Brexit licence issues for video services

The United Kingdom has left the European Union and the transition period will end on the last day of 2020. Although an ‘oven-ready’ trade deal was promised, the current political posturing means that it may not make it to the table, leaving broadcasters and online video businesses to get ready for a ‘no-deal’ scenario that many have long anticipated. The Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport in the United Kingdom has renewed guidance on how the rules for broadcasters and online video services will change.
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Salto finally launches in France

Salto, the long-awaited online video initiative from the French television groups TF1, France Télévisions and M6, will finally launch its combined offer of nationally produced programming and international titles on 20 October. The launch has been delayed by regulatory clearance and was originally due to go live in the first quarter of 2020. It was then scheduled for June, but this was put back as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.
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Disney doubles down on direct distribution

Disney is doubling down on direct-to-consumer distribution, focussing on developing and producing original content for its online services as well as what it describes as legacy platforms. Distribution and commercialisation activities will be merged into a single, global media and entertainment distribution organisation. This will have sole profit and loss accountability for the media and entertainment businesses.
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Facing a post-broadcast world

Public service broadcasters in the United Kingdom face a fight for survival as they are “hurtling towards a post-broadcast world”. That is the warning from Mark Thompson, the former chief executive of Channel 4, who went on to be director general of the BBC and might have seen this coming.
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Television subscribers grow but revenues fall

Global television subscription revenues peaked at over $200 billion in 2016 but are forecast to fall to just over $150 billion in 2025, despite a rise in the total number of subscribers. The number of television subscribers passed a billion in 2018 and is forecast to increase by 34 million between 2019 and 2025 to reach 1.06 billion, with half of them in China and India.
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AT&T faces loss on DIRECTV sale

AT&T could offload a stake in DIRECTV at a significant loss on the $67 billion it paid for the satellite television business in 2015. The New York Post described the process, being run by Goldman Sachs, as “shaping up to be a fire sale”. Opening bids from buyout firms reportedly came in at around 3.5 times earnings, implying a valuation at around $15.75 billion. It is understood that rival Dish Network did not submit a bid. A merger of the satellite television businesses may seem inevitable, but it would face scrutiny under competition regulation.
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