Lou Brancaccio is The Columbian’s editor. It’s not quite “Waterworld” or “Wayne’s World,” but it is quite a hoot.It is (dramatic pause required here) Mielke’s World!If you lived in it (and we do), you’d mostly be scratching your head. You’d also be hiding in your closet hoping the storm would eventually blow itself out. So far, no such luck.And if you think I’m kidding, well, apparently you didn’t watch the latest county council meeting.Mielke, of course, is County Councilor Tom Mielke. He’s better known as the back half of the M&M boys, the other piece of the franchise being County Councilor David Madore.Together, the M&M boys have created messes of biblical proportions in our lovely Clark County. So much so that voters sent both of them to the woodshed, gutting their powers by passing a home rule charter.But Mielke — being Mielke — never got the memo. He just bungles along hoping if he spits enough words out, eventually they will fall together to form a complete sentence.His latest misadventure was his proposal to get “In God We Trust” plastered on a wall in the county’s meeting room.
The publisher said it entered into a forbearance agreement with lenders last week that prevents any potential bankruptcy filing until February 4. In a separate statement, AMI said it will increase Country Weekly’s frequency from 26 to 52 times per year. The change will be effective with the March 2 issue.Concurrently, the publisher is lowering the magazine’s cover price from $3.49 to $2.49. As part of its quarterly financial report, American Media Inc. said it is has again extended its loan payment, which was originally due September 25, until January 26. The payment was previously extended until January 15.AMI reported net income for the two fiscal quarters ended September 30 was $1.01 million up from a $17.8 million loss during the same period in 2007. Operating revenue was $247.6 million, down from $253 million during the same period the prior year.AMI said it agreed with bondholders to offer up to $21 million of its 9 percent senior payment in kind (PIK) notes which are set to mature in 2013, combined with $300 million of its 14 percent senior subordinated notes also due in 2013 and 5.7 million shares of stock. AMI carries approximately $570 million in senior subordinated debt.
Apple Event Crutchfield HBO Disney Amazon Hulu Netflix Apple 43 It’s showtime for Apple’s streaming service Now playing: Watch this: Aug 26 • Every Apple TV Plus show announced so far Now playing: Watch this: Apple teases its original shows in new trailer While Apple will have you believe it’s breaking new ground, the truth is it’s just one of myriad players going after cord-cutters. There are a host of services including HBO, Hulu and YouTube all going after subscription dollars, while another highly anticipated option from Disney, which will tie together kids programming, Star Wars and Marvel content, will launch this year. Apple’s option to bundle different subscriptions like HBO and Starz through its Apple TV Channel app, meanwhile, looks a lot like the Amazon Prime Video Channels program offered to Prime subscribers. One advantage that Apple seems to be pushing: a focus on privacy and a safe space away from advertisers. If there’s one theme the company hit time and time again, it’s that these services would respect your personal information. It’s tough to discount Apple entirely. After all, Apple Music came out of nowhere to capture the No. 2 spot behind Spotify. Then there are the myriad of hit products, from the game-changing iPhone to the iPod and MacBook Air. The company is hoping history repeats itself with video. But without a price yet (the service launches in the fall in more than 100 countries), it’s still unclear what the demand will be. “Apple’s advantage is certainly that they have such large resources — they showcased today that they can line up big Hollywood stars to make this happen,” said Gartner analyst Annette Zimmerman. “And maybe even more important — they gave a hint towards the themes they want to address with their own shows/movies, not light and easy topics but rather societal issues that not only the US-based users can relate to.” Apple waited until the end to show off its lineup of celebrities and projects for its Apple TV Plus. Apple Between Oprah Winfrey, Steven Spielberg, J.J. Abrams and Sofia Coppola, Apple showed off a star-studded lineup for its newly unveiled Apple TV Plus service. Consistent with the Apple way of building up its products and services, the superlatives poured forth from CEO Tim Cook. “It’s unlike anything that’s been done before,” he said at an event on Monday at the company’s Cupertino, California, headquarters’ Steve Jobs Theater. Given the talent signed on to Apple, you might be under the impression that this is a groundbreaking, must-have service. After all, who are we to question Oprah? See It Best Buy Apple Event Aug 29 • New iPhones, Apple Watch and more: Apple’s September event preview $179 Oprah joins the Apple family with two new documentaries Mentioned Above Apple TV 4K (32GB) 2:45 Comments Tags See All Killer app: Privacy While celebrities lined up to sing Apple TV Plus’s praises, we saw little footage from the individual projects aside from a sizzle reel at the end. For now, it’s not enough to get people excited about the prospect of spending more money, despite the star