first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares April 15, 2014; Milwaukee Journal SentinelNPQ is a big advocate of nonprofits tracking the performance and ideas of others doing similar work. It helps us understand what we are looking at in our own organizations. For instance, apparently very cold weather conspired this year against the Milwaukee Public Museum and Milwaukee Art Museum, if their benchmarking is any indication.At the end of February, which is halfway through their fiscal year, attendance was down 13 percent for both institutions. Deficits were $250,000 for the Public Museum and $298,000 for the art museum. Ticket revenue was down by 36 percent for the period at the Milwaukee Public Museum, and the art museum brought in only a quarter of what it had projected for the year.Do you know where to get credible information about the performance of program and business models in your own field? If not, find out!—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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first_imgShareTweetShareEmail0 Shares June 27, 2014; Mother JonesNPQ has previously written about ProPublica’s investigation of the Red Cross’s spending on Sandy, but here is an interesting update. ProPublica filed a public records request for information the Red Cross had been required to provide to the N.Y. attorney general’s office. But law firm Gibson Dunn, representing the Red Cross, appealed to the attorney general to block some of the Sandy information under the Freedom of Information Law’s trade secret exemption.Trade secrets?!Gabrielle Levin of Gibson Dunn wrote in a letter that the documents include “internal and proprietary methodology and procedures for fundraising, confidential information about its internal operations, and confidential financial information,” If those details were disclosed, “the American Red Cross would suffer competitive harm because its competitors would be able to mimic the American Red Cross’s business model for an increased competitive advantage.”Ben Smilowitz of the Disaster Accountability Project, comments, “Invoking a ‘trade secret’ exemption is not something you would expect from an organization that purports to be ‘transparent and accountable.’”But the attorney general’s office agreed to withhold portions of the documents that “describe business strategies, internal operational procedures and decisions, and the internal deliberations and decision-making processes that affect fundraising and the allocation of donations,” finding “that this information is proprietary and constitutes trade secrets, and that its disclosure would cause the Red Cross economic injury and put the Red Cross at an economic disadvantage.”NPQ will keep you updated on this.—Ruth McCambridgeShareTweetShareEmail0 Shareslast_img read more

