Heather Mills gets UK phone hacking apology, payout

Heather Mills speaks to the media outside the High Court in London March 17, 2008. (Reuters)
Updated 08 July 2019
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Heather Mills gets UK phone hacking apology, payout

  • Heather Mills and her sister Fiona Mills both received a formal apology in Britain’s High Court on Monday

LONDON: Heather Mills, the former wife of Paul McCartney, and her sister have received an apology and a settlement from Britain’s defunct News of the World tabloid over the hacking of their phones.
Heather Mills and her sister Fiona Mills both received a formal apology in Britain’s High Court on Monday. In a statement read outside the court, she said she felt “joy and vindication” at the settlement.
“My motivation to win this decade-long fight stemmed from a desire to obtain justice, not only for my family, my charities and myself, but for the thousands of innocent members of the public who, like me, have suffered similar ignominious, criminal treatment at the hands of one of the world’s most powerful media groups,” she said.
Mills is one of a number of celebrities who have received settlements in the prolonged phone hacking scandal, which closed the Rupert Murdoch-owned News of the World in 2011. The paper was found to have hacked into the voicemail of many prominent Britons in a gross violation of privacy.
A representative of the tabloid said it apologized to the Mills sisters for “the distress caused to them by the invasion of their privacy by individuals working for or on behalf of the News of the World.”
The size of what was called a “substantial settlement” hasn’t been revealed.
The Mills’ lawyer, David Sherborne, said the sisters had been subjected to “sustained and repeated invasions of privacy” by people working for the newspaper.
“The claimants believe that the publication of articles in the defendant’s newspapers had a seriously corrosive effect on (their) relationships with their friends and family, some of which can never be repaired,” he said.
Mills and McCartney divorced in 2008 after a prolonged court clash over the size of the settlement she would receive.


Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

Updated 18 July 2019
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Netflix to roll out cheaper mobile-only plan for India

  • India is among the last big growth markets for the company
  • Netflix faces competition from Amazon’s Prime Video and Walt Disney Co’s Hotstar
Netflix said on Wednesday it would roll out a lower-priced mobile-only plan in India within the next three months to tap into a price-sensitive market at a time the streaming company is losing customers in its home turf.
India is among the last big growth markets for the company, where it faces competition from Amazon.com Inc’s Prime Video and Hotstar, a video streaming platform owned by Walt Disney Co’s India unit.
Netflix lost US streaming customers for the first time in eight years on Wednesday, when it posted quarterly results. It also missed targets for new subscribers overseas.
“India is a mobile-first nation, where many first-time users are experiencing the Internet on their phones. In such a scenario, a mobile-only package makes sense to target new users,” said Tarun Pathak, analyst at Counterpoint Research.
The creator of “Stranger Things” and “The Crown” said in March that it was testing a 250-rupee ($3.63) monthly subscription for mobile devices in India, where data plans are among the cheapest in the world.
The country figures prominently in Chief Executive Officer Reed Hastings’ global expansion plans.
“We believe this plan, which will launch in the third quarter, will be an effective way to introduce a larger number of people in India to Netflix and to further expand our business,” the company said in a letter to investors released late on Wednesday.
Netflix currently offers three monthly plans in India, priced between 500 rupees ($7.27) and 800 rupees $11.63).
It has created a niche following in the country by launching local original shows like the thriller “Sacred Games” and dystopian tale “Leila,” which feature popular Bollywood actors.
The second season of “Sacred Games” is set to release in August.
In contrast, Hotstar, which also offers content from AT&T Inc’s HBO and also streams live sports, charges 299 rupees ($4.35) per month. Amazon bundles its video and music streaming services with its Prime membership.
“We’ve been seeing nice steady increases in engagement with our Indian viewers that we think we can keep building on. Growth in that country is a marathon, so we’re in it for the long haul,” Netflix Chief Content Officer Ted Sarandos said.