in Commentary, Daily Dose, Featured, Government, News Marketing Compliance for Today’s Lenders Lenders in today’s market often face compliance challenges that bring the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau (CFPB) to their door with a huge fine. Mary Beth Doyle, founder of LoyaltyExpress examines these compliance issues and advises lenders on an effective way to avoid regulatory repercussions. The Compliance ProblemOne of the biggest compliance challenges lenders face today is enterprise-wide change management, as it relates to marketing methodologies being centrally defined and controlled. Unfortunately, individual loan officers have historically been allowed to march to their own beat in terms of advertising, marketing, and business-development initiatives. This fragmented approach is a major contributor to the gross violations and errors that the CFPB is cracking down on with costly fines and penalties.Dynamic marketing and business-development initiatives can be steadily and safely achieved when appropriate compliance loops, content development expertise, disclaimers, and licensing fields are at the core of a lender’s marketing engine. Taking down the walls that hinder an organization from being compliant without fail requires strong leadership and a commitment to the betterment of loan-officer careers and the mortgage industry overall.Mary Beth Doyle, founder of LoyaltyExpressThe Regulatory SideAlthough a majority of CFPB rules mirror state compliance requirements, there are a multitude of differing regulations on a state-by-state basis. For example, specific locations of licensing fields and the placement and verbiage of disclaimers are governed not only at a state level – but can vary by county as well.State-specific loan products and services are obvious examples of why regulatory guidelines vary state by state, such as the California Housing Finance Agency. These state-specific agencies are servicing the local needs and welfare of homeowners, including the ability to issue timely assistance for hardships. Just as economic conditions and disaster-related events differ on a state-by-state basis, so do regulatory guidelines in support of state-specific mortgage programs, products and services.The Fix Lenders must proactively embrace compliant business-development initiatives – and the reality that strict guidelines and best practices are here to stay. Even if an organization is plagued with regulatory misdemeanors, taking ownership of their shortcomings (and recognizing that the CFPB will respond more favorably to remediation efforts) is of utmost importance. The CFPB is slowly getting around in its auditing efforts. Lenders must be prepared to demonstrate complete transparency in this ever-demanding and ever-changing landscape of compliance adherence. There’s no way around it.Investing in world-class CRM and marketing automation services allows organizations to be both innovative and compliant with their business-development efforts. Primarily, the goal should be to establish unique, branded, and compliant one-to-one communications that drill down to specific needs and opportunities for targeted populations of prospects and customers. As a result of these intelligent, automated messages, loan officers will steadily enhance their qualified sales pipelines – as well as their overall capture rates of new and repeat business.Click here to learn more about LoyaltyExpress. Share Compliance Consumer Financial Protection Bureau Lenders LoyaltyExpress 2015-09-11 Staff Writer September 11, 2015 581 Views
There may never be another football team anthem as famous (or as cheesy) as the Chicago Bears’ “Super Bowl Shuffle” that was released in 1985.That song actually peaked at No. 41 on the Billboard Hot 100 chart that year, and the Bears went on to win their one and only Super Bowl title that season.The enthusiasm for the Arizona Cardinals is at an all-time high in the Valley, and that’s why Jason Devore, the lead singer of Authority Zero, did something about it — and it’s a million times cooler than what the Bears put together 31 years ago. Top Stories Comments Share The 5: Takeaways from the Coyotes’ introduction of Alex Meruelo Devore is working on a new solo project with producer Derek Seidensticker and took out some time to write and record “Birdgang Battle Cry”.Here’s Devore’s explanation for the :41 clip, as explained on YouTube:So plain and simple I wrote and recorded a Cardinals “Fight Song”. A song to bring everyone together to electrify, fire up, unify, and inspire both the fans and the team they’re rooting for…the home town/State Arizona Cardinals. Growing up a local playing music , I feel it important that every city, state, and community should have something to be proud of and belt that brings them together as one voice. So, with the help of my good friend Derick Seidensticker I was able to record and present it to the Cards themselves so we’ll see where it may lead, but for now I present it to you. Call me crazy, but I hope you enjoy it. If you do and can get behind it please like it, share it, play it a few times over and again, and sing it loud! Hopeful it will stick and soar, but if for anything else, it was a lot of fun to do. Big thanks to my friend Jason Passaro for putting together the video and rally on friends! #birdgangbattlecryThe song was released on YouTube on Jan. 15, and has over 21,000 views. Derrick Hall satisfied with D-backs’ buying and selling Former Cardinals kicker Phil Dawson retires The Cardinals play the Carolina Panthers Sunday in Charlotte for the NFC Championship. The game can be heard on Arizona Sports 98.7 FM — kickoff is at 4:40 p.m. and special pregame coverage begins at 9:00 a.m. Grace expects Greinke trade to have emotional impact
24Feb Legislative Update for February 24, 2014 playpause – 0:00:00 / 0:00:00Update RequiredTo play the media you will need to either update your browser to a recent version or update your Flash plugin. Categories: Audio,News Legislative Update for February 24, 2014 [ 4:44 ] Play Now | Play in Popup | Download (137) In this week’s roundtable, we look at auto insurance reform and constituent service efforts with home heating assistance, flood preparation and tax information.
