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31 December 2010

Australian Media Piracy; News Info Wars, by Greg Tingle - 31st December 2010

Season's Greetings punters, casino and gambling millionaires, billionaires, media tycoons, entertainment news junkies, insiders, outsiders, politicians, thought police, journalists and everyone else. The news just keeps coming as the speed of news, which is just about as quick as the speed of sound. Media Man and Gambling911 with a special New Year's Eve edition of Aussie news to celebrate...

Aussie Pay TV Foxtel Top Dog Highlights Piracy Concerns With Hi Tech...

Foxtel big cheese (chief executive) Kim Williams has issued a public warning that the upcoming NBN (National Broadband Network) down under in Oz could quite likely increase video piracy. Williams, along a legal eagle, has encouraged Canberra members of Parliament and media companies, big and small, to campaign against the theft of intellectual property. Maybe KW say have effective the 'Get Up' and 'Internet Blackout' days were, where driven forward using media and people power. Williams advised that a co-ordinated effort of the TV industry, the government and the NBN Co as well as new laws were badly needed to prevent greater rates of piracy in a high-speed digital world. Readers, I think we know he's telling the truth, as apposed to some of the porkies coming out of the Labor government recently. "We need an allied plan in terms of appropriate legal adjustments, otherwise you are creating the equivalent of the largest road train in the world backing up to rob the world's largest jewellery store without the police force to stop them. Copyright theft and privacy are very serious crimes. Companies like Foxtel and other media companies that are dependent on the sanctity of intellectual property need to become much more effective advocates in working with government to find appropriate remedies." News Corp leaks have been spreading the message to other small and mediums size media outlets such as Media Man, in a way an insider described as "a kind of Wikileaks way". Copyright reform is high on the must do list for many media firms A "convergence review" of broadcast media policy announced by your friend and ours (satire) Communications Minister Stephen Conroy earlier this month is set to consider copyright issues, of which there are quite a few. "I think you'd have to be short-sighted not to be concerned about piracy," said another leaker from Australian free TV. "What we have had in our favour is the large file size of a TV show or movie which makes it harder to download, but clearly as technology gets better, you reduce the complexity of piracy." Foxtel regards the NBN as an "opportunity" and has embraced online distribution, getting a deal in place to broadcast channels online through Microsoft's Xbox console and offering sub customers a comprehensive movie download service. The FTA (free to air) networks are also offering catch-up TV services such as the ABC's iView player and James Packer's Network Ten has plenty on offer too, with Bondi Rescue understood to be the most popular over the past few years. TV execs reckon that their large audiences give them the scale to outbid new internet broadcasters for quality content. "Of all the media organisations in Australia, in television and electronic media at least, we are the most adaptive and most innovative and have the longest record of investing in innovation so it's business as usual for us," Williams said. Stay tuned for more on Aussie piracy (and privacy) wars.

Channel Nine: Nine Entertainment Co Poised For A Great 2011...

A fresh Channel Nine will be the one to watch next year as everyone awaits the forecast relisting on the ASX of the television network in the first half of 2011. Private equity owner CVC Asia Pacific looks about ready to launch an estimated $5 billion initial public offer after an improved ratings performance in 2010. Even better, improved advertising conditions for free-to-air television are in swing and likely to continue for many months, if not over a year. The owners have rebranded the network as Nine Entertainment, scrapping the PBL brand that had been associated with the television station, and revamped the management team headed up by David 'Gyng' Gyngell. A Media Man insider said "The smart money says this will work out well for Nine. We are ready to buy in. Network Ten was give a fresh life with Packer, we bought shares, and will do the same with Nine in a heartbeat. The support is there, and Network Nine has the richest history in Australian TV, not to mention the highest ratings when you look at the landscape over a few decades. They didn't get the tag 'The One' for nothing". Another insider on the funds side of things said a float was an "odds on" chance in 2011. CVC currently owns 99.3% of Nine Entertainment, which holds assets including Nine, ACP Magazines, ticketing firm Ticketek and half stakes in the NineMSN and carsales website portals. Then known as PBL Media, the company was formed when James Packer's Publishing and Broadcasting Ltd split its media and gaming assets circa 2006. 'Our James' held onto the gaming assets, such as Melbourne's famous tourism landmark, Crown Casino, and formed a JV with CVC on the media assets. CVC initially held 50% of Nine Entertainment, but increased its holding to 99.3% in 2008. Nine has roughly $4 billion of debt due to mature in 2013 and 2014. Gyngell told fund managers Nine Entertainment was expected to post a 35% increase in earnings in 2010/11, according to numerous news media reports. Nine is able to consider an IPO due in large part to the strong bounce in advertising in 2010, with most media companies reversing the savage declines experienced in 2009. Free-to-air television, which was one of the main beneficiaries of the lift in advertising, also received a boost thanks to a few government decisions. Communications Minister Stephen Conroy quickly cut TV licence fees by 33% in 2010 and 50% next year. Then, an updated anti-siphoning list gave pay-television the right to bid directly for some AFL and NRL footy games, thus also permitting the free-to-air stations to broadcast certain first-run events on their digital channels instead of their main channel. The latter concession could likely be good news for Ten Network Holdings Ltd's all-sport digital channel One. Ten's share registry was raided late in 2010, resulting in 3 new board members, the "forced" departure of executive chairman Nick Falloon and left a few folks up in the air about Ten's future. Packer returned to free-to-air television alongside mate Lachlan Murdoch in October, spending $280 million to buy 18% of the company and securing 2 seats on the board. The transaction is being investigated by the competition watchdog (ACCC) because Consolidated Media Holdings Ltd, chaired by Packer, and News Corp, of which LM is a director, both hold interests in ONE rival and pay-tv station Fox Sports. Some speculate that Packer is keen to shut down One, but we hope not, as we love the wrestling and UFC, as does much of the Aussie public.
Ten's latest shareholder and director, mining tycoon and Australia's most well to do woman, Gina Rinehart, has also made next to no comment about why she bought 10% of the television network in November. While the ratings of ONE are smaller than the digital offerings from the other free-to-air digital channels such as GO! and 7Mate, the all-sport is profitable and drawing in viewers and advertisers.

