‘The Vikings’ This was just a fraction of the excellent creativity in costume design. More to come on Wednesday, November 2. 2011. Most of the photos were taken under the Vaults, where everyone gathered for a parade. October 31, 2011This years Halloween party commenced this past Saturday, October 29. 2011. ‘The Queens’.
French content creators society SCAM has called for an increase in the licence fee to finance France Télévisions and end uncertainty over the public broadcaster’s future.The SCAM has called for an increase of €5 per household for 2013 and above inflation increases of €3 per year for each of the four years thereafter.SCAM president Jean Xavier de Lestrade said that an increase in the licence fee was the only viable solution and that the government had to tackle the taboo surrounding the notion of an increase in the fee.The SCAM, which publicised a series of proposals following the Auteurdevue 2012 event for audiovisual professionals, has also condemned a cut in the budget of the Centre National du Cinéma (CNC), which supports audiovisual production in France, of €150 million, as excessive. The SCAM said it believed the state was penalising an organisation that contributed significantly to growth and employment and called for a ringfencing of the organisation’s budget.The SCAM also joined with producers organisations to call for a reform of the COSIP, the fund for the support of French cinema production, to ensure continued support for high-end productions.Finally, to combat piracy, the SCAM has also called for a reduction in exclusivity windows for documentary films from the current four years and a revision of rules applying to the theatrical distribution windows for documentaries.
Belarusian telco Beltelecom has added two packages from Russian content providers Amedia and NTV+ to its Zala TV offering.The Amedia package includes channels Amedia, Amedia 2, Amedia Premium and Amedia HIT, while the NTV+ package includes Nashe Kino, Kino, Kino 2 and Premiera.Amedia provides a range of international movies, while Amedia 2 focuses on Russian TV series and movies. Amedia Premium delivers new content from HBO, Showtime, CBS, Warner Bros, ABC Studios and the BBC.Nashe Kino focuses on Soviet-era movies, while Kino provides a range of popular movies and Kino 2 provides a choice of international movies and Premiera offers a choice of recent releases.
Selling up to The Walt Disney Company could give subscription on-demand service Netflix a route into the lucrative sports content game, according to a research house.Disney has plans to monetise its ESPN cable channel as an SVOD service, and buying Netflix could supersize its ambitions, Simon Murray, principal analyst at Digital TV Research told DTVE‘s sister title, TBI.“Streaming live sports is going to be huge in the next few years,” he said. “Netflix has said in the past that it isn’t interested in sports, but, of course, Disney owns ESPN. Imagine a Netflix platform that carried live sports – that would be pretty impressive.”Netflix’s share price shot up yesterday upon rumours Disney was giving serious thought to an acquisition of the market-leading SVOD service, which operates in 188 territories.Another analyst, Ampere Analysis research director Richard Broughton, said an acquisition would “substantially” improve Disney’s bargaining position in film and TV content negotiations thanks to Netflix’s global reach.Digital TV Research’s Murray said that HBO’s success launching SVOD service HBO Now without compromising its carriage deals was a positive sign. “HBO offering an OTT platform in the US has already shown that the risk of cannibalisation is quite small,” he added. “Maybe Disney’s deals with pay TV operators – especially in the US – wouldn’t be harmed that much.”For Netflix, the upside would come from scale, Ampere’s Broughton added. “Netflix would gain access to Disney production assets, which could help shave costs – particularly for originals,” he said. “That’s important for a low margin business like Netflix.”Furthermore, a merged business would “acts as a hedge against further broadcast TV declines”, said Broughton. “Disney’s single largest business line is media networks, which is facing intense pressure from cord-cutting partly caused by Netflix,” he added. “If the trend does continue, owning the prime culprit is a safe strategy.”However, analysts have warned there were a number of potential obstacles. These include rights issues and pay TV movie exclusivity, as many Disney films are part of long-term rights agreements, and the debt load Netflix would place on the Mouse House.“I am not at all convinced Netflix would be a good fit for Disney,” said Tony Gunnarsson, senior analyst of TV practice at Informa-owned research house Ovum.“Disney has always strictly stayed clear of anything that might be seen as shocking, controversial and/or overly adult – for fears of upsetting American cultural sensibilities.“On the basis of Netflix’s original programming alone, which from Orange is the New Black to Chelsea and beyond is intentionally all those things, I don’t think there is any realistic chance of this ever happening.”“Despite its focus on originals, Netflix is still reliant on acquired content,” said Broughton. “The reaction from other content owners in terms of willingness to sell to a rival’s platform could mean a Disney-owned Netflix faces steeper content acquisition costs and potentially new rivals set up by other content owners.”
