LeBron To Be Named NBA MVP For Third Time

LBJ: Three times the MVP.It was when LeBron James was a kid that he developed the mindset of team.”I was always taught it’s team first,” James told the AP on Friday. ”My first time playing basketball, we went undefeated and won a championship and Frank Walker Sr. gave everyone on the team a MVP trophy. Right then and there, I knew that this is what I wanted to do. I wanted to see my teammates reap the benefits as well.”He has maintained that disposition, but his individual talent has been overwhelming, so much that he will for the third time be named the NBA’s most valuable player, putting him in rarefied air.Kareem Abdul-Jabbar won the MVP six times, Michael Jordan and Bill Russell five times each and Wilt Chamberlain four times. They are the only players with more than James. Larry Bird, Magic Johnson and Moses Malone also have been so honored three times.James likely will receive the trophy in Miami Sunday before Game 1 of the Miami Heat’s second-round playoff series against the Indiana Pacers.James said last week that while another MVP award ”would be amazing and would be humbling,” it’s not what drives him. In his ninth year in the NBA, he is determined to win a championship.”I think he’s probably as committed as he’s ever been in his career,” Heat coach Erik Spoelstra said this week, asked to summarize James’ season. ”And he’s always been committed. … We all respond to his energy on the court.”James averaged 27.1 points, 7.9 rebounds and 6.2 assists – making him only the fourth player with those totals in at least two different seasons, according to STATS LLC, joining Oscar Robertson (five times), John Havlicek (twice) and Bird (twice). read more

