Tuesday, January 14, 2014

Black Tuesday ?

On the same day, two potentially world changing pieces of news from the powers-that-be.

First came the announcement that the EU has opened an enquiry into the TV rights market in Europe. The issue is a simple one: The EU is meant to be about a single market, but this certainly doesn't exist in Europe for major dramas, movies and sports rights. Any change in the current situation could have far reaching effects for the industry.

The irony is that it's major pan-European players that would benefit - 21stC Fox have a wide footprint via their Sky holdings and Liberty Media owns a raft of cable interests. They could afford to buy pan-European rights and exploit them across their portfolio, leaving European owned national broadcasters at a considerable disadvantage. Another issue might be that revenues for rights owners might actually be lower since they are unable to 'slice and dice' their rights.

However, as a viewer who recently lived in France, it's nutty that you're not able to legally view content (largely due to the fact that it simply isn't available legally).

But, the EU needs to tread carefully with this one.

Then, in a double whammy came a ruling from an appeals court in Washington that it wasn't within the FCC's rights to uphold the principle of net neutrality (which says that service providers should have equal right to distribution over the internet, and prevents your broadband provider from charging either you or Google when you use their bandwidth to watch a cat skateboard on YouTube).

This has even wider reaching implications and would move power away from the likes of Google and Facebook and to the telcos.

How these two events played out are yet to be determined, but I sense the winds of change are blowing our way.