Paul Sweeting

Comcast boosts broadband data cap 

Comcast’s move comes as the Federal Communications Commission expresses concerns over how caps on home broadband service may affect online video competition. Earlier this week, the agency said it would approve a merger between Charter Communications and Time Warner Cable only if the companies agreed not to impose data caps for seven years.

Source: Comcast boosts broadband data cap – CNET

Netflix Executives Bullish on Eventual Success in Asia 

Reed Hastings and Ted Sarandos said they have strong confidence in the eventual success of the Netflix streaming video service in Asia, despite significant obstacles and local competition. “We’ve made a great start,” said Hastings, some 100 days after the service became available almost completely worldwide in January. “We increased our net subscribers by 6 million globally in the first quarter. Of that 4 million were international.”

Source: Netflix Executives Bullish on Eventual Success in Asia | Variety

Movies Aren’t Main Motive in Comcast’s Pursuit of DreamWorks Animation

Comcast Corp.’s talks to purchase DreamWorks Animation SKG Inc., the studio behind “Shrek” and “Kung Fu Panda,” are about everything except the movies, people familiar with the deal discussions said. The potential $3 billion-plus acquisition is meant to accelerate consumer products and theme-park businesses and expand synergies between film and television at NBCUniversal, the Comcast-owned entertainment conglomerate, those people said.

Source: Movies Aren’t Main Motive in Comcast’s Pursuit of DreamWorks Animation – WSJ

Smit: Comcast Hasn’t Seen an OTT Model ‘That Really Hunts’ 

There are no barriers that would prevent Comcast from building and deploying its own OTT-TV service, but the MSO remains unconvinced that the model strikes the right business chord, Neil Smit, president and CEO of Comcast Cable, said Wednesday on the company’s first quarter earnings call. Smit was responding to an analyst question about a set of new OTT services coming later this year from AT&T, including “DirecTV Now,” a service that aims to largely replicate the traditional DirecTV pay TV offering.

Source: Smit: Comcast Hasn’t Seen an OTT Model ‘That Really Hunts’ | Multichannel

Google looks gift horse in mouth, opposes FCC privacy protections for set-tops 

While the FCC’s “Unlock the Box” proposal seems remarkably tailored for Google (NASDAQ: GOOG), the technology giant has one little bone to pick with the agency in comments submitted earlier this week. Google says that privacy rules the FCC wants to place on third-party set-top makers are unnecessary.

Source: Google looks gift horse in mouth, opposes FCC privacy protections for set-tops – FierceCable

FCC Seeks Comment on ATSC 3.0 Petition 

As promised, FCC chairman Tom Wheeler has moved swiftly to seek comment on a proposal by broadcasters to deploy the new ATSC 3.0 transmission standard while still simulcasting their DTV broadcasts in the current standard—the two are not compatible.In a public notice, the FCC set an initial comment deadline of May 26 and a reply comment deadline of June 27.

Source: FCC Seeks Comment on ATSC 3.0 Petition | Broadcasting & Cable

Welcome To The RightsTech Revolution

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Concurrent Media Strategies, LLC, publisher of the Concurrent Media blog, and Digital Media Wire, Inc., producers of Digital Entertainment World and the New York Media Festival, among other conferences, today announced the official launch of RightsTech, a new forum — blog, newsletter, conferences — for cross-industry global collaboration focused on furthering technology innovation around rights management and licensing across multiple media verticals.

rightstechlogo-2The inaugural RightsTech Summit will be held July 26 at the the Japan Society in New York City. The newsletter, which you can subscribe to here, will keep you up to date on all the news and conversation around the emerging RightsTech ecosystem. The blog will be an evolving platform for discussion and debate among the various stakeholders.

Why RightsTech?

It’s not news that the media and entertainment industries have been transformed over the past decade and a half by the widespread adoption of digital technology and devices. Nearly every corner of the business has had to adapt to new platforms, new ways of working, new metrics and new business models.

Virtually all recorded media content today is created or captured on digital devices and in digital formats, and where it isn’t it is quickly converted to a digital format. Content is processed, edited and packaged digitally, it gets distributed and delivered over digital networks, and it gets consumed on digital devices.

That transformation has brought enormous gains in efficiency and scale. Distribution platforms are global and delivery is instantaneous and on-demand. Marginal costs for produces have plummeted, as have prices for consumers.

But one link in the chain — the most important link — has until recently remained stubbornly analog: the management, transfer, and licensing of rights.

