AMI Reports Strong Quarter

first_imgAMI saw a 7 percent decrease in expenses, according to chief financial officer Dean Durbin, who attributed the strong results to cost-reduction and revenue-enhancement goals outlined in AMI’s “management action plan” in February 2007.The turnaround comes at a particularly interesting time for AMI. In December, a sale of the company to Ron Burkle’s Source Interlink was reportedly imminent, but has stalled in 2008.Last month, the company swapped CFOs, with Durbin, a former CEO at Vertis Communications and a b-to-b publishing veteran of Thomson and McGraw-Hill, becoming AMI’s sixth CFO in four years. American Media Inc., a company whose troubles making financial filing deadlines are well documented, has reported strong earnings for third quarter of fiscal year 2008.According to AMI’s filing late last week, revenue for the third quarter of fiscal year 2008 was $115 million, as compared to $107 for the same period in 2007—a 7 percent increase. For the nine months ended December 31, 2007, revenues were $368 million, compared to $346 million in the prior year—a 6 percent increase. The publisher of Star, National Enquirer, Shape and Men’s Fitness attributed the boost to increases in advertising and newsstand revenue. According to Publishers Information Bureau (PIB) figures, Shape’s ad pages increased by 13 percent in 2007, Star and Men’s Fitness by 25 percent. AMI’s reported operating income for the third quarter of fiscal year 2008 was $17 million, compared to a loss of $302 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2007. (For the nine months ended December 31, 2007, operating income was $75 million, as compared to a loss of $275 million in the prior year.) The company also doubled its EBITDA for the third quarter of fiscal year 2008 was $24 million, as compared to $12 million in the third quarter of fiscal year 2007. For the nine months ended December 31, 2007, EBITDA was $95 million, as compared to $56 million in the prior year period.last_img read more

Is There a Long Tail for Ad Networks

first_imgThat’s because small ad networks can aggregate traffic that was previously too difficult, costly or undesirable to aggregate, the report says. (According to the report, the top 100 publishers sell only 40 percent of their online inventory directly, leaving the rest to be chopped up and sold through ad networks or exchanges.) “In a world without ad networks, few online publishers would be able to sell their online advertising inventory.”The future, according to DeSilva + Phillips, lies in ad exchanges: “There is still a lot of ungathered and unsold inventory, and ad exchanges offer considerable scale to advertisers while remaining too small to attract Google or Yahoo!’s attention as bolt-on additions.”All of this means M&A opportunity for those operating small-to-mid-sized ad networks. During 2007, activity approached $2 billion for 10 “pure play” ad networks. Venture capital investment was $300 million.[EDITOR’S NOTE: Click here for a free copy of DeSilva + Phillips’ Ad Networks: Monetizing the Long Tail.] There’s still a lot of Internet out there. And for publishers joining—or cobbling together— mini ad networks, that means revenue.So says a new white paper released late last week by media investment banking firm DeSilva + Phillips. According to the report, Ad Networks: Monetizing the Long Tail, the approval of Google’s $3.1 billion acquisition of DoubleClick shouldn’t spell doom for smaller ad networks.DeSilva + Phillips foresees a “long tail” of revenue, profit and scale for the smaller ad networks that remain. Or, as they put it: “Online advertising networks have emerged as an essential vehicle for monetizing the Long Tail of the Internet.”last_img read more

The Critical Elements of Online Media Companies A QA With Jim Bankoff

first_imgA week from today, Jim Bankoff, chairman and CEO of Vox Media, will take the stage at FOLIO:’s premiere annual conference: The MediaNext Show. As keynote speaker and head of one of the largest and fastest growing independent online media companies, Bankoff will connect the magazine publishing industry’s traditional identity with the new realities of a fast-paced, multimedia landscape.Here, FOLIO: catches up with Bankoff [pictured] to explore the critical elements of running an online media company and where the new disrupters lie for the digital content market.FOLIO: Describe, in the context of Vox, the core, most critical elements of an online media company—from the way you produce your content to the way it’s promoted and consumed by your audience. Jim Bankoff: The core, critical elements of an online media company are giving audiences quality content and quality advertising that they can consume and enjoy in any setting and on any platform. We believe we’re doing that across the board at Vox. As I noted in LinkedIn, “Web consumers and advertisers crave a higher value journalism and storytelling, and it’s our challenge as publishers and creators to meet that demand.Vox believes fulfilling this demand for quality at scale is an enormous business opportunity. We publish three flagship brands all of which are committed to reinventing quality storytelling and journalism in a manner that is native to the Web. SB Nation (and its 300+ sports communities), The Verge and Polygon are producing magazine-caliber content in sports, tech/culture and gaming on an everyday basis, around the clock—merging old fashioned principles like integrity, design, research and creativity with the new palette of digital media: multimedia, mobility, community and real-time updates. We have even developed our own technology platform, Chorus, to empower the voices of Web-native storytellers and their audiences and advertisers with cutting-edge tools for their craft.”We’ve built on great editorial content with a great design and development team and have embraced responsive design so that consuming Vox is always a satisfying experience no matter what platform you’re on.FOLIO: What are the key revenue trends you’re seeing in the online publishing market? And how are you positioning your brands accordingly for the year ahead?Bankoff: The online advertising market is experiencing two opposing trends: commoditization of inventory sold to direct marketers via programmatic exchanges and native advertising/custom integration bought by premium brand advertisers. Our business is squarely in the latter camp with marketers seeking a customized experience that fits their brand and their message. We’ve been doing that at Vox Media for several years, starting with our first property SB Nation where we have featured sponsored editorial content since 2006. FOLIO: Tactically, how are you driving community interaction and engagement with your brands?Bankoff: Our brands have always had loyal and engaged readers. In 2012 alone, we saw readers consume 820MM+ minutes of our content. They’re interested in our writing and reporting, but also our video content and the places we allow them to interact with each other like our forums, comment section, social pages and areas for user-generated content. The key to our success is our underlying proprietary media stack, called Chorus, which enables our creative teams, our audiences and our advertisers to engage with one another in the context of professional and user generated story telling. By being a technology-driven media company, we can iterate quickly and respond to the ever-evolving needs of brands and consumers.FOLIO: What are the new “disrupters” for the digital content market? What is compelling you to re-examine your operation?Bankoff: The new disrupter for the digital content market is the idea that there’s no such thing as a single homepage anymore. The days when media experiences were linked via big portals and their email screens is gone. We discover great content via social recommendations, expert curators, search algorithms and a variety of other sources. Consumers are grabbing content from all over, and it’s crucial that publishers be everywhere. At Vox we have social feeds, partnerships with other media organizations and presences on apps like Flipboard. We want to be everywhere consumers are.The MediaNext Show will be held January 8-10 in New York City at the Marriott Marquis. For more information on the show and to register click here.last_img read more

