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From Last Weeks ftm Tickle File
Convergence happily described, last century, the great prospects for technology to disrupt and replace the inefficient with really cool stuff. It has moved at lightening speed. Through the gift of physics mobile technologies are converging with nearly everything. We have Facebook, ads on Facebook, Netflix, Uber and more.
Policy makers at the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) and European Commission (EC) saw this coming years ago and, with like minded around the world, studied how to grab hold of that lightening bolt and convert it to happiness. If not that, exactly, at least a gravitational force attracting money. Like everything else on our small planet there are constraints. Mobile technology can only fulfill its ever expanding promise by optimizing the radio frequency spectrum. For a more complete explanation visit your friendly neighborhood physicist.
EC digital everything commissioners Andrus Ansip and Günther Oettinger proposed this week moving digital terrestrial television (DTT) transmissions out of its home in the UHF spectrum so mobile telecoms can use it for 5G services like The Internet Of Things. European TV broadcasters will have four years to get out if their national governments all agree. This was already proposed several years ago by then EC Digital Agenda commissioner Neelie Kroes, who once described getting all Member States to agree on anything as “like herding cats.”
“We cannot have high quality mobile internet for everything and for everyone everywhere unless we have modern infrastructure and modern rules,” said Commissioner Oettinger in a statement. “With this proposal we show that we can have both: a vibrant audiovisual sector as well as the spectrum we will need for 5G. The 700 MHz band will be ideal for new promising fields like connected driving and the Internet of Things. I want Europe to lead in 5G. That is why all Member States must act by 2020.“
Watching carefully all this, as it has for a decade, is the European Broadcasting Union, the association of European public broadcasters. They are “concerned.” DTT is the primary vehicle for TV watching in Europe. Viewers would need to upgrade receivers, again. Broadcasters, public and private, would need to upgrade transmitters and such.
“Broadcasters will need to make costly changes to their infrastructure,” accounted EBU chief EU lobbyist Nicola Frank in a statement. “Member States should clearly be able to provide for compensation for both consumers and broadcasters in order to cater for the investment needed to implement the change.” (See EBU presser here) The cost of it all could run to €4.4 billion, reported Les Echos (February 3).
Public broadcasting leaders in Bosnia - Herzegovina are warning that financial strain and government inaction could soon fade public broadcaster BHRT to black. License fee revenue collected through fixed-line telephone bills has fallen significantly as Bosnians cut the cord for mobile services, escaping the €3.8 monthly license fee. Ad spending in Bosnia - Herzegovina (BiH) fell 75% between 2008 and 2013, reported the South East European Media Observatory (SEEMO), and BHRT radio and TV channels are limited to six minutes per hour.
In the aftermath of the 1990’s Balkan Wars new public broadcasters were created to replace State broadcasting institutions. Ethnic, religious and political rivalries subsumed the region, horrifically, into a battleground. States that rose from the former Yugoslavia were persuaded as bullets and bombs, mostly, stopped flying to adopt the European public broadcasting model as a means of promoting national and European solidarity.
“Our situation is critical,” said Belmin Karamehmedovic, named BHRT general director last June, to Balkan Insights (February 3). “We cannot even pay our gas and electricity expenses, not to mention the €5 million that we should pay the European Broadcasting Union (EBU). It's a problem that has been going on for years.” Last May the EBU appealed to the BiH government for an “adequate funding model.”
After months of one austerity budget after another the BHRT management board indicated program output would be “gradually” reduced until a “complete switch-off”, reported Serbian news portal nezavisne.com (January 29).
“Everything is directed toward maintaining our basic function, which is the program, for which all this exists,” said Mr.Karamehmedovic to RFE/RL (January 29). “We work in one large building that was built over thirty years ago, which was badly damaged during the war. We still have some equipment in the building before the Winter Olympics of 1984. and continue to work with equipment that should be in a museum. The question is how much longer it can endure.
“We feel like an orphan, an unwanted child in this whole thing.”
Politician unloads in “media war” with billionaire
Attention Is The Most Important Product
The digital tipping point has certainly arrived. Platforms are convenient and well in hand, literally and figuratively. While choices remain very traditional new offerings get a hearing, so to speak, from those looking for something new. And, as usual, people are paying attention. They always have.
Streaming Everything And Burning Through The Cash
Big investors and venture capital firms are watched carefully for indicators of financial trend. These money pipeline innovators, some would call them manipulators, apply their skills quite narrowly: make more money with less risk. Tech companies - including media tech - are played like poker chips. Of course, the table always wins.
Young People Shake It Off, Broadcasters Persist
Broadcasters have long counted on young people for energy, boundless curiosity and a weld to the future. Old people are set in their ways and, today, that means so very last century. Adapting to the "shake it off" set transfixed on smartphones is now elemental, surprisingly simple and a great comfort to those adept. Mass audiences are, some say, a thing of the past. Still those who count are still counting.
It's been an interesting year, 2015. New platforms have given people greater control over what they watch, read and hear. And they like it. This hasn't pleased everybody. It comes as no surprise that the big media event as the year ends - the latest Star Wars movie - is a blast both of fantasy and nostalgia. Reality, of course, will arrive soon enough.
Great streams of media are flooding digital devices, faster and faster with each new G. Streaming audio and video are either the surfboard riding the digital wave or just another tech Titanic. As investors pile in the cash broadcasters experience another panic attack. This story's just beginning. 49 pages PDF (January 2016)
Poland is the largest media market of the newest EU Member States and the changes have often been surprising, sometimes radical and never ending. Publishers, broadcasters and new media are plentiful, talented and under constant stress not only from competitors. 122 pages PDF, includes updated Resources (January 2016)
Consumers have taken to smartphones in huge numbers. Competition among device makers, telecoms and content producers has created an insatiable demand. With so much volume markets are fragmenting... and nothing's the same. 152 pages PDF (August 2015)
Few pure media brands transcend borders and boundries to acheive the iconic status of the BBC. The institution has come to define public service broadcasting. Yet missteps, errors and judgment questions fuel critics. The BBC battles those critics and competitors and, sometimes, itself. 155 pages PDF (August 2015)
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Friday February 5, 2016
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