June - 2014

Broadcast Projects Celebrates 10 years at IBC

DSCN1848-smBroadcast Projects will be celebrating its 10th anniversary this year at IBC. Originally founded by Janet Greco and David Short, Broadcast Projects was first launched in September 2004 at the show. Our team will again be present this year when the International Broadcasting Convention gets underway at the RAI Exhibition Center in Amsterdam. This year´s dates are 11 – 15 September for the conference, and 12 – 16 September for the Exhibition.

The enduring character of IBC has always been its great atmosphere for doing business, meeting new contacts and old friends alike. The exhibition itself and the cutting-edge conference sessions are the major draw. The conference annually sets the gold standard for setting every development in international electronic  media and entertainment into definitive context.

For Broadcast Projects it is a must-attend show – since it is a great central meeting point with more than 50,000 people from all over the world attending each year. More than 15oo companies will be present at the IBC Exhibition.

The free-to-attend feature areas and events are a unique character of IBC that complement the conference and exhibition. These include the Industry Insights conference sessions; the Future Zone; and the IBC Awards Ceremony. Also this year will be an extended the IBC Big Screen Experience that will incorporate a full programme of exhibitor demonstrations, free to attend conference sessions and exclusive film screenings that will explore the latest developments in digital cinema. The IBC Big Screen Experience will take place in the RAI’s auditorium, equipped with the latest digital cinema technology including Christie 6P 2D and 3D laser projection and Dolby Atmos immersive audio.

The IBC Conference, attracting top-level executives, technical experts and visionaries from over 170 countries, with business interests spanning the full spectrum of content creation, management and delivery, as well as emerging markets and key industry disruptors, ensures exclusive access to valuable insights and contacts. It is recognised as a  world-leading forum for debate and knowledge exchange, uniting a mix of visionary keynotes, panel discussions and master classes with the most influential thought leaders, opinion formers and cutting edge organisations shaping the industry’s future.

Each day of the IBC 2014 Conference will tell a different story relating to the innovation taking place in our industry – whether technical, strategic or operational.

The main themes of the Conference are mirrored and distilled into a single day of high-powered discussion for C-Level executives at the IBC Leaders’ Summit, which takes place on Thursday 11 September, behind closed doors, so that delegates can speak their minds, address the issues and highlight their concerns in an open, inspiring environment.  This is an exclusive, invitation-only event designed specifically for 150 of the most influential and visionary people at the top of the industry.

In addition to the IBC Leaders’ Summit, IBC also organises IBC Rising Stars, a popular programme for students and new professionals working within the electronic media and entertainment industry. This will take place on Sunday 14 and Monday 15 September 2014 at IBC2014, helping participants with access to industry experience, personal development and varied opportunities for networking. James Neufeld is confirmed as IBC Rising Stars Presenter for 2014. Founder & CEO of SAM – a media technology startup that simplifies Social Media Workflows for journalists and newsrooms, James has served in key roles growing community stations into networks, launching television studios and leading marketing and product teams for broadcast media tech companies around the globe.

Finally, IBC2014 will also host IBC Content Everywhere Europe, the first in a global series of events spanning Europe, MENA and LATAM. Launching at IBC2014 and taking place throughout the fourteen halls of the show, IBC Content Everywhere Europe has been created to help professionals from the broadcast, telecommunications, online and IT sectors seize the new opportunities being created by the explosive growth in the consumption of TV and video content on IP-connected smartphones, tablets and laptops. It connects a range of exhibitors with the IBC Content Everywhere Hub and features across the IBC show floor including IBC Content Everywhere Cloud Solutions and IBC Content Everywhere Workflow Solutions. Using IBC’s NFC enabled Touch & Connect networking technology, those enrolled in IBC Content Everywhere Europe will benefit from a true “content everywhere” experience by being able to engage with other attendees and exhibitors online and face to face.

AMS-Greco_20110911_P1190449-smSo – time to register! Free registration for the IBC Exhibition is open now, and will remain free to all those registering before 21 August 2014. Click here for all the details on how to register, plus other participation options, such as attending the conference sessions. You can also access the full conference agenda.

IBC is an annual event for us, and many of our associates will also be present. We hope to see you there and share a beer to celebrate our 10 year anniversary!

Please get in touch to make a date! And don´t forget to check out our Survival Guide and Robert´s Restaurants!

May - 2014

Getting up to Speed on Media Convergence Regulation

dreamstimemaximum_18070081As Europe’s lawmakers begin getting to grips with the legal challenges of ´media convergence´ ahead of a review of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) slated for 2015, two excellent publications set the backdrop for understanding the issues on the agenda. Read the article on AVMS Watch

EU Regulators Propose New VOD Country of Destination Rules

A change from the ´country of origin´ principle to ´country of destination´ regulation is under consideration as EU regulators convene for ´media convergence´ debates in this pivotal European election year. ¨EPG Prominence¨ is another topic under scrutiny – meaning that providers of electronic programme guides would have to give a prominence position to public service broadcast content. How that´s going to work remains an open question. TV innovators in online video, second screen or the app-market are hardly involved in these discussions and it´s time to get up to speed . Find out what´s on the agenda and why new voices must be heard. Read the full article on AVMS Watch and the summary on Broadband TV News.

 

April - 2014

Investment theme: Net neutrality

dreamstimemaximum_17769332-cm-resaerch-theme-net-neutrality-smThe rules governing net neutrality in the US are poised to change. This could significantly increase earnings for some US broadband providers such as Comcast, AT&T and Verizon whilst simultaneously reducing earnings for heavy internet bandwidth users such as Netflix, Google, Facebook and Amazon. Moreover, there could be a ripple effect around the world if telecom regulators in Europe and some Asian countries – notably India – follow the US’s lead by clobbering successful US internet companies with additional charges.

Net neutrality rules are associated with the founding principles of internet regulation. They stipulate that telecom operators should not favour internet traffic from specific content providers. Comcast’s recent bid to take over Time Warner Cable has prompted the FCC, America’s telecom regulator, to review its stance on net neutrality.

At CM Research, we have long argued that net neutrality was an untenable policy and would eventually collapse as internet traffic grew faster than operators’ ability – or willingness – to carry it. Click here to see what we said about this investment theme in June 2011. For three years, however, we were wrong about net neutrality and timing is everything in equity markets. But in 2014 our theory that the US net neutrality regulatory regime is near collapse suddenly looks more plausible. On 14 January 2014, a US Appeals Court overturned a decision allowing the FCC to impose net neutrality rules on broadband providers. Then, yesterday, the Wall Street Journal reported that the FCC is poised to propose new rules that allow internet service providers to charge content providers extra for priority access.

Why is net neutrality collapsing?

Regulatory policy, by definition, distorts markets, often for a “higher purpose”. But, like all market distortions, there can be unintended side effects. When net neutrality rules were originally introduced in the US back in the early 1990s, the market distortion was that telecom operators were effectively forced to subsidise the fledgling internet sector; the higher purpose was to turn a nascent internet sector into an innovative growth industry for the US and promote openness and freedom around the world; the unintended side effect was that telecom operators cut back on investment in high speed broadband networks because they were prevented from receiving a decent return on their investment through charging commercial rates to heavy internet bandwidth users such as Google or Netflix.

The policy worked. Today, the internet is free, open and innovative. It is also highly profitable. Indeed, internet companies like Apple, Google and Facebook – who benefited most from net neutrality – are now worth more than most telecom operators. But now it has become a victim of its own success.

Back in 2011, we argued that the US net neutrality regime would collapse because politicians would ultimately be forced to accept that in order to encourage more investment in high speed broadband networks – an area that the US and Europe were in danger of falling behind Asia on – regulators would have to free operators to charge commercial rates to all parties that used their networks, including internet companies. We argued that this need not result in the end of a free and open internet because a tiered charging structure could be introduced in which smaller internet companies could be exempt completely.

What does it mean for investors?

The FCC’s reported actions due to be announced later today take us closer to the collapse of net neutrality. The primary investment implication is that this may be the beginning of a gradual shift in the balance of power from internet companies like Google and Netflix to internet service providers like Comcast or Verizon. It is too early to say exactly what will happen until we know what the FCC is proposing. An initial consultation paper is due out on 24 April and a final decision will take several weeks.

But our initial take is that AT&T, Verizon and Comcast look set to be beneficiaries whilst Netflix, Facebook Google and possibly Amazon would be losers. Once the US moves on this, it is likely other countries will follow. Many countries are irate that US internet companies tend to legally avoid local taxes. By using net neutrality arguments, domestic regulators can shift some of the profits from the domestic internet away from US internet companies towards their domestic telecom operators, thereby increasing tax revenues. Net neutrality could thus morph into one of the most significant investment themes of the decade. Watch this space.

Guest post by Cyrus Mewawalla, Independent Investment Analyst at CM Research

March - 2014

3D Printing in the Spotlight

What are the hottest developments in 3D printing? And what are the interesting companies to watch?

Shares in leading 3D printing stocks have collapsed by up to 40% in the last three months. 3D printing, or “additive manufacturing”, is the process of joining materials to make objects from three dimensional model data, usually layer upon layer. In 2013, the 3D printing industry was worth $3bn. In a new report by CM Research the industry will be worth $14bn by 2020, implying a CAGR of 25% for the next six years. Wohlers Associates, the industry’s leading consultants, are less optimistic – they forecast a $10bn market by 2020.

Among the predictions contained in this new research, equity analyst Cyrus Mewawalla looks at hardware, software, services and the disruptive challenges ahead in this in-depth investment and industry analysis.

On the hardware front, after three years of industry consolidation, two dominant 3D printer manufacturers – 3D Systems and Stratasys – have emerged. Whilst short term momentum is against them, CM Research believes that on a five year investment horizon they are both undervalued. Both have developed unrivalled 3D printing ecosystems and are poised to make supernormal profits if 3D printing goes mainstream. Whilst Stratasys appears cheaper on an earnings basis, 3D Systems has a stronger market position – both across the value chain and across the various technologies. Further consolidation is likely as the big two take out more rivals. Niche players like Arcam, a Swedish metal-based 3D printer maker are likely, says Mr Mewawalla, to become acquisition targets. The report also looks at Organovo, the bio tech company that has found a way to print human tissue.

On the software front, many industry experts encourage investors to play the 3D printing theme through software. But Mr Mewawalla argues that Autodesk, the software player most associated with 3D printing is already expensive, trading at 46 times forward earnings. For the others – Dassault Systemes, Cimatron, Adobe, PTC and Ansys – 3D printing accounts for a tiny share of revenues. Moreover, there are as yet no industry standards for 3D printing software in the way that Apple and Google have set the software standards for smartphones. Until there is a clear standard-setting winner picking winners remains difficult. theme.

On the 3D printing services front, the really sexy services companies – like Shapeways or Etsy – remain private. However, CM Research has identified three – Proto Labs, Cognex and Faro Tech – that are worth a closer look. The report also considers the old economy and explains why the prototyping industry is likely to be the first to be disrupted. Within three to five years, CM Research says to expect new entrants threatening dominant players in the toys, autos and apparel sectors. Longer term healthcare, aerospace and logistics will have to adapt to survive too.

For more information on how to purchase this  report, contact us.

Here are the report contents:

INVESTMENT SUMMARY

  • Hardware
  • Software
  • Services
  • Share price performance

INDUSTRY ANALYSIS

  • Market size forecasts
  • Demand vs. supply
  • Industrial vs. consumer units
  • Competitor landscape
  • Mergers and acquisitions

COMPANIES SECTION

  • 3D Systems

Stratasys

  • Industrial 3D printer manufacturers
  • Consumer 3D printer manufacturers

DISRUPTIVE IMPACT ON OLD ECONOMY INDUSTRIES

  • Prototyping
  • Health care
  • Toys
  • Apparel
  • Automotive
  • Aerospace
  • Jewellery
  • Food
  • Logistics
  • Piracy

TECHNOLOGY BRIEFING

  • Definition
  • The eight leading 3D printing technologies
  • Applications
  • The Additive Manufacturing Technology Matrix

APPENDIX: 3D PRINTING SERVICES COMPANIES

For more information on how to purchase this  report, contact us.

App Regulation on the Horizon too?

Apps - Application Software Icons in Shopping CartAs regulators struggle to make sense of the new app-enabled economy,  a new report has been published today that examines the attitudes, behaviours and experiences of app (application) users and the app environment.

Like a similar report published this week by Ofcom on Second Screen, the report sets tone for a potential future regulatory agenda in a year when serious debates will get underway on PSB prominence, media plurality and the Audiovisual Media Services Directive following last autumn´s Green Paper on Audiovisual Media Convergence.

The Apps Environment Research Report, commissioned by Ofcom and carried out by Kantar Media, is a  qualitative study that was conducted via guided discussion groups. Interestingly it shows that app users perceive the apps environment as a safer, more contained space than browser-based internet access.

The report reveals that the majority of app users assume that official app stores (e.g. Apple App Store, Google Play) have an active role in monitoring content published in their marketplace. There was an almost universal trust that apps downloaded from official app stores provide a safe, secure, and reliable user experience.

Trust in well-known brands led to a willingness to accept permission requests in those apps, despite users not examining those requests in any depth. The study also explored user awareness and attitudes toward app-specific issues, such as permissions requested by apps to access certain device features, as well as in-app purchasing and in-app advertising.

In assessing the differences between apps and browsers some participants overlooked the fact that many apps involve online connectivity. This meant that many app users did not take security precautions as they were simply unaware that they might be required. Some of the less technology savvy participants also did not realise that some apps appeared to be built-in features of the device itself versus being a pre-installed app providing an online gateway to content. Some assumed that physically locking their device was on par with ‘locking’ the app content as well, not realising that an app may be still running in the background while connected to the internet, or that several apps could be running concurrently.

The main findings showed that very few participants raised spontaneous concerns about apps. Of greatest concern to parents was in-app purchasing and in-app advertising features, which were considered frustrating and annoying to others. When not flagged upfront, in-app purchasing features were considered to be dishonest on the part of the app developer.

News plurality and discoverability are also addressed in this report. The findings suggest that news apps have increased the range of news sources that people consult (eg, Twitter) and that overall these apps complement other news sources, such as television, newspapers, and ´browser-based´ internet content.

The report also summarises the various parental control features and grading systems offered by the major app stores. It also examines the strategies employed by parents to control their childrens´ use of apps, with a  consensus emerging that age ratings should be consistent across the different operationg systems (OSs).

A deep examination of the wide range of different application types (genres) that are available in app stores was beyond the scope of this study. In the US, however, problematic apps are on the radar for school administrators, with a number of them, such as Yik Yak (rated 17+ in the Itunes store) causing havoc for school-age kids. The reality is that parents infrequently set-up their parental controls and even when they are, very often the kids know how to disable them. Others apps currently causing concern are Snapchat, Kik, Whisper and Tinder. There´s also this list of the eight worst apps for kids.

One of the conclusions of the report was that a general consensus had emerged among participants that the app environment should be ´collectively regulated´, with the expectation that official app stores play a role in the regulation of the apps that they make available for sale, particularly in terms of quality. “Most parents were strong advocates for a parental role in supervising the app use of children. The majority of app users saw this self-regulation as forming part of a broader collective model of app regulation, involving individual users and parents, alongside app developers and app stores.¨

It is obvious that regulators are trying to get to grips with many different aspects of the new ´app-enabled economy´ and a pace of technological change that just won´t let up. Second screen apps, on-demand ¨TV-like¨ services, peer-to-peer-commerce, and gaming are all on the agenda this year. In February, the European Commission invited Apple, Google and others in the tech industry for a discussion on hidden costs within free gaming apps (see related story).

During 2014, discussion will begin in earnest in trying to make sense of the 250 or so responses to the EC´s Green Paper on Audiovisual Media Convergence during this year of European elections. This will be a key topic for the newly formed European Regulators Group for Audiovisual Media Services (ERGA) which has just completed its first meeting. A forthcoming EuroReg conference in Zurich, scheduled for the end of this month, will also examine connected TV regulation. And shortly, in the UK, a DCMS consultation on PSB prominence in Electronic Programme Guides (EPGs) is due to follow these two latest pieces of Ofcom research. All this is just the tip of the iceberg in terms of what regulators are trying to grapple with.

In an excellent article on the peer-to-peer economy which looks principally at services like AirBnB, but which has interesting ramifications for the discussion at hand here, Arun Sundararajan, professor and NEC Faculty Fellow at the Stern School of Business at New York University,  says “the emerging peer-to-peer, collaborative “sharing economy” will be a significant segment of the country’s future economic activity, stimulating new consumption, raising productivity and catalyzing individual innovation and entrepreneurship. There’s a real danger that today’s misalignment between newer peer-to-peer business models and older regulations will impede economic growth. The solution is to delegate more regulatory responsibility to the marketplaces and platforms while preserving some government oversight, by creating new self-regulatory organizations like those that have succeeded in other markets and industries.

¨If this gap – between the old regulations and the new models – isn’t closed soon, there is a real risk that the impending economic growth could be stifled. Moreover, a lack of genuine regulatory oversight and guidance where actually necessary can lead to backlash that might damage both the platforms and their millions of suppliers.¨

Let´s hope that 2014 will be the year that more thought leaders – especially those commercial players active in the audiovisual media and technology  landscape – will weigh-in on these interesting issues of how digital technologies are indeed transforming business and society, and what the sensible regulatory framework for consumer and child protection could be for dealing with all of it.

The Regulatory Implications for Second Screen Apps

2nd-screen_19291251There has been significant growth in the number of second screen applications available for handheld devices such as tablets and smartphones that allow viewers to interact with content viewed on television. To improve understanding of second screen applications, Ofcom commissioned a report from Technologia to explore the functionality and technology of these applications. The report examines how second screen applications could provide a richer TV viewing experience for viewers in future and whether they could provide new access services for hearing and visually impaired consumers.

The report was commissioned as an input into Ofcom’s longer-term, strategic thinking on the broadcasting ecosystem, access services, and EPG prominence for licensed Public Service Broadcasters. The report, which can be accessed here,  surveys the current landscape of ‘second screen’ in the UK and contextualises the technologies, use cases and commercial arrangements in place in order to identify the potential benefits to consumers, and provide a critical analysis of the wider impacts and possible regulatory implications.

Is the BBC reviewing its commitment to YouView?

you-view-imagesA BBC Trust report, prepared by the consultancy Mediatique, has recommended “careful review” of the BBC’s investment in content distribution, including distribution on the YouView platform “in light of BBC-wide platform and distribution strategy and in particular its duty to promote the availability of services free (or at no incremental cost) at the point of delivery”.

A key point here is that the BBC may be failing in its duty to make BBC programming available for free to payers of the licence fee. “In practice, nearly all YouView ‘sales’ have been of subsidised equipment offered by sponsoring internet service providers [BT and TalkTalk] in exchange for a subscription payment of some kind.”

Latest figures suggest that of the 1 million YouView set-top boxes installed in the UK, only around 30,000 or 3 per cent, were bought unsubsidised at retail. “This may have implications for the BBC’s strategy of promoting ‘free’ access to its services”, the report says.

One press report quoted an industry expert as saying that “YouView was meant to be the champion of the next generation of Free To Air but the involvement of the internet service providers means that it has become a pay platform. YouView isn’t the champion of the free; it’s the home of the pay.”

Officially, the BBC remains committed to YouView.  However, it’s reported that three YouView partners (the BBC, Channel 4 and ITV) have joined in an initiative to develop connected FTA viewing under a new brand called Freeview Connect, a development which would indicate a desire to disengage from YouView.

The broadcasters are understood to be collaborating to establish a new service to make their catch-up TV services available as standard on smart TVs.

Freeview Connect is being led by Digital UK, an industry body funded by the BBC, ITV, Channel 4 and Arqiva and which exists to support Freeview viewers and channels, providing information on receiving terrestrial TV and advice on reception and equipment).

It appears that the future for YouView is by no means clear and far from rosy.

By John Holland

February - 2014

Technology Investment Themes from Mobile World Congress 2014

CM Research highlights how investors should play some of the technology investment themes that came up at the Mobile World Congress (MWC) in Barcelona this week. TMT sector strategist Cyrus Mewawalla points you to recent research by his firm in the area.
  • Software defined networks: AT&T announced it will become the first major telecom operator to adopt Software Defined Networks. To find out what SDN technology means for investors, see “Software Defined Networks”. We are negative on Cisco as a consequence.
  • Big Data: IBM CEO Virginia Rometty delivered a key note address on Big Data. Her main message was that data is the world’s next natural resource and IBM aims to exploit it. To find out where the Big Data industry is going and who are the winners and losers, see “Big Data
  • Cyber security: Boeing announced a new self-destruct smartphone, Fireeye revealed Apple’s iPhone security flaw and Juniper Networks warned that we are heading towards World War III in cyber space unless corporations spend more on cyber security. We argued something similar in “Cyber Security”, and we still believe the cyber security sector is the most undervalued sector in global tech
  • Social media: Mark Zuckerberg, Facebook CEO, told us that social media is now centred around messaging, right after he paid $19bn for WhatsApp. But what are the other three pillars of mobile and who are the winners and losers if one looks at the bigger picture of mobile? We answer that question in “Facebook / WhatsApp and the Four Pillars of Mobile
  • Net neutrality: Netflix announced it is paying Comcast for preferential access to its pipes, enhancing quality of service for Netflix customers, but breaking the founding principle of internet regulation, Net Neutrality. CM Research first predicted this would happen in this 2011 note on “Net neutrality”. We were too early. In “Net neutrality update” we explain what this means for investors now.
  • Asian messaging apps: On the back of the WhatsApp acquisition, Sina announced it may spin off its Weibo messaging platform for $7bn and Tencent soared as investors saw more value in WeChat. In “Chinese internet” we valued the leading Chinese internet companies, explaining why we thought Tencent was undervalued and Sina overvalued.
  • US/China audit dispute: Staying on the China theme, the US and China are locked in a war of words over who’s in charge of regulating US listed Chinese internet companies. The entire Chinese internet sector give or take a few small companies falls into that category. Yahoo may become a casualty, as we explain in “Alibaba: Yahoo’s downside risk
  • Robot wars: Google and IBM appear to be at war over who will create the best robots. Both see robotics as a lucrative future revenue stream. How should investors play the market? In “Robotics” we spell it out. iRobot is on our 2014 Conviction Buy List.
  • Telco strategies: Jan Koum, founder of WhatsApp, announced that WhatsApp would soon introduce voice calls. With 450m users, that has serious implications for telecom operators, who already lose $32.5bn a year from lost texting revenues, according to Ovum, on the back of free messaging apps such as WhatsApp. In  Where do telecom operators go from here? we predict that telecom operators need to go soft(ware) or face terminal decline. Telcos like SK Telecom are already doing so. Telcos like BT, in our view, are taking the much riskier route of trying (again) to become entertainment companies.
  • Putting it all together: Our “2014 TMT Outlook” summarises how to play all these investment themes in 2014, highlighting our top 10 “conviction buys” and our “danger list” of stocks.

by Cyrus Mewawalla, CM Research

 

Free report on the TV and VOD market in Russia

Set of white laptopsThe TV Market and Video on Demand in the Russian Federation is a new free report from the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg. Edited by KVG Research, a Moscow-based consultancy company, the main objective has been to analyse the origin of the content broadcast by the main Russian TV channels. But the report also covers the status of the video on demand services and the impact of services like ITunes and Smart TV on the market. KVG´s report also contains detailed statistics and information on the Russian regulatory framework together with a full snapshot of the structure and characteristics of the market, including that of the TV production market.

On the content side, the report reveals that the breakdown of national domestic and foreign content broadcast by the leading channels compared to the total broadcasting time has remained constant for the last two years in terms of both the total volume and individual channels. In 2012 national content broadcast by the TV channels amounted to 77% of the total while the total of all foreign content broadcast was 23%. In 2012 the volume of foreign content corresponded to over 10,000 hours or about 12,000 titles, though only 11% of foreign broadcasts consisted of premiere content. To put this in perspective, in 2012 the volume of premiere content for the national content corresponded to 43%.

Additional broadcasting platforms for TV and cinema content which are actively developed in Russia enable foreign companies to profit using other sales channels. In the summer of 2013 there were approximately 60 online VOD services that contained licensed content. According KVG´s research, 52% of all VOD services had both national and foreign content in their libraries, while 45% of those VOD dealt only with national content.  It lists the most significant Russian online video platforms as tvigle.ru, ivi.ru, megogo.ru, now.ru, videomore.ru, zoomby.ru, play.ru and others, as well as the applications of Russian TV channels (Channel One, CTC, Domashniy, Peretz, Dozhd and RBC).

iTunes by Apple appeared in Russia at the end of 2012, and smart TV turned out to be a real breakthrough in recent years in Russia, with over 50% of all applications offered being in Russian.

On the occasion of the publishing of this report, which is available for free download and is published in English and in Russian, the Observatory also added the Russian Federation to its MAVISE television database.

MAVISE is a free online database unique in its kind, developed by the European Audiovisual Observatory for the DG Communication of the European Commission. MAVISE offers a wide range of sophisticated search possibilities of TV channels according to criteria such as genre, geographical coverage, language, specific target audience.

ATVOD seeks DCMS support for blocking payments

The UK payments industry has concluded that statutory underpinning will be required to prevent them from processing payments to non-UK online services that permit children to access hardcore pornography, according to the latest information from ATVOD, the co-regulator for video on demand (VOD) services in the UK.

The issue of children’s access to online porn is a topic of ongoing concern for ATVOD and regulators. On 9th December, ATVOD launched a conversation with the UK payments industry to see whether they might be convinced to refrain from processing  payments to out-of-jurisdiction online pornographic services that are accessible to children. Home Office Minister Damien Green expressed Government support for the initiative, and  later that month a conference for policy makers, industry representatives, enforcement bodies and and childrens´ interest groups was well attended.