Lego Movie 2 not as awesome as the first but its pretty

first_imgCulture: Your hub for everything from film and television to music, comics, toys and sports.Movie Magic: The secrets behind the scenes of your favorite films and filmmakers.  2019 movies to geek out over Post a comment 2:14 1:46 Movie reviews Lego Tags TV and Movies Now playing: Watch this: 77 Photos 0 Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice The characters and sets still come complete with scarred and pitted texture on their surfaces, just like real plastic, for an authentic stop-motion look. But whether it’s a space battle between various kinds of Lego or a vampire DJ with the voice of Noel Fielding or a startling detour into crayon, the humour is completely unfettered by such boring adult concerns as logic or physics. The result is a trippy treat for kids and adults.In the first film, everything was awesome for a young boy playing in his basement with Lego bricks. But now everything’s been ruined by the arrival of his sister and her Duplo blocks. Anyone with kids will recognise the younger one’s unstoppable urge to be up in the older sibling’s business, and the ructions that can cause. The older brother asserts himself against his sister’s childish ways by adopting a tough, cynical tone, complete with dark, gritty brooding — so much brooding. Batman, voiced by Will Arnett, loves this darker tone, but it’s clear all is not right in Lego world.Enlarge ImageChris Pratt, who starred alongside velociraptors in Jurassic World, encounters familiar chums in The Lego Movie 2. It’s just that kind of flick. Eric Charbonneau The only ray of sunshine in this blasted heckscape is Emmet, the perennially cheerful hero of the first movie with the bouncy voice of Chris Pratt. His fellow adventurer, Lucy Wyldstyle (voiced by Elizabeth Banks) has taken to the darker tone like a goth to mascara, but Emmet won’t give up his sunny disposition. Until sinister aliens kidnap his friends, that is, and he blasts off into space determined to toughen up and get grim ‘n’ gritty too.lego-movie-2-rev-1-lg2-t2-2707-high-res-jpegEnlarge ImageBatman, Wyldstyle and the gang return. Eric Charbonneau Right from the off, the action is as colourful and epic as the first movie. It’s dizzyingly kinetic, zapping along at breakneck speed as hilarious gags fly thick and fast. None of the songs quite measure up to the first movie’s earworm anthem “Everything is Awesome” — even the self-consciously needy “This Song’s Gonna Get Stuck Inside Your Head” — but they’re upbeat and fun. And if in all the chaos you miss a joke, or a song doesn’t connect, there’ll be another one along in about a millisecond.In his quest to break through the Stairgate to the Systar system, Emmet is aided in his quest by Rex Dangervest, an action hero so masculine his crew are velociraptors and his spaceship is shaped like a literal fist. Unlike Emmet, Rex doesn’t build — he breaks. And Emmet begins to think he’ll have to break stuff to save the day.lego-movie-2-rev-1-lg2-fp-0097r-high-res-jpegEnlarge ImageRex Dangervest, action hero, gives Emmet a new role model. Warner Bros. He’s wrong, of course, which might be a level of dramatic irony too far for younger viewers. But this is one semiotically complex movie. In the past, you might have a kid getting sucked into Lego world and trying to get back. But this is 2019, where movies operate on a whole other level of meta-textual sophistication. The Lego Movie 2 works as a meta-narrative switching between the “real” world and the Lego world, which also includes characters from other pop culture narratives, who are both unaware of the real world and yet somehow also aware of their position in the zeitgeist. And it’s a musical. With time travel. On top of that, the film is based on a real-life children’s toy, and then the characters and vehicles created for the film become real-life toys, in shops now.Seriously, the whole endeavour is a crazy moebius strip of postmodern recursive metatextuality. With songs.Jeez, just because kids can work an iPad at six months old, apparently they’re expected to get Baudrillardian simulation theory. But whether the youngsters parse the postmodern juxtaposition or just dig the tunes, there’s also a pretty clear message about getting along with people and staying positive even when things look bleak. As the young boy from the first movie ages into a teenager, it’s suggested he should resist cynicism. In fact, you don’t have to squint very hard to see the film address boys on the verge of being radicalised into cynical or extremist beliefs. Listen to the Lego Movie, kids, and don’t swallow the red pill. Life lessons, jokes, celebrity cameos — it’s all here. The Lego flick schtick is such catchy pop fun you’re guaranteed to have a great time. Sure, the Lego Movie 2 might not be as innovative as the first part, but it never lets you catch your breath long enough to realise that. Yup, this is how you build a sequel. Lego Movie 2: Everything to know The Lego Movie 2 builds a dizzying, gloriously silly… Remember when everything was awesome? The first Lego Movie from 2014 was a colourful — well, mostly yellow —  and giddy explosion of enthusiasm, humour and spectacular animation. Now The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part has arrived, and things are a lot more complicated.One thing the first movie had was novelty. Five years and two spin-offs later, the sequel doesn’t pop with quite the same freshness. It doesn’t help that the opening act is set in a parody of Mad Max: Fury Road, which isn’t the freshest gag in the world. But The Second Part does have the trademark Lego movie combination: It’s exuberant, dynamic, eye-popping and, above all, gloriously, unrestrainedly bonkers.last_img read more

