Cloud video recording, otherwise known as Cloud PVR, is on the rise, and for good reason: everyone wants their own library of personal content, fully accessible anywhere, anytime, on any device. For the operators, nothing to lose and everything to gain, knowing that it will always be easier to manage a server farm than millions of boxes abused at home. All the ingredients seem to have come together for a successful happening between a surging demand and a technologically ready offer. But if we dwell on some headlines of the American judicial news in 2014, the waltz of supply and demand seems, for now, to have taken the feet in the royalties carpet.
At the time of the VHS, the taxes were charged, according to the countries, to pay the rights holders on the sales of cassettes. These same taxes managed to follow the PVR (“Personal Video Recorder”) in the digital age, demanding their due on the boxes, TiVo and other hard drives. And then the cloud was drawn on the horizon, creating areas of darkness such that suddenly, the tax did not know how or what to rest. Except for Switzerland , where the Suisa (equivalent of our Sacem) manages to collect the rights of the Cloud PVR without difficulty from the operators to redistribute them to the right-holders. Find the mistake.
A TOPIC AT THE HEART OF THE NEWS
In the United States, in the lawsuit against Cablevision, Disney finally won: rights holders have nothing to gain in a model type “shared copy”, then point of Network PVR, or in “single copy”. Translation: imagine a million users registering the same program at the same time. This amounts to condemning the infrastructure to record this program a million times. The addition is enough to scare the average US cable operator: one million subscribers x 100 GB of average storage per head = 100 million GB or 100 petabytes of storage space needed to satisfy everyone. Migraine is at the height of the carbon footprint.
The verdict sounds like a sentence. All the more bitter when we know that in a model of “shared copy”, we could easily divide this figure by 10 and that the technologies capable of pooling resources do not just exist: they are easy to deploy and generate income that has, for once, nothing virtual.
Same music from the trial side of the start-up Aereo , whose tiny but no less daring antennas allowed its owners to watch live TV on mobile devices. Genius invention for some, “TV signal thieves” for others; and the Supreme Court of the United States to support rights-holders who are savagely deprived of income. QED.
Of the two stories, it would be easy for the eye to retain only the strand of straw that hides the beam. Because the carbon footprint of server farms and the proliferation of out-of-law antennas are nothing compared to the real mess: that of a business model that gropes and stumbles against any economic logic. That is the demand of the people ? However, it can not express it more clearly: users have already told anyone who wants to hear that they are ready to pay their monthly subscription to a cloud registration service, and initiatives that have proven their ability to create value on such a service are not lacking.
TOWARDS NEW BUSINESS MODELS
Would not one have done better in these two stories, to pay the rights-holders rather than the manufacturers of hard disks and miniature antennas? But we are especially entitled to ask ourselves what, today, in the Swiss model, is so difficult to reproduce here; and what could happen if right-holders are open to new technologies, if business models were able to integrate them instead of pretending they did not exist.
Unless it is the advertising market to open up first, to create, with the help of the irony of fate, even more value on business models already validated by the market. Indeed, if Aereo has an antenna and a feed per user, what prevents them from broadcasting a different advertisement for each user? And if Cablevision has no choice but to store two identical content, advertising can still act as a differentiator that can create value.
Hence, it would be in the interest of operators to mediate the concepts of “Targeted Ad Replacement” and “post-C3 window” (C3 is a unit of measurement used by Nielsen to quantify the advertising recordings within three days of a live program), there is only one step. Back or forward? Question of point of view, again. Case to follow, in any case.