Neil Leyden Logo

Tuesday, February 23, 2010

The ICSC on Frontline and in the Dail

Thomas Byrne, a Fianna Fail TD for Meath East, was on RTE's Frontline on the 22nd February 2010 discussing big ideas to help young people into employment.

It was gratifying to hear that the International Content Services Centre was Deputy Byrne's solution and he further endorsed the governments willingness to back the proposal.

You can see it here at:

1hr : 03 mins 50 secs

Dylan Collins, the CEO of Jolt Online Gaming and a member of the ICSC Taskforce re-iterated a proposition mentioned at the taskforce meetings of a 0% tax rate for virtual goods as an incentive for gaming companies to locate in Ireland.

53 mins:10 secs

The ICSC was also mentioned in the Dail by the Taoiseach on 9th Feb 2009. Here are the extracts from the proceedings of the Dail

The Taoiseach:

"The international content services centre will be worked on through the digital hub in liaison with the IDA. They will be working hard to see in what way we can bring that particular project forward. It is part of a number of projects concerned with identifying new areas, including Internet technologies, internationally-traded services, the green-clean tech area and the food industry. In such areas, the IDA and Enterprise Ireland can prepare a jobs strategy even in the context of this year when we expect unemployment to peak, although jobs will still be created. The churning of jobs between losses and gains continues. There is no doubt that the public finance position we are bringing forward is the best way, and a prerequisite for ensuring that we get more jobs into the economy. In that manner, these projects can obtain support and be brought from concept to fruition."

"The IDA is leading that project and is working with the digital hub. IDA personnel are working on that matter and when it emerges, if they can bring forward a proposal for consideration by the board, it will of course obtain budgetary support though the IDA’s grant in aid and all the other facilities we have available to assist enterprise supports. We are providing over €200 million this year for enterprise supports. When a mature project is brought before it, the board will consider it in the normal way. It is not a question of picking something out of the air and deciding “Here’s the international content services centre”. One must sit down and work with partners to see in what way one can bring forward experts in this area, in addition to the expertise we have identified at home ourselves. It is not a question of sitting back on any of these projects.

The work of seeking new opportunities for the IFSC is ongoing. As regards all areas of activity, Enterprise Ireland and the IDA are devising strategies based on the new situation we are in, including identifying the areas I have just mentioned. The IDA has been looking at high-level manufacturing and pharmaceuticals - areas with which we are all acquainted and where we have some strengths. Despite worldwide foreign direct investment being down by 30%, it was up 4% here last year, which was the worst year we ever had."

We are very close to having a 'mature project" to bring to IDA so I hope to be back with positive news shortly.

posted by Neil Leyden @ 2:01 p.m. 0 comments

Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Why 2010 will be the year TV and the web really converge

From the Guardian Online:

Why 2010 will be the year TV and the web really converge

Steve Plunkett explains how milestones such as Project Canvas will bring together broadcast television and online media

project canvas picture

How Project Canvas's user experience might work

There is a real feeling within the TV business that the year ahead looks set to become something of a milestone for our industry. The long-heralded convergence of television, video, broadcast and the internet is reaching a tipping point. But why are things about to change dramatically and what is this likely to mean for programme-making, post production – editing, sound, special effects – and delivery of TV content?

Looking back at the past decade, highlights that will change the trajectory of the industry in the next 10 years include the steady migration to digital media at all points from acquisition to consumption, the emergence of an increasingly universal transport medium built around the internet protocol (IP) and the ever-expanding reach, capacity and performance of the public internet as a viable platform for rich media distribution, including video.

But the most significant recent innovations have actually happened away from television sets and the broadcast networks that serve them. They have taken place on the PC via the internet. The huge success of iPlayer and similar catchup TV services – as well as Hulu, YouTube and many others – have changed the expectations of PC-savvy TV viewers. But the next major evolution of the TV experience is only just beginning and the action is moving back from the PC to the big-screen TV.

Project Canvas – the joint venture with backers including the BBC, ITV and BT planning to bring video-on-demand content to the TV sets of Freeview and Freesat viewers, in the first instance – could be a significant milestone, not just because it has so much potential but because it is representative of a new model of the television experience that is gaining common currency around the world. This is the bringing together of broadcast television, online media (on-demand, streaming, linear and non-linear), communications and applications in a highly integrated "hybrid" manner.

While the hybrid model has been discussed for some time, this year is when it is actually going to meet the public. Analysts are predicting that 20% of televisions sold in Europe in 2010 will be internet enabled. Combine this with the fast-growing range of digital receivers and games consoles that are starting to offer television and video content delivered via broadband and it becomes clear that a new model is emerging.

What then are the implications of this trend for programme-making, post production and delivery?

One fundamental difference is that a hybrid model provides virtually infinite channel capacity as the broadband connection is augmenting the traditional digital receiver. More than this though, it should dramatically lower the cost of entry for content and channel owners as platforms such as Project Canvas are intended to be open.

The use of internet rather than broadcast economics will allow much more specialised content and channels to become viable. Expect to see a large number of "brand channels" coming to these new platforms. Content will also become more fluid across devices and platforms as IP-delivered sessions now reach the TV, PC and mobile device, driving a "three-screen strategy" for channel owners.

In summary, the long tail of television and video can be fully realised in this new environment both technically and commercially. The relationship between linear broadcast content and non-linear media is likely to converge and both will change because of it.

This in turn will both drive new demand and encourage new innovation all the way along the programme-making, post production and delivery chains. History has shown us that periods of disruptive innovation can be very exciting and rewarding for those who try to understand, anticipate and influence what's next.

Here's to an interesting new decade for what used to be called television.

Steve Plunkett is director of customer innovation at Red Bee Media, the TV and web branding and channel management agency, which is attending the Broadcast Video Expo conference this week

posted by Neil Leyden @ 3:20 p.m. 0 comments