August 10, 2015This past month Arcosanti’s Jeff Stein AIA and concert pianist Dr. Lynne Haeseler presented their “CONNECT Chautauqua: Connecting Beethoven, Buildings and BMW Motorcycles” at the Barber Motorsports Museum in Birmingham, Alabama. Previously, they have performed this at Arcosanti, in Scottsdale and at the Steinway Gallery recital hall in Tucson.[photos and text by Jeff Stein}Their performance in Birmingham was part of the 5th annual conference of the IJMS / International Journal of Motorcycle Studies, an online, peer-reviewed scholarly journal of social science, riders and research from around the globe.The Barber is the world’s greatest motorcycle museum, with over 1400 bikes on permanent display. In their 50-minute, multi-media Chautauqua, Stein and Haeseler describe through images, lecture, discussion and Beethoven’s music itself — including the entire second movement of his 9th Symphony, transcribed for piano by Schiller — how the work of these three men: composer Ludwig vonBeethoven’s 9th Symphony, designer David Robb’s BMW R1200GS, architect Paolo Soleri’s East Crescent at Arcosanti provides the same intense human experience: sound, speed, space that allows us to be truly connected, and thus truly human.In truth everything is connected. Understanding how these three entities connect, we all might grow more comfortable with the idea. Plus, there is the notion, in each, of being at the center of a world. Each composition: Symphony, Architecture, Motorcycle, transports you to such a place. “Chautauqua” was the New York birthplace of this kind of enlightening lecture / performance. Former US President Theodore Roosevelt called Chautauqua “the most American thing in America”. This is one of those. To schedule a performance of this Chautauqua in your location, contact < pr [at] Arcosanti.org >
French content creators society SCAM has called for an increase in the licence fee to finance France Télévisions and end uncertainty over the public broadcaster’s future.The SCAM has called for an increase of €5 per household for 2013 and above inflation increases of €3 per year for each of the four years thereafter.SCAM president Jean Xavier de Lestrade said that an increase in the licence fee was the only viable solution and that the government had to tackle the taboo surrounding the notion of an increase in the fee.The SCAM, which publicised a series of proposals following the Auteurdevue 2012 event for audiovisual professionals, has also condemned a cut in the budget of the Centre National du Cinéma (CNC), which supports audiovisual production in France, of €150 million, as excessive. The SCAM said it believed the state was penalising an organisation that contributed significantly to growth and employment and called for a ringfencing of the organisation’s budget.The SCAM also joined with producers organisations to call for a reform of the COSIP, the fund for the support of French cinema production, to ensure continued support for high-end productions.Finally, to combat piracy, the SCAM has also called for a reduction in exclusivity windows for documentary films from the current four years and a revision of rules applying to the theatrical distribution windows for documentaries.
Gary DaveySky has started producing 360-degree videos and will use Facebook as a distribution platform for this content, according to Sky’s MD of content Gary Davey.Speaking at a Royal Television Society event in London last night, Davey said that Sky has started producing some “really interesting” Virtual Reality (VR) content and filmed something “just the other day” in a refugee camp in Lebanon. This follows its investment last year in VR firm Jaunt.He said this immersive content will be available first on Facebook, which started to roll out 360-degree videos in the service’s News Feed in September, and that in time Sky 360-degree content will also be available on VR headsets.Davey also revealed that Sky News would go through major changes this year, with the closure of its current newsroom and a move to a new facility.“Sky News will move into a purpose-built, state-of-art, digital newsroom. We’ve got a completely new design, completely new workflows, an opportunity to rethink the whole idea – how should news function in the modern world with mobile phones and so on. It’s a really interesting time,” said Davey.In a wide-ranging talk and question-and-answer session, Davey confirmed Sky’s plans to launch an Ultra High Definition service, which will be supported by its new, advanced Sky Q offering.He said this UHD offering will include a “wide range of content including high-end documentary material, live sports, premier movies” though would not say when this would launch.He also dismissed the idea that Sky was cutting programming budgets due to the costs incurred in renewing its Premier League Football rights. “This year we’ll spend about £5 billion on content – which clearly includes sports and entertainment,” said Davey. “Our entertainment budgets are growing at a faster rate than they ever have in the history of the business.”In terms of content consumption, Davey said that Sky now thinks in terms of brands, not channels, having embraced a range of distribution models – including its stand-alone over-the-top service, Now TV.“We don’t care when, where or on what device the customer consumes the content. We just want the customer engaged in the content,” said Davey, revealing that just 16% of the total consumption of its recently-launched original drama, The Last Panthers, was through live liner.He also dismissed competition from new rivals like Amazon and Netflix, claiming that Sky “kicked this journey off” way before either company “became an issue”.“The truth is that Netflix has been very successful in the UK at a time when we’re growing as fast as we’ve ever grown and our churn rate is at the lowest level it’s been in 10 years. So the existence of Netflix doesn’t seem to have damaged our customer base at all. It’s a supplementary service to people,” said Davey.Sky upped it investment in cinematic VR firm Jaunt in September, as part of a US$65 million (€58 million) funding round that was led by Disney and also had contribution from ProSiebenSat.1.A month later Sky News has launched its first virtual reality news report on the migrant crisis in Europe, filmed on “the front line of Europe’s migration crisis in Greece.” The report was filmed with the Jaunt ONE VR camera.