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first_imgShare47TweetShare4Email51 SharesSeptember 2015; Center for Responsible LendingMortgage lending is getting a tiny bit better for blacks and Latinos in the U.S., but it is still true across the nation that persons of color are underserved compared to their shares of the population in terms of access to private mortgages. A recent study from the nonprofit Center for Responsible Lending pulls no punches:Access to credit remains tight; people of color and low and moderate-income families continue to receive a far lower share of home purchase loans than they have historically and than would be expected based on their share of the population. These borrowers also are much more likely to be served by government-backed loan programs than by the conventional market, and are increasingly paying more for mortgages than other borrowers.It should be no surprise, then, to discover that the Justice Department and the Consumer Finance Protection Bureau are taking new action against banks and other players in the real estate markets that are engaging in redlining or other forms of racial steering—and that nonprofits are playing a role in bringing these cases to the attention of government authorities.For example, within the past couple of weeks, the nonprofit National Fair Housing Alliance filed a complaint with HUD, charging that a real estate company in Jackson, Mississippi had engaged in racial steering. According to an article from New American Media, “The complaint alleges that the company’s agents steered white home-seeking posers away from interracial neighborhoods in Jackson, a city with an African-American majority. Conversely, the black ‘testers’ who inquired about properties in the Jackson area were often never called back and were generally provided very limited information, the complaint said.”Regarding mortgages, the Justice Department and the CFPB reached a settlement with Hudson City Bancorp for approximately $33 million around charges that Hudson City had systematically redlined minority communities in four states for a period of many years. The redlining settlement was largest for the Justice Department and the first-ever for the CFPB, according to the Wall Street Journal. Although it agreed to provide $27 million in loan subsidy and outreach programs for minorities plus a $5.5 million penalty, Hudson City “neither admitted nor denied wrongdoing,” though it said that it disagreed with the statistical analysis of mortgage lending behavior that the Department of Justice and the CFPB use for part of their claims.However, the IBT coverage of the Hudson City case suggests that more than a disputed statistical analysis of mortgages was at issue in the case:The company’s consumer-facing subsidiary, Hudson City Savings Bank, avoided locating branches and loan officers, and avoided using mortgage brokers, in neighborhoods where minorities predominate, the government alleged. Put simply, U.S. Attorney Paul Fishman said, if you lived in one of those neighborhoods between 2009 and 2013 and wanted to apply for a mortgage, “Hudson City Savings Bank was not the place to go.” By contrast, the bank’s competitors successfully made “thousands” of loans to qualified borrowers in the same neighborhoods, Fishman said.Added the Wall Street Journal, “Between 2009 and 2013, the bank didn’t accept mortgage applications at some of its branches and referred some applicants to branches ‘outside of and not in proximity to majority-Black-and-Hispanic areas,’ according to court papers.”Nonetheless, this is a topsy-turvy world where a $33 million federal settlement results in the bank’s stock actually rising. Why? Hudson City, based in Paramus, New Jersey, is in the midst of a long-delayed merger with Buffalo-based M&T Bank Corporation. This settlement would seem to clear the way for regulators to give an OK to the M&T deal.The banking sector is unhappy with the Justice/CFPB action. One analyst suggested that the Hudson City case was a harbinger of more frequent and broader interaction with Justice on redlining cases. He may be correct. Earlier this month, a Justice Department official warned banks of more, rather than less, DOJ attention to racial discrimination practices in their mortgage lending: “Based on what is on my docket right now, stayed tuned,” said Steven Rosenbaum, chief of housing and civil enforcement at DOJ’s civil rights division. “There are still lenders who seem to think it is okay to steer minority borrowers to certain loan officers or certain brokers who they know will charge more.”Rosenbaum suggested that the “old nemesis” of bank redlining was making a comeback. As the Center for Responsible Lending report indicates, it never really left. However, despite the documented evidence of the past and current problem of racially discriminatory mortgage lending practices, it is kind of remarkable how much of the public has slowly bought into the notion that the problems of, for example, mortgage foreclosures have been largely due to borrowers making silly or stupid decisions about how much debt they could carry and not about banks selling more expensive loan products in minority neighborhoods and lenders engaging in often nefarious, even fraudulent practices.It will take community-based nonprofits working with their constituents to keep a close eye on the behavior of lenders like Hudson City and others—and also to ensure that the settlement funds get used productively and effectively. In New York State, Attorney General Eric Schneiderman recently reached a settlement with Evans Bank in Buffalo for the lender’s systematic redlining of Buffalo’s primarily black East Side.The settlement with Evans, small in comparison with Hudson City’s, created a $475,000 “Housing Opportunity Fund” that will be administered by the City of Buffalo’s Office of Strategic Planning to encourage homeownership and affordable housing in Buffalo, plus $200,000 from Evans to invest in marketing and outreach to the East Side and other redlined areas and $100,000 for a special financing program to increase lending. Nonprofits have to spot and expose redlining perpetrated by the likes of Hudson City and Evans, but also work closely with city, state, and federal officials to ensure that settlement funds actually help remedy the conditions prompted the redlining findings in the first place.—Rick CohenShare47TweetShare4Email51 Shareslast_img read more

