Weekly News Roundup (November 17, 2018)
It’s hay fever season here again in Melbourne, and this one’s bad one. Bad to the point where everything on my face is itchy, and the only time I get a break is when I’m in a series of uncontrollable sneezes. Oh, the never-ending sense of fatigue is just the icing on the cake.
I’ve just loaded myself full of antihistamines about half an hour ago and they seem to be kicking in right about now, which is just in time for me start writing this week’s news roundup.
Starting with copyright news as per usual, Google has released its latest version of the How Google Fights Piracy report, which details the efforts and results of the company’s anti-piracy efforts.
The report includes several interesting stats, most notably that YouTube’s Content ID has paid out more than $3 billion dollars to rightsholders since its inception. For all of its flaws, including several high profile false positives, you have to admit that Content ID’s way of dealing with anti-piracy has proved to be effective in allowing users to still freely create, as well as rightsholders to be rewarded when users do use copyrighted content (sometimes incidentally/accidentally). Of course, it also helps Google to keep rightsholders at bay and to allow users to keep on creating without fear. The alternative would have meant content removal and account bannings. The number of popular cover songs and other content that rely on copyrighted materials on YouTube is prove that Content ID is working.
The other parts of the report focuses on Google’s anti-piracy efforts elsewhere, including on its search engine. Other than lauding the fact that piracy demotions are working, Google also noted that piracy searches are actually not all that popular on Google. For example, searches for the phrase “wonder woman” was 10,719 times more popular than the phrase “wonder woman watch free”. There’s been a lot of pressure on Google to do more to proactively filter out piracy results in its search engine, but the truth of the matter is that people who know how to download pirated content almost never rely on Google and other search engines to find downloads – most already have a list of sites that they rely on to source the latest content, be it streaming or downloads.
Google (the search engine) has never been the problem when it comes to piracy, despite what the anti-piracy lobby tells you.
Netflix shares have been on the slide recently, despite some better than expected subscriber results, and perhaps part of the reason for this is the imminent threat of Disney’s upcoming streaming platform, Disney+. This is why Netflix CEO Reed Hastings went the effort to assure nervous investors that Netflix is ready for the fight against Disney+, citing the fact that they’ve been in competition with Amazon Prime for more than 10 years (has it really been this long?).
The recent share price wobbles does not really reflect how subscribers feel about the service though, with most quite pleased at the constant stream (har har) of original content coming to Netflix every month. And according to a survey by analyst firm Piper Jaffray, even a 40% price increase might not put off these happy subscribers, which is what Netflix may have to do if it finds itself in trouble against Disney+ – not so much as to raise revenue, but to raise the required funds to fuel more original productions.
But time is on Netflix’s(and Disney+’s) side, with the latest research showing that live broadcast TV is getting less and less popular. This is also why Disney, who owns live broadcasting network ABC, has been so keen to develop their own streaming, on-demand network, and part of the reason why despite the optimism towards Disney+, Disney’s own share price have been pretty stagnant over the past few years. The transition from traditional broadcast TV networks to on-demand platforms has been on-going for a couple of years now, and everyone is keen to see whether Disney can successfully complete the transition while still maintaining market share and the all important profit results.
And I must now complete the transition between working and not working, as we’ve come to the end of another WNR. See you next week!