30 June, 2016

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending June 30th. 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

A week after Britain’s vote to leave the EU, the country’s TV production industry is still reeling.  Or for that matter, still grieving… the words that keep coming up are “disastrous and “devastating.”   Oh well, at least Game of Thrones will continue to be filmed in the UK despite the vote; but whether the UK (if it stays united, of course) will see more blockbuster productions post-Brexit is another question.


Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President, Programme

As-yet-unconfirmed reports  are circulating suggesting Netflix offline viewing may finally arrive later this year.  The move, which would match what some competitive  streaming services are already offering, has analysts abuzz in what was generally viewed as an open secret. When asked about the shift Netflix merely said “No Comment”, although that’s already a paradigm shift from two years ago when they said it would never happen.


Mark Lay

Mark Lay

Vice President, Singapore

Vidcon, the big online video gathering (kinda like the Digital Matters for the US) took place late last week in Anaheim. With 30,000 attendees it is bigger than ever and definitely breaking into the mainstream. Apparently it has “gone Hollywood” with the likes of Nickelodeon, NBC, Paramount, Universal Pictures and Netflix all in attendance. Susan Wojcicki, YouTube CEO, talked a lot about “freedom” and believes that “digital media and traditional linear media are blending together.” Digiday closes this piece off with an interesting article where they asked online video executives and personalities what keeps them up at night


John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The FCC has been considering forcing cable operators in the US to “unlock the box” and allow internet companies access to proprietary cable networks.  Cable operators hate the idea of course; MPAA and others also opposed the FCC proposal on the grounds it would “import the piracy problem from the internet search world into the pay-TV world by mixing pirated content with authorised content,” and make it all easily searchable.  (Sort of the way the internet search engines serve up easy access to pirate content now, on computers.)  Then the cable and content industries formed a “Future of TV” coalition which put forward the idea of “ditching the box” entirely.   The way forward for TV is via apps, said the coalition.  Allow consumers to ”ditch their set-top boxes and access live and on-demand programming via boxless apps compatible with a wide range of retail devices…”   No surprise…..think-tanks funded by search engines scoffed.  But the new proposal has gotten considerable traction, with praise from one of the FCC Commissioners.  And now there are reports that Chairman Wheeler may have to beat a retreat.  


Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter

CEO

Measurement giant Nielsen has released its Total Audience Report for the first quarter of 2016, with the news that 50% of US households now have access to streaming services. Oh, and everyone seems to be lying about not watching TV any more. In fact, for some Americans, watching TV is the equivalent of a full-time job.


Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President, Programme

South Korean cable TV group D’Live (formerly C&M) , has narrowly avoided defaulting on its debt and loan repayments, amid earlier worries in May that may have seen it being managed by its creditors.  The company’s major shareholders, including the Korean National Pension Service, agreed on a debt settlement to convert 800 billion won of debt into equity and rolled over the repayment by a further three years with more favourable refinancing terms. MBK, a private equity firm founded by former Carlyle Group managers, which leads a consortium that has held 92.5 per cent of C&M/DLive since 2008,  have not been successful in the search for a buyer after putting the company up for sale last year.


John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

In Thailand, the legislature is considering a package of eight bills concerning the digital economy.  There’s a fair degree of unhappiness about several aspects of the bills.   Among other reforms, a new Digital Economy and Society Ministry will be established, and the existing National Broadcasting and Telecommunications Commission will be restructured.  Critics complain that the new structure for the NBTC doesn’t make enough room for real-world industry expertise. One thing is clear: the government will take back from the NBTC the real cash cows (aka mobile frequency auctions).  


John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

Meanwhile, the existing NBTC is going about its duties, pushing digital multiplexers to increase DTT coverage to 100% of the country by 2018. And the Commission also decided to reduce fees paid by licensed broadcasters along a sliding scale. The full rate of 4% will now only be paid on revenues over a billion baht.  Well, the downward trend is in the right direction – back in the now-vanished days of a UBC monopoly, the pay-TV broadcaster had to pay 6.5% of the gross! (But CASBAA’s complaint is still that governments see licensed pay-TV broadcasters as cows to be milked, ignoring their competitive challenge from unlicensed internet content providers.)


Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings

Vice President, Programme

Pakistan regulator PEMRA has announced it has approved IPTV licensing and  will start issuing IPTV licenses to private firms across the country.  In another move PEMRA also approved the long-awaited “loop holding” which allows wider retransmission of channels. This means that individuals will be able to offer cable TV services without any infrastructure investment while at the same time hopefully giving distribution service providers to a broader audience base and an upturn in subscriber revenue. PEMRA is hoping that with loop holders’ licenses in place, digital TV will also grow in more remote areas of the country.


John Medeiros

John Medeiros

Chief Policy Officer

The process of selecting new members of Indonesia’s Broadcasting Commission (KPI), moved forward with