News Views

26 May, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending May 26th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

More details are coming out about Facebooks plans to start a TV service, including reports that deals have been signed with online producers Buzzfeed and Vox, among others. Now, whether this means the company is desperate to be YouTube or not is another matter, but for our industry, it might actually be good news. After all, If Facebook is spending as much money to licence content as has been reported, they will finally have some skin in the game. And hopefully THAT will mean the company might actually start blocking all those slime-balls using Facebook to sell illicit streaming devices that pirate our content.

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

For those who might be curious about the outcome of CASBAA’s regulatory roundtable last week in Jakarta, here’s a pretty good and succinct summary.

 

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

In the USA, the “Net Neutrality” battle is underway. The FCC has issued a notice that it is thinking of revoking its 2015 decision to subject ISPs to full on “Title II” regulation. Comments will be received through the summer, and later in the year the FCC might actually make the decision. The “don’t touch our Internet” slogans are being widely propagated and millions of comments already received (some real and some fake). But some of the pro-regulation types are actually admitting that it’s not about content transmission on the internet – Title II regulation is a tool to achieve price controls over internet suppliers. One commentator offered that “What the ideologues want is a public sector Internet.

 

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Also in Thailand the Internet is very much a subject of debate, but the topic is censorship. Social media and online video companies are coming under sustained pressure to remove content the government says is illegal. That’s not new. But this week the police said they would also target viewers who looked at pages that might be illegal. And the Bangkok Post complained that “the always questionable campaign to clean the internet of nasty material now is out of control.

 

 

Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

While some in the TV world think that Netflix is the player to watch, Amazon is slowly encroaching more and more into the space. Their initial modest complement of general entertainment product has now moved on to be a US$4.5 billion dollar programming budget. Over the last year they added 100 OTT “Channels” partners and this week they have announced that they will offer close to 50 live and on-demand streamed channels in the UK and Germany. See article from Techcrunch for the best coverage. Since the geographical constraints of the pay TV business have been significantly reduced, I have a great suspicion that the pay TV operator of the world, in video forms from live linear to VOD could well become Amazon. And if their success in numerous other business segment follows them, we may now be seeing a glimpse of what the future pay TV landscape looks like.

 

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Verizon has confirmed the company’s plans to launch an OTT streaming service later this year, according to comments made by the CEO at J.P. Morgan’s Global Technology, Media and Telecom Conference in Boston this week. Verizon will use the combined platform of AOL and Yahoo – and their 1.3 billion users – to test the new platform. The company expects to close on its acquisition of Yahoo mid-June, so the over-the-top service (in the US at least) could arrive any time after that.  It’s thought the content streaming service will presumably be launched alongside Verizon’s existing Go90 ad-supported mobile video services.

 

 

Anjan Mitra

Anjan Mitra

Executive Director, India

Audience measurement globally continues to make news; not always for good reasons. Last week we dwelt on how India’s Republic TV was accused by competitors of alleged malpractices resulting in a face-off involving a TV news industry body and Broadcast Audience Research Council India. The issue continues to simmer. Technical experts have revealed other channels also resorted to the same malpractices to increase viewership. Unnecessarily caught in the cross-fire amongst TV news channels, BARC India explained such issues should be sorted out amongst TV channels as its job was to “measure what India watches.” Keep tuned in for this developing saga.

 

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

We’ve known it would happen – with all the malware infections coming from piracy websites, it was only a matter of time before some slimeball found a way to use illicit streaming devices (ISDs) to spread malware. Now there are reports from the UK that it’s happened there, and the popular KODI app is one of the vectors. Those responsible for the apps say they are fixing the vulnerabilities. (I’ve heard that before.) To my knowledge, nobody has yet researched the technical vulnerabilities of the piracy apps used on Asian ISDs…..anybody want to bet on them being technically secure?

 

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Pakistan authorities have announced that the Ministry of Information is planning to change PTV Global to a children’s entertainment channel. This will be Pakistan’s first ever official TV channel that caters to children. The move will help promote children entertainment industry and create awareness among children about their rights, culture, tradition and values and we can expect to see this part of the entertainment industry flourishing. No word on plans for PTV Global’s international distribution.This also serves as a timely reminder that CASBAA is hosting the UNICEF Child rights Award again this year in association with the ABU and we are calling for entries for the 17th Asia-Pacific Child Rights Award from broadcasters and producers in the region. Programmes both for children and about children are eligible and can cover any children’s rights issue. To join the competition, please submit your entries online here.

