7 October, 2016

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Welcome to News Views, CASBAA’s news round-up culled from sources across the industry for the week ending Oct 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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Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter
CEO

Australian operator Foxtel is buying out Seven West’s share in streaming service Presto, and will be shutting the service down to roll it into its own Foxtel Play service.  The Streaming Wars have been particularly hard-fought Down Under: Quickflix went into administration in April, and smaller player Ezyflix gave up the ghost in August. (Turns out Quickflix has just been bought by US-based Karma Media… watch this space.)  Of course, Oz was one of the first markets Netflix entered in the region, although plenty of previously-VPN-using Australian subscribers are less than happy with the local service (“screwed” is the word they use).  Foxtel Play will be revamped in January, and we’ll see what happens then; in the meantime, the good news is it “…turns out Australians did want a wide selection of TV shows and movies, at a low monthly fee.  Who knew?
Mark Lay

Mark Lay
Vice President, Singapore

Last week it was all about Twitter being on the block. Google, Apple, Salesforce, even Disney were apparently looking at making a bid for it.  This week there are rumours that Disney is making a play for Netflix   This comes after it’s August purchase of a 33% stake in Major League Baseball’s BAM Tech unit for $1 billion. There is mixed reaction.  Even though “it’s a big fish to swallow” Fortune says, Here’s Why a Disney Acquisition of Netflix Would Make Sense. On the other hand, Forbes believes that “Disney should punt because such a deal fails the four tests of a successful acquisition.” But for now, it’s all just rumours, and Disney CEO Bob Iger won’t comment on rumours.

John Medeiros

John Medeiros
Chief Policy Officer

The European Commission’s copyright proposals have generated a lot of commentary – almost none of it positive.   They are hit on one hand for excessive reform-mindedness that will damage cultural diversity and the copyright environment, and on the other hand for not doing enough to reform.  Of course, there are large industrial interests with vastly different points of view:  on one side, content owners and network operators, and on the other, the usual internet interests. Much of the commentary has focused on the proposals to make content more widely available within the EU,by extending the “country of origin principle”.  (“An end to geoblocking?”)   But on the other side, there’s a more intriguing possibility:  requiring serious efforts by the internet industry to protect copyright:  under the proposals, notice-and-takedown wouldn’t be good enough to guarantee a safe harbor – internet companies would have to have pro-active policies to prevent infringement. “This provision could have very wide repercussions…(It) effectively forces these actors to police content by taking appropriate and proportionate measures to prevent the availability on their services of works not covered by agreements with rightholders.”Hope those last proposals survive the policy meatgrinder in Brussels…

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings
Vice President, Programme

The Korea Cable TV Association (KCTA) has called for the South Korean government to toughen sanctions on mobile carriers’ product bundling. The KCTA say the bundling is affecting fair competition and is adversely affecting the outlook for the cable TV industry.  Mobile carriers ― such as SK Telecom ― are increasing market share by bundling services such as mobile and internet protocol television (IPTV), which poses a threat to cable TV operators who cannot sell the same services.  In response the KCTA outlined a new initiative called One Cable, the blueprint for which will push for developing a unified platform for around 90 cable TV operators across South Korea and help develop next-generation quality services to counter the threat.

Christopher Slaughter

Christopher Slaughter
CEO

It was only a couple months ago that CNN chief Jeff Zucker publicly dumped on Buzzfeed News (in a Variety cover story, no less), now he’s gone and poached their top political reporting team.  Which truly does seem to be a case of “…if you can’t beat them, hire them,” while also serving to highlight the fact that Buzzfeed might just, in fact, be a credible news organisation.  And the newly-hired team’s first “scoop” for CNN?  “Trump took Polaroids, interviewed models in 1994 Playboy video.”

John Medeiros

John Medeiros
Chief Policy Officer

Variety has published a pretty comprehensive list of estimated salaries for top US TV talent, and even if the numbers are off, they’re still impressive.  And they speak to a trend in Hollywood, where there is a clear consensus that over the past year, salaries have doubled for superstars. Cross-reference this with The Hollywood Reporter’s recent salary guide for everyone from studio CEOs to boom operators, and quickly skim the recent Forbes lists of top-earning TV actors and highest-paid actresses (which studiously ignore any discussion of gender-limiting terminology), and you come away with a simple conclusion: clearly, everybody is in this line of work because they want to make the world a better place.

Mark Lay

Mark Lay
Vice President, Singapore

Over cocktails last night, after an industry event, a CASBAA member was complaining that he couldn’t find an SVOD service for old movies.  Well maybe he spoke too soon as Turner is planning to Launch FilmStruck Classic Movie-Streaming Service on Oct. 19. Turner execs have said this is an opportunity to test out the direct-to-consumer SVOD segment.  The service is developed and managed by Turner Classic Movies (TCM) in collaboration with the Criterion Collection. ““By combining the expertise at TCM and the Criterion Collection – two of the leading authorities in film preservation and history – we have created something really special that is a must-have for passionate film lovers,” said Jennifer Dorian, general manager of TCM and FilmStruck.

Kevin Jennings

Kevin Jennings
Vice President, Programme

In a Tit-for-Tat move the Pakistani regulator PEMRA has requested that Pakistan should restrict Indian TV channels and content. The move is seen as retaliatory as Indian authorities had previously banned Pakistani content including dramas, channels and even cricket matches.  PEMRA have suggested that only the same amount of Indian content and TV channels should