Sunday, March 04, 2012

Aereo Controversy Belies Global Issues On Reporting Tech

The Americisation of the media industry is depressing. Nothing is on the agenda unless it happens in the US, as this weeks's controversy over Aereo proves.

The re-transmission debate has raged in Europe for a decade.

First of all was Zurich based Zattoo and their simulcast service, then came Gibraltar based TV Catchup (which, confusingly, offer live simulcasting, not catchup TV). The former long gave up the ghost on trying to simulcast terrestrial broadcast channels, but the former has persevered, and despite aggressive legal threats, seems to be thriving. It has even managed to get an app doing this into Apple's Appstore. Respect.

Aereo is now trying to do the same in the US, and all of a sudden hijacked simulcasting, or online redistribution, has become a headline subject all over the web.

In the US, where laws are changed at the drop of a hat to extend the copyright on Mickey Mouse, Aereo doesn't have a hope in hell. Established broadcasters such as Cablevision have managed to establish some rights such as the ability to virtualise video recording, but this is a conservative nation with conservative laws where taking on the status quo has to be done subtly (see YouTube). But I haven't seen a  single report referring to TV Catchup, who have bravely blazed a trail in this area.

Actively and aggressively taking on the media establishment dooms Aereo, despite having some backers with deepish pockets. Meanwhile, Europe seems to be establishing a separate model.

The core issue here is important, but the way that the media industry is now reported is also fast becoming a problem in Europe in a US-centric world.