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first_imgShare43TweetShare2Email45 SharesJanuary 19, 2017; The HillThe Hill reported yesterday that according to a “blueprint” document being circulated, Donald Trump plans to try to cut spending (read, “programs”) drastically once he takes office. For instance, he will attempt to have the Corporation for Public Broadcasting be privatized, and he would like to see the National Endowments for the Arts and Humanities eliminated altogether. The Heritage Foundation has long pushed for the elimination of the NEA, and that will become relevant as we see who has been working on the blueprint; meanwhile, one can just hear Sly Stallone thanking his lucky stars he had the sense to stay clear.There are reportedly $10.5 million in proposed cuts. Under the new so-called “skinny budget,” the Departments of Commerce, Energy, Transportation, Justice, and State would have their funding reduced, and some programs eliminated entirely or transferred elsewhere. The Hill reports:“At the Department of Justice, the blueprint calls for eliminating the Office of Community Oriented Policing Services, Violence Against Women Grants and the Legal Services Corporation, and for reducing funding for its Civil Rights and its Environment and Natural Resources divisions.”The Department of Energy “would roll back funding for nuclear physics and advanced scientific computing research to 2008 levels, eliminate the Office of Electricity, eliminate the Office of Energy Efficiency and Renewable Energy and scrap the Office of Fossil Energy, which focuses on technologies to reduce carbon dioxide emissions.”“Under the State Department’s jurisdiction, funding for the Overseas Private Investment Corporation, the Paris Climate Change Agreement and the United Nations’ Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change are candidates for elimination.”Transition team members Russ Vought and John Gray, both of whom previously worked for the Heritage Foundation, are hard at work on a preliminary budget document expected in the next 45 days; a full budget can be expected by the hundred-day mark or so. But early proposals are likely to be released to federal departments and agencies soon after the inauguration ceremony.At this point, not even cabinet picks presumably on track to manage those budgets know the exact nature of the proposed cuts. Clearly, the presidential budget will be no shoo-in for passage as the nation’s real-life budget. It will require many layers of feedback and deliberation as the agencies and Congress gets hold of it, but its skeleton, according to The Hill, approximates what we envisioned in our most sleepless nights over the past few months.—Ruth McCambridgeShare43TweetShare2Email45 Shareslast_img read more

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first_imgLovefilm is to open an exclusive second pay TV window with Warner Bros in the UK. The online and DVD movie rental provider has struck a multi-year multi-platform deal with the studio to offer Warner movies on an exclusive basis immediately after their initial pay TV run with BSkyB.“We have signed a deal with Warner to take all their output, and we will have along second window [after Sky],” said Lesley MacKenzie, group digital officer at Lovefilm, speaking at Informa’s OTTtv World Summit in London today. MacKenzie said the deal meant that Warner films would not appear on free-to-air for four to five years after their initial theatrical release. MacKenzie said that seeking early exclusive windows was paramount to Lovefilm’s success, citing the example of the deal it struck earlier this year with E1, giving it exclusive first-run rights to the Twilight series of movies.The Warner deal will see recent and forthcoming film releases added to Lovefilm’s Watch Online service either on the PC or accessible via Sony PlayStation3, Apple iPad, a number of web-enabled TV sets and Blu-ray players, and on Microsoft Xbox 360 when Lovefilm launches on that platform in December. Movies available at the start of the deal in December will include The Dark Knight, The Hangover, Gran Torino and Sex and the City 2. The deal spans digital subscription, download to own and pay per view services, as well as Warner Bros.’ branded SVOD service WarnerFilms. Lovefilm will also make Warner films available by post on DVD and Blu-ray 60 days after release from next year.MacKenzie said Lovefilm was looking to introduce more transactional services, including electronic sell-through, leveraging new owner Amazon’s buying muscle. “The financial [issue] with SVOD and electronic sell-through is that studios take most of the revenues so if you end up with a price war there is not much left for you,” she said. “Now we are a bigger company with financial muscle we can play a different game.”MacKenzie said that the company would be looking into the development of UltraViolet cloud-based digital lockers next year, a key requirement for Blu-ray electronic sell-through. Warner Bros was the first studio to sign up to market UltraViolet-enabled discs via its Flixter service earlier this year.last_img read more

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first_imgInteractive TV company Accedo has partnered with NDS to launch a new solution that enables service providers to develop set-top-box apps and widgets.The solution will enable pay TV operators to launch their own app store, manage application lifecycle, contextualise content and monetise apps through a connected set-top-box. It lets operators author apps with an open Software Developer Kit (SDK), and enables smooth rendering of apps through an HTML browser integrated with NDS’ MediaHighway set-top-box software.The solution uses Accedo’s management platform, Accedo Application Sphere, which provides a customisable front-end user interface with multiple existing applications, as well as a back-end system.“We are excited to be working with NDS on this joint solution,” said Michael Lantz, CEO, Accedo. “NDS has extensive experience providing end-to-end software solutions for the pay television industry, which enable advanced services. The combination of NDS software and Accedo’s application management experience will be a valuable solution for operators looking to embrace interactive TV.”last_img read more