The New Print Gimmick

first_imgDavid Granger likens print innovations to the new squeezable ketchup bottle, what he calls “the greatest consumer product in the history of mankind.” That little twist on the American staple “allows people to access it in a simple and fulfilling way.” The use of print innovations have yet to become as widespread as the ketchup bottle, but the new technologies are breathing fresh air into a mature industry that is battling its own digital counterparts for survival.“In this era, when everyone’s excited about new media, we need to do everything we can to make older media as exciting as possible,” says Granger, Esquire’s editor-in-chief. The magazine’s latest print gimmick was its May 2009 issue where it featured a mix-n-match cover. The facial features of President Obama, George Clooney and Justin Timberlake became interchangeable thanks to a tri-perforated cover.It’s not just the digital era, but also the poor economy that has publishers looking for new ways to stay viable. “The growth of the Internet as consumers’ primary news and content-delivery method, in combination with the impact of the recession on the publishing industry, has created a marketing environment that requires inventive and customizable cover and insert creative that will resonate with the consumer,” says Scott Berry, senior vice president of sales for specialty printer Vertis Communications.Print Innovations, Past and Present Four years ago, Rolling Stone made news with its 3-D lenticular cover for its 1,000th issue. Late last year, The Hollywood Reporter also produced a 3-D cover featuring the movie “Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs” for its November 30th issue. Some other recent covers include Esquire’s October 2008 e-ink issue, where it embedded an electronic paper device in the cover—a first for the magazine industry. Another Hearst publication, House Beautiful, featured a pocket cover with a pull-out for its September 2009 issue. The cover line asked, “What colors does your house need?” and the pull-out provided a sampling of colors with personality descriptions and suggestions for use.Hearst Corp. seems to be embracing print innovations. The company’s 2009 annual report is a panoply of print gimmicks, including digital bar codes, pop-ups and magazines within magazines, produced by Sandy Alexander and Brown Printing Co. And for the past three years, the company has held “print expos” where it invites printers to set up display booths to showcase their cutting-edge capabilities in an internal tradeshow setting for Hearst’s publishers, editors and marketing people. In January, Michael Clinton, executive vice president, chief marketing officer and publishing director for Hearst Magazines, decided to open the doors to invite advertisers and agencies to the expo.That was a smart move considering that producing these special issues usually requires advertiser buy-in. One of the reasons specialty print issues aren’t more commonplace is because they are more costly to produce. Granger notes that it wasn’t until the economy started to head south that advertisers got interested in collaborating on some print innovations. “I have no budget for increased cost so I need an advertiser to do it with,” he says. “Frankly, there are costs that need to be shared. That’s why we haven’t done more; we have to find advertisers that get excited about doing something, as well as committing on the edit side.”It should be noted that some of the best print innovations these days are showcased by advertising inserts. Take the magazine insert for Ubisoft’s Assassin Creed II, a video game. As you open the four-page spread, you actually tear off the head of the king, one of the characters in the game. “You can literally hear and feel the head tearing,” says Doug Hazlett, vice president of marketing and sustainability for specialty printer Sandy Alexander.A Jump In Newsstand SalesWhile specialty printing has been around for a while, new technologies coupled with publishers’ desire to stay relevant are leading to growth in this area of magazine publishing. “There are new techniques and technologies that are changing the business,” Hazlett says. “The advantage of specialty magazine printing is that it drives higher awareness, recall and in turn sales which drives a higher return on your investment.”The newsstand sales of Hearst’s specialty print magazines are proof. House Beautiful’s September 2009 issue, featuring the pocket cover, was the top selling issue of the year for the magazine with 110,000 copies sold—24 percent higher than the average issue. In fact, it was the best-selling issue since September 2007, says a Hearst Magazines spokesperson. And the newsstand sales of Esquire’s mix-n-match cover for May 2009 were up more than 10 percent. Esquire’s e-ink cover for its October 2008 issue saw a newsstand spike of more than 15 percent with a 33 percent price increase, according to the spokesperson.The payoff is also about generating buzz. “Great ideas and executions beget more great ideas and executions,” says Karen Wagner, production director for Hearst Magazines. “Not only do advertisers benefit from innovation, but so do editors and the editorial product.”Challenges and PricingWhile it’s difficult to get a good idea of just how much these specialty printing projects cost, Granger says that Esquire’s issues that were innovative through its use of paper and ink cost in the “tens of thousands of dollars,” noting that it was only a “slight upcharge” and not “cripplingly expensive.” And Hearst maintains that its 2009 annual report with all the bells and whistles did not cost any more to produce than a regular report. There are other challenges to producing specialty printed issues. The edit team, production staff, advertiser and printers must all be on the same page. Another challenge is the longer lead time. For example, a print unit that runs inside the magazine may take a week to two weeks to prepare, and can be produced earlier, but must be at the printer at the time of binding. And a specialty cover can’t close too early because of edit constraints, Wagner says. Esquire specialty covers have closed about 10 days earlier than regular covers, Granger says. He adds that time also has to be factored in to allow for the selling of the idea to an advertiser and for the manufacturing division to have enough time to order paper, etc. What’s Next: Thermo-Dynamic InkSome of the emerging trends and biggest bangs for the buck include the use of 2-D bar codes and anything interactive. The use of 3-D covers still generate a tremendous amount of interest and activity, especially given the advent of 3-D movies and TV, Hazlett says. Special coatings, like gloss UV and metal effects, unique stocks, special colors and custom pop-ups and die-cuts are hot now, he adds. “Inside the book, a unique stock, custom shape or special finish provide the highest awareness and recall for a marketing campaign,” he says.In addition, some of the updates to the actual presses have enabled many of these technologies. “There are so many different units that can be produced and bound, due to improvements to presses,” Wagner says. “We can do more on press in one pass than we could before. In the past, in some cases we’ve had to print a unit on press and then take it offline and do other things to it, like [die-cut] it, fold it or glue it. Now, the new technologies that printers have added to the presses enable them to do more of that inline,” saving time and money.Hearst’s Marie Claire has something special in the works for select copies of its March issue, Wagner says, and Esquire is already planning something innovative for its November issue, which will feature “the sexiest woman alive.” Granger wants to experiment with inks next, particularly thermo-dynamic ink, which changes color based on temperature, so words can actually change color. “There’s so much interesting ink technology and that’s one of the next frontiers I want to play with,” he says. We’ve already seen what he can do with paper.last_img read more

