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First for Cyprus as local site offers music downloads March 30, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets, Media Radio TV, Music Life Greek.
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A digital music service provider for music downloads has teamed up with the Dias Group, one of the biggest media groups in Cyprus.

The new service, www.music.sigmalive.com, offers current and classic Greek music as well as a plethora of genres and categories to satisfy to the most selective fans.

www.Music.sigmalive.com will be the first digital music service designed for Cyprus by mpGreek, offering more than 70,000 Greeks songs available for download.

It will allow users to download music onto their computers from the largest Greek digital catalogue, powered by mpGreek. It has all the features of online previewing, secure payments, digital rights management and full online customer service support.

According to a press release, “mpGreek has simplified the user experience with more features and even more content. Consumers can easily buy music encoded in high audio quality from major and independent record labels. Users can rate the songs they see on sigmalive.com and send an e-dedication email with an audio preview and a small note to any email address.”

Prices are 1.10 euro per track. Purchased downloads can be burned onto CDs, transferred to compatible portable devices, and used on up to ten PCs.

“For quite some time, the Cyprus market has been in need of a legal way to download music,” said Michael Rizos, mpGreek business development director. “The music industry of Cyprus has been affected by internet piracy and consumers could not buy Greek repertory online. At mpGreek we believe that our collaboration with a group of such prestige and scope as Dias, means that the Greek musical range will be sold with great success at sigmalive.com, a compact and informed portal.”

Also commenting was Sillia Vasiliou, Web Manager of Sigma Radio TV Public Ltd. “Sigma Live is the only legal site in Cyprus and the island’s first complete internet portal. As our slogan says, it has everything.” She said that the internet, “has transformed how we share information. From illegal downloads of music and video to illicit DVDs and counterfeit designer goods, there isn’t anything that’s not being replicated illegally.

“Internet piracy can be viewed as a method of not paying and those in favour simply see themselves as ‘information sharers’. It is a fact that people don’t want to pay high legitimate prices, so they often go to pirate sites. On the other hand, iTunes is now the third-largest seller of music in the US reporting worldwide sales exceeding three billion songs. And the growth-rate of digital-music transactions is significant.”

Included on the Sigma site is live streaming video and audio, podcasts and much more, giving the user the possibility to legally own the digital Greek music he or she loves.
Visitors to the site can also enjoy continuous news, sport, lifestyle and business updates, as well as interact and express their views. “We position Sigma Live as a one-stop information and entertainment online shop,” Vasiliou said.

Greece’s Intralot upbeat on winning Spor Toto March 15, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Games & Gadgets.
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Greece’s Intralot SA, the world’s second-largest gaming-services provider, is “optimistic” about winning a 10-year contract to run Turkish sports-betting game Iddaa, Chief Executive Officer Constantinos Antonopoulos said.

Inteltek, the Turkish unit of Athens-based Intralot, in February signed a one-year interim contract to operate Iddaa for Spor Toto, Turkey’s state gaming authority. Inteltek, a venture between Intralot and Turkcell Iletisim Hizmetleri AS, said it controls about 40 percent of the country’s gaming market.

“We are very optimistic,” Antonopoulos said in an interview in London yesterday. “In the 15 years we have been in this business, we’ve never lost a client. And we don’t want to lose it,” he said. Intralot will also bid for Turkey’s state-owned national lottery, he added.

Intralot has a market value of 1.77 billion. The gaming company, which is scheduled to announce full-year results by the end of this month, forecast 2007 profit of 115 million euros on sales of about 880 million. Profit in the first nine months rose 4.2 percent to 85.5 million, Intralot said November 21.

The results “will be in line with our forecasts,” the executive said, adding that the final dividend will be similar to last year, when Intralot paid 18 cents a share.

Since the beginning of the year, Intralot has won new gaming contracts in South Carolina, its fifth US contract, and Poland and Turkey. It hopes to expand in China and begin operating in Vietnam, Antonopoulos said.

Intralot employs more than 4,000 people and runs lotteries and supplies gaming technology to 40 countries. Intralot’s revenue trails Lottomatica SpA, which manages Italy’s national lottery.

Greece’s OPAP to defend its monopoly on local gaming March 13, 2008

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Games & Gadgets.
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The reorganization of procedures, the agreement with betting agents and the rationalization of the “Pame Stoichima” [Let’s go Betting] betting game are the three top priorities for Christos Hadziemmanouil, the President and Chief Executive Officer of Greek gaming company OPAP.

Speaking to Dow Jones, he said the above three pillars concern the moves of the OPAP administration over the next few months and the aim is for those issues to have closed by June.