 

 

Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

This past week, we’ve joined the rest of the media community in mourning the passing of Sir Roger Moore, who died at the age of 89. Before he became Bond, of course, he played Simon Templar in “The Saint” on TV, and was as dashing in black and white as he ever was in color. But more recently, we remember when he came to the CASBAA Convention in 2003 as a UNICEF Ambassador; check out a clip from that here.  RIP.

 

 

Additional News

19 May, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending May 19th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

It seems the TV industry is finally getting some traction with enforcement agencies around Asia, with respect to the syndicates selling illicit streaming devices (ISDs) and operating the piracy server networks that feed them. Last week in Bangkok, there was a police raid and several arrests of UK citizens involved in operating the Expat.TV networks. (That was a series of networks with marketing pitches aimed at expatriates living in Southeast Asian countries and Hong Kong. They specialized in stealing and reselling British programming, including Premier League matches and other sports.) A few weeks earlier, Astro and Cisco scored, with a raid by Malaysian police on a syndicate stealing Astro channels (and many others) and retransmitting them through ISDs.  One Malaysian press report said the police were “taken aback” by the size of the operation, which was reported to have 30,000 customers.

 

Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

Two apparently contradictory headlines in the trade press this week illustrate the quandary the industry finds itself in these days; on the one hand, “Pay-TV bleeds subs in worst quarter ever;” but at the same time, “Global Pay-TV subs to break billion barrier by 2018.”  So who to believe? Perhaps another perspective is needed: “TV is not dying — it’s lies, damn lies, and bad media statistics.” (Thanks, Andrew Jordan!)

 

 

Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

A year ago, a week would go by and we may see only a couple stories about how OTT/Streaming video is changing the current landscape. Now there is a torrent of stories in all shapes, styles and sizes. PCCW’s Viu just launched in Thailand. After years, Apple and Amazon came to a deal to have Prime Video on Apple TVHotstar showing IPL has Indians glued to their phones for cricket. PLDT will be deploying a Roku streaming solution to deliver Cignal channels, Netflix and others.  Amazon has announced they will embed their Fire TV and Echo into the TV’s of a number of manufacturers. Pluto TV is now adding on-demand to their existing free streaming channel service. Streaming Business News Network Cheddar Raises $19 Million. MLB did a deal with Facebook to stream one game a week. Vevo is trying to take on MTV with a new tvOS app. And that’s just a few of them this week.

 

 

Jane Buckthought

Jane Buckthought

Advertising Consultant

The sorry saga continues with Facebook admitting to its 10th measurement mistake since September.  Facebook’s mistake elicited demands from ad buyers for more third-party verification on the platform. And the collective effective of the errors is getting on buyers’ nerves. “There is a general sense of ‘what could be next,’” said Jessica Baum, media director at Traction. “Even though the last error was smaller in scope, it still impacts overall trust.”

 

 

Cathryn Chase

Cathryn Chase

Regulatory Assistant

The Indian news television channel Republic TV has been accused of employing unethical tactics in an effort to increase its viewership.  Following a unanimous decision by its member companies, the News Broadcasters Association (NBA) lodged a formal complaint with the TRAI, charging the recently-created news channel with running multiple frequencies.  Not an uncommon strategy in the TV industry, this method involves a channel listing itself at multiple locations, in multiple genres in the EPG of various MSO platforms, resulting in the channel airing on multiple logical channel numbers at the same time.  More importantly, running multiple feeds to garner television rating points (TRPs) is a violation of TRAI rules, though which are in suspended animation at the moment, courtesy Star’s appeal in Supreme Court. The NBA also appealed to the Broadcasting Audience and Research Council of India (BARC) not to release Republic TV’s viewership data before the channel put an end to their alleged malpractices, stressing that doing so would only serve to encourage this type of misconduct in the industry. Against the wishes of the NBA, the BARC has since released its week 19 results, revealing that Republic TV has surpassed previous category leader, Times Now, as the English language news channel with the most weekly impressions.

 

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Chinese telcom equipment provider ZTE has announced it wants to expand its partnership in Pakistan and introduce digital television services into more regions of the country, including in remote northern mountainous areas. A company representative made the announcement at this week’s Belt & Road Forum in Beijing. Pakistan is one of the most important markets for ZTE outside China and the company has a strong legacy relationship with Pakistani telecom operators, pioneering earlier 2, 3 and 4G network launches. ZTE have promised that their 5G product will be a world beater. The Pakistan Telecommunication Company Limited (PTCL) signed a strategic memorandum of understanding with ZTE in March  as part of a key initiative for PTCL and ZTE to provide high quality video services to customers on TV and mobile devices.