Amazon pours resources into smart home robot and upgraded Echo report says

first_img Lenovo Smart Clock: $59.99 (save $20) Now playing: Watch this: CNET may get a commission from retail offers. $261 at Daily Steals via Google Express $90 at Daily Steals via Google Express 4 Rylo 5.8K 360 Video Camera: $250 (save $250) $59 at eBay $999 Turo: Save $30 on any car rental $520 at HP 8:39 JBL Soundgear wearable speaker: $90 (save $160) Read Google Home Hub review I thought this might be a mistake, but, no, the weirdly named HP Laptop 15t Value is indeed quite the value at this price. Specs include an Intel Core i7 processor, 12GB of RAM, a 256GB solid-state drive and a 15.6-inch display. However, I strongly recommend paying an extra $50 to upgrade that display to FHD (1,920×1,080), because you’re not likely to be happy with the native 1,366×768 resolution. Use promo code 19LABOR10 to get an unusually good deal on JBL’s interesting hybrid product — not quite headphones, and not quite a traditional speaker, but something you wear like neckphones to listen to music on the go. DJI’s answer to GoPro’s action cameras is rugged little model that’s shockproof, dustproof and waterproof down to 11 meters. It normally runs $350, but this deal drops it to $261 when you apply promo code 19LABOR10 at checkout. Review • iPhone XS review, updated: A few luxury upgrades over the XR Amazon,I’m shocked — shocked! — to learn that stores are turning Labor Day into an excuse to sell stuff. Wait — no, I’m not. As much as I respect the original intent of the holiday (which became official back in 1894), to most of us, it’s just a bonus day off — one that’s blissfully tacked onto a weekend. So, yeah, stores; go ahead, run your sales. I’m listening. Perhaps unsurprisingly, Labor Day doesn’t bring out bargains to compete with the likes of Black Friday (which will be here before you know it), but there are definitely some sales worth your time.For example:We’ve rounded up the best Labor Day mattress deals.We’ve also gathered the best Labor Day laptop deals at Best Buy.The 2019 Vizio P Series Quantum is back under $999.Be sure to check out Amazon’s roughly three dozen Labor Day deals on TVs and audio. Google Express is having a big sale as well, one that includes deals on game consoles, AirPods, iPhones, laptops and more.Below I’ve rounded up a handful of individual items I consider to be the cream of the crop, followed by a handy reference guide to other Labor Day sales. Keep in mind, of course, that products may sell out at any time, even if the sale itself is still running. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. $299 at Amazon Comments Recently updated to include digital-photo-frame capabilities, the Lenovo Smart Clock brings Google Assistant goodness to your nightstand. It’s a little smaller than the Amazon Echo Show 5, but also a full $30 less (and tied with Prime Day pricing) during this Best Buy Labor Day sale. Rylo Apple AirPods with Wireless Charging Case: $155 (save $45) Sprint The 15 coolest things you can do with your Amazon Echo Share your voice Other Labor Day sales you should check out Best Buy: In addition to some pretty solid MacBook deals that have been running for about a week already, Best Buy is offering up to 40% off major appliances like washers, dryers and stoves. There are also gift cards available with the purchase of select appliances. See it at Best BuyDell: Through Aug. 28, Dell is offering an extra 12% off various laptops, desktops and electronics. And check back starting Aug. 29 for a big batch of Labor Day doorbusters. See it at DellGlassesUSA: Aug. 29 – Sept. 3 only, you can save 65% on all frames with promo code labor65. See it at GlassesUSALenovo: The tech company is offering a large assortment of deals and doorbusters through Labor Day, with the promise of up to 56% off certain items — including, at this writing, the IdeaPad 730S laptop for $700 (save $300).See it at LenovoLensabl: Want to keep the frames you already love and paid for? Lensabl lets you mail them in for new lenses, based on your prescription. From now through Sept. 2 only, you can save 20% on the blue light-blocking lens option with promo code BLOCKBLUE. See it at LensablSears: Between now and Sept. 7, you can save up to 40% on appliances (plus an additional 10% if you shop online), up to 60% on mattresses, up to 50% on Craftsman products and more. The store is also offering some fairly hefty cashback bonuses. See it at SearsNote: This post was published previously and is continuously updated with new information.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on tech products and much more. For the latest deals and updates, follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page, and find more great buys on the CNET Deals page. Amazon Comments Preview • iPhone XS is the new $1,000 iPhone X 39 Photos Free Echo Dot with an Insignia or Toshiba TV (save $50) DJI Osmo Action camera: $261 (save $89) See It Formerly known as the Google Home Hub, Google’s Nest Hub packs a wealth of Google Assistant goodness into a 7-inch screen. At $59, this is within a buck of the best price we’ve seen. It lists for $129 and sells elsewhere in the $89-to-$99 range.This is one item of many available as part of eBay’s Labor Day Sale (which, at this writing, doesn’t specifically mention Labor Day, but that’s how it was pitched to us). Sarah Tew/CNET Boost Mobile Chris Monroe/CNET Angela Lang/CNET Turo Share your voice $999center_img Though not technically a Labor Day sale, it’s happening during Labor Day sale season — and it’s too good not to share. Nationwide Distributors, via Google Express, has just about the best AirPods deal we’ve seen (when you apply promo code ZBEDWZ at checkout). This is for the second-gen AirPods with the wireless charging case. Can’t imagine these will last long at this price, so if you’re interested, act fast. Lenovo 130-15AST 15.6-inch laptop: $210 (save $90) Read the AirPods review Read the Rylo camera preview Sarah Tew/CNET $60 at Best Buy Tags Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. See at Turo An Echo Dot makes a fine match for any Fire edition TV, because you can use the latter to say things like, “Alexa, turn on the TV.” Right now, the 24-inch Insignia Fire TV Edition starts at just $100, while the 32-inch Toshiba Fire TV Editions is on sale for $130. Just add any Fire TV Edition to your cart, then add a third-gen Echo Dot, and presto: The latter is free. Read Lenovo Smart Clock review $210 at Best Buy Smart Home Tech Industry Google Nest Hub: $59 (save $70) Turo is kind of like Uber meets Airbnb: You borrow someone’s car, but you do all the driving. I’ve used it many times and found it a great alternative to traditional car-rental services — in part because you get to choose exactly the vehicle you want (not just, say, “midsize”) and in part because you can often do pickup and dropoff right outside baggage claim.Between now and Sept. 1, the first 300 people to check out can get $30 off any Turo rental with promo code LDW30. Sarah Tew/CNET See at Amazon Mentioned Above Apple iPhone XS (64GB, space gray) Tidal 3-month family subscription: $5.99 (save $54) $999 What’s cooler: A snapshot of a firework exploding in front of you, or full 360-degree video of all the fireworks and all the reactions to seeing them? Oooh, ahhh, indeed. At $250, the compact Rylo dual-lens camera is selling for its lowest price yet. And for an extra $50, you can get the bundle that includes the waterproof housing.This deal runs through Sept. 3; it usually costs $500. Best Buy $6 at Tidal Sarah Tew/CNET $999 The e-commerce giant will also release an upgraded version of its Echo speaker, which is apparently being developed at the same Sunnyvale, California, lab as Vesta, Bloomberg reported. The speaker may be wider than the current Echo to fit the additional components.In an emailed response to the report, Amazon said it doesn’t comment on rumors or speculation.First published at 6:06 a.m. PT.Updated at 8:30 a.m. PT: Adds Amazon response. The Cheapskate See It Tags Read DJI Osmo Action preview Apple iPhone XS See It See it 7 HP Laptop 15t Value: $520 (save $780) The Amazon Echo Show 5 helps Alexa fit nicely on your… Spotify and most other streaming services rely on compressed audio, which robs the listener of full fidelity. Enter Tidal, the only “major” service that delivers lossless audio — meaning at least on par with CD quality, if not better. Want to see (er, hear) the difference for yourself? Grab this excellent extended trial while you can. It’s just $6 for three months, and it’s good for up to six listeners. TVs Speakers Mobile Accessories Cameras Laptops Automobiles Smart Speakers & Displays Amazon may be putting extra resources into a home robot project. Ben Fox Rubin/CNET Amazon is reportedly putting more engineers to work on a smart home robot, a secret project called Vesta that was hinted at last year. The robot isn’t ready for mass production yet.The waist-high robot moves around on wheels, uses computer-vision cameras and may be a mobile version of Amazon voice assistant Alexa, according to Bloomberg, which cited anonymous sources familiar with the project. $155 at Google Express The problem with most entry-level laptops: They come with mechanical hard drives. That makes for a mighty slow Windows experience. This Lenovo model features a 128GB solid-state drive, so it should be pretty quick to boot and load software, even with its basic processor. Plus, it has a DVD-burner! That’s not something you see in many modern laptops, especially at this price.last_img read more

