His best time ever is 12.94 seconds. It’s also the best time recorded by a Jamaican in the 110m hurdles, but if he has his way, Olympic and World Championships medallist Hansle Parchment will be making some adjustments to that record in the coming months. It’s one of his key ambitions, along with a gold medal, as he floors the pedal towards a new season, with the Olympic Games in Rio de Janeiro drawing ever closer. Parchment rose from what seemed a lost season at one point to clock 13.03 seconds for second place behind Russian Sergey Shubenkov in the final at the IAAF World Championships in Beijing last August. He simply seems to have a knack for turning up when it matters. Like in London at the 2012 Olympic Games where, out of nowhere, he dropped a then-national record of 13.12 to win a surprise bronze medal, becoming the first Jamaican medallist in the event at this level. His 12.94 was the only bright spark during a miserable year, last year, when injuries and uncertainty were best exhibited in his disappointing fifth-place finish at the Commonwealth Games in Glasgow. It looked like it was going to be another year of ‘What ifs’ for the 25-year-old from Cashew Bush in St Thomas, when, boom, 13.08 at the National Senior Championships showed he was ready before his Beijing run and confirmed his immense ability! Still, Parchment, though pleased with his medal loot to date, is looking to add something a little shinier to his bounty and is hoping that an encouraging start to his background preparations will bring him closer to his aim of lifting Jamaican sprint hurdles to mind-boggling heights in quite the same way another towering Jamaican did in the straight sprints. “My preparations for the coming season have been much better than previous seasons. I have been feeling good so far. My background training has been going pretty well and even my coach is impressed with the work that is being put in at the moment, so I’m quite pleased, and I feel if we can continue like this, we will have a very good season,” Parchment told The Gleaner during a recent sit-down. “I’m looking forward to just going out there and creating a storm in the hurdles. I feel that If I can do what I have in mind, I can somewhat change the view of hurdling worldwide in Jamaica,” added Parchment. “We have a lot of youngsters coming up right now who are doing really well like Jaheel Hyde, Micahel O’Hara, and Omar McLeod, so I am really looking forward to Jamaica on a whole taking charge in hurdling.” Taking charge, for Parchment, also involves taking down his current personal best. He won’t share the time he has in mind, but it’s there as a constant reminder and source of motivation in the back of his head, on a Post-it on his refrigerator and in a note on his cell phone. He wants to go fast in 2016 – really fast. “I have some time objectives. I’m sure my coach (Fitz Coleman) has time objectives in his head as well. I have scribbled it down. I think about it every day: ‘How am I going to get to this time? How much work I need to put in to get there?’ Parchment shared. “I won’t tell you the time right now, but it’s my personal goal, and I am aiming for that.” Perhaps 12.80 seconds? After all, it is the world record. A wry smile was followed by a telling: “I want to do special things, amazing things.” There’s hardly a bigger stage than the Olympic Games. All things being equal, he will be heading to Rio next year with one eye on the top of the medal podium and another on the clock.
Jess FowleSky has acquired a majority stake in a northern England-based production company, True North, marking the European pay TV operator’s latest round of investment in the UK production sector.Sky has also taken an undisclosed stake in Chrysalis Vision, the drama production vehicle Chris Wright and Mick Pilsworth set up two years ago.The True North deal hands Sky control of Leeds-based indie, which is behind programmes such as MTV’s Teen Mom UK, CBBC’s Junior Vets and Channel 4’s A New Life in the Sun.True North founders Jess Fowle and Andrew Sheldon will remain with the production company following the investment, as will managing director Marc Allen and executive producer Fiona O’Sullivan, who runs the firm’s Manchester base.Minority shareholder Channel 4 is cashing out as a result of the deal, marking the first time it has exited an indie it invested in through its Growth Fund. True North was among the first companies Channel 4 bought into in August 2014.UK broadcaster Channel 4 earlier this month used cash from its Growth Fund to buy into Scottish prodco Firecrest Films.“We set up the Indie Growth Fund to help support creative UK companies get to the next level – and in just two years we’ve helped secure a strong future for True North,” said David Abraham, CEO at Channel 4.”In this time, and with Channel 4’s support, Andrew and Jess have built one of the biggest factual indies in the country and established an important training ground for new and diverse creative talent in the north.“The return on our investment in True North will support our ongoing commitment to the UK wide creative sector.”Channel 4 and Sky are co-investors in digital rights management business TRX.True North and Chrysalis Vision are now joining a stable of Sky producers that also includes New York-based Jupiter Entertainment and Great British Bake Off creator Love Productions. Internally, it has also expanded distribution vehicle Sky Vision into production through its Sky Vision Productions banner.For Chrysalis, Sky’s investment comes after Zinc Media (aka Ten Alps) bought a 12% stake in July 2015.“I am delighted to welcome Sky as a shareholder in the business and we all look forward to working with Sky’s Content team, and with Sky Vision, to develop, produce and distribute long-running prime-time television drama series with worldwide appeal and long-term value,” said Chrysalis Vision chairman Wright. “This new arrangement gives our team the resources and contacts to take the business forward.”Sky Vision will now be commercial and distribution rights owner to both True North and Chrysalis Vision.“True North has an incredible track record, and we’re really excited to have the opportunity to work with two renowned industry figures in Jess Fowle and Andrew Sheldon to develop more top quality programming,” said Jane Millichip, MD of Sky’s production and distribution arm, Sky Vision. “This acquisition builds on the work we have done over the last few years to create a European powerhouse for content production and distribution.”True North co-founder Sheldon said the move was part of the company’s strategy to move further into the international production sector.“Being aligned to Channel 4 has been a terrific experience,” he said. “Although they won’t be investors anymore we’re really looking forward to continuing our creative partnership with the channel. We’re now well placed to deliver on a new set of ambitions in the global market, and we think Sky are the perfect partners to help achieve that.”Fowle added there had been “a lot of interest from potential investors, but Jane Millichip and her team demonstrated that they understand and value not just our content, but our culture, and that proved irresistible”.Fowle and Sheldon set up True North in 2001 with Glyn Middleton, as part of a plan to establish a major TV production business outside the UK. The company often employs around 150 employees in Leeds and Manchester.