MTG has agreed to sell its 75% stake in youth broadcaster Trace in a deal that values 100% of the business at an enterprise value of €40 million (approximately SEK 392 million).MTG agreed to sell its majority stake in the media group to TPG Growth, a division of investment firm TPG that has more than US$13 billion of assets under management.The move is the latest sign of MTG’s digital-focused strategy and follows the sale last year of its Czech TV assets for €116 million and its Baltic broadcasting business for €100 million.“Our focus at MTG is on the accelerated digital transformation of our broadcasting businesses, and the rapid expansion of our MTGx digital entertainment portfolio,” said Jørgen Madsen Lindemann, MTG’s president and CEO.“Trace is a great business that we have enjoyed developing together with its talented management team over the past four years.”MTG has been making increasingly big steps into the digital world, investing €82.6 million to increase its shareholding in mobile and browser-based games company, InnoGames, from 21% to 51% last May.In July it closed its US$55 million acquisition of US games publisher and developer Kongregate while in November it launched a US$30 million investment fund, targeting minority investments in “high-potential” US and European online gaming businesses.Trace is an Afro-urban entertainment firm that owns a number of music and entertainment-focused TV channels, as well as radio, online and mobile assets – including the Trace Play streaming service, which it is currently rolling out around the world.The company is big in Sub-Saharan Africa, France, the Caribbean and the Indian Ocean area, and claims its services are available in 160 countries to more than 200 million viewers and listeners.MTG’s sale of its Trace stake is subject to regulatory approvals.
The “increased significance of TV content” helped boost A1 Telekom Austria’s performance in 2018, along with resilience in its fixed-line business and growth in solutions and connectivity.A1 also saw strong growth in demand for mobile WiFi routers, in some cases substituting for fixed broadband.The company said that TV content and solutions and connectivity would “an important element” in driving demand for fixed-line services this year.A1’s pay TV base in Austria grew by 5.4% year-on-year to 313,000, up 5,000 on the previous quarter. Fixed broadband numbers dipped slightly over the same period, down 0.9% to 1.439 million. Landline phone customers were also down, taking fixed revenue-generating units down by 1.9% to 3.278 million.The company said that demand for TV options continued to be strong and that its converged fixed and mobile offering, with a hybrid fixed and mobile router, was driving growth.However, said the company, domestic fixed line revenues fell by 2.8%, with stronger demand for TV failing to offset a decline in voice revenues.In Bulgaria, where A1 owns the former Blizoo cable network, pay TV numbers were up by 4.6% to 507,500, while fixed broadband numbers were up 3.1% to 448,300. The company said that sports TV channels with exclusive content had underpinned growth in this market, helping to drive up revenue-generating unit numbers and average revenue per line.In Croatia, where A1 owns the former Vipnet cable network, pay TV numbers were up 8.7% to 229,300, while broadband subscribers grew by 1.6% to 254,000. The company said that a new sports TV package launched in June had helped fuel growth in a market where the focus is increasingly on bundled offerings and convergence. It said that growth in TV had helped boost fixed revenues despite a shift from fixed broadband to mobile WiFi routers.In neighbouring Slovenia, where A1 owns the former Amis cable network, pay TV numbers grew 6.4% to 60,200. Broadband subscribers were up 4.8% to 73,700.In Macedonia, A1’s local subsidiary grew its pay TV base by 4.8% to 128,800, while its broadband base grew by 14.8% to 131,600.In Belarus, pay TV numbers were up 64.1% to 408,100, while broadband numbers grew by 16.4% to 246,700.