Save 15 on a tiny selfcontained Spotify player

first_img 4 The Cheapskate Share your voice Comments Sarah Tew/CNET Are you a Spotify subscriber? Then you’ve no doubt discovered the limitations for listening offline. It requires a phone, which isn’t always convenient — like when you’re at the gym or out for a run. And even if you do have your phone, you’ll have to devote a chunk of precious storage to your Spotify playlists.The Mighty Vibe solves those problems. This portable player — a dead ringer for Apple’s dearly departed Shuffle — absorbs your Spotify playlists and podcasts for easy offline listening. Read CNET’s Mighty Vibe review to learn more.It normally sells for $86 (currently on sale for $5 less), but for a limited time, Cheapskate readers can get the Mighty Vibe for $69.99 with promo code MIGHTYCHEAP. Shipping adds $5.See it at MightyThis is the second-gen version of the Mighty, featuring better battery life (at least 5 hours of play time), broader Bluetooth compatibility, better Bluetooth range and a redesigned mobile app.It’s also now available in a couple snazzy colors. In addition to basic black, you can choose a teal or red case.As noted, the Mighty Vibe looks and operates much like an iPod Shuffle, right down to its spring-loaded clip and simplistic controls. What’s handy here, though, is that you can pair it to Bluetooth earphones for a wireless listening experience. I just tried it with a wire-free set — pretty nice!There is a headphone jack if you want to go wired, and that jack is also used to charge the Vibe. A spare cable will run you $7. The player can hold up to 1,000 songs, but you can’t sync specific artists or albums, only playlists.That minor limitation aside, I can’t understand why this is product isn’t better known or more popular. It is, to my knowledge, the only offline-Spotify gadget currently available, and it’s a very affordable way to carry around your favorite playlists and podcasts without a phone.Note: This post was published previously and has been updated regarding pricing and discount code.CNET’s Cheapskate scours the web for great deals on PCs, phones, gadgets and much more. Note that CNET may get a share of revenue from the sale of the products featured on this page. Questions about the Cheapskate blog? Find the answers on our FAQ page. Find more great buys on the CNET Deals page and follow the Cheapskate on Facebook and Twitter! center_img Best laptops for college students: We’ve got an affordable laptop for every student. Best live TV streaming services: Ditch your cable company but keep the live channels and DVR. Tags MP3 Playerslast_img read more

Kit Haringtons shocking reaction when Game of Thrones ending revealed

first_imgKit Harrington aka Jon Snow in Game of ThronesFacebook/ Game of ThronesHBO’s Game of Thrones will stop airing in May 2019 and it will leave millions of fans in a dizzy asking for some more drama. Filming the last episodes were also not easy for the cast and crew of this acclaimed fantasy TV series. Kit Harington recently talked about his feelings and how he cried after reading the last pages of the script.Game of Thrones season eight entered into production a long time ago. Several stars of the show have talked about their feelings towards the end of it and how much they are going to miss playing their respective characters. As it turned out, Kit Harington was apparently the last person to read the end. He recently told Stephen Colbert on his show, The Late Show that he apparently was too lazy to read the script but when he did, he cried a lot.”We had a table read and I was the one person who hadn’t read the episodes,” Kit explained. “Everyone else had them like, three days before and read them and… I think I told everyone it was because I didn’t want to know what happened but I think it was just laziness that I didn’t read them.”Kit Harington further revealed that when he got to read the script, the showrunners were pretty excited to know his reactions. After reading Game of Thrones season 8 episode 6’s script, Kit, who plays Jon Snow, was pretty shocked and surprised for the change in the events.”And then I blubbed my eyes out. I cried. I cried, yeah,” he added.Kit Harington also talked about having a child and extending his family. He and his GoT co-star Rose Leslie got married last year. The couple met during season three and have been together ever since. While talking to The Sunday Telegraph’s Watch via DailyMail, Kit talked about his future family as his work with Game of Thrones is finally over. Actors Kit Harington and Rose Leslie attend the premiere of HBO’s ‘Game Of Thrones’ season 7 at Walt Disney Concert Hall on July 12, 2017 in Los Angeles, California.Frederick M. Brown/Getty Images”I met my wife in this show so, hopefully, it gave me my future family and my life from here on in.” Kit added: “It has changed my life completely. You could not ask for a better job than to be an actor in Game of Thrones.”Kit Harington will return as Jon Snow in Game of Thrones season 8 in April.last_img read more

Ban on Maggi noodles makes Nestle India bottom line take 60 percent

first_imgHit by the ban on sales of Maggi brand noodles, Nestle India Ltd on Thursday reported 60 percent fall in its net profit and 32 percent fall in its net sales for the third quarter.The company follows calendar year as its financial year.In a media statement filed with BSE, Nestle India said its net profit for the third quarter ended September 30, 2015 was Rs.124.2 crore, down from Rs.311.3 crore for the same period the previous year.The company said it had posted a net sales of Rs.1,736.2 crore for the period under review down by 32 percent over 2014 figures.The ban on sales of Maggi noodles impacted the domestic and export sales.According to Suresh Narayanan, chairman and managing director, the company has restarted manufacturing noodles.After testing the products in three accredited laboratories and their clearance the noodles the company is keen on reintroducing the products in the market, he said.Narayanan said that during the quarter under review, the Bombay High Court had set aside the ban on Maggi noodles and ordered that the earlier batches be tested in three accredited laboratories.As per the test results, the lead content in the product is well below the permissible levels, he said.last_img read more

Admin backed attacks on Rangamati indigenous community NHRC member

first_imgNHRC member Banchita Chakma speaking at a meeting on Universal Periodic Review Photo: Prothom AloNational Human Rights Commission (NHRC) member Banchita Chakma said the local administration had support for attacks on the indigenous community of Langadu upazila in Rangamati.The office-in-charge of the local police station and others were present at the time of attacks, but they did not take any action.The NHRC member made this allegation at a meeting on the rights of the indigenous people. Coalition of Indigenous Peoples Organisations on Universal Periodic Review (UPR) organised the meet at The Daily Star building on Sunday.On 2 June, at least 200 houses of indigenous people in Langadu upazila were torched. This took place after police recovered the body of Nurul Islam Nayan, organising secretary of Sadar union unit Jubo League.Citing her own experience, Banchita Chakma said, “I was the principal of Rangamati Government College in 2012. Police were deployed to ensure our security. Attacks on hill people were carried out in presence of the police. The attackers were never brought to trial.”She said the criminals repeatedly launch attacks on indigenous people as the perpetrators were spared after the crimes.Bangladesh Indigenous Peoples’ Forum (BIPF) general secretary Sanjeeb Drong said the government is tricking indigenous people with the Chittagong Hill Tracts Peace Accord.The government should remember that too many tricks may invite trouble, he warned.Jatiya Adivasi Parishad president Rabindranath Saren presided over the meeting in which Kapaeeng Foundation (KF) project coordinator Babul Chakma presented the keynote paper. Falguni Tripura moderated the event.last_img read more

