Opinion: Broadcast Regulations and Connected TV

written by: Richard Kastelein

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I was recently invited to speak on a panel at the 2nd Digital Agenda Assembly for Europe in in Brussels on a panel called Converged media platforms where we largely discussed how is content financed in a converged media world (and I pushed successes in crowdfunding in the US in particular). But I think the more important subject we touch upon was how will this new living room ecosystem, with all it's emerging gatekeepers, be regulated?

It's my contention that it's going to be impossible for the new living room ecosystem to be regulated by current broadcast regulatory bodies at National and EU level for a number of reasons.

  1. All new connected TV's are built with web browsers as of 2012 and Opera is expected to sell  millions of licenses over the next few years for their browser rendering engine for TV to most TV manufacturers. How will regulatory officials tell us what we can browse for on our TVs?
  2. The entire TV App ecosystem on the big screen being pushed by Samsung, Sony, Panasonic, Philips, Sharp, LG et al. is hardly controllable.
  3. Second screen engagement (1st screen for Bill and Mark) via smart phones and tablets is growing leaps and bounds and there's more and more happening in terms of multiplatform engagement with shows, discovery, sharing, commerce and community moving to the smaller screen. Can government regulate that screen without restricting our Internet rights? No.

All in all, in my opinion, regulators are going to have to facilitate self regulation in the various industries concerned (CE manufacturers, app developers, Opera, second screen entrepreneurs, etc.) rather than try and write top-down laws and allow for the communities to clamp down on those that seek to take advantage of the 'Wild West' of a industry that is now unfurling.

Trying to port over broadcast regulations into the new living room will only result in consumer backlash by having to take away freedoms associated with the Internet in order to implement legacy legislation into the mix.

It's time for a private pan-European body that involves all current and future commercial stakeholders to be formed in order to set an agenda for self regulation and work with broadcast regulatory bodies and other government entities.

 We live in a new world where brand values are largely validated by the consumer and it's imperative that commercial entities keep their status clean by 'doing no evil' as Google would say. Self regulation will allow for more, 'Agile' governing of the industry and keep up quicker with changes in the market, rather than the 2-3 year process it currently takes in traditional regulatory environments to facilitate changes in law.

My two cents.


About the Author

Richard Kastelein
Founder of The Hackfest, publisher of TV App Market and global expert on Media & TV innovation, Kastelein is an award winning publisher and futurist. He has guest lectured at MIT Media Lab, University of Cologne, sat on media convergence panel at 2nd EU Digital Assembly in Brussels, and worked with broadcasters such as the BBC, NPO, RTL (DE and NL), Eurosport, NBCU, C4, ITV, Seven Network and others on media convergence strategy - Social TV, OTT, DLNA and 2nd Screen etc.

He is a Fellow of the UK Royal Society of Arts (RSA) and UK Royal Television Society (RTS) member.

Kastelein has spoken (& speaking) on the future of media & TV in Amsterdam, Belfast, Berlin, Brussels, Brighton, Copenhagen, Cannes, Cologne, Curacao, Frankfurt, Hollywood, Hilversum, Geneva, Groningen (TEDx), Kuala Lumpur, London, Las Vegas, Leipzig, Madrid, Melbourne, NYC, Rio, Sheffield, San Francisco, San Jose, Sydney, Tallinn, Vienna, Zurich...

He's been on advisory boards of TEDx Istanbul, SMWF UK, Apps World, and judged & AIB awards, Social TV Awards Hollywood, TV Connect & IPTV Awards.

A versatilist & autodidact, his leadership ability, divergent and synthetic thinking skills evolved from sailing the world 24000 miles+ offshore in his 20′s on sailboats under 12m.

He spent 10 years in the Caribbean media & boating industry as a professional sailor before returning to Europe, to Holland.

A Creative Technologist and Canadian (Dutch/Irish/English/Metis) his career began in the Canadian Native Press and is now a columnist for The Association for International Broadcasting and writes for Wired, The Guardian & Virgin. His writings have been translated into Polish, German and French. 

One of Kastelein's TV formats was optioned by Sony Pictures Television in 2012. 

Currently involved in a number of startups including publishing TV App Market online, The Hackfest and Tripsearch TV. As CSO for Worldticketshop he helped build a $100m company.

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