Since those initial talks the UK payments industry, including the British Bankers’ Association, MasterCard, the Payments Council, PayPal, the UK Cards Association and Visa Europe have concluded that any such initiative would require statutory underpinning and this is now being discussed with DCMS.

According to ATVOD, ¨One option would be to mirror the licensing requirements being introduced for foreign online gambling services. It may be possible to establish a similar licensing regime for foreign porn services whose services are being used in the UK. A condition of such a licence could be that hardcore porn material could only be provided if access was denied to children. Payments could then be prevented to unlicensed services or to licensed services which breached the licence conditions.¨

 

Video on Demand in Sub-Saharan Africa

Last time I was in Lusaka, Zambia, I chatted to a taxi driver. I asked him what he did when he wasn’t driving. “I make music”, he told me. As a sometime musician myself, I asked him what he did. “I download from Internet and then I burn CDs and even sometimes DVDs,” he replied.

Pirated CDs and DVDs, readily available from street vendors, are much more affordable to most people than full retail price music and movies. With the lack of mass-market high speed internet, is there a viable market for VOD in sub-Saharan Africa?
Maktar Diop, vice president of the World Bank, said, “of the 89 million recorded internet users in Sub-Saharan Africa, half of them were in Nigeria. Two countries (Kenya and Nigeria) account for 62 per cent of internet users.”
Not surprisingly then, both Kenya and Nigeria have already spawned several film and video platforms.
Kenya’s Buni TV (“Buni” means “innovation” in Swahili) launched in April last year, and has reportedly grown to reach more than 500,000 viewers.
Iroko TV is another big name in providing video on demand (VOD) services to consumers in Africa, with a library of over 5,000 Nollywood films. Iroko has just received a further $8m investment, including from Kinnevik (owners of MTG/Viasat), primarily to secure content licenses. Iroko has a subscription service,  iROKOtv PLUS, which is now generating more revenue than the ads on its basic service.
Although carriers, like Liquid Telecom, are laying the foundations of an international fibre network (and will be offering their own IPTV service in Narobi, competing with Zuku), aspiring VOD providers are also looking to mobile networks. Already Iroko identifies more than 40% of its traffic from tablets and mobiles, and offers mobile web and apps for both its free and premium services.
Some of the other typical challenges, outside of connectivity, that market entrants can expect to face include competition (from existing broadcast platforms such as the ubiquitous DStv),  piracy, regulation, and content rights and fees. Payment mechanisms, in a region where not all have bank accounts, is also difficult, although tying together mobile money services such as M-Pesa as well as mobile delivery could be key.
“Fixed-line internet is slow-going around the continent so the answer is to go mobile,” says Simbarashe Mabashe, chief executive of Wabona, a Cape Town-based start-up focused on South Africa, Zimbabwe and Tanzania. “Mobile is the VOD infrastructure of choice and I think whoever cracks that wins the game.”
Sylvain Béletre, principal analyst at Balancing Act, has just published a list of 2014 predictions for the African audiovisual and broadcast sectors. He points out that the population in Africa is expected to double by 2050, with young people making up the vast majority. The number of television households is currently only a fraction of the population, with 24.3 million in Nigeria, 11.5 million in South Africa, 5 million in the DRC and 4.4 million in Kenya. But this statistic is going to grow significantly by 2050 and VOD services will have to supply huge content to this increased viewership in the region. “There is no doubt that the market is growing”, Béletre confirms.
In sub-Saharan Africa video uploads have increased 40% year on year, and aggregate views in the region are growing at 90%.
As to international VOD brands, such as Netflix, if South Africa is a guideline, viewers still have quite some time to wait. South Africa’s Telkom, wanting to sell more xDSL and fibre to the home, has reportedly been in talks with both Netflix and other international media companies, but so far, no visible progress.
Yet, as the mobile market in Africa continues to grow and fixed-line internet access improves, combined with low cost smart devices (especially from China), there is little doubt that video on demand will be one of the continent’s exciting business opportunities.

by Philip Haggar

Newspapers Speak Out on New ATVOD Scope Guidance

ATVOD, the co-regulator for video-on-demand services in the UK, has published new guidance related to the ¨scope¨ of on-demand video services that are covered by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMSD) regulatory framework as implemented in the UK. The new guidance follows a public consultation which closed in December 2013 conducted in partnership with the ATVOD Industry Forum. The new rules are intended to provide greater clarity regarding which services are subject to the law, rather than changing the interpretation of scope entirely.

Overall, just three major themes emerged which were dealt with in-depth in ATVOD´s  Statement which summarises all the responses received and presents ATVOD´s final decision.

Those issues included the possibility of relaxing or streamlining the regulatory obligations that apply to certain types of On Demand Programme Service (ODPS), specifically catch-up TV services (rejected by ATVOD), and, a desire to have further background on ATVOD’s proposed approach to integration with other Member State VOD regulators, in order that the general principle that an on-demand service is only subject to one Member State VOD regulator is maintained, (eg, the country of origin principle ). These two points were raised in the response of the Walt Disney Company Limited.

In response to this,  ATVOD said: “In addressing any issues which arise from the implementation of the AVMSD to date, or which are likely to arise from the process of media convergence, ATVOD considers that it is important to preserve the country of origin principle which underpins the single market. If the country of origin principle currently throws up certain anomalies (such as different interpretations of what type of content “might seriously impair” under 18s, or a perceived lack of effective implementation of the AVMSD in certain Member States), and if such anomalies pose significant problems which require addressing, then the issues should be dealt with by agreeing the appropriate framework of protection required across all EU Members States and by ensuring that the framework is applied adequately in all EU Members States. This is not an argument in favour of a general ‘levelling up’ of standards, but an acknowledgement that where significant problems arise, a common approach is preferable to the greater fragmentation of standards that would quickly develop under a country of reception principle.¨ ATVOD was also in agreement to provide documentary support confirming jurisdiction in the UK to those service providers requiring it.

Of the 11 responses in total that were received, the loudest voices came from the newspaper publishing industry. Five respondents raised concern that Section 3 of the Proposed Guidance and, in particular, paras 3.11 & 3.12 did not properly reflect the relevant Recitals of the AVMS Directive and the Ofcom appeal decision in relation to Sun Video, and in doing so re-opened the debate about whether video content on newspaper and magazine websites might comprise an on-demand programme service (ODPS), as they are in Sweden. This issue was referred to by Guardian News & Media, News UK; the Newspaper Society / Newspaper Publishers Association, the Professional Publishers Association and the Telegraph Media Group.

The only modification agreed by ATVOD to the originally published guidance, however, was the addition of the following paragraph intended to clarify the position on ´online newspapers´:

“There is a difference between (a) an online newspaper offering video reports which supplement and sit alongside text based news stories, and (b) an online newspaper giving over a distinct section of its website to TV like programmes which have no clear and direct link to the broader  ‘newspaper’ offering and which could exist as a stand alone service.”

The newly adopted guidance (“the New Scope Guidance”) is published here and is adopted with immediate effect. Commenting on the new guidance, ATVOD Chief Executive Pete Johnson said: “The factors which determine whether a service is covered by the statutory regulations enforced by ATVOD are complex. The new guidance has been developed with stakeholders to ensure that it provides as much clarity as possible, especially to businesses – large or small – who are considering launching a service which offers on-demand access to audio-visual material.” A full statement together with all the related documentation on the consultation and the adoption of new guidance is published here.

January - 2014

New Report on Internet Safety for Children and Parents

Ofcom has published a new report for the UK Government that benchmarks the take-up, awareness and confidence of parents in relation to the use of online parental controls. The report on internet safety measures draws on pre-published research contained in the 2013 Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes report and the 2012 Parents’ views on parental controls report (earlier reporting on this topic by Broadcast Projects can be found here).

The report provides an overview of children’s access to the open internet as an educational resource, as a platform for communication and creativity, but also as a source of distinct risks around content, contact and conduct, with specific regulatory challenges. It describes the tactics of parents, carers and educators in guiding and informing children’s behaviour through education and advice, mediation and rules as critical aspects of child protection online. It also looks at safety mechanisms and the role of industry.

Under EU legislation – the E-commerce Directive – intermediaries (such as ISPs, hosts and search engines) are protected from having content regulatory obligations imposed upon them. These intermediaries do not know whether the services they carry, index or host are unlawful or potentially harmful, and the Directive exempts them from responsibility for the actions of their users in making content available – even if those users make available unlawful material. The effect of this framework is to create two critical categories of intermediary: ¨mere conduits¨ (most importantly ISPs), which only transmit data, and cannot be held responsible for unlawful or potentially harmful use of their networks; and hosts, including web hosts and social networks, which allow others to offer content online. Hosts cannot be made responsible for identifying illegal content, but can be required to remove content when it is identified as illegal by others – in other words, on an ex post basis. This is the trade-off that stands today, taking account of both the benefits of liability protection as well as the consumer risks arising from an ´open internet´.
The actual research sets the context for mediation by looking at key changes in children’s use of the internet, their likes and dislikes compared to the online concerns of parents, providing an in-depth picture of the broad range of online mediation strategies employed by parents and their levels of confidence about their ability to keep their children safe online. In particular it focuses on the  parental mediation of websites regularly visited by children, including search engines, YouTube and social networking sites, and the safety mechanisms incorporated within those sites.

In perhaps the most interesting section, the reports looks at the various reasons why some parents choose not to install parental controls and reveals that overall parents who do not set the controls feel they can trust their child not to do anything irresponsible online. While others who contend that they actively use the controls, in fact do not. Overall, it is lack of understanding of how to use the controls that presents the biggest obstacle to their use.

This is the first of three reports that will be provided in response to a request from the Department for Culture, Media and Sport (DCMS). This followed a Government request to UK internet service providers regarding the implementation of network level filters.

Ofcom’s second report – expected later in 2014 – will look at the internet service providers’ commitments to implement network level filtering. BT, Sky, Talk Talk and Virgin Media committed to delivering family-friendly network level filters for all new customers by the end of December 2013. The final report will be a repeat of the research exercise to establish how filtering initiatives have influenced parents’ views and behaviours in this area.

 

 

Save the Date for EuroReg in 2014

9697656-smallThe internet enriches media markets with new players and business models. The audiovisual world has also gone global. What are the implications? Are we headed for a limitless audiovisual market? Are barriers to free trade needed to preserve social values? How can the European television industry hold its ground in this environment? What are the implications of an increasingly global and non-linear programme services market on broadcasters? Does deregulation help European TV broadcasters to assert themselves against the ‘new entrants’? These and other questions will be debated at EuroReg 2014 at the Lake Side Conference Centre in Zurich. Under the banner “Limits to Global Convergence”, the conference will take place in Zurich on 27 March 2014. The conference will focus on the globalisation of the world of television from the perspective of international experts from the audiovisual industry, as well as regulatory and research sectors. This year´s event is being organised  by the Swiss Federal Office of Communications, with support from the national media institutions in Germany and the Austrian company RTR GmbH.

The event will be held in German and English; simultaneous translation will be provided.
Click here for information and impressions of past conferences.

December - 2013

A Single Market for Telecoms?

On 11 September, the European Commission tabled a proposal for a new regulation entitled ‘Connected Continent’, which would create a ‘Telecom Single Market’. Operators could expand to offer their services to consumers throughout the EU, but they would be regulated only once, by their home regulator. Net neutrality would be ensured, so that users can access the content of their choice on the Internet, without hindrance. Consumers would get improved contractual conditions, such as 6 month contracts; they would also benefit from yet lower roaming charges. And the continued rise of demand for mobile access would be met with more EU-wide spectrum coordination and measures to spur the growth of Wi-Fi.

Despite these bold aims, the proposal faces significant hurdles, with much of the detail being under intense scrutiny: some operators worry about the way wholesale access requirements would be defined; a few still refuse to abide by net neutrality; many complain about facing yet another regulation on roaming; regulators complain about the lack of consultation by the Commission and about some of the technical and implementation of the proposals; and governments have already expressed concern at what they see as yet another attempt by Brussels to gain more power, notably on spectrum. Plus, politically we face European elections in the spring, and a completely new European Commission by the end of 2014.

This ambitious proposal promises many months of fierce and exciting debate.  To delve deeper into this topic the International Institute of Communications is hosting a panel discussion with representatives from the many stakeholder groups interested and active in these negotiations. The currently confirmed speakers include:

•           Rick Holyomes, Team Leader – EU ICT Policy Department for Culture, Media & Sport

           Sumedha Pathak, Policy Adviser, Which

•           Markus Reinisch, Group Director, Public Policy, Vodafone Group

•           Larry Stone, President Group Public & Government Affairs, BT

•           James Waterworth, Vice President Europe, Communications and Content Industry Association (CCIA)

•           Daniel Wilson, Head of International Policy, BBC

•           Ann LaFrance, Global TMT Partner, Squire Sanders will moderate the panel and debate

The event: The EC ‘Connected Continent’ Regulation proposal: a Single Market for Telecoms at last? takes place on Tuesday, 14 January at 5pm (for a 5.3opm start) and is being hosted by Squire Sanders, at 7 Devonshire Square, London EC2M 4YH. Numbers are limited and you are advised to register as soon as possible. The event is free to IIC Members and £30 for non-Members.  Click here to download the registration form or complete and return the attached registration form to j.grimshaw@iicom.org with CH01 -14 in the subject heading, or phone: +44 (0)20 8417 06


How private is personal data?

dreamstimemaximum_5772962Is no information sacred when we live in a world seemingly dominated by Facebook, WikiLeaks and whistle-blowers? But according to the law, our personal information is supposed to be kept private.

Although much of our personal information (contact details, personal photos etc.) may be made available intentionally (or even worse – unintentionally) online, there is still a basic legal structure in operation which lays down and protects our ultimate right to privacy.

In a new report, the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe, examines those rights in the current climate of Internet indiscretions.

The lead article of the new report ¨How Private is Personal Data?¨ is authored by Martin Rupp and Peter Matzneller of the Saarbrücken-based EMR (Institute for European Media Law). They examine the “uneasy relationship” between copyright law, including the right of rights holders to identify and pursue those who infringe their copyright, on the one hand, and data protection, the individual’s right to remain private, and thus “hidden” from such pursuit, on the other.

This article examines sources of primary law, both at EU level and also with regards to Council of Europe legal instruments. In terms of secondary law at EU level, it is the Enforcement Directive 2004/48/EC (article 8) which allows a person suing for copyright infringement to request that a Court try to obtain information about the origin and exact distribution channels involved. This information request may even be extended to names and addresses of infringers. As far as Council of Europe legal instruments are concerned, in 2010 the Parliamentary Assembly (PACE) adopted its Recommendation 1906 (2010) dealing specifically with intellectual property rights in a digital society.

Moving on to actual areas of conflict between copyright law and data protection, Rupp and Matzneller point out the obvious discrepancies between the right to request information from the infringer, the right to request information from intermediaries such as an Internet access or service providers and the limits to the right of information as enshrined in the Data Protection Directive. This analysis is backed up by concrete examples of CJEU case law illustrating this conflict.

The authors of the lead article round off their analysis by looking at national approaches to questions such as the proportionality of a right of information (i.e. how heavy should the right to information weigh against data protection concerns), or intermediaries’ obligations to establish systems to filter content (to prevent copyright infringement), or indeed national strategies concerning the blocking of internet access (the variations on the famous “three strike procedure”).

Rupp and Matzneller conclude their lead article by stating that “at this moment in time […] the application of data protection law enjoys precedence over the copyright directives…” As far as a harmonized, pan-European approach is concerned, they state that “The member states are already planning different approaches and it remains to be seen whether one system – and, if so, which – will ultimately be adopted for the assertion of copyrights in the online sector.”

The Related Reporting Section of this new report provides recent national examples of case law where copyright, freedom of expression, privacy and data protection issues have gone head to head in the European courts.

The final Zoom chapter on the US Patriot Act and the Fourth Amendment has been written by Jonathan Perl, Counsel for Regulatory Affairs at Locus Telecommunications, Inc. Perl traces the background to the 2001 Patriot Act which, in the wake of the 9/11 attacks, allowed the US government more far-reaching powers to indiscriminately collect and store the private data of its citizens. This legislation is counteracted by the Fourth Amendment to the United States Constitution which aims at protecting US citizens against “unreasonable searches and seizures”.

This chapter offers a useful explanation of the functioning of the PRISM top secret intelligence programme which was revealed via the British Guardian newspaper by NSA whistle blower Edward Snowden. Perl confirms that US intelligence services dispose of and use multiple technologies which allow them to track, trace and store details of all internet activity (email, video and voice chat, videos, photos, Skype, chats, file transfers and social networking details). The legal justifications of the US government’s secret programmes as well as the subsequent acknowledgements of overreach are then explored. Perl explains that, whilst “four bills have been introduced to fix the problem”, the American people do not seem satisfied to let this matter drop, particularly as it has crossed what Perl calls “the traditional bipartisan lines”. He concludes that “a demand for a special congressional investigatory committee, more transparency and more accountability is slowly growing. The movement is spearheaded by a coalition of over 100 civil liberties groups”.

Copies of this report are available from the European Audiovisual Observatory´s website. Order here.

DIF celebrates 10 years in Brussels

DIF_Timeline-1The Digital Interoperability Forum celebrated its 10 year anniversary on 27 November in Brussels. The evening kicked off with opening remarks by Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of DIF, followed by a presentation by Guy Bisson of IHS/Screen Digest looking at the evolution of the pay TV sector over the past 10 years.

There was a lively round-table discussion with representatives from DG Connect and Virgin Media, followed by a reception which included Ultra HD TV demos by Sky Deutchland, Pace and BSkyB.

To coincide with the event, DIF has published a white paper by veteran industry analyst Barry Flynn, which reviews the state of the debate on interoperability, a topic which is at the core of DIF´s remit.

The Digital Interoperability Forum (DIF) was set up in 2003 by companies involved in the pay TV delivery chain, that is: manufacturers, platform operators, software vendors and broadcasters in response to the Commission´s proposals at the time to mandate the DVB Multimedia Home Platform (MHP) standard. This came at a time when those industry members had already launched several million digital set top boxes and interactive services. Had MHP been mandated, millions of Euros of investment would have had to be written off. Ever since, DIF has lead the industry´s efforts to advocate for interoperability achieved by market lead solutions based on different APIs that support innovation, competition and consumer choice.

DIF continues to represent the pay TV sector on policy and legislative matters relating to the technology used for the distribution of paid content and interoperability. The main message of DIF is that with a plethora of devices being used to consume audiovisual content policymakers should recognise that fragmentation represents competition and consumer choice, not a lack of interoperability, and adopt a new starting point for policy analysis.

Further images and a video can be found here.

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For Adults Only? – protecting children from online porn

online-porn_16426588On 12 December, ATVOD will hold a conference on protecting children from exposure to pornography online. The event, “For Adults Only? – protecting children from online porn”, is being organised by ATVOD and the Centre for Commercial Law Studies (CCLS) at Queen Mary, University of London. Confirmed delegates cover a broad range, including parliamentarians, government officials, children’s charities, head teachers, academics, enforcement agencies, regulatory bodies, the adult industry, and national press and television journalists. The conference will be chaired by Channel 4 News social affairs editor Jackie Long, is being hosted by CCLS at Lincoln’s Inn Fields, London WC2. Confirmed speakers include:

Sue Berelowitz – Deputy Children’s Commissioner
Alexandra Birtles – Head of External Communications at TalkTalk
John Carr – Children’s Charities’ Coalition on Internet Safety
Reg Bailey – Chief Executive of The Mothers’ Union
Diane Duke – Chief Executive of the Free Speech Coalition
Vicki Shotbolt – CEO and founder of The Parent Zone
Vince Charlton – Director of European Outreach for ASACP
Paula Hall – Chair of the Association for the Treatment of Sex Addiction and Compulsivity
Julia Long – author of Anti-Porn: The Resurgence of Anti-Pornography Feminism
Becky Foreman – Head of Government Affairs at Microsoft

As the title suggests, the event has been designed to consider issues around the protection of children from ‘adult’ video content online – something which has come to the fore following a number of high profile cases over the past few months. The conference is being built around two panel-led sessions. The first will consider the nature of the problem, addressing questions such as: What is the nature of the content? How easy is it for children to access? What is known about the scale of children’s exposure? What risks does it pose to children? The second session will consider possible solutions, addressing questions such as: Are media education and parental control software sufficient? What else is being done? What more could be done and by whom?

Meanwhile, this letter published on the sexandcensorship.org website offers a different perspective.

For further info on the 12 December conference: atvod@atvod.co.uk

November - 2013

Moscow Free TV Seminar

Recent developments about the TV market and on demand audiovisual services in Russia and Western Europe will be the topic of a free seminar in Moscow that is being organised by the European Audiovisual Observatory and KVG Research. Speakers will include the Observatory´s´s new executive director, Dr Susanne Nikoltchev, Vladimir Grigoriev, representative of the Russian Federation in the Executive Council of the European Audiovisual Observatory. The main workshop topic will be the new report by KVG Research by Daria Evdokimova, “TV and Video on demand market in Russia”, and will be followed by a presentation by André Lange, Head of the Observatory´s department for information on markets and financing, who will give presentation on the development of the market for on demand audiovisual services in the European Union. The event will be followed by a Q and A session and a cocktail.

The workshop will take place Monday 9 December 2013from 10:30 – 12:30 at the Intercontinental Hotel , 22 Tverskaya street, Moscow. Simultaneous English and Russian translation will be provided. To register please send an Email to : devdokimova@kvgresearch.ru

 

TV News Channels in Europe – Free Report

dreamstimemaximum_15673124There are almost 300 channels in Europe dedicated to broadcasting news, and more than 170 of them are based in the EU, according to a new report published by the European Audiovisual Observatory. Dominating the landscape for national TV news are private channels with more than 80% of them owned by private companies. Not surprisingly those with the widest distribution in Europe are the pan-European channels CNN International, BBC World News, Al Jazeera (English), Euronews (English) and Russia Today. The number of free DTT news channels has increased from 16 to 43 over the past 4 years. This new 100-page report on the TV news market in Europe covers 38 countries and is free to download here.

DVB – A Historical Look at a Non-Standard Standard

In September 2013, the Digital Video Broadcasting Project (DVB), celebrated its 20th anniversary. Broadcast Projects´ associate David Short looks back at how this ´non-standard´ standard catalysed the digital TV broadcast sector.

DVB, a project dedicated to creating open technical standards for the worldwide delivery of digital TV and data services, has been the standard on which the digital TV broadcast industry has been built since 1993 when the project was first launched. It incorporates MPEG for video and audio compression and transport packetisation.

The interesting thing about DVB is that it has no compliance testing regime. It is left to device vendors to declare that their devices conform to relevant DVB standards, which are often quite flexible. This means that, unlike many standardised items (eg, IP networking devices, GSM or 3G mobile phones, DOCSIS cable modems, ISO shipping containers, JP4 jet fuel, etc) a DVB receiver is not guaranteed to work on any DVB network. In fact, it will probably only work on the network it was designed for. So, the question is, why has DVB been so successful if it isn’t really standard?

Some of the “non-standard-ness” of DVB is explained by the widespread use of conditional access (CA or CAS) which means that a set top box (STB, the most common form of DVB receiver) can only decrypt signals in the network for which it was designed. This is usually a side effect of CA systems that put bespoke security software or hardware in the STB. Although the primary intention is to provide protection for the content, it usually means that the box will only work on its home network.   Some CA systems do intentionally bind the STB to their “home” network like a phone is locked to a 3G network and for the same reason – to protect subsidised boxes. However, even in the “free to air” market, the point is still true. It is unlikely that you can move a box from one free network to another and have it work properly, if at all. (I am leaving aside the fact that DVB covers satellite, terrestrial and cable transmission – interoperability between these types of transmission media is not possible due to physical differences.)

TECH-Greco_P1190728-tall

Talking about stacks!
Standards can achieve interoperability without formal compliance. For example, the IP stack “grew up” over a couple of decades and there is a de facto standard for interoperability that is now driven by large vendors such as Microsoft, Cisco and Apple – also the Linux Kernel. If you want to sell an IP device, you had better make sure that your IP stack works with all of the above!

Now let´s quickly look at the technical reasons for non-interoperability (and their commercial drivers) and then why DVB is still a successful standard.

DVB has no compliance regime and this means that networks can follow a loose definition of the standard.  DVB has many “options” regarding the exact implementation. For example the language can be indicated at the channel (service) or programme (event) level. In addition to these options, DVB also allow private data packets and private data within its own tables. These have given significant flexibility to the standard and allowed extensions that were probably not envisaged when the standards were created eg, interactive TV, data to enhance PVR use – such as series linking.

The downside to freely allowed extensions is, of course, that we build “silos” of non-interoperating networks and boxes. The way the industry has responded is different for pay vs free networks.

For pay operators, it is necessary to integrate a CA system into each model of STB and make it work with the network. By design, the CAS will not work with other networks or boxes. The options and private data allowed in the DVB standard are integrated and tested as part of this process for each new STB an operator launches. Of course, there will be some leveraging of existing software stacks unless the new box has a completely new architecture. In fact, many networks will go further than using the “allowed” option and use DVB in a non-standard way. A favourite trick is to use non standard addresses (PIDs or packet IDs) for the tables that define the network details and service list (the NIT, BAT, SDT and EIT for all your DVB nerds out there!) This is usually done to bring on a new population of boxes that, for some reason, can’t share the data structures with existing boxes. The “non-standard” addresses are hard wired in the new boxes in the same way that “standard” or “well-known” addresses are hard wired. Although this arrangement is technically not “DVB Compliant”, who cares? The boxes work, the operator has an easy fix to a hard technical problem and DVB still lets them put stickers on their boxes (if they pay the membership fee!)