09Mar Rep. Lilly announces Grand Haven grant Categories: Lilly News Tags: #SB LANSING – Today, Representative Jim Lilly (R-Park Twp.) announced this year’s recipient of the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program Grant will be the city of Grand Haven. The state legislature established the Michigan Lighthouse Assistance Program in 1999 to aid in the preservation and protection of Michigan’s lighthouse. The program was created in conjunction with the Michigan Lighthouse Project’s efforts to maintain the historic nature of Michigan’s numerous lighthouse stations. “Michigan’s Great Lakes and the lighthouses that sit on our beaches continue to be a driving attraction of tourism across the state,” said Rep. Lilly. “The funds awarded to the city of Grand Haven show our state’s commitment to maintaining these historic structures and an investment in our community’s future.”The City of Grand Haven was awarded the $60,000 grant to aid in the rehabilitation of the Grand Haven South Pier Lighthouse. The Grand Haven South Pier Entrance Light and Inner Light were constructed in 1839 and have been an attracting feature of the city drawing tourism since. These grant funds will be utilized to reconstruct and stabilize the entrance light’s and inner light’s porthole windows and applying a weather stripping to the lantern doors. Construction on the entirety of the Grand Haven pier’s catwalk has been underway since the conclusion of summer 2016 and is projected to continue through August of this year. “The Grand Haven lighthouse is often used as a symbol of our community and I’m happy to see the state playing a role in its preservation. Grand Haven captures the essence of Pure Michigan and I hope this project and grant will allow for future generations to share in the beauty we’ve been blessed with,” said Rep. Lilly.
16Jun Rep. Calley applauds funding for local park, trail projects Categories: Calley News,News House approves bill providing money for developmentsState Rep. Julie Calley today announced three area recreational areas will receive funding for improvements after the House passed legislation for Natural Resources Trust Fund projects.Calley, of Portland, said $2.06 million in state and matching money will be used to fund the projects, which include:The Jordan Lake Trail project will construct an eight-mile long, combination asphalt and boardwalk, non-motorized path around the 430 acre Jordan Lake in Barry and Ionia counties. The $1.36 million will be used for to finish 1.4 miles of the pathway.A second Jordan Lake Trail project is in Barry County’s Woodland Township. The $433,200 project involves universal access features being built into the trail that will provide persons with disabilities and persons of all ages an opportunity to travel through and observe areas of wildlife and nature.A development at the Saranac boat launch to construct a parking area, a restroom and pavilion building, a fishing/overlook pier, educational displays, and a trail connection to the existing Riverwalk Trail and the Fred Meijer Grand River Valley Rail-Trail. The cost is $259,500.“These projects will benefit so many families, runners, anglers and boaters, not to mention those who just like picnics in the park,” Called said. “They will enable more people to enjoy the natural resources that abound in this area.”The funding is comprised of revenue from the lease of state land and is designated on an annual basis in partnership with local governments for the projects.The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.#####The bill is Senate Bill 76.
