October 23, 2009 The Different Skies musicians gave a special performance to a group of students from the neighboring ORME School, as well as to a group of 50 students from the Facultad de Arquitectura y Diserto, Extension Ensenada, Universidad Autonoma de Baja California. The students from Ensenada visited Arcosanti for an extensive architectural tour and enjoyed the impromptu liveliness of the music. [photo: Anna Tran & text: hk] 2009 Different Skies participants: [back row from left] Ivan Schwartz, Allen Goodman, Brian Good, Bill Marx, Rus Foster, Jonathan Mills, John Rossi III, Giles Reaves and John Krikawa. [front row from left] Greg Hurley, Bill Fox, Kevin Haller, Mike Metlay, Otso Pakarinen and Tim Walters. The weeks practice sessions culminate into a public performance on Saturday, October 24. 2009. The evening event will start with a complimentary tour at 5 pm, followed by Dinner in the Cafe at 6 pm, and the Concert starts at 7:30 pm. For ticket information call 928 632-7135. [photo & text: hk]
Rob SalterVideo-on-demand aggregator Vubiquity is planning to launch a retail product that will allow consumers to buy digital content, initially movies, in high-street retail outlets in multiple markets.Vubiquity said it is discussion with multiple retailers in a number of different territories about the plan, which would mark its first move into the retail digital space.Vubiquity has hired Rob Salter, formerly CEO of home entertainment supply chain specialist Reverbz Media, to head up the new initiative as vice-president of retail. Vubiquity will use Reverbz to provide the physical supply chain for the service in the retail environment, while Vubiquity will provide digital content services, including content licensing, processing for multiplatform viewing, metadata management, and digital distribution.Vubiquity said the product would enable consumer to purchase digital movies in retail outlets, often weeks before they are available on DVD, Blu-ray or VoD.“We are delighted to have brought Rob to the Vubiquity team. Together we bring a wealth of retail and supply chain management experience giving the credibility to our customers to help shape and deliver these exciting new retail services. We will provide a range of fully integrated, end-to-end services that are very compelling for retailers, content owners and consumers alike,” said Nick Ruczaj, SVP Commercial EMEA at Vubiquity.“Vubiquity has the scale and resources to support the digital retail experience that the market has been calling for a response to for the last 12 months. We are excited to be moving into the delivery phase.”Salter said: “I am thrilled to be working with Vubiquity. We see an excellent opportunity to grow significant business in this channel. Retailers have driven the growth of home entertainment and the building of personal video collections since the first VHS tapes in the mid-1980s. We believe retailers will continue to be a key part of the future of selling video in the digital age. Vubiquity wants to support retailers’ ambitions to go on selling content to their customers in disc form, and also help them go beyond the disc into digital ownership and consumption.”
Sonja BruggerFox Networks Group (FNG) Europe and Africa has appointed Sky buyer Sonja Brugger as vice president of acquisitions across the regions.Brugger will be based in London and begin her new role in October.She will lead content strategy and acquisitions. The regional operations include Fox branded channel feeds and the new non-linear product, Fox+, which was launched in France, Norway, Sweden, Denmark, Finland and Greece.Brugger will join FNG Europe & Africa after nine years at paycaster Sky. She is currently VP of content strategy and acquisitions at Sky Germany.Diego Londono, COO at FNG Europe & Africa, said: “Sonja is a seasoned professional with over 20 years’ industry experience.“Her experience in both acquisition and content strategy, combined with her understanding of broadcaster and platform environments across basic pay, free-to-air and VOD will be hugely beneficial to our organisation as we continue to invest in must-have content and innovate in ways to make this content accessible.”UK culture, media and sport secretary of state Karen Bradley recently said she was minded to refer FNG parent 21st Century Fox’s proposed takeover of Sky to the country’s competition watchdog.
The restrictions on the viewing window for content available on the BBC iPlayer form a major barrier to the pubcaster meeting its remit of delivering a universal service as audiences turn to digital platforms, and regulator Ofcom’s approach runs the risk of “tying ourselves up in red tape and regulation at a time when media organisations need to be fast and agile”, according to BBC chairman Sir David Clementi.David ClementiSpeaking at the Oxford Media Convention yesterday, Clementi said that the BBC’s ‘meet the audience’ events, where members of the viewing public are given the chance to express their views on what the corporation is doing well or badly, had shown that people were increasingly expecting to be able to binge-watch complete series.“The BBC is not felt to be meeting this desire well, especially because of the perceived limitations in the viewing window for BBC iPlayer,” he said.“The lack of ability to watch series all in one go, the wait for episodes to be uploaded, and the relative speed at which episodes and series expire and are no longer available on iPlayer, all are felt to be particularly frustrating.”Clementi said that the pace of change, especially among younger viewers, was “remarkable”, with 16-34 year olds now spending more than half of their screen time each day watching non-broadcast TV.Clementi said that not being able to meet changing expectations because of out-of-date restrictons threatened the BBC’s mission to deliver a universal service.“The principle of universality is fundamental to the BBC’s public service remit, and always at the forefront of our thinking.We are acutely aware of our responsibility to ensure that the BBC not only continues to reach everyone with its public service mission, but also offers value to everyone,” he said.“And it is obvious that, increasingly, it’s through our online services that audiences will expect to receive more value for their licence fee. More and more, they will see BBC iPlayer as the front door to our content offer. And, in the on-demand world, it is clear that the 30-day viewing window, for example, offers less and less public value.”He said that the iPlayer service was no longer simply a catch-up offering but a destination in its own right, and that the BBC’s plans to make programmes available for 12 months or more, and to make series box-sets available for returning series were crucial to this.Clementi said that delays to the BBC’s planned changes to iPlayer as a result of regulator Ofcom’s decision to order a Public Interest Test, in the face of the BBC Board’s view that such changes did not constitute a material change, meant there was a “risk of lagging even further behind audience needs and expectations”.The BBC chairman said that it was important that UK public service broadcasters “are not disadvantaged against large global competitors”.He said that there was a danger of Ofcom taking “a narrow view of the market place” by focusing only on competition with other broadcasters and Sky’s Now TV rather than Netflix and Amazon. He said that those two companies now had a joint market share of 55% of the VOD market, while iPlayer’s share had fallen from 40% to 18% in four years.He said that Ofcom should only step in to intervene “where there is actual evidence of harm” rather than an “analysis of hypothetical competition risk”.Clementi said that the eight month time limit for Ofcom to consider changes the BBC makes also needed “to be looked at again”, given the pace of change in the market.“I urge the Government to take legislative action, and to take action to strengthen the PSBs as and when they get the chance,” he said.