September 2, 2003CENTURY PLANT: This cluster of Century Plants [Agave Americanan] grows behind the Ceramics Apse. One of the plants has begun to grow its flower stalk. This first photo was taken on 5/1 of this year. [Photo & text: sa] >>left>> There is a remarkable difference in size on 5/6. >>right>> This photo was taken on 5/12. [Photo & text: sa] >>left>> 5/22 We did not measure the size but the push of this plants effort is amazing. >>right>> On 5/28 little branches have sprouted at the top portion of the stalk. [Photo & text: sa] >>left>> On 6/9 buds have grown on the branches and >>right>> on 6/27 the beautiful flowers are visited by busy bees. [Photo & text: sa] The stalk of this plant turns into a very light, hollow wood, with solid branches and large seedpods on those branches. It has been observed that this kind of stalk can be used for a version of the aborigin instrument digereedoo. This report will continue. [Photo & text: sa]
Russian service provider MTS has now launched digital TV services in 150 Russian cities, increasing the number of channels in the TV packages it provides by 60%, the company has announced.MTS said it would complete the creation of unified offerings across all the regions, including cable TV, mobile TV, video-on-demand and other interactive service, soon.MTS plans to complete digitisation of its services by 2014. The company currently has about three million pay TV subscribers.
Vittorio ColaoMobile operator Vodafone announced plans to introduce TV services and residential broadband in the UK next year.Discussing the move yesterday, Vodafone said that it would use its fixed line assets acquired through its 2012 takeover of Cable & Wireless, in a move that will see it take on the likes of UK incumbent BT and mobile rival EE, which is also due to launch a TV offering.Speaking on Vodafone’s Q2 earnings call, Vodafone’s regional CEO for Europe Philipp Humm said that with the currently dormant Cable & Wireless network, Vodafone has more than 500 exchanges that deliver a “VDSL-like speed,” covering “a little bit more than 50% of the homes here in the UK.”Asked about the specifics of Vodafone’s TV plans Humm said: “We would not definitely comment on giving out set-top boxes like EE does at this point in time. We’ll have to see what we do once we have then the things ready and launched.”Vodafone already offers TV in five markets – Germany, Portugal, New Zealand Spain and the Netherlands – and now claims 9.6 million multi-screen, multi-platformTV customers across fibre, mobile and IPTV.“We have a wide, wide range of content agreements, distribution content agreements with the usual suspects and the usual big brands. So we think we have a very solid competence that we can deploy further in this area but please don’t ask me today if I’m going to bid for football rights because that’s not the priority for the time being,” said Vodafone CEO Vittorio Colao.Speaking on Vodafone’s earnings call, Colao said that 4G technology is accelerating data growth and that one fifth of its mobile data in Europe is now from its 4G network.Alongside this, he said that “content is clearly important,” with Vodafone bundling Netflix with its offering in four markets.“Video and audio today is 40% of the total traffic. Video is increasing almost 90% in Europe,” said Colao, citing YouTube and Facebook as helping to drive this growth.
