November 29, 1999After much anticipation and preparation, the day for pouring concrete finallyarrives. Nearly eighteen cubic yards were poured into footing forms, then troweledto level and left to cure over the next few weeks under wetted carpeting. Form-workfor the walls of the EastCrescent Complex can now begin. Photo and text by Benjamin Ericson.
By Stelios OrphanidesCyprus should seek to “considerably” reduce its public debt as a percentage of economic output the earliest possible by generating small surpluses, a Bank of Cyprus economist said, days after the International Monetary Fund (IMF) updated its forecast for government debt to 109.3 per cent, a new all-time high.Public debt, which rose last year to €19bn, or 106.1 per cent, of gross domestic product (GDP), is expected to rise further this year during which the government aims at a marginal fiscal deficit of around 0.5 per cent of GDP, as a result of an expected bond issue to increase government funds. Cyprus’s economy expanded 2.8 per cent last year and while the government forecasts that it will continue growing at the same pace, the IMF expects a gradual slowdown to 2.5 per cent this year and 2.3 per cent in 2018.“Maintaining liquid funds sufficient to cover the financial needs of the government for a certain period of time may be a bit costly but probably necessary in order to reinforce your credibility and safeguard access to funds at reasonable yields,” said Ioannis Tirkides, economic research manager at Bank of Cyprus, the largest Cypriot lender. “Our net public debt is about eight percentage points of GDP lower than gross debt and I think this distinction is taken into account by rating agencies”.According to the Central Bank’s February balance sheet, the government held a total of €1.1bn deposited at the Central Bank at an annual interest rate of -0.4 per cent. In addition to this amount, in February the government had a total of €949.3m in deposits at commercial banks at an unspecified rate.Last year, the government, which completed a cash-for-reforms programme financed by the EU and the IMF, after successfully restoring market access with the issue of a 7-year €1bn bond at an average yield of 4 per cent, spent a total of €509.7m in interest payments.“However you measure public debt, gross or net, it is high, which denies the government any fiscal space to be able to respond effectively to outside shocks,” Tirkides said.Interest payments made up roughly 7.5 per cent of total government spending last year compared to 8 per cent the year before, according to finance ministry data. Cyprus’s public debt is the fourth highest in the euro area, behind Greece, Portugal, and Italy.Tirkides said that should the government avoid running into deficits this year, the debt level as a percentage of the economy will be declining “over the next few years” with a nominal growth of up to 4 per cent.The IMF expects a 1.5 per cent inflation rate this year, compared to a 1.2 per cent deflation rate last year.In 2018, consumer prices in Cyprus are expected to increase 1.4 per cent, per IMF forecast. The organisation forecast that government debt will drop below the 100-per-cent mark first in 2020, a year later compared to its October forecast.“For a faster pace of decline of the debt ratio, you will need small surpluses,” Tirkides continued, adding that while maintaining fiscal discipline “can be hard,” it still remains “necessary”.In recent months, Finance Minister Harris Georgiades resisted calls from the European Commission to generate a bigger primary balance, arguing that this would harm growth. The Commission also criticised the parliament’s decision to ditch the immovable property tax and the delay in implementing fiscal structural reforms.“As growth adjusts to its potential level, maintaining a balanced budget will be harder, which makes it difficult to understand the wisdom of some budget decisions at this time,” Tirkides said.With presidential elections looming, the government departed last month from its austere fiscal policies of the past four years — which allowed a consolidation of public finances — by agreeing to upgrade the pay scales of medical staff at public hospitals.Last year, it also shelved its plan to privatise state-telecom Cyta after encountering strong resistance in parliament. It did the same in 2015 with power producer Electricity Authority of Cyprus. The privatisation programme agreed as part of the bailout terms was aiming at generating €1.4bn in revenue to reduce public debt.With the island’s sovereign rating remaining below investment grade, partly on a stalled reform process, and partly on a non-performing loan ratio in the banking system accounting for roughly 50 per cent of total loans, fiscal sustainability hangs in the balance with the introduction of the national healthcare scheme still pending, the Bank of Cyprus economist said.“All this is happening at a time when the fiscal impact of health reform is a big unknown thus raising the question, how will you be able to resist all the spending pressures that will come about when you finally do health reform?” Tirkides said. “Rating agencies and markets will be asking and waiting. The problem to credibility is not in the arithmetic of things but in the messages they convey”You May LikeFigLeaf Beta AppGet Maximum Privacy with Minimum EffortFigLeaf Beta AppUndoTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionOne Thing All Liars Have in Common, Brace YourselfTruthFinder People Search SubscriptionUndoTotal Battle – Online Strategy GameIf You’re PC User This Strategy Game Is A Must-Have!Total Battle – Online Strategy GameUndo Concern over falling tourism numbersUndoTurkish Cypriot actions in Varosha ‘a clear violation’ of UN resolutions, Nicosia saysUndoTwo arrested in connection with attempted murderUndoby Taboolaby Taboola
