Hot Topic - State Aid Rules
Repurposing rules for the digital age is, at best, a tedious, time consuming job. But necessity is the mother of regulation. The media sector is particularly susceptible to digital anxieties in the midst of competition unforeseen only a few years ago, or moments, as the case seems to be. Those designing new media rules are sensitive to this. Competitive advantage is always suspect, though not well understood.
"When an American sees a beautiful sports car on the street he says to himself, I'm going to work hard and get one of those," to paraphrase Australian billionaire media owner, the late Kerry Packer, quoted some thirty years ago. "When a European sees that car he thinks, how am I going to get that guy out of that car." New evidence of this arrives daily.
It’s a new golden age for commercial television broadcasters. The TV ad share is robust, running away from nearly all other sectors. Digital TV arrived and people are watching more, anywhere, all the time. So why all the long faces?
This century has illustrated boldly the world of media moguls, their ambitions and business practices. Tough, tireless and maybe a little crazy they go after what they want, relishing in the fight. Some of this is admirable. Some of it is a crime, particularly when mixed with the ruthless pursuit of power.
Decisions surrounding digital television transition have been studied, proposed, discarded, studied again and on and on and on. Engineering geniuses just keep inventing better, faster and smarter stuff. The complications are confounding, except the part about money or lack thereof.
Arts, culture and public broadcasting are always popular targets when governments start trimming budgets. And newly formed governments aren’t wasting any time. This year trimming has become slashing. Next year will bring a new plan.
It was a big day for broadcasters at the European Commission, with two State aid decisions and one for Mr. Murdoch. The “lighter touch” is in evidence. All three decisions are “subject to conditions.”
State Aid - Media Rules
National authorities have at their disposal a variety of economic measures to stimulate, develop and improve competitive market sectors. Sometimes they miss the big picture or have special circumstances. Within the European Union an executive branch of the European Commission stands ready to clarify the rules of each and every game. State Aid rules are developing as the playing field gets bigger. 35 pages, PDF (September 2016)
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The Campaign Is On - Elections and Media – new
Elections campaigns are big media events. Candidates and issues are presented, analyzed and criticized in broadcast and print. Media is now more of a participant in elections than ever. This ftm Knowledge file reports on news coverage, advertising, endorsements and their effect on democracy at work. 84 pages. PDF (September 2017)
Fake News, Hate Speech and Propaganda
The institutional threat of fake news, hate speech and propaganda is testing the mettle of those who toil in news media. Those three related evils are not new, by any means, but taken together have put the truth and those reporting it on the back foot. Words matter. This ftm Knowledge file explores that light. 48 pages, PDF (March 2017)
In the media sphere nothing is more important than knowing the audience. Once in a generation a target group evolves to catch the attention of publishers and broadcasters, advertisers and media buyers, social critics and politicians. The Millennials, also known as Generation Y and digital natives, are it, with unique characteristics and behaviors. They have already reshaped everything we do. 35 pages, PDF (December 2016)
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