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first_imgMusic and TV discovery app provider Shazam has expanded its Shazam for TV offering in Ireland through a partnership with multiplatform advertising network Adforce.ie.Shazam said its partnership with Adforce.ie will mean that over 500,000 Shazam subscribers in the Republic of Ireland will now be able to use Shazam to tag select television adverts, in order to access extra content, information, and enter exclusive sweepstakes.Under the terms of the agreement, Adforce.ie will be Shazam’s representatives in Ireland, selling both Shazam for TV advertising as well as in-app advertising opportunities.  The Shazam for TV service has been integrated into advertisements in the US for more than 18 months and the service has also recently expanded into Australia, the UK and western Europe.Miles Lewis, vice-president of ad sales at Shazam, said: “We are delighted to work with Adforce.ie to bring Shazam-enabled ads to the Irish market.  This will empower leading consumer brands to connect with our millions of fans who will be able to experience an extended engagement using the second screen – one of the newest and most convenient and innovative ways possible.”last_img read more

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first_imgMore than half of consumers with a smart TV have increased their use of over-the-top TV services in the last year, according to a new US study by research firm The Diffusion Group (TDG). The third quarter study said that, among adult broadband users that use an internet-connected TV, 24% said they had “significantly” increased their viewing of online video sources compared on their TV set compared to the same time the year before.Some 28.5% said that their OTT viewing habits had “increased slightly” and 33.7% thought they had stayed the same.However, only 7.7% said their online viewing had decreased – meaning that net-connected TV users are six times more likely to have increased their use of the medium than to have decreased it“That consumers are watching more over-the-top video is not itself surprising. But to see such a widespread increase in OTT TV viewing is dramatic, especially as pay-TV subscriptions in the US are experiencing their greatest 12-month losses to date,” said Michael Greeson, co-founder of TDG.last_img read more

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first_imgMIPCOM said it attracted at record 13,700 delegates this year, including over 4,600 buyers of which 1,300 were acquiring digital and VoD rights.MIPCOM organiser Reed Midem said the event attracted attendees from 112 countries.MIPCOM’s Country of Honour programme, produced in partnership with ProMexico, saw a record 125 Mexican companies in Cannes, spearheaded by the country’s Grupo Televisa and TV Azteca.“This has been a record-breaking and a particularly memorable 30th edition of MIPCOM,” said Laurine Garaude, director of Reed MIDEM’s television division.“We saw extensive deal making and energy on the show floor, with Mexico as Country of Honour, a record number of key programme launches – including two incredible series: eOne’s The Book of Negroes and ITV’s Thunderbirds Are Go, at the MIPCOM World Premiere TV Screening and the first MIPJunior World Premiere TV Screening – and an amazing line-up of top industry executives and celebrities.”last_img read more

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first_imgDavid ZaslavInternational network revenues continue to drive growth at pay TV giant Discovery Communications.The international segment of the company’s third quarter results grew 32% year-on-year, and helped Discovery post overall revenues of US$1.57 billion, up 14% on 2013, despite a 1% fall in US network sales.Furthermore, the US$818 million international networks – which include Discovery Channel and TLC – took in the three months to September 30 outstripped domestic revenues by US$94 million.International channel distribution revenues were up 34% and totalled US$430 million, while advertising took 20% more than the same period a year ago by bringing in US$337 million.Discovery’s international revenues for a quarter surpassed domestic for the first time in the previous quarter of this year as the company positions itself as a global pay TV provider with a channel portfolio of unscripted and reality networks.“Overall, our global business continues its strong organic growth with international now accounting for more than 50% of our total company revenue and growing,” said Discovery CEO David Zaslav. “That’s an important inflection point for our company, a key differentiator for Discovery and the foundation of our growth strategy going forward.”This comes after various international acquisitions, including the 2012 deal for the SBS channels in Scandinavia, the move for a majority stake in Eurosport, the buy up of New Zealand network The Living Channel and Takhayal Entertainment, parent of Middle Eastern food-themed channel Fatafeat.Discovery now also owns 50% of UK-based production giant All3Media following a £550 million (US$880 million) deal, but the subsidiary reports its financial results separately as it is a joint venture with Liberty Global.“Our expansive content portfolio drove audience gains and boosted our market share around the world as we continued to benefit from the ongoing development of the global pay TV market,” said Zaslav.Last week, Zaslav named Shine America’s CEO Rich Ross as the new president of Discovery Channel.last_img read more

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