In the case of free-to-air networks, the business model is for broadcasts to get funding from a licence fee or advertising and for STB vendors to sell (usually unsubsidised) boxes direct to viewers. This means that there must be an open process to define the “air” interface. Free operators or sometime the relevant regulator, usually take the approach of writing a “profile” of DVB which ties down the options, private data, etc to give an interoperable standard. Usually this is combined with a compliance regime and vendors must pass a set of tests before they are allowed to use the relevant logo on their boxes. Examples of this arrangement are Freeview in the UK and TNT in France. In the UK, the “profile” is the D-Book produced by the Digital TV Group (DTG.) One of the private extensions added by the D-Book is support for “Logical Channel Numbers” (LCN) which are the channel numbers given to viewers. Strangely this is not supported in native DVB.

So, if it’s not a standard, why does it matter and why has it been so successful? It’s worth giving a quick potted history of DVB for those of you who are not in the DTV industry. DVB was launched as an offshoot of the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), is a club of European public service broadcasters (best known for the EuroVision Song Contest, but more importantly for the huge amount of backroom technical work they do.) DVB was the first “open” standard for digital TV broadcast (although DirecTV had an in-house standard that proceeded DVB.) Today, it remains the most widely used with almost ubiquitous use in Europe and significant use on all other continents.

We have spent quite a lot of time talking about the parts of DVB that are not standard and they are mostly related to metadata – data about the structure of the networks, services and event lists.

Some other important things to take into consideration are the interoperable standards that do work together with DVB, albeit de facto.

IBC 2011These include:

  • the MPEG encoding via profiles eg, main profile at main level (MP@ML) for legacy SD Video
  • MPEG transport streams which define the packet structure for all DVB transports (even if the video is using newer coding profiles)
  • Modulation. This changes to optimise throughput for a given medium eg, DVB-C for cable, DVB-S for satellite and DVB-T for terrestrial. All of them have a second generation version that use newer modulation techniques and the extra processing power of modern chips to get better line coding efficiency.  These are DVB-C2, DVB-T2 and DVB-S2.

The significant thing about the list above is that decoding, packet handling and demodulation all take place in hardware. So if these are fixed, chipmakers can produce one DVB version of each component and then let the software boys and girls worry about customising the metadata level specific to each local network. Of course, you can’t mix cable, satellite or terrestrial in a box (it was tried once but it’s not widespread!)

Also, technologIBC 2011y moves on, so you can’t use a legacy box to watch HD and/or MPEG-4 (which aren’t always the same thing!)

Obviously, having a set of standard chips to choose from drives costs down, quality and functionality up and is a pre-requisite for a successful industry. However, that’s not the whole story. DVB has given a generation of engineers, developers, testers and project managers a framework to learn and think about digital TV. If there had not been a dominant standard in the early days of digital TV, it would have been that much harder for people to move between projects and employers and for the industry to talk together at conferences. Remember the early days of computer networking with DECNet, SNA, Novell, IP, etc?

This critical mass of skills has allowed the industry to grow and develop. Now DVB has competitors such as DMB, ISDB and ATSC but the concepts that DVB established largely map across to the other standards and are now second nature to practitioners in any case.

-David Short

 

 

 

Broadcast Projects´ Liquid Lunch

ozer-glassesThe next Broadcast Projects lunch will take place at 1pm on Tuesday 26 November. This networking event will focus on the Broadcast Projects ´reboot´ and is open to consultants wishing to join our list of associates or who already participate in our network.

Our unique event sponsor is a brand with a unique and very traditional history, and so with this event we´ll be bringing back the liquid lunch concept. Come along and find out more. There will be food, of course, too.

Xoriguer Gin

This event is kindly being sponsored by Xoriguer Gin and samples will be made available to each participant! This is an artisanal gin with a 300 year history dating back to the Gin Craze, thanks to British soldiers on the Mediterranean isl

PLACES ARE LIMITED

Venue:

Özer Restaurant

4-5 Langham Pl, London W1B 3DG, United Kingdom

Tel: +44 20 7323 0505

at 1pm on Tuesday 26 November

To participate please email AdvisoryBoard@broadcastprojects.com

Map:


View Larger Map

For details of other Broadcast Projects´ events click  here.

 

October - 2013

Connected TV & Data Protection – A Tricky Mix?

dreamstime_11657936-smConnected TV regulation? Meh! If you´re involved marketing or product strategy side of the pay-TV business you probably don´t have much mental bandwidth for EU regulations, national regulatory regimes and the endless stream of consultations. But one thing is sure, legal and regulatory affairs departments do. Cutting edge pay-TV operators, and especially broadcasters, are definitely paying close attention.

Big discussions are underway, for example, on how to ´future-proof´ audiovisual content regulation, the subject of a recent EC Green Paper consultation on ¨Audiovisual Convergence¨. Associations representing digital media and internet have responded, as have substantive numbers of broadcasters, network operators, and as you might have guessed, EU public authorities and regulators. However just three manufacturers responded. Something amiss? Maybe. But here is an interesting story, quite in a different direction, and that is how a connected TV player in the Netherlands has found itself caught out by data protection laws.

In July, the Dutch data protection agency (CBP) published a report stating that TP Vision, a manufacturer of Smart TVs (for Philips), had been found to be in breach of the Dutch Data Protection Act. A previous report had been sent to TP Vision in March of 2013 in order for them to put forward their views on the findings.

TP Vision is the only manufacturer of internet-connected so-called ´smart TVs´ in the Netherlands. Their functionality enables consumers to watch programming on-demand, as well as rent movies, use apps and visit websites via a built-in browser. The CBP report acknowledged that since Smart TVs are a fairly new, there is still little awareness on the part of the public of the risks that are present when using their online features, particularly as it relates to ´personal´ data collection, which include:

- favourite programmes and apps

- programmes that have been set for recording

- views of on-demand programmes

And so, the conclusion has been that users must be asked permission before this data is collected, because this tracking is used to provide personalised viewing suggestions and advertisements. Therefore, the consumers must be informed about how the information is going to be used  – for example – to generate those recommendations.

So TP Vision found itself in the firing line of a regulator who deemed that there was a lack of clear and accessible information. And the decision has far reaching implications for the industry. Read the legal opinion as reported by the European Audiovisual Observatory here.

As for connected TV regulation being boring, can you risk not paying attention?

Connected TV in the UK and Ireland

dreamstimemaximum_15782272The definition of what is meant by television is uncertain, and the pace of communications regulation is falling behind technological change, according to a new report. Connected Television in the UK and Ireland has just been published by Deadline Media Television.

In this detailed analysis of the landscape, the UK and Ireland, between them, have the largest and most competitive broadcasting sector in Europe. Connected television currently accounts for 4% of broadcasting industry revenues which industry expert, and author, Roger Stanyard, says will rise to around 15% in 2017. He also points to the issue of UK standards, which are lacking, and states that YouView has failed and needs to promote the MHEG-IC platform. Also, the regulatory lag is  likely to cause huge problems in providing a competitive market for high speed broadband, with LLU and facilities-based competition beginning to break down.

¨Underlying connected television is a battle between content owners weak on technology and technologists who have no compelling content. There is no obvious outcome,¨ says Stanyard.

Some of the other key findings include:
- The costs for consumer connecting their televisions to broadband has become irrelevant.
- Streaming media boxes and dongles are likely to play an increasing role.
- Connectivity is increasingly being built into televisions as a matter of standard practice.
- STBs will continue to play a major role in the provision of OTT TV services for the time being.
- Samsung looks to have won the battle to become the dominant proprietary smart TV platform.The biggest challenge by far that faces OTT TV is the development of new advertising models, particularly in relation to social TV and the second (companion) screen. OTT TV services have largely emerged as “top up” TV options rather than low-pay alternatives to BSkyB. The author also is skeptical that pure play pay OTT, particularly sVoD, will become a major player in the connected television environment.Connected Television in the UK and Ireland is a 250-page report that offers 80 tables and 20 charts. For pricing and details contact: roger@deadlinemediatv.co.uk

Free Report: From Triple-Play to Multi-Play

dreamstimemaximum_16026807This new free report looks at the potential for broadband service providers in the smart home market.

Published by by Videonet, From Triple Play to Multi-Play evaluates the various strategies that can build upon existing customer relationships, optimise Customer Premise Equipment and help operators migrate from being triple-play to becoming multi-play providers.

The report offers case studies from some of the leading providers such as Comcast Xfinity Home, AT&T Digital Life, Deutsche Telekom and Telecom Italia. It also looks at the strategies of rival players such as the utility company British Gas, retailers such as Staples and incorporates insights from a number of leading associations and analysts.

Download the report free here

September - 2013

EU Telecoms Reform & the Connected Continent

dreamstimemaximum_16290635The European Commission has published a set of ambitious regulatory proposals to ensure the creation of a telecoms single market within five years. Among its goals are to ensure faster connections and simplify things for both consumers and businesses.

The ¨Connected Continent¨ proposals include ensuring net neutrality, eliminating roaming premiums and significantly reducing red-tape for operators. They also introduce the possibility of a single EU authorisation which the proposals say might usefully follow the lessons of the banking industry. At present there are no EU-wide telecoms operators because authorisation is currently required in every EU country, each of which have their own different sets of rules. ¨One day there will be a European regulator, but in my opinion, it will need to be an independent one,¨ according to Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission, speaking a press conference today.

The Commission has also made clear that this is a set of proposals that the Commission does not want to see picked apart. The package, taken as a whole, includes:
• Simplifying and reducing the regulatory burden for telecoms operators
• Greater coordination on allocation of the wireless spectrum allocation (facilitating more wireless broadband, 4G and the creation of integrated pan-European mobile networks)
• Encouraging greater competition through the standardisation of wholesale products
• Enshrining the open internet, with guarantees for net neutrality, innovation and consumer rights
• Eliminating roaming premiums by 2016 using both incentives and disincentives to ensure the cooperation of operators
• Protecting consumers by mandating contracts in plain language, with more easily comparable plans and increased options for them to switch providers. The idea being to force operators to be more transparent in how they advertise their services and speeds available to customers.

Despite some contradictory language, such as Neelie Kroes´ remarks mentioned above, the proposals do not expressly call for a single telecoms regulator, stating that ¨this is not the optimal solution for the market right now.¨ But the Commission will be able to block proposals from national regulators which go against the single market. They also plan to strengthen procedures involving the Commission and Member States to ensure better coordination of authorisation and the assignment of spectrum. It is intended that BEREC (the Body of European Regulators of Electronic Communications) will play an important role in developing the guidelines which ensure consistent regulation.

Also off the agenda are calls for a single ´Eurotariff´ or a pan-European spectrum license. And there there will be no changes to the definition of  an ¨electronic communications services provider¨, though they mention that the European telecoms sector is in difficulty, for a host of reasons including the fact that the telecoms sector has been slow to reform, such as responding to VOIP providers and fully taking into account the data revolution. Indeed, if one can take ´lessons´ from the EU banking industry and have a single European authorisation, why not propose a similar harmonisation of audiovisual content regulation under AVMS? Might this increasingly be the direction the Commission is taking the Digital Agenda with discussions on Connected TV and audiovisual convergence?

On net neutrality, the Commission emphasises that today there are no clear pan-EU rules on the topic. Despite laws having passed in the Netherlands and in Slovenia, 96% of European still do not have any legal protection for their right to access the full open internet. Accordingly, they intend to ban discriminatory blocking and throttling of networks. But there will be no ban on the sale of differentiated offers (such as by speed) or the creation of offers that would segment enhanced service levels, as airlines or postal services already do. They also envisage enabling operators to generate additional revenue from OTT players, content providers and/or consumers willing to pay for better or faster services. So there will be managed traffic, but the idea is to enable the operators to finance greater investments in their networks and expand. They also propose European oversight whereby ¨national regulators will monitor quality of service and may impose minimum quality requirements under Commission control.¨

Creating a Connected Continent has its origins in the the 2013 Spring European Council conclusions which called for the Commission to present “concrete measures to achieve the single market in ICT as early as possible” in time for the October European Council. The plans were outlined last week in EC President Jose Manuel Barroso´s State of the Union address in Brussels last week and revealed in detail on 11 September 2013. Three years of consultations, public events and private meetings informed the proposals. Nevertheless, telecoms operators across Europe will certainly be scrutinising the proposed changes. More information on the proposal legislative package can be found here.

Enter your email address to download EU Telecoms Reform & the Connected Continent Report

Survival Tips for Success at IBC in Amsterdam

AMS-Greco_P1070294-smEvery year, thousands of people in digital media and entertainment technology make their way through Schipol airport to the annual IBC conference and exhibition at the RAI Exhibition Center in Amsterdam. For some, it´s a new experience in wheeling and dealing, with the promise of Amsterdam´s unequalled nightlife at the end of a long day on the show floor. For others, it´s an annual sojourn that can be fraught with obstacles, such as stand exhaustion or the rush that comes from never stopping to miss an opportunity to impress a potential client or industry colleague. It´s obvious that networking at IBC can bring many rewards to those who are persistent and smart. That includes knowing your way around the show.

Pass out if you need to, and, you may need to!

Are you traveling to IBC in Amsterdam? The conference dates for 2014 are 10-14 September and the exhibition starts, as usual, on a Friday and goes over the weekend, from 11-16 September. We like IBC for its wide international attendance and overall more friendly and accessible atmosphere, compared to some of the other larger, more frenzied shows. At IBC, you can sit down, have a chat, wiggle your toes in the sand as you have a nice cold Dutch beer, and pass out, if need be, on the loungers outside. All of these things contribute favourably to the task at hand: getting down to business at IBC!

Here are Broadcast Projects´ top five tips for doing IBC sensibly and for getting the most out of the show.

1) Find a place to stay

Oops! You didn´t book already? Most seasoned IBC-goers know to book a whole year in advance. Rooms are outrageously priced in general, and even more so in some of the better hotels. But there is hope for you. The closer it gets to the show the more there are cancellations. The main tip here is to make use of the IBC Hotel Reservation Service. These people really are your friends.

You can troll around on the internet for hours or days searching for a place to stay. Or, you can just call them and they will do their utmost to sort you out. But be ready to make a decision on the spot. As they talk with you, they are dealing with live, incoming cancellations and scanning for everything that´s available. They will also give you good advice regarding the choice of one hotel over another. So make sure you have your credit card ready, otherwise you´ll just lose more time.

Just one word of caution, ask them if the hotel you are staying at has WiFi included. We once booked a rather expensive room nearby the RAI, (we won´t mention it was the Holiday Inn) which had the nerve to charge 24E per DAY for WiFi. We had thought that the convenience of being so close to the RAI would off-set the room price. But we didn´t factor that in. For international travelers and those of us working in this industry it´s definitely an issue. Not to mention greedy.

If you do manage to find an easy, trouble-free and reasonably priced place to stay, don´t tell anyone! We once found a great small hotel in the Jordaan, only to find that the following year the entire hotel was booked out by a single company. We once rented a houseboat, that was really fun. But on both counts: we were never to return.

Another veteran´s secret to surviving IBC with your sanity intact is to stay out near the airport. Yes, that´s right, we say Hoofddorp´s OK! But this really only works if you have ¨been there, done that ¨ regarding the famous Amsterdam nightlife and value your sleep so you can be fresh for your next business day. For some this may be far too sensible an approach! There are moments in all our lives when we need to do the doggie dance at Paradiso or the Melkweg. If clubs are your thing, there´s a list of them here.

AMS-Greco_P1070302-sm

Trams are free for IBC attendees. Get your pass at any information desk. Looks pretty good when there are no queues!

The Hoofddorp trick will enable you to avoid those long tram line queues, which can sap any remaining energy you might have left in you from the work day. Instead, take the train from the IBC station out to Schipol (about 10 mins), and then hop on your hotel´s shuttle bus. This should work fine in tandem if you check out the schedules before. You´ll probably have a midnight curfew, though, with your hotel´s shuttle. A word of warning: a taxi ride from the city centre back out to the airport will put a severe dent in your expenses. Ditto from the airport if you miss the last hotel shuttle, but it won´t be quite so bad.

2) Make your appointments in advance

Want to know how to do IBC like a pro? Once you´ve gotten your travel and accommodation sorted out, it´s time to move on to making your appointments. Six weeks in advance is an ideal time to get started. If you want to be really clever, fix your entire appointment schedule in advance. Oops, you didn´t do that yet? So do it now, before you get to the show. Leave lunchtimes clear, and fix only the dinner appointments that are absolutely mandatory. For daytime at the show: make all your appointments near or around the same location, preferably somewhere where you can sit your ass down!

Walk the floor only when necessary or to have a meeting on a stand. The show is too big, you´re not going to see it all even if you try. So book your appointments with a minimum padding of 45 mins, one hour is better. Always get the other person´s mobile number, and note down the precise location. It´s also a really good idea to reconfirm the appointment by text 15 minutes before. That way if there are changes, you have some wiggle room to set up an appointment with that VIP you just bumped into. The IBC has a host of applications including maps to help you plan. Only newbies to the show make appointments one moment in Hall 8 and the next in Hall 2. The map looks pretty on paper. The reality is something quite different. Make use of the IBC apps (for Android and for iOS) , they are very handy.

3) Eat, drink and be merry

IBC, like most other trade shows, is not like it used to be, where you could eat and drink your way through an entire event without ever setting foot in a restaurant, unless it was on someone else´s expense account. We lament that those glory days, when the likes of Microsoft would throw a party in an old church in the red-light district. Anyone remember, what year that was? Anyway, those days are truly over. Accordingly, our Annual IBC Party and Events List is a shadow of its former self.

IBC 2011

We say: the only good herring sandwich is a free herring sandwich! Frankly, we prefer their beer.

Nevertheless, no excuses and no sympathy for those who report ¨I haven´t eaten a thing all day¨.  You need stamina for this show. You will find that the bigger companies offer drinks and snacks on their stands throughout the day to keep their guests going. The IBC concession prices are generally outrageous, as you would expect. We like to take with us a small arsenal of high-energy snack packets (nuts, energy bars, fruit or whatever floats your boat) and water. That will reduce costs considerably, as well as keep you going.

Be aware that all of Amsterdam turns into a tourist trap during IBC and so getting a good meal at a decent price may turn out to be quite a challenge. We recommend Robert Briel´s excellent annually updated list of restaurants, as well as our own Annual IBC Party and Events List. Some private events are excluded from this list, such as the annual Saturday night party sponsored by a company that used to start with the letter ¨N¨ but now begins with a ¨C¨. It´s probably the only great party left.  If you don´t already have the invite in your hand, you´re pretty much out of luck. And seriously, have some self-respect. It´s really not good form to go grovelling on their stand on the day for an invitation. They´re sent in advance during August. Get in touch well in advance for a good business reason and maybe you´ll be invited next year.

4) Be Smart Getting Around

From the airport, a taxi is definitely the easiest choice for getting to your hotel or into the city centre or to the RAI, but it´s also obviously the most expensive option. Schipol is located 20 kms away from the city centre, so you are going to pay for that trip. Though the correct rate is meant to be about 40 Euros, don´t be surprised if you are charged more. Much more. The show is expensive enough, so why would you want to write off 60 or 70 Euros straight out the starting gate? If money´s no issue, we´re happy for you!

The city also has some dodgy taxi operators. And though while you are not likely to encounter them at the airport, be wary nevertheless when getting into a taxi. It´s wise to ask the price of the trip before you get in. IBC is bonanza time for the taxi drivers of the city. That´s not to say there are not many perfectly respectable (licensed) drivers out there, it´s just a mixed bag. So watch out.

The Arrivals Hall connects you to a shopping centre and then the interior transit area where you will find connections to trains, buses, taxis and car rental companies.

Schipol is one of those airports that´s really well integrated and designed, even if it a bit of a monster. When you exit the arrivals hall, you find yourself in a shopping centre of sorts. On the other side is an enormous transit area. The train platforms are below. If you want to save time, go directly to the ticket desks and buy your train ticket. There are machines, but you have to know what you need, and it can be confusing. So head straight over to the ticket desks and decide now: do you need a return ticket from the airport to the Centraal Station or to the RAI? Discuss your options with the folks at the ticket desks.

If you can make some smart decisions about transport early, you´ll be ahead of the game. It will take a lot of the guess work out of figuring out how you will navigate both the city and the show, as well as get back to the airport. For example, on your way home you can save time by checking out of your hotel, going to IBC, making use of the convenient cloakrooms at the RAI, then depart directly back to Schipol from the RAI by train.

The IBC also operates a free shuttle service between Schipol and the RAI, as well as free shuttles from the RAI to a number of hotels. Don’t forget too that all exhibition visitors are entitled to a free tram pass that covers the entire city of Amsterdam. So if you have the free travel options, why not make use of them? More information including prices can be found here.

5) Internet Access at the Show

You would think that there is wifi everywhere covering the whole of the IBC show floor, but there´s not. Additionally, the entire 3G network has been known to crash, with so many visitors to the show. So make sure you are prepared. For your phone, we recommend a cheapie local pay-as-you-go SIM card, or, if your carrier provides it, make sure you have an international roaming plan in place. If you want to be assured of a connection, provided that all the competing wifi set-ups on practically every stand at the show don´t interfere, the IBC provides free WiFi access points in the following areas. These are usually pretty reliable.

These are located at Gold Pass Lounge, Ruby Lounge, Forum Lounge, Forum Conference Room, the Catering Area in Europa Foyers 1 and 2, Diamond Lounge, the Grand Café, Café Amsterdam, Holland and Europa Complexes (on the 1st floor of each), The Brasserie, the Leadership Summit Lounge (Topaz Lounge) and the Business Lounge.

The IBC is so huge, check these links for a visual guide to some of these lounges, which can be found here and here plus the Holland and Europa Complexes. There are generally WiFi signs around the show that signpost these locations. There´s also free WiFi at the Press Lounge, downstairs in Hall 8. The RAI also offers free access to computers in the Elicium building, which you can access via Entrance D. This is the smart and shiny new building outside.

Your suggestions
Do you have a tip to add to this list? Contact us and we´ll add your tips to this post.

We wish you a successful IBC!

August - 2013

IBC 2013 Party & Event List

It´s IBC time again, and that means it´s time for our industry´s annual migration to the RAI in Amsterdam. This year the event is taking place from 12th to 16th September.  As per previous years we are monitoring announcements and will continue updating this list until IBC starts. We hope this list is useful, but do please remember to be courteous and attentive to your hosts. It´s business after all, not a free lunch!

We hope you have a successful IBC!  If you are interested in meeting any of our associates during the show, please contact us.
 
Thursday 12th September
Thursday 12th September – IBC Leaders´ Summit VIP
By invitation only. Various networking events. Programme.

Friday, 13th September
IBC 2011Friday, 13th September – IBC Party – at the RAI Exhibition Center, Diamond Lounge, at 18.30
For IBC exhibitors and staff. Good food and drinks, quiet areas for conversation, strolling entertainers and games, and lively music for dancing. Gold and Silver Pass delegates receive invitations to the party, as do Friday’s Bronze Pass holders.

Friday, 13th September – Atos – on the EMC Isilon stand, Hall 7.H10, from 17.00 to 19.00
Drinks and canapés with Atos

Friday, 13th September – Cinegy – Drinks – from 5.00-6.30 pm on their stand 7.A30

Friday, 13th September – Elemental – IBC Kickoff Party – at Little Buddha Amsterdam – 18.30 – 20.30

Elemental invites its customers to a party at Little Buddha Amsterdam, conveniently located in the heart of the city center. Email Bert Mecham for details bertm@elementaltechnologies.com

Saturday, 14th September

Saturday, 14th September – Verimatrix – Multi-Network Solutions in the Real World – Room G102 – G103- 08.30 – 10.30am
The briefing will be about multi-network solutions. The event is complimentary, but seating is limited. Complimentary breakfast. Sign-up

Saturday, 14th September – Masstech – Stand 6.A10 – from 4-6pm
Cocktail party. RSVP

Saturday, 14th September – European Mocha User Meetup, Imagineer stand, Hall7.J49 – 16.30 – 18.30
Networking, guest presentations, demos, door prizes, drinks – Register

Saturday, 14th September, Saffron Digital stand, 14.154 – 16.30
CEO Jason Keane will present Saffron solutions on the Connected World Stage followed by drinks on their stand to celebrate. Register: events@saffrondigital.com

Saturday, 14th September, Worldcast Systems – stand 8.B50 at 5pm
Happy Hour. RSVP.

Saturday, 14th September – Cinegy – Drinks – from 5.00-6.30 pm on their stand 7.A30

Saturday, 14th September – IABM Awards for Design & Innovation Ceremony & Drinks Reception Date, from  18:30 to 20.30, Onyx Lounge, RAI
The winners of the 2013 Awards for Design & Innovation will be announced. Celebrations will continue after the ceremony with drinks and networking. By invitation only. Info here.

IBC 2011Sunday, 15th September

Sunday, 15th September, Worldcast Systems – stand 8.B50 at 5pm
Happy Hour. RSVP.

Sunday, 15th September – Cinegy – Drinks – from 5.00-6.30 pm on their stand 7.A30

Sunday, 15th September – Party in Hilversum, the Media City
A bus is leaving at 6.30pm to travel to Hilversum, 25 minutes away, for a party. Cost 55E.
Live music, art, drinks, food. Details at this link.

Sunday, 15th September – CCBN Party – at the Sea Palace Floating Restaurant – 6.30-9.30pm
Always busy and great food. Visit the China Content Broadcasting Network in Hall 6.A03. You must register for this event by clicking here
There will be a shuttle bus from the RAI between 5.30 and 7pm, departing from Park 6, outside Hall 11, departing every 20 minutes.

Monday , 16th September

Monday, 16th September, Worldcast Systems – stand 8.B50 at 5pm
Happy Hour. RSVP.

