CASBAA Connections Q3 2012

Date: Sep 2012

Governments may move to further weigh down OTT operators in the future but we are not advocating that – we want lighter burdens

OTT in context

Taking a closer look at legal and illegal online content in Singapore

With video distribution over the internet now firmly rooted among numerous models for multichannel television, the debate as to how much legitimate content is genuinely available over online, FTA, paid IPTV and other broadband systems, often recurs. The arguments, of course, focus on whether the consumer has access to sufficient legal content within a market to discourage the use of stolen programming, which inevitably, and perhaps fatally, is weakening the underpinnings of our sector.

When entering into this kind of discussion, it‘s best to evaluate the definable benchmarks within some of the leading markets.

That‘s why the CASBAA Board recently endorsed the preparation of a study looking at the types of online content now available legitimately and illegitimately. Working with member company Olswang, an international law firm, CASBAA is launching a two-part examination of authorised over-the-top (OTT) TV platforms and content available in Singapore.

By evaluating the availability (and perceived demand) for lawful content within Singapore, we hope to encourage a more IP responsive approach from the authorities, and then perhaps see the authorised release of additional high-value content into the market place. This approach could be a winner.

Of course, CASBAA also sees this as a template other Asian markets can use for discussions. Although some of the potential and some of the challenges in Singapore may be unique to that market, many of the factors will be relevant to the rest of Asia.

Meanwhile, ahead of the annual CASBAA Convention in Hong Kong at the end of October, the Association will also issue a separate study of how approaches to government regulation of video differ between pay-TV and OTT online.

Our study, The Tilted Playing Field, documents the rules and practices of Asian governments, and the burdens they levy on legitimate pay-TV while treating Internet TV much more lightly. While it seems likely that many governments will move to further weigh down OTT operators in the future, CASBAA is not advocating that – we want lighter burdens on pay-TV.

Now, an update on CASBAA‘s continuing evolution. Early last month, the Board of Directors announced the appointment of a new leadership team for 2013, as the Asia-Pacific multichannel TV industry enters a time of dramatic change.

With the appointment of Christopher Slaughter as Chief Executive Officer designate, John Medeiros will be promoted to the new role of Chief Policy Officer and will become Senior Government Relations Adviser to the Board. Finally, Jill Grinda has been newly appointed as Executive Vice President and will focus on operations and CASBAA‘s advertising initiatives.

Current CEO Simon Twiston Davies will work with the new CASBAA management team until December 31. We‘re fortunate to have the new team's combined industry experience, bringing significant additional capacity to CASBAA and to the services we provide to our 130 Members. Chris is a seasoned industry executive, having worked in Asia since 1986. He has worked in Hong Kong, Taiwan, Singapore, Japan and India. He is also a fluent Mandarin speaker.

John has driven CASBAA‘s regulatory agenda over the past seven years. A public policy expert, he previously held senior leadership roles in several US embassies in the region and in Europe.

Since early 2011, Jill has helped to strengthen the Association‘s multichannel industry partnerships internationally. With extensive experience in global media and communications, she was previously responsible for the launch and distribution of several international television channels across Asia.

Looks like we have a dream team!

Marcel Fenez

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