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Tokyo Compression

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I remember seeing Michael Wolf‘s “Tokyo Compression” series — photos taken of people commuting on the train — a while back, and was reminded of it through this post on Fubiz. I’ve definitely had my face in a position like this.

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mkalus
57 minutes ago
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What Shomi’s closure means for the Canadian streaming market

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Shomi may have been a lackluster streaming service in many respects, but regardless of how you feel about the platform’s closure, it’s a monumental hit to cord cutters north of the wall and the Canadian content industry in general.

Rogers’ and Shaw’s streaming platform Shomi, has announced that it’s closing on November 30th, resulting in a $100 million to $140 million write-down on the telecom’s third-quarter as a result of the streaming service’s closure.

“We tried something new, and customers who used Shomi loved it. It’s like a great cult favourite with a fantastic core audience that unfortunately just isn’t big enough to be renewed for another season,” said Melani Griffith, senior vice-president of content for Rogers in a recent statement sent to MobileSyrup.

shomi-22

Rogers and Shaw have never released Shomi’s subscriber numbers, though just a few weeks ago the service touted that it has received 143 million total ‘video plays.’ Toronto-based data tracking firm Solutions Research Group also release a study that indicates Shomi is used in less than four percent of all Canadian households.

Furthermore, the study indicates that even with Shomi and CraveTV’s subscriber numbers combined, both services have fewer than one seventh of Netflix’s total Canadian subscriber numbers (Netflix doesn’t publicly release regional subscriber numbers). Shomi’s senior vice president, however, recently revealed that the service has 900,000 subscribers, though it’s unclear if that number includes just paying subscribers — this is unlikely — or total users. Rogers currently offers free Shomi subscriptions with a number of wireless packages which could inflate this number considerably.

The main question surrounding Shomi’s closure is what happens to the streaming service’s various content rights. The common misconception is that shows like The Americans, Mr. Robot and Modern Family, all Shomi exclusives in Canada, will find a new home on Bell’s CraveTV and maybe even Netflix.

While this could happen in some cases, licensing contracts often include a clause that prevents television shows or movies from being resold to another platform for a specific period of time. Some programming though, specifically Amazon Prime shows that Shomi licensed, like Transparent, will likely find their way onto Roger’s services in some form.

shomiheader

Also, it’s likely that if a show ended up on Shomi, it’s because Netflix and in some cases even CraveTV passed on the content, or because the show’s license holders were not interested in having their content appear on the service. There are also often clauses present in licensing contracts that would prevent Shaw and Rogers from showing content on video on demand platforms other than Shomi, in most cases unless the license holder, which in this case is Rogers, obtains written consent from the content’s owner.

Shomi’s head of content and programming Marni Shulman said that the service typically signs two-year deals with content providers. Since Shomi originally launched back in beta back in November 2014 (the official launch didn’t happen until 2015), most of the deals are expiring somewhat soon. Cartt.ca also reported back in August that Shaw was looking for a way out of its co-ownership agreement with Rogers. This could have encouraged Rogers to ditch the service earlier than planned.

It’s also possible that Rogers could fold many of the content rights it currently owns from Shomi into its upcoming IPTV service. In an interview with Alphabeatic’s Peter Nowak, a Rogers spokesperson said, “Those details are still being figured out, so unfortunately I don’t have a comment at the moment.”

Now that Shomi has closed its doors it’s likely that Bell’s CraveTV will soon follow suit now that the telecom no longer needs to maintain the platform to match its rival’s services. Bell, however, claims that it has no plans to close CraveTV.

Regardless of how the closure of Shomi shakes out, the already limited streaming landscape in Canada has fundamentally changed. If a homegrown telecom like Rogers can’t compete with the streaming might of Netflix, it’s likely that U.S.-based services like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu will be even further deterred from attempting a Canadian launch. Alternatively, Shomi’s closure could be a sign that Rogers’ strategy of using the now dead streaming platform as a way to funnel more subscribers to its other services, isn’t a viable business venture. This could potentially open the door for U.S. streaming services to break into the Canadian market and do it right, though this happening is unlikely.

One thing is for sure, with Shomi bowing out from the competition, piracy is about to get more prevalent in Canada.

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mkalus
59 minutes ago
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"it’s likely that U.S.-based services like Amazon Prime Instant Video and Hulu will be even further deterred from attempting a Canadian launch."

Hulu maybe, mostly because Global et. al. are offering streaming on their websites.

Amazon on the other hand produces original content, I doubt they want to license it to Netflix, especially as they use it as an "extra" to their Prime service.
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Billionaire Capital Turns Into Ghost Town: "Home Contracts Down 80%", Trophy-Cars Pile Up In Showrooms

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It used to be that a quick walk around downtown Greenwich could pass for an exotic car show but those days seem to be coming to an end as hedge fund returns have suffered and, as one jewelry store owner points out, "one doesn’t want to become the next episode of ‘Billions.’” 