Categories: News State Rep. Ray Franz, R-Onekama, was recently presented a 2013-14 Champion of Free Enterprise award from the Michigan Chamber of Commerce by Trisha Kinley, Senior Director of Tax & Regulatory Reform. The award recognizes Franz’ 100-percent voting record on 13 House roll call votes important to Michigan’s business climate on issues such as campaign finance, environment, human resources, legal reform, tax policy, and transportation investment. “Rep. Franz has demonstrated a strong commitment to Michigan’s economic competitiveness and free enterprise by supporting policies based on individual freedom, incentive and opportunity,” noted Jim Holcomb, Senior Vice President for Business Advocacy & General Counsel for the Michigan Chamber. 08Oct Franz earns ‘Champion of Free Enterprise’ Award
Categories: Afendoulis News No appointments are necessary. In an effort to serve all who come to office hours, Rep. Afendoulis asks residents to be prepared to keep their meeting to ten minutes in length. If residents are unable to attend, or may have an issue that could take longer to discuss, they may contact Rep. Afendoulis’ office to schedule a separate meeting. Rep. Afendoulis may be reached at (517) 373-0218 or by email at email@example.com. State Rep. Chris Afendoulis announced his upcoming office hours for the months of February and March.“It is important for me to meet with my constituents to hear the questions and concerns they may have regarding state government,” Afendoulis said. “I invite all residents to join me for office hours.”Rep. Afendoulis will be available at the following times and locations:Friday, Feb. 167:30 to 9 a.m. at the Red Hot Inn, 3175 Leonard St. NE in Grand Rapids. Friday, Mar. 27:30 to 9 a.m. at Mr. Burger, 5181 Northland Dr. NE in Grand Rapids. 31Jan Rep. Afendoulis invites residents to upcoming office hours
Share24TweetShareEmail24 SharesAndrew Cline / Shutterstock.comFebruary 22, 2016; CNNOn Sunday, Ohio Governor and Republican presidential candidate John Kasich signed a bill that prohibits the state from contracting with any organization that performs or promotes abortions. While the bill didn’t directly mention Planned Parenthood, its passing effectively blocks approximately $1 million dollars in funding towards the organization’s services, which include HIV testing, health screenings, and violence prevention.While Kasich’s signature on this bill was expected, it marks another setback in a long, political battle that Planned Parenthood is fighting state by state to maintain access to critical government funding in order to continue providing health services to women.The longstanding political heat on Planned Parenthood was intensified last year when Texas lieutenant governor Dan Patrick called for an investigation of Planned Parenthood after the Center for Medical Progress (CMP) released their now-debunked fetal tissue videos. Planned Parenthood countersued the activist group, saying its methods of obtaining the basic content in the much-edited video were fraudulent and misrepresented the organization’s services. Planned Parenthood was ultimately victorious in that battle, with the grand jury actually indicting the videographers rather than the organization they had been charged to investigate.That did not slow much down as far as state persecutions of the organization went, and Governor Kasich’s action is a reminder that the political battle may be a harder one to fight than the legal. Already, Texas, Alabama, New Hampshire, and Arizona have defunded the organization based on the CMP videos. Kasich also refers to the incident as part of the reason to defund these health services, commenting that Planned Parenthood is an organization that has “discredited” itself, despite the fact that the legal findings imply otherwise.Planned Parenthood President Cecile Richards swiftly responded to Kasich’s signing, noting that this legislation, driven by political opposition to more controversial services like abortion and fetal tissue donation, actually cuts off a much wider range of critical health services:This legislation will have devastating consequences for women across Ohio. John Kasich is proudly eliminating care for expectant mothers and newborns; he is leaving thousands without vital STD and HIV testing, slashing a program to fight domestic violence, and cutting access to essential, basic health care.When asked directly what the impact of defunding Planned Parenthood would have on issues such as women’s health and the rise of STDs, Kasich points to the 150 other eligible grantees and contractors that partner with the Ohio Department of Health. In an interview with CNN, Kasich says pointedly, “While we don’t support Planned Parenthood, we do support a robust funding of women’s health. We just can’t operate through that organization any more, they have lost credibility. We are going to make sure that we have the places that women can go to get the treatment they need.”Kasich did not go into detail around the capacity or services provided by these alternate service providers, but he has taken a consistently strong stand against abortion before and during his presidential campaign.In a year focused on a presidential and congressional elections, and with a newly vacant seat on the Supreme Court, the politicizing of Planned Parenthood’s services and funding, as well as other nonprofit organizations with advocacy and services that align with political profiles on both sides of the aisle, will continue to be elevated.—Danielle HollyShare24TweetShareEmail24 Shares