power. One recurrent theme at the event was Apple’s focus on privacy. The company noted that article recommendations from Apple News Plus would happen on device, so the company won’t know what you like to read. Another perk for the News service: Advertisers won’t track you. Cook calls the App Store, “A safe and trusted place for users to discover and download apps.” Apple has spent the last few years talking up the privacy aspects of its products and services but ramped up its focus in the last few months as other tech titans have fumbled with how they’ve handled the personal information of their users. Stumbles by Google and Facebook have raised questions about how seriously the tech world considers our information. It’s a nice story for Apple to present. But time will tell if its fans tune in for the exclusive stories on its TV service. For now, competitors like Netflix aren’t sweating too much — even with Apple’s storied history of success. Originally published March 25, 11:54 a.m. PT. Update, 2:25 p.m. PT: Adds analyst comments. Update, March 26 at 4 a.m. PT: Adds additional background. 3:03 Aug 30 • iPhone 11, 11 Pro, 11R and 11 Max: Price, specs and features we expect on Sept. 10 1:36 Review • Apple TV 4K review: The best TV streamer keeps getting better See It $179 But if you wanted to get HBO with your Hulu, you need to sign up for its cablelike live-TV service known as Hulu + Live TV, which starts at $45 monthly and then requires an additional $15 a month for the premium network. And then there are things like AMC Premiere. The Walking Dead’s network offers fans the option to pay an extra $5 a month to stream its shows without any of its ads and watch certain shows two days before they air, but you need to already be paying for AMC through a typical pay-TV provider. That headache-inducing complexity of navigating online video subscriptions could play in Apple’s favor, at least in the US. The company is touting Apple TV as a simplified hub for streaming services and cable channels. Big spenders Apple was long reported to have kicked off its original programming mission with a $1 billion budget, but the company has flown past that. BTIG analyst Rich Greenfield estimated Apple’s budget has swelled to $2 billion a year. While that seems big, especially for a gadget giant with barely any background in programming, it pales in comparison with Netflix. The streaming company, operating the world’s biggest subscription video service by members, spent $12 billion on content last year. That budget could surpass $15 billion this year, according to BMO Capital Markets analyst Daniel Salmon. But Netflix’s big spending is unprecedented for a company that doesn’t touch live sports. Netflix’s head of content, Ted Sarandos, once said the company was trying to become HBO before HBO could become Netflix. Purely based on budget, Netflix passed that point long ago. Research firm Kagan estimated that HBO spent $2.5 billion in 2017, compared with the $6 billion Netflix spent then. (HBO’s spending is sure to rise in 2019: John Stankey, the new head the unit that oversees the premium channel, said one of AT&T’s plans as HBO’s new parent company would be to boost the network’s programming budget.) Even Amazon was expected to spend $5 billion in video content last year, according to JPMorgan’s Doug Anmuth. But Apple’s legendary track record with products may not automatically equate to success elsewhere. For one, Hollywood is a tough business and one that Apple has little experience in. Spending an estimated $2 billion on A-list talent garners a whole lot of buzz, but it’s no guarantee of success. Its first forays into original programming — Carpool Karaoke and Planet of the Apps — flopped. (Note: Carpool Karaoke originally emerged out of the The Late Late Show on CBS, the parent company of CNET.) So Apple TV Plus represents the biggest test of whether its loyal fanbase will hoover up all of its services like it lines up at its stores for the latest iPhone. The company’s focus on services, which include newly unveiled Apple News Plus and Apple Arcade, as well as a revamp of its Apple TV app, comes as the company attempts to transform itself into a company that’s less reliant on the iPhone, which provides two-thirds of its revenue. There are 1.4 billion Apple devices out there, an ideal platform for its services business, which in the December quarter jumped 19 percent to a record $10.9 billion. CNET may get a commission from retail offers. Apple TV 4K Now playing: Watch this: Share your voice 97 Photos More from the Apple event What will it cost? Want to stir up some internet rage? Announce a price hike to a beloved streaming service. Netflix found that out the hard way once after dropping a sudden 60 percent hike on customers, driving away members in droves. Since then, Netflix has become an expert at tapping its prices gently higher every couple of years. It announced its latest price increase earlier this year. In the US, Netflix’s plans range between $9 and $16. Its cheapest plan received the first bump in almost eight years. For now, Apple remains mum on the pricing for Apple TV Plus. The company has a history of pricing its hardware at a premium, but its Apple Music service, at $10 a month, is in line with Spotify. Peter Stern, Apple’s vice president of services, talks about the different services on Apple