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Nissan sticks to Champs League

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Nissan has confirmed a three-year extension to its global partnership with the UEFA Champions League, including the UEFA Super Cup.

Legendary footballer Gareth Bale celebrated the announcement by surprising a group of schoolchildren in Spain and teaching them how to recreate his iconic winning goal from the 2014 final against Club Atlético de Madrid.

The agreement comes ahead of the first game of the 2017/2018 UEFA Champions League season and will see the Japanese manufacturer stay as an official partner up to and including the 2020/2021 season. The UEFA Champions League continues to be Nissan’s largest investment in sports sponsorship, which began at the start of the 2014/2015 season.

The UEFA Champions League continues to be the most watched annual sporting competition on the planet, with a cumulative television audience of more than 4-billion a season. The 2017 UEFA Champions League Final attracted a global audience of more than 160-million, more than any other annual sporting event, and it saw Real Madrid C.F. beat Juventus F.C. to record their 12th UEFA Champions League title.

“Innovation that excites is at the core of everything Nissan does and our partnership with the most exciting sports tournament on the planet over the last three years has been key to that,” said Roel de Vries, corporate vice president, global head of marketing for Nissan. “We’re delighted to be extending this partnership for another three seasons, and it will continue to be at the very heart of our global marketing strategy. We’ve seen huge success from the partnership and the additional engagement it has allowed us to have with consumers.”

“Football is the perfect arena to show Nissan’s commitment to performance, not just globally, but here in South Africa too. We’re a sports crazy nation and South Africans are very passionate about football. The UEFA partnership extension will certainly give us the opportunity to speak to fans of the sport and to communicate how intelligent our vehicles are,” said Kabelo Rabotho, Director: Marketing for Nissan South Africa.

Locally, Nissan SA has respected cricketing heroes, Shaun Pollock and Kagiso Rabada, as brand ambassadors, who form part of Nissan’s global partnership with ICC World Cricket. Nissan SA also partnered with Kaya FM for “Kagiso’s Coaching Clinic”, which will see one lucky school in the country benefiting from a coaching session with Rabada.

As part of the new UEFA deal, Nissan will continue to have extensive rights at UEFA Champions League matches as well as access to other exclusive rights, such as the pre-match Center Circle Carriers and post-match UEFA Champions League Goal of the Week, presented by Nissan digital activation.

Commenting on the agreement, Guy-Laurent Epstein, UEFA Events SA Marketing Director, said: “We are delighted to continue our partnership with Nissan after a very successful first cycle. They have become an integral member of the sponsor family and have been invaluable for the promotion of the competition on a global level. The UEFA Champions League brand appeal is growing from strength to strength every single year and its platform continues to provide top brands like Nissan the opportunity to connect and engage with football fans around the globe.”

“Our partnership with the UEFA Champions League has been instrumental in our mission to become the most desirable Asian brand in Europe,” said Jean-Pierre Diernaz, vice president, marketing, Nissan Europe. “In the coming years, we have an ambitious product plan supported with breakthrough technologies, having the world’s most exciting sporting event as a partner is giving us the perfect platform to emotionally engage with our audience and drive brand preference. I am excited to see how innovative we will be together with UEFA in creating excitement for the fans.”

The UEFA Champions League is another example of Nissan’s dedication to inspiring sports fans, which also includes the International Cricket Council, the City Football Group, the Canadian Football League, the Heisman Trust and the Heisman Trophy.

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Samsung unleashes the beast

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Most new smartphone releases of the past few years have been like cat-and-mouse games with consumers and each other. It has been as if morsels of cheese are thrown into the box to make it more interesting: a little extra camera here, a little more battery there, and incremental changes to size, speed (more) and weight (less). Each change moves the needle of innovation ever-so-slightly. Until we find ourselves, a few years later, with a handset that is revolutionary compared to six years ago, but an anti-climax relative to six months before.

And then came Samsung. Probably stung by the “incremental improvement” phrase that has become almost a cliché about new Galaxy devices, the Korean giant chose to unleash a beast last week.

The new Galaxy Note 9 is not only the biggest smartphone Samsung has ever released, but one of the biggest flagship handsets that can still be called a phone. With a 6.4” display, it suddenly competes with mini-tablets and gaming consoles, among other devices that had previously faced little contest from handsets.

