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News in Brief

THE IMPLEMENTATION of the Copyright Alert System (CAS)– a scheme introduced in 2013 by US content creators in the movie and music industries and leading IPSs in which consumers received ‘copyright alerts’ when they viewed peer-to-peer pirated content – is to cease. Movie industry trade body MPAA expressed frustration at the inability to stop repeat infringers.

ALMOST three-fourths (74%) of US households now have an Internet-connected TV, according to the survey of 2,000 U.S. adult broadband users, conducted by The Diffusion Group. Connected TV penetration grew 22% between 2013 and 2014 and another 15% between 2014 and the next year – an increase of about 50% since 2013.

ACCORDING to ZOO Digital, a localisation, distribution and workflow management services provider, with the Award season here, already over 125 movies have been leaked online. Most have originated from DVD screeners, meaning that good quality copies of the year’s biggest movies, including all 9 of the Oscar's Best Picture nominees, are online and available for all to see, free of charge. The company claims it offers an ultra-secure, cloud-based digital screening platform designed to replace DVD screeners, ZOOscreen, which it says is much more cost-effective award screener solution.

NETFLIX’s international expansion includes the creation of content from across the planet. Last year, aside from expanding to over 190 countries, it commissioned its first original content from India, and this week it announced its first from Korea. Korean pop culture is huge outside of the country, spanning music, films, TV shows, comics and more. Netflix is producing Love Alarm, a 12-part series based on the popular Korean comic from Kye Young Chon centered around an app that helps people find love within 10 meters.

THE LATEST DATA on the UK physical entertainment market from Kantar Worldpanel has revealed a tough fourth quarter with a decline of 7.8% across music, video and gaming in the 12 weeks to 18 December with sales falling by 11%, 12% and 2.7%, respectively. “The increasing popularity of digital entertainment products is making it ever more difficult for retailers to maintain the relevance and excitement of giving physical entertainment products as gifts, and it’s not been an easy Christmas as a result," says Fiona Keenan, strategic insight director. Over one million fewer shoppers purchased physical music or video as gifts this quarter, equating to around £31 million lost.

LEST WE FORGET, the Blu-ray Disc format celebrated its 10th anniversary in June last year. The first seven BD titles (from Sony, MGM, and Lionsgate) appeared in stores in the US on 20 June. They included 50 First Dates, The Fifth Element, Hitch, House of Flying Daggers, xXx, Underworld: Evolution, and The Terminator. The first set-top Blu-ray player – Samsung’s BD-P1000 (SRP $999) – arrived in stores on 19 June.

At CES 2017, DEG: The Digital Entertainment Group celebrated its 20th anniversary and awarded top honors for digital entertainment products to the following. Best Ultra HD Blu-ray Player: Samsung UBD-K8500 Blu-ray Player; Best 4K UHD Blu-ray title: Deadpool (20th Century Fox Home Entertainment); Best New Release on Blu-ray: Star Wars: The Force Awakens (Walt Disney Studios).

HMV recorded a 2% year-on-year rise in sales of music, DVDs and games over the last quarter, giving it a market share of 16.9%, ahead of Tesco’s 16.1%. The figures represent HMV’s best performance since it collapsed into administration more than three years ago. It was eventually rescued by Hilco, the investment firm. Online retailers suffered a much larger decline, with sales down by 12%. Amazon, the country’s biggest entertainment retailer, saw its sales fall by 0.6% year-on-year, reducing its market share from 22.6% to 22%. This helped high street stores and supermarkets to claim 69.8% of spending on all physical entertainment products, up from 67.5% a year ago.

UK ISPs will begin sending out emails to subscribers later this month, warning them of movie, TV and music piracy identified on their connection and pointing them to legal content sources. All four major providers – Sky, BT, Virgin Media and TalkTalk – have agreed to the Voluntary Copyright Alert Programme, an anti-piracy initiative that's been in the works since the summer of 2014. It's the active component of Creative Content UK, a partnership between copyright holders, the government and ISPs that aims to combat digital piracy in an educational, non-threatening way.

THE HOME ENTERTAINMENT MARKET REPORT, published by Allied Market Research, forecasts that the global market is expected to reach $294.969 billion (€282.7m) by 2022. The market includes several consumer electronic products such as television sets, video players & recorders, audio equipment, and gaming devices. Video devices is estimated to be the most dominant product type in the market from 2015 to 2022. Based on region, Asia-Pacific led the market, accounting for around 29.8% share of the global market in 2015.

TOWARDS the end of the year, movie screeners are sent out to industry insiders who have to cast their votes for the Oscars and other awards. Usually, quite a few of these films start to leak on various pirate sites around Christmas, but this year it took until early January before the first pirated screener showed up, a copy of the Denzel Washington movie Fences. This week five DVD screeners appeared online. Hidden Figures and Patriots Day were the first two to become available, followed by La La Land, Moonlight and Arrival this weekend. The copies were released and distributed by various P2P pirate groups, not just a single source.

THE SIZE of the global animation industry was about U$244 billion in 2015, according Research and Markets’ the latest report Global Animation Industry 2017: Strategies Trends & Opportunities. The major animation markets include the United States, Canada, Japan, China, France, Britain, Korea and Germany. Most of the segments in the animation industry are growing at the rate of 5% YoY. As co-production has increased, animation studios in China and India have become popular co-production partners of studios in Europe, Japan, and North America.