 

 

Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Regulatory Assistant

The Tamil Nadu Film Producer’s Council (TFPC) proposed to go on a strike starting May 30 as a way to advocate the state government to take steps on combating piracy. Piracy has been a long time issue within the Tamil film industry. The recent worldwide release of Rajamouli’s film Baahubali: The Conclusion was reportedly leaked on Facebook by a group of pirate syndicates under the name of “Tamil Rockers.” However, after a discussion with Chief Minister, Edappadi K. Palaniswami, the film strike will likely be called off after the CM’s assurance and opposition against the strike among film distributors.

 

 

Member News
Additional News

12 May, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending May 12th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The FCC under Ajit Pai is moving ahead with scrapping the utility-style regulation imposed on ISPs in the name of “net neutrality” under Tom Wheeler’s leadership. The Washington Post had a good summary of the state of play and various positions. The process will be a long one, with a full Commission vote set for May 18 that will set the wheels in motion. There will be opportunities for public input, of course, and the Usual Internet Suspects have started making their views known by spamming the FCC’s website. For those interested in where Chairman Pai is really coming from, there’s a comprehensive Re-Code interview with him, in which he sums up “you can’t have these pure net neutrality rules if you also want to have massive investment in networks, because the return on the investment simply isn’t going to be there….as I see it, there’s a happy middle ground here, which is light-touch regulation.” Meanwhile, in India the debate continues as to exactly what should be regulated under TRAI’s Net Neutrality rules. There’s a lot of divergence among various internet players; it was interesting to see Hotstar, Netflix and Akamai all arguing that content delivery networks (CDNs) should not be regulated. (Hotstar favored inserting conditions into ISP licenses as the best means of implementing narrowly-targeted “bright line” rules.) 
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

The chattering classes are awash with the rumour that Facebook has kicked its push for TV-like shows into high gear and is aiming to launch its premium, TV-like video in mid-June, right around the Cannes Lions advertising festival. It’s thought they will  have around two dozen shows for the initial push and are working on two  tiers  for longer, big-budget shows, and a lower tier for shorter, less expensive shows  (with a virtual reality dating show from Conde Nast Entertainment already in the works in time for Cannes). The new video initiative means Facebook would play a much more hands-on role in controlling the content that appears on its social network. The video strategy pits Facebook directly against YouTube, which last week announced it would fund a slate of original shows starring big names like Ellen DeGeneres, Kevin Hart, and Katy Perry. The new YouTube shows will be supported by ads and available for anyone to watch, instead of living in YouTube’s $10-a-month subscription service.

 

Jane Buckthought

Jane Buckthought

Advertising Consultant

Google and Facebook together accounted for 20 percent of global advertising expenditure across all media in 2016, according to the new edition of Zenith’s Top Thirty Global Media Owners, which ranks the companies at number one and two, respectively. However, one of the most startling (and depressing) aspects of the advertising and marketing industries is the depth of the ignorance all around us. You expect that professionals would be aware of the key facts that govern their industry, but ad industry professionals have become blind to the truth – and some of them prefer it that way – argues Bob Hoffman 
Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

For News please read articles linked in Kevin and Jane’s pieces. Views are as follows. For many of us in the pay-TV industry, Google and Facebook (Goobook) have just signaled that they are now gunning to eat our lunch. With 77% of online ad spending going their way, all that’s left is organic growth or new markets. Since the internet has taken a HUGE chunk out of the traditional publishing business, Goobook will now be going after TV. They own “only” 20% of global advertising expenditure across all media and are now eyeing the current global TV ad spends of $180 bil. Youtube and FB creating their own shows and TV apps and Youtube’s new skinny bundle are hints at what’s coming. Zuck sums it up nicely, “The goal is going to be creating some anchor content initially that helps people learn that going to the video tab that that’s a great destination where they can explore and come to Facebook with the intent to watch the videos that they want…and then the long-term goal is actually not to be paying for specific content like that, but doing a revenue share model once the whole economy around video on Facebook is built up.”

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

There’s a major shake-up about to happen in Australian TV with the Oz government announcing plans to scrap media ownership restraints in the free TV arena. The proposed amendments will drop the decades-old 75 per cent reach rule and the “two-out-of-three rule”, which prevents media companies owning a TV station, radio station and newspaper in the same market.  In addition the government will abolish broadcasting licence fees in favour of spectrum fees to reflect the current media landscape.  The moves will help improve the sustainability of Australia’s free-to-air broadcasting sector, support Australian content and modernise broadcasting and content regulation.  Local regional TV broadcasters have welcomed the reforms that would allow them to merge with metropolitan TV networks or media companies to be able to compete with companies like Netflix. The Sydney Morning Herald said the reforms, if passed, “will open the door for a major round of mergers and acquisitions“.