Jamaat to face harsh response Quader

first_imgObaidul Quader. FIle PhotoRoad transport and bridges minister Obaidul Quader on Wednesday said construction of the Dhaka Metro Rail will be visible in next six months, reports UNB.The minister said this while inspecting the construction work of the 20 km-long metro rail project in capital’s Uttara on Wednesday.“At least 10-12 percent work of the Metro Rail project has been already completed. After the militant attack in Holey Artisan the project work remained suspended for six months but now it’s running again in full swing,” he said.The minister was hoping that the first phase of the project from Uttara to Agargaon will be completed in 2019 and the whole route will be open for commuters in 2020.Regarding the Jamaat-sponsored hartal on Thursday, Quader warned that Jamaat will face a harsh response if they commit any anarchy in the name of hartal.Construction of the Dhaka Metro Rail project financed by Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) started in mid 2016.last_img

Rangpur Metropolitan Police bill passed in JS

first_imgThe Jatiya Sangsad on Thursday passed a bill to form Rangpur Metropolitan Police with a view to improving the law and order and strengthening the police services to ensure public security in Rangpur metropolitan area, reports UNB.Home minister Asaduzzaman Khan moved the bill titled Rangpur Metropolitan Police Bill, 2018 which was passed by voice vote.In November 2017, the cabinet approved the draft law to form the separate police force for Rangpur Metropolitan area, which was placed in parliament on 11 February.The bill empowered the police force of the metropolitan area to award pecuniary punishment and jail-terms for violation of laws. It can fine up to Tk 10,000 and one-year jail subjected to types of crimes.The draft law was framed in the light of the existing Sylhet Metropolitan Police Act 2009 and Barisal Metropolitan Police Act, 2009.As per the bill, the police members will have to execute the orders of the competent authorities, apply full power of the police officers concerned to prevent or resist any possible criminal offence and resist all public nuisances.In 2012, Rangpur City Corporation was formed with 203 square kilometre areas and nearly eight lakh dwellers.last_img read more

Thousands flee fighting on Myanmars border with China

first_imgThousands of people fled heavy fighting on Myanmar’s northern border with China overnight, activists said Wednesday, as the government blocked a senior UN official from visiting the area.Clashes between the army and ethnic minority militias in Myanmar’s borderlands have intensified in recent months, undercutting Aung San Suu Kyi’s vow to bring peace to the country since her party took power in March.Dozens have been killed and thousands displaced since fresh fighting erupted between the Myanmar military and the ethnic minority Kachin Independence Army (KIA) in November.The unrest has rippled across Shan and Kachin states, threatening the next round of peace talks between the government, military and ethnic groups scheduled for February.Dashi Naw Lawn, secretary of the Kachin Network Development Foundation, said the army launched airstrikes near the border town of Laiza on Tuesday.“There was a big fight yesterday and the Myanmar army used planes to attack the area around Laiza,” he told AFP on Wednesday.“The fighting is getting worse and worse.”Kachin activist Khon Ja said some 3,600 people had fled from two IDP camps overnight to escape the violence.She cited testimonies from escapees saying around a third had crossed a river into China, while the rest were stranded on the Myanmar side.The UN’s relief agency said this week that 2,700 displaced people had been moved to new camps because of the clashes, warning there was not enough shelter to protect them against dropping temperatures.Myanmar’s army said its troops have killed seven KIA rebels and seized several bases over the weekend.The growing crisis comes as UN special rapporteur Yanghee Lee was barred from visiting the conflict area this week as part of a 12-day trip to probe escalating violence in the country.“She was not allowed to travel to Hpakant and Laiza,” said her spokesman Aye Win.On Friday she is expected to visit Rakhine state to probe claims the army has been carrying out severe human rights abuses against the Muslim Rohingya minority—allegations the government has denied.last_img read more

Quader complains of BNP plot to wage movement

first_imgObaidul Quader file photoClaiming that the opposition conspired to make gains mixing intruders into the peaceful movement of students, Awami League general secretary Obaidul Quader on Saturday said this conspiracy is still going on, reports UNB.”A conspiracy is on to wage such a movement again. Clandestine meetings are being held in the country and abroad. We’re alert and prepared enough in this regard,” he said while addressing a discussion at the Bangladesh National Museum.Awami League publicity and publications subcommittee arranged the programme.Also road transport and bridges minister minister, Quader said BNP and its fundamental cohorts tried to cash in on the quota reform movement after receiving directives from London.”Something dangerous could have happened but the prime minister handled the situation.”About BNP vice-chairman Abdullah Al Noman’s comments that they will join the polls if there is as shift in the present electoral process, he said election process is a constitutional provision. “It’s an unreasonable demand.”Awami League organising secretary AKM Enamul Haque Shamim and member secretary of the party’s publicity and publications subcommittee Hasan Mahmud were also present on the occasion.BSS adds: The AL leader said there is no scope to backtrack from next general election process as per the constitution.He said, “The process of national election is a provision of the constitution and there is no scope to retreat from the process before holding of the next general polls.”At the information dissemination programme styled “Rumour exasperation, propaganda – Be defended Bangladesh”, Quader saidL “The people belonging to the new generation had returned home in response to the call of Prime Minister Sheikh Hasina which indicates their wisdom.”“Prime pinister Sheikh Hasina has accepted all nine demands of the students as their movement for road safety was correct,” he said, adding that the premier gave instruction of not putting any force on the demonstrators during the movement.Coming down heavily on some mass media for their controversial role at different times, Quader said, “Weren’t they involved in de-politicization during the 1/11 changeover?”last_img read more

Merkel plans EU migrant summit

first_imgGerman chancellor Angela Merkel gestures at a news conference with NATO secretary-general Jens Stoltenberg (not pictured) in the German Chancellery in Berlin, Germany on 15 June. Photo: ReutersGerman chancellor Angela Merkel, struggling to avert a crisis within her coalition on migrant policy, is trying to set up a meeting of some EU states to discuss the issue before a leaders summit on 28-29 June, a German newspaper reported on Sunday.Citing government sources from representatives of several EU states, top-selling Bild reported on its website that Merkel wanted to discuss possible solutions with Greece, Italy and Austria.“It is not yet agreed, we are in the planning phase. It is also unclear exactly when this special summit would take place,” a member of the Italian government told Bild. The paper added that next weekend might be one possibility.A German government spokesperson was not immediately available to comment on the report.EU states are deeply divided on how to deal with large numbers of people fleeing conflict, especially from the Middle East. The issue has come to a head in the last week with a new Italian government refusing to let a ship carrying hundreds of migrants dock at its ports.Merkel is adamant that migrant policy can only be effectively agreed and implemented at the European level and is at loggerheads with her own conservative Bavarian allies and her Interior Minister who want unilateral action.The Bavarians have threatened to defy Merkel and on Monday go ahead with plans which she has sought to block. Under the minister’s proposal, Germany would send back migrants who have already registered in other EU countries.This would undermine Merkel’s authority as it represents a reversal of her 2015 open-door approach, and would also be a blow to the EU’s Schengen open-border system.Merkel has asked the Bavarian conservatives to give her two weeks to come up with bilateral deals with some countries, like Italy and Greece, similar to one agreed between Turkey and the EU in 2016.Bild said it was unclear whether Spain and other countries from the Balkans would take part in Merkel’s meeting.last_img read more