Industry groups, analysts, media specialist and advocacy groups have been quick to react to yesterday’s Green Paper, which outlined options for the future of the BBC.The government and senior BBC managers have just thrashed out a deal for the licence fee, agreeing to peg it to inflation. The Green Paper, however, suggested the government will examine various options for funding the BBC including a subscription model.The future of BBC Worldwide is also being debated, with one option that it is spun off from the BBC and run as a private company.Other areas to be considered include the overall purpose of the BBC, what content it should provide, and how it should be regulated.A fierce debate is now raging in the UK about the future of the BBC, the world’s largest public broadcaster. The corporation issued a strongly worded response to the Green Paper and, calling for greater public involvement in the debate, said the paper heralds a ‘much diminished’ BBC.“We believe that this Green Paper would appear to herald a much diminished, less popular BBC. That would be bad for Britain and would not be the BBC that the public has known and loved for over 90 years.”It added: “It is important that we hear what the public want. It should be for the public to decide whether programmes like Strictly or Bake Off, or stations like Radio One or Two, should continue.“As the director-general said on Tuesday, the BBC is not owned by its staff or by politicians, it is owned by the public. They are our shareholders. They pay the licence fee. Their voice should be heard the loudest.”Pact, the UK industry group for indie producers, said it was keen that quotas and terms of trade remain in place to ensure its members have fair access to commissioning spend. In the same week that BBC boss Tony Hall (pictured) called on BBC Worldwide to return £1 billion to the corporation over the next five years, Pact added that the review of the BBC’s activities should also take into account the international activities of the corporation.Pact said: “The focus should rightly be not only on the BBC’s scope and purposes for UK licence fee payers but should also properly consider the BBC’s global ambitions and if they serve the interests of the British public or not.The industry group added: “Pact is a committed supporter of the licence fee – which has formed an integral part of the UK’s successful broadcasting ecology – but has reservations on how the money is spent.”Kids media advocacy group the Children’s Media Foundation also weighed into the debate.“With no significant competitors to the BBC in the creation of UK content, any changes to the structure and funding of the Corporation will have fundamental impact on the provision of UK content for UK kids – much more so than any other genre of programming,” the CMF noted. “With that in mind, the CMF welcomes the Green Paper’s recognition of the CMF’s proposal that contestable funding could help solve the problem of plurality in commissioning. However we remain concerned at the suggestion that this funding be taken from the licence fee, other sources should be investigated.”Much of the debate around the BBC’s programming has been focused on how much entertainment content it should be producing.Diane Coyle, former deputy chair of the BBC Trust, which governs the activities of the BBC, told UK newspaper the Guardian.“People do care about programmes. If [culture secretary] Whittingdale is going to have a narrowly focused BBC is it no to EastEnders and soaps but [high-end drama] The Village is OK? And who is going to choose?”The prospect of a scaled-back BBC would provide a boost to ITV, the largest commercial broadcaster in the UK, analysts said. “On a general level, a scaling back of the BBC’s scope would be positive for ITV both on the cost side (it would not face such an aggressive competitor for certain types of content) and audiences (if the BBC produces less popular programming, then that should benefit ITV’s audience share and, while that does not necessarily lead automatically into increased advertising revenues, it would make ITV’s pricing look more attractive to advertisers,” said Liberum analyst Ian Whittaker.Reaction from the commercial sector included input from social network Beamly. Juliette Otterburn-Hall, chief content officer, said: “Today’s audiences, particularly millennials, don’t watch video in the same way the BBC currently provides for. Now that viewing habits are changing, so too should content creation methods.“By pairing viewer data with social media sentiment and feedback, broadcasters can eliminate the guesswork involved with creating new content. Rather than trying to please everyone, it’s possible to identify an established audience for a new TV series before it’s even commissioned, saving both time and effort.”
The Italian government is attempting to boost DVB-T2 adoption with the introduction of a €50 subsidy.TheItalian Ministry of Economic Development (MISE) put this forward as a part of the 2019 Budget, with a total allocation of €151 million for the initiative. It is believed that the subsidy will be introduced as early as November 15, with confirmation expected following a 30-day period for public consultation. This subsidy could see as many as 3.02 million new homes benefit. The contribution is intended for the purchase of a single device by December 31, 2022, or until the allocation runs out. The discount will be applied by retailers both physically and online, with no possibility for a refund or rebate should the device cost less than €50. Discounts will be available on equipment equipped with a DVB-T2 HEVC tuner, according to ITU-T recommendation H.265. MISE will publish a full list of conforming devices on its website.The transition to DVB-T2 in Italy has not been smooth, with an initial roadmap approved last autumn being cancelled. That roadmap also included abandoning the MPEG 2 codec on January 1, 2020, but that has now been postponed to late 2021.