Share2Tweet9ShareEmail11 SharesBy Gage Skidmore from Peoria, AZ, United States of America (Paul LePage) [CC BY-SA 2.0], via Wikimedia CommonsFebruary 20, 2018; Press Herald (Portland, ME)It seems like a long time since NPQ has covered a story about how Gov. Paul LePage of Maine is trying to get nonprofit organizations to pay taxes or in other ways bend to his will. The most recent was in December of 2017, when the governor was withholding funding from a workforce development program with which he disagreed. Prior to that, there have been numerous instances when he has done or said something against the nonprofit sector. So, it is with a sigh of resignation that we read a story in the Portland Press Herald about accusations that the governor, who is in the last year of his term, may have used inaccurate information in a pitch to tax land conservancies.When he was reelected for a new term to start in 2015, LePage immediately submitted a two-year budget that called for a dramatic overhaul of the tax code in Maine. One portion of that proposal was to impose property tax on nonprofit organizations owning property valued at more than $500,000, which the governor assumed would mean mostly hospitals and universities. The proposal was soundly defeated by the legislature.In his most recent State of the State speech, delivered on the 13th of February, LePage renewed his call to tax nonprofit organizations as a way of easing the burden on homeowners. This time, however, he set his sights on nature conservancies, which, he says, own $18.3 billion worth of land and are not paying taxes. He estimates this costs the home-owning population of Maine $330 million.Conservation advocates and some legislators have taken exception to this estimate, calling it disingenuous at best. It appears true that there is a large portion of Maine land that has been taken off the tax rolls through some form of conservancy. Of Maine’s 20 million acres, at least 4 million, or 20 percent, has been conserved in some fashion. However, the veracity of LePage’s claim does not seem to go much farther than that.A recent report issued by the governor’s office estimates that more than 1,300,000 acres of conserved land are owned by the federal government or the state of Maine, and so would not be affected by any legislation to impose a tax levy. An additional 2,300,000 are privately owned and protected through conservation easements, most of which are subject to taxation already. The leaves about 500,000 acres of land owned by land trusts. That land is valued at about $6.4 billion, not the $18.3 the Governor claimed in his speech.Some of the land trusts in question pay a reduced tax already because they are part of the state’s Tree Growth or Open Space programs and must remain as working forests. Other trusts offer payment in lieu of taxes, or PILOTs, to help offset some of the expenses incurred by the host municipality. (It should be noted here that the National Council of Nonprofits is adamantly opposed to any nonprofit organization being required or encouraged to pay PILOTs. They consider it simply another way to divert funding from the mission work of the nonprofit and into government coffers.)The state legislature’s Agriculture, Conservation and Forestry Committee is finalizing a report on tax-related issues and conservation lands. The members of the committee appear not to have been affected by the governor’s speech. One Republican legislator is quoted as saying that the land trusts have made a convincing case, and that even though it may not be enough, they are paying something. An independent legislator argued that since the governor’s office has not supplied the Committee with data to corroborate his claims, then the claims can only be set aside as “an interesting story.”—Rob MeiksinsShare2Tweet9ShareEmail11 Shares
Indian broadcaster Zee TV is launching two channels in the United Arab Emirates (UAE). The company is launching general entertainment network Zee TV HD and movie channel Zee Cinema HD through satellite operator eLife TV.Zee TV HD will air reality series and event programming including Dance India Dance and the Zee Rishtey Awards, while Zee Cinema HD will launch movies including Don 2 and Agent Vinod.Mukund Cairae, territory head, Middle East, North Africa and Pakistan, Zee Network, said: “With growing consumer demand for the richer, more immersive experience of HD, Zee viewers in the UAE will now have access to two new HD channels with high quality content all in crystal clear sound and stunning picture quality.”