TV. Screenshot by Stephen Shankland/CNET The other side of the streaming video coin is Apple TV Channels, which bundles different services like HBO and Starz with livestreaming TV services like DirecTV Now and PlayStation Vue. Cable and satellite companies like Charter and DirecTV will integrate their services into Apple TV, while Optimum and Altice will join later this year. Having a hub for all of your shows makes a lot of sense. Consulting firm PwC notes that consumers increasingly want a single source for programming. But Apple hasn’t talked about pricing for the channels, although you can look elsewhere for clues. HBO as an Amazon Channel, for example, costs $15 a month for people who already subscribe to the $119-a-year Amazon Prime service, the same price you’d pay if you signed up directly for HBO Now. Starz costs $9 a month — again, the same price as for an online customer. But the more you look at competitive pricing, the more confusing it can be. Hulu, for example, would compete with Apple by offering both video-on-demand for exclusive originals as well as its giant library of programs from giant networks like NBC, ABC, Fox, FX, Bravo and others. That starts at just $6 a month with ads or $12 a month if you want to pay to strip them out. Aug 30 • Apple will launch iPhone 11 on Sept. 10 in Cupertino $179 TV and Movies Digital Media • See It Apple Everything Apple announced Apple TV Channels streaming service is here, wants to run the show All the Apple TV shows and series announced Apple introduces new Apple Card, a virtual credit card See all our Apple event coverage Kumail Nanjiani talks up new show, Little America reading • Apple TV Plus is the ultimate test of Apple’s brand magic $169 See it Preview • Apple TV 4K: New $179 Apple streamer adds HDR, better gaming
Sales of multi-million dollar homes have surged across the US as wealthy investors hope on cashing in on the bullish upscale property market of the country.Sales of luxury homes priced at a million or more were up 9% nationwide and those priced above $5 million were up 18%, according to property firm Redfin’s latest data. However, sales fell 1% overall.Prices in the luxury property market have also been competitive as inventory gets tighter due to high demand. For the third quarter of 2014, inventory of homes priced above a million dollars was down 13% and of those priced at $5 million and more was down 47%.Luxury properties are selling like hot cakes right now. A prior report cited by The Wall Street Journal found that homes priced above $30 million spent lesser time on the market, selling 30% faster than their average-priced counterparts. The luxury real-estate market was perhaps the fastest to rebound from the 2008 housing market crash.Experts attribute the robust growth in the segment to wealthy investors and their choices.”It’s the investor and the wealthy individual that’s keeping the market alive,” Mark Zandi, chief economist at Moody’s Analytics had told The New Zealand Herald in an interview earlier.”The wealthy buyers, in particular, are fully engaged now. The stock market is up and times are good for them,” he added.Moreover, banks are more willing to lend jumbo mortgages at the existing low rates and investors are rushing to take advantage of this attractive financing option. US banks approved more than 15,000 home loans in the price range of $1 million to $10 million in the second quarter of 2014 alone.”Many people are finding out by accident that they can often get a better rate on a $700,000 mortgage than a $400,000 mortgage. The opportunities for wealthier borrowers are now better than they’ve been in a decade as far as rates and terms,” Guy Cecala, publisher of Inside Mortgage Finance, told The Washington Post.While the US luxury market is showing no signs of a slowdown, the global upscale property segment is growing at a decelerating speed. According to Knight Frank’s latest luxury market report, prices in the World’s leading cities rose just 0.2% in the three months ended September improving just 4% on a year over year basis.Jakarta, Los Angeles and Tel Aviv topped the Knight Frank Prime Global Cities Index, Q3 2014 list.
Kaladze played for AC Milan between 2001 and 2010, helping the team to twice win the Champions League. AFPGeorgia announced Sunday that former AC Milan football star Kakha Kaladze had been elected mayor of its capital Tbilisi.The country’s election administration said on its website that Kaladze won 51 percent of the vote in Saturday’s municipal election.The 39-year-old played for AC Milan between 2001 and 2010, helping the team to twice win the Champions League. He previously played for Dynamo Kiev and Dinamo Tbilisi and also captained Georgia’s national side.He quit football in 2012 while playing for Genoa in order to devote himself to politics and campaign alongside billionaire tycoon Bidzina Ivanishvili to challenge then-president Mikheil Saakashvili.He became energy minister in October 2012 after Ivanishvili’s coalition scored a shock parliamentary election victory over Saakashvili’s party.In July this year, he resigned to run as mayor of the capital, a city of 1.2 million.In a personal tragedy, his brother was kidnapped in 2001 by abductors who demanded a ransom and took him to a gorge that was a notorious hideout for Chechen separatist rebels. His body was identified five years later.