The state House today approved a resolution sponsored by state Rep. Jeff Yaroch asking the federal government to clarify its position on the legality of marijuana.“The direction we’re getting from Washington, D.C. on marijuana is inconsistent, at best,” said Yaroch, of Richmond. “This uncertainty has done nothing to help Michigan. U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions has granted discretion to local federal prosecutors to decide whether to enforce federal marijuana laws. It should not be up to the local federal prosecutor as to whether to enforce federal law or not. It is time for Congress to fulfill its duty under the Constitution to decide whether states will be allowed to regulate marijuana according to the will of the people. This is simple; Congress should either stand by the law or respect states’ rights by granting a waiver from Schedule One classification of marijuana to states that have created their own regulatory system.”Yaroch’s resolution references the state’s 2008 citizens-initiated ballot proposal allowing the medical use of marijuana, and places Michigan as one of 29 states that have passed legislation that conflict with federal law. In addition to law enforcement, he notes this lack of clarity also creates problems in property zoning, banking and taxation.House Concurrent Resolution 11 now goes to the Senate for consideration. Besides the Michigan congressional delegation, the resolution would be transmitted to the president of the U.S. Senate and the speaker of the U.S. House of Representatives upon approval.“Following the will of the people, Michigan is beginning statewide oversight of medical marijuana, but we still do not have clarification from Congress on this legislation,” Yaroch said. “For the sake of our law enforcement, along with our local governments that are stuck between a rock and a hard place, it’s time for Congress to takes it head out of the sand and just decide.”### Categories: News,Yaroch News 24Jan Rep. Yaroch calls for clarity on federal marijuana policy
Categories: Kelly News,News 08Feb Rep. Kelly approves bills expanding educational choice State Rep. Tim Kelly, chair of the House Education Reform Committee, today voted in his committee for a legislation to expand the Michigan Educational Savings Program to K-12 students.“This program is needed to help address growing costs of education, especially with added specialized instruction and extra-curricular programs,” said Kelly, of Saginaw Township. “This has really helped families with college costs, so it makes sense to expand it to all students.”If approved, the six-bill package will be a tax-exempt option for parents to expand their educational options with funding not limited to specific school districts or programs.The legislation:Directs the state Department of Treasury to create the savings program for K-12 students, in addition to setting up how families can create, contribute to and distribute funds;Requires the state Department of Education to clarify which services and organizations can receive program funding;Allows deductions from taxable income contributions and interest earned on the contributions.“Students and families want greater flexibility in their education options and this provides more choices,” Kelly said. “Having an account to draw from will promote investment, by the families and school districts, for better education of our state’s students.”Senate Bills 544, 545, 546, 547, 548 and House Bill 5428 advance to the House for its consideration.###
15Feb Legislators: New system needed to hold university boards accountable Categories: Lower News,VerHeulen News,Webber News Proposal allows voters to weigh in on framework for selecting trusteesFrom left, state Reps. Rob VerHeulen, Jim Lower and Michael Webber testify Thursday before the House Elections and Ethics Committee.State Reps. James Lower, Rob VerHeulen and Michael Webber today said the time is right to consider changing the selection process for future members of the boards governing Michigan State University, Wayne State University and the University of Michigan.The legislators testified before the House Elections and Ethics Committee in support of their three-piece proposal that would bring the three major state universities in line with every other public university in Michigan, where trustee appointments are made by the governor.“When you put the two processes next to each other, the appointment process is better. The candidates go through a thorough vetting process that results in a well-rounded, better-qualified governing board,” said Lower, of Cedar Lake. “It’s time to present it as an option to the voters and allow them to decide if they think it makes sense for the other three public universities as well.”VerHeulen said 12 of Michigan’s 15 public universities currently use the model they have proposed. The majority of other states also rely on a gubernatorial appointment process.