Greenwich

 

As recently pointed out by Bloomberg, Greenwich has long been one of the most prosperous communities in America with one out of every $10 in hedge funds in the country being managed there by the most elite funds like Viking Global, AQR and Steven Cohen's Point72.

But these days, as hedge fund returns have suffered and banking bonuses have remained stagnant for years, the trophy items like expensive jewelry and exotic cars are just piling up in luxurious Greenwich showrooms. 

The lonely $250,000 S-Class coupe at Mercedes-Benz of Greenwich says it all. For six months, it’s been sitting in the showroom, shimmering in vain.

 

“We haven’t had anyone come in and look at it,” says Joey Licari, a sales consultant at the dealership, looking over his shoulder at the silver beauty. “I feel like normally they would, maybe a few years ago.”

 

Ten-carat diamonds that can cost in the six figures collect dust in stores on the main drag.

But exotic cars and jewelry aren't the only items not moving as real estate brokers say that Greenwich mega mansions are sitting on the market for years amid collapsing prices.  As head of Starwood Capital Group, Barry Sternlicht, said the rich are being maddeningly frugal "you can’t give away a house in Greenwich."  In fact, according to Houlihan Lawrence contracts for homes between $5 million and $5.99 million are down 80%.

Many continue to try to sell their real estate holdings. As of Sept. 14, there were 46 homes at $10 million or more on the market, some that have been lingering since 2014, according to data from Miller Samuel and Douglas Elliman.

 

Back in the day, “everybody in the world wanted five acres and pillars on their driveways, because that’s what you got when you ‘made it,”’ says Frank Farricker, a principal with Lockwood & Mead Real Estate who’s chairman of the Connecticut Lottery board. “Now, ‘made it’ means on the waterfront -- on a small lot with a brand-spanking new house.”

On example of the tanking Greenwich real estate market is the following 19,773-square-foot mansion once owned by Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump that has been looking for a buyer for nearly two years.  It’s now on the market for $45 million or about 17% less than its original listing price of $54 million.  Shockingly the house has garnered limited interest despite a 3,000-bottle chilled wine cellar, a tennis court that converts to a hockey rink and a globe-shaped observatory with a retractable roof and high-powered telescope.

Greenwich

 

For those interested in something a bit more "affordable", former Citigroup CEO Sandy Weill is also trying to offload his 16,460-square-foot home at $9.9 million, a "bargain" at a nearly 30% discount to the original listing price of $14 million two years ago.

Greenwich

 

Of course, new Connecticut tax hikes are part of the problem as several hedge funds have shut down shop in Greenwich and moved to Florida where they can take advantage of better weather and cheaper real estate...oh, and a 0% state income rate doesn't hurt either. 

In 2015, Connecticut boosted the income tax for individuals making more than $500,000 and couples above $1 million to 6.99 percent from 6.7 percent. Levies on luxury goods rose to 7.75 percent from 7 percent on cars over $50,000, jewelry over $5,000 and clothing or footwear over $1,000.

 

Sternlicht said at a conference two weeks ago that this was why he relocated to the sunshine state. “We used to have no taxes,” he said wistfully, recalling Connecticut before it enacted its income tax in 1991.

Ah, the Sunshine State, Gorgeous!

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mkalus
4 hours ago
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Poor rich people. They deserve to get everything for free. /s
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https://t.co/IAP61ZYo35

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Posted by fjamie013 on Tue Sep 27 17:47:36 2016.


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mkalus
7 hours ago
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The invisible war

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mkalus
8 hours ago
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More About Peter Turnley's Workshops in Cuba

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Cuba Workshops-4

Photo by Peter Turnley

Last Monday I wrote a short post about peoples' lust for adventure and Peter Turnley's fabulous workshops in Cuba. To answer a question I've been getting, no, I won't actually be going. I'd love to, but I do this. (Actually I've been aiming for one of the Paris workshops for several years, and haven't hit that mark yet. Hope remains.)

Since then I've learned more about the workshops, though, so I thought I'd share.

Cuba Workshops-2

Peter with one of the many workshop groups he has led in Cuba

Peter has so far led 18 successful workshops in Cuba. There are four more coming up soon:

Dec. 3–9, 2016
Dec. 30, 2016–Jan 5, 2017 (New Year’s workshop)
Feb. 11–17, 2017
March 11–17, 2017

The workshops take place in Havana,  with two-day trips outside of the city. Each workshop lasts for seven days and six nights. Peter partners with Cuba Cultural Travel, which has a license for "people to people cultural exchange." The package price of the workshop includes air travel round trip between Miami and Havana, hotel, visa, three local guides, and several group meals...in addition, of course, to daily photographic workshop and critique sessions led by Peter. Price adjustments can be made for people wanting to fly directly to Havana from their home cities. All registration and payment for the workshop is handled by Laura Adams of Cuba Cultural Travel, and anyone interested in attending should contact her by email at laura@cubaculturaltravel.com.

