Interesting development in Thailand, where the NBTC has asked ISPs to block several dozen pirate websites, based on their distribution of pirated videos. The action came after a request by a Thai movie industry association. The group noted this is just the tip of the iceberg, and there are many more sites out there, distributing illegal content on a subscription, or ad-supported, basis. So far the NBTC request has only been conveyed orally, and it is not clear whether the ISPs will follow the request. (There’s already talk about “you have to tell us which movies are illegal, and we will just take down those links.”) And if one or more ISPs refuse the request, there may or may not be a penalty on them.
Though in a year of media disruptions and demonetisation bomb that made all business segments yelp with pain, the government is confident 2017 will bear fruits for policy decisions taken previous year. But goalposts continue to change as there was yet another analog sunset date extension. Though TRAI vows to continue pushing for an ambiguity and litigation-free regulatory mechanism, a section of the industry moved the court questioning whether TRAI can issue guidelines at all or not on issues related to broadcast industry and copyrights. New Year has brought fresh episodes in the Indian soap opera’s new season.
Government officials in Bangladesh have announced that they have imposed a ban on foreign TV channels airing local ads. The ban is supported by a clause in the 10 year old Cable Television Regulation Act, which states foreign channels downlinked in the country cannot air local advertisements. The decision comes against the earlier demand by Media Unity, a guild of local TV station owners and professional units of the stations who announced a protectionist 6-point charter of demands in November, including closure of downlinks of illegal foreign TV channels in Bangladesh, stopping broadcast of dubbed foreign serials in local channels and imposing a ban on advertisements in foreign channels.
The holdout of big four US networks, CBS, has finally done a deal to become part of Hulu’s live streaming service. “With 21st Century Fox, Disney, Turner and now CBS on board, our new live service will offer one of the most valuable sports, news and entertainment lineups anywhere — from ESPN, Fox Sports, CBS Sports and TNT to ABC, CBS, FOX and The Disney Channel”, said Mike Hopkins, CEO of Hulu. Hulu is owned by The Walt Disney Company, 21st Century Fox, Comcast and Time Warner.
The American NFL says its games are now being LEGALLY streamed live in China, and will also be streaming the Super Bowl. The league has partnered with Sina Weibo, one of the largest social media platforms in China with almost 300 million monthly active users. The NFL now has more than 1.5 million online viewers across China each week. The deal marks the first time a sports league will live stream games on the Chinese service. Unlike the earlier NFL Twitter deal, the Sina Weibo partnership also includes coverage of the Super Bowl and a ton of non-game video content such as the top 10 performances in a bid to really cement support and growth in the Chinese market.
Things are heating up in the smart TV space. Sure, the major brands of Samsung and Sony have been slowly perfecting their interfaces, but it’s the other players who are starting to make some big noise. The original “Netflix Box”, Roku, has its app platform in 13% of all smart TVs sold in the U.S., with 100 Roku TV models available in North America. And now, Amazon, on the heels of its worldwide Prime Video launch, will be integrating its Fire TV platform into TV sets. And get this, “the TVs will include a remote with a microphone that can be used to access the Alexa voice assistant, including content search and control of smart home devices.” This could bring home shopping to a whole new level.
Last year, The Malaysian Communications and Multimedia Commission detected 33 broadcasting violations from just 1000 hours of recorded TV and Radio. These violations were not from vulgar language, graphic violence, or provocative images, but rather from commercials selling products that have not received approval from the Health Ministry or putting out beneficiaries for the product that have not yet been proven. According to the MCMC network security and enforcement Chief Officer, Zulkarnain Mohd Yasin, “broadcasters have been highly compliant. But it is their clients who are airing advertisements without approval.”
Even before Christmas 2016 had begun the next slew of festive ads was already gearing up for Chinese New Year. Coca-Cola is the first one we’ve seen and features the animated figurines, A Fu and A Jiao, who first appeared in Coke campaigns in 2001. They are seen jumping from the bottle and saving the day after a boy enjoying the celebrations with his family is concerned about the solitude of the snowman. Bless
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