“I had a chance to talk to the leadership at Grand Valley State University,” said VerHeulen, of Walker. “They indicated to me that the gubernatorial appointment route has worked very well. Governors of both parties have focused on the mission of the university when making the appointments, avoiding partisan politics that doesn’t necessarily advance the mission of the university.”Webber, of Rochester Hills, said he received similar feedback from Oakland University, located within his House district.“The governors of both political parties in the past have treated the appointments for these 12 university boards in a very professional manner,” Webber said. “This model works very well there, and it works in a lot of other states.”House Joint Resolution DD, introduced by Lower, would abolish the existing governing boards at MSU, U-M and Wayne State, as well as the state school board, on Dec. 31, 2018. On Jan. 1, 2019, the governor would appoint eight members to each board to serve staggered terms.The proposal would be placed on the statewide ballot for voter consideration if HJR DD is approved by two-thirds of both the House and Senate.House Bills 5515 and 5516, introduced by VerHeulen and Webber, update Michigan’s election law and campaign finance act to reflect changes made in HJR DD.The legislation remains under consideration by the House Elections and Ethics Committee.###
Categories: Kelly News,News 24Apr House approves school aid budget with record K-12 funding Per-student increase largest single-year boost in 15 years The Michigan House today approved the school aid budget, which state Rep. Tim Kelly said includes a record amount of funding for K-12 schools.Rep. Kelly, who serves as chair of the House Appropriations Committee on School Aid and was sponsor of House Bill 5579, said the budget for the next fiscal year provides opportunities for students considering college as well as those who want to enter the work force after graduation.“This budget proposes increasing funding by $120 to $240 for each K-12 student in the state,” Rep. Kelly said. “We also focused on career technical classes that prepare students for in-demand jobs when they graduate. We are making the education of our children and their future success a priority.”Also included in the budget is funding for early literacy and school safety.Highlights of the House plan include:Enhanced safety at K-12 schools and college campuses, including provisions to raise standards for handling sexual assault complaints at universities and dramatically increased expansion of the state’s OK2SAY school safety program.Approximately $100 million for career and talent development, including the Marshall Plan for Talent, in the state’s K-12 budget alone.More than a quarter of the House’s overall budget proposal goes to schools. School funding would increase to $14.8 billion, a new record for K-12 investment. Funding for community colleges and universities also would increase through the House plan.Programs for financially and academically at-risk students would receive nearly $500 million, focused on programs to help improve reading and math.Early literacy education, including the Great Start Readiness Program, would receive more than $260 million, providing added instructional time and coaching to help improve K-3 students’ reading.The bill now goes to the Senate for consideration.#####
Legislator: There will be no paddle watercraft fees in MichiganState Rep. Daire Rendon today voted in support of a resolution opposing the Michigan State Waterways Commission’s proposed “kayak tax,” which would require all kayaks, canoes and paddle boards to be registered with the state.Rendon said people should not be penalized for supporting the state’s tourism industry, especially considering participation in paddle sports increases at a rate of 7 percent each year in Michigan.“Like many Northern Michigan residents, I’m passionate about enjoying the great outdoors and spending time on the water,” said Rendon, of Lake City. “This resolution sends a message to the Waterways Commission that we will not pursue a tax on good, clean fun.”The House approved the resolutions with overwhelming, bipartisan support.### Tags: Kayak Tax, Tourism Categories: Daire Rendon News 08May Rendon supports measure opposing ‘kayak tax’
Proposal improves funding distribution formulaState Rep. Jeff Yaroch continued his fight to bring Macomb County more money to repair roads with a proposal introduced last week in the Michigan House.Yaroch’s plan provides a more equitable distribution of road repair money by putting more emphasis on the number of lanes roadways have — rather than just their length. A three-lane road would receive substantially more money for repairs than a two-lane road of equal length, for example, helping direct more resources to Macomb County and other areas with the most heavily traveled roads.“The concern I hear about most often from Macomb County residents is the terrible condition of our roads,” said Yaroch, of Richmond. “There are solutions on the table to fix them faster – and this proposal is a good place to start.