Mosquito Hunters Set Traps Across Harris County Searching for Signs of Zika

first_img To embed this piece of audio in your site, please use this code: Share Carrie FeibelRoberts retrieves a mosquito trap from a backyard in southwest Harris County. Homeowners give permission to have traps placed on their property.Local health officials are preparing for the possibility that the Zika virus could soon find its way into mosquito populations along the Gulf Coast.Harris County operates one of the largest mosquito control operations in the U.S., with a permanent staff of more than 50 scientists and technicians. In the summer, two dozen extra seasonal workers are hired to help with the work of setting traps, sorting mosquitoes by species, and conducting lab tests for West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue, and chikungunya. Zika was added to the testing panel this year.Watch: Mosquito ProcessingThe division has an annual budget of $4 million, and operates its own virology lab. In the insectary, an entomologist breeds a steady supply of Culex mosquitoes, used as a control group for periodic tests of pesticide resistance. Spraying is part of the overall strategy, but pesticides are applied selectively, only in neighborhoods where mosquitoes have tested positive for harmful viruses.The surveillance cycle begins outdoors, with three types of traps. Technicians set and retrieve traps every weekday, hiding them beneath manhole covers, in medians, and in yards (with homeowners’ permission.) Harris County, the third most-populous in the country, covers 1, 777 square miles. For mosquito surveillance, the county is divided into 268 sectors. During mosquito season, from May to October, mosquitoes are collected from each sector at least every other week. Carrie FeibelMosquitoes are kept alive during the drive to a laboratory, where they are killed through freezing. Freezing also helps preserve viruses the mosquitoes might be carrying.Christy Roberts, a Texas A&M-trained entomologist, makes her rounds in a white, county-issued pickup truck. At each stop, even on quiet residential streets, she sets out orange traffic cones before crossing into yards to retrieve traps. If the trap was set inside a storm sewer, she uses a pick-axe to pop open the manhole cover, then pulls up the trap.One type of trap, a “gravid,” sits on top of a plastic tub of water. The stagnant, smelly water is irresistible to female mosquitoes. Roberts pulls the tub out from underneath some bushes along the side of a house. She peers inside the trap’s cylindrical net, spotting individuals  in the blur of  flickering wings.“Lots of females, some of them are blood-fed, and we have males in there too,” she said.“The female will fly over the water and then land on top of the water to lay their eggs,” Roberts explains. “And as they’re floating on top of the water, the fan will suck them up into the net.”The focus of surveillance is females: they need at least one blood meal in order to reproduce. Roberts makes a circuit around southwest Harris County, pulling traps from Westbury, Missouri City, and stops in between. The empty traps and batteries go in the truck bed, but the nets of trapped mosquitoes are hung inside, from the roof of the cab.“We hang the nets, so that the mosquitoes will be able to continue to fly,” Roberts said. “They won’t rub their scales off, which is what we need to identify them. And it also helps keep them alive until we can freeze them.”Traps stay out overnight, about 12 hours. In the mornings, technicians fan across the county to retrieve traps. In the afternoons, they set out fresh ones in different locations.Back at the lab, the mosquitoes are flash frozen, which helps preserves any viruses they might harbor. The cold mosquitoes are boxed up and labeled by location, and then must be sorted by sex and species.Roberts sits down at a lab bench and uses green tweezers to pick through the fragile, feathery bodies. To the untrained eye, they just look…grey. But Roberts is searching for banding, wing color, and variations in the shape and size of the insect’s proboscis and other organs.“I am sorting for Culex quinquefasciatus, which is our primary vector for West Nile. And I’m just placing them directly in to the vial.” (As the Latin name indicates, that mosquito has five bands across its abdomen.)Vials are sent to virology, where they are tested for West Nile, St. Louis encephalitis, dengue, and chikungunya. For Zika testing, samples are currently sent to the University of Texas Medical Branch in Galveston. But soon, the lab will add a PCR assay machine, allowing genetic analysis of Zika and other viruses on site. The expansion will cost $300,000.Harris County is home to 56 different species of mosquitoes, says Dr. Mustapha Debboun, director of mosquito control. But only three species are relevant, because they carry viruses harmful to humans.“We have the Aedes aegypti, which is the yellow fever mosquito. And also the Aedes albopictus, which is the ‘Asian tiger mosquito,’ and the Culex mosquito,” Debboun explains. “These are the three that we are after. And thank God, we’re only dealing with three.”Zika has not yet been found in Harris County mosquitoes.Most people assume “mosquito control” simply means spraying chemicals, Debboun says. And in many municipalities that’s true.  But in Harris County, spraying is done strategically, only in places where a mosquito has tested positive for a virus.“We go hit the area where we know the mosquitoes have the disease in them,” Debboun explains. “So we don’t just go randomly and just spray, and not only waste the pesticide, but also put a pesticide in the environment when you don’t need to.”Selective spraying also keeps the insects from developing resistance, Debboun said. Occasionally, aerial spraying is also used, but only twice in the past eight years. In 2008, large areas of the county were sprayed after Hurricane Ike. Some areas were sprayed in 2014, when hundreds of samples turned up positive for West Nile.Debboun says his team is prepared for Zika. In 2013, he diversified the traps, purchasing  models that are especially attractive to Aedes aegypti and Aedes albopictus. At that time, Debboun was anticipating a possible outbreak of dengue or chikungunya. But those two species also transmit Zika. His employees have already had a few years to learn to use those traps. He’s planning to ask the county commissioners for 74 more of those traps this year, at a cost of $300 each.Carrie FeibelEntomologist Christy Roberts retrieves a mosquito trap from a storm drain. The trap uses a light and dry ice to attract mosquitoes.Ruthy Muñoz contributed reporting to this story. X Listen 00:00 /03:40last_img read more