Opinions expressed by Entrepreneur contributors are their own. How Success Happens Even in tough economic times, small businesses need to find new ideas, develop original products, and engineer fresh market approaches. These are the pillars of good business, and each is made from a mixture of creativity and expertise. While it may seem counterintuitive, it’s entirely possible to implement strategies that drive not only employee engagement, but also innovation and, ultimately, sales–all without enormous investment in systems or people.What can your company do to remain fresh, vibrant and alive–all without breaking the bank? Here are five ways:1. De-emphasize office spaceThe traditional office space, where cubicles, the hum of overhead lights, and group politics preside, is not usually the most conducive environment for harnessing the most creative ideas. Giving employees the opportunity to perform some or all of their work outside the office can break this routine and cultivate an innovative workforce.Often simply changing the physical working location to the café or tea house on the corner can produce a stream of new and valuable ideas. And many of these “third places” provide complimentary wireless internet access, have space for convening, and sell enough coffee to keep everyone alert. Writers and musicians know about the creative effects of a cafe’s stimulating and relaxing atmosphere–why not CEOs?2. Virtualize your workforceIn addition to being ineffective at times, the office space may be an unnecessary expense. The cost of maintaining an office space is usually the single largest line item when it comes to business overhead. Many small businesses have eliminated the expense by ceasing to rent office space and setting up virtually. Transforming your business into a virtual operation creates the new opportunity to hire and retain talented people from outside of your geographic area and frees up funds to be invested elsewhere.Keep in mind, though, that while there are many benefits to virtualizing a company, the reduction in face time also necessitates a change in management style. Much greater focus is needed on project expectations and deadlines, as well as clear and consistent communication.3. Leverage collaboration applicationsAt the beginning and end of the day, your business is about people–the clients you serve and the staff that you employ. Connecting these people in the right way is essential to creating and running a great company, and collaboration applications are excellent tools with which to accomplish this goal.Collaboration applications create new avenues of communication that effectively improve team cohesion and break down the invisible barriers within a company. Intelligent implementation can turn a stagnant, sluggish company into one composed of engaged employees, who contribute more of their “discretionary time” toward the success of the company.One excellent collaboration application is GoogleDocs, which creates an online conference table where ideas can be put forward, discussed and implemented. Every document created within the application is saved, so it can be opened and edited wherever there is an internet connection. Novice computer users will find GoogleDocs easy to learn and intuitive to operate. Likewise, instant messaging programs such as Skype or MSN Messenger enable fast communication through chat groups formed around departments or projects.CPS Creative, a website design company, is a great model for its implementation of collaboration software. The company, which is almost entirely virtual, requires all employees to use the same instant messaging program and be online at designated times. All of the employees assigned to a specific project join the same chat group. Also, at the beginning and end of each work day, all employees check in with their colleagues in order to let them know they have arrived and left.4. Invest in the skills of current employeesOn a regular basis, companies face a host of small but necessary tasks that must be accomplished, like creating a Flash graphic for the website, writing a marketing brochure, or drafting a press release. Yet smaller companies cannot afford a dedicated IT department, marketing staff or public affairs coordinator, despite the fact that many of these tasks, like maintaining a functioning and well-designed website, are essential to attracting new business and transitioning from a struggling start-up to a vibrant and growing company.Hiring new employees with the necessary skills is not the only solution; invest in the skill development of your current workforce. Your staff most likely either has the requisite capabilities to accomplish these projects or can quickly acquire them. The additional skills will undoubtedly be very marketable, which satisfies your employees while providing for the needs of the company.One resource to help accomplish this is the website Lynda.com, which provides online training in professional-grade applications like Adobe Dreamweaver and Illustrator–the required tools to build quality websites and produce stunning marketing materials.5. Build cross-functional teamsFinally, one of the greatest methods for producing innovation in a company is to solicit contributions from the entire workforce. Taking your employees, who are the most knowledgeable experts on the company, and gathering them around a conference table will help your company develop innovative solutions with little investment.CPS Creative once encouraged a non-technical member of their staff to try his hand at Flash design, something that he had never done before. After seeing his immediate aptitude for it, the company merged the product developed by the original Flash expert with the staff member’s design, creating a better product in the end.Regardless of the condition of the economy, companies should always looking toward expansion. Growing while revenue is stagnant is a difficult, but not impossible, task. Consider these five ideas: shifting the workplace away from the office, virtualizing the workforce, using collaboration applications, investing in new skills acquisition, and tapping into the talents of existing employees. All of these strategies are inexpensive and cultivate the essential ingredients of successful small (and someday large) businesses everywhere–workforce engagement, innovation and, ultimately, sales.Jennifer Brown is a well-regarded speaker and consultant on the future of the workplace, workforce diversity, and the development of new leadership competencies for a new global environment. Brown and her team have coached hundreds of executives and managers worldwide on critical issues of flexible team strategies, harnessing the energy of the workforce, and creative ways to empower current and future leaders. Listen Now 6 min read Hear from Polar Explorers, ultra marathoners, authors, artists and a range of other unique personalities to better understand the traits that make excellence possible. December 23, 2009
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