IN THE PAPERS
In The Papers 7 March
RTE 'reviews' Magnet WebTV service | Tralee pharma R&D centre to create jobs
The Irish Times reports that RTE is "reviewing" the legality of broadband provider Magnet's WebTV service, which allows access to all Irish terrestrial channels via the internet without the need for a TV licence. While the numbers watching Magnet's live streams remain small -- just 600 users have been watching daily since the service was launched at the end of January -- the service now has more than 10,000 registered users and if it continues to grow, it will negatively impact on RTE's revenues from licence fees. "The regulatory and legal framework around it is complex. We are currently reviewing it," said an RTE spokeswoman. Magnet insists there is nothing complex about its new service and says it is entirely legal.
The paper also says that Apple is in talks with record companies to give iTunes customers easier access to music they've purchased across multiple devices, according to sources. These people say Apple is negotiating with music companies including Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, Warner Music Group and EMI, and an agreement may be announced by mid-2011. The deal would provide iTunes customers with a permanent backup of music purchases if originals are damaged or lost, and it would allow downloads to iPad, iPod and iPhone devices linked to the same iTunes account, the sources said.
The paper also reports that nearly three-quarters of Paddy Power's profits were generated online last year. The bookmaker posted pre-tax profits of EUR104.2 million for year ended 31 December 2010, a rise of 55 percent on the preceding year. Revenues increased 39 percent to EUR3.83 billion, while operating profit rose 52 percent to EUR75 million and adjusted diluted EPS growth was up 40 percent to 168.9 cent.
The Irish Independent says that nearly 300 jobs will be announced next week as part of an ambitious project to build what has been described as a world-leading pharmaceutical research and development centre in Tralee, Kerry. On 16 March, five major firms will announce that they will create 282 jobs over a 15-month period. The move marks the first phase of a potential EUR4.5 billion investment in a project that might ultimately see 4,500 jobs brought to Kerry. Pat Barry, chief executive of Pharmadel, the Cork-headquartered firm that's promoting the Global Pharmaceutical Centre of Excellence (GPCE) project, said that recruitment was likely to start immediately.
The Irish Examiner reports that Ireland is to get a whistleblowers website where people will be able to report issues of abuse and public concern. Transparency International Ireland is launching transparency.ie along with a whistleblowers' hotline, and preparations have involved consultation with the Gardai, the Competition Authority and the Standards in Public Office Commission. The site is intended to empower people and organisations with the information and support they need to safely report issues of public concern, make government more open, and promote integrity across all sectors of Irish society, said the group's chief executive, John Devitt.
The Sunday Independent reports that a chip called the R4, which can hold up to 100 illegally copied video games, is being sold openly in shops around Ireland. This practice was filmed by undercover reporters for a TV3 documentary called Blackmarket Ireland.
The Sunday Business Post reports that the outgoing Minister for Communications Eamon Ryan restricted RTE's development of five new digital TV channels. According to documents seen by the paper, the minister banned RTE's proposed news channel from taking advertising, stopped it from going ahead with the second phase of an entertainment channel, and put a cap on investment of EUR8.3 million over the next five years. The documents also show that the Broadcasting Authority of Ireland had concerns about the impact of some of RTE's plans.
The paper also reports that applying for mortgage interest relief can now be done online on the Revenue's PAYE Anytime website. The service launched on 3 March and some 500 transactions were handled on the first day of launch.
According to the same paper, the Irish subsidiary of Salesforce reported revenue of EUR35.3 million for the year ending 31 January 2010, up 18 percent on the previous year. The firm also reported widening losses for the year, as a result of rising distribution charges and a one-off intellectual property charge. Net losses stood at EUR2.5 million, compared to EUR230,000 the previous year.
The paper also says that Paul Lynam has been appointed the new CEO of Siemens Ireland, replacing Werner Kruckow.
The same paper also reports that Dublin firm Heystaks Technologies has launched in the US market; Irish firm Triangle Computer Services has won the IBM Centre of Technical Excellence for Business Partners award; and the Junior Inventor Awards was launched by the Patents Office.
The Sunday Times reports that Peter Cross, the former chief financial officer of Eircom, has issued High Court proceedings against the firm. According to the paper Cross is understood to be claiming breach of contract and is seeking compensation. Cross left Eircom in December last year following a reported disagreement with CEO Paul Donovan.
The paper also reports that Joe Bruen, former owner of the Phone Pak chain of mobile phone shops, has agreed to being disqualified from acting as a director for five years after the liquidator of the company brought High Court proceedings against him.