for different illnesses.”Elhauge’s most devastating statement sounded matter-of-fact:“Given that we are talking about medicine, it makes sense to begin by asking: are there sound medical or scientific reasons for the current fragmentation of U.S. health care? Certainly none that appeared in any of the chapters of this book.”In a footnote, Elhauge noted the possible interchangeability of the terms “fragmentation” and “disintegration.”There is one more dimension to the fragmentation picture that makes combatting Ebola so difficult—the fragmentation of the healthcare workforce. The U.S. Health Workforce Chartbook counted 861,000 doctors and over 2.8 million registered nurses, but also 845,000 people employed as medical assistants and in other healthcare support occupations, over 1 million personal care aides, and more than 2.3 million nursing, psychiatric, and home health aides. Who is watching out for the lower paid healthcare personnel—and other people—who handle the “nastier aspects” of cleanup, like the striking Delta Air Lines contract workers who are brought in to clean up airplane cabins without the kinds of protective gear that might be needed to protect themselves from substances that could contain Ebola? The nation’s attention has gone from physicians such as Dr. Kent Brantly, who contracted Ebola while treating victims in West Africa, to nurses such as Dallas nurses Nina Pham and Amber Vinson, but who will be focusing on the other lower paid, often ill-treated health care staff who may be just as vulnerable if not more.The union that typically represents workers like the striking cabin cleaners at LaGuardia, the Service Employees International Union, is often the union representing the assistants, aides, and other low-paid workers at hospitals whose responsibilities can include cleaning up hospital rooms and collecting and disposing of materials that could be hazardous. SEIU is distributing information on Ebola to its members, but if RNs are complaining that their hospitals are not convening them for education, training, and guidance for dealing with Ebola, what kinds of information might be given (or not) to hospital staff, who are paid much less than doctors and nurses? A nonprofit convening to address the fragmentation of the healthcare system has been warranted for a long time, but Ebola brings the issue into sharp relief. Nonprofits shouldn’t cower in panic, but they should be taking advantage of this health crisis to compel the nation to do what should have been done all along to improve healthcare delivery.—Rick CohenShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares
Share10TweetShare1Email11 Shares“Rahm Emanuel, Pointing, With Chicago Flag in Background” by Daniel X. O’NeilMay 6, 2017; The HillThe city of Chicago’s website has a new page for “Climate Change,” where the Chicago Mayor Rahm Emanuel has republished the information that had been so unceremoniously removed from the EPA’s website on Earth Day. NPQ wrote last week about the scrubbing of this information, which contained the results of decades of research on climate change and its impact.At the time, Janet McCabe, who under President Obama headed the EPA’s Office of Air and Radiation, said that even though it makes sense that a new administration would reflect their own policies on their website, “Historical and factual information about these issues, and regulations over time, is something that EPA has always made available to people. It belongs to the people, and people should be able to find it easily.”“The Trump administration can attempt to erase decades of work from scientists and federal employees on the reality of climate change, but burying your head in the sand doesn’t erase the problem,” Emanuel said in a press release. “We are going to ensure Chicago’s residents remain well-informed about the effects of climate change. And I encourage cities, academic institutions and others to…follow suit to ensure the important information does not disappear.”Emanuel is certainly not the first to harbor such subversive ideas—a story published in Forbes on May 2nddetails the many other entities who have stepped up to maintain the records for public view.—Ruth McCambridgeShare10TweetShare1Email11 Shares
