LIVERPOOL, United Kingdom, July 18, 2013 (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) -- Headland Media announced today that more than 60,000 seafarers have joined its new Crewtoo ® social media site, which is described as "the home of seafarers online." This significant milestone, achieved within 12 months of the site's introduction, highlights the demand among seafarers for greater social interaction. In addition to Crewtoo, Headland Media is also known for its popular NewsLink™ newspapers, which are delivered to ships via satellite, and its Walport ® blockbuster movies and training videos. The company was purchased in May 2013 by a maritime VSAT industry leader, KVH Industries, Inc., (Nasdaq:KVHI).
"For many of the world's 1.2 million seafarers, the initial romantic vision of a life at sea was too soon replaced by the reality of hard work in harsh conditions and increasing isolation," commented Mark Woodhead, managing director of Headland Media. "Crewtoo's unique objective is to combat that sense of loneliness and lack of contact that most people at sea experience, by providing a space where seafarers feel they belong and can converse. It is also a space where they can learn and it is becoming a platform for seafarers to help and inspire each other."
On many of the world's commercial vessels, smaller, multinational crews often have language and cultural barriers that make it difficult for them to socialize. Shorter port calls and increased security regulations limit the traditional break of shore leave. A lack of communications options onboard limits contact with family and friends on shore. And many vessels aren't equipped with adequate sources of news and entertainment. The issue has become serious enough to be addressed with new International Labour Organization (ILO) regulations known as MLC-2006, which set standards designed to improve the living conditions of seafarers onboard ships. Headland Media's offerings, which include news, sports, movies, music, and training videos in addition to Crewtoo, offer a comprehensive solution for commercial maritime companies striving to offer attractive working conditions and meet the new requirements of MLC-2006 that go into effect in August, 2013. An added benefit of combining KVH and Headland Media services is that large files such as Headland Media's Hollywood movies and training videos can be transmitted efficiently and affordably using KVH's TracPhone ® V-IP series terminals, mini-VSAT Broadband sm network, and new IP-MobileCast™ service, which is expected to be available later this year. This variety of services, provided in a convenient and affordable manner, is the ideal way for operators to improve crew welfare while maintaining focus on their economic wellbeing."Our company has focused on offering services to improve the lives of seafarers for the past 60 years," concluded Mr. Woodhead. "With Crewtoo, we wanted to create a direct relationship with seafarers so we could understand their situation firsthand and ultimately provide services that are better designed to suit their needs. It is gratifying to see large numbers of people joining our site, and exciting to see how their input and our new relationship with KVH are already leading to plans for a new generation of exciting services."