Monday, 16th September – EUSatcom Innovation Awards 2013 – Eye Filmmuseum Amsterdam
Fee is Euro 100 ex VAT. Info

Monday, 16th September, – Connected World TV Awards – Hotel Okura, Amsterdam
Awards night at Hotel Okura.
19.00: Cocktail Reception
20.00: Dinner followed by the ConnectedWorld.TV awards
22.30: Connected World Awards After party
Bookings: bgill@bpl-broadcast.com

Date unknown
Dalet – Adobe Cocktail and Product Presentation
Register here

Citizen Journalism and Media Responsibility

Trust Me, I´m Lying is the title of a controversial book by Ryan Holiday published in July 2013. It´s been billed as an exposé of the current online journalism system, and with its subtitle, ¨Confessions of a Media Manipulator¨ it makes great companion reading to a report published earlier this year that examines the societal and legal implications of so-called ¨citizen journalism¨.

¨Open Journalism¨ was released in April 2013 by the European Audiovisual Observatory (EAO). It explores the age we live in, where anyone with smart phone and access to the internet can produce and publish sound, images and text. Such content may end up on an individual´s own platform (thanks to the rise of blogs), or on more professional platforms, where indeed such ´user generated content´ is often valued today as a supplemental resource to traditional news reporting. That´s interesting. Because in Holiday´s book he explains why blogs matter, how they drive the news, and how they are manipulated.

Since ´open journalism´ is such a wide-ranging topic, it´s no surprise that legal frameworks have not kept up with such developments. The lead article in the EAO report authored by Tarlach McGonagle of Amsterdam´s Institute for Information Law, analyses the legal implications for various types of user-generated content, which according to an OECD definition, means creative efforts that are published ¨outside professional routines and practices’¨. Can such a definition be still even valid?

The legal and regulatory issues impacted by the widespread creation of user-generated content and news, include basic principles like the right to freedom of expression, media pluralism, and media and content regulation. The report also looks at recent measures undertaken by the Council of Europe in relation to protecting freedom of expression in the online environment, and the relationship between social networks, and traditional audiovisual media services, including the issue of responsibility.

It´s here, on the topic of responsibility, that one can pause for thought on how the media is so cleverly manipulated today. All those ridiculous headlines designed to pique interest: the top 10 reasons for this and that, and how Freddie Star Ate My Hamster. Such tricks, originally designed to boost newspaper sales, are now optimised to get people clicking on ad-driven websites whose only goal is that you click, and click through multiple pages, to get as much exposure to their advertising as possible.

open-journalismAll of this and much more is well-described by Holiday in his book, including various stunts that he´s pulled to trick reporters and bloggers on behalf of his clients. He also covers the new wave of ´iterative´ journalism, which is basically defined as publish first, worry about the details (never mind the facts) later. Result: a complete displacement for consumers and the disintegration of whatever integrity might still exist in the news reporting profession.

Perhaps the most interesting section of the EAO report is the final section. This section sets out the ¨Social Media Guidelines¨ based on contributions to a ¨2013 Social Media Guidebook¨ published by the Organization for Security and Co-operation in Europe (OSCE)´s  Representative on Freedom of the Media. This is an exercise that originally dates back 10 years, when the OSCE Representative first convened a series of Internet Conferences to establish the potential and challenges of the Internet for freedom of expression and freedom of the media. The Amsterdam Recommendations of 2003 and the Media Freedom Internet Cookbook of 2004 approached the Internet as a new phenomenon and an unprecedented communication platform.

By all accounts the new guidelines must still be adjusted, they say, but it is based on the underlying principle of ¨basic human rights to free media and free expression and their implementation in the digital age¨. Indeed, ´adjustment´ is an interesting term, for it seems nigh on impossible to implement anything akin to ethical responsibility in this age of social media. As two of the principles state:

    •    For journalists, the balance of using social media for newsgathering, reporting, verifying – and ethical issues that go with it – remains a challenge that continues to be tested as new 2013 Social Media Guidelines standards evolve to meet the demands of new technologies.
    •    What used to happen before “going to press” – information distribution – in the forms of verification and fact checking, now plays out simultaneously on social media. Process and transparency is as newsworthy as the newsgathering and reporting itself, and is becoming a part of how stories are told with these media. And the whole world is paying close attention.

Indeed. The term ´challenge´ here is also something of an understatement in the current media environment. As is the statement that ´coming up with globally valid and enforceable rules to apply to situations worldwide will be difficult to achieve.¨ It seems laudable but in the end it is a huge tide to turn back, if governments, regulators, civil society, industry, academia and multiple stakeholders believe they might work together to develop helpful guidelines for how technology companies, including those operating in repressive regimes, could best operate to promote freedom of expression and protect the privacy of users.

That´s not to say they should not try, but as Holiday explains, there are consequences. When the methods of manipulation are applied, it backfires. His methods have been used to propel a relatively uninfluential politician into the public mind as a serious US presidential candidate, all for the purpose of generating page views for a  major blog site. When in 2011 it was reported he had received a $500,000 advance for writing a tell-all exposé, some news outlets considered the report to be a strategic marketing stunt that he had put in motion. Prior to its release, it had been reported that he posed as an expert on various issues in order to prove that journalists could not be counted on to do any fact checking. So if this exposé only tells part of the story of what´s going on, which should come as no surprise, it begs the question: even if some news outlets and / or journalists are still ethical, and others not, driven by this insane click-driven ad economy, what hope is there for consumers to know the difference ?

These new journalistic mechanisms would appear to be an economic necessity in the information age. Moreover, there is no doubt that Holiday has pulled out all the stops to use, to his own advantage, the methods he describes to promote the sales of his own book. We would expect nothing less of him. This is what makes the book such compelling reading. Will a set of ´Social Media Guidelines¨ have any impact at all? Of course regulators have to try.  But Trust Me, I’m Lying concludes with both a recognition from Holiday of his part in the web’s deception and with a warning: “Our dominant cultural medium—the web—is hopelessly broken.”

-jg-

Open Journalism can be purchased via the European Audiovisual Observatory´s Website.

White Spaces and Microsoft

In this video Paul Mitchell, Microsoft´s General Manager for Technology Policy explains the company´s involvement in various white spaces pilots and trials over the past 10 years. He describes how white spaces, which are basically unused parts of the licensed TV spectrum, can provide ¨access to an underutilized resource that can dramatically change the lives of people in developing countries, to create connectivity to the web and to be able to access the information and educational resources and participate in the digital economy is a major goal for developing countries. TV white spaces represents a dramatically less expensive approach to bringing this kind of activity to bear than other approaches.¨ Microsoft started pilots into this area about 10 years ago, first on their corporate campus, and later they did a trial in Cambridge, UK. This trial, conducted in partnership with 16 other companies, showed that the system works ´amazingly well´. There are now ongoing trials in Singapore and with Indigo Telecom in Kenya. Why is Microsoft so interested in this? Because broadband connectivity is both unaffordable and unavailable in the to a large percentage of the population of the world, and it´s in their business interest to get that part of the world connected.

May - 2013

The Evolution of Multiviewers

dreamstime_12243752Multi-viewer technology has evolved into a powerful production and broadcast tool.  Gary Olson, a leading technology strategist discusses the uses and benefits in his latest article in Broadcast Engineering. 

IT Challenges for Broadcast Engineers

dmst_18680815-unique-id-contentOur consulting colleague Gary Olson has recently been interviewed for an article about how broadcast engineers face continuing challenges in coming to grips with the new IP-file based workflows. Published in Radio World, you can read all about it here.

 

April - 2013

Technology & Innovation @ ParcBIT

Flora-Palms-Menorca-DSC2431-tech-hubIs your start up located in a big grey city? ParcBIT  in Mallorca is a thriving tech hub and incubator sitting in the middle of the Mediterranean sea, offering a high quality of life and at the same time an excellent infrastructure.

Broadcast Projects is in attendance at the US / Spain business days being held at ParcBIT on April 23 and 24 in Mallorca, and we´re pretty impressed impressed by the place. Keith Silver, Deputy Senior Commercial Officer of the US Embassy Madrid, responsible for international trade and development, today presented the services of the embassy, as well as the business opportunities and highlighted the business opportunities between the Balearic Islands and the US. In attendance were government officials responsible for promoting technology and innovation investment in the Balearic Islands, as well as participants from many different business sectors interested in export opportunities.

Key companies already at ParcBIT, which is just amazing and has wonderful facilities with more than 2400 people already working there in what appears to be a very thriving and stimulating environment, include Microsoft´s Innovation Center for Tourism Technologies, and many more. Check out the full the list here.

The ParcBIT Innovation Unit aims to fast-track investment in the Balearic Islands. It is part of the support network for innovation, new technologies, the promotion of entrepreneurship and entrepreneurship to develop different institutions and agencies of the Balearic Islands. This unit serves Balearic businesses and entrepreneurs, and has a focus on innovation to improve its competitiveness. ParcBIT offers a one stop shop and is an ideal location, being very well connected with flights to Palma just one or two hours away from all major European cities. We hope more technology companies will check out this great opportunity.

If you are interested in learning more about technology innovation and investment in the Balearic Islands, please contact us.

Connected TV Policy Events in May

Two forthcoming events addressing regulatory and policy issues will be held in London and in Vienna during the month of May.

In London on 2nd May the market trends, dynamics and policy implications of Connected TV will be addressed by the UK Chapter of the International Institute of Communications in a seminar that will be hosted by Ofcom. Planned speakers include David Mahoney (Ofcom), Chris Hutchins (Liberty Global), plus other speakers including representatives from the European Commission. The conversation will look at how broadband TV is affecting the TV market, the evolving demand and usage patterns for connected TV and issues such as risks for competition, issues of compliance, content regulation and audience protection. The discussion will also address whether the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) is fit for purpose in the context of this rapidly shifting landscape.

EuroReg 2013 is another event of interest, taking place on 24 May in Vienna. Organised by the Austrian Regulatory Authority for Telecommunications and Broadcasting (RTR-GmbH) and the Austrian Communications Authority (KommAustria) in partnership with the Swiss Federal Office of Communications (OFCOM) and the German media authorities, the conference will address the converging broadcasting world.

Set against the backdrop of Connected TV, second screen, Smart TV, Hbb TV, and on demand TV services the conversation will focus on the changing market, new business models and consumer expectations. Top speakers will present and discuss their concepts of the future of television services, including which aspects are to be regulated by the market, and which by regulatory bodies. Among the companies and organisations present at the conference will be the Austrian Broadcasting Corporation ORF/Vienna, M6 Group/Paris, ProSiebenSat.1/Munich, ZDF/Mainz, the German media authorities, OFCOM/Biel, Ofcom/London, CSA/Paris, the European Commission/Brussels, Samsung/London, Liberty Global/Amsterdam, ACT/Brussels and many more. The conference will be held in German and English. Simultaneous interpretation will be available for guests and speakers.

Broadcast Projects will attend both events.

Event Details:

Connected TV and Platforms: evolution or revolution? Market trends, dynamics, and policy implications will take place Thursday 2 May 2013, 17:00 for 17:30 Start at Ofcom, Riverside House, 2a Southwark Bridge Road, London EC1. Attendance is free to IIC Members and £30 for non-Members.  Click here to download the registration form and return to j.grimshaw@iicom.org with CH1-13 in the subject heading.

“EuroReg 2013” will take place 24th of May 2013, 9.30 a.m. – 6.00 p.m., followed by a get-together at the Palais Niederoesterreich, Herrengasse 13, A-1010 Vienna. Further information regarding “EuroReg 2013”: www.euroreg.eu  There is no charge to attend but registration must be done by 6th May.

 

March - 2013

Smart TV in Italy

New report

dreamstimemaximum_11846901Smart TV in Italy is the first of a series of strategy reports from Deadline Media TV on OTT and connected television. The analysis details the current market for Smart TVs in Italy within the framework of broadcasting, broadband and mobile communications. It provides five year forecasts and analysis of risks, uncertainties and competing and complimentary platforms.

Using MHP, Italy is the first country to widely deploy a broadcaster centric horizontal platform in competition with proprietary platforms of major television manufacturers. It therefore provides major lessons for connected and OTT television in other European countries deploying HbbTV or MHEG IC. However MHP has, so far, progressed little further than from proof of concept.

The key finding of this report is that connected television is taking off in Italy at a time when the existing broadcasting sector is faced with intense pressure to change. Advertising revenues have been brutally hit by austerity and the conventional pay-TV sector has probably peaked. A substantial amount of spectrum is now available for new linear-scheduled DTT services. Italy has been underserved by television even though Italians love it.

Deadline Media concludes that for the time being OTT will be driven by catchup TV and VoD films; the two major terrestrial incumbents, RAI and Mediaset, are positioned to dominate catchup TV because they have the content and the brand names.

Italy is a demanding and major G8 market for the new generation of services. The “Old Regime” is not serving the Italian consumer well, opening new opportunities for content providers, television vendors, STB and complimentary box distributors, CDN and service companies, the mobile sector, advertisers and carriers. Italy is a natural home for hybrid broadcast-broadband services.

The new report, Smart TV in Italy, comprehensively addresses the key strategic issues covering Smart TV and OTT TV/connected TV offerings. It is targeted at general management, business development, strategy, marketing and sales executives, content providers, researchers and analysts, investors, policy makers and standardisation organisations.

Published in February 2013, this 87-page electronically-delivered report comes as a PDF file. More information can be found on the Broadband TV News web shop, where it can also be ordered online, but as a single-user version or as a single site lience. For further details contact Deadline Media TV.

 

AVMS Scope and Fees

dreamstimelarge_33104Further Decisions in Austria and the Netherlands

The latest issue of Iris, published by the European Audiovisual Observatory, contains news of two recent AVMS-related decisions: one on scope and the other related to fees.

The first, in Austria, concerns the topic of scope related to a newspaper´s website, eg, which on-demand services are in scope of the AVMS regulations as incorporated into national legislation. The newspaper is question is Tiroler Tageszeitung whose online news portal, www.tt.com, has a sub-domain video section (video.tt.com) in which the videos are presented under separate categories, are searchable and follow the general design and navigation as the main site. The decision of the Austrian Federal Communications Senate (BKS) ruled however, that the site is to be considered an on-demand service. Newspaper websites have been a contentious subject for national regulators in other territories, with differing conclusions. In the UK the Sun Video case, Ofcom ruled that the newspaper´s video section of a website was out of scope, while a recent decision in Sweden rules that four newspapers were in scope. Full details of the Austrian case can be accessed on the European Audiovisual Observatory´s website here.

dreamstime_xxl_16751290In other news from the Netherlands the ¨supervisory¨ fees due by on-demand service providers, who must by law contribute to the costs of the Commissariaat voor de Media (Dutch Media Authority), have now been set at a 200 E flat fee, according to a new regulation that went into effect on 17 December 2012. The low fee is justified by the authorities because existing rules, which apply to linear broadcasters and take into account their potential reach, do not apply to on-demand services. Since the AVMS rules are less strict, the supervisory role is accordingly less. However the Dutch authorities will impose different fees for different media services, the result of which is likely to be that major national stations and foreign-oriented services will contribute more to the supervision costs. Access the full story in Iris here.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

February - 2013

Ofcom overturns three ATVOD rulings

butterfly-squirrel-edit-odps-or-notOfcom had a busy start to the year with a number of decisions relating to appeals of previous ATVOD determinations. ATVOD is the co-regulatory body for editorial content in on-demand programme services in the UK.

Playboy TV and Demand Adult were both fined for ´recklessly´ failing to restrict under 18s from accessing their on-demand adult content, and Ofcom overturned three earlier determinations by ATVOD. These specifically related to the long awaited decisions on two BBC YouTube channels for BBC Food and Top Gear, and Channel Flip.

Although these additional decisions add further shape to the definition of what constitutes an on-demand service as defined by the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, (AVMS was implemented into UK law in 2009 and 2010), the definition of what is and is not in scope is still shifting. Hence the determinations still do not give wholly definitive clues as to what´s in and what is out, meaning which services have to notify and will be treated as regulated services under AVMS.

One of the key points turning points for ATVOD in making their original determinations was to look for the presence of any professional or semi-professional graphics and or production qualities within the video such as music, cast, title and closing credits. Given today´s wide range of software available to the general public for accomplishing precisely such tasks this seems implausible as criteria for what should reasonably considered to be TV like.

In both the BBC and Channel Flip cases, Ofcom decided the that content was not comparable to ´TV like´ services, using as the basis for its conclusion research it published in October 2012. This research gave Ofcom a better understanding of what types of programming consumers considered to be ¨TV like¨ and thereby warranting giving the public regulatory protection.  This legal interpretation by SNR Denton does a good job explaining the decisions made by Ofcom in the recent appeals. The SNR Denton piece explains how Ofcom went back to consider the wording of the original  AVMS Directive in making their decision, whereas ATVOD only looked at how the UK Regulations were worded.  It will be interesting to watch how and if a more narrow definition of scope emerges.

The number of services in scope currently stands at 211, though projections as recent as last year considered it would never go beyond 160 or so. It also remains a mystery as to why porn websites are caught by the AVMS rules in the UK, which, as described above, is meant to deal with ´TV-Like´ on-demand programme services. Clearly the services in this list are not all of the same ilk, even though one completely understands that this is a problem of enormous proportion in terms of protecting children. True, something must be done, but AVMS was simply not intended to be that blunt instrument.  ATVOD recently testified to the House of Lords on this very matter, and made recent noises over their intention to place heavier reliance on the Obscene Publications Act and put greater pressure on payment processors for those porn websites originating abroad, and therefore out of the jurisdiction of ATVOD.

It should be interesting to see how scope plays out in the scheme of things.

These latest developments represent the fourth instance of Ofcom overturning an ATVOD decision, counting also The Sun video decision of December 2011. While in Sweden, in contrast, four newspapers were determined by the Swedish regulator to be in scope of AVMS, last October. Report here.

Sign up for AVMS Watch here and leave a comment below if you have a view on how AVMS is being implemented in your country.

For further insight on AVMS implementation across Europe, subscribe to AVMS Insights and get access to our October 2012 article on the subject.

Contact us for further information.

January - 2013

Make a difference in 2013

Looking to make a positive difference in 2013?

The Ethiopian Education Foundation is recruiting a new manager to oversee its school in Addis Abbaba. This is a position that offers huge influence on the lives of the the Foundation´s extremely bright students, all of whom have come from severely underprivileged backgrounds. Each year the foundation awards scholarships for those in grades 9-12. These kids are carefully selected and once accepted university entrance is almost guaranteed after four years in the EEF programme.

To learn more about the position, click here. At this link you´ll find more info about the EEF programme, including how to sponsor one of their students. EEF was founded by Achim Kram and colleagues after an expedition to Ethiopia in 2003.

Sizing Matters in Social Media

If you are trying to keep up with all the demands of social media, LunaMetrics has produced a handy visual guide to all the specs and sizes you´ll need to achieve the ultimate connected presence.

The cheat sheet provides all media sizes and specs for optimising an online brand with Facebook, Twitter, Google+, You Tube (branded channels), LinkedIn and Pinterest. Heresy, but this is one for actually printing out and keeping nearby.

 

Piracy Never Goes Away

The Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance (AAPA) was launched at the HbbTV Symposium in Paris on 17 December 2012. Building upon the work of its predecessor, the Association Européenne pour la Protection des Œuvres et services Cryptés (AEPOC), AAPA’s role is to facilitate the coordination of intelligence and anti-piracy activities amongst its members and to interact with EU institutions to ensure that there is effective legislation to achieve successful enforcement action.

“At IBC two years ago we started a discussion about the security issues surrounding connected TV. Since then AAPA members have been active in developing security for smart TVs, etc and making OTT content available. We need to ensure that all stakeholders recognise the importance of implementing and maintaining content security robustly and this symposium provides an opportunity to continue to reinforce this message.” said AAPA Executive Director Sheila Cassells. “AAPA offers a reinvigorated approach to fighting piracy in the audiovisual sector. While many policy discussions have focussed on ISP liability it is important that we do not lose sight of the need to tackle circumvention of content protection technology. AAPA’s members work collaboratively in this area and we will continue to support this, as well as endeavour to ensure that legal  powers are fit for purpose.”

“Piracy never goes away,¨ according to AAPA Vice-President Christine Maury-Panis, General Counsel at Viaccess.  ¨As new technologies emerge and new ways of distributing audiovisual content become more popular, it is crucial that we have all the possible tools to work with collaboratively against the persistent threat of piracy, which causes enormous damage to jobs in the creative and other sectors. AAPA provides an efficient industry alliance which is able to support the fight against piracy of paid content delivered via the set top box, mobile phone, tablet, etcetera.¨

 

The AAPA works to support pay TV and large technology security firms by engaging in dialogue with EU institutions and taking action to ensure appropriate and effective legislation is implemented consistently across the EU. Through the activities of its members and the work of the Intelligence Committee, AAPA identifies areas where legislation can be improved. The AAPA meets three to four times a year, in addition to exchanging information by e-mail and conference call. AAPA´s current membership includes BSkyB, Conax, Eutelsat, INSIDE Secure, Irdeto, Liberty Global, Melita, Nagra, NDS, Nova, Open Tech, Pace, Sky Deutschland, Sky Italia, Verimatrix, Viaccess, Ziggo and Zon. All members of the Alliance are members of the AAPA Council, which determines the strategy of the Alliance.

December - 2012

Digital Pills the Next Big Thing?

As if we weren´t already numb. A UK-based company has created an app called Digipill which it claims offers a kind of drug in the form of downloadable audio files. The mood-altering ´digital drugs´ claim to use psycho-acoustics as a form of therapy.

Created by UK-based mobile developer Yuza with the assistance of self-help author  Brian Colbert and apparently 20 years of neuro-linguistic research, the digital drugs consist of around half an hour of audio each. Although binaural techniques have existed already for some time – producing varying results – the Digipill app uses a form of hypnosis that can induce experiences ranging from relaxation to weight loss, to creative ambition and legal highs. Users can download the app at no cost and receive one free ‘pill’ to try before purchasing other options from the Pill Store.

The developers recommend that multiple sessions. No doubt they will also amend the mood of regulators.

Smoke some of that. We´ll let you know how we get on.

Protecting Children against Online Porn in the UK

ATVOD´s war against children accessing online porn continues.

Strictly Broadband, the UK adult service that was forced to close down due to ´unmanageable´ trading conditions, has been fined today (6 December 2012) by Ofcom for not putting in place effective access controls to prevent children accessing porn. The fine, of 60,000 GBP, is due even though the service closed down in September 2012, after seven years of trading.

ATVOD, the Authority for Television On Demand,  which is responsible for regulating the editorial content of certain on-demand programmes services like Strictly Broadband, as co-regulator alongside Ofcom – originally found the website in breach of its Rule 11 in July 2012. This rule states that if an on-demand programme service ¨contains material which might seriously impair the physical, mental or moral development of persons under the age of eighteen, the material must be made available in a manner which secures that such persons will not normally see or hear it.”

This was not the case with the Strictly Broadband service, which was made available online, along with its sister site www.anywhere.xxx. ATVOD’s Guidance to Rule 11 explains the type of restrictions that a provider should put in place around R18 content to ensure that minors cannot usually access it. As “Strictly Broadband” was not in compliance with Rule 11 during the period in question, ATVOD referred “Strictly Broadband” to Ofcom for consideration of a sanction on 13 August 2012.

In other news ATVOD has published new research (3 December 2012) that demonstrates that four out of five adults think that it is too easy for children to view hardcore porn online. The research was conducted by ICM Research on 26-27 September 2012. The responses from a demographic sample of 2019 adults in Great Britain showed that:

  • 77%  of British adults think hardcore porn videos are easy for children to see online
  • 88% of British adults think  it is important that UK websites offering porn-on-demand are required to take the steps set out in the ATVOD Rules and Guidance – such as restricting access, to credit card holders or by checking information against a reliable database, e.g. the electoral roll – to ensure that under 18s do not normally see hardcore porn material
  • Women are particularly concerned, with 94% saying the measures required by ATVOD are very or quite important (with 82% specifically saying they are very important)
  • Overall, 69% of British adults say the measures required by ATVOD  are ‘very important’
  • Views are broadly the same for adults with or without children

The VOD regulator continues its intensive enforcement activity. It  recently investigated 23 notified ‘adult’ services, finding 13 to be in breach of the statutory rules because they featured hardcore porn material which could be accessed by under 18s.

Two of those found to be in breach have now closed and eight have made themselves compliant by placing all hardcore material behind an effective access control mechanism. Four services which failed to make changes according to the timetable set by ATVOD have been referred to Ofcom. The back-stop regulator is now considering whether to impose financial penalties or restrict or suspend services.

ATVOD has also announced today the appointment of a new independent Board Member and Director, replacing the outgoing member, Sara Nathan. Paul Whiteing is the CEO of PhonepayPlus where he is responsible for regulating the fast changing premium rate industry during a period of rapid technological convergence of internet and telephony. Paul has extensive experience of regulation and consumer protection of all forms based on twenty years experience in a variety of regulated sectors. He will take up his post in January.

For more news and insights on the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, sign up for AVMS Watch here.

 

November - 2012

Four Newspapers in AVMS Scope in Sweden

The Swedish Broadcasting Commission (SBC) has decided that the video sections on four newspaper websites were to be considered as audiovisual media services under the Swedish Radio and Television Act. The decision, which was announced in 29 October 2012, concerned the websites of four daily newspapers: Helsingborgs Dagblad, Aftonbladet, Dagens Nyheter and Norran.

The Swedish Broadcasting Authority had asked the SBC to determine if the video sections of these newspapers were to be qualified as on-demand TV under the Act, which incorporates the provisions of the EC Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS).