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

And on the subject of consolidation, Malaysia’s Media Prima has bought the local start up Rev Asia for US$24M. The move will fully incorporate REV Asia into Media Prima’s digital platform — and in doing so makes the platform the largest Malaysian digital media company. Media Prima’s digital reach is estimated to be more than 10 million people and puts it in third place behind Facebook and Google. Rev Asia was founded by the Catcha Group who is also involved in ventures such as Iflix.  Media Prima ’s business interests include print, radio, TV and streaming OTT services.

 

Anjan Mitra

Anjan Mitra

Executive Director, India

The cudgels that Star India has taken up against TRAI in Madras High Court, challenging whether the regulator can hold sway on commercial matters relating to content and their IPRs, shows legal twists and turns akin to some soaps that the broadcaster might be airing on its various TV channels, including several judges recusing themselves from the case. The Supreme Court allowed TRAI to publish its new set of regulations relating to tariff, QoS and inter-connect norms even while a High Court was hearing a case filed by Star against TRAI. But later, SC also stayed implementation of the published regulatory norms till the high court disposed of the case. Meanwhile, the MSOs are pushing for compliance of the new tariff norms. And, petitioner Star India is not far behind as it too published its inter-connect offers, aimed at complying with the now-frozen norms.  Almost when I was going to close this piece, arrives the news that Tata Sky and Airtel DTH too have challenged the TRAI tariff order and this time in Delhi High Court. Wait for the next twist in this saga.

 

Jane Buckthought

Jane Buckthought

Advertising Consultant

The consumer video media services market is worth over $300 billion a year globally, with pay television accounting for 90% of that. In 2017, consumers will spend over $18 billion on subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix, up 28% on the previous year. Spending on such services will continue to rise, but pay television will still represent over 86% of direct consumer spending on video services in 2020.

 

Member News
Additional News

5 May, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending May 5th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

Fox just launched its Fox+ streaming service in Singapore after its debut in the Philippines in March. The service will initially be available to Singtel customers with Starhub to follow soon. A 30-day free trial is also available (through the Android app anyways) for anyone. It looks very slick, but haven’t yet figured out how to cast it to my TV. Pricing can start as low as US$10/month and go up to as high at $18, depending on existing plan and introductory offer. This compares to US $7.75/month in the Philippines. 11,000+ hours of programming with live sports makes this a very exciting and ambitious offering. Looking forward to diving into it…after I punch out for the day.
John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Thailand’s NBTC announced that it would set up a subcommittee to implement regulation of OTT operators. One suspects this may have more to do with what one Thai newspaper called the trend toward “tightening regulation of all Thai Media.”  The Bangkok Post said it is all about “out of control” OTT services. And there is certainly a control orientation in the Thai government these days.
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Meanwhile, plans to curb journalists and news outlets across the kingdom edged a little closer this week as the National Reform Steering Assembly (NRSA) voted to endorse the “media reform bill”, which would impose restrictions on TV News channels and print media journalists. According to The Nation, concerns have been raised by media professionals, consumer groups and overseas watchdogs while the newspaper openly denounced the authoritarian law, which it says takes Thailand back decades.
Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

During APOS last week, Mark Britt of iflix made the point (a couple times) that his biggest competition is piracy…with recent reports saying Singapore is in the top 10. Bloomberg has an article this week that states that “Subscription-based business models in content distribution is making piracy pointless” and refers the recent Orange is the New Black fifth season leak. This fantastic chart of the “Comeback” of the music industry is promising and could show us what’s in store for the video business under subscription models. Fox+’s recent launch, combined with other services, will help pave the way.
John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Elsewhere, in Australia, another blow against a different sort or piracy, with the Federal Court ordering ISPs to shut off access to the website KickassTorrents. It’s not the first torrent site to be blocked in Oz (several others were blocked late last year); here’s hoping it’s not the last!
Jane Buckthought

Jane Buckthought

Advertising Consultant

Investment in digital and online advertising is set to exceed television in two Asian markets, Hong Kong and Taiwan, in 2017. According to WPP media company GroupM’s annual Interaction Report, TV still remains king across Asian markets, with digital only reigning supreme in China. The report, which examined digital advertising growth forecasts in 46 markets, said TV still accounted for the majority of adspend 2016 at 42 per cent.
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

