December 2006


According to the People’s Daily Online, six leading Chinese companies, including Shanda Entertainment, Netease, Sina, Microsoft China, Kingsoft Corp, and Sunchime Cartoon Group have formed a copyright alliance.

The companies aim to use the alliance to protect their copyright and fight against piracy, which will include raising Chinese companies’ awareness of the damage piracy has and will continue to do to the interests of companies, society and the whole country.

As well as asking for government’s support in establishing a national anti-piracy platform for software, it also called for more financial support and favorable policies from the government to help Chinese companies succeed in global competition.

News from CNW tells that the Ontario Minister of Culture has asked the Canadian Radio and Television Commission (CRTC) to provide incentives – primarily to broadcasters – to allow the creative industries in Canada to continue developing and remain competitive.

The Ontario Media Development Corporation (an MoC agency to stimulate investment and employment in book and magazine publishing, music, interactive digital media, film, and television) also made a submission to the CRTC requesting provisions that would allow creative industries to migrate to high definition technologies.

The rationale for requesting support is clear:

Ontario’s entertainment and creative industries are a key economic driver, accounting for almost half of Canada’s culture GDP, and contributing $9.9 billion to the province in 2005.

But their strategy suggest that they are more concerned about the broadcasters than they are the creative industries workers who provide content aired on television.

Ontario’s development strategy for the entertainment and creative sector is designed to support the entertainment and creative industries – including OTA broadcasters – as they adapt to digital technologies and new business models, enabling them to serve Canadian needs as well as to compete internationally.

Calling for the Commission to permit ‘…more flexibility in allowable advertising minutes and product placements’ for example, will benefit nobody but broadcasters and advertising agencies. Converting to digital technologies will no doubt place a burden on free-to-air broadcasters, but isn’t it a little much for a provincial government to ask for incentives on their behalf in the name of promoting national creative industries?


	
	

Following on from YouTube removing almost 30,000 video posts from its server on request from the Japanese Society for Rights of Authors Composers and Publishers (JASRAC) (see previous blog post), JASRAC have now written to YouTube co-founders asking them to implement an automated system that prevents users posting copyrighted content on the site.

According to the International Herald Tribune, JASRAC have asked YouTube to respond by December 15.

JASRAC said…that the problem has persisted, and that the current system “is not functioning well due to the (continued) large volume of illegal uploads.”

The beauty (if that is the appropriate word) of YouTube’s “transparency” is that any user can easily see how many times any one clip (or similar clips) have been viewed. So JASRAC officials can keep a track of what content is available, and just how popular the clips are.

One still has to wonder whether JASRAC is not excluding itself prematurely from a potentially lucrative (or even modest) revenue source. Protecting one’s IP is important, but surely making money from it is even more imperative. Would JASRAC change its mind if the current negotiations for an ad revenue sharing model between YouTube and US content holders prove successful?

As the Korean Wave continues, Number 3 South Korean broadcaster SBS has teamed up with Taiwanese broadcaster Gala Television (GTV) to launch Entertainment K Channel, broadcasting Korean content 24 hours a day. According to the news article, the export of Korean programs has increased Korean’s influence in the Asian reigon.While the channel will initially air programs from SBS with Chinese subtitles, Entertainment K Channel eventually intends to buy programs from other Korean broadcasters KBS and MBC (which would arguably tend to be more popular).

There is nothing stopping the other broadcasters launching their own channel with a Taiwanese partner however, so GTV and SBS will presumably be putting in the hard yards early to build the Entertainment K Channel brand and show viewers it is the channel for quality Korean TV programs.

We have heard it time and time again – industry pundits, analysts and consultants, governments hoping to promote the industry and provide support for fledgling industries – content industry will drive growth.

This time, an article from financialexpress (written by media and entertainment head of Ernst & Young, India) says that media and entertainment will drive the growth of broadband.

While Asia accounts for approximately 47 percent of the world’s broadband subscribers, India is currently lagging. Yet, given the enormous popularity of films in India (and the prolific industry’s ability to churn them out), it is expected that India will soon be bursting with potential for the digital distribution of content as demand for content drives broadband take-up.

The article, however, makes no mention of the need for the physical infrastructure to be rolled-out in order to give people access to high-speed broadband. There is a clear ‘chicken and egg’ relationship between content and infrastructure, and the article fails to recognise the necessity of a coordinated investment in infrastructure (let alone the capital to provide a bulk of the population with access to it) combined with a regulatory approach that given the private sector filip to commit to extending their networks.