Industry News

Television remains the choice of the masses even in digital times

MUMBAI: The march of the idiot box in India is unstoppable.

Though consumption of video on digital platforms is on the rise in the country, good old television continues to score in terms of penetration and has large headroom left to fill. As per the latest Broadcast India survey (BI-2018) by the joint industry body BARC India the country now has 197 million TV homes, up from 183 million in 2016.

While the growth has been at a steady 7.6%, total TV penetration is now at 66% against 64% in the last survey. The report is expected to be released later this week. The BI-2018 survey also notes that the number of individuals with access to television has gone up to 835 million; more than the population of Europe. In contrast, smartphone penetration in the country is still at around 300 million.

Jehil Thakkar, partner at Deloitte India, said that television is, and will remain, the biggest medium for the foreseeable future in India. “For at least 10 years, TV and appointment viewing will continue in India. The reason is that TV is extremely affordable — you can get a basic cable for Rs 120 a month or free-to-air channels via FreeDish for free.” The numbers definitely reflect strong growth in the TV universe.

It is also important because TV, collaring 45% of the total ad spends, continues to be the largest medium for advertisers and is expected to grow at 13% this year. As per GroupM’s estimate, advertisers are expected to spend `31,596 crore on the medium, making it a vehicle of choice in terms of brand building. “TV is a preferred medium of choice to reach masses and advertisers’ behaviour is not going to change suddenly,” Thakkar added.

Interestingly, the five southern states — Andhra Pradesh, Telangana, Kerala, Karnataka, and Tamil Nadu — have more than 90% TV penetration. But states like Uttar Pradesh, Bihar, Rajasthan and a few North East Indian states have much lower number of TV sets, pulling down national TV penetration level to 66%. But, it also means that 34% of households in India are yet to buy a TV set.

The Narendra Modi government announced on May 1 that the country has achieved 100% electrification of 600,000 villages in the country. Most surveys suggest that once electricity reaches a household, the first electronic product it buys is a TV. “TV and refrigerator are two general use items people buy first once they get electricity,” Thakkar added.

This is BARC’s own survey, which will help the measurement body make changes to its universe estimation. The survey was carried out between November 2017 and March 2018. It covers 300,000 respondents across 4,400 towns and collects data on TV ownership, connection type, language preferences and other media consumption habits.

As per the survey, there is a clear rise in the middle class. NCCS (New Consumer Classification System) D and E TV households have seen almost 14% fall to 31 million households from 36 million in last survey.

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Broadpeak powers Taiwan Broadband OTT

Broadpeak, a provider of content delivery network (CDN) and video streaming solutions for content providers and pay-TV operators worldwide, has announced that Taiwan Broadband Communications has launched a new OTT service called TBC GO powered by Broadpeak’s advanced CDN solutions. Broadpeak’s BkM100 video delivery manager and BkS400 HTTP video cache servers reduce network bandwidth, enabling operators to cost-effectively provide pay-TV subscribers with “on-the-go” access to live TV, VoD, and catch-up TV on connected devices such as smartphones and tablets.

“Consumers today want access to live and on-demand content anytime, whether at home or on the bus watching with a smartphone. When launching our new OTT service, it was imperative that we choose a bandwidth-efficient and future-proof CDN solution,” said Jimmy Chen, CEO at Taiwan Broadband Communications. “Broadpeak’s expertise in OTT content delivery enables us to deliver a world-class experience in the most efficient way possible, with the flexibility to add cutting-edge services in the future to keep viewers engaged.”

“We are thrilled to partner with Taiwan Broadband Communications, one of the leading cable operators in Taiwan, with more than 750,000 subscribers and 180 channels,” said Jacques Le Mancq, CEO at Broadpeak. “OTT services are rapidly growing in popularity, putting a strain on operators’ networks. Broadpeak’s trusted CDN solutions made it easy for Taiwan Broadband Communications to launch compelling video services across all screens, ensuring a high quality of experience for end-users while also addressing bandwidth concerns.”

