Industry Report: Distribution and Exhibition
High-Level Seminar on Audiovisual Content Online
- Organised by the Portuguese Presidency of the EU council, the High-Level Seminar on Audiovisual Content Online, held in Lisbon in October 2007, dealt with subjects such as opportunities offered by the new distribution market, its contribution to European economy and culture, and the users’ role.
Between October 7 and 9 2007 in Lisbon took place the High-Level Seminar on Audiovisual Content Online about which you can read the full report here.
Across the different thematic panels, we could identify a number of recurring subjects, concerns or feelings, in particular the following:
A. The new and emergent distribution and retail modes of audiovisual products offer new opportunities that have started to materialise. These opportunities have an economic nature, because they could mean new markets and more revenue. They have a cultural nature also, because they could mean more or better access to film and audiovisual works for a larger number of people. However, there is also in many players a feeling of uncertainty: where are we going? at which speed? should we take decisions or adopt initiatives, or should we follow after others clear the way? But, then, isn’t there a risk that someone else takes our place?
B. In the different panels of the Seminar, aspects such as technology, standards, legal and regulatory environments have often been mentioned. But the keyword has been “content”.
C. Two of the three thematic panels (the panel on non-linear services, or on-demand services, and the panel on mobile audiovisual content) have dealt with distribution and retail modes that are based on or largely include the individual request, the interaction with the customer or user. Changes in consumer habits or practices have been considered by different speakers as a crucial point that has to be taken into account.
D. A certain tension might be felt by some players between changes on the demand side, representing new market opportunities, and the fear or the real risk of disrupting existing, fully legitimate business models.
E. There seems to be a general optimism about the impact of the new digital modes of distribution and retail. However, this optimism is stronger for some players than for others. Some expressed the opinion that the new modes or windows are not really changing the business, but that they will add to the existing business, that they are a plus, worth trying.
F. In relation to new distribution windows, several participants evoked the absence of a common definition of those windows.
G. Likewise, rights, the ownership of rights, clearing of rights, or the complexity and cost of rights transactions have often been evoked. However, case studies illustrated by presentations by their actors showed that those sources of possible obstacles can be overcome.
H. In relation to non-linear services and to mobile content, but also in relation to digital cinema, aspects such as standards, interoperability and finding efficient business models have been recurring references.
I. Piracy is a common and very serious concern for all the participants that expressed themselves on this point. In relation to piracy, participants have stressed the need for secure systems and for an active fight against piracy. But emphasis has also been put on media education, including new aspects of media education, such as explaining the nature of the ecology of audiovisual creation and of the audiovisual business. It was stressed that piracy is a threat to a rich offer of quality content as it jeopardizes the audiovisual value chain.
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