5G Well double it Cable companies push 10G at CES

first_img Digital Media Mobile 85 Photos 5G Comcast Share your voice 8 Comments Comcast, the biggest cable company in the US, offers internet speeds of one gigabit per second. The industry announced an initiative to widen availability to 10 gigabit-per-second service to homes.  Comcast Amid all the hype for 5G cellular tech at CES this year, the cable industry unveiled its own push for better internet speeds here too. They call it [raises eyebrows] “10G.” After all, if 5G is so great, can you imagine what 10G can do? 5G is the talk of Las Vegas as CES 2019 again. This year, however, 5G’s high-speed wireless networks are actually within eyeshot. Last year, Verizon launched its (sort of) 5G-based home broadband service and AT&T already rolled out 5G service in select markets. More cities will get 5G this year. The technology promises massive speed boosts — think of downloading a season of Game of Thrones onto your phone in minutes — as well as the potential for new developments, like streaming augmented reality.Meanwhile, cable companies, which are stuck with physical connections, don’t want to get left out of the 5G excitement. That’s even if their G isn’t the G that everyone is talking about. The cable industry’s plans to unveil a “10G” network transformation that will lead to 10 gigabits-per-second broadband service into homes in the coming years. Calling the initiative “the next great leap for broadband,” a coalition of international cable industry groups said 10G lab trials are underway and will move to field trials beginning next year. “With groundbreaking, scalable capacity and speeds, the 10G platform is the wired network of the future that will power the digital experiences and imaginations of consumers for years to come,” Michael Powell, the CEO of the US cable industry’s trade group, NCTA, said in a statement.OK, not so fast(See what I did there?)First of all, don’t get the Gs of these labels confused. 5G is the the fifth generation of cellular technology, which will deliver speeds 10 to 100 times faster than your typical cellular connection. But the 10G moniker cable companies are pushing refers to the 10 gigabit-per-second speed they’re aiming to deliver to more homes. motomod5gA prototype of Motorola’s 5G Mod. Juan Garzon/CNET Today, broadband providers offer one gigabit service to about 80 percent of homes in the US. Their 10G campaign is a way to group all their network upgrade efforts — aimed at upping residential speeds to 10 gigabits — under one shared umbrella. That the branding also throws a little shade at mobile competitors is a bonus. Second, consumer Wi-Fi routers can’t broadcast at 10 gigabit-per-second speeds, and there aren’t many routers available that have the capability to access that kind of connection (and those routers with those ports can cost hundreds of dollars). So 10 gigabit service wouldn’t make a meaningful difference in most homes today, even if it were something cable companies could turn on by flipping a switch.  But the point of the group’s 10G push, according to the NCTA, is to build the speed and capacity that can enable new experiences and meet demand for future innovations. That’s especially relevant at CES, when companies from around the world pack Vegas with tech that needs high-capacity networks to function, like devices to manage smart homes or those that create immersive experiences like augmented reality. Finally, 5G has been shown in labs to hit peak speeds at 10 gigabits per second, so while a “10G” campaign may suggest that broadband networks are aiming for something speedier than mobile providers, that’s not necessarily the case. The NCTA has a courteous stance on this, saying that fixed and wireless network technologies complement one another. But it added that 81 percent of people in the US use Wi-Fi networks to watch video on their mobile, so it isn’t all holding hands and singing kumbaya. Tags CES 2019: See all of CNET’s coverage of the year’s biggest tech show.5G is your next big upgrade: Everything you need to know about the 5G revolution. All the cool new gadgets at CES 2019 CES 2019last_img read more