India’s TAM service provider BARC has announced that from July it will no longer monitor analogue homes across most of the country, with the exception of those homes in the state of Tamil Nadu, which has been slower to force the pace of change compared to other regions. Currently vast swathes of homes across India are thought to still be able to receive analogue signals and the move to drop reporting will push operators and channels to focus on switching to digital after the MIB ordered the switch off of analogue signals in March. BARC have said that their sample homes is also set to increase from 20,000 to 30,000, with a government mandate to increase the number to 50,000 by the year 2020.
John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Opposite trends on copyright: The EU Court of Justice rendered a very interesting advisory opinion, which may make it possible to close down more ISD retail operations. At the same time, across the Atlantic in Mexico, the Supreme court decided no blocking action against pirate websites could be taken, as they might also host some legitimate content.
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

This week Hulu’s CEO Mike Hopkins announced the launch of Hulu’s brand new live TV streaming beta service in the US, along with what it describes as its ground-breaking new user experience with the streaming-plus-live combination that Hulu is hoping will set it apart from its competitors Viewers. who subscribe to the beta plan can enjoy live and on demand programming from more than 50 popular sports, news, entertainment and kids’ channels as well as the streaming library all for just shy of US$40. The rather imaginative name for the service is Hulu With Live TV. It says what it does on the box, so can’t fault them there.

28 April, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Apr 28th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Okay, it’s now official.  FCC Chairman Ajit Pai said he wants to “repeal and replace” the Wheeler FCC’s order for sweeping “Net Neutrality”-based regulation of ISPs as utility providers.  Net Neutrality, he said, was a bit of regulatory overreach that wasn’t needed: “Nothing about the internet was broken in 2015.” A few smart commentators noted that ensuring a free and open internet doesn’t require full-on utility regulation; I agree with that.  But Pai’s speech yesterday didn’t provide any details, and I want to know what will he replace it with?   There were previous reports he would advocate a code-of-practice system to deter internet providers from interfering with legitimate web traffic, but that wasn’t in the speech.  Never mind…..the Internet lit up with the usual commentaries about how the change in regulatory approach would “Nuke the Internet.”   Yawn; I get so tired of Internet Imbeciles who can’t make a coherent policy argument about public policy issues.
Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Regulatory Assistant

Meanwhile, Canada’s regulators are going in the other direction, installing broad net neutrality rules in that country and banning “zero-rating” for content supply services. 
John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Ajit Pai, by the way, is consistent in his deregulatory approach.  He’s also said he wants to do a top-to-bottom review and get rid of outmoded broadcasting rules!!!  (Hooray….finally a regulator who might actually DO something about the tilted playing field.)   He’s also going to look at amending or doing away with media ownership restraints that look pretty senseless in the Internet Age.  (“It makes no sense for the government to be discouraging investment in the newspaper industry,” Pai said last year.) 
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Some interesting news this week with Google announcing that it is rolling out programmatic technology that will allow advertisers and agencies to manage video campaigns across digital AND linear TV. Historically, TV and digital advertising have been bought and measured through different systems and currencies. This is something of a reinvention for Google who originally attempted this as far back as 2008 but with only moderate success and the project was finally dropped in 2012 – definitely something to watch this time around. 
Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Regulatory Assistant

Netflix’s long time struggle to enter the Chinese market has finally come to an end this week as they established a licensing deal with local video service, iQiyi owned by internet search giant Baidu. Already reaching 100 million subscribers just last week and having their shares at an all-time high, this deal will further put them ahead of their competitors.  It’s not clear to us how iQiyi plans to cope with the “full season clearance only” policy of mainland content regulators.  Netflix, of course, pioneered making whole series available to consumers for binge watching.  And, while there have been doubts about the wisdom of that strategy, some of the traditional-network competitors have put their toes into the water too. 
John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

A few weeks ago we covered the Vietnamese government’s tiff with Facebook and YouTube, over hosting of politically sensitive videos.   Last week, a Facebook delegation showed up in Hanoi to meet with the MIC Minister and talk about curbing “toxic content.” 
Member News
Additional News