CYBERLINK has announced that its PowerDVD media player software has received certification from the Blu-ray Disc Association (BDA) for the playback of Ultra HD Blu-ray Discs. This now makes PowerDVD the first and currently only software player to pass the BD-ROM 4.0 PC Application Software License process. With the updated software, PowerDVD will soon be able to play Ultra HD Blu-ray discs through supported PCs and displays. CyberLink's latest PowerDVD 16 software is currently on sale for $49.95.

TOSHIBA CORP. asked a New York court to confirm a final arbitration award of $24.5 million for allegedly unpaid royalties by Shenzhen MTC Co. Ltd. under the parties’ DVD patent license agreement, plus another $28.7 million in interest and $2.3 million in fees and costs. Attorneys for the Japanese electronics company filed a petition to confirm the award issued in September 2015 by the American Arbitration Association relating to Shenzhen MTC’s alleged breach of a licensing agreement for underreporting the quantity of DVD players sold between 2006 and 2012, failing to timely report the quantity of players sold in 2013 and 2014, and failing to pay royalties for those sales.

ALIBABA Digital Media and Entertainment, part of Chinese e-commerce giant Alibaba, is planning to invest $7.2 billion in entertainment and media over the next three years. The plan is being spearheaded by Yu Yongfu, who joined the Alibaba parent group in 2014, and in a meteoric rise has come to head the digital group. He also recently took over as chairman and CEO of Alibaba’s listed film making subsidiary Alibaba Pictures group.

THE SOUTH KOREAN government is planning to deregulate the domestic pay-TV industry to facilitate mergers and acquisitions among cable TV, satellite broadcasting and IPTV service providers with the intention of enhancing their competitiveness in the global market. The 33% shareholding limit applied to satellite broadcasting companies taking part in cable TV companies is to be repealed, enabling the merger of satellite broadcasting service providers with an IPTV service provider, with cable TV service providers also now allowed to acquire such operators.

THE MESA Europe Content Supply Chain and Workflow Management Forum will take place in London on 2nd March and will be co-located with the Content Localisation Technology Software. Delegates will be invited to participate in a series of informed presentations and panel sessions as well as open floor discussion on the following topic areas: Maximizing Content Workflow Efficiencies; Keeping Track of Assets; Contingency Planning; Facing the Content Localisation Challenges; Responding to the Wants and Needs of the Digital Retailer; Keeping the Physical Media Supply Chain Relevant. For registration enquiries email Teresa Austerberry

FRANCE TELEVISIONS has been in touch with at least 10 major producers to secure content for its forthcoming SVOD service, says French financial daily Les Echos. It will rival Netflix in the French market, with a possible revenue-share arrangement – and potential equity participation by the producers.

FILE-SHARING site TorrentFreak has analysed the most-pirated TV shows of 2016 through BitTorrent, with Game of Thrones claiming the dubious honour for the fifth year in a row. The highest number of people actively sharing an episode across several torrents was 350,000 at its peak, which occurred directly after the season finale became available online. TorrentFreak analysis also noted a continuation of the trend of downloaders showing an increased interest in high-quality video, with many pirates moving in recent years from 480p copies to 720p and 1080p videos, partly because of better broadband availability.

ACCORDING to Ampere Analysis, at 60% of revenue, Netflix’s annual content spend is now comparable to a premium channel group or platform. Netflix spent $4.7 billion (€4.43bn) on content in 2016. That’s nearly twice Amazon’s $2.7 billion annual bill. Proportionally, this level of spend puts Netflix on a par with premium platform operators such as Sky and major national channel groups such as ITV and NBC. Netflix’s annual spend will rise to nearly $6 billion in 2017. It is targeting a 50/50 split between acquired content and original productions.

IN AUGUST last year, DVD rental kiosk Redbox’s parent Outerwall agreed to be taken private by hedge fund Apollo Capital Management for $1.6. Apollo acquired Outerwall in an all-cash deal valued at $52 a share, or $900 million, plus the assumption of debt, which brings the total value of the deal to $1.6 billion. With over 40,200 movie rental kiosks in operation, Outerwall suffered a 20% drop in DVD rentals in the first quarter of 2016 to 137.7 million, which it blames on a decline in the physical movie-watching market.

CRWORLD’s Blu-ray Player market research report states that the world Blu-ray Player market held an opportunity worth US$4830 Million in 2015. The market is expected to expand at 15.22% CAGR over the period between 2016 and 2021.

IN ITS LATEST REPORT, Recordable Optical Disc Market: Global Industry Analysis and Opportunity Assessment 2015 – 2025,’ Future Market Insights forecasts that the recordable optical disc market is expected to demonstrate a CAGR of -5.6% during the forecast period and reach 4,224 million units by 2025. According to an FMI analyst “Global demand for optical storage disc market is declining due to the rapid adoption of new technologies such as cloud storage, Internet of Things (IoT) and Video on Demand (VOD). However, globally, increasing demand for archival solutions and positive outlook for the media and entertainment industry is expected to create significant demand for recordable optical discs in the near future.”

THE FIJI Video Library Association has requested a reconsideration on the levy imposed on the import of blank DVDs. Association president Pravin Rama said their objective was to engage with relevant authorities regarding piracy, copyright, safeguarding members for giving quality entertainment and explore all avenues for the betterment of members' businesses. There are about 200 DVD outlets in Fiji of which only 90 were members of the association."We normally engage in the movie industry so a lot of blank DVDs are consumed. The association looks for quality and reasonable blank DVDs," said Rama. "Imported blank DVDs are cheaper than the so-called local manufactured Xpress by Janty Kanvan. […] As the audio visual industry is approximately worth $300 million, a lot is at stake for all DVD outlets."