Europe's online source of news, data & analysis for professionals involved in packaged media and new delivery technologies

News in Brief - december 2013


A FATHER and son-in-law who ran a website that provided downloads of films, games and books have both pleaded guilty at a court hearing in Belfast and been sentenced to two years' imprisonment suspended for two years. They set up and operated a website called Araditracker that had 33,000 members. Members paid one US dollar per gigabyte to be able to download and they were also incentivised to upload pirated content. Money generated through the site was laundered through their previous business, Radiator Services NI Ltd. Araditracker was shut down but another website opened up under the guise of 'I Love To Buy Books' where donations appeared to pay for eBooks. A confiscation hearing is scheduled for January 2014 to recover £35,000.

A SWEDISH man has been ordered to pay 4.3 million Krona (€481,000) in damages for sharing a single film on a torrent website. The fine meted out by a Swedish court is more than twice the US limit of $150,000 damages per pirated title. The man uploaded the pre-release film Beck: Buried Alive to now-closed BitTorrent site Swebits. Film studio Nordisk Film AS - which owns the rights to the title the man uploaded - calculated what it felt was the financial loss of it being shared illegally online. It had asked for double the awarded amount.

BLU-RAY Disc players - a mainstay in Black Friday promotions - saw a slight sales increase. Despite significant promotions (i.e. Walmart?s $38 special price), BD player sales increased just 3% compared to a 20% increase in 2012. Average selling prices fell from $56 in 2012 to $51 this year, and as a result, revenue was down about $4 million. Overall, consumer electronics sales increased 10% to nearly $5 billion the week of Black Friday (24-30 November).

THE WEBSITE of China's biggest Internet video company Youku Tudou Inc was once a haven for illicit Hollywood blockbusters and hit South Korean soap operas, until it realised piracy really doesn't pay. Now the company that controls almost a third of China's booming online video market pays more than a billion yuan ($164 million) a year on licenses so it can legally distribute movies and shows like The Walking Dead, a strategy expected to result in its first ever quarterly net profit.

A GOOGLE Glass user who received the first traffic citation in the United States for driving while using Google's computer-in-an-eyeglass pleaded not guilty in San Diego court to what is believed to be the first traffic citation ever for a Google Glass user. Cecilia Abadie from Temecula in California is one of only about 10,000 Google Glass users who were chosen to try out an early version of Google Glass. Most of the 10,000 Google Glass participants, some teachers, dentists, doctors, radio disc jockeys, hair stylists, architects, athletes and even a zookeeper, were selected as part of a contest.

AT ITS ANNUAL Technology, Market Review and Future Outlook event held last week at Kahl am Main, Germany, Singulus Technologies showcased a triple-layer Blu-ray Disc with 100GB storage capacity. With new data compression method for the ultra-high definition technology, the storage volume of each of the three information layers could be increased from 25GB to 33GB. The Blu-ray Disc Association is currently discussing the specifications of new, global standards. In a live demo 4K UHD trailers and music by Martin & Georg Koppehele of Lichtmond were shown with 7.1 surround quality.

SPEAKING at the Digital TV World Summit, BBC executive Mark Harrison has said that while the BBC was looking "really closely" at Ultra HD, the public broadcaster's deployment is realistically still "a way off." "We have to keep thinking about serving everybody rather than serving a niche or specialist audience that might have access to that kind of product. It doesn't necessarily upset us to see them go first." Harrison said that his colleagues at the BBC were more concerned with better quality HD content, claiming that viewers were more likely to notice an increase in picture quality when watching HD at a higher frame rate than watching 4K.

A BOGNOR (West Sussex) man has been sentenced to 18 months in prison after admitting possession of one of the largest ever hauls of hi-tech equipment for use in copyright theft ever found in the UK. At Keith Tamkin's flat, the police and investigators found more than 100 full computer hard drives, an estimated 150,000 CDs and DVDs, computers and 8 'multiple bay burning towers' which comprise equipment to counterfeit music, films and software. A large catalogue of 25,000 titles distributed to an extensive client base was also seized.

CREATIVE industries led by Hollywood account for about $504 billion, or at least 3.2% of US goods and services, the US government said in its first official measure of how the arts and culture affect the economy. On their own, the movie and video industries contributed $47 billion in value-added to the economy in 2011, the most recent figures available. In the workforce, Hollywood and the video industry employed the most people, totaling 310,000 workers and $25 billion in compensation.