Polish pay TV operator nc+’s Jan Frelek talks to DTVE about the business case for advanced services such as VOD, DVR and multiscreen, and lessons from the merger between n and Cyfra+.
Modern Times Group (MTG) has denied reports it is in talks to sell its stake in beleaguered Russian DTH pay TV platform Raduga TV.According to the ITAR-TASS news agency, MTG is in talks to sell its 50% stake in the operator to one of rival operators Tricolor TV or Orion Express.However, a spokesman for MTG said the reports are not true. “We are fully committed to Raduga and we are in no discussions about selling the asset,” he said.ITAR-TASS cited an unnamed source close to Tricolor TV as saying that MTG held meetings with the pair after regulator Roskomnadzor ruled that Raduga TV had failed to obtain the correct licence to broadcast in the Russian Federation.The regulator this week reported the case to the country’s ministry of internal affairs, asking it to consider a criminal prosecution, despite the fact that Raduga TV’s holding company DalGeoKom had appealed against an earlier fine, with that appeal still pending.
Vivendi’s supervisory board on Friday entered into exclusive negotiations with Altice to sell its SFR telecom unit.Vivendi will now enter into negotiations with Altice, the main shareholder of cable operator Numericable, for three weeks.Vivendi said its board “considers [Altice’s] offer to be the most pertinent for the group’s shareholders and employees, with the opportunity for effective execution. The offer also achieves Vivendi’s objective to rapidly become a leading European media and content player and develop SFR as a dynamic leader in high speed fixed and mobile telephony.”Altice has offered €11.75 billion to Vivendi and a 32% share in the equity of the combined company. Vivendi has also been provided with pre-determined exit conditions.Numericable welcomed the Vivendi board’s decision and said that the merer of the pair would create the leading French and European convergent high-speed fixed line broadband and mobile operator.In a sign that the combination of the pair may not face an entirely smooth path, however, digital economy minister Fleur Pellerin has publicly advised Altice owner Patrick Drahi, a Swiss domicile, to repatriate his affairs to France.Pellerin told the Journal du Dimanche that it would be “logical” for Drahi to be based in France for tax purposes if the deal goes through.Industry minister Arnaud Montebourg has also said that the government would have “fiscal questions to put to him” if Drahi succeeds in acquiring SFR. Montebourg publicly favoured the rival Bouygues offer for the Vivendi-owned telco.
BSkyB is reportedly planning to takeover sister companies Sky Italia and Sky Deutschland in the coming weeks, in a deal that would financially boost parent firm 21st Century Fox as its attempts to buy Time Warner.According to a Sunday Times report, Sky could seal the takeover of the two firms in the next two weeks, in a move that would create a European pay-TV powerhouse and provide Fox with a “windfall of more than €8 billion.”A separate Bloomberg report said that Fox’s 100% stake in Sky Italia and 57% stake in Sky Deutschland could fetch around €10 billion. Fox also owns a 39% in BSkyB.Last week Time Warner rejected a takeover bid by Rupert Murdoch’s Fox that was valued at roughly US$80 billion (€60 billion).According to Bloomberg, BSkyB’s buyout of Fox’s Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia assets could give Fox additional cash for its Time Warner bid, without the need to up its borrowing.BSkyB first confirmed that it was in preliminary talks about acquiring Fox’s 57% stake in Sky Deutschland and Sky Italia to create a pan-European pay TV giant back in May.The deal could create a European pay TV giant with 18.5 million subscribers that would have considerable power in negotiating content deals, including sports rights.
Virgin Media engineers laying cables in Papworth, CambridgeshireLiberty Global-owned cable operator Virgin Media has unveiled plans to invest a further £3 billion to expand its ultrafast broadband to four million more homes and businesses in the UK. According to Virgin, the five-year scheme, dubbed ‘Project Lightning’, will deliver broadband speeds of up to 152Mb and will mean that the number of premises Virgin will be able to offer services to will reach 17 million by 2020.Virgin said the project will mark the “single largest investment in broadband digital infrastructure” in the UK in more than a decade, and will create 6,000 direct new jobs over five years, including 1,000 new apprenticeships.UK Prime Minister David Cameron said: “I welcome this substantial investment from Virgin Media which is a vote of confidence in our long-term economic plan to support business and create jobs by building a superfast nation backed by world-class infrastructure.”“Together with this Government’s rollout of superfast broadband which has now reached more than two million UK homes and businesses, this additional private investment will create more opportunities for people and businesses, further boosting our digital economy and helping secure a brighter future for Britain.”Virgin Media CEO Tom Mockride added: “Millions of homes and businesses will soon be able to benefit for the first time from broadband speeds at least twice as fast as those available from the other major providers.”
