Wednesday, February 21, 2007
Tuesday, February 20, 2007
Digital Broadcasters Vendor News Asia has learned that Australia is now taking the role of "narrowcasting" or "broadcasting to a 'niche' audience, to a proactive level. A consultative process is to define the legal framework and to whom are these services targeted. Submissions are required by March 9.
The Australian Communications and Media Authority (ACMA) is seeking comments on its proposed guidelines under the Broadcasting Services Act 1992.
The ACMA takes the position that Narrowcast television has significant potential to offer Australian audiences a broader choice of digital niche television programming.
Clearly, narrowcasting has a more targeted audience than a commercial broadcasting service.
The ACMA defines the services as:
* by being targeted to special interest groups; or * by being intended only for limited locations, for example, arenas or business premises; or * by being provided during a limited period or to cover a special event; or * because they provide programs which are of limited appeal; or for some other reason.
Digital Broadcasters Vendor News says this sounds like history repeating itself. The term narrowcasting was first used with the advent of cable TV in Europe and North America when ethnic oriented programming to targeted groups came into its own. Those cable narrowcasts were the first real "segmentized" programming since the start of general programming on terrestrial TV stations and networks. In the digital era so much more diversity in delivery methods and distribution platforms make the narrowcasting projects so much more interesting and diverse.
Australia is also an interesting example because the low population density made cable TV overall a non starter. Today broadband and other digital delivery systems (mobile hand helds DVB-H etc) overcome the high bandwidth distribution cost posed by the Cable TV systems hardware previously.
If carried through this is another growing opportunity for suppliers of digital products and services.
Saturday, February 10, 2007
It was only a question of "when" Paul Aiello would take full control of the reins as chief executive at STAR Group in Hong Kong. That was the prognosis by Digital Broadcasters Vendor News at the time of Aiello's appointment last year. No mention was made of "illness" over Michelle Guthrie's departure as CEO which takes effect on March 1, just days away. It was an important announcement for the regional satellite broadcaster, as evidenced by the quote from Rupert Murdoch, Chairman and Chief Executive, News Corporation who said that, “Paul has done an exceptional job at STAR since joining the company, leading its corporate team and overseeing its overall growth strategy. Paul’s business acumen, strong leadership and financial skills as well as in- depth knowledge of the diverse and complex media and telecommunications industries in Asia make him the ideal candidate to steer the long-term growth and success of the company.
Digital Broadcasters Vendor News noted that Murdoch was gracious to Guthrie when he thanked her for overseeing an important period of growth for the Star Group.
The news of Guthrie's departure was originally issued on January 12,2007.
Friday, February 02, 2007
Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has received a notice from ULDAGE Inc in Tokyo of a major patent breakthrough (breakthru). This is: a "Patent Pool License for ARIB Standards", otherwise known as the "ARIB Essential Patent License", is now available. The license is going to be via a simple fee arrangement. Essentially the bureaucratic wrangling between patent holder and user is being eliminated in favour of a simple system agreed across the board by the patent holders in the ULDAGE Grouping.
What this further means is that key digital broadcasting device manufacturers in Japan holding key patents, plus France Telecom - have finally ALL agreed on royalty and patent payment conditions and fees to be paid by other manufacturers.
The Japanese manufacturing companies are household names - Hitachi, Matsushita Electric, Mitsubishi Electric, Nippon Hoso Kyokai (NHK), Sanyo Electric, Sharp, Sony, Toshiba and Victor Company.
As to the fee levels, manufacturers or distributors of digital broadcasting devices shall pay, JPY 200 Japanese Yen (about USD 1.50) per unit for a TV receiver to receive digital BS, CS and terrestrial broadcasts; JPY 100 per unit for a TV set receiving digital terrestrial broadcasting only and, JPY 50 per unit for mobile terminal receiving digital terrestrial broadcasting called One Seg only.
ULDAGE remarks and notes that the technology transition from analog to digital has made the patent issues more complicated.
The bottom line for ULDAGE Group of manufacturers is that by the establishment of this license scheme it will ensure "user" manufacturers and distributors of patented items will be able to ensure a stable supply of digital broadcasting devices to the market. ( Or, put another way, not get help up by backward and forward licensing negotiations and approvals for every new sales deal.)
ULDAGE Inc. welcomes having additional holders of 'essential patents' and hopes that this patent license program will expand further. Its remit is to provide royalty operation service, license administration service and market research service necessary for administration of joint license programs that relate to Japanese-based manufacturers of digital broadcasting and other related devices.
Digital Broadcasters Vendor News has on file the contact details of ULDAGE Inc as being: at Imperial Tower, 1-1-1 Uchisaiwai-cho Chiyoda- ku, Tokyo, Japan. http://www.uldage.com/