The SBC determined that the video content sections constituted distinctly separate services in comparison to the other content on those newspapers´ websites. The key criteria that helped in the determination were that:

  •  the programmes were made available to the general public
  • the programmes could be accessed in such a way where the users could choose themselves when to watch (e.g., on-demand)
  • the programmes were organised in a ´catalog´ with distinct sections such as ¨Sports¨ and ¨News¨.

In view of these findings, the SBC determined that the video sections on these newspaper websites qualified as ¨on-demand TV¨ and were covered by the Swedish Radio and Television Act.  As part of the decision, SBC also found that the web TV service of Aftonbladet had an advertisement that was not properly signaled to consumers (by optical and acoustic means) as is required by the Swedish Radio and Television Act.

These rulings mark an interesting point of departure since the UK Sun Video – Ofcom Appeal Decision which was published at the end of 2011

Original Source and related SBC decisions in Swedish

 

A Fresh Vision for UK Internet & Content Regulation

A new article by lawyer Graham Smith, expressing his personal views on the regulation of the internet makes for interesting reading. It was published this month and covers his views as presented at the SCL Forum in September 2012. The article looks at the current state of play, as Leveson looms and decisions on the Communications Bill and social media prosecutions are considered. The article covers ATVOD and regulatory convergence, stating that ¨ATVOD remains in many people´s minds a strong contender for the title of Least Necessary Regulatory Body¨. It also looks at  Ofcom, copyright, criminal law, Internet speech and related submissions by Max Mosely to the Leveson Inquiry on this subject in light of statements made by the then Culture Secretary Jeremy Hunt.

Mr Smith, offers his recipe for Government next steps, stating that ¨The bold course of action is to deregulate and free up the Internet.  The bold option would be to say that we don’t need, and should positively discourage, content legislation specific to the Internet.  The bold course would be to say that we should minimise the use of prior restraint, avoid disproportionate sanctions, and take especial care to avoid measures that risk chilling legitimate content and speech.
The bold course would be to live up to the mantra that what’s legal offline should be legal online, by acknowledging that general laws of content framed with due regard to freedom of speech – and nothing more, especially no special Internet statutes and no Internet content regulators – should apply to both offline and online content.  That means repealing at least s 127 of the Communications Act 2003.  The bold course would also include abolishing ATVOD in favour of the Irish AVMS implementation model, putting the Digital Economy Act out of its misery and rejecting Max Mosley’s prescription for the Internet.

The entire text is well worth reading and you can find it here on the website of  SCL, the IT law community, which is the leading UK organisation for legal professionals advising and practising within the IT sector.

The Future of European Audiovisual Policy

A review of the future of European Audiovisual Policy has been published this month by Christopher O. De Andrés on his blog. The article offers a wide-ranging tour across the EU legal framework, from the 1990s television to online, right up to today´s on-demand services.

 

Latest UK Online Copyright Infringement Research

Research published today by Ofcom shows that 47% of all UK internet users have no idea whether the content they are accessing online is legal or not.

The report follows the Hargreaves Review of Intellectual Property and Growth that Ofcom should start gathering independent data and establishing trends in the area of online copyright, ahead of its reporting obligations under the Digital Economy Act, which came into force in June 2010.

The Digital Economy Act features numerous controversial copyright infringement provisions. Its goals are to make it easier to track down those who persistently infringe copyright, sue them, and, after one year, facilitate the enabling of ´technical measures´ to either reduce the quality of or completely terminate their internet connections.

Ofcom must begin its reporting obligations under the Act one full year after its Code, dealing with the procedures, has been in force. The draft code was published in June 2012 for consultation. Now, it is now subject to a further review by the European Commission, and it will be laid in Parliament around the end of 2012. ISPs will then prepare to meet their obligations, and Ofcom will appoint an appeals body. Ofcom currently expects the first customer notification letters to be sent in early 2014. The full text of the code can be found here.

The Code will initially cover ISPs with more than 400,000 broadband-enabled fixed lines – currently BT, Everything Everywhere, O2, Sky, TalkTalk Group and Virgin Media. Together these providers account for more than 93% of the retail broadband market in the UK. ISPs will be required to send letters to customers, at least a month apart, informing them when their account is connected to reports of suspected online copyright infringement.

If a customer receives three letters or more within a 12-month period, anonymous information may be provided on request to copyright owners showing them which infringement reports are linked to that customer’s account. The copyright owner may then seek a court order requiring the ISP to reveal the identity of the customer, with a view to taking legal action for infringement under the Copyright Designs and Patent Act 1988.

Copyright owners can already seek such court orders under existing law, but the Code is designed to enable them to focus legal action on the most persistent alleged infringers.

The consumer research published today also found:
•    One in six (16%) internet users aged 12+ downloaded or accessed online content illegally during the three month period from May to July 2012;

•    Reported levels of infringement varied considerably by content type: 8% of internet users consumed some music illegally in the three months, but just 2% did so for games and software;

•    The most common reasons cited for accessing content illegally were because it is free (54%), convenient (48%) and quick (44%). Around a quarter (26%) of infringers said it allows them to try before they buy;

•    Infringers said they would be encouraged to stop doing so if cheaper legal services were available (39%), everything they wanted was available from a legal source (32%) or it was more clear what content was legal (26%). One in six said they would stop if they received one notifying letter from their ISP;

•    Those who consumed a mixture of legal and illegal online content in the form of music, films and TV programmes reported spending more on legal content in these categories over the three-month period than those who consumed entirely legal or illegal content.

In its statement, Ofcom said the research offers just one perspective on levels of online copyright infringement, and that for a more complete picture it should be considered alongside direct measurement of behaviour on file-sharing websites and wider industry data.

Ofcom expects to consider all these data sources as part of its statutory reporting duties in the near future.

The full report, the OCI Tracker Benchmark Study, is available here. It was funded by the Intellectual Property Office (IPO), and carried out by Kantar Media on behalf of Ofcom. The report contains details about the methodology used, and the underlying data is also being made available for further analysis.

AVMS: Revise it or Renew it?

The European Broadcasting Union´s Eurovision website has published a short review of the main presentations from Connected TV: Beyond the AVMS Directive, a conference held in Cyprus at the end of October. You can read their review at this link. According to the report, ¨ultimately delegates concluded that regulations should meet consumer habits and expectations: portable and seamless content on all devices.¨ But there is a long way to go on that front, and no clear road map emerged. Many at the event also privately commented that nothing would move forward with regard to a review of AVMS prior to 2014, when the Commission will be re-elected. The Green Paper on Connected TV, now expected at the beginning of 2013, according to the video speech given by Neelie Kroes, is at least expected to advance the debate in the meantime.

For more in-depth reporting, subscribe to AVMS Insights.

You can also visit AVMS Watch, and sign up for the free newsletter here.

 

October - 2012

IIC Conference Keynotes Now Online

The keynote addresses from the IIC 2012 Annual Conference in Singapore are now available online at  this link.

See and hear the keynote speakers from the 2012 Annual Conference:

  • Dr Yaacob Ibrahim, the Singapore Minister for Information – opening presentation
  • Craig Mundie, Microsoft, talking about the future of technology. Craig  speaks about how cloud computing represents a real advance for consumers because they become a point of orchestration and coordination in people´s lives, the shift away from GUI to NUI (natural user interfaces) and how spectrum has got to be shared.
  • Randal Milch, Verizon, discussing the requirements of businesses to meet public policy goals
  • Ed Richards, Ofcom (UK), considers the challenges facing regulators
  • Louis Boswell, AETN All Asia Networks, reflects on the changing content delivery environment

 

New Dutch Home Copying Tax

The Dutch government is introducing a ‘home copying’ tax levy on all devices capable of recording sound and video content.

From January 1, 2013, a charge of €5 will be introduced on each new device sold, which includes PVRs, hard disk recorders, PCs, laptops, tablets and smartphones. Hard drive recorders will only be charged on devices of 190GB or more.

Source: Broadband TV News. Read more here.

Channel in a Box Webinar Postponed to 8 November

Gary Olson Presents Channel-in-a-Box
October 30 @ 2pm EST / 11am PST – POSTPONED

 

Due to the devastating storm the East Coast is and will be facing in the coming days, we will be postponing the Channel-in-a-Box web seminar previously scheduled for October 30th.

Gary Olson’s presentation will now be held on Thursday, November 8 at 2 PM EST.

 

• Create a cost-effective off-site
disaster recovery infrastructure

• Launch single and multichannel
delivery solutions

• Benefits of a software-centric
automation and playout system

• Advantages of replacing stand-alone components with an integrated
playout solution

• Improve workflow, simplifying equipment integration and
growing revenue

• Protect station investment
and lower playout costs

One of the hottest topics for broadcasters right now is the move from traditional playout automation with multiple devices to a single, one-stop Channel-in-a-Box (CiaB) solution. In fact, a recent market research report — forecasting this next-gen solution which offers integration, reduced costs and allows for a more scalable playout system — reports the CiaB market will grow to $146 million by 2017.

 

An early Xmas appeal for EEF

Recruitment for the Ethiopian Education Fund for 2013 has started. This is a worthy programme that was co-founded in 2003 by Achim Kram. As you begin to think about closing out the financial year, and how you will take care of your company´s annual ´seasons greetings´ messages, may we suggest putting your your name down for a sponsorship or a donation? Unlike with other well known sponsorship programmes, you really can DIRECTLY change someone’s life forever and get full updates throughout the year. Broadcast Projects is proud to be an EEF sponsor, and we invite you to visit the EEF website to  learn more and consider participating. The success stories and progress of the students is just amazing.

For just under £1000 you can become a sponsor. Alternatively you can make a contribution to the organisation´s running costs. You could set up a standing order or make a one off donation into their bank account at:

Royal Bank of Scotland
Ethiopian Education Foundation
29 Old Brompton Rd
London SW7 3JE
Sort Code 16 00 84
Account 1012 5863

Any amount would be very welcome.

Or if you wish you can make a payment by credit card here https://www.bmycharity.com/eef – BmyCharity charges ZERO commission on your payment and you know ALL of your donation goes directly to the programme in Ethiopia – NOTHING gets wasted on admin. Please share this also with your friends and family and like us on Facebook, and get your friends to do so too.

With your help EEF will continue to turn orphans and street children into university graduates – please help – even a small donation can go a long way.

For further information about the Ethiopian Education Fund, please contact Achim Kram at info@ethio-ed.org

Second Screen Event in New York

TV of Tomorrow Show, New York, December 2011Looks like it will be an excellent event, the TV of Tomorrow show, organised by ITVT, is scheduled to take place on 11th December. This event is the place where all the top people connected to the ´second screen´ space will be. All the event details are here. Broadcast Projects will attend. Contact us if you want to meet up there.

Connected TV in Cyprus Event

25 & 26 October, Limassol, CyprusTaking place in Cyprus on 25 & 26 October 2012 is the Connected TV Conference: ¨Beyond the AVMS Directive¨. With 180 participants from across the range of regulatory agencies, media companies, policy-makers and others, it promises to be a stimulating event. Full conference programme details have just been released. Access them here. See our earlier story here.

Broadcast Projects will attend this event. Contact us to arrange a meeting.

Poland sets VOD rules

In October 2012, the Sejm (Polish parliament) has now incorporated new rules on VOD services into the country´s laws on radio and TV broadcasting, thereby implementing the ´minimum regulation´ required by the EU Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). This amendment has not been adopted and has been based to Poland´s Senate.

Poland´s on-demand services delivered over the internet will be supervised by the National Broadcasting Council (KRRiT). The new rules will apply to internet-delivered non-linear services such as the Cyfrowy Polsat´s ´ipla´ service and TVN. Such services will now have to follow rules that apply to traditional TV stations, including those pertaining to the protection of minors and allocating an increasing percentage of their output to European productions. There will be also bans on tobacco, alcohol and subliminal advertising, and restrictions on product placement.

There will be no registration procedure for the new services. Previously this had been considered but it had become a controversial issue and subsequently this requirement has been dropped.

 

Sources:

http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2012/08/22/poland-sets-out-vod-rules/

http://www.broadbandtvnews.com/2012/10/16/poland-to-regulate-vod/

AVMS Insights

AVMS Insights offers an overview of AVMS implementation across Europe. Published in the October 2012 edition of InterMedia, the journal of the International Institute of Communications, the article is available to subscribers of the magazine. Contact us for details.

What does ¨TV like¨ mean?

Ofcom has published its long-awaited research into the definition of what is ´TV Like¨ in the context of AVMS, the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The report, commissioned by Ofcom and carried out by Essential Research Ltd, was intended to help Ofcom understand which on-demand audiovisual services are regarded by users as competing alternatives to linear TV services when they want to watch TV programmes, and why.

The research approach identified a range of on-demand services and then mapped these according to what extent users considered them to be ¨competing alternatives¨ to linear TV.  The spectrum below shows the services that were used as test stimuli (in blue), together with other frequently mentioned services (in yellow). Those at the left are the more obvious substitutes for linear TV, those at the right, not so much.

Source: Essential Research LtdSitting at the right hand of the spectrum, and the most obviously TV like are:

  • PVR content
  • TV VOD services
  • Catch up services

The services next most closely considered TV like were those offered by Netflix, Lovefilm and iTunes, because content these services can be accessed only by subscription or pay per view. It is interesting to note that feature films were not always considered to be TV like content.

Vevo and music videos on YouTube were the last services considered to be a ¨reasonable substitute¨ for linear TV, mainly because music videos, like films, were not top of mind as TV content, and also because some felt that music videos were clips rather than programmes.

The rest of the services tended not to be considered as reasonable substitutes for linear TV.

Services such as Babelgum, Channel Flip and Fosters were considered too commercial. ¨Funny¨ user generated videos on YouTube, Guardian Video and videos on the BBC website were all classed as services that served up  “clips” by viewers, as well as giving them options to create playlists and interact with the content. Top Gear on YouTube also fell into this category, good news for BBC Worldwide. Although the participants indicated that they often used these services, they did not tend to regard them as a substitute for linear TV.

The full report can be accessed here.

On-demand services: understanding consumer choices
Annex 2: Audio visual content take up and viewing

Children and Parents – New Report on Media Use & Attitudes

Ofcom published today its 2012 Children and Parents: Media Use and Attitudes report, containing evidence about how children access media and parents monitor their use. For the first time, this report provides indicative information about children as young as 3 to 4 years of age.

Children use a wide range of media devices. Their internet access is not confined to the desktop PC, laptop or netbook. Kids aged from 12-15 are spending more time online. They are also more likely to use their mobile phone, to go online, the device they would miss more than any other. The evidence gathers indicated  more than 1 in 3 children aged from 3 to 4 years of age are using the internet. The findings indicate that 37% in this age group use the internet via a PC, laptop or netbook, 6% via a tablet computer, and 3% via a mobile phone.  And while a majority (97%) watch television on a TV set, 18% have used other devices to view television programmes: including 12% on a PC, laptop or netbook, 7% on a games console or player and 6% on a tablet computer. 11% have also used on demand services. The data also suggest that a third (33%) of 3-4 year-olds have a television in their bedroom and 53% use a DVR.

The trends have significant implications for media literacy education, and in terms of children protecting and sharing their own personal information online, particularly on social networking sites.

The report says that there are several new ways that children are consuming content, highlighting that:

  • Older children are spending more time online, and are more likely to go online alone
  • Children are going online via a wider range of devices
  • Media multi-tasking is popular, particularly among 12-15s
  • Smartphones are becoming more widespread and important to children
  • The use of tablets by children is growing.

It also looks more in-depth at the role of television, and keeping children safe.

The report is accompanied by several annexes, with additional research and analysis:

Parents Views on Parental Controls: findings of qualitative research - New qualitative research on parents’ use of, and attitudes to, parental controls on internet-enabled devices.
Childrens TV viewing: BARB analysis – Analysis of children’s television viewing habits sourced from BARB, the UK’s television measurement panel.
Websites visited by children: Nielsen analysis – KOM/Nielsen data on most-accessed websites by children aged 5-15.
Media Tracker Survey: Key Findings Among Parents – Data on parents’ views on programme standards and regulation from Ofcom’s 2011 Media Tracker survey.

 

September - 2012

Measuring European Works

European Commission AVMS European Works Report Almost 65% of TV programmes shown in Member States are of EU origin, meeting the requirements of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive for both television and on-demand services. The majority of these European works however are domestic works – meaning TV stations and video on-demand services overwhelmingly prefer showing local, nationally created programmes; and the proportion of independent productions on television is declining.

The European Commission published its ¨First Report¨ on the promotion of European Works on TV and on-demand services in the EU on 26 September 2012. It looks at how Member States have complied with Articles 13, 16 and 17 of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) during 2009-2010, and is based on information contained in a study conducted by Attentional Ltd in December 2011 on the implementation of these provisions on the promotion of European Works, as well as input from Member States.

The report indicates that the average share of European works shown on EU TV channels had continued to increase, if only slightly (from 63.8% in 2009 to 64.3% in 2010), and that the majority threshold had been achieved in all Member States, except Ireland, Slovenia and the UK. The Commission is therefore asking these countries to step up and encourage their broadcasters to show more European Works.

Another finding is that independent productions have been decreasing steadily since 2006, and correspondingly the Commission has requested Member States to consider how this trend might be reversed. Another telling factor of the study is that of those works reported, only 8.1% of these were non-domestic, pointing to a significant tendency for the majority of works shown to have a domestic origin.

Article 13 of the Directive specifically relates to the promotion of European works in on-demand programme services. While Member States have flexibility as to the way in which they implement this obligation (see related story on the ATVOD plan for European Works for the period 2012-2015), in fact only a few Member States reported that they had defined specific promotion measures.

The report also cites the lack of uniformity across Member States in relation to Article 13 and the difficulty of drawing reliable conclusions, given the late implementation of AVMS in some countries, and the overall uneven development of the market for on-demand services. Nevertheless, the Commission considers that on-demand services are particularly relevant in the context of convergence and connected devices, and so they plan to analyse the best way to promote European works and engage soon in discussions with Member States.

Specialised Technical Training

Gary Olson, technology architect and advisor for digital media strategies, has this summer completed an extensive training series of videos focused on new IP and file based requirements. Produced in association with Broadcast Engineering, topics covered include:

Ingest/Acquisition/Capture:

Workflows & Business Process:

Media Management & Metadata

Engineering & Business Integration

Delivery and Distribution

Facility Design

The complete video training course consists of 7 modules that are each 45-60 minutes in length. Modules may be purchased and viewed stand-alone, but Module 1 is foundational for the other six.

The full training course costs $185, or individual modules at a rate of $29 per module.

Full details are here. 

 

Compression & Signal Processing Event 26/9

Broadcast Projects´ associate Gary Olson will co-present a web seminar on compression and signal processing in an IP and baseband world on 26 September.  The event will be co-presented by Mark Senecal, Senior Product Manager of the Video Networking Group, Harris Corporation. Gary and Mark will review the latest multiplexing and IP technologies that provide new efficiencies and signal management. As broadcasters are increasingly required to support content from many sources and deliver it over new types of channels, the demand to apply the efficiencies inherent in IP solutions grows ever stronger. With this mix of baseband and IP signals, engineers and technical managers need to leverage the best technology available to stay ahead of the competition.

The tutorial-style event is offered by Broadcast Engineering and sponsored by Harris Corporation. The webinar is free. You can find all details and sign up here.

ATVOD finalises its European Works Plan

The final version of the ¨European Works¨ plan for 2012-2015 was published today by ATVOD, the Authority for TV on Demand. ATVOD is the industry content co-regulator responsible for implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive under UK law.

Under AVMS, each member state has an obligation to to ensure that on-demand service providers ¨promote, where practicable and by appropriate means, production of and access to European works¨, that is to say, audiovisual content produced within the European Union.

In 2011 ATVOD collected its first round of data from service providers, covering a one year period ending 31 March 2011, and submitted a report on the data received to UK Government via Ofcom. As AVMS has a reporting requirement every four years, the next report the UK Government is required to submit is 19 December 2015.

ATVOD´s plan rejects the need for measures such as quotas, levies, and stipulations of prominence which have been adopted by some other EU Member states. The plan also marks a move away from annual data collection on European works on VOD services. Instead, ATVOD will collect data every two years, beginning in 2013.

Service providers will be contacted in January 2013 with details of the information to be provided and will have until 31 Sept 2013 to submit the data, allowing the workload to be managed around other commitments. In addition, the plan limits the information which will be required to 6 key pieces of data (compared with the 14 suggested by the Commission), as ATVOD does not consider additional data sets are required in order to discharge its duty or for the UK to meet its reporting obligations under the AVMS Directive.

Broadcast Projects Launches New Creative Venture

Broadcast Projects is pleased to announce the new joint venture between several of its consulting partners. Squeaky Carrot is a creative design and marketing solutions team. Find out what inspired us to create this new venture and who´s involved. Learn more at Squeaky Carrot. We´ll be at IBC! Contact us.

 

Connected TV Conference in Cyprus

The Cyprus Radiotelevision Authority and the European Commission will host the “Connected TV Conference” in Cyprus on 25 and 26 October.

The event will focus on the challenges of connected TV in a landscape beyond the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The conference is addressed to representatives of the European Commission, policy makers on audiovisual matters from all EU member states, the Council of the European Union, the Council of Europe, EPRA, MNRA, local authorities, representatives from the industry as well as international, European and local media. Confirmed speakers so far include directors, chairmen, and CEOs from companies such as Panasonic, Voddler, Philips, and the Korea Communications Agency.

Broadcast Projects will attend this event.

Stay tuned for more event details.

Conference website and registration.

The IIC Annual Conference in Singapore

Policymakers, regulators and industry participants from around the world will meet in Singapore on 8th & 9th October for the Annual Conference of the International Institute of Communications. This is the 43rd annual conference for the organisation, which is the world’s only independent membership organization focused on policy and regulatory affairs in the telecommunications and media sectors worldwide. Don´t know about the IIC? The IIC is a worldwide, non-profit membership organisation that covers issues in telecommunications, broadcasting and the internet.  This year´s annual conference again brings together a high-level mix of senior business executives, government policy makers, regulators and expert commentators. Topics on the agenda for this year´s conference include:

  • policy approaches and international coordination for allocating scarce spectrum resources
  • policies and strategies for managing the fast-moving world of on-demand broadband services
  • the role of competition policy in broadband and communication market development
  • progress in the world of copyright for content creators and consumers, privacy issues
  • strategies for sustaining dynamic communications sectors in national markets

Confirmed Keynote Speakers include:

Dr Yaacob IbrahimDr Yaacob Ibrahim
Minister for Information, Communications and the Arts, Singapore
Ed Richards Chief Executive, Ofcom - Office of Communications, UKEd Richards
Chief Executive, Ofcom – Office of Communications, UK
Randal S Milch

Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Verizon Communications

Craig Mundie

Chief Research and Strategy Officer, Microsoft Corporation

The IIC Annual Conference will be held on Monday 8 and Tuesday 9 October 2012 in Singapore at The Grand Copthorne Waterfront Hotel.

For more information visit the International Institute of Communications website

To Register: http://www.iicom-registrations.org/

August - 2012

Second Screen Summit in Amsterdam during IBC

The 2nd Screen Summit is taking place concurrently during the International Broadcasting Convention (IBC) in Amsterdam, on the afternoon of Saturday, 8th September. The Second Screen Society, newly formed in early July 2012, is hosting the event. The goals of the new society are to facilitate exchange, collaboration, and to promote the interests of its members, such as second screen app providers Zeebox, TVplus, Buddy TV, metadata companies such as Ree Bee Media, Rovi, RCDb, Watchwith and many others involved in the second screen ecosystem such as Civolution, EIDR and Technicolor, to mention just a few.

Second-screen devices and apps are the latest industry buzz, and Broadcast Projects has been looking deeply at the very fuel that is required for driving second screen applications: metadata. This is a subject that has moved on significantly since the days of acquiring mere programme-level descriptive information to power an Electronic Programme Guide (EPG). The new data comes from a variety of real-time and other sources, enriching that basic program-level metadata in innovative ways. To drive app development, some players look at curation, others automation, or a combination of the two. All of this is of course inextricably linked to how applications connect to social platforms, including strategies to increase sharing, and ultimately monetisation. A holistic approach is definitely mandatory for anyone already in the game or contemplating a play in this crowded, complex and very hot area right now.

Second Screen Society´s President, Chuck Parker, is certainly very knowledgeable on app functionality and user interfaces, having analysed practically every app that has come out this year, and blogging extensively on the subject since late last year. It therefore promises to be a well-informed event.

The 2nd Screen Summit Amsterdam kicks off at 4pm at the Okura Hotel. To register, the link is here.

Janet Greco, Broadcast Projects, will attend. If you are seeking independent advice on how to optimise your second screen data sourcing strategies, contact us.

July - 2012

IBC 2012 Party and Event List

It´s that time of year again, for our annual IBC Party and Event List. The list started small right but is growing at a steady pace.  We´ll be monitoring the announcements as they come, and updating the list here.

We hope it is a useful resource, but it´s up to you to get an invite, register or reach out nicely to the companies graciously hosting these events.

We wish you a good IBC and hope you will be planning to meet us there! To set up a meeting, contact us.

 

Thursday 6th September

Thursday 6th September – IBC Leaders´ Summit VIP drinks reception and dinner at West India House

By invitation only. Click here for details.

Thursday 6th September – SES Press Conference and Dinner at IBC 2012 at The Dylan Amsterdam, Keizersgracht 384, 1016 GB Amsterdam

Press only. Welcome reception at 6.30 pm. Presentation at 7 pm. Dinner from 8.30 pm Please respond before 24 August 2012 via e-mail to ibc@ses-press.info or by fax +49 30 76 8888 76 to the SES press office in Berlin to RSVP for this event.

Friday, 7th September

Friday, 7th September – Conax OTT press briefing & reception, Stand #1D69, at 4pm.