Study: Discrepancies surround Smart TV ‘consent’

A study on consumer privacy based on a survey of over 36,000 US consumers, specifically regarding Internet-connected TVs, from Ace Metrix, a specialist in measuring the impact of video advertising, highlights the discrepancies between the ‘consent’ companies claim they receive and the ‘consent’ consumers are unaware they give.

“Research and data companies need to be doing more for consumers to protect their privacy and secure the data they provide, or else they risk extinction,” advised Peter Daboll, Chief Executive Officer of Ace Metrix. “Even in the wake of some of the most dangerous security breaches in history…most research and data collectors have done little to adjust their business practices to secure consumers’ privacy. They are missing a change in consumer and legislative sentiment. With GDPR, and the newly passed Consumer Privacy Act in California, the industry hit an inflection point on privacy. Research and data companies need to wake up. They need to be leading privacy and consumer consent reform – not following it.”

“The first big area we need to improve on is really getting consumers’ CONSENT—not using tricks, trojans or falsehoods to swindle our way into free data from unsuspecting people,” he stated. “We need to clearly describe to consumers what data we’re using, how we’re using it, and periodically remind them that we’re doing so.”

In the study, only 13 per cent of people being tracked actually knew they were being monitored AND recalled agreeing to the Terms of Service for their Smart TV. Another 49 per cent of people were unsure if their TV viewing habits were being monitored – yet 62 per cent of them had TVs connected to the Internet. While data companies are adamant that they receive viewers’ consent, 75 per cent of the consumers in Ace Metrix’s study had no idea how they gave ‘consent’ in the first place.

Ace Metrix suggests that some Smart TV manufacturers are particularly shady with respect to collecting detailed consumer data without their knowledge or consent. From the consumer side, most people would not think their default privacy setting allows almost limitless access to their behaviour (through their IP Address) when they set up their new TV.

“Little do they know, that from then on, every action – programme, ad, website, stream – is being collected, monitored and shared with other data vendors,” explained Daboll. “Integrating data companies merge data based on IP address and cookies associated with it. This IP/cookie match gives marketers access to one’s gender, age, address, interests, and other offline data.”

The Ace Metrix survey revealed 61 per cent of consumers with a specific brand of Smart TVs were unsure whether their TV device collected data about their viewing habits. Another 21 per cent said they were not being monitored; 8 per cent knew they were and remembered agreeing to the terms; 7 per cent knew but didn’t remember agreeing to anything and only 3 per cent knew and disabled it.

29% of European TV channels are based in UK

A Brexit report by the European Audiovisual Observatory, part of the Council of Europe in Strasbourg, provides a European-eye view of the UK’s weight within the EU’s audiovisual markets. It provides key figures on the co-productions between the UK and other EU28 countries, the import and export of films between the UK and the other EU28 countries as well as data on the circulation of audiovisual services between the UK and the European Union.

A. The UK is, together with Germany, the largest audiovisual market in the EU28.
With 12 per cent of TV households, the UK accounts for 21 per cent of the EU28 audiovisual market.

The European Union Audiovisual market (2016, bn EUR)
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Source: Ampere Analysis, EBU/MIS, film agencies, WARC, IHS

The UK market is slightly more dynamic, on average, than the EU28 as a whole, due to the solid performance of pay-tv and also because the UK is the most-developed EU28 market by far for on-demand services. Indeed, the average annual growth rate between 2011 and 2016 was 2.1 per cent for the UK vs. 1.7 per cent for the EU28. The UK ranks No. 4 in terms of number of TV fiction hours produced, underpinned by a focus on high-end drama with a strong export potential.

B. The UK is the main hub for TV channels established in the European Union
29 per cent of EU28 TV channels are established in the UK

TV channels established in the European Union (end 2017)
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Source: European Audiovisual Observatory/MAVISE. Excludes local channels. Includes linguistic versions

43 per cent of the TV channels established in the UK target primarily another country.