“It’s common sense that it takes more money to pave a three-lane road than a two-lane road, and this proposal simply reflects that common sense. This plan will provide a long overdue fix to our road funding formula and get more money to the places that need repairs most – including Macomb County.”Macomb County cosponsors include state Reps. Nate Shannon, Steve Marino, Bill Sowerby, Kevin Hertel, John Chirkun, Diana Farrington, and Douglas Wozniak.House Bill 4062 has been referred to the House Transportation Committee.Yaroch, in his second House term, has made several other proposals to direct more road repair money to Macomb County – an area that is consistently shortchanged by the state’s current distribution formula.Yaroch has advocated for allowing townships to receive road repair money directly from the state. He also proposed accelerating the 2015 road plan so that more of the state income tax would go to roads.### Categories: News,Yaroch News 24Jan Rep. Yaroch continues fight to help Macomb County repair roads
State Rep. Beau LaFave, of Iron Mountain, and State Rep. Greg Markkanen, of Hancock, today announced that a plan to support the mining industry has cleared a major hurdle.The plan, House Bill 4227, establishes a commission to help increase mining opportunities in Michigan. The legislation is a product of the Upper Peninsula’s state representatives working together to bring policies that work for the region’s economy and residents.“Our core mining industry has been hampered by a lack of coordination among stakeholders, regulators and communities, and I look forward to the implementation of a committee to put an end to those roadblocks,” Markkanen said. “This advisory committee would help us bridge the gap and bring more quality jobs to our communities.”LaFave noted that this plan next goes to the Senate for approval before it reaches the governor’s desk.“Through bipartisan cooperation, we have an opportunity to grow this important industry right here in Michigan. Mining is both part of our Upper Peninsula history and crucial for making our modern lifestyle possible,” LaFave said. “From the raw materials for infrastructure projects to the minerals needed to build computers and cell phones, we count on mines for these resources. This advisory committee is intended to bolster this important industry, protect our natural resources and keep our workers and communities safe.”The proposal would create a two-year, fifteen-member advisory committee charged with developing recommendations to:Evaluate government policies that affect the mining and minerals industries.Develop public policy strategies to enhance the growth of the mining industry.Advise and bolster partnerships between industry, institutions, funding groups, environmental groups and state and federal agencies.The plan was approved overwhelmingly by the House, 107-1, and next moves to the Senate for consideration. Categories: LaFave News 21May Plan to support Michigan’s mining industry clears House
ShareTweet6ShareEmail6 SharesACLU-TN.April 17, 2019; The Root and New York TimesWhile many people have been paying attention to Georgia, where voter suppression tactics employed by now-Governor Brian Kemp nullified tens of thousands of votes from Black citizens, Tennessee has been formulating its own not-so-subtle plan to maintain a white, conservative grip on political power.The main gist of the plan is a bill that would essentially criminalize voter registration drives. State Representative Tim Rudd introduced House Bill 1079, which passed last week, and state Senator Ed Jackson introduced its companion, Senate Bill 0971, which hasn’t come up for a vote. In the name of “election integrity,” Tre Hargett, Tennessee’s secretary of state, in an op-ed penned last month in the Tennessean, identifies the main objectives of the bill:Requiring supplemental voter registration drives of 100 people or more to be conducted only by a person trained on how to properly complete applications and protect confidential information;Prohibiting organizations from paying individuals based on the number of voter registration forms submitted to the organization;Requiring applications collected by designated people or organizations to be filed in a timely manner, within 10 days of receiving the voter registration;Permitting the State Election Commission to assess a civil penalty to people or organizations that submit large numbers of deficient forms.As Jay Connor of The Root asks, “Jim Crow, anyone?”Connor’s reference to the Jim Crow era, when unreasonable requirements were imposed upon citizens of color to effectively ban them from voting, is apt. More broadly, efforts to “professionalize” democratic participation—to use language implying that one is only trying to improve it, to correct errors, to adhere to existing “norms”—is a strategy often used to box out grassroots movement activity.Tequila Johnson, co-founder of Equity Alliance, noted that the bill “discourages people from volunteering in the Volunteer State.” “We will get you out,” Johnson told Rep. Micah Van Huss, threatening those who voted in favor of the legislation with retribution. “We will come for your seats.”Tennessee has indeed begun to see low-income voters and communities of color mobilize. In the 2018 midterm elections, Equity