White House Pastry Chefs Make National Mall in Gingerbread

first_imgBy DEB RIECHMANN, Associated PressWASHINGTON (AP) — The traditional White House gingerbread house isn’t exactly a house this year. It’s a massive, sugary replica of the entire National Mall.The pastry creation — featured at Monday’s unveiling of the White House holiday decorations — required 225 pounds of dough, 25 pounds of chocolate and 20 pounds of white icing. It includes replicas of the Capitol, the Lincoln and Jefferson memorials, the Washington Monument and the White House, complete with tiny green wreaths with red ribbons on each window.The gingerbread house, showcasing the full expanse of the National Mall: the Capitol, the Lincoln Memorial, the Jefferson Memorial, the Washington Monument, and, the White House is seen in the State Dining Room during the 2018 Christmas Press Preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House for 2018 as first lady Melania Trump unveiled the holiday decor. She designed the decor, which features a theme of “American Treasures.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)White House pastry chefs have created gingerbread houses during the holidays since the early 1970s. The first one depicted a Christmas village. Another was a replica of President Bill Clinton’s boyhood home in Arkansas.“American Treasures” is the theme of this year’s White House holiday decor, designed by first lady Melania Trump, who tweeted a video showing her walking amid the display. Decorations in the ornate East Room are meant to highlight the diversity and ingenuity of American architecture.The Official 2018 White House Christmas Ornament is seen during the 2018 Christmas Press Preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House. First lady Melania Trump unveiled the 2018 White House holiday decor on Monday. She designed the decor, which features a theme of “American Treasures.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)Four custom-made mantelpieces feature the skylines of New York, St. Louis, Chicago and San Francisco. Seventy-two handmade paper ornaments representing six regions across the nation adorn four 14-foot fir trees. In the library, trees are decorated with ornaments from all states and territories.In the China Room there are three tables recreated from previous state dinners during the Theodore Roosevelt, John F. Kennedy and Trump administrations using, china and glassware from the White House permanent collection. A place card for President Donald Trump is next to one for “Mrs. Macron,” French President Emmanuel Macron’s wife, Brigitte.Upstairs in the Green Room, there are decorations representing an American cornucopia with fruits, vegetables and grains adorning a tree.The official White House Christmas tree is seen in the Blue Room during the Christmas press preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. The tree measures 18 feet tall and is dressed in over 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each State and territory. (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)The 18-foot official White House Christmas tree stands tall in the center of the Blue Room. The Fraser fir from North Carolina is decorated with more than 500 feet of blue velvet ribbon embroidered in gold with each state and territory.The Red Room features ornaments and two wreaths made of pencils stamped with “Be Best,” Mrs. Trump’s youth initiative.Patriotism is on display in the Grand Foyer and Cross Hall. More than 14,000 red ornaments hang on the branches of 29 trees. Hidden projectors cast silhouettes of pine and other holiday greenery on the ceilings.The Cross Hall is seen during the 2018 Christmas Press Preview at the White House in Washington, Monday, Nov. 26, 2018. Christmas has arrived at the White House. First lady Melania Trump unveiled the 2018 White House holiday decor on Monday. She designed the decor, which features a theme of “American Treasures.” (AP Photo/Carolyn Kaster)From their portraits on the walls of the corridor, Presidents John F. Kennedy, Jimmy Carter, George H.W. Bush and Ronald Reagan gaze down on the holiday spectacle.last_img read more

NY Teacher on Leave After Complaints of Mock Slave Auction

first_imgBy The Associated PressA fourth-grade teacher in a northern New York school district has been placed on administrative leave after being accused of having White students bid on Black classmates during a mock slave auction.The mother of one of the Black students tells WWNY the incident happened recently at North Elementary School in the Watertown City School District.North Elementary School in the Watertown City School District, New York. (Screengrab: Google)A statement from the school district said the teacher had been placed on leave during a district investigation launched after parents complained she had “exercised poor judgment in teaching a recent lesson.”A fifth-grade teacher at a private school in Westchester County was fired in March after parents complained she held mock “slave auctions.” The Chapel School in Bronxville agreed to hire a diversity officer after the state attorney general’s office investigated.last_img

Louisville Tops Syracuse 42 in ACC Opener

first_imgSyracuse crossed the plate first in the third inning for an unearned run. The Cards responded in the fifth with Melton’s single driving home Funke. Another unearned run by the Orange in the sixth inning gave the lead back to Syracuse.  Story Links The University of Louisville softball team notched its first ACC win with a 4-2 victory over Syracuse (8-15, 0-1) Friday afternoon at Ulmer Stadium. Melton finished the game with four RBIs, going 2-for-3 at the plate. The redshirt senior said she got familiar with Syracuse pitcher Alexa Romero. Redshirt freshman Taylor Roby recorded a one-out double in the bottom of the sixth. A strike out put the pressure on as sophomore Maddy Newman took the plate. The Indiana native dropped down a bunt and beat out the throw to first to keep the scoring chance alive.  Preview ACC Network Extra Louisville 4 – Syracuse 2 Sidney Melton Postgame Interview Live Stats “That was my fourth at bat so I had seen her a couple of times so I thought I could get on top of the ball. I knew what she was throwing so I could hit it square,” Melton said.  Redshirt senior Sidney Melton pushed the winning runs across in the sixth inning with a three-run double to help the Cards overcome a 2-1 deficit. Sophomore Danielle Watson (6-5) pitched a complete game, striking out nine and allowing four hits.  Watch Live Full Schedule Roster Funke walked to load the bases with two outs. With a 0-1 count, Melton cracked a bases-clearing double to flip the scoring favor back to Louisville.  Junior Celene Funke tied a school record with a pair of triples, scored two runs and added a stolen base in the win. The centerfielder has an ACC- and team-high eight triples.  The Cardinals (18-7, 1-0 ACC) and the Orange (8-15, 0-1) will meet in game two on Saturday at 1 p.m. Watson stamped the game a two swinging-strikeouts to finish off the Orange. Matchup History Louisville is 4-1 in ACC openers and 15-5 in conference openers overall. The Cardinals are 7-0 at Ulmer Stadium this season. UofL has won 12 of its last 13 games. Celene Funke tied a school record with two triples in the game. She now has eight triples on the season and 10 in her career- placing her tied for fourth on Louisville’s all-time list. Funke is currently on a nine-game hitting streak. She leads the team with a .407 batting average, 35 hits, 25 runs and a .674 slugging percentage. Melton has reached base via a hit or a walk in the last nine games. Melton leads the team with 11 stolen bases and has 44 in her career, standing sixth on Louisville’s all-time list. She needs two more to move into a three-way tie for fourth with Kristin Austin (2009-12) and Candi Hicks (2004-07) Rebecca Chung extended her hitting streak to seven games. Danielle Watson earned her sixth win of the season – all three of Louisville’s starting pitchers have six wins apiece.Print Friendly Version Alexa Romero (4-4) took the loss, allowing four earned runs on eight hits and striking out eight in 6.0 innings.LOUISVILLE NOTES Next Game: SYRACUSE 3/16/2019 | 1:00 p.m.last_img read more