Fox Sports is to use 5G technology to stream 4K video for broadcast across the US at this year’s US Open golf championship in June. The broadcaster has tapped the services of its own Fox Innovation Lab and partners Ericsson, Intel and AT&T for the transmission.The 5G wireless technology will transmit 4K HDR images from two Fox Sports cameras positioned on the seventh hole at Shinnecock Hills Golf Club through the Fox Sports production truck to viewers at home.The offering is part of a Featured Holes enhancement to Fox’s coverage of the event, available on USGA.com, DirecTV and the Fox Sports app.According to Fox, in the future, 5G could possibly be used to deliver real-time virtual reality views from the course to viewers.Intel and its partners used 5G technology to stream video on a broad scale for the first time at the Winter Olympics in PyeongChang in Korea earlier this year.The US Open will be the first broadcast using 5G technology from a leading US golf tournament. Ericsson is providing the 5G radios, baseband, simulated network core, and 4K video encoder and decoder.Intel is providing the Intel 5G Mobile Trial Platform, a small device that acts as a wireless communication device capable of transmitting 1.6Gbps, which will be placed in a cart at the seventh hole to deliver the 5G to IP translation.AT&T will use millimeter wave spectrum to deliver the 5G connection.“As we prepare for the launch of 5G networks, it is essential for us to test real-world business cases, such as for wireless streaming of 4K video at sporting events. In collaboration with our partners, Ericsson is proud to demonstrate this type of innovative entertainment solution, utilizing both our networks and media technologies. This is just one eye-opening example of the increased relevance high performance wireless networks will have for delivering a superior consumer experience,” said Niklas Heuveldop, head of market area North America, Ericsson.“5G ultimately promises to transform the video experience and enabling this live 4K broadcast is a great early example. The high-speed and low-latency delivered by this trial allows the cameras to move without being restricted by cables and create a unique filming environment. We believe live sports will eventually be transformed by 5G – whether it’s virtual and augmented realities for those watching from afar or how connected sensors could help analyze golf swings, wind conditions, even the speed of greens for the golfer in future US Opens,” said Melissa Arnoldi, president, AT&T technology and operations.
Hulu’s The Handmaid’s TaleThe Mouse House revealed this afternoon (May 14) that it will assume full operational control of the Handmaid’s Tale streamer, effective immediately, in return for Disney and Comcast entering into a “put/call” agreement regarding NBCUniversal’s 33% ownership stake in the platform.Under the deal, Disney can buy NBCUniversal’s interest in Hulu as early as January 2024. Effective now, NBCUniversal has relinquished voting rights around Hulu.Hulu’s fair market value in 2024 will be assessed by independent experts but Disney has guaranteed a sale price for Comcast of at least $27.5bn.In addition to the put/call agreement, Comcast has agreed to extend Hulu’s licensing of NBCUniversal content and the Hulu Live carriage agreement for NBCUniversal channels until late 2024, and to distribute Hulu on its Xfinity X1 platform.NBCUniversal can terminate most of its content license agreements with Hulu in three years’ time, and in one year’s time, NBCUniversal will be able to take some of the content it currently licenses exclusively to Hulu for its own streaming platform.Hulu struck a deal with AT&T last month to take back a 9.5% minority stake from the company for $1.43bn.Comcast has reportedly been mulling a sale of its 30% stake in Hulu for some time. In late April, it was reported that the business was weighing the pros and cons of doing a deal now rather than later.