TV channels established in the UK (end 2017)
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Source: European Audiovisual Observatory/MAVISE. Excludes local channels. Includes linguistic versions

The UK is by far the main country of establishment in the EU28 for television channels and on-demand services. The UK hosts three of the top 10 EU28 audiovisual groups (Sky, BBC, ITV) also as European subsidiaries of the major US media groups.

C. The UK is a strong exporter of film towards the other European Union countries
The UK ranks No. 2 (after France) for the number of film titles exported to other EU28 countries in cinema and on TV.

EU28 non-national releases on TV (2015-2016 season)
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Source: European Audiovisual Observatory analysis of Eurodata data

EU27 countries account for 29 per cent (excluding GB Inc.) and 24.5 per cent (including GB Inc.) of UK films’ worldwide admissions.

Cinema admissions to UK films (av. 2011-2016, m)
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European Audiovisual Observatory/LUMIERE – GB Inc. Films are produced by a UK subsidiary of a US studio.

The UK is a key player in the European film sector. Thanks in particular to a strong domestic cinema market, it produces 16 per cent of all EU28 films, excluding blockbusters films fully-funded by US majors through their UK subsidiaries.

As far as VoD exploitation of European films is concerned, the UK ranks as the runaway No. 1 (ahead of France) for the number of titles exported to other EU28 countries on TVoD.

Zee to export OTT internationally

Subhash Chandra-backed Indian TV giant ZEE is to export its ZEE5 OTT platform internationally, starting next year, according to Zeel International’s CEO Amit Goenka.

The plan is to compete head-to-head with OTT offerings from Netflix, and Star TV’s Hotstar service.

Goenka says that Zee Entertainment will be investing in 90 original programmes next year, which will be added to its library of 3500 movies.

Initially the platform will move into some key Asian markets, and then has the UK and US in its sights where there are large Indian expatriate communities. ZEE’s general entertainment channels are already available internationally.

“In the coming year, we plan to further increase the reach of our existing channels through distribution and creation of localised content. On the distribution side, we are developing strategies for each market to ensure maximum reach of our content. On the content front, we are increasing our local programming for the Indian audience in select markets, which will be on an ad-funded model. We also plan to ramp up our programming initiatives for the native audience in select markets. In FY19, we will continue to further enhance our local programming initiatives in markets like USA and UK,” said Goenka.

ZEE5 will have acquired material from Turkey, Pakistan, Spain, China and Korea. Additionally, around 200+ English-language movies and shows will be available.

WBU argues against C-band changes

Not so many years ago Intelsat and SES were arguing strongly for satellite’s C-band frequencies to be protected from would-be predators especially those in the cellular community.

Now, with the potential of millions (and some say billions) of dollars of benefits to flow to satellite operators from reassigning some C-band frequencies over the US for cellular use, the World Broadcasting Unions (WBU) has weighed in with strong implied criticism of the US plans.

Reallocation of these C-band signals could lead to “chaos” for its members, says the WBU.

The WBU states that it welcomes technological changes and the benefits to audiences and broadcasters. “Satellite services have long provided valuable broadcasting services and remain an essential part of often complex broadcast supply chains serving our audiences, both nationally and internationally, for public service and commercial broadcasters.” Said the WBU.

“C-Band FSS downlink frequencies between 3,400-4,200 MHz, have been and are extensively used throughout the world by WBU members for Fixed Satellite Services (FSS) applications and will continue to be used for the foreseeable future, in particular above 3,600 MHz. Since FSS downlink sites receive extremely weak signals from satellites in geosynchronous orbit, they are particularly fragile and susceptible to interference. WBU members have experienced serious interference to services where this spectrum has been opened up to other users and, because few countries require these receive-only downlink sites to be licensed or registered, little recourse is available. The WBU encourages our members to register their downlink sites.”

The WBU says there are hundreds of thousands of C-band downlink sites in use by its members for contribution and distribution of satellite signals. “The potential allocation of C-Band FSS spectrum to Mobile Services will create chaos to the economics of broadcasting by satellite, potentially interrupting services to audiences around the world. Furthermore, C-Band is critical for satellite services in tropical regions as it suffers less from the attenuation effects of heavy rainfall than higher frequency bands.”