There is a "companion" price for people wanting to bring a non-photographing spouse. The workshops are open to participants from all over the world.

Cuba Workshops-3

Photo by Peter Turnley

The daily itineraries expose participants to many visually exciting and authentic aspects of Cuban daily life, with visits to some of the best outdoor dance clubs in Latin America, Santeria religious ceremonies, outdoor markets, ballet schools, afro-rumba dancing, a boxing gym, a modern dance troupe, and more. On day trips outside of the city you'll go to the tobacco region of Vinales; beach town of Bacuranao in Alamar, to Regla, a center of Santeria religious activity; activity, and the famous fishing village of Cojimar, where Ernest Hemingway wrote The Old Man and the Sea.

The workshops include walks through Havana Vieja, Havana Centro, along the famous seaside Malecon, and all over Havana. There's also plenty of time for participants to explore on their own. However, nobody ever needs to feel lost—there are three full-time Cuban photographer guides available to you, each of whom speaks perfect English. Peter is always accessible and also accompanies participants on their explorations.

Peter sees this is as both a personal and a photographic journey for participants. He helps you work on how to approach people and feel comfortable getting into the middle of it and working up close. During the workshops there is attention to camera technique and aesthetic discussion in addition to the strong emphasis on offering participants access to the spirit of Cuban life.

Participants speak...
I've mixed a few pictures made by workshop participants and some comments by other participants. Please note that these are all by different people—the pictures and written comments don't match up.

Cuba Workshops-6 Gulnara Samoilova

Photo by Gulnara Samoilova

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"I'm not by nature a people or street photographer and I wanted to go outside my comfort zone and really learn something, I did. Peter will teach you how to capture, create and tell a visual story. This is done in a simple and disciplined manner by a master. His incredible editorial process is something to behold. The regular edits and feedback sessions are exceptional and key to the process." —Frank Veteran

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Cuba Workshops-11 Alejandra López-Zaballa

Photo by Alejandra López-Zaballa

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"Beyond doubt, this was the most visually exciting week I have ever experienced across four decades as a passionate amateur photographer.... We had a fabulous time, learned a lot, and are already planning on returning to Cuba with Peter Turnley next year." —David and Susie Bush

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Cuba Workshops-9 Tracy Farrell

Photo by Tracy Farrell

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"Peter’s approach is philosophical rather than technical. There is minimal discussion of shutter speeds, f-stops, composition, light, etc. He stresses connecting with the subject and capturing a moment in their lives in order to better understand them as people.... Overall this workshop was a tremendously rewarding experience. Highly recommended."—Richard Nugent

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Cuba Workshops-10 Winifred Toro

Photo by Winifred Toro

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"Peter's enthusiasm is contagious. His photos confirm his love of life and he quickly transferred his confidence to me and my ability to capture. I grew as an artist and I have become more clear of my vision as a photographer. I am convinced that Peter attracts people with open minds to his workshops. My fellow travel mates were adventurous and always ready to expand their artistic skills. Bottom line—my friends are commenting 'Wow, you've changed!'" —Mary Moeller

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Cuba Workshops-7 Dan McConnell

Photo by Dan McConnell

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"What can I say about my trip with Peter Turnley to Cuba. Amazing? Yes. Spectacular? Of course. I dare to say even life changing. I have been home for almost three weeks and am still basking in the glow of Havana." —Andrea Kuhn

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Cuba Workshops-12 Beth Ruggiero-York

Photo by Beth Ruggiero-York

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"My week in Havana with Peter Turnley was extraordinary. Unforgettable. Magical. Peter's passion for photography, for the people of Cuba and for capturing and savoring every gifted moment will stay with me forever." —Virgil DiBiase

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Carpe diem
So, I don't know, I just think this is a moment. Peter is still in the pink of health, but he's getting older—he now only has the energy of any two normal people rather than the energy of three normal people (that would be four and six times the energy I have, respectively). He has many links to the great photographers of the postwar and later 20th century, and vast experience from the great age of magazines and print photojournalism. He knows Cuba as well or better than any non-Cuban photographer in the world. And Cuba is going to change fast, too. "Now" is a precious opportunity. Golden, I would even say.

Cuba Workshop-1

Peter at his one-man retrospective exhibition at Museo Nacional de Bellas Artes last Winter

If all this isn't clear enough, I think you ought to do this if you can!

Mike

Original contents copyright 2016 by Michael C. Johnston and/or the bylined author. All Rights Reserved. Links in this post may be to our affiliates; sales through affiliate links may benefit this site.

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mkalus
12 hours ago
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