Tuesday, 4 October 2011

Hollywood Babble On & On #817: Natural & Unnatural States of Being

The road to hell is paved with good intentions.

The road to bad blogging is paved with opening with old cliches.

But I do have a point.

A while back a British pub operator, or "publican" if you're feeling Shakespearean, didn't want to shell out the money to the BSkyB pay TV service to get the soccer games her customers like to fight over.  So she got a descrambler type thingie so she could get the games cheaper from a Greek TV station.

Sky TV, who shelled out over a billion spondooliks for the rights to broadcast these games in the United Kingdom, so they were naturally cheesed, and filed suit.

Well, a European court has decided that Sky's case, which is based on treating Europe as a bunch of markets instead of one big market, violated the spirit of the European Union.  They then declared region by region media rights sales was a restraint of trade, and must end forthwith.

Now that the road is paved, let's see where it's going.

First up, if you're looking to finance your movie or TV production, FORGET IT!

One of the biggest ways to raise money to make an independent movie or TV show is the sell the theatrical distribution and TV broadcast rights to Europe's two dozen + individual markets.  You won't get much money from any single market, especially the smaller ones like Greece, and the Balkan states, but it all adds up.

Well, not if the court gets their way.

If the court gets their way you have to sell Pan-European rights to one distributor/broadcaster.

The amount that one Pan-European distributor and/or broadcaster offers you is not going to be as big as they used to be, because there will now be less competition, and it is not going to eventually add up.

But let's not forget the other side of this coin, the regional/national distributors and broadcasters.

Do you honestly think that regional distributors and/or broadcasters in the smaller markets like Greece, the Balkans, and Eastern Europe are going to be able to release/air movies and TV shows if they have to buy the rights to all of Europe?

Not bloody likely.

They will probably be stuck with 2 options:

1. Rent the rights from the big multinational media conglomerates like Britain's BSkyB, France's Canal+, or Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media.  Probably having to pay more than if they haggled directly with the producers of the film/show in question.

2. Have their businesses taken over by big multinational media conglomerates like Britain's BSkyB, France's Canal+, or Germany's ProSiebenSat.1 Media.  

You see, I'm normally an open market kind of guy, because open markets are natural markets.  The multilingual, multifaceted, and multi-consumer markets of Europe were natural markets.  They existed for organic reasons, forged by several millennia of culture and conflict.

The European Union, on the other hand, is an unnatural market, forged by several decades of politicians, bureaucrats, and now judges.  That brings in the whole question of motives.

When the nations of Europe were forged they were done by people whose motive was self-interest, but that self-interest was directly linked to the interests of their nation. A king who deliberately and knowingly weakens their nation, doesn't stay king for long, and it's a job you hold for life, if you catch my drift.

The way the European Union is constructed the interests of the nations and the people are a distant second to the interests of the ruling politicians and bureaucrats.  It is in the interest of the people running the EU to keep the member nations weak and disoriented, because it means more power for them and the money that comes with it.
Which brings me to the motives, or intentions, behind the court's decision and how it can lead to things they wouldn't like.
BSkyB, the pay-TV company at the heart of the case, is mostly owned by News Corp, which is controlled by Rupert Murdoch.

Now I suspect that there was an element of "Get Rupert," behind the decision, but it's bound to have consequences beyond the court's intentions.

Because this decision will inevitably lead to media consolidation on a massive scale, and who can pull off that sort of consolidation, and emerge more powerful than he was before?
That's right.  Good old Rupert.

I wonder if the court's going to consider that when the decision's appealed.


  1. You can call me a racist because I have seething hatred for the bureaucrat race. The are fat, lazy worthless and make life Hell over everyone else.

  2. Is the European Union capable of making ONE SINGLE DECISION that isn't screwed up, insane, or destroys something of value? I'd be happy with just one example.

    Even calling their currency the "Euro" instead of the "Ecu" is stupid. It's only advantage is that we can make juvenile jokes about Eurology.