Taking literature to new heights

first_imgA pen is mighter than the sword, and the legacy has carried on for centuries now. Many literary works by eminent writers have been instrumental in bringing a revolution at many instances.Taking the same idea ahead, Kusumanjali Foundation has instituted an annual award titled ‘Kusumanjali Sahitya Samman’. Established by Kusum Ansal, it runs with the objective of promoting literary works of budding writers of Hindi and other regional languages. The first Samman was conferred last year to  Dr Karan Singh, President, ICCR and also felicitated the literary contributions of writers in Hindi and Tamil. Also Read – ‘Playing Jojo was emotionally exhausting’This year, the annual award has invited nominations to honour the literary works in Hindi and Urdu. The selection board and the advisory committee of the Kusumanjali Foundation comprises eminent authors and scholars. The award will recognise and encourage the outstanding literary works in Hindi and Urdu during the years 2008 to 2012. The Samman comprises a cash prize of Rs 2,50,000 along with a citation and the award statuette.In addition to this, the Kusumanjali Foundation has introduced from this year a fellowship scheme for creative writers in Hindi for a maximum period of four months. The amount of this fellowship is Rs 20,000 per month. Details related to application are available on www.kusumanjaliorg. The last date for all entries is 31 March.last_img read more

Ontario Comp Fund contribution rates go up April 1

first_img Friday, February 3, 2017 Tags: TICO Ontario Comp Fund contribution rates go up April 1 Share TORONTO — TICO is reminding registrants that the increase to the Compensation Fund contribution rate from $0.20 to $0.25 per thousand dollars of Ontario sales takes effect April 1.Last year TICO announced its Board of Directors had approved a phased-in increase over two years. The phased in approach was to provide some relief to registrants. Phase 1 allowed for an increase from $0.15 to $0.20 per thousand dollars of Ontario sales and became effective on July 1, 2016.The increase approved for Phase 2 of the Compensation Fund Contribution Rate provided for an increase from $0.20 to $0.25 per thousand dollars of Ontario sales effective April 1.“We understand that the industry is facing difficult challenges. TICO has maintained a strong control over its costs, and this focus will continue. TICO understands the concerns of industry members that the legislation and funding model is dated and needs to be reviewed. Both the Board and Senior Management are committed to continued collaboration with the Ministry to ensure these concerns are understood during the Ontario Government’s comprehensive review of the Travel Industry Act, 2002 and Ontario Regulation 26/05,” said Richard Smart, TICO President & CEO.More news:  War of words between Transat, Group Mach ramps up“Our goal has been to keep fees to registrants as low as possible while ensuring that TICO has appropriate resources to execute its consumer protection mandate in an efficient and effective manner.”center_img Travelweek Group Posted by << Previous PostNext Post >>last_img read more

Overcapacity concerns downward pressure on fares No worries say Carnival Corp RCCL

