In The Frame - December '17
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In The Frame - December '17

The feud between Amazon and Google has escalated. Early in the month, Google pulled its YouTube app (not for the first time) from Amazon’s Alexa-powered Echo Show and Echo Spot devices and now Amazon has filed with the US Patent and Trademark Office two names and related descriptions that closely resemble YouTube’s. The application for AmazonTube and OpenTube could actually lead to nothing or could just as easily suggest that Amazon is planning an out-and-out YouTube competitor.

Facebook and Universal Music Group have announced a global agreement that will enable users to upload videos featuring music from Universal’s library across the social media network as well as Instagram and Oculus. It’s Facebook ’s first such deal with a major record label as the social network pushes harder into video to keep users on the platform and remain attractive to advertisers.

Ofcom’s annual International Communications Market 2017 report has revealed that more than half (52 per cent) of UK subscribers to SVoD services such as Amazon and Netflix are prepared to pay for access because they want ‘original programming made by the service provider’ – ie, original content. Forty-one per cent of respondents cited ‘a back-catalogue of films’ as their main reason for subscribing, followed by ‘programmes or series made in the US’ (36 per cent) and ‘exclusive content not available elsewhere’ (35 per cent).

Netflix, the market leader with more than 109 million subscribers in almost 200 countries watching more than 140 million hours of content per day, is understood to be experimenting with using artificial intelligence that will personalise trailers for individual viewers. The company, meanwhile, has released data revealing its most popular programming during 2017.

The government has announced a plan to improve mobile and wifi connections on the UK’s rail network. British consumers now expect high quality, reliable connectivity everywhere and, under the new proposals, all passengers on a single train will be able to stream videos simultaneously.

BBC News

The BBC has launched its first full voice service for smart speakers, bringing the corporation’s local, national and international radio stations and full range of podcasts to Echo and Alexa users for the first time. The service will be available on other smart speakers in the future.

More religious programming is to be broadcast by the BBC. The corporation said it would “enhance” the representation of religion on TV and radio dramas and documentaries.

BBC Two has commissioned a feature-length film documenting the rise and fall of Harvey Weinstein, while Vic & Bob’s Big Night Out is coming to BBC Four in 2018 for a four-episode series which marks the duo’s 25th anniversary at the BBC. Their career with the corporation began with the Smell of Reeves and Mortimer.

Sports News

European football’s governing body, UEFA, has been granted a High Court injunction aimed at tackling the illicit streaming of matches. The order will take effect on February 13 2018 and last until May 26 2018. In March 2017, BT paid £1.18 billion for UK broadcast rights covering Champions League, Europa League and Super Cup matches until the end of the 2020/21 season.

Eight Premier League games will be played in a new 19:45 slot on Saturdays under the terms of a new broadcast package from the 2019-20 season in which broadcasters will bid for rights to show 200 live matches and rounds of midweek matches in their entirety.

Following the World Cup draw earlier this month, the BBC and ITV have confirmed their schedule of matches to be broadcast. The split is available here.

And finally…

  • Mrs Brown’s Boys special won the Christmas Day ratings battle.
  • The Competition and Markets Authority (CMA) expects to publish its initial verdict on 21st Century Fox’s Sky deal in mid-January. The CMA had been due to announce its findings on December 18 but needs more time to consider the thousands of submissions it’s received.
  • The writer and creator of The IT Crowd, Graham Linehan, has confirmed the show is lined up for a third US remake.
  • The Scottish government has approved the go-ahead for a major film and TV studio to be built near Edinburgh.
  • Star Wars: The Last Jedi posted the biggest UK opening of 2017 (and the third-biggest opening of all time)
  • Cinesisters, a collective of UK women directors dedicated to showcasing the breadth of the country’s female filmmaking talent, has attracted more than 50 members since it launched earlier this year.
  • Red Planet Pictures are teaming up with ITV Drama to spot emerging writing talent. The Red Planet Prize opens in February 2018.

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