Share7Tweet6ShareEmail13 Shares“Gage County Courthouse, Beatrice, Nebraska,” Nicolas HendersonApril 1, 2019; New York TimesWhen an aggressive investigation results in the unjust and “reckless” conviction and incarceration of six people who are later proven innocent, who, besides those imprisoned, should be expected to pay the price? Who are the authorizing and enabling parties? These questions are the ones being raised in Gage County, Nebraska, a small community immediately south of Lincoln.In 1985, Helen Wilson, a 77-year-old woman, was found in her apartment in Beatrice, the seat of Gage County, having been murdered, beaten, and raped. Four years later, six people were imprisoned. Of this “Beatrice 6,” five chose to plead guilty or no contest to the crime, and the last was found guilty in a trial, although he continued to insist on his innocence.It turns out he was right; the convictions were based on an investigation by a former Beatrice police officer who had made the case something of a cause célèbre. Even after he left the force, Burdette Searcey was mounting a private investigation, and brought that with him when he was hired as a Gage County sheriff’s deputy.An inquiry mounted years later found that Searcey drew out false confessions, dangling the possibility of shorter sentences and avoiding the electric chair. Readers can read more about the details in this New Yorker article but, apparently, the testimony involved manufactured memories, and the defendants have stated that some of their confessions were drawn from dreams and nightmares they were encouraged to explore. Searcey got his convictions, but at what cost? (At least one of the confessions can now be found on YouTube. If you choose to view it, be warned that it is explicit and quite disturbing.)Today, in 2019, the Beatrice 6 are owed $28 million as a result of a lawsuit. They were exonerated following a DNA test in 2008 that proved another man’s guilt. The consequences of Searcey’s actions fell on people living marginalized lives. Prosecutors relied on confessions, opting not to run DNA tests deemed too expensive. The judgment says the Beatrice 6 are owed something for being falsely imprisoned by what was deemed a “reckless investigation.” But Gage County claims not to be able to pay the amount awarded, and the county’s insurance company will not pick up the tab, so it falls to the residents of the county to fund it.A tax has been levied at the maximum amount allowed by state law. It is an increase of more than 11 percent and will raise a little over $3 million the first year. For some, the bill might mean thousands of dollars added to their taxes. One of the Beatrice 6 at least recognizes the irony here: “I know about paying for something somebody else did.”Then again, there is substantial evidence of ongoing complicity among the local population. Jack Healy in the Times notes the many “who still believe that the six people who were convicted are guilty, despite the pardons, the DNA evidence, and the state-run investigation identifying a different killer.”“They knew too much about it to be innocent,” Karen Probst said one afternoon as she chatted with customers inside her family’s quilting store. Her family owns hundreds of acres of precious irrigated land outside Beatrice, with tax bills that she said were likely to increase by $10,000 or more.Then there is the fact that, as Healy explains, “Gage County spent a decade and nearly $2 million in legal fees fighting the suit, rejecting offers to settle for $15 million, before its final appeals were rejected by the United States Supreme Court early [last] month.” Gage County’s elected representatives chose to gamble that they could get a court to absolve them of responsibility—and instead ended up with a bill that is twice as high.Of course, assessments of responsibility are tricky. Shouldn’t Searcey, the sheriff deputy, also bear some responsibility? The Beatrice 6 paid with a cumulative total of more than 70 years of their lives. The residents of Gage County are paying with an increased tax assessment. Where is Searcey in all of this? He is still alive, but refused to respond to recent questioning by a New York Times reporter. The one message of value that may be sent to residents is that it is in their names that public agencies function, and failing to ensure their integrity and accountability can be costly. The county wants the state to share the cost though and repeated efforts have been made to legislate that.As a lawyer who had defended one of the Beatrice 6 said, Nebraska laws have shielded those with the greatest responsibility for this act.—Rob MeiksinsShare7Tweet6ShareEmail13 Shares
Mediaset’s news channel TgCom24 will officially begin broadcasting on Monday, following a pre-launch test phase.The channel will be available free to air on the Italian digital-terrestrial platform, on satellite and also on the web from the TgCom24.it site. It will be also available via downloadable apps for smartphones and tablets. The channel will air from 06:00-01:00 each day.TgCom24 will also include interactive elements. The channel’s viewers will be able to submit real time reports, images and video clips.
Russian service provider MTS has passed the three million pay TV subscriber mark. The operator reached the landmark by the end of 2011, having increased its subscriber base from 2.74 million at the end of September. During the course of the year, MTS managed to increase its digital subscriber base by 25%. It is aiming to digitise its entire pay TV network by the end of June.