Plans for expansion abroad announced by the previous management of the company remain on ice and will be reviewed by the end of the year, said Hadziemmanouil. By that time the move by the European Commission against the company’s monopoly will have unfolded, he added, noting that he will defend the monopoly with all his strength.

“However, if worst comes to worst and we lose the monopoly, then only some very gullible people will believe that OPAP would cease to be profit-making,” he told the international news agency.

On “Pame Stoichima”, the OPAP head said that the undertaking of its management by the company was a huge step. OPAP will introduce new forms and new fields of betting in order to strengthen it, although these moves will not be made before the existing betting fields are rationalized.

Hadziemmanouil also remarked that a crucial change in the company’s operation will be the basis of a new relationship it wants to have with its agents. OPAP has begun negotiations with the agents’ federation for the signing of a new agreement between the two sides, and talks have been progressing rapidly.

Related Links > http://www.opap.gr  and http://www.pamestihima.gr

Cyprus plans to cut betting tax October 30, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Games & Gadgets.
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Cyprus plans to cut its betting tax to 10 percent from the present 25 percent in a bid to clamp down on illegal practices and enhance tax revenues, officials said yesterday.

In 2006, betting tax revenues declined to 4.27 million Cyprus pounds ($10.4 million) from 4.59 million Cyprus pounds in 2005, coming largely from bets on horses and soccer. Illegal betting is considered to be responsible for the declining revenues.

“The proposed change provides that taxation will be paid not by the player but by the betting agent, based not on the amount of the bet but on the difference between (received betting) revenues and amounts paid (to winners),” Iphigenia Petrocosta from the Finance Ministry told Parliament’s Finance Committee.

Representatives of gaming companies said the proposed change was a step in the right direction. “We believe that this law will help legal betting,” Glafkos Harmantas, President of OPAP Cyprus, told Reuters but declined to speculate on the dimensions of illegal betting. Petrocosta said the proposed legislation is an interim solution as the European Commission is to decide on Europe-wide rules.

Cyprus’ PrimeTel introduces personalised music TV October 22, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Games & Gadgets, Media Radio TV, Music Life Greek, Telecoms.
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Cyprus’ IPTV provider PrimeTel has launched an interactive TV application called VBox, which allows users to create their own individual on-demand music channel on their set-top box.

Viewer have access to a library of music video clips, both Greek and International, divided into music categories such as Greek, pop, laika, international, rock, and ballads. Users can make their choices and add up to 20 clips to the playlist they create. Playlists can also be saved for future use. Additionally users can access pre-made collections and lists created by various music producers.

VBox is an interactive application that runs on the set-top box and is accessed through the PrimeTV on-screen menu. The majority of the processing is performed on the PrimeTV video server, where the entire music video database is also saved. When the user has finished specifying the music selection, the list of songs is saved on the box and is transmitted to the video server for the execution of the requested search. When the user starts playing the playlist, the STB sends the command to the server, which in turn streams the content exclusively to the user who has sent the request.

Related Links > http://www.prime-tel.com/Main/default.aspx

Greece’s Intralot OPAP contract September 28, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Business & Economy, Games & Gadgets.
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Injunction against Intralot’s upgrading of OPAP thrown out

An Athens court yesterday rejected an injunction filed by US-Italian firm G-Tech against a decision by Greece’s gaming company OPAP to allocate the modernization of its information technology infrastructures to Intralot.

The 95-million-euro contract involves the technical support provided by the corporation and its betting agents for three years. Intralot landed the contract after the tender involving Intralot, G-Tech and Scientific Games was declared void.

250-euro laptops for pupils September 15, 2007

Posted by grhomeboy in Education, Games & Gadgets, Technology.
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The Economy and Finance Ministry has set a ceiling of 250 per item for the price of portable computers (laptops) for pupils who will start to acquire them from this school year on a pilot project.

The process has already begun for the selection of the model that the Greek state will procure for the project to be implemented. Sources suggest that the first batch will include 10,000 computers which, according to the Ministry’s proposal, will be distributed to pupils in the last two grades of primary school.

The same sources also suggest that there already are two bids tabled in the competent authorities from companies interested in undertaking the project. The first is that founded by Greek-American professor Nicholas Negroponte, who came up with the idea of the $100 laptop. It has already begun an international campaign for its promotion, although the first estimates suggest it has not had the reception it expected from poor and developing states. The other proposal comes from Intel, which is world-renowned in the domain of small processors.

Both companies interested had initially announced they would cooperate in the dispersion of digital technology and the training of young pupils in it, but eventually decided to submit separate offers.

Of course one cannot rule out that in the end they will cooperate in practice. The government may actually opt for distributing the project between the two, so as to choose the one that is more accessible and user-friendly for pupils. The government’s final decision may be made on practical evidence.