Netflix has raised the price of its service in Europe for new subscribers, upping the Eurozone price of the standard service from €8.99 to €9.99 as of yesterday.The standard offer allows subscriber to access HD content and view it on two devices. Netflix’s other two offers, the more basic ‘Essential’ tier, offering access via one device without HD, and its ‘Premium’ offering, providing content including 4K video on up to four devices, remain unchanged, at €7.99 and €11.99 respectively.The increase currently only affects new customers, and the company guaranteed that its offer to existing subscribers will remain unchanged for a year.In Switzerland, the company raised the price of its standard service from CHF12.90 (€11.93) to CHF14.90.In an email to subscribers, the company said that the price hike was necessary to ensure that the company was able to continue to add more new TV series and films to its offering. Netflix faces intense competition from domestic SVoD services such as CanalPlay and Maxdome in Europe for local content rights.Join the discussion on LinkedIn.
TalkTalk TV has agreed a deal with Maker Studios to air a collection of the Disney-owned firm’s content on its platform.TalkTalk TV is the first pay TV platform in the UK to offer both Maker Studios original series and content – all on demand.TalkTalk TV will host more than 250 short-form videos, spanning topics such as gaming, lifestyle, family and entertainment, with new content from the Maker Studios network to be refreshed on a monthly basis.“Maker Studios’ content is compelling, fresh and innovative and resonates strongly with younger audiences,” said Tom Clark, vice president of digital distribution, Disney EMEA.“TalkTalk, as our first UK pay TV client for Maker Studios, will give customers the ability to enjoy world class short form content whenever and wherever they want.”Original series from the multichannel network (MCN) include Jobsworth starring YouTuber Joe Weller, Pugatory staring CutiePieMarzia and Party Fun Times starring Taryn Southern.“We’re delighted that TalkTalk TV homes will be the first in the UK to enjoy Maker Studio content. As many of our customers are families, having access to top online entertainment in a safe environment, free from adverts, is hugely appealing. This partnership with Maker Studios demonstrates TalkTalk TV’s continued commitment to growth and serving our customers.growth from strength to strength. We’re passionate about bringing our customers the widest range of content, on a single platform and on their terms. We can’t wait for TalkTalk homes to start enjoying this service,” said Aleks Habdank, managing director, TalkTalkTV.
Vodafone Portugal has become the first of the country’s ISPs to launch TVI Player, the on-demand service operated by Media Capital-owned commercial broadcaster TVI.TVI Player includes access to all of TVI’s programmes and those of cable news channel TVI24 for 30 days after their linear airing.According to TVI, the service will also include original content specifically produced for it.TVI Player categorises content according to genre, popularity and new content, and give Portuguese viewers access to the last 30 days of soap operas, entertainment shows, news and talks shows. Short videos capturing the ‘best moments’ of shows are also available.Vodafone subscribers can access TVI Player via the apps section o the user guide or by pressing the interactive red button while watching the TVI and TVI24 linear channels.TVI Player has previously been available online and on Android and Apple mobile devices.Vodafone Portugal already offers a range of on-demand services including Netflix, Indie World, Super8, Disney Movies on Demand and Playtime.
Two months on from its acquisition of Asturias operator Telecable from UK-based Zegona Communications, Spanish Basque Country-based cable operator Euskaltel has seen its pay TV base grow by 127,000 year-on-year to 394,000 in the year to September, and has seen strong take-up of its new Android TV-based box.The company said that its on-going TV growth had been boosted by its high-value offering and by the launch of its new 4K Android TV box the first in the Spanish market. Some 10,000 new-generation boxes have been activated since September.Growth in the TV base to September took Euskaltel to about 68% penetration of its overall base.Euskaltel, including Telecable, also saw a strong boost to its mobile base, adding 161,000 lines in the year to September. The combined company had 915,000 mobile lines activated at the end of the quarter.The company’s management have made a commitment to further invest in the modernization of Euskaltel’s network in the coming months, upgrading more areas to DOCSIS 3.1. Over half of the network in the Basque Country is now upgraded to the latest version of DOCSIS, and Euskaltel said this would be extended to Asturias and Galicia, where it owns local cable operator R.Euskaltel posted revenues of €444 million for the first nine months of the year, up 3.2%. It posted EBITDA of €219.3 million, up 4.7% with an EBITDA margin of 49.4%, up from 48.7%. Residential sales overall were up by 17.5% despite what the company described as a strongly competitive market.