French media regulator the CSA has said that ‘scripted reality’ shows can in principle be considered to qualify towards French channels’ local content creation obligations.Following a consultation on the topic, the CSA said that it will consider such shows on case-by-case basis. It said there was no automatic link between its opinion on whether a show would qualify and that of the Centre National de la Cinématographie (CNC), which is responsible for administering the Cosip fund to support domestic content creation.However, the CSA observed that as the cost of creating such shows was relatively low in any case this was unlikely to be an obstacle to investment by channel providers.The CSA said that as scripted reality shows in general resembled fictional works and qualified towards content creation objectives, the remuneration of writers and other professionals involved in their creation should follow established collective agreements.The regulator welcomed moves towards a general agreement between producers authors and editors to create an accepted framework for practices and agreement to work towards improving the quality of programmes.
A+E Networks has hired playout provider Chello DMC to distribute a separate feed of its History channel for Romania.Chello DMC will distribute the standard-definition channel via the Telstar 12 satellite. The channel will be fully localised with Romanian audio and subtitles. Chello DMC will also provide complete scheduling and media handling of all content for the channel in the country.Tom Davidson, managing director, A+E Networks UK said: “By working with Chello DMC, the extension of History in Romania as a dedicated, localised feed brings our award-winning programmes closer to our viewers. The continued move to introduce country-specific channels is part of our strategy to reach and entertain the widest audiences with our unique brand of programming.”
Short film channel Shorts TV has launched on Romtelecom in Romania and on the Zuku satellite platform in eastern Africa.In Romania, the channel will be available on all Romtelecom’s TV services, comprising its own IPTV and DTH services and the cable service of affiliate NextGen.Shorts TV will launch on the Zuku satellite platform at the beginning of March.“The concurrent launch of SHORTSTV in Romania and across East Africa is incredibly exciting. We are bringing the channel into Africa with Wananchi as a key partner, just as they are additionally expanding into new markets,” said Shorts TV CEO, Carter Pilcher. “In Romania, our movies are a wonderful fit for Romtelecom and its successful modern digital multi video services.”
TV payment firm PayWizard has partnered with content security specialist Conax to provide to provide a system for pay TV operators to monetise multiscreen content.The firms said that together they will allow operators and content owners to securely deliver multiscreen content, manage subscribers and offer payment services across a range of devices and platforms in different territories.“Integrating PayWizard’s award-winning subscriber management platform with Conax’s flexible multiscreen security solution enables operators to easily register and manage subscriber accounts and process payment seamlessly, across all devices,” the firms said.PayWizard’s software combines subscriber management, multi-device customer relationship management and an a range of payment services, while Conax offers total service protection for digital TV services over broadcast, broadband and connected devices.PayWizard partner manager Ryan Welmans said: “By partnering with leading technology providers like Conax, PayWizard’s rich interoperability can reduce lead times and deployment costs for those involved. This partnership in particular shows how we are responding to the needs of today’s pay-TV operators and broadcasters, and providing the additional power and flexibility to enhance the TV experience whilst driving business performance.”
Sky entertainment channel Sky 1HD has signed a new partnership with second screen technology firm Monterosa for the next series of dance competition show Got To Dance.Sky will use Monterosa’s LViS platform to power the show’s voting app, which is part of number of new social features Sky is promising viewers for the fifth season of the show, which is due to start broadcasting in August.Other new features include exclusive videos, live infographics, dynamic sharable Twitter cards and Facebook images with performance stats on each contestant.