first_img<< Previous PostNext Post >> Posted by This story originally ran in the Oct. 4, 2018 issue of Travelweek magazine. To get Travelweek delivered to your agency for free, subscribe here.TORONTO — Cruise companies have finally realized that it’s just as important, if not more so, to keep your travel agent partners onside as it is to build up and market your own call centre and direct booking channels.The relationship hasn’t been without its ups and downs but for the most part cruise lines have been a steadfast partner for the trade.It’s at the point where cruise bookings are such a core product for so many agencies that success (or lack of it) for the cruise industry can make or break travel agencies heavily invested in cruise sales.When cruise companies falter, travel agents feel it.While cruise fares have dipped slightly for the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Corporation & plc President and CEO Arnold Donald says there’s no cause for concern.Carnival Corp. recently posted its highest-ever quarterly performance, and that’s saying something, considering the cruise giant has been on a tear for the past few years with increasingly strong results.With 10 cruise line brands, and 11.5 million passengers a year – that’s half the entire global cruise market – Carnival Corp. and its ships cut a sizeable wake. Cruise lines including Carnival Corp., especially with its core brand Carnival Cruise Line, have been working hard in recent years to maintain price integrity and keep yields up, and to make bargain-basement cruise fares a thing of the past.Starting in June Carnival Corporation’s booking volumes for the first half of 2019 were running significantly higher than the prior year, at lower prices.But more recently, during the first half of September, booking volumes for the first half of next year were still running higher than last year and at higher prices too.Based on these booking trends, Carnival Corp. says it expects continued improvement when it comes to net revenue yields for the first half of 2019.More news:  Carnival Cruise Line enhances HUB app for families and youthGross revenue yields were up 4% in Q3. Net income for the company clocked in at US$1.7 billion, up from $1.3 billion. Revenues for the third quarter of 2018 were $5.8 billion, up from $5.5 billion.High fuel costs are an ongoing concern and Carnival, like every other company keeping an eye on fuel prices, has warned that climbing costs will put a dent in its Q4 results. Carnival Corp.’s Q3 2018 fuel bill was $434 million, up from $307 million in Q3 2017.For now at least, strong execution is overcoming fuel (and currency) headwinds, says Donald.Carnival and other cruise companies have been known to levy fuel surcharges, but so far haven’t resorted to this unpopular measure despite escalating fuel bills.Royal Caribbean Chairman and CEO Richard Fain acknowledges that rising fuel costs are a concern for Royal Caribbean too – RCCL hedges about 50% of its fuel needs. While keeping an eye on fuel costs, RCCL, parent company of Royal Caribbean, is going full steam ahead with its $1 billion investment to upgrade RCI ships, transform private island CocoCay in the Bahamas and attract more Millennials.Just like Carnival Corp., Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines is raking in the dollars, with revenues of US$2.3 billion for Q2.In an interview with CNBC, Fain said new ships like Royal Caribbean’s Symphony of the Seas, heading into its first full year of sailing in 2019, and the much anticipated and soon to be launched Celebrity Edge with its cantilevered floating platform, have created a lot of good momentum “and that’s carrying us nicely into 2019.”“We’re constantly improving our ships. New features attract more customers, they pay more, and that gives us the money to build and enhance our ships,” says Fain.RCCL, already with several brands under its belt including Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, is now even bigger with its majority stake purchase of luxury line Silversea Cruises this summer, with three new ships on the way.More news:  Onex paying big to get WestJet and that will send airfares soaring, says CWTMeanwhile Carnival Corp.’s capacity increases come with concerns about too many berths driving down prices and yields but Donald says there’s no cause for alarm.Carnival Corp. is spreading its capacity growth over a number of its brands and geographical regions “and we’re careful when and where we add capacity,” says Donald. Any over-concentration of capacity in individual markets will be temporary, he adds, and alleviated by new demand from the undersaturated cruise market.He adds: “We’re working aggressively to grow demand for our brands which will allow us to continue to fill our ships at increasingly attractive rates, while still providing a better value to the equivalent land-based alternative.”And while he first attributes Carnival Corp.’s performance to the Carnival Corp. team, he doesn’t forget the cruise company’s other, equally important team: travel agents. The record-breaking Q3 results, he says, “are a testament to the tens of thousands of travel professionals who so enthusiastically support our brand.” Overcapacity concerns, downward pressure on fares? No worries, say Carnival Corp., RCCL Kathryn Folliott Friday, October 12, 2018 Tags: Carnival Corporation, Carnival Cruise Line Share About Latest Posts Kathryn FolliottEditor at TravelweekKathryn is Editor at Travelweek and has worked for the company since 1995. She has travelled to more than 50 countries and counts Hong Kong, Jerusalem, the Swiss Alps and the Galapagos Islands among her favourite destinations. Latest posts by Kathryn Folliott (see all) “They need to go where the bucks are”: Agents on ACTA partnership – April 18, 2019 As the cost of doing business climbs, host agencies, retail groups say they have options – April 4, 2019 As of 2021 Europe-bound clients will need to apply online for a visa waiver and pay a fee – April 3, 2019last_img read more