21 April, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Apr 21st. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The full-on Net Neutrality debate in the USA has resumed.  The Internet Association, representing the big tech firms, met FCC Chairman Ajit Pai to lobby against his plan to revoke utility-style regulation of ISPs (installed by the previous FCC majority as the means to enforce Net Neutrality.)    This was accompanied by thundering commentary from a former FCC staffer to the effect that “no net neutrality means the end of internet privacy.”  That’s more than a bit of joke, in light of the fact that the tech firms are already reading your emails (to serve up relevant ads), monitoring your TV watching (to offer you better recommendations) and keeping track of everyone you might know (to do you the “service” of sending you spam emails offering to “connect” you.) So a commentary in the Washington Post caught my eye:  “Google and Facebook Oppose Managing the Internet – Except When They’re Doing It!”
Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

This week saw Netflix disappoint Wall Street in some areas of its quarterly results, and it has been announced that the US video streaming service provider is in talks with Indonesia’s top telecom firm Telekomunikasi Indonesia to roll out its service in the country. Netflix has faced problems including local competition and regulatory hurdles in several major Asian markets and in Indonesia, Netflix ran foul of the film censorship board last year. The state-controlled Telkom had previously blocked Netflix but the service was still available in Indonesia via other carriers.
Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

Still on Netflix, CNET postulates that “without buzzy series, we won’t subscribe in droves”. If you are wondering about live sports on the service, the company said in a statement, “That is not a strategy that we think is smart for us since we believe we can earn more viewing and satisfaction from spending that money on movies and TV shows.” Still wondering just how Netflix grew to now almost 100 million subs?  An article from Quartz looks at their unique strategy. But 100 mil subs is not enough for Reed Hastings.  He says Netflix’s “viewing is very large and growing, but nowhere near as big as YouTube…so we definitely have YouTube envy and we’ve got a lot a room to go.”

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

In a week where Tencent acquiesced to Apple’s demands in China on including purchasing systems outside of Apple’s own iOS ecosystem,  Chinese authorities have introduced  comprehensive regulations to oversee mobile applications, which are mushrooming in popularity alongside smartphone use. The new guidelines are part of a broader effort by the government to clamp down on sensitive content which can be anything from critiques of the Communist Party to porn. The regulations will apply to more than a dozen platforms that offer video apps for download, including local streaming service Huajiao as well as  Apple and local smartphone makers. The move also imposes requirements not just on app stores, but in some cases also on developers and app operators.  It is worth keeping an eye on this, because the politically-motivated clampdown could also work to reduce availability of pirate apps on app stores. China already has regulations in place to restrict loading of unapproved apps onto streaming media boxes.

 

 

Member News
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14 April, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Apr 14th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The big news this week in enforcement against illicit streaming devices (ISDs) is that two major e-commerce platforms have implemented programs to weed out sales of blatantly infringing devices from their user postings.  Amazon, which has been a major route for ISDs shipping to Europe and America, added a paragraph on streaming media to their seller policies, and said “Products offered for sale on Amazon should not promote, suggest the facilitation of, or actively enable the infringement of or unauthorised access to digital media or other protected content.”  There was no big announcement, but the piracy press certainly noted.   With respect to box sales on Asian platforms, we also learned this week that Alibaba says it is implementing a parallel policy.  I couldn’t find any public discussion of this in the press (yet), but member company Irdeto confirms they’ve now seen a very substantial reduction in numbers of blatantly infringing boxes on the Alibaba and Aliexpress platforms.  All of that is great news…..but we do have to temper our joyful reaction just a bit – there are still plenty of sales of empty boxes on the e-commerce sites.  (Those are streaming boxes that haven’t yet been loaded with the piracy software apps.) 
Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

I ONLY listen to “people familiar with the matter” and especially so with rumors and conjecture. This week they tell us that Comcast Is Planning a Netflix Rival Using NBC Shows. The service could include programs from the NBC broadcast network as well as Comcast cable channels Bravo, SyFy and USA with a launch anywhere in the next 12-18 months. Sorry, not a lot of hard facts here folks. Though with comedy streaming service, Seeso, and a sports package with cycling and rugby, called NBC Sports Gold, more VOD services in the future seem consistent.

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Chinese cable television companies have cut off access to South Korean programming in a move by Beijing to punish Seoul for installing a missile defense system aimed at North Korea, but which China says threatens its own security. As well as boycotts of South Korean goods and services that have spread across China in recent weeks, authorities have blocked access in China to South Korean television channels. In cities like Yanji and Jilin which have large ethnic Korean populations, people are now installing satellite antennas to receive the South Korean channels. While drama and other entertainment shows are popular with Chinese viewers the channels also carry news programmes.