Guy BissonPay TV subscribers are in declining across a large part of Europe as well as the US as customers cut the cord in favour of other services, according to new research.‘Cord-cutting’ has previously been thought of as a largely US phenomenon, but research house IHS has identified 12 European countries that have suffered an overall decline in pay TV numbers in the first three months of the year.Belgium, Denmark, Italy, Malta, Netherlands, Norway, Sweden, the Czech Republic, Latvia, Lithuania, Moldova, and Poland are the dozen in question and IHS says the subscriber reverses show that cord-cutting is now a reality in Europe.Noting that there is a sustained downturn in pay TV customers in the US and a new group of ‘cord-nevers’ who have never taken a pay TV service, IHS research director of television Guy Bisson said that six of the twelve European markets losing subscribers are going through their second quarter of decline “suggesting a sustained softening of pay TV across much of the region”.However, of the big five European pay TV territories of France, Germany, Italy, Spain and the UK, only Italy registered a pay TV downturn. France, Germany, Spain and the UK are all growing above the European average.“Hardest hit are the Benelux and Scandinavian markets along with some of the smaller Central and Eastern European markets where recent strong growth is now reversing,” IHS noted.It added: “While individual markets like Italy and the Netherlands have had several quarters of decline, a sustained two-consecutive-quarter decline in such a wide-range of markets is a worrying trend for the industry as a whole.”The cord cutting cannot, IHS said, be attributed solely to the entrance of over the top players such as Amazon and Netflix. “The current trend is likely a combination of factors including an over-hang from the recent economic downturn and the wider impact of new technology in the home broadening the consumption choices of the average consumer,” according to IHS.
The BlacklistNetflix has acquired US drama series The Blacklist for a reported US$2 million (€1.5 million) per episode.The streaming service will start showing episodes of the James Spader drama next week, according to Deadline, which broke the news.The series has been a hit for NBC and is in its 22-episode second season on the US broadcast net. Davis Entertainment Company produces the show in association with Sony Pictures Television, which sells it and struck the Netflix deal.Netflix will get the thriller series after it airs on NBC and SPT is understood to be free to sell it into syndication. Deadline said The Blacklist deal was the richest ever in the subscription VOD window beating the US$1.35 million an episode Netflix paid for eOne-distributed AMC series The Walking Dead.Sony has deep production and content sales ties to Netflix. Its UK prodco Left Bank is making Netflix’s first UK original, The Queen, and with KZK it is making a US-produced drama for the streaming service. It also distributes Netflix’s House of Cards internationally.
US pay TV operator Dish TV has opened up its Sling TV OTT TV service to all who wish to sign up. The service, which until now has only been accessible to invited customers, went live yesterday.Sling TV offers live access to 15 channels for US$20 (€18). In addition to the soft-launch line-up, which included the likes of ESPN and Cartoon Network, the commercial launch included a channel from YouTube multichannel network Maker Studios.In addition to the basic package, Sling TV is offering access to three additional packages covering news, kids and family content, and sports for US$5 each.
Russian service provider Komkor, which operates under the Akado brand, has added the HD version of commercial channel NTV to its programming line-up.NTV HD is now available to all digital subscribers at no additional cost.Komkor/Akado, which operates in the Moscow region, this year completed the consolidation of its assets into a single company, passing over one million homes in the Russian capital.
Netflix has partnered with Vodafone in Italy, with the operator due to introduce exclusive promotional offers that will bundle Netflix subscriptions with fibre or 4G services. The deal, which comes ahead of Netflix’s launch in Italy next month, is designed to make it easy for Italians to sign up and pay for their monthly Netflix subscription through their Vodafone bill.Netflix is due to launch a fully localised version of its service in Italy, which includes Italian subtitles and dubbing. Meanwhile, Vodafone claims that its 4G coverage has 90% reach in Italy, with its fibre services now available in 127 cities in the country, including Milan and Bologna.“As Netflix is introduced into Italy, partnering with Vodafone Italy lays a great foundation for us to provide Italians with top notch content and service,” said Bill Holmes, global head of business development at Netflix.Gianluca Corti, consumer director at Vodafone Italy, said: “This partnership underscores our strategy of offering unique and differentiated conditions for Vodafone customers, combining the best connectivity provided by our superfast 4G and fibre broadband networks, the best quality of service with the very best in content.”Similar partnerships between Netflix and Vodafone already exist in the UK, Germany, the Netherlands, Ireland, New Zealand. From next month, Netflix will also team up with Vodafone in Spain, in the first such deal struck by the streaming video provider in the country.Using the Netflix app, Vodafone TV homes in Spain will be able to watch Netflix content through their set–top box. Netflix will also be available on smartphones and tablets.Netflix is due to roll out in Italy, Portugal and Spain in October and has announced plans to launch in South Korea, Singapore, Hong Kong and Taiwan.