Presentation followed by a champagne reception on the Conax stand.

Friday, 7th September, Dalet Press Briefing – Stand 8.B77 16.30hrs,

Dalet executives will present Dalet Galaxy, the company’s next-generation enterprise Media Asset Management platform. A cocktail reception will immediately follow the presentation.

Friday, 7th September – RTW Raffle -  Stand 8.E76 at 5pm

Not a party as such, but you can win a TM TouchMonitor from RTW, a manufacturer of professional audio metering and control devices.

Friday, 7th September – Cinegy Drinks and Canapés -  Stand 7.A30 – from 5pm. 

RSVP to troy@cinegy.com

 Friday, 7th September – IBC Party – at the RAI Exhibition Center, Diamond Lounge, at 18.30

For IBC exhibitors and staff. Good food and drinks, quiet areas for conversation, strolling entertainers and games, and lively music for dancing. Gold and Silver Pass delegates receive invitations to the party, as do Friday’s Bronze Pass holders. Have you seen last year´s IBC party video?

Saturday, 8th September

Saturday, 8th September – Verimatrix Breakfast Briefing – Room G102 – G103- 08.30 – 10.00am

The briefing will be about multi-network solutions. The event is complimentary, but seating is limited, and the bacon sarnies too, so please sign up now.

Saturday 8th September 2012   – NATIV Press Conference and drinks – NATIV Stand 4.A61e – 16:30-17:00.

Press conference on the industry’s first enterprise DAM solution with built-in social collaboration and browser-based editing. You must register by emailing chloe.pope@platformpr.com

Saturday, 8th September – Cinegy Drinks and Canapés -  Stand 7.A30 – from 5pm. 

RSVP to troy@cinegy.com

Saturday, 8th September – RTW Raffle -  Stand 8.E76 at 5pm

Not a party as such, but you can win a TM TouchMonitor from RTW, a manufacturer of professional audio metering and control devices.

Saturday 8th September. Never.no hosts a Social TV Party, Booth #7.A06 at 4pm.

Join Never.no for drinks and nibbles to discuss the latest Social TV trends and developments. Register your interest by emailing jenna@never.no

Saturday, 8th September – Happy Hour ¨Belgian Style¨ hosted by Newtec, Hall 1A49 – 5pm

Don’t miss Newtec´s Belgian Style Happy Hour on 8 and 9 September at 5pm.

Saturday, 8th September – Thomson Networks IBC Cocktail Party – Booth #A10 from 05:30PM.

If you have received an invitation from Thomson Networks, please complete the on-line registration form to confirm your attendance.

Saturday, 8th September – Complimentary cocktails at the Rovi stand, Hall 5, Stand A31

Time: 4pm-6pm (3pm GMT)

Saturday, 8th September – IABM Awards for Design & Innovation Ceremony & Drinks Reception Date, from  18:00 to 19.30, Onyx Lounge, RAI

The winners of the 2012 Awards for Design & Innovation will be announced during IABM´s Awards from 6:00pm – 7:30pm, with drinks afterwards.

Saturday, 8th September – Second Screen Society will host a late afternoon discussion session over cocktails at the Okura Hotel.

Contact: chuck@MESAlliance.org

 Sunday, 9th September

Sunday, 9th September – Viaccess-Orca’s Lunch Cocktail  from 12:00pm-2:00pm at VO booth (1.A51)

RSVP to communications@viaccess-orca.com or paulina@theinkstudio.com

Sunday, 9th September – Satlink´s Annual Cocktail, from 5pm, Hall 5.A21

RSVP to irit@satlink.tv

Sunday, 9th September – RTW Raffle -  Stand 8.E76 at 5pm

Not a party as such, but you can win a TM TouchMonitor from RTW, a manufacturer of professional audio metering and control devices.

Sunday, 9th September – Cinegy Drinks and Canapés -  Stand 7.A30 – from 5pm. 

RSVP to troy@cinegy.com

Sunday, 9th September – Happy Hour ¨Belgian Style¨ hosted by Newtec, Hall 1A49 – 5pm

Don’t miss Newtec´s Belgian Style Happy Hour at 5pm.

Sunday, 9th September – CCBN Party – at the Sea Palace Floating Restaurant – 6.30-9.30pm

Visit the Chinese Content Broadcasting Network in Hall 6, 6.A03. You must register for this event by clicking here. There will be a shuttle bus from the RAI between 5.30 and 7pm, departing from Park 6, outside Hall 11, departing every 20 minutes.

AEPOC Re-Branding as AAPA

Sheila Cassells

According to a very short blog post by Sheila Cassells, Executive Director AEPOC, the European anti-piracy trade organisation will soon be changing its name in a re-branding exercise. More information will be made available shortly about the new Audiovisual Anti-Piracy Alliance. Sheila is also Director of the Digital Interoperability Forum (www.difgroup.eu), an informal trade association representing industry players involved in the delivery chain for paid-for content on technology policy issues, and a Broadcast Projects consulting associate.

June - 2012

EEA incorporates the AVMS Directive

The Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive was among the legal acts incorporated into the European Economic Area (EEA) Agreement on 15 June 2012, along with CLP Regulation on the labelling of chemicals. AVMS is an update of the former Television without Frontiers directive and its goal has been to address the new age of online streaming, video-on-demand and mobile TV. As these services  became increasingly important forms of media consumption, the EU revised its rules on traditional TV broadcasting to accommodate a new generation of media services in the digital age. The resulting AVMS Directive, which was finalised in 2007 and came into force at the end of 2009, has been aimed at creating a single market for all such services by providing legal certainty for businesses and more diverse and quality programming for viewers. The Directive also modernises TV advertising rules, thus facilitating new forms of financing of audiovisual content such as sponsorship and product placement.

In addition to the AVMS Directive, the Classification, Labelling and Packaging (CLP) Regulation has also been incorporated into the EEA Agreement. This Agreement aligns the EU’s system of classification, labelling and packaging of chemical substances and mixtures to the UN based Globally Harmonised System (GHS). It is expected to facilitate global trade and the harmonised communication of hazard information of chemicals and to promote regulatory efficiency. The new regulation replaces the orange hazard symbols with symbols on a white background with red frame. For hazardous products two new symbols are introduced.

Overall, the CLP sounds like a great concept that could equally well be applied to the classification of audiovisual content. See our earlier comments on this subject here and here.

The European Free Trade Association (EFTA, founded in 1960, is an intergovernmental organisation set up for the promotion of free trade and economic integration to the benefit of its four Member States: Iceland, Liechtenstein, Norway and Switzerland. It was originally comprised of seven members which eventually left to join the EU.

The Association is responsible for the management of the EFTA Convention, which forms the legal basis of the organisation and governs free trade relations between the EFTA States; EFTA’s worldwide network of free trade and partnership agreements; and the EEA which enables three of the four EFTA Member States (Iceland, Liechtenstein and Norway) to participate in the EU’s Internal Market.

AVMS trouble for Poland

AVMS Watch: The European Commission has referred Poland to the EU Court of Justice for failing to fully implement EU audiovisual media services Directive. Poland has partially implemented the Directive but not the provisions concerning on-demand services. This means that providers of such services are not obliged to protect viewers, especially children, from hidden advertising (such as subliminal advertising) or from content containing incitement to hatred. Nor does Poland respect the rules on the European content of services provided on-demand. Poland should have implemented the Directive in full, including the rules for on-demand services, by December 2009. The Commission has proposed a daily fine of € 112 190.40 which would be paid as from the date of the Court’s affirmative ruling until Poland notifies the Commission that it has fully implemented the rules into national law. These financial penalties are proposed under the Lisbon Treaty and take into account the duration and the gravity of the infringement and the size of the Member State.

Madelin on Broadband Investment

On the occasion of the 2nd Digital Agenda Assembly (21 & 22 June 2012) Robert Madelin, Director General DG CONNECT, was interviewed by Vieuws´ Jennifer Baker to discuss broadband infrastructure in the European Union. “I believe that it is true that vibrant competition in the market is an insufficient condition for investments,” says Robert Madelin. Vieuws is an independent EU policy broadcaster. Click here for the video.

340 trillion trillion trillion

At Broadcast Projects we cannot even count that high, but that´s the apparent number of new IP addresses that have been created as a result of the new internet protocol IPV6. Certain regions of the world ran out of IPV4 addresses last year, and others will run out in a few more. Organized by the Internet Society, and building on the successful one-day World IPv6 Day event held on 8 June 2011, World IPv6 Launch represents a major milestone in the global deployment of IPv6.  As the successor to the current Internet Protocol, IPv4, IPv6 is critical to the Internet’s continued growth as a platform for innovation and economic development. The full infographic, which explains what the problem is and how IPV6 solves it,  can be downloaded here.

Social Entertainment & 2nd Screen Audiences

PR firm Edelman has just released a free powerpoint report and infographic relating to social entertainment and second-screen engagement.

The research tracks the impact of social media and new platforms on entertainment audiences in the UK and US, revealing the key issues that entertainment brands and communication professionals should consider when looking to engage audiences with content.

The study, “Value and Engagement in an Era of Social Entertainment and Second Screens” marks a three year high in how audiences perceive the value of content. The study reveals that the internet’s influence on how entertainment content is consumed and shared continues to grow. Alongside this growth, consumers are increasingly active in sharing their likes and dislikes, both via word of mouth and online. The study illustrates a ‘Conversation Curve’ with most audiences looking to share content they have liked and disliked after they have consumed it, not during the experience. Consumers are also keen to stay in control and not be replaced by notification and recommendation technologies.

Access the full report here.

 

May - 2012

Menorca Tech Talk – Are you coming?

Step by step, things are happening to turn Menorca into a hub for technology and innovation. Every year, Martin Varsavsky, the dynamic entrepreneurial investor and founder of companies such as Viatel, Jazztel, EINSTEINet, Ya.com and Fon hosts the Menorca Tech Talk on his farm in Menorca. Read Martin´s invitation here.

He will be inviting his friends and other entrepreneurs from Silicon Valley, New York, Spain, Germany and of course, those from the island itself. We will be there. Will you?

This year the event takes place on 24th June, in the form of a series of improvised debates on technology and innovation that will take place from 4pm to 8pm. This event is free, but if you want to join you have to register here by emailing menorcatechtalk@gmail.com. Places are limited.

If you are coming, we highly recommend arriving a few days earlier so you can also enjoy one of the island´s most spectacular equestrian fiestas taking place in the town of Ciutadella on 22, 23, and 24 June. So visit us for a healthy dose of technology, networking, gin, fiestas, horses… oh, and this:

Contact us for further info.

 

UK Adults are Less Concerned about Internet

Levels of concern about the internet have fallen substantially in the UK over the past six years, however some users are still willing to take risks over their internet security and privacy settings, new research by Ofcom reveals.

UK adults’ concerns about the internet have dropped steadily since 2005, falling from seven in ten (70 per cent) users to half (50 per cent) by 2011, with confidence online at high levels (84 per cent), according to Ofcom’s Adults Media Use and Attitudes report. The report is designed to give an accessible overview of media literacy among UK adults aged 16 and over, and its purpose  is to support people working in this area to develop and promote media literacy among these groups.

The fall in concern comes as people are spending increasing amounts of time on the internet. The average user now says they are online for over 15 hours each week, an increase of five hours since 2005. The internet is increasingly part of people’s everyday lives wherever they are, and eight in ten adults (79%) now go online on any device in any location – up by 20 percentage points compared to 2005.

Social networking continues to grow in popularity and three fifths of adult internet users (59 per cent) say they now have a profile on a social networking site. However, the increase has slowed, with a rise of five percentage points since 2010, compared to increases of ten percentage points in 2010 and 22 percentage points in 2009.

For those with a profile, social networking is increasingly becoming a part of their daily lives, with two-thirds (67 per cent) saying they visited the sites every day – up from one-third (30 per cent) in 2007. Accessing social media on a weekly basis via a mobile phone has almost doubled in the last year – from 15 per cent in 2010 to 29 per cent in 2011. Amongst smartphone users this increase is even greater, up from 39 per cent in 2010 to 55 per cent in 2011.

Online privacy

However, while internet usage and social networking is becoming commonplace some users are still willing to take risks online. A quarter of social networkers (26 per cent) in the UK say their personal information, such as their date of birth or hometown, can potentially be seen by people they do not know.

Furthermore, about one in six users (16 per cent) of social networking sites say they share their contact details with anyone or friends of friends. Three in five (61 per cent) only allow their friends to view their contact details, and a further 13 per cent say they don’t have this information on their profile.

This report is the fifth full report since the Ofcom survey began in 2005. Ofcom has a statutory duty to promote media literacy. Media literacy enables people to have the skills, knowledge and understanding they need to make full use of the opportunities presented both by traditional and by new communications services. Media literacy also helps people to manage content and communications, and protect themselves from the potential risks associated with using these services. The core focus of Ofcom´s research work in this area is to understand the usage habits of UK adults, and their attitudes across TV, radio, internet, mobile phones and games.

 


For more information, contact us.

Ofcom Review of ATVOD closes 31 May 2012

Ofcom has invited contributions to its review of ATVOD´s Designation. ATVOD (the Authority for Television on Demand) is the co-regulator of editorial content included in video-on-demand (VOD) services, responsible for the implementation of UK law as it pertains to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The Designation, which came into force in March 2010, is subject to formal review by Ofcom after two years. Contributions to the review from stakeholders must be made to Ofcom by 31 May 2012.

For more information, contact us.

Squeaky Carrot Brand Identity Design

Our newest creative partner Squeaky Carrot has launched its website, aimed at professionals who need a good, clean, brand identity, online and offline. Lluc Pallejà is the Barcelona-trained designer and entrepreneur behind Squeaky Carrot. The company delivers design services, specifically focused on brand identity. That means help clients differentiate their businesses from their competitors so they can increase the confidence of their clients and win more business.  A website is probably the most important visual identity piece for any enterprise. Squeaky Carrot produces not only the graphic visual identity part, but can also custom design and implement full websites ranging from simple presentations to complete e-commerce sites with back–end integration to payment gateways.

Why the name? You´ll just have to click through to the site to find out.

Click here to visit.

Sojournposse – with a ¨Purpose¨

Sojournposse is a creative consulting agency consisting of a team of designers and storytellers who aim to make a difference in the community. As creatives, they believe in developing relationships and promote understanding by making things together. There are a lot of problems in society, such as social imbalance, that need to be addressed. We debate and write news articles about them. We discuss them at higher education seminars. And then what?

Sojournposse focuses on using its design, journalism and digital anthropology skills to create programmes that have empowering and lasting impact on for stakeholders.  In other words,  solving problems through design and social sciences. The aim is to encourage positive behavioural change within the community.

Founders Zarina Holmes and Salina Christmas have been commissioned to deliver projects such as the coverage of a fashion show in a conflict region, multimedia campaigns for NGOs and multi-faith groups, storytelling and publishing workshops for international and UK students, and engaging design workshops in collaboration with big corporations and academic institutions.

For more information, contact us.

Not on the Wires. Not Anymore.

New Challenges are ahead for Not on the Wires, the multimedia storytelling team. ¨Both this ambitious topic – the world – and these ambitious methods, are quickly changing, and the future is full of ever more opportunities to explore both.¨ The site will remain live as an archive of the stories produced by the project´s collaborators.

Former editor and co-founder Dominique van Heerden is now a digital producer at CNN, Creative director and co-founder Marcus Gilroy-Ware is planning a new digital storytelling platform, DeeperStories, Alex Wood, co-founder is launching Kikai, a lifestyle site in June, and current editor Emanuelle Degli Esposti is working towards the launch of a Middle-East focussed site.

We wish them well, and look forward to their upcoming announcements.

April - 2012

The Oatmeal on Game of Thrones

This is yet another great cartoon from The Oatmeal, that deserves wide attention. How can the industry ever address piracy when the process of honestly buying the content is so labourious for consumers, who even if they make sincere efforts to be honest, are rewarded with nothing but a run around? Visit www.theoatmeal.com

March - 2012

EC Policy Initiatives on Connected TV and Cloud Computing

In a speech that applauded cable´s investment in broadband infrastructure, Neelie Kroes, Vice-President of the European Commission responsible for the Digital Agenda, announced this week the Commission´s intention to launch a policy paper on connected TV by the end of the year. The speech took place at the annual Cable Congress in Brussels on Thursday, 8 March. She said is also preparing the Commission´s strategy for cloud computing, which goes hand and hand with next generation broadband infrastructure investment.

¨We know people are already happy to pay for high-quality TV services. What if they could combine their favourite TV programs with the best of the Internet, or indeed special on-line services? With features that are interactive, on-demand, or social?¨said Kroes. ¨Well, you won’t have to wait long to find out: within 2 to 3 years, 90% of TVs sold in Europe will be internet-connectable. 90 per cent. So later this year we’ll be producing a policy paper on Connected TV, to make sure we’re ready to let this market flourish.¨ Kroes also said that we need to support cloud computing because that´s where the future will be, but that to use the cloud effectively there must be robust broadband networks in support.

The full text of her keynote speech can be found here.

On 21st March 2012, Forum Europe will host the European Cloud Computing Conference in Brussels with professionals from the technology industry, EU policymakers and other stakeholders debating the current state and the future of Cloud Computing in Europe. Conference link here.

AVMS Report from the European Audiovisual Observatory

At the end of 2011, the European Commission will report for the first time on the application of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive. The Commission’s letters to member states asking for information in this connection were unusually long and detailed, thus indicating the difficulties experienced in incorporating the Directive into domestic law. These difficulties mainly arise with respect to regulating non-linear audiovisual media services.

For this reason, in April 2011 the European Audiovisual Observatory and the Institute for European Media Law invited 25 experts on audiovisual media law to a workshop at which an assessment was made of the situation with regard to the regulation of on-demand audiovisual services. The principal questions for discussion were how the new provisions on the scope of the Directive have been incorporated into domestic law and how member states have handled the possibility of promoting the self- or co-regulation of on-demand audiovisual services.

The papers on which the workshop was based and a detailed report on the discussions that followed the various contributions are summarised in this IRIS Special and form a comprehensive overview of the possible regulation. After reading this IRIS Special, the somewhat provocative question in the title, “Chaos or Coherence?”, can probably be answered by establishing that the regulatory landscape in Europe is characterised by both chaos and coherence.

You can access more information about how to purchase the report here.

IIC Event on The Communications Review

The International Institute of Communications will host an event focused on the upcoming Communications Review on Tuesday, 13 March 2012. It will be hosted by Channel 4 at their offices in Horseferry Road.

Moderated by Chris Dawes, formerly Head of Content and International Regulatory Policy at the DCMS, confirmed speakers include: Adam Kinsley, Head of Policy at BSkyB; Robin Foster of Communications Chambers, and former Partner at Ofcom Jonathan Simon, Director at Inflection Point

Here is the IIC´s write-up about the event.

THE DEBATE

In his ‘letter’ announcing the Communications Review, Jeremy Hunt mentioned broadcasting only once, and television in passing, both in Question 12. Yet the Communications Review and current political debate both have a strong broadcasting component, and the sector is bound to feature in some form in the forthcoming Green Paper, in particular because of its continued relevance to the Government’s wider concerns for stimulating economic growth, including UK content production, and fostering culture and communities.

This second IIC UK event in a series focused on the Communications Review will offer a platform to debate both what should feature in a Green Paper, but also allows a longer term look at broadcasting policy in Britain. Marrying the discussion about plurality and media ownership, as well as technological bottlenecks such as the EPG, the panellists will consider the impact of digital delivery and continued convergence, and their policy / regulatory implications. This is against the background of the Leveson enquiry and the possible review of the Audiovisual Media Services’ Directive.

For more information, click here to contact the IIC.


January - 2012

Netflix Explained / Netflix Sued

Netflix Explained

 

We liked this cartoon from www.theoatmeal.com explaining everything you need to know about what happened with Netflix. Enjoy.

Netflix launched in the UK and Ireland on 9 January 2012, and is offering customers there a free one-month trial. Prices will thereafter be set at 5.99 GBP per month and 6.99 Euro in Ireland.At launch, Netflix is offering films and TV programmes from All3Media, the BBC, CBS, Channel 4′s 4oD, Disney UK & Ireland, ITV, Lionsgate UK, MGM, Miramax, Momentum Pictures, NBCUniversal, Paramount, Sony Pictures Entertainment, Twentieth Century Fox and Viacom International Media Networks.

This week in the US, it emerged that Netflix has been sued by its investors. Click here to read the story.

New Slovenian Media Law

Slovenia has finally transposed the Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive into national law. It entered into force on 17th November 2011. The Act on Audiovisual Media Services was adopted after many failed attempts to reform Slovenian media laws over the years. The European Commission started an infringement procedure against Slovenia early in 2011, and this remains pending, since the Commission now has to analyse the newly notified measures and ensure that the Directive has been correctly implemented.

APEK is the national regulatory authority responsible for AVMS implementation. Additional statutory instruments are in process of being drafted to enable practical implementation of AVMS. Among the new powers that APEK has been granted are the ability to collect greater amounts of information, the ability to impose financial sanctions and the ability to collect fees from all the providers – both linear and non-linear – of AVMS services. The new law also reduces the amount of advertising allowed on public service TV channels, to ten minutes of advertising per hour during daytime, and 7 minutes per hour between 6pm and 11pm in the evening.

{filelink=2} the Slovenian Media Law.

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Connected TV in France

The French Ministry of Culture and Communication, together with the Ministry for Industry, Energy and the Digital Economy issued a report on connected television in November 2011. It concentrates on three main themes and delivers thirteen proposals covering the consequences of fragmentation of connected TV offerings, the funding and distribution of audiovisual works, and content regulation, including consumer (and child) protection and the fight against piracy.

The report notes that the access to audiovisual content on the internet is   breakthough and that the landscape is accelerating rapidly and in unpredictable ways. Seventy eight percent of homes in France have a broadband connection. Smartphones and IPTV have also contributed to the explosion of the availability of audiovisual content online.

The report set out to address how French players might put themselves in the best possible position to compete against foreign players that have significant access to financial and technological resources. It puts forward several proposals for achieving this, while noting that many French players do have advantages over international competition.

The report also conducted a review of the effectiveness of regulatory measures, including the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, and recognized that the national laws in France are out of date with regard to the development of the Internet and DTT.  In particular rules relating to primetime scheduling, advertising, and media pluralism.

The full text of the report, which is available in French, click here.

 

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For further information, please contact us.

December - 2011

Independent AVMS Industry Forum Meeting

On Monday, 23rd January, Broadcast Projects is organising an informal meeting in London to facilitate  discussions around industry liaison with ATVOD and AVMS implementation in general, throughout 2012.

The meeting will be held under Chatham House rules to encourage an open dialogue and sharing of views amongst industry stakeholders, given that time for discussion is usually very short during official ATVOD Industry Forum meetings.

We have invited 15-20 of the most active industry participants from various sectors of the industry, large and small (though anyone with an interest may attend provided we have sufficient space). Some interested observers from outside the formal industry forum have also been invited. The response has been excellent and there are a still few places left. If you would like to attend please get in touch.

The meeting is being kindly hosted by Microsoft at their headquarters in Victoria.

Date: 23 January 2012
Time: 12.30-14.30
Location: Microsoft, Cardinal Place, 80-100 Victoria Street, London  SW1E 5JL
Directions: http://www.microsoft.com/en-gb/about/offices/london.aspx
Nearest tube: Victoria

A light lunch of sandwiches will be provided.

For further information please email.

Ofcom Appeal Decision Good News for Periodicals

The long awaited Ofcom decision on whether the TV sections of newspaper and magazine websites fall into scope of the AVMS regulations in the UK has been published today, 21 December 2011, and it looks like good news for periodical publishers. ATVOD immediately issued a response to the Ofcom decision, stating that it would immediately ¨withdraw determinations in relation to other newspaper websites.¨

The appeal had been made by News Group Newspapers Limited against a notice of determination by ATVOD that the provider of the ¨Sun Video¨ was an On-Demand Programme Service (ODPS) under AVMS regulations transposed in the UK Communications Act 2003. Other pending appeals had been lodged by other periodicals including the Sunday Times Video Library, Telegraph TV, The Independent Video, FT Video, Guardian Video, Guardian You Tube, News of the World TV and Elle TV.

The Ofcom decision today acknowledged that the appeal raised ´important a difficult questions under complex new legislation and for which no precedents exist.¨ A number of other appeals had been made relating to similar cases involving audio visual material on newspaper and magazine providers´websites.

The determination made by ATVOD contained a statement as to why ATVOD considered that the service was an ODPS, and ¨relied as evidence on references to three pieces of audio visual material in the relevant section of the website and screen grabs of two pages taken from that section.¨

Ofcom decided that ATVOD´s reasons and evidence were not sufficient, and that too much focus was placed on the ¨Sun Video¨ section of The Sun´s website and not on the site as a whole and considering whether ´there is anything amongst that material which is a service whose principle purpose is the provision of TV-like progammes.¨

Ofcom therefore upheld News Group´s appeal and set aside ATVOD´s Determination.

The full text of the determination, which can be accessed here, also sets out the current and earlier positions that Ofcom has taken on how to evaluate the provisions of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive in the context of the UK Communications Act. It notes that it is also possible that ´a service not presently within the scope of regulation could in future be so´. Some aspects of The Sun´s website have developed further since ATVOD´s Determination.