 

Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Regulatory Assistant

During the past weekend, PCCW-owned operator Now TV was able to provide live coverage of the Hong Kong Sevens through virtual reality, jointly with NETVIGATOR. Now TV is always trying to adopt new video technology to improve the viewing experience for their customers says Janice Lee, managing director of PCCW Media Group. With the addition of VOD, recording functions, and much more, Now has offered enhanced convenience for customers to view the event.

 

Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

My favorite streaming stories of the week.  “Let’s not pretend that this is a consumer-wins-all race to the top — it’s a way for struggling media businesses to pivot their revenue strategies, for agitators to disrupt existing verticals and it’s a way for large media players to lock-in their supremacy for the long-term. And on the same theme, As The Digital Streams Become A Gushing River, Who Stays Afloat? For those of you that have “run through all of Netflix’s programming” you can find out Where the Best Television Online is Hiding. And to top it off, The Billion-Dollar Race for Streaming Supremacy, Amazon Prime to spend $4.5 billion on video content this year…Netflix to spend $6 billion.

 

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7 April, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Apr 7th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

Youtube TV launched in the U.S. this week. From previous reports about the service I wasn’t too excited though I have significantly warmed to it because of the functionality of the app.  The service provides linear channels but with unlimited DVR of favourited shows which essentially turns this into a VOD platform….with ads. And the ability to easily cast to any TV, while turning the phone/tablet into a remote control with picture-in-picture, ensures that one can get a high-end viewing experience anywhere, anytime. Definitely something to watch, especially if they start rolling out internationally and/or use this as a platform for third party internet TV providers.

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Japan’s e-commerce giant Rakuten has announced it plans to integrate its online film and series streaming operations in Europe (Wuaki), US (Viki) and Japan (Showtime). The group say that this is the next step in its strategy following the upcoming change of Wuaki.tv to  Rakuten.tv in the coming few months. Showtime and Viki will also be rebranded to Rakuten.tv, with all three operations being coordinated out of Barcelona. The rebrand of Wuaki in Europe coincides with the start of a global sponsorship agreement between Rakuten and FC Barcelona announced last November for the next four seasons, worth around €60 million a season.

 

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Blocking of flagrant piracy websites continues to progress in Europe.   An Irish court ordered that country’s first blocks (against three well-known pirate sites), leading the Irish film industry to praise the judgement. In Italy, the regulator orders blocking (not the courts), but a Rome court blessed the process, and the country’s record industry called the decision “a big win.”

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Indonesian Pay-TV provider NexMedia has teamed up with telecommunications operator Indosat Ooredoo to announce a new package with a high-speed internet connection in response to rising demand. The partnership agreement will launch a joint services bundle which will offer Ooredoo’s 4G Plus internet service and include Indosat and NexMedia’s TV channel offerings, including a slew of international channels. The monthly fee for the service will be just over USD14 per month.

Andrew Lin

Andrew Lin

Regulatory Assistant

Differential speeds on the subcontinent: India is wrapping up its conversion to 100% digital cable transmission, and Nepal is just getting started.

 

Member News

31 March, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Mar 31st. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Have been getting emails this week from members in Hong Kong seeing English-language ads in their Facebook feeds for a China-made pirate ISD box; apparently the local reseller for the fully-loaded boxes is paying for Facebook ads, targeting expats in HK.  (Tell me it’s not true!  Facebook profiting from piracy??  Nooooo….)    There’s not much difference between this box and the ones sold by shops and stalls in Sham Shui Po – except for the glitzy English-language ads!  Hong Kong has not done much to clamp down on widespread ISD sales.  Other jurisdictions are one by one getting their act together, though:  last week a Court of Appeal in Canada let stand an injunction against a bevy of ISD sellers, prohibiting them from selling the boxes they had been shamelessly advertising as ways to get pay-TV content without paying.   The sellers didn’t contest the facts, they just tried the usual dilatory arguments to the effect that the boxes were just empty devices, and the plaintiff cable companies hadn’t proved they were damaged by the ISD sales.  The judges gave them short shrift; so the injunction stands, and meanwhile the main case accusing the sellers of copyright violations continues to wend its way through the courts.

 

Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

It’s that time again, with the upfronts underway in the US; this year’s playbook is pretty clearly focused on emphasising not just great new shows, but innovations in measurement and addressability.  But there are also efforts being made to show that advertising on TV is about more than just audiences, it’s also about the context in which those ads appear.  That tactic is more than just a nod to the recent boycott of YouTube advertising by major brands in Europe and the US: “…we would be foolish not to lean into that in some way.”   And with companies like JPMorgan Chase slashing its online ad inventory from 400,000 to just 5000 and seeing no negative results, it’s possible this year’s upfronts could lead to some interesting outcomes.