Aussie Pay TV Operators Foxtel And Optus Get Cosy In Bed Together; Will Boost Subs...

Optus will commence marketing Foxtel to its customers again after the two companies inked a new deal on subscribers. The smart move comes around two years since Optus stopped actively promoting Fox. Foxtel is facing up to increased competition from the new free to air digital channels and Internet-delivered TV services. The new deal will see Optus customers offered Foxtel’s HD services for the first time via the iQ HD settop box. At present, Foxtel is offering 20 HD channels...a major point of difference to free to air, which has seen the main channels available only in standard definition since the launch of the secondary digital channels. Optus will also be able for the first time to sell Foxtel via satellite where it does not have a cable network, in order to build bundled offerings to customers. Foxtel CEO Kim Williams went on record, "The audio visual entertainment market is increasingly competitive with the arrival of terrestrial multichannels and new IPTV providers, and we welcome these agreements as they provide solid incentives for Optus to offer the full suite of Foxtel subscription services into the future." Optus CEO Paul O’Sullivan was prepared to say "Foxtel has been a strategic partner and customer of Optus for many years and we’re pleased to be able to extend the breadth of Foxtel services we sell to our customers." Come February the deals will be promoted to the public.

One HD; Network Ten: Be Prepared For Games and iGaming in 2011

With the likes of media and gambling tycoon joining a board of directors come numerous benefits and unique opportunities, and Ten is learning quickly. Have you already spotted the gaming promos being ramped up? More mentions of Crown Casino on TV? How about the coverage of The Poker Star last year, and the appearance of Packer mates Shane Warne and Joe Hachem on The 7PM Project earlier this year, and all of the gaming related fundraisers. Coincidence? No, of course not. Insides tell Media Man to expect a lot more gaming, gambling and sports betting on the network next year, and maybe even some 2 way TV stuff, along with gaming related reality TV. Stay tuned to this dial for more on this developing news story.

Media Man Awards - December 2010. Let's have a look...

PartyGaming's PartyCasino has done it again, picking up another Media Man 'Online Casino Of The Month Award' for December, and also the parent company, PartyGaming, picked up the prestigious EGR Slots Operator Of The Year Award ...Some other top picks of ours who picked up awards at the EGR night of nights were:
Virgin Games (Affiliate Programme)
Betfair (Innovation, Mobile Operator and UK Sports Betting Operator)
Bwin (European Sports Betting Operator
PKR (Poker Operator)

Oh, we almost forgot...Media Man and Casino News Media 'Casino Babe Of The Month': Jenny Woo, 'Poker Babe': Kara Scott, 'Gambling Babe Personality': Paris Hilton.

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Wrap Up...

Readers... er, punters, how did you like our report? What have you got planned for New Years Eve? Tell us in the forum.

If you have a bet, please bet with your head, not over it, and for God's sake, have fun.

*Greg Tingle is a special contributor for Gambling911

*Media Man http://www.mediamanint.com is primarily a media, publicity and internet portal development company. They cover a dozen industry sectors including gaming and offer political commentary and analysis.

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