Rights — both copyrights and usage rights — are the foundation of value in any media business. Yet media companies today still manage vast portfolios of them, along with their associated receipts and payments, by paper contracts, with little if any metadata to connect them. Obtaining licenses is still largely a face-to-face process. Royalty payments are collected, aggregated and dispersed well after the fact and with little transparency into the whys and wherefores.

The results are enormous inefficiency and lost opportunity. Today, content can be created, distributed, remixed, and consumed at internet speed. But if the management and licensing of rights — the font of value for all of those digitally mediated transactions — can’t keep up the result is value is lost. Unlicensed uses proliferate, projects get abandoned, creators are cut off from their audience.

The RightsTech Revolution

Fortunately, things are beginning to change. Media companies are beginning to adopt enterprise scale asset and rights-management technology to help manage their rights portfolios the way they manage the rest of their business.

Innovators and entrepreneurs, meanwhile, have begun to explore how to use emerging technologies such as blockchain, smart contracts and cryptocurrencies to flatten the process of licensing and the collection and payment of royalties, and accelerate it to the same digital speed at which content today is consumed, remixed and shared.

The RightsTech forum was created to convene and chronicle the bridging of the last analog gap in the media value chain.

Please come join us.

US Congress to look for areas of consensus on copyright law 

Congressman Bob Goodlatte, Chairman of the US House of Representatives Committee on the Judiciary, said that the country’s copyright review process, started three years ago, will move into a more decisive phase “in the weeks ahead.” Goodlatte was speaking via a video recording at an event organised April 26 by the US Copyright Office and the Copyright Alliance on the occasion of the 16th World IP Day. He said that the Committee will, “in the weeks ahead, identify areas where there is a likelihood of potential consensus and circulate outlines of potential reforms in those areas.”

Source: US Congress to look for areas of consensus on copyright law | Music Week

Getty Images Lodges Complaint Against Google With EU Antitrust Watchdog 

Getty Images Inc., the world’s largest photo agency, said Wednesday it has lodged an official complaint with the European Union’s antitrust watchdog over Alphabet Inc.’s Google, accusing the U.S. technology giant of abusing its dominance in search to display copied images without compensation.

Source: Getty Images Lodges Complaint Against Google With EU Antitrust Watchdog – WSJ

Comcast Profit Tops Estimates – WSJ

Comcast Corp. reported better-than-expected financial results and added video customers again in the first quarter, extending a strong streak for the cable industry in a weak overall pay-TV market. The company added 53,000 video customers, compared with a loss of 8,000 in the prior-year quarter. Its quarterly profit rose to $2.13 billion, or 87 cents a share, up from $2.06 billion, or 81 cents a share, a year ago.

Source: Comcast Profit Tops Estimates – WSJ

AT&T Loses Video Subs In Q1 As U-Verse Drop Outweighs DirecTV Gains

The company reported net profits of $3.8 billion, up 15.2% vs the same period last year. Revenues, with the addition of DirecTV, were  up more than 24% to $40.5 billion — right where analysts expected. Adjusting for one-time expenses, earnings hit 72 cents a share, beating forecasts for 69 cents. AT&T says that DirecTV added 328,000 subscribers, although the company total — including U-verse – declined by 54,000.

Source: AT&T Loses Video Subs In Q1 As U-Verse Drop Outweighs DirecTV Gains | Deadline

We’re Drowning in Content. Recommendations Are What We Need 

Today, YouTube rolls out a redesign to its iOS and Android app that totally overhauls the homepage. Rather than a bunch of videos grouped by channel or topic, you’ll see a single feed of recommended videos. They fit one or two at a time on the screen, with big images and only a little information. Aesthetically, it’s cleaner and more visual in a way that suits YouTube. Far more interesting, and important, is where those recommended videos are coming from.

Source: We’re Drowning in Content. Recommendations Are What We Need | WIRED

Comcast in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3 Billion-Plus 

The Glendale animation company is in talks with Comcast to be sold for more than $3 billion, sources confirm to The Hollywood Reporter. The potential acquisition would fold DWA into an entertainment conglomerate that controls key properties such as NBC, Telemundo, the USA network and Universal Studios. It also would be a strong fit for DWA, which has 19 animated television shows in production alongside blockbuster film franchises like Kung Fu Panda and Shrek.

Source: Comcast in Talks to Buy DreamWorks Animation for $3 Billion-Plus – Hollywood Reporter