 

 

Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

A month ago I did a piece on SpaceX landing a Falcon 9 rocket, so why another piece today?  Well, rockets are cool, this story also includes CASBAA member SES and history was made! They are so cool that I woke my 12-year old up early this morning to watch SpaceX launch and land the same rocket…for the second time.  A reused Falcon 9 put SES-10 into a successful orbit and also landed back onto their drone ship in the Atlantic Ocean. (Youtube video.) What does this mean to one’s pocketbook, “the cost to launch a Falcon 9 starts at around $60 million, launching on a used rocket could start at around $40 million”. Cool savings too.

 

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Bangladesh has signed an agreement with India to formally join New Delhi’s ‘South Asia Satellite’ initiative where the Indian Space Research Organization (ISRO) intends to launch a communication satellite serving the South Asia region.  Potentially each participating country would be able to use a dedicated transponder for its own internal use for various communication needs including television broadcast or DTH television services. Officials said that All South Asian countries, except Pakistan, will be part of the project. Meanwhile, switching gears from hi-tech to “lower tech” a local Bangladesh provider has launched its first telcom tower made form Bamboo. The innovative move replaces the need for steel towers, is cheaper and can be installed on rooftops without putting any additional stress on buildings.

 

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President

Officials in Myanmar announced the country will provide access to low cost broadcast channels under its national satellite programme. To promote the country’s communications sector, the government signed a five-year contract with Intelsat last year. The low price will be made available for government ministries and private companies to launch their own channels through the project called “Myanmar Sat 1”.

 

 

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24 March, 2017

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Mar 24th. Curated by CASBAA, News Views keeps you in the loop. We always value your feedback, so tell us what you think!

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Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

“Brand safety” is the buzzword — YouTube is the problem.  Starting last week in Britain, more than 250 brands joined a boycott of YouTube over concerns about their ads appearing next to offensive material; in the US, momentum grew, with AT&T, Verizon, and Johnson & Johnson all yanking their ads.  Google has apologised to its ad clients, but the company has already lost US$24 billion in valuation, with possible further downside.  The boycott comes as the advertising industry gathered for Advertising Week Europe, where the topic was discussed at length.  Worth noting, as the NY Times did, “…unlike television, with specific programming during which brands choose to run their advertising, YouTube mirrors the internet’s sprawl.”  Equally worth noting, while YouTube stands to lose millions in revenue, Google’s search advertising business is less likely to be hit.

 

Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

News in the world of internet TV gave us a few stories of note this week. Are all those logins per subscription for OTT services leading to cord-cutting and revenue loss or an opportunity to access an elusive demographic, see: Password Sharing: Mountain or Mole Hill for ESPN and Other Sports TV Networks to Overcome? UBS analyst looks at the impact of streaming on the current players. Cable ops will mitigate revenue drop by selling more data, but satellite TV providers will be more challenged. Since the future business models will be shaped by viewer behaviour, Can Hulu Reprogram The Way We Watch TV? And to end off, would you like to know “five interesting tidbits about Netflix’s path to world domination”.

 

John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The annual FICCI FRAMES event had a major focus on piracy this year.  Various government spokesmen announced the intention to do more to repress online piracy.   And the state of Maharashtra said it would form a specialized police unit to give new impetus to anti-piracy enforcement.   But the most eye-opening info came in a new report from Verisite.   That company’s Chairman, Bharat Dube, denounced “badvertising”, which pays for piracy.   He said his company tracked over a thousand piracy websites in India, and found 73% of them were ad-supported.  (For those who like full texts, you can find the Verisite report on advertising on Indian piracy websites here.)

 

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President, Programme

Just when the cable guys thought they’d identified all the exigent threats to the pay TV business, savvy Dutch company Altice announced it is expanding in the advertising market with the takeover of TEADS, one of the largest online video advertising exchanges. TEADS is especially strong in Altice’s two largest markets, the US and France. Altice for its part is the fourth largest broadband provider in the US after its takeover Cablevision last year, and expects the that acquiring TEADS will help it develop better advertising to deliver to its fixed and mobile customers.  It is also a shot in the arm for the development for real time programmatic online ads being served. Altice will provide clients with data-driven, audience-based advertising solutions on multiscreen platforms including TV, digital, mobile and tablets.  All in all, this puts Altice in a very strong position to grow its global advertising platform and better monetize its core telecommunications access and content business.

 

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