“WBU members therefore call on satellite service providers and government regulators to protect the availability of the upper part of the C-Band spectrum, where the band has been allocated to satellite services and is currently used to provide many broadcasting services, enabling broadcasters around the world to continue to provide vital broadcasting services to billions of people across the world.”

New satellite launch to help fast-track digital India, says expert

Deepak Mathur added: “ISRO has a pivotal role to play in the development of new space technologies and in making space more accessible, and affordable.

LONDON: The launch of a new mega satellite providing coverage over Asia will help fast-track Digital India and financial inclusion initiatives, according to a leading satellite industry expert.

Deepak Mathur, Executive Vice-President, Global Sales at SES Video, said the successful launch of SES-12 recently would help support India’s growing direct-to-home (DTH) TV market, as more and more consumers in rural India embrace the medium.

“The satellite will be able to help accelerate the country’s push towards a Digital India, the government’s vision to digitally empower India and transform connectivity in the country,” said Mathur.

“SES-12’s high throughput capacity over South Asia and India could potentially help meet the enormous demand for capacity that will be needed to fast-track Digital India, and financial inclusion initiatives,” he said.

The senior executive at SES, one of the world’s leading satellite operators, said that in line with the Telecom Regulatory Authority of India’s (TRAI) recent directive to allow mobile and Internet services in Indian airspace, the satellite’s concentrated beams could also provide highly cost-effective capacity to enable inflight connectivity services.

SES-12, which is uniquely designed with state-of-the-art wide beams and high throughput beams, was successfully launched onboard a flight-proven SpaceX Falcon 9 rocket from Cape Canaveral in Florida, US, in early June.

It is set to replace and augment the services currently being provided on SES’ NSS-6 satellite. Together with SES-8, SES-12 will reach 18 million TV homes from its orbital position.

The satellites will provide pay-TV operators the reliability and scalability to elevate viewing experiences by adding more content and delivering higher-quality picture quality to address the ever-increasing audience demand for High Definition (HD) and Ultra HD content, the company said.

The cutting-edge technology satellite, which will provide coverage from the Middle East to Australia, effectively combines two satellites into one – offering powerful Ku-band wide beams for broadcast and media applications, and high throughput spot beams for providing internet connectivity, reliable cellular services and content targeted at specific language groups.

“With its dual capabilities of both wide beams and high throughput spot beams, SES-12 will serve to enhance connectivity for people and businesses in remote and unconnected parts across Asia, where providing rural connectivity and eliminating the digital divide is a key priority for many governments. SES-12 also brings augmented capacity to enable satellite broadcasting and direct-to-home (DTH) services across Asia-Pacific,” explains Mathur.

SES-12 is one of the largest geostationary satellites that SES has ever launched. The spacecraft also has a Digital Transparent Processor (DTP) that increases payload flexibility to provide much more customisable bandwidth solutions to SES’s customers.

Specifically over India, SES has five satellites – NSS-12, SES-8, NSS-6, SES-7 and SES-9 – currently operational. SES-12 will be replacing NSS-6 as the largest satellite to offer services and capacity over India.

The company’s primary customer in the Indian market is Antrix, the commercial arm of the Indian Space Research Organisation (ISRO), with whom it has worked to help augment the enormous demand for satellite connectivity over India.

Mathur added: “ISRO has a pivotal role to play in the development of new space technologies and in making space more accessible, and affordable.

“We are exploring potential areas of collaboration with Indian partners to see how we can work together to advance the development of space technologies.”

Luxembourg-headquartered SES provides satellite communications services to broadcasters, content and internet service providers, mobile and fixed network operators, governments and institutions around the world.

Its latest all-electric SES-12 spacecraft was built by Airbus Defence and Space and joins SES’ network of seven geostationary satellites and 16 medium earth orbit (MEO) satellites across Asia-Pacific and the Middle East. AK PMS PMS

‘Empty desks everywhere': film industry reeling from online piracy

Within six months of being released at the box office, hit Australian film Lion had been illegally downloaded and streamed hundreds of thousands of times by online pirates.