Alliance and Tennessee Black Voter Project registered 90,000 new voters of color. (There’s lots of room for improvement: Tennessee ranks 40th in voter registration and 45th in voter turnout.) Cliff Albright, co-founder of the Black Votes Matter Fund, wrote in the New York Times,These Republican lawmakers, led by Secretary of State Tre Hargett, fear the results of an expanding black electorate: victories for Democratic and progressive candidates. In Shelby County, for example, a blue wave flipped key positions like county mayor and sheriff and control of the county commission in August 2018. In Nashville, voters approved an important ballot initiative establishing a community oversight board for police accountability.One of those newly elected officials is London Lamar, the youngest Black woman in the Tennessee house; she’s only 28. Like other young women who were elected in 2018, she is out of patience with incremental change when people’s lives are at stake. She told Anne Branigin,I’m from a community that has been systematically disenfranchised for centuries. This is centuries of trying to push the needle forward in a state that still loves its Confederacy, even though it was built on the principles of keeping slavery, free labor, oppression.I think we can do better.That attitude, and the support it’s been met with by many Tennessee voters, doesn’t sit well with some of Lamar’s fellow legislators. Rudd’s bill passed the state house chamber 71–26. However, it also drew the largest crowd of protestors this year to the state capital. It seems no one is fooled by the talk of “protecting the process”; advocates like the Equity Alliance have successfully communicated the bill’s true intent (and mounted a campaign to challenge it).The campaign has broad support from civil rights groups. The Lawyers’ Committee for Civil Rights Under Law published a letter from a coalition of state and national groups, including the Tennessee chapter of the NAACP and the League of Women Voters, condemning the bill and urging the legislature to reject it. The Campaign Legal Center published a longer letter explaining how the bill infringes up on First Amendment rights and pointing out that a similar effort in Florida was overturned in 2012 for exactly those reasons.Voters of color are no stranger to efforts that would deprive them of their basic rights. These efforts are buttressed by narratives that normalize white supremacy in the guise of allegedly neutral legal niceties. The blatancy of Tennessee lawmakers’ latest effort demonstrates the power these narratives have and the sustained effort needed to dismantle them.—Erin RubinShareTweet6ShareEmail6 Shares
France’s competition commission has opened a detailed examination of the 2006 merger of DTH operators TPS and CanalSatellite.Last year the Autorité de la Concurrence reversed its authorisation of the merger on the grounds that Canal Plus had failed to respect commitments it had made at the time.“As part of the file review, and following an initial consultation of market participants, the Authority considers that the transaction raises serious doubts of barriers to competition and requires the opening of a detailed examination phase,” the Autorité de la Concurrence said in a statement.An initial investigation to the merger found that competition surrounding the acquisition of rights to broadcast on pay TV platforms and the marketing of channels had changed considerably. The Autorité de la Concurrence said the next stage of the review into the merger would see it consult with regulators the CSA and ARCEP.The investigation is expected to last up to 65 days.
Sports broadcaster Eurosport’s Eurosport.com attracted almost 5.6 million daily visitors during the Olympic Games.Of those, 1.2 million came from mobile devices. The online and mobile global audience was 36% higher than its yearly average.With 6.5 million visitors on August 3, Eurosport.com achieved its best ever digital performance, while the English and Spanish markets broke their individual historical records on the web during the Games. The broadcaster said athletics, swimming and tennis were the most followed sports on Eurosport.com. According to the broadcaster, over 3.5 million visitors were driven to its online network via Facebook social readers throughout the 16 days of competition.Between July 28 and August 12, a total of 106 million different TV viewers watched the Olympics on Eurosport.
A new TV channel will broadcast niche sports that featured in the 2012 Olympic Games when it launches later this year.Legacy London, a 24-hour channel, will begin airing on BSkyB’s pay TV platform in November and is looking for wider distribution. Produced by Highflyer, the production company behind commercial broadcaster Channel 4’s horse racing coverage, the channel will deliver coverage of 24 sports including athletics, judo, gymnastics, fencing and wrestling.John Fairley, chairman of Highflyer, said “The amount of athletics on the main channels has been very small, especially when you think of all the disciplines within the athletics, but the Games has changed all that.”
