About 200 children, who will become voters taking part in the country’s democratic process after a few years, have called upon the political parties to include their crucial issues in the manifestos for the upcoming Rajasthan Assembly election. Their charter of demands is the outcome of a series of seven workshops organised at divisional headquarters under the ‘Dasham’ initiative.‘Cell for children’The children’s demands included construction of toilets in schools, free distribution of sanitary pads, power supply in villages, mandatory holding of ‘Baal Sabha’ in village panchayats and improvement in Anganwadi centre services. “All political parties should establish separate cells for children,” stated the charter.At the ‘Dasham’ event here earlier this week, Rajasthan Assembly Deputy Speaker Rao Rajendra Singh and State Women’s Commission chairperson Suman Sharma (BJP), Mahesh Sharma (Congress), Sanjay Madhav (CPI-M), Nisha Siddhu (CPI), T.P. Sharma (Aam Aadmi Party) and Shailendra Awasthi (Samajwadi Party) interacted with the children.The event was an initiative of Rajasthan Right to Education Forum, Girls Not Brides — Rajasthan, Jan Swasthya Abhiyan and Baal Suraksha Network. Resource Institute for Human Rights spokesperson Vijay Goyal said though the children below 18 years were not allowed to vote, they should be heard in their capacity as “future voters”.Children below 18 years comprise 41% of the State’s population. If the teenagers till the age of 19 years are included in this population, the figures touch 49.6%, requiring special steps for their development by the government. The participants said the children could not become responsible citizens without an effective intervention for their healthy growth.Parties’ assuranceWhile the political leaders assured the gathering that they would try to get children’s issues included in the manifestos of their respective parties, the children from different districts, including the hearing- and speech-impaired students of schools and colleges, raised the issues which were affecting their natural growth.‘No school or hospital’Amira Khatoon, 17, from Jodhpur, said her village had no school or hospital and the people often died before getting to hospital in case of emergency. Kundan Kunwar from Udaipur said children in the rural families, who did not know anything about career choices, were lagging behind in the competition.The young boys and girls also challenged the traditions of educational opportunities being denied to the girls and the children forced into unwanted marriages at the tender age. The demands of specially abled children pertained to an easy access to public places and the availability of interpreters. .
The BBC has begun rolling out the new version of its BBC iPlayer catch-up TV platform to a wider group of smart TV platforms.Executive product manager Marcus Parnwell said in a blog posting that the new version of iPlayer is now being rolled out to smart TV platforms including 2014 Bush, Digihom, Finlux, Hitachi, JVC, LG, Linstar, Luxor, Panasonic, Philips, Polariod, Sharp TVs, 2012 Cello TVs, 2010, 2011 and 2014 Samsung TVs, 2011 and 2014 Sony TVs, 2012, 2013 and 2014 Toshiba TVs and 2012 Vestel models.The latest version of iPlayer is also being deployed on a wider range of Blu-ray players from LG, Panasonic, Samsung, Sony and Toshiba, as well as set-top boxes from Bush, Hitachi, LG, Tesco-Technika and Western Digital.Parnwell said the migration means that the BBC has taken the decision to retire the ‘Bigscreen’ version of iPlayer that was rolled out five years ago but which is currently only used by about 0.1% of iPlayer users.He said that the BBC is continuing to work with YouView, Virgin Media and BT to bring the new version of iPlayer to these plaforms, while it will be launched on the Microsoft Xbox One platform by the end of this year.
Tim DavieProfit and revenue have declined at BBC Worldwide in the wake of the sale of a chunk of the BBC America cable channel.The absence of a chunk of revenue from BBC America, 49.9% of which was sold to AMC for US$200 million (€180 million) earlier this year, caused the year-on-year revenue and profit reverses the commercial arm of the BBC said this morning.Headline 2014/15 revenues of £1 billion (€1.4 billion) were down 3.9% and headline profit decreased 11.9%, taking the annual total to £138.6 million. Worldwide said the declines were caused by the absence of BBC America revenues for most of the second half of the year.Comparing like for like revenues across its ongoing operations, it said there was a 0.4% increase in the £948 million recorded, and a 4.1% hike in profit of £127.1 million. Digital sales, advertising revenue across its channels and the contribution of UKTV were cited as key drivers.BBC Worldwide CEO Tim Davie said the AMC-BBC America deal “significantly enhanced future prospects for our BBC America channel, while also enabling us to boost shareholder returns for the year”.The proceeds of the AMC deal helped Worldwide generate a record amount of cash for the BBC, with an annual increase of 30.3%, taking the return to the Corporation to £226.5 million. Worldwide also contributed a greater amount in commissioning spend, becoming a production or distribution partner on various BBC shows, and in turn funding, or deficit-funding, a chunk of their budget.Reacting to the 2014/15 annual report, which was published today, BBC director general Tony Hall (pictured left, above) said it was a year of “positive progress at BBC Worldwide” against a “backdrop of market transformation that presented some challenges”.Hailing Worldwide the most successful commercial arm of any pubcaster in the world, he added that the Corporation wants it to return a cumulative £1 billion across the next five years.“Although commercial returns are a small part of the BBC’s funding mix, we are nonetheless determined to maximise their impact,” Hall said. “Therefore, looking ahead to the next phase of the BBC’s development, and a new charter period, it is the board’s aim to sustain annual financial returns at around this new level, even without the one-off benefit of BBC America proceeds.“We are therefore looking to BBC Worldwide to generate around £1 billion in returns for the Corporation in the five years starting from 2014/15 – an increase of almost one quarter on the previous half-decade.”Tim Davie (right) said that the business had “taken steps to drive innovation and underpin the sustainability” in the 2014/15 reporting period including investing in indies and relaunching its channel offering. “This is essential work in the context of a global media market undergoing structural and systemic changes, some of which constrain our trading and outlook in certain areas,” he said.In its last report, Worldwide reported a downturn in US sales. In its latest annual update said digital sales eclipsed linear for the first time in North America. Overall regional sales were £299.9 million compared to £342.5 million a year earlier. Profit was £32.9 million against £44.3 million across the same period.In the UK, headline 2014/2015 sales were £361.8 million compared with £362.2 million a year earlier and profit was £52.7 million against £56.2 million.There was growth in terms of Worldwide’s Australia and New Zealand business with 2014/15 revenues of £81.9 million compared to £76 million in 2013/14. Profit was £16.3 million against £13.3 million a year earlier.