Welcome to the latest issue of Media, Sport and Entertainment Intelligence, offering you a selection of the latest and most impactful sector news worldwide.
The latest US sales report for the music industry has been released, showing annual revenues are still hovering around the US$7 billion mark, as they have since 2010. But what has been changing is how the sales are divided – downloads and CDs are being pushed out by streaming, which now makes up around a third of music revenue. To put this in perspective, despite serious concerns about the longevity of the streaming business model, and despite the 84 per cent drop in CD sales in the last decade, overall music sales have stayed steady.
As always, the UK Budget announcement created some changes for the Media, Sport and Entertainment industries. This time, the major impact was the announcement of new funding arrangements for British horseracing. The changes are designed to create a level playing field for British-based and offshore gambling operators and will amend the current Horserace Betting Levy. The new funding model is expected to come into force in April 2017, with a statutory instrument being published at the end of this year.
In Australia, the federal government has announced a media reform package which aims to protect local content in regional Australia and introduce an incentive for content to be filmed in the local area. Its intention is to support the viability of local media businesses as they face increasing competition from less regulated services and new forms of distribution. The legislation would abolish the “reach rule,” which prevents broadcasters from reaching more than 75 per cent of the population. Abolishing this rule would allow regional TV and radio stations to shore up their finances by merging with larger, metropolitan outlets. It also would remove the two-out-of-three rule – which prevents media proprietors from simultaneously owning print, radio and television outlets in one market; this would increase the pool of capital available to outlets amid dramatic changes in the media landscape.
And in Italy, there are interesting opportunities for broadcasters, especially via DTT (digital terrestrial television). New slots on the channels line-up will be allocated in the next months, in particular for newcomers.
Germany is currently debating a very interesting trade mark case that could impact the MSE sector. The German Federal Supreme Court (BGH) will soon hear arguments around this question: has the color red acquired distinctiveness through use in Germany (in particular based on a consumer survey) and does the burden of proof of such a proceeding rest with the trade mark proprietor? After referral to the CJEU, the Federal Patent Court had denied "Sparkassen-Red" (a shade of red used by a bank in its branding for decades) any distinctiveness and decided that the trade mark proprietor, DSGV, failed to prove otherwise. This highly debated proceeding, and the awaited BGH judgment, could have a major impact on the registration and maintenance of trade marks registered on the basis of acquired distinctiveness in Germany.
The Australian major football codes (National Rugby League, Australian Football League and Australian Rugby Union) have taken steps to protect players from the risk of concussion injuries, with stricter return-to-play policies introduced – this despite no concussion injury litigation having come before any Australian courts. Many have questioned whether enough is being done, and the possibility of claims and/or class actions exists.
In more sports news, in the US the NBA is, apparently, moving closer to putting corporate logos as advertisements on player jerseys. This is being spurred on by a report conducted by Repucom that found teams in Europe’s top football (soccer) leagues generated US$930 million this season alone just from shirt sponsorship, up 13 per cent from last year. According to the report, foreign investment is driving the growing shirt sponsorship market, with 62 per cent of the revenue derived from deals for companies based outside the team’s home market. The United Arab Emirates is the top market, with companies investing $183 million, followed by Germany (US$152 million) and the US (US$97 million).
And finally, the European Commission has launched an open consultation to help bring EU copyright rules up to speed with the digital age. They are looking at the role of publishers in the copyright value chain and are also considering an extension of the neighbouring rights (similar to copyright, but they do not reward an author's original creation) to publishers. This would give publishers the same rewards currently enjoyed by performers, film producers, record producers and broadcasting organisations from either the performance of a work or an organisational or financial effort.