This figure came as a shock to Academy Award-winning joint managing director of See-Saw Films production company Emile Sherman, known for films like Lion and The King’s Speech.

“We all know in the industry how bad piracy is but I didn’t have a sense of how enormous it has been for our film Lion and how damaging until I saw these numbers,” Mr Sherman told Fairfax Media.

“There is nothing redemptive about piracy. Stealing people’s intellectual property has massive effects and has the ability to erode filmmakers’ capacity to make content.”

He could not put a dollar on the financial impact piracy has had on the company’s returns from its 2016 film Lion, but said it was “clearly very significant”.

Recent research from Screen Audience Research International for Creative Content Australia shows when someone goes to pirate content for the first time, 70 per cent will use a search engine to find free, illegal downloads.

Almost half of all Australians trying to pirate content have encountered a blocked site, but only 9 per cent of pirates were deterred, with one in two continuing to use search to find an alternative.

“In this world of over-the-top video-on-demand platforms like Netflix, Amazon and Hulu, the industry is being disrupted and it’s important for the government to look at the best way of protecting it. Piracy is absolutely up there as one of the top concerns,” he said.

“Websites need to be responsible global citizens and facilitating crime is not good for anybody except criminals,” he said.

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A Deloitte report released on Wednesday, commissioned by Screen Producers Australia, reported signs the screen industry is starting to “struggle”.

More than 40 per cent of production companies with revenues below $1 million recorded a loss in 2017, with 22 per cent overall making a loss. About half made a “small” profit, with a third of businesses saying their margins had narrowed in recent years.

Almost one in 10 of all surveyed production businesses were concerned about solvency within the next five years.

But while piracy was among the concerns cited by screen professionals, with 17 per cent describing it as a challenge, it was seen as the lesser of the evils.

Fears about the impact of broadcaster bargaining power, high labour costs, government tax policies, international competition and competition from subscription platforms trumped piracy as a concern by significant margins.

Village Roadshow co-chief executive Graham Burke and chairman of Creative Content Australia is an anti-piracy campaigner who has been outspoken against Google for not pre-emptively removing suspected pirate sites. He describes piracy as “devastating” the film industry, leads Australians to unsafe websites and acts as a “threat” tothe viability of creating local content.

As a film distributor he said they had “empty desks everywhere … we can’t compete with stolen goods being sold for free”.

The push against piracy from the film industry comes at a time when the government is undertaking a review of copyright legislation, including expanding safe harbour rules for universities, schools and libraries on Wednesday. It’s understood some in the creative industry do not want similar protections, which also exist for telecommunications companies, to be extended to tech platforms like Google.

Mr Burke’s submission to the review specifically pointed to 331,000 illegal downloads of Lion and 600,000 likely streams, describing it as a “direct loss of revenue to the production company and the tax office”.

A Google spokesman said the platform had demoted 65,000 websites globally and continue to demote more each week, investing hundreds of millions of dollars into fighting piracy globally.

“Google uses the information it receives through the copyright takedown process to demote sites for which it has received a sufficient number of notices,” the spokesman said.

“Demotion results in sites losing around 90 per cent of their visitors from Google Search.”

Star India to have 17 different feeds for IPL finale

MUMBAI: Star India is amplifying the reach of Indian Premier League (IPL) finale with 17 different feeds. The broadcaster will also air the final match on Star Plus and Star Gold. It will also eight language feeds with the addition of Malayalam and Marathi feeds.

The finale will be aired across Star Sports’ bouquet of channels, Star Sports bouquet (Star Sports 1 English, Star Sports 1 HD English, Star Sports 1 Hindi, Star Sports 1 HD Hindi, Star Sports 1 Tamil, Star Sports 1 Select SD English, Star Sports 1 Select HD English), Star Plus SD, Star Plus HD, Star Pravah SD, Star Pravah HD, Star Gold SD, Star Gold HD, Star Suvarna Plus, Star Maa Movies, Star Jalsha Movies, Asianet Movies.