Black Panther Continues Reign Atop DVD Bluray Disc Sales Charts

first_imgMarvel’s “Black Panther,” distributed by Walt Disney Studios, held back a pair of newcomers to handily top the home video sales charts for a second consecutive week.The top new release on NPD VideoScan overall disc sales chart, which tracks combined DVD and Blu-ray Disc unit sales, and the dedicated Blu-ray Disc chart the week ended May 26 was 20th Century Fox’s spy thriller “Red Sparrow,” which debuted at No. 2 selling 22% as many discs as the returning superhero actioner.“Sparrow” stars Jennifer Lawrence as a Russian ballerina who is forced into becoming a seductive secret agent after her dancing career is cut short due to injury. It earned $46.9 million at the domestic box office.No. 3 on both charts was Warner’s “Game Night,” a comedy about a group of friends who are caught up in a life-and-death caper that they believe is an elaborate role-playing game. It took in $68.9 million at U.S. theaters. Top 10 Media Play News rental chart for the week ended 5/27/18:1. Game Night (new)2. Black Panther3. 12 Strong4. Peter Rabbit5. Den of Thieves6. Fifty Shades Freed7. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle8. The Greatest Showman9. Maze Runner: The Death Cure10. Early Man (new)For complete sales and rental charts, visit MediaPlayNews.com ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15 Rounding out the top five on both charts were Universal Pictures’ “Fifty Shades Freed” at No. 4 and Fox’s “The Greatest Showman” at No. 5.Three other new releases managed to crack the top 20, led by Warner’s “The 15:17 to Paris,” which bowed at No. 6 overall and No. 8 on the Blu-ray Disc sales chart. The Clint Eastwood-directed docudrama, which earned $36.3 million domestically, tells the story of the three American servicemen (playing themselves) who foiled a terrorist attack on a European train in 2015.Debuting at No. 11 (No. 14 on the Blu-ray Disc Sales chart) was the Image Entertainment fantasy “I Kill Giants,” followed by Lionsgate’s “Early Man,” a stop-motion animated film from the creators of “Wallace and Gromit,” at No. 12 (No. 13 on the Blu-ray chart).Universal’s re-release of the four “Jurassic Park” films in a 4K Ultra HD Blu-ray boxed set pushed the “Jurassic Park Collection” back onto the charts at No. 15 overall and No. 11 on the Blu-ray charts. The new 4K edition accounted for 73% of total unit sales of the four-movie set. A fifth film, “Jurassic World: Fallen Kingdom,” is slated for theaters June 22.Among the new releases, “Red Sparrow” saw 62% of its total copies sold in the Blu-ray format, with 12% of the total being in the UHD format. Blu-ray accounted for 48% of “Game Night” and “I Kill Giants” sales, 45% for “15:17 to Paris,” and 50% for “Early Man.”For the second week of “Black Panther,” Blu-ray contributed 68% to its total copies sold, with 11% from UHD Blu-ray.On the Media Play News rental chart for the week ended May 27, “Game Night” debuted at No. 1, with “Black Panther” slipping a spot to No. 2.Warner’s “12 Strong” dropped to No. 3, while Sony Pictures’ Peter Rabbit and Universal’s Den of Thieves held onto No. 4 and No. 5, respectively.“Early Man” entered the rental chart at No. 10.John Latchem is executive editor of Media Play News.Top 20 NPD VideoScan First Alert chart for the week ended 5/26/18:1. Black Panther2. Red Sparrow (new)3. Game Night (new)4. Fifty Shades Freed5. The Greatest Showman6. The 15:17 to Paris (new)7. Star Wars: Episode VIII — The Last Jedi8. Peter Rabbit9. Deadpool10. Thor: Ragnarok11. I Kill Giants (new)12. Early Man (new)13. Jumanji: Welcome to the Jungle14. 12 Strong15. Jurassic Park Collection16. Coco17. Maze Runner: The Death Cure18. Rick and Morty: Season 319. Spider-Man: Homecoming20. Justice League Popular on Variety last_img read more

Chinas Streaming Giants Seek South East Asia Expansion

first_img Chinese Streamer iQIYI Squeezed by Changing Content Context Chinese video streaming giant iQIYI is looking to expand its service across 10 countries within South East Asia. The move would be the NASDAQ-listed company’s first venture beyond Greater China.The move was disclosed on Wednesday by Yang Xianghua, president of membership & overseas business group, iQIYI, as part of a presentation at the APOS conference in Indonesia. He provided no timetable for execution of the plan.The company’s biggest rival in China, Tencent Video is already moving in the same direction. Tencent gave a soft launch to a VoD service in Thailand in November last year. It formally launched its Thai service last month under the name WeTV, with a mix of Chinese, Thai, Korean and U.S. content.The Chinese video industry has evolved rapidly from a DVD-based and piracy dominated industry at the beginning of the decade into one of the most sophisticated online environments in the world. The three long form leaders – iQIYI, Tencent Video and Alibaba’s Youku — now have higher content spend than China’s traditional TV players. And they have achieved global scale, while operating in China without competition from Netflix and Amazon. Popular on Variety Related China’s iQIYI in Talks for Indonesia Expansioncenter_img iQIYI operates a mixed business model with both advertising and subscription tiers. It reports 87 million paying subscribers, delivering $1.58 billion (RMB10.6 billion) of revenue from membership services. Subscriptions account for roughly a third of iQIYI’s group revenue.iQIYI plans to make its app available for download from virtual stores across the region, but it will not become wholly operational in each territory straight away. It is understood to be considering the opening of a Singapore office and is exploring relations with Astro in Malaysia.Those two countries boast significant Chinese diaspora populations. Other priority countries are understood to include Thailand, which boasts a significantly digital savvy population and tumbling data costs, and youthful Vietnam.iQIYI boasts a large volume of original Chinese-language content, which it has commissioned or produced. Innovative technology and original content have helped convert free users into paying subscribers within China. The company now foresees further increases in production budgets to make original content that will win over Asian viewers.In the medium term iQIYI original content could be supplemented with original local content, co-productions and acquired material.To date iQIYI’s only operational experience outside mainland China has been in Taiwan. “We have learned a lot about different models and systems, and about different tastes in films, and Korean series,” said Yang. “We have other strengths such as music – our series ‘The Rap of China’ is already popular in Malaysia – and the strength of Chinese stars and idols.”“In Asean, Thailand and Indonesia are two strategic countries for Tencent and the company has a lot of consumer business in Thailand that it can leverage faster,” Li Kaichen, director of strategy development at Tencent and head of Tencent’s overseas video business, recently told Thai media. Tencent owns the WeChat social media ecosystem in China and in 2016 acquired majority control of Thai directory and social media platform Sanook. Many industry commentators expect Asia’s multitude of regional streaming companies to undergo a phase of rationalization within the next two years. While neither iQIYI or Tencent has talked of corporate acquisitions in Asia, their deep pockets and an ambition to keep growing once the Chinese video market reaches maturity, makes it an intriguing possibility. It would potentially put the Chinese video giants head to head with the global platforms Netflix, Amazon and Disney+.“The way that Chinese companies have approached e-commerce in the region has been to plant a flag, see where they can grow organically, and then to buy where necessary,” a streaming executive told Variety at APOS. “It remains to be seen how well they can operate video in markets where Chinese content is not dominant.” ×Actors Reveal Their Favorite Disney PrincessesSeveral actors, like Daisy Ridley, Awkwafina, Jeff Goldblum and Gina Rodriguez, reveal their favorite Disney princesses. Rapunzel, Mulan, Ariel,Tiana, Sleeping Beauty and Jasmine all got some love from the Disney stars.More VideosVolume 0%Press shift question mark to access a list of keyboard shortcutsKeyboard Shortcutsplay/pauseincrease volumedecrease volumeseek forwardsseek backwardstoggle captionstoggle fullscreenmute/unmuteseek to %SPACE↑↓→←cfm0-9Next UpJennifer Lopez Shares How She Became a Mogul04:350.5x1x1.25×1.5x2xLive00:0002:1502:15last_img read more