It offers almost ever cutting edge introduced to the Galaxy S9 and S9+ smartphones earlier this year, including the market-leading f1.5 aperture lens, and an f2.4. telephoto lens, each weighing in at 12 Megapixels. The front lens is equally impressive, with an f1.7 aperture – first introduced on the Note 8 as the widest yet on a selfie camera.

So far, so S9. However, the Note range has always been set apart by its S Pen stylus, and each edition has added new features. Born as a mere pen that writes on screens, it evolved through the likes of pressure sensitivity, allowing for artistic expression, and cut-and-paste text with translation-on-the-fly.

(Click here or below to read more about the Samsung Galaxy S Pen stylus) Samsung Galaxy S9 Features)

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SA ride permit system ‘broken’

Despite the amendments to the National Land Transport Act, ALON LITS, General Manager, Uber in Sub Saharan Africa, believes that many premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

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The spirit and intention of the amendments to the National Land Transport Act No 5  (NLTA), 2009 put forward by the Ministry of Transport are to be commended. It is especially pleasing that these amendments include ridesharing and e-hailing operators and drivers as legitimate participants in the country’s public transport system, which point to government’s willingness to embrace the changes and innovation taking place in the country’s transport industry.

However, there are aspects of the proposed amendments that are, at best, premature given that the necessary, well-functioning systems and processes are not yet in place to make these regulatory changes viable.

Of particular concern are the significant financial penalties that will need to be paid by ridesharing and e-hailing companies whose independent operators are found to be transporting passengers without a legal permit issued by the relevant local authority. These fines can be as high as R100 000 per driver operating without a permit. Apart from being an excessive penalty it is grossly unfair given that a large number of local authorities don’t yet have functioning permit issuing systems and processes in place.

The truth is that the operating permit issuance system in South Africa is effectively broken. The application and issuance processes for operating licenses are fundamentally flawed and subject to extensive delays, sometimes over a year in length.  This situation is exacerbated by the fact that it is very difficult for applicants whose permit applications haven’t yet been approved to get reasons for the extensive delays on the issuing of those permits.

Uber has had extensive first-hand experience with the frustratingly slow process of applying for these permits, with drivers often having to wait months and, in some cases more than a year, for their permits.

Sadly, there appears to be no sense of urgency amongst local authorities to prioritise fixing the flawed permit issuing systems and processes or address the large, and growing, backlogs of permit applications. As such, in order for the proposed stringent permit enforcement rules to be effective and fair to all role players, the long-standing issues around permit issuance first need to be addressed. At the very least, before the proposed legislation amendments are implemented, the National Transport Ministry needs to address the following issues:

  1. Efficient processes and systems must be put in place in all local authorities to allow drivers to easily apply for the operating permits they require
  2. Service level agreements need to be put in place with local authorities whereby they are required to assess applications and issue permits within the prescribed 60-day period.
  3. Local authorities need to be given deadlines by which their current permit application backlogs must be addressed to allow for faster processing of new applications once the amendments are promulgated.

If the Transport Ministry implements the proposed legislation amendments before ensuring that these permit issuance challenges are addressed, many drivers will be faced with the difficult choice of either having to operate illegally whilst awaiting their approved permits and risking significant fines and/or arrest, or stopping operations until they receive their permits, thereby losing what is, for many of them, their only source of income.

As such, if the Ministry of Transport is not able to address these particular challenges, it is only reasonable to ask it to reconsider this amendment and delay its implementation until the necessary infrastructure is in place to ensure it does not impact negatively on the country’s transport industry. The legislators must have been aware of the challenges of passing such a significant law, as the Amendment Bill allows for the Minister to use his discretion to delay implementation of provisions for up to 5 years.

Fair trade and healthy competition are the cornerstones of any effective and growing economy. However, these clauses (Section 66 (7) and Section 66A) of the NLTA amendment, as well as the proposal that regulators be given authority to define the geographic locations or zones in which vehicles may operate, are contrary to the spirit of both. As a good corporate citizen, Uber is committed to supplementing and enhancing South Africa’s national transport system and contributing positively to the industry. If passed into law without the revisions suggested above, these new amendments will limit our business and many others from playing the supportive roles we all can, and should, in growing the SA transport and tourism industries as well as many other key economic sectors.

What’s more, if passed as they currently stand, the amendments will effectively limit South African consumers from having full access to the range of convenient transport options they deserve; which has the potential to harm the reputation and credibility of the entire transport industry.

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