Whistle Sports has raised more than US$28 million as part of an ongoing Series D funding round, which is being led by investment company and Eleven Sports founder, Aser.Aser’s investment forms part of a wider collaboration between Whistle Sports and its subsidiaries, including Eleven Sports, that is designed to help accelerate Whistle’s international expansion.Whistle said it plans to use the proceeds of the funding to, in part, expand its catalogue of free and premium original content with brand partners and creators.The round also included participation from return investors Liberty Media, Emil Capital and WndrCo – the media and technology holding the company that includes former Disney chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg as a founding partner.“This is more than just an investment,” said Aser founder and chairman, Andrea Radrizzani, who joins the Whistle Sports board. “It is an innovative collaboration with a leader in social content creation and distribution that will help Aser’s portfolio to engage these young audiences by creating exciting, engaging and positive content that today’s fans love to watch and share.”Whistle Sports founder and CEO, John West, said: “We are thrilled to receive an investment from – and partner with – a leading edge, dynamic and like-minded company such as Aser.”“We are looking forward to partnering with their invaluable global network and the key relationships they possess in important markets in Asia, Europe and around the world as we look to expand the Whistle Sports footprint. Today’s young sports fans have global interests, and with Aser, we can reach and engage them in new and exciting ways.”Whistle Sports is an entertainment network that specialises in youth-focused sports content for social and digital platforms, including YouTube and Facebook Watch.The company was founded in 2014 and now claims to have an aggregate social audience of over 450 million subscribers, followers and fans. This is across 2,000 channels that have a library of more than 560,000 videos.With the new funding, Whistle has raised a total of nearly US$100 million from investors that also includes NBC Sports, Sky Sports, Tegna and UK-based venture capital firm Beringea.Aser’s portfolio also includes Easyprod – a production company for the sport and media sector – and English Championship football team, Leeds United. This is alongside Eleven Sports, which Aser founded in 2015.
The BBC is in talks with Channel 4 (C4) to make a £500 million (€565 million) bid to take full control of UKTV, according to The Guardian.BBC Studios is already the owner of 50% of UKTV, but it wants a majority stake in the company as it is a major source of profit for the broadcaster, according to The Guardian. The other 50% is owned by Discovery.The BBC does not have the financial capability to buy out Discovery and has been seeking a partner. In May it had also planned a £1 billion joint venture with ITV, but nothing came of the rumoured move.Channel 4 has £190 million in cash reserves, which it could use as part of the strategic package toward a takeover of UKTV.The commercial broadcaster is not allowed to own production companies, so it cannot follow rivals such as ITV in driving income from creating global TV hits, The Guardian states, but it is gaining pressure from advertisers shifting spend to digital firms such as Google. This could be a play that drives more profit.UKTV already handles the £225 million-a-year TV ad sales contract for the broadcaster. Furthermore, UKTV profits have rocketed in the past decade jumping from £29 million to £90 million.Discovery inherited its stake in UKTV with its Scripps takeover last year. It had plans to break up the network but the idea has not gained traction, according The Guardian.
UKTV’s on demand and catch-up TV app is to be made available on all Samsung TVs sold from 2015 onwards.Featuring content from channel Dave, Drama, Really and Yesterday, the free UKTV Play app offers anytime viewing, access to box-sets, previews of new shows, exclusive content and personalisation with a dedicated ‘my shows’ section.Highlights this month include the full series of brand-new Judge Romesh and premieres of Dr Christian Will See You Now and Inside the Ambulance, which, until now, have only been available to pay TV customers. Episodes from the newest series of Taskmaster are also being previewed on UKTV Play seven days before they premiere on Dave.UKTV says that UKTV Play has grown significantly year-on-year since launching in 2014. Last year, it was the company’s fastest growing brand with direct-to-consumer views up 75% compared with 2016.