¨Even if it is not doing so now, News Group’s provision of audio visual material might develop further still. Though by no means an exhaustive indication, that provision would be more likely to fall within the scope of regulation if, for example:
a. it continues to be a separate collation or catalogue of audio visual material available on its own section of The Sun’s website;
b. it is presented to users as a distinct television service;
c. there are fewer access and content links between the written content and the audio visual material; and
d. more of the audio visual material was of greater duration and/or included complete programmes of the kind broadcast on linear television programme services.¨

According to a statement published today on the ATVOD Website:

ATVOD has acted promptly following a decision by Ofcom today to uphold an appeal by News Group Newspapers Ltd. against a determination by ATVOD that The Sun’s website included a video on demand service which fell within the video on demand regulator’s remit. Given the similarities between The Sun case and other newspaper and magazine websites, ATVOD has today announced that it will withdraw its Determinations that The Sunday Times Video Library, Telegraph TV, The Independent Video, FT Video, Guardian Video, Guardian You Tube, News of the World TV and Elle TV were On-Demand Programme Services.

ATVOD had held that The Sun’s internet video offering met the definition of an On-Demand Programme Service, set out in the Communications Act 2003. The Ofcom decision is that the Sun Video section of the website (previously styled as ‘Sun TV’) is not subject to regulation by ATVOD.

The appeal judgement is the third made by Ofcom this year, the communications regulator having previously backed ATVOD’s rulings that ‘adult’ websites Demand Adult and Climax 3 fell within the scope of the new rules which include a requirement that children are protected from material which might seriously impair their development.

ATVOD Chief Executive, Pete Johnson, said:

“Most people will recognise that defining the scope of new regulations in a fast-moving market is a complex and difficult task. The appeal system  is a vital part of  the process, giving users and providers of video on demand services greater clarity over where the new protections for consumers do and do not apply. Given the clear similarities between The Sun and the other newspaper and magazine websites under appeal, we have moved quickly to confirm that the Determinations in relation to those services are being withdrawn with immediate effect.

We will now reflect further on the appeal judgement and consider any implications it may have for any other past and future rulings on whether a service falls within ATVOD’s remit.”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Ofcom to review ATVOD in 2012/13

Ofcom published its Draft Annual Plan 2012/13 on 8 December 2011, which will address, among other things, a review of regulation of video on demand. According to the document published:

4.39 We will continue to review our wider regulatory approach to content regulation, to ensure that it remains fit for purpose, continues to serve the interests of citizens and consumers, and is clear for stakeholders.

4.40 There will be a number of challenges in this area. Changes in technology, including the emergence of mass-market IPTV services in the UK, will challenge the existing regulatory structures, which were designed predominantly for linear broadcasting. We will continue to work with our co-regulators, such as ATVOD, to develop these regulatory structures. We will consider how regulatory approaches to content regulation might further evolve to remain fit for purpose and proportionate.

4.41 In March 2012, two years will have passed since the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD) was designated by Ofcom as the co-regulator of editorial content in on-demand services. In accordance with the terms of the Designation, Ofcom is required to carry out a review of ATVOD. We will conduct this review during 2012/13; it will assess the overall effectiveness of the co-regulatory arrangements for on-demand services.

The full text of Ofcom’s Draft Annual Plan 2012/13 can be found here. The consultation also addresses issues around spectrum policy including geolocation services and white spaces, possible access by Channel Four to the television licence fee and local television.

Ofcom is holding a series of public meetings to hear people’s views.

The meetings will provide an opportunity for everyone with an interest in the regulation of the communications industries to discuss Ofcom’s approach to television, radio, telecoms, postal and wireless communications services. Each meeting will begin with a brief presentation, after which there will be an opportunity to comment and ask questions.

All meetings are open and free of charge. If you would like to attend an event, please click here.

The Consultation Document can be found here and the deadline for responses is 5pm on 17 February 2012.

ParentPort launched by UK media regulators

UK media regulators joined forces to launch ParentPort (www.parentport.org.uk), in October 2011. The idea is to make it easier for parents to complain about material they have seen or heard across the media, communications and retail industries.

It was developed following Reg Bailey’s Independent Review of the Commercialisation and Sexualisation of Childhood, which recommended that regulators should work together to create a single website to act as an interface between themselves and parents.

The website provides parents, carers and guardians information on what they can do if they’ve seen or heard something they felt was inappropriate for their children. The website directs them to the right media regulator for their specific area of concern.

The ParentPort website has been jointly developed by the Advertising Standards Authority (ASA), the Authority for Television On Demand (ATVOD), the BBC Trust, the British Board of Film Classification (BBFC), the Office of Communications (Ofcom), the Press Complaints Commission (PCC) and the Video Standards Council (VSC)/Pan-European Game Information (PEGI).

A New Coalition for a Safer Internet

On 1st December 28 leading companies announced the formation of a new Coalition to make a better and safer internet for children. Put together by the European Commission, the Coalition is a cooperative voluntary intervention designed to respond to emerging challenges arising from the diverse ways in which young Europeans go online. Signatories to the Coalition have committed to take positive action throughout 2012 in 5 areas:

  • simple tools for users to report harmful content and contact,
  • age-appropriate privacy settings,
  • wider use of content classification,
  • wider availability and use of parental controls,
  • effective take down of child abuse material.

The founding Coalition members are: Apple, BSkyB, BT, Dailymotion, Deutsche Telekom, Facebook, France Telecom-Orange, Google, Hyves, KPN, Liberty Global, LG Electronics, Mediaset, Microsoft, Netlog, Nintendo, Nokia, Opera Software, Research in Motion, RTL Group, Samsung, Sulake, Telefonica, TeliaSonera, Telenor Group, Tuenti, Vivendi, Vodafone. Priority actions include making it easier to report harmful content, ensuring privacy settings are age-appropriate, and offering wider options for parental control, reflecting the needs of a generation that is going online at an increasingly young age.  For further information and the official press release, click here.

While the initiative is to be applauded, there are still conflicting ways that companies go about addressing content classification and age-ratings for both audiovisual content, as well as for classifying apps. Harmonising the great diversity of approaches internationally is an important, even if difficult, goal. In the US, the international wireless industry association, CTIA, recently proposed its own new system for rating mobile phone apps, a move which has not received a kind reception from Google and Apple, which have systems of their own for ratings. The CTIA´s intention was to streamline and simplify the maturity ratings of software in a way that mobile app store owners could voluntarily adopt.

November - 2011

AVMS Pan-European Developments

This post provides various updates on AVMS implementation across Europe over the past months.

Dutch Guidelines Published and Registration Fees set to ZERO.

On 11 October the Dutch Guidelines on AVMS were published, and these entered into force at 1 November 2011. Services were required to register in the first two weeks of November. The official document is here.

The Dutch law firm SOLV held a private AVMS Seminar on 1st November. Representatives of Rabobank, Sanoma, SBS, UPC and Chello Media made presentations of their views regarding the Guidelines and the services that fall under the scope of the Guidelines. Unfortunately these presentations have not been made publicly available. A summary of the event (in Dutch) can be found here, and a rough translation in English, here.

During this Seminar the Media regulator presented a summary of the Guidelines, and stated that the registration fee would be set at 0 (zero) Euro per annum. There will be another consultation regarding the sponsorship/advertising obligations that will be imposed on the parties that have registered.

Latvia´s response to the EC on AVMS implementation arrives one day late

Latvia submitted its reply to the European Commission regarding implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive, on time, according to the Latvian business magazine, Baltic Course. Latvia submitted its reply to the European Commission on 10 November, the deadline for responses, but it was not registered right away due to a technical glitch, according to the Justice ministry´s public relations officer. The European Commission said, on 11 November, that Latvia had missed the deadline. The full text of the report can be found here.

Council of the European Union publishes Guidelines on the Protection of Children in a Digital World

At a meeting which took place on 28 and 29 November in Brussels, the Council of the European Union published its conclusions on the protection of children in the digital world. The document sets out the political agenda and invites governments, stakeholders, and the commission to work together to address the difficult challenges ahead. The document underlines that “strengthening security in the digital society is a shared responsibility – of individuals as much as of private and public bodies, both at home and globally”.

The document also addresses the differing approaches Member States have towards protecting minors and promoting the development of good practices and standards in the media where self-regulation and coregulation are two solutions among several possible, and, the use of technical systems (such as filtering, age verification systems, parental control tools), whilst not solutions on their own, can, as long as they are applied in an efficient way, be suitable means to provide the access of minors to content that is appropriate for their age. The document also makes reference to the Audiovisual Media Services Directive which contains provisions on the protection of minors for both linear and non-linear audiovisual media services. The full text can be found here.

Hungary´s Media Law having a ´Chilling´ Effect on Press Freedom

According to a report published on the UK website, www.journalism.co.uk, Hungary´s new media law is having a ´chilling´ effect on press freedom. The website was referring to the warnings issued by an international mission of press freedom groups who met with government representatives and others  between 14 and 16 November. One controversial aspect of the new law forces journalists to reveal their sources in order to protect national security. Hungary was forced to make amendments to the initial draft of the legislation after it was rejected by the European Parliament for not meeting the the Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive and the Charter of Fundamental Rights (Article 11 on freedom of expression). The full text of the report can be found here.

Third Amendment to Portugal´s Media Law Published

On 28 November 2011, the third amendment to Lei da Televisão (the Television Law), has been published by Portugal´s media regulator, Anacom. The new law  restructures the public radio and television service concession, and was the instrument used to transpose the AVMS Directive. A non-official version of the law in English has been published on the Anacom website, and can be accessed here.


Not on the Wires documents Austerity in Europe

Not on the Wires, the multimedia online magazine and production company, founded by Alex Wood,  has published the latest instalment of its ongoing survey on Austerity in Europe.

In the latest issue, accessible here, Not on the Wires delivers a visual exploration of how Europe is changing and adapting to a new age of austerity, with youth unemployment levels having reached record levels and the Occupy movement sweeping the globe.

Not on the Wires has so far documented Italy, Spain, and the UK. The latest instalment is focused on Occupy London´s Sister Ruth, an unusual member of the protest on the steps of St Pauls.

 

Two Ofcom decisions on ATVOD newspaper appeals expected soon

Ofcom has advised DCMS that they are currently considering several appeals concerning ATVOD scope determinations in respect of on-demand programme services, including seven relating to newspaper and magazine websites. Ofcom expects to be in a position to publish its decision on two of the newspaper appeals within the next month, according to Baroness Rawlings in her written response to Parliamentary Questions about ATVOD posed by Lord Clement-Jones and published on 9 November 2011.

The seven appeals, relating to newspaper and magazine websites, have been lodged by The Guardian, Telegraph Media Group, News Group Newspaper, Times Newspapers, and Hachette Filipacchi. The following is a full list of the dates, companies, and their associated services, that are currently subject of an appeal to Ofcom, according to the ATVOD website.

12/07/11 – Coffee Arts and Media, for the service Coffee Shorts
06/07/11 – The Paramount UK Partnership, for Comedy Central Content on Virgin Media
06/07/11 – Nickelodeon UK Ltd, for Nickelodeon Content on Virgin Media
06/07/11 – MTV Networks Europe, for MTV Content on Virgin Media
28/06/11 – Guardian News and Media Limited, for The Guardian YouTube Channel
28/06/11 – Guardian News and Media Limited, for the service Guardian Video
18/05/11 – MTV Networks Europe, for the service Viva TV
11/05/11 – BBC Worldwide, for the service BBCW on Mediaset
03/05/11 – BBC Worldwide Limited, for the service Top Gear Youtube
03/05/11 – BBC Worldwide Limited, for the service BBC Food Youtube
26/04/11 – ChannelFlip Media Limited, for the service ChannelFlip
29/03/11 – Telegraph Media Group Ltd, for the service Telegraph TV
11/02/11 – News Group Newspapers Ltd, for the service  Sun Video
11/02/11 – News Group Newspapers Ltd, for the service  News of the World Video
11/02/11 – Times Newspaper Ltd, for the service Sunday Times Video Library
11/02/11  – Hachette Filipacchi (UK) Ltd, for the service Elle TV

Belgium and UK asked to implement AVMS in Brussels and Gibraltar

The European Commission has requested Belgium and the UK to implement outstanding provisions of the EU’s Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive in Brussels and Gibraltar respectively. The request was made on 29 September 2011.

Belgium has notified the Commission of measures to implement the AVMS Directive as regards all audiovisual media services that are established in all three linguistic communities: French, Flemish and German. However, audiovisual media services established in Brussels which are not in French or Dutch fall outside the competence of the linguistic Communities and remain under the competence of the federal authorities. The Belgian federal state has not yet adopted the laws covering these services. As a consequence, on-demand services provided in Brussels in other languages than French and Dutch are not yet regulated. The Belgian authorities have informed the Commission that a draft law is being prepared but is still in a preliminary phase.

The UK has also notified the Commission of measures to implement the AVMS Directive into national law. However, this law does not cover audiovisual services provided in Gibraltar. A draft law is under preparation, but the adoption process is still underway.

The requests are in the form of ‘reasoned opinions’ under EU infringement procedures. Belgium and UK have two months to inform the Commission of the measures they have taken to comply with EU rules. If they fail to do so, the Commission could refer them to the EU’s Court of Justice.

Background

The AVMS Directive (2010/13/EU) ensures a Single Market and legal certainty for Europe’s TV and audiovisual industry by creating a level playing field for both broadcast and on-demand audiovisual media services across frontiers while preserving cultural diversity, protecting children and consumers, safeguarding media pluralism and combating racial and religious hatred. The Directive is based on the “country of origin” principle, whereby audiovisual media service providers are subject to the regulations in their country of origin only and cannot be subject to regulation in the destination country except in very limited circumstances (e.g. incitement to hatred). EU Member States agreed to implement the AVMS Directive into their national law by 19 December 2009 (see IP/09/1983).

The absence of measures to implement the Directive fully in Brussels and Gibraltar denies legal certainty to audiovisual service providers.

UK VOD Services Close as Plans are Announced by Google and Netflix

At least two VOD services have recently closed in the UK, highlighting the difficult competitive and economic challenges that face emerging on-demand services.

SeeSaw has closed after new investors, Criterion Capital Partners, decided not to continue funding after having entered the company in July 2011. SeeSaw had been created by Arqiva in February 2010 using assets from Project Kangaroo, the catch-up TV platform that had been rejected by the UK’s competition regulator. The SeeSaw website offered content from BBC Worldwide, Channel 4, Channel Five and several production companies, but in September of this year, Channel 4 and Five both withdrew their content.

Another service, Itzon.tv has also closed, although the founders are hoping to find new investors.  According to an announcement on their website, they decided to close down, ¨both the festival and the channel for the foreseeable future whilst we search for a new investor. We are obviously devastated as we have worked tirelessly on the project to build a community and an engaging showcase of independent film for both filmmaker and film lover.¨

Both SeeSaw and Itzon.tv fell into scope of the new AVMS regulations in the UK, and within the remit of ATVOD, the industry co-regulator for VOD. Under AVMS, on- demand services are required to adhere to specific rules and guidance as well as pay a fee covering the costs of the co-regulatory regime.

Meanwhile, You Tube has named the first 96 original channels it plans to launch in December 2011. The line up includes a Pets & Animals channel, a lifestyle channel, two channels from Hearst Magazines, one from The Wall Street Journal and another from producer, Lionsgate.  Sports content will be provided by WWE Fan Nation, and Kick TV will be offered by Soccer United Marketing.

You Tube parent company, Google, has also announced plans to update Google TV, starting with the connected TVs offered by Sony. The new version promises to deliver a more friendly user-interface, improved content navigation, a better  YouTube experience intended directly for Google TV that will support HD, and  will offer more apps based on its Android operating system via the Android market. Logitech devices will also be updated to Google TV 2.0.

Netflix, the US film and TV service has also announced its intention to launch a streaming service in the UK in 2012.

Falling in scope of AVMS rules under ATVOD is based, among other things, on the jurisdiction of the parent company being based in the UK.

Update, 9 November 2011: Retired Life TV, essentially a video blog with user-generated content about items of interest to older people, such as caravanning, also announced that it was closing its service down. To read the announcement, ¨Gosling Abandons Attempt to work with ATVOD¨, click here.

October - 2011

Free Workshop and Report: TV & On-Demand Services in Russia

A brand new report on Television and On-Demand Audiovisual Services in the Russian Federation in 2011 will be presented at a workshop in Moscow next month by the European Audiovisual Observatory. The Strasbourg-based Observatory commissioned the report from Moscow consultants J’son & Partners Consulting. This free access workshop  will take place at the Moscow Marriott Royal Aurora Hotel on Tuesday, 8th of November from 11:00 to 13:00. The workshop will take place in Russian and English with simultaneous translation available.  

The workshop will be opened by Vladimir Grigoriev, Deputy Head of the Russian Federal Agency for Press and Mass Communication.

The presentation of the report by Alexander Shoogol of J’Son & Partners Consulting will provide a comprehensive overview of current trends in the Russian television market and on-demand services in what is the largest market in Europe in terms of population.

Dmitry Golovanov, Lawyer, Moscow Institute for Media Law and lawyer of JSC “WebTV” will make a presentation of the IRIS plus report, “A Landmark for Mass Media in Russia”, written for and published by the European Audiovisual Observatory.

Dr. André Lange, Head of the Department for Information on Markets and Financing at the Observatory, will make a presentation on recent developments in television and on-demand audiovisual services in Western Europe.

Wolfgang Closs, Executive Director of the Observatory, points out that the Observatory publishes a major market report on selected Russian audiovisual industries every year. These publications are provided free of charge by the Observatory as a key information service to European media professionals and decision-makers wanting to know more about the audiovisual industry in Russia. The Observatory also keeps a keen eye on legal developments in the Russian audiovisual field with at least one legal publication on Russia every year.

Entry to the conference free but registration is necessary. If you wish to attend, Email your details to: emuradyan@json.ru

December 2011 Update: The full report is freely downloadable in English and Russian here.

 


 

 

 

 

AVMS cited in Ofcom Broadcast Code breaches

The Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) has been cited in the latest Ofcom Broadcast Bulletin, in which ITV and ESPN were found to be in breach of the rules.

Two rules of the Ofcom Broadcast Code were broken during ITV Morning, a programme broadcast on 29th July 2011. Presenters appeared to promote  and endorse a firm of solicitors, thereby also giving ´undue prominence´ to the company.

In its decision Ofcom referred to its obligations to adhere to its international obligations with respect to advertising included in TV and radio programmes, citing Article 19 of the AVMS Directive, which states: ¨television advertising…shall be readily recognisable and distinguishable…from editorial content…and…shall be kept quite distinct from other parts of the programme by optical and/or acoustic and/or spatial means.¨

Similarly the Ofcom Broadcast Code generally prohibits products, services and trade marks from being promoted in programming and any “undue prominence” of products, services or trade marks being given in programming. In this case, ITV was found to be in breach of rules 9.4 and 9.5 of the Code.

In the case of ESPN, Articles 20 and 23 of the EU Audiovisual Media Services (AVMS) Directive were cited in the Ofcom decision. These articles of the Directive set out strict limits on the amount and scheduling of television advertising. Ofcom has transposed these requirements by means of key rules in the Code on the Scheduling of Television Advertising (“COSTA”). Rule 17 stipulates the maximum number of advertising breaks programmes may contain.

In this case, Ofcom found that ten programmes broadcast by ESPN contained more than the permitted number of advertising breaks stipulated in Rule 17 of COSTA, and concluded that this was largely the result of human error.

Ofcom´s Broadcast Bulletin summarises complaints and breaches of the Broadcast Code, which sets the rules for what broadcasters may or may not broadcast. The full text of the decision can be found in the latest edition, click here.

A summary of the incident as reported in at Out-Law.com, click here.

Ruurd Fenenga, Cinematographer, commissioned by UPC

http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=tLnnZsFKAYQ

Broadcast Projects associate, cinematographer Ruurd Fenenga, was commissioned by UPC to film a promotional video for the Dutch newspaper de Volkskrant, one of the sponsors of the Netherlands Film Festival, which took place in Utrecht from 21 till the 30 of September, 2011, where it was shown before the screening of each movie. It was shot using Ruurd´s own Canon 5-D Mark II digital SLR camera and was later transferred to film in order to project this promotion in all the theaters in Utrecht. The promo starred Halina Reijn who has been starring in features like “Blackbook” and “Valkyrie”. Ruurd Fenenga is a Cinematographer, Videographer and Instructor.

To see more of his work, click here.

Rod Large signs Motorvision Group Munich

Channel launch specialist Rod Large has joined Broadcast Projects‘ roster of expert consultants. Rod has just closed a major distribution deal for client Motorvision Group Munich. The Motorvision TV Channel has signed a 4 year contract with Orbit Showtime Networks Dubai to distribute the pay TV channel in the MENA region.

The launch date is November 12th at the Dubai Car Show. The video content will also be available on Arvato’s MENA mobile service from the end of 2011. Motorvision Group own one of the largest automotive TV libraries in the world with over 5,000 hours of broadcast ready programming. The international channel will be in HD / 3D English with Arabic subtitles. The channel launched in German speaking Europe in 2009 and has proven itself to be highly popular with the key 16-35 year old male demographic. Further channel launches are planned for Turkey, India, Canada and other region.

New Study on European Works relating to AVMS

2011 Study on the Promotion of European Works in Audiovisual Media

 

The European Commission will publish by the end of 2011 a new study on the provisions of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive concerning the promotion of European works in audiovisual media services (including television programmes and on-demand services). The study relates to Articles 13, 16 and 17 of the Directive, and is expected to be published in December 2011.

A public workshop about this study took place on 14 September 2011 in Brussels. At the workshop, the preliminary draft study Report and Appendix were made available for participants. These documents are not the final versions of the study,  but they were made available to delegates in order to collect some feedback and input before being finalised.

Similar studies were published by the Commission in 2005 and 2009. At that time the current Television Without Frontiers Directive (TVWF) regulated only linear broadcast services. The 2011 study will however cover both linear and non-linear services in 31 EU Member States and EEA Member States. It will include a legal analysis of implemented measures and an economic analysis of the market for European works. The study will also include a survey of the actual levels of promotion and consumption of European works in a sample of 11 EU Member States, and a prospective evaluation of the impact of changing economic, regulatory and market conditions on European “culture”.

A website has been created, click here, which is designed to inform market players about the study, which is being managed by the consortium selected by the Commission, comprising Attentional, Headway International, Oliver & Ohlbaum and Gide Loyrette Nouel.

For more information, or for a copy of the provisional report, please contact us.

 

September - 2011

NDS Surfaces – Looking Ahead

NDS Surfaces, Demonstration at IBC 2011, Simon Parnall

The NDS demonstration at IBC certainly had the ´wow´ factor. Broadcast Projects was there, and it was impressive. We were already thinking about more immersive media in an earlier post, Ghosts in the Machine, by Chris Arkenberg, in which he examines how the built environment can be merged with media space, and how architecture could take on new roles related to branding, image and consumerism.

Indeed, NDS is on the way, with its ¨Surfaces¨ demo, shown above.  There were a few excellent overall reviews of the NDS Surfaces demo. For convenience, we list a few of them here:

The V-Net Review of the NDS Surfaces demo – by John Moulding
Informa TV´s Review of NDS Surfaces – by William Cooper

As consultants, we´re logging the shift in home design and the implications of these technology advances which are relevant to architecture and human experience. In future our homes will have to elegantly integrate all this technology and be energy conscious too. Your 3-d printer will have to be fitted in just like your dishwasher is today. Or, as this impressive concept video by Harvard University´s Greg Tran demonstrates, could it even go further?

Our thinking goes way beyond the ¨multi-screen strategies¨ which took center stage at IBC. And such ´provisioned´ experiences will certainly raise some troubling privacy questions which remain a huge challenge for regulators and the public at large, as portrayed in ¨G-Male¨, an amusing, but dead-on video, which looks at the world pretty much as it already is today (though it has to be said, the spoof could have been directed at some other companies too).

Based on your keywords, I´ve determined that you are having an affair with Sam.

AVMS Lunch on 20 October in London

Broadcast Projects will host its 3rd industry lunch focused on developments around the implementation of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMS), on 20th October in London.

The intention of the AVMS Directive, which replaced the Television without Frontiers (TVWF) Directive of 1989, is to bring the EU’s broadcasting rules up to speed with the digital age. TVWF only covered broadcasting whereas AVMS specifically extends regulation to on-demand services, which had never been regulated before. This new law came into force early in 2010, and affects all video- -on-demand service providers that meet the criteria of the Directive.

The industry lunches are intended to facilitate conversations and the exchange of views. We will also be discussing AVMS implementation in the context of the forthcoming Communications Bill.

If you are interested to attend, please request an invitation at the link below.

Date: Thursday, 20 October

Time: 12.30 for 1pm lunch

Place: Özer Restaurant, 5 Langham Place,

London W1 (at the top of Regent St, and just a few steps in front of All Souls Church and the BBC)

Map: http://www.ozerrestaurant.com/find_us.htm

Özer is a Turkish restaurant and at previous events we have usually ordered the ´healthy´ mezze set lunch all-around, which offers plenty of choice including vegetarian options.

This event is by invitation only, however if you are interested to attend, just click here and drop us a line, and we will try to accommodate your request.

 

Alan Mercer Heads Technical Launch of Allocine

Broadcast Projects consulting associate Alan Mercer, of GBF Media, headed the technical launch team that saw the birth of Allociné, a TV channel dedicated to the world of cinema, launched in Paris on 5th September. The production and transmission facilities known as Pixagility, based in the Parisian suburb of Boulogne were part-designed and built by Alan who consequently supervised the launch of the platform’s first  full-time channel clients.

The 24/7 TV channel is running on a Pharos MAM solution (now Evertz) with IP encoding on site to four French IPTV platforms, with satellite (Canal Sat) due on 20th September. In terms of content, a different movie is shown every night, as well as varied programming regarding the cinema industry.

Allociné already has a very strong web offer, its main business being the sale of cinema tickets and associated products. In 2010 it sold over one million cinema tickets with a turnover of €25 million. The site was one of the first sites to offer HD clips and trailers on-line in the mid-1990s.