Scandinavian VOD site Voddler is going global with a revamped service and new focus on legal content sharing with friends. The new-look Voddler revolves around two new services – LiveShelf and ViewShare. These allow viewers to assemble a cloud-based ‘shelf’ of content that they can access from any device and share with up to 10friends.In an extension of its core VOD service roots, Voddler will charge a €5 per-month for users to be able to watch shared content from their friends. It will also support cloud access for uploaded, ripped DVDs and content downloaded legally from other sites, as it searches for new revenues in an increasingly crowded VOD space.The majority of the VOD content that it supplied previously will still be available to buy and the firm is in talks with all the major content operators to offer more titles – which can be purchased on top of the ViewShare fee.Currently Voddler has deals with three of the six Hollywood majors – Disney, Warner and Universal – and is in talks with up to 50 more content providers, it claimed, ranging from indies, broadcasters and studios.Speaking at a launch event in London, Voddler CEO Marcus Bäcklund said that the new Voddler is currently available in its existing five markets – the four Scandinavian countries and Sweden – and will roll out to the rest of Europe, including Russia, this week. It will launch in North and South America, Asia and Oceania in the coming weeks.The revamp follows Netflix’s Nordic launch last year and the rollout of HBO Go in the region. However, Bäcklund said this was not the reason for the new service launch.“We took this decision before it [the market] was so crowded. We were almost alone, we had a big market share, we had all these deals with studios, but still it was almost impossible to make a profit. So obviously at that point we thought about how could we build this service layer on top of our technology?” Bäcklund told DTVE.Voddler’s LiveShelf service is powered by its VoddlerNet proprietary P2P-based streaming solution. The Voddler store currently has some 2,000 titles, but Bäcklund said it aims to ultimately fill its LiveShelf cloud with “every movie” on the web, using ViewShare as a legal alternative to peer-to-peer filesharing.“Look at the size of a Pirate Bay cloud, it’s massive. I don’t want to be less. I want to fill this cloud,” he said. He added that the studios, which take a cut of the ViewShare fee have also been behind the scheme, as it effectively re-monetises purchased content.Voddler was initially founded in 2006 and has taken €24 million in funding to date from investors including Cipio Partners and Nokia Growth Partners.
Production and distribution group Endemol has invested in Plumbee, the sports technology firm that run the Mirrorball Slots Facebook game.Endemol is seeking to invest in digital services and recently launched a new multimillion Euro global venture to create a network of connected digital channels.The Plumbee investment involves Endemol ploughing in US$13 million (€9.43 million) into Plumbee in an agreement that values the gaming firm at US$40 million.Plumbee will now develop new social games using Endemol’s TV show brands. The company launched in late 2011 with an injection of cash from Idinvest, which also took part in this funding round and remains an investor in the firm.Mirrorball Slots is one of the highest grossing games on Facebook and Plumbee also runs the Bonza Slots and Bonza Casino services.Social casino games are initially free, with users then encouraged to purchase credits for additional features and upgrades.Lucas Church, chair of Endemol’s Group Commercial Board, comments: “Social casino gaming is a fast emerging market and Plumbee is one of the most innovative and dynamic operators in this space. This new partnership will allow us to accelerate the growth of Endemol’s digital gaming business around the world, whilst capturing more of the value created by our entertainment brands.”
Tata Communications has partnered with Kaltura to combine Tata’s content delivery network (CDN) with Kaltura’s open source online video platform.The pair said that the integrated offering will enable media companies, enterprises and educational institutions to manage the entire video process, from acquisition to delivery, through a single interface.“The single application interface allows content owners to focus more on creating quality content for both on-demand and live delivery and less on media workflow and distribution. By joining with Kaltura, we are making executing online video strategy easier than ever,” said Genius Wong, senior vice president of global network services at Tata Communications.
Yuliana SlashchevaProposed amendments to Russian media law, which would block foreign investors owning more than 20% of Russian media firms, passed their second and third readings in State Duma on Friday.The lower house of the Russian parliament passed the amendments by a reported vote of 430 to two, without debate. They will now pass to a reading in the upper house – the Federation Council – and, if approved, will be signed off by the President.The laws will apply to both existing and future foreign ownership interests in Russian firms and, if passed, will come into force on January 1, 2016. Companies will then have until January 2017 to fall in line with the regulations.“While we do not currently expect this law to adversely affect our operating business, it does have substantial implications for our corporate structure and stockholders,” said Yuliana Slashcheva, CEO of Russia’s CTC Media.“We are therefore, together with our advisors, analysing the potential outcomes of the implementation of this legislation, and considering all actions that we and our stockholders may take in order to comply with it and to protect stockholders’ interests.”CTC Media is currently 38% owned by Modern Times Group, a Swedish listed company, and 25% owned by Telcrest Investments Limited, a Cypriot private limited company. The rest of the business is owned by a number of public stockholders, including US and European investors.