Recent months have seen a plethora of mega-media deals on boardroom tables. No doubt more will be coming, but not all will work out. All this buying and selling looks on the face of it to be about one thing: that bigger is better. But is the calculus as simple as size wins?Look at the recently tanked deal of Danish telco TDC buying the entertainment assets of Sweden’s Modern Times Group (MTG). Lauded as creating the “ﬁrst truly convergent media and communications provider in Eu-rope”, the deal was unceremoniously dumped only a few days after it was announced. The reason? TDC received a sweetened takeover offer from a consortium led by infrastructure group Macquarie and the latter was wholly uninterested in the MTG assets, which by their very nature are riskier than the cash ﬂow to be reaped from relatively predictable tele-coms infrastructure.Has TDC missed an opportunity? Perhaps. There’s no doubt that MTG – or parts of it – will still be very much in play, given that major shareholder Kinnevik is facing a TV concen-tration issue following the merger of Tele2 and Com Hem. Perhaps MTGx, the group’s high-growth business, including online busi-nesses and eSports, could be spun off.The failure of the TDC-MTG deal doesn’t cloud the overriding view in media that scale matters and that ownership of content assets is a key differentiator.Look at the continued moves by Liberty Global to work with Vodafone in markets around Europe. Liberty is looking to sell “over-lapping assets” in markets where the two players both operate, namely Germany, where Vodafone already owns Kabel Deutschland. Scale matters.And look at Telefónica, which has seen its video ARPU grow 8% in 2017 off the back of its investment in content – including original commissions like La Peste, which helped drive viewing to its on-demand platform. Content and especially content that appeals to local tastes, is going to be increasingly important to drive attention and audiences to any service, be it a triple-play communications provider or a local broadcaster.Indeed, in a world where Google, Amazon and Facebook are increasingly focused on vid-eo, it is no wonder that scale appeals. The big legacy media players are facing ambitious and deep-pocketed tech companies that are com-ing to eat – or at the least eat into – their lunch.Christmas 2017 produced the shocking news that media’s consummate mogul Ru-pert Murdoch was throwing in the towel and selling the bulk of the 21st Century Fox enter-tainment business to Disney. He may be in his 80s but Murdoch is still very much with it. His view is that the big tech giants are best fought by joining forces with a bigger player.“From a strategic point of view, this is the right time to sell,” Murdoch told reporters and analysts when the deal was announced. “We are living in an age of disruption.”The US$66billion (˜54 billion) deal will see the Fox movie studio, television produc-tions, and international businesses, including Star TV in Asia and Sky in Europe, go to Dis-ney. Disney’s ambitions in over the top servic-es – and its majority ownership of BamTech which gives it control over its OTT technolo-gy – combined with Fox’s content, its stake in Sky Europe and ownership of Star TV should help propel the new Disney-Fox combo to build out alternatives to Netﬂix and Amazon services much faster. OTT is key to future growth as the appetite for SVOD services con-tinues to grow.The demand for premium episodic drama series has gone through the roof, driven by the growing appetite of the big tech platforms for stand-out series that will raise their visibil-ity among potential subscribers and as Face-book and YouTube up their video ambitions, among advertisers as well.Meanwhile, HBO is thinking more inter-nationally about both HBO Go, it’s OTT offer, and about its content, while Netﬂix and Ama-zon are also ramping up commissioning that appeals to local tastes. The likes of HBO, and producers and distributors from Fremantle-Media to the BBC are all having to move more quickly – and greenlight projects faster – as the competition for A-list talent grows.Not to say that there aren’t partnerships to be struck between the tech giants and the leg-acy media companies with both broadcasters and platforms co-commissioning with Netﬂix and Amazon. It’s not a zero sum game. At least not at the moment. But Disney, which has pledged to no longer sell its content to Netﬂix, is clear that building its own scale business is key to thriving going forward.Meanwhile HBO parent company Time Warner is also part of the scale-play land-grab, having agreed last year to be bought by tele-com giant AT&T. The combination of big telco AT&T and big media company Time Warner has an increasingly familiar ring. The scale-play, including vertical integration of distri-bution and content assets, is now considered the sine qua non of survival in the “disrupted’ media landscape.