 

 

A Look Back at IBC 2011

IBC 2011, phew!, it´s over, and it´s taken more or less one full week to recover. To start a fresh week on a light note, enjoy this gallery of images from the show, including the very excellent event hosted by NDS (shown above, left, Simon Parnall, Director of Advanced Technologies of NDS, and see our separate post about their hit IBC demo, NDS Surfaces).

We also have an outrageous and upbeat IBC Exhibitor´s Party video which was held on 9th September. Accolades to the gentleman with crazy moves who walks off the dance-floor at the end of this video. Sir, we humbly salute you!

New EC Enquiry on AVMS Implementation

On 1st September the European Commission sent a second round of letters to eight EU Member States to request information about their implementation of the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The replies from Austria, Cyprus, Estonia, Germany, Hungary, Latvia, Lithuania and Luxembourg are due within 10 weeks.

The AVMS Directive ensures a Single Market and legal certainty for Europe’s TV and audiovisual industry by creating a level playing field for both broadcast and on-demand audiovisual media services across frontiers while preserving cultural diversity, protecting children and consumers, safeguarding media pluralism and combating racial and religious hatred. The Directive is based on the “country of origin” principle, whereby audiovisual media service providers are subject to the regulations in their country of origin only and cannot be subject to regulation in the destination country except in very limited circumstances (eg, incitement to hatred). EU Member States agreed to implement the AVMS Directive into their national law by 19 December 2009.

The fact-finding letters are part of the Commission’s efforts to ensure that the national media laws of all Member States correctly implement all aspects of the AVMS rules. The issues raised vary from one Member State to the other. The requests for information do not imply that the Directive has been incorrectly implemented by the Member States concerned but simply that, at this stage, the Commission has some outstanding questions concerning their implementation of the Directive.

The Commission sent a first round of letters to 16 Member States in March 2011 (Belgium, Bulgaria, Czech Republic, Denmark, Finland, France, Greece, Ireland, Italy, Malta, The Netherlands, Romania, Spain, Sweden, Slovakia and the United Kingdom).

Slovenia has not notified to the Commission any measures to implement the AVMS Directive into its national law and Poland has only partially notified some measures. These two Member States are currently subject to infringement procedures. The Commission is still analysing the measures notified by Portugal.

The following wide range of issues related to the implementation of the Directive have been raised in the requests for clarification:

  • the country of origin principle and jurisdiction issues concerning audiovisual services
  • audiovisual commercial communications (including product placement and sponsorship television advertising and teleshopping)
  • basic obligations under the Directive (such as identification requirements, rules on incitement to hatred, on accessibility, balanced coverage obligations, registration of on-demand services)
  • the protection of minors
  • promoting European works
  • events of major importance to be broadcast on free to air television and short news extracts
  • cooperation between regulators.

For more information about the implications of AVMS for VOD providers in Europe, please contact us.

Public Stakeholders Workshop on AVMS European Works

A free public workshop for stakeholders, on the “Promotion of European Works in Audiovisual Media Services”, will be held in Brussels on 14 September. The workshop will present the preliminary final report, which will be made available in advance, of a new study conducted by Attentional Ltd, in partnership with Headway International, in 2011.

The study investigates for the first time the promotion of European works on both linear and non-linear services within the context of the new, recently-implemented Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS). Similar studies published by the Commission in 2005 and 2009 at the time only took into account linear broadcast services regulated under the former Television Without Frontiers Directive (TVWF). This was updated by AVMS which came into force across Europe in 2010. Articles 13, 16 and 17 of the new directive pertain to the promotion of European works in EU Member States.

The 2011 study covers both linear and non-linear services in 31 EU Member States and EEA Member States. Its contents include :

  • a legal analysis of the implemented measures
  • an economic analysis of the market for European works.
  • a survey of the actual levels of promotion and consumption of European works in a sample of 11 EU Member States, and
  • a prospective evaluation of the impact of changing economic, regulatory and market conditions on European “culture”.

Objectives of the study included defining performance indicators and operational procedures for periodical monitoring and assessment activities, as well as checking the practicability of these for on-demand services, through a “reality test”. The goal has been to provide the Commission with the necessary elements to assess whether the provisions of the AVMS Directive are sufficient to safeguard European works within the audiovisual media services of Member States.

The meeting in Brussels is to provide stakeholders with the opportunity to discuss the key findings. A copy of the report will be made available to registered participants before the workshop, and translation services will be provided in DE, EN and FR.

The project team will present the outcome of their analysis of the transposition of the relevant provisions of the AVMS Directive, the trends in the content industry economics and in the offer and consumption of European and independent works in EU audiovisual media services.

They will also present the indicators they consider relevant for the monitoring of the application of these provisions of the AVMS Directive and discuss market perspectives and their possible regulatory implications. Participation is free of charge, but registration is mandatory.

For further information about information and registration, click here.

 

 

Ghosts in the Machine: Digital Identities & Online Privacy

Keiichi Matsuda

Two articles recently published on digital identities and online privacy provide interesting food for thought. Chris Arkenberg of Cagefree Consulting looks at digital identities in ubiquitous computing environments in his article, Getting to Know your Ghost in the Machine, and Kevin Gold analyses The Leaky Nature of Online Privacy.

Chris Arkenberg’s article, which can be accessed here, explores the experiences that can be made possible through the interaction of mobile devices through the networked environment. ¨Just as your face & voice provision you with access to your parent’s home and induce birthday parties in your name, mobile identity confers digital membership and can initiate personalized experiences around you,¨ he says.

The article discusses the realm of possibilities, illustrated by some thought provoking concept videos. One is from Greg Tran, on native augmented reality, which looks at how local networks might push experiences out to individuals based on profile & location, and the other, Domestic Robocop, by Keiichi Matsuda (pictured above and below), illustrates a waking nightmare of data saturation in a dynamic media landscape.

It is all very thought provoking stuff, and raises, not least, interesting questions for the future of pay-¨TV¨ in the context of provisioning entertainment/information services within networked home and public environments. Is our current vision too limited? There are also a host of regulatory concerns to consider: public and private identity issues, privacy, cultural sensitivities and the role of social media.

“Nymwars” is the hashtag given to the recent intense debate on Twitter as a result of the Google + policy requiring users to use real names, as opposed to fake names or ‘pseudonyms” from which the term takes its name. However, whether we are using real names or not, we are revealing far more information about ourselves than ever before, even if we deliberately choose to hide it.

Kevin Gold’s recent article, which can be found here, demonstrates how network analysis can betray our attempts to completely ‘hide’ our personal details. On the flip side of this coin, Gold argues that “information becomes more trustworthy than a traditional paper résumé once a person’s profile has at least 10 links, because people are less willing to stretch the truth in front of their friends and colleagues.”

It would be great if folks with perspectives like these could contribute to events such as the forthcoming 2nd Annual European Data Protection and Privacy Conference. See the conference programme and list of speakers here.

As Chris Arkenberg concludes, ¨Our devices will identify us and our digital ghosts will betray us to their friends.¨

Highly recommended. Get a cup of coffee and sit down for some quiet time, read these, and watch the videos.

August - 2011

Hbb and Connected TVs .. Securing creativity and content

Sheila Cassells, AEPOC, HBB TV Connected TV Event

With sales of connected or smart TVs reaching 40 million units in 2010, another 60 million forecast for 2011 and growing fast to over 500 million units shipped by 2015 can content providers be sure that their services and apps are secure?

Already the EBU – echoed by other broadcaster groups – has expressed concern about the need to protect the integrity of, and investment in, their content. Equally, many consumer electronics companies are expressing the need for clear roadmaps and standards.

Recognising that content creation and investment is key to the attraction of hybrid services and devices to consumers AEPOC & Intellect – Europe’s audiovisual anti-piracy association and the UK’s technology association – have come together to organise a discussion to explore whether connected TV devices and hybrid platforms offer adequate safeguards against copyright infringement.

Opening words will be given by Marc Welinski, Director of Marketing and Commercial Strategy from Eutelsat, host of the AEPOC and Intellect event at IBC.

Moderated by Julian Clover, digital TV expert and journalist, the discussion will bring together leading players from the consumer electronics, content and security worlds.

Confirmed speakers include: Michael Barley, Group Director of Security, BSkyB; Sylvain Audigier, Director of Department of Innovation, New Technologies and Networks, TF1; and Christine Maury-Panis, Executive Vice President and General Counsel, Viaccess-France Telecom.

Among the questions which will be discussed are:
- can device manufacturers provide the required safeguards to content providers;
- are there lessons to be learned from the pay TV STB model;
- who maintains the security; who is responsible if the security is broken;
- how are content providers remunerated;
- will the existence of more than one security system hinder the growth of Hbb?

Hosted by Sheila Cassells, Executive Director of AEPOC and William Higham, Director Consumer Electronics, Intellect, the event will be held at IBC2011 in Amsterdam on Sunday 11 September 2011 at 12.30 CET. Registration required. Contact: Ansgar Gerber a.gerber@susbauer.de

Time Again for Amsterdam in September and IBC

IBC, RAI Exhibition Center, Amsterdam

Many of the Broadcast Projects associates will be participating in the annual International Broadcasting Convention taking place at the RAI Exhibition Center in Amsterdam. IBC is an annual event for us, and many of our consulting associates will be present. See our IBC 2011 Party & Event List.

IBC takes place from 8-13 September 2011. The conference begins on Thursday 8th September, and the exhibition opens on Friday the 9th. Free registration for the exhibition ends on 19th August (the earlier deadline having been extended two days), so visit the IBC website now to get your free entrance pass. Read more about the IBC Exhibition here. The conference is a separate, paid-for event, with a usually robust and intriguing conference programme. All details can be found on the IBC website.

The main attraction of IBC is the convivial atmosphere that has always been conducive to forging new business and reinforcing contacts with industry colleagues.

IBC Amsterdam

Nearly 50,000 people from 140 countries attend IBC, making it a great central meeting point for covering the latest developments in broadcasting, mobile TV, IPTV, digital signage and R&D.

For Broadcast Projects it is an essential event. Confirmed so far to attend are Janet Greco, Alan Mercer, Ruurd Fenenga, Sebastian Becker, John Holland, Benjamin Schwarz and Sheila Cassells, who is hosting an HBB/Connected TV event.

For more information about how and where to catch up with us during the show, contact us.

 

New CSA Report on Business Models for On-Demand Services

CSA Survey, July 2011

The French audiovisual regulator (CSA) has released a report on the business models for on-demand audiovisual media services active in the French market. The survey deals with cost and revenue models, as well as the contracting practices binding various stakeholders (publishers, rights holders, distributors). 

The majority of European countries are also concerned with similar issues in the context of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive (AVMS). The report was commissioned from IDATE. The report can be downloaded for free here.

For more information about AVMS, contact us.

 

July - 2011

The “Rising and Disproportionate Cost” of VOD Regulation

ATVOD Investigation

Lord Clement-Jones has urged the creative industries minister to take a greater involvement in combating the “rising and disproportionate cost” of the Video On Demand co-regulation scheme, under ATVOD and Ofcom, in an article published on 5th July.

In it the Lib Dem peer makes the following remark:

Under the new fees structure announced last week, fees for this financial year will be based on the revenue of the holding company rather than the website involved, and so will place a disproportionate burden on these services.

Not only does it appear that the fees are disproportionate for the services, but they also appear disproportionate to the obligations that ATVOD is tasked with carrying out.

On the same day, the subject was discussed in Parliament:

Baroness Rawlings: The AVMS-audiovisual media services-directive has been implemented by way of co-regulation under which Ofcom has given the day-to-day responsibility to the Authority for Television on Demand, which to simplify I will refer to as ATVOD in future. It is for those two bodies to make certain that the system works. Ofcom plans to review this after March 2012. Ministers are aware of the range of concerns that have been discussed with Ofcom, ATVOD and the industry.

Lord Clement-Jones: My Lords, I thank my noble friend for that reply, which is reassuring because surely ATVOD is everything an industry-based co-regulatory scheme should not be: expensive, too wide in scope, far from light touch and, indeed, already giving rise to litigation. I am delighted to hear that the DCMS will be making sure that ATVOD is fit for purpose.

You can read the full text here, which also covers concerns about putting “simple practical steps” in place to protect children from inappropriate content online.

 

Broadcast Projects Industry Event – 18 July

Broadcast Projects hosted an AVMS Industry Lunch on 18h July.

Attendees included representatives from Microsoft, Sony, Virgin Media, European Parliament and BBC Worldwide.

The next event will be held on Thursday, 20 October, for further information please click here.

 

London Design Festival Event

Sojournposse will be hosting another Inspiration Room event at The London Design Festival 2011. Under the direction of Zarina Holmes, Creative Director and Salina Christmas, Editor, this year’s theme will be “Whatever is to become of books?”. This will be the posse’s third year participating in the world’s premier design event, celebrating London as the Creative Capital of Europe.

The theme, “Whatever is to become of books?”, addresses the future of books as the placeholder of ideas in the digital age. Now that we consume information online and in downloads, what would happen to storytelling? Are we ready for a life without books? The seminar will pool contributions from book publishers, designers and multimedia storytellers.

Confirmed speakers include The British Library, Blurb Books (Blurb.com), The Comics Grid, Not on the Wires, The Ballet Bag, Photo Book Club and the Oxford International Centre for Publishing. Also on the panel will be Sam Syed, creative director of Bonnier Publishing to talk about Mag+, the platform creator of the British Journal of Photography’s latest iPad application.

This event is backed by Department of Anthropology, University College London, in support of the masters programmes targeted at the design, creative and advertising communities. This event is also done in support of the 3/11 Tsunami Photo Project for iPhone app.

Venue:

UCL Gustave Tuck Lecture Theatre, Wilkins Building, UCL Main Campus, Gower Street, WC1E 6BT.

Tubes: Euston. Euston Square. Warren Street.

 

Click here for tickets and further information.

 

 

Latest from our Creative Partners

The Festival of Sacrifice. Photographer: David Salas

The June/July 2011 of Sojournposse, in association with Not on the Wires is now online. Eid al-Adha or “The Festival of Sacrifice” is a special occasion where the Muslims contribute to the poor. David Salas witnesses how it is celebrated in Ghana. Read more about the stories in this edition here.

 

Oil Studios latest interactive game is titled Lynx Excite. Oil Studios developed the interaction design and technology for Lynx’s latest campaign “Fallen Angel”, which integrates Facebook images, Google Street View and more. Read more about it here.

 

Not on the Wires - Street Kids in India

The latest from Not on the Wires from July 2011, is titled India: life as they know it, a story in pictures, of one organisation’s mission to educate and care for India’s street children in Mumbai, by Dominique van Heerden and edited by Douglas Ackerman. Read more about it here.

All Content Now?

The next ATVOD Industry Forum is due to be held on 19th July in London, at Portman Square. The Industry Forum was established in March 2011, and the first meeting was held in May. In the interim, ATVOD released its new fee structure on 28th June. It will be interesting to see the industry’s reaction to the new structure, and to see how the work plan going forward to improve the co-regulatory structure will evolve.

 

June - 2011

ATVOD Fees Update

 

 

ATVOD, the regulator responsible for enforcing the Audiovisual Media Services Directive (AVMS) have released their new fee structure today, 28 June, for the coming year ahead. The details can be found here.

For large companies that fall into the “Super A Rate” category with annual turnover above £25m, it will mean an increase from £ 2900 in Year 1, to £10,350 for Year 2 fees. However, for smaller companies, the numbers have dropped significantly.

One interesting extract from the statement can be found in para 4.6. which states: “In many EU member states the VOD industry is at a much less advanced stage than in the UK. Comparisons between the cost of regulation in the UK, which has over 140 such services, and the cost in countries with few VOD services are therefore of limited validity.”

In contrast, the Dutch Media regulator has stated that the VOD registration fee will be about 150 Euros a year. Even though there are economic differences in the way that regulatory costs are apportioned in each country, ATVOD’s statement would appear to be in conflict with the Dutch regulator’s opinion that there could be 300-500 services in scope, highlighting the differing approaches to scope from one member state to the next. See our separate report here.

For an excel analysis of the fees options that were set forth in the ATVOD consultation, and the corresponding consultation responses, and for further details about video on demand regulation under AVMS, please contact us.

 

Report of the AVMS meeting hosted by the Dutch Ministry

The Dutch Ministry hosted a seminar on the AVMS Directive together with European Audiovisual Observatory on 16 June 2011. The seminar focused on describing and discussing the main trends in the European audiovisual market and the legal consequences of those changes. Given the central role of innovation and the growing importance of online distribution of audiovisual content, three keynote speakers from UPC, Google and Philips shared their views on the opportunities, threats and consequences of the major trend to switch to on-demand services.

We post here a brief report of the day:

The European Observatory presented a good overview of the rise of video on demand services – especially the instant rise of online on demand services.  The European Observatory also identified five categories of difficult categories to regulate, ie:

non-commercial organisations (so no economic activity involved) that host online video services (like Europeana),

small sites that offer TV-like content,

sites of online newspapers that extensively use video,

sites that use user generated content (UGC), and

sites that aggregate existing video content etc.

The European Audiovisual Observatory also stated that that had to revise their opinion that the main platform for on demand services will be cable and satellite; there now is a strong shift towards online on demand services like Hulu, Netflix, etc.

Main conclusion of the European Observatory was that Regulatory Authorities probably will be the losers because of the difficulty to regulate online on demand services. One representative of the European Commission stated that regulators do to take their jobs too seriously, for instance there is no legal obligation to monitor 24/7, thereby implicating that it was much to do about nothing. Market parties (ie RTL) stated that on demand services have grown with 60% this spring compared to spring last year, so importance of on demand video increases.

Dutch media regulator will publish its Guidelines within short time frame; they stated that they have identified about 300-500 companies that could be classified as on demand (non-linear) video providers, compared to about 200-300 licences for traditional broadcast channels that are now licenced in the Netherlands.

So it was a good session in the sense that it concluded that (1) on demand services really do take off in Europe (although to a lesser extent compared to US because of copyright issues) and (2) regulators will face a tough job to regulate non-linear AVMS services.

The European Commission will publish its Green Paper on Audiovisual Services on 13th July. It will be interesting to see whether the issue of (non) regulation of non-linear AVMS services will also be part of this Green Paper.

 

May - 2011

New Audiovisual Markets Regulated?

The Dutch Ministry is hosting a seminar on the AVMS Directive together with European Audiovisual Observatory on 16 June 2011.

The Dutch Minister of Education, Culture and Science, in her capacity as minister responsible for the Presidency of the European Audiovisual Observatory 2011, is pleased to announce the seminar New Audiovisual Markets Regulated? Market innovation and the role of regulation in the Netherlands and Europe, which will take place on the 16th of June.

Theme of the day

The national audiovisual markets of European countries are moving towards an increasingly integrated European market and legal system, which is regulated by a pan European legal framework. This adds to the importance of European cooperation in the media sector.

This seminar seeks to further this objective by bringing scientists, representatives of companies and governments together in order to facilitate the exchange of experiences, views, lessons learned and best practices.

The seminar will focus on describing and discussing the main trends in the European audiovisual market and the legal consequences of those changes. Furthermore, given the central role of innovation and the growing importance of online distribution of audiovisual content, three keynote speakers from UPC, Google and Philips will share their views on the opportunities, threats and consequences of the major trend to switch to on-demand services.

For more information, contact us.

Ed Richards quizzed on ATVOD

Check out the latest comments by Ed Richards, quizzed by Dr Coffey on the work of Ofcom, in this as yet uncorrected transcript of the session before the Parliamentary Select Committee on Culture, Media and Sport, on 3 May 2011. This document includes comments on the current state of regulation by ATVOD of VOD services in the UK, the issue of newspapers being caught in scope, the need for content labeling and more.

Virgin Media Hands-On Tivo Review

Following the delivery of the first TiVo boxes to Virgin Media’s customers (after a period of beta-trial amongst Virgin employees) PayMedia and TBB have conducted a detailed review of Virgin Media’s newly released HD TiVo PVR.

The outputs of our review include a video-based walk-through of the UI and of some of the key ‘applications’ available on the TiVo device. In addition, the review provides an analysis of the product which contains a variety of supporting screenshots.

Despite delays and expectations set by fairly low-level teaser marketing and company announcements, Virgin Media’s TiVo product has turned out to be a derivative of the US TiVo Premiere / Premiere XL product, rather than a dedicated European / Pay TV software build.

There has been very little modification or adaptation in the product to meet the needs of the Pay TV market, and of the UK TV landscape other than a very basic integration with Virgin’s VOD back-office.

The basis of Virgin’s TiVo, the TiVo Premiere is a product that reviewers in the US have considered to be a window-dressing of the TiVo Series 3 rather than a revolutionary new product and the TiVo Premiere has failed to excite the US market since its launch in March 2010.

For more information and access to the full review, contact janet@broadcastprojects.com

CULT Audiovisual Policy Event on 13 July

European Parliament, Brussels

CULT, the Culture and Education Committee of the European Parliament, will hold a public hearing on EU audiovisual policy in the course of its meeting on the afternoon of 13 July 2011.

The hearing is intended to offer a chance for a general overview of current and likely future developments in the area, but is also loosely connected with an INI report by Mr. Borys (PL, EPP) on the same subject, drawn up in response to COM (2010) 0487 “Opportunities and challenges for European cinema in the digital era”.

The panel of four experts who will take the floor is  finalised, but their names, and the final programme, have not yet been released as of end June, however we will post it here as soon as it becomes available. The public hearing will take the form of a panel session with each of the four experts making their presentations, to be followed by a debate with MEPs. Representatives of the PL Presidency (to be confirmed) as well as the Commission will participate in this hearing. The experts involved in this event will be representatives from copyright collection, cinema/film, journalism, and a public broadcaster.

The general public may attend, but are not allowed to participate in the discussion.

The main goal is to provide a focus for debate and new legislative proposals on the new MEDIA programme (2014-2000) and also digital cinema. However the legislative proposal on the MEDIA programme is not expected before several months, so the debate will go ahead without knowing what the proposal will contain. A public hearing will take place on the same day on the future of the EU audiovisual policy in the digital area (covering AVMS).

The CULT Committee will also start working on two legislative proposals: one relating to the OHIM (Office of Harmonization for the Internal Market) and another relating to orphan works. The Committee on Legal Affairs (JURI), which prepares many important decisions of the European Parliament, is the lead committee for these two reports. CULT will also start work on a non-legislative opinion to the Industry, Research and Energy Committee (ITRE) on “A Competitive Digital Single Market: E-Government”.

To participate  on 13 July, you need to notify the CULT committee of your wish to participate, or contact us for further details.

Broadcast Projects Lunch on UK AVMS Implementation (May)

London Tower Bridge

Broadcast Projects hosted a lunch event sponsored by Microsoft on 19 May 2011 in London. The topic was be implementation of the Audio Visual Media Services Directive in in the UK. A second event on this theme will be held in mid-to-late July.

The Directive, which replaced the Television without Frontiers Directive of 1989, was adopted in December 2007 with the intention of bringing the EU’s broadcasting rules up to speed with the digital age.

Audio Visual Services have traditionally been delivered by broadcast and cable networks, which are covered by extensive regulation. The internet has been relatively lightly regulated. Therefore politicians began to update the EU regulatory framework to cover the public´s increasing consumption of content over the internet.

¨Television Without Frontiers”, only covered broadcasting. But AVMS specifically extends regulation to on-demand services, which had never been regulated before. The aim of AVMS therefore has been to reduce regulation and create a level-playing field for audio visual media services across borders while maintaining high standards for consumer protection.

The intention of AVMS is to bring a set of ‘minimum content standards’ to on-demand services, and to bring in line these services with current broadcasting legislation.

This new law, which came into force early in 2010, is the subject of intense ongoing debate in the UK, which is the only European country to have adopted a co-regulatory system, with ATVOD having been appointed as co-regulator, with Ofcom retaining back-stop powers.

If your company could be interested to sponsor this event, please get in touch.

To register your interest to participate, please contact janet@broadcastprojects.com.

April - 2011

EU Regulation Impacting Connected TV

Un-Connected TV

Broadcast Projects Principal Consultant Janet Greco and network partner Sheila Cassells have conducted a wide-ranging foundation study on EU regulation related to the connected TV space. This is a nascent area with many complicating factors for multiple areas of regulation.

Anyone not staking out a position (as the broadcasters are now doing) are likely to be unprepared for the lobbying that lies ahead. We expect there to be growing interest and concern in this area, from many conflicting perspectives.

Be sure to enquire early to get your invitation for the AEPOC/Intellect hosted event at IBC 2011, on 11 September in Amsterdam. The discussion: “Hbb and Connected TV – Securing Creativity and Content”. Click here for details.

For more information, contact us.

CSA Conference on Connected TV

28 avril 2011 : colloque du CSA sur les téléviseurs connectés

The CSA (Conseil Supérior de l´Audiovisuel), the French regulatory body, organised a symposium on Connected TV on 28 April 2011 at the Musée du Quai Branly in Paris.

It featured speakers looking at the future regulatory landscape from the French broadcasters perspective, but also included other perspectives from representatatives from Google TV, Samsung France, Dailymotion, LG and Sony France.

Helpfully, the CSA has put the entire conference online. Accessible here.

For more information about regulation impacting connected TV in Europe, contact: janet@broadcastprojects.com

Digital Agenda Assembly, 16-17 June 2011

European Parliament, Brussels

The Digital Agenda Assembly, organised by the Commission’s Vice-President Neelie Kroes, as a first follow-up of the Digital Agenda, will be held in Brussels on 16-17 June 2011. The event will be held as a string of workshops, that corresponds to Digital Agenda themes and actions. Please see more by following the link, where you can also register to participate:

http://ec.europa.eu/information_society/digital-agenda/daa/index_en.htm