Star Plus will telecast a two-hour prelude –‘Cricket Finals…Party to Banti hai’ hosted by Ranbir Kapoor followed by the final match. Other celebrities joining the party include Salman Khan, Jacqueline Fernandes, Kareena Kapoor, Sonam Kapoor.

Additionally, the new faces of Star Plus –Ravi Dubey, Radhey Gaurav Sareen, Kulfi Aakriti Sharma, Mariyam Deshna Dugad will also amplify the entertainment quotient of the finale. That’s not all this IPL has been literally rewarding for fans. By simply watching the matches on the Star TV network and while playing Watch’nPlay on Hotstar, viewers stand a chance to win an SUV and 10 lakh other prizes every match.

Star Pravah will carry the Marathi language broadcast for the first time in the history of the IPL with Madhuri Dixit-Nene and Swwapnil Joshi joining the celebrations on the channel while the Malayalam language feed will be broadcast on Asianet Movies.

The Dugout on Star Sports Select will continue to cater to core Cricket fans who want to stay ahead of the game, by taking viewers deep inside the game. The ball-by-ball coverage of the playoffs will entail predictive and prescriptive analysis – covering deep insights, rich data, and video analytics, demonstrations – by Dean Jones, Scott Styris, Anil Kumble, Kumar Sangakkara, Darren Sammy, Brett Lee, Mike Hesson etc.

The evening will reimagine the arena of sports broadcasting by bringing families from a wide range of demographics to witness the finale together, in a never-seen-before manner.

SC overturns Lahore High Court verdict staying DTH licence auction

The Supreme Court on Tuesday overturned a 2016 judgement of the Lahore High Court that had set aside Pakistan Electronic Media Regulatory Authority’s (Pemra) regulations prohibiting television broadcasters from entering the Direct-to-Home (DTH) market.

DTH is a digital box that gives customers channels permitted to be aired in the country without a cable connection.

Pemra had auctioned three DTH programming licences in November, 2016. The auction was held after the Supreme Court allowed the authority to proceed with the auction, but barred it from awarding the contract till the final determination of the case by the LHC.

The LHC had ruled in December 2016 that Pemra had acted in violation of its own ordinance while conducting the bidding for DTH licences and set aside the auction.

The decision was subsequently challenged in the apex court by Pemra and other companies, including Messrs MAG Entertain­ment (Pvt) Ltd, Messrs Startimes Communications Pakistan (Pvt) Ltd and Shahzad Sky (Pvt) Ltd.

Ruling on the appeals, a five-member larger bench headed by Chief Justice Mian Saqib Nisar on Tuesday overturned the high court’s verdict.

With the apex court’s judgement, the Pemra rules under which the auction was held in November 2016 have been restored. The auction itself has been reinstated as well.

The auction
On Nov 24, 2016 Pemra had auctioned three DTH licences for Rs14.69 billion with the aim of curbing the proliferation of illegal Indian DTH broadcasts, which were annually causing the loss of billions of rupees to the national exchequer.

The auction was held with the condition that no broadcaster would enter the DTH market themselves. This condition was later challenged in the Lahore High Court.

The authority had subsequently argued before the LHC that the establishment of a DTH platform for distribution of television content requires expenditures running into the billions, and, therefore, only the biggest broadcasters would be in a position to set up such a platform.

It said that if the broadcasters were allowed to enter the DTH market, one or more of the larger broadcast channels would end up controlling the distribution of the content while controlling one-third or more of the market.

In such a broadcaster-cum-distributor scenario, significant powers would be vested in one of the larger broadcasters, the petition had argued.

Pemra had emphasised that the regulatory decision to not allow a broadcaster from owning and controlling one-third or more of the DTH distribution market was a reasonable decision that required no detailed setting of standards or empirical data collection.

But the high court judgement had imposed unwarranted restrictions on the scope of the Pemra Ordinance 2002 in arriving at the conclusion that vertical integration between broadcasters and distributors might not be prohibited through rules-making.