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China Proposes Global Media Oversight Body

Bottom Line: Proposal could eventually result in formation of a global UN-style media oversight body.

Earlier this week the Wall Street Journal published an articled penned by Li Congjun, president of China's Xinhua News Agency. Entitled Toward a New World Media Order, Li argues the case "when the conditions are ripe" for a  long-term, non-governmental mechanism to coordinate the global media industry, likening it to a "Media UN". His proposal is likely to trigger much impassioned debate and - almost certainly - vehement opposition from within the media market. Nevertheless Li's proposal will not fall on entirely fallow ground, given the increasing globalisation of media channels and concerns about ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q3 2011 onward]

... privacy abuse by the media coupled with governmental manipulation and news management - not least in China itself. This is the full text of Mr Li's article:

The world established a new international order after World War II with the founding of the United Nations. For over six decades, the international community has endeavored to create a more balanced, just and rational political and economic order.

Unfortunately the rules governing the international media order lag behind the times, especially compared to changes in politics and economics. The gap is seen, first and foremost, in the extremely uneven pattern of international communication.

The flow of information is basically one-way: from West to East, North to South, and from developed to developing countries.

In 1980, the 21st General Conference of the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (Unesco) addressed the imbalance and inequality in international news reporting and called for a new order in international mass communication. Over the years, a growing number of insightful people, including many from the West, have proposed changes with the conviction that the existing order is far from just, rational and balanced.

In our interdependent world, the human community needs a set of more civilized rules to govern international mass communication. This reminds me of bridge, a game I truly enjoy. Modern bridge is known as contract bridge, indicating that players are bound by a contract and the game is a bidding process, in which wise and effective exchanges of information rely on collaboration and communication carried out in a fair and just manner.

Earlier variations of bridge, known as bridge-whist or straight bridge, were different. In bridge-whist, there was no bidding and the game was all about gambling, making communication difficult. The modern game has been shaped by gradual rule changes over the years.

The "bridge" linking modern information flow and the international media is crumbling, in a sense, due to a lack of fair "contracting" and "gaming." This situation is incompatible with the contemporary world. An unjust and irrational order hinders the global media industry's sustainable development and contributes to the problems in today's world. We need to start a constructive reform through rule changes to rebuild the bridge of communication and let the media industry play a more active role in promoting the advancement of human civilization.

Four principles should guide changes in the value system:

  • Fairness: This requires that media organizations from all countries should have the right to participate in international communication on equal terms. Those media organizations in turn should provide comprehensive, objective, fair, balanced and accurate coverage to minimize discrimination and prejudice.
  • All-win: It is advisable to create conditions allowing media organizations from different countries to share the fruits of development in information and communication industries, to play an active role in international mass communication, and to reverse the unbalanced situation where the strong get stronger and the weak get weaker.
  • Inclusion: To maintain the world's diversity, media must respect the unique cultures, customs, beliefs and values of different nations; strive to dispel suspicions and remove barriers between different cultures and civilizations; enhance dialogue and communication; and seek common ground while putting aside differences.
  • Responsibility: Media organizations should not only ensure openness and transparency to promote the building of an open society, but also keep to rational and constructive rules so as to turn mass communication into an active force for promoting social progress.

We must also keep improving rules and explore new mechanisms governing international communication. Unesco should actively negotiate and settle issues within the U.N. framework. However, it is necessary to keep improving rules and, when the conditions are ripe, to explore a long-term, nongovernmental mechanism to coordinate the global media industry, something like a "media U.N."

This can be a mechanism for global media exchanges and consultation, and it may evolve into an organization for coordination and maybe even arbitration.

A sports analogy may help explain what I mean. Ping-pong, or table tennis, played a unique role in restoring China-U.S. relations in the 1970s and is known as China's "national sport." For many years, Chinese ping-pong players have taken the top prize in almost all major international events. This presents a paradox: The stronger a team becomes, the more it desires to maintain its position and keep improving. However, when a team is invincible for too long, few others are inclined to compete.

In the long run, the sport in which China enjoys so much advantage will be less appealing, less viable, and may eventually be excluded from future Olympic Games. In fact, ping-pong has undergone a series of major rule changes over the past two decades. After the 2000 Summer Olympics in Sydney, the older 38mm balls were replaced by 40mm balls and the former 21-point scoring system was changed to an 11-point system. These changes, aimed at limiting the advantage of "super players," have made the sport more enticing to players from different countries.

The theories of "checking superpower" and "maintaining equilibrium" also apply to the media.

It is time to reverse the marginalization of developing nations in the media, change their underdeveloped status, and enhance their rights of expression in the international media market.

To that end, a mechanism for international cooperation, exchange and coordination is needed, as well as an increase in funds and technical support for media from developing countries.
Almost five decades after the discovery of the double helix, James Watson said in his book, "DNA: The Secret of Life," that the Human Genome Project found that human beings are similar in genetic makeup. Our common ground is far wider than any potential gulf that threatens to separate us.

Information flow, like gene transcription and expression, plays a vital role in the evolution of civilization. Resetting rules and order in the international media industry is an adaptation to the trend of democratization of international relations. With diversified expression and information flow, we can mend the broken bridge of cross-cultural communication and build an information link to the future.

[MarketingTomorrow doubts Mr Li's concept will win much favour with the planet's media barons and tantamount to lèse majesté at the Palace of Murdoch!]

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: Xinhua.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5586

California's Privacy Threat Spooks Global Internet Giants

An epidemic of nervous tics is rampaging through the US internet industry - and not just in sun-soaked California where a new threat to social networks' abuse of personal data has surfaced like the feared Norse monster Kraken. If recently drafted legislation is enacted at the state Capitol, TwitterFacebook et al could be compelled to change their privacy protection policies. Although any new law would pertain only to California (the most populous of all US states), the internet industry fears that tightening of privacy controls could metastasize beyond state - and even national - boundaries. Moreover, the threat is not confined to social networks but could also extend to ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2011 onward ]

... dating and similar websites.

Under a first-of-its-kind proposal [SB242], social-networking sites would have to allow users to establish their privacy settings when registering on the site - rather than after they sign-up. New members could view their profile and decide in advance what information would be public. Sites would also have to set user defaults to 'Private'.

Needless to say, the draft bill - authored by Senator Ellen Corbett [Democrat-San Leandro] is vehemently opposed by most in the internet industry.

Although Facebook has not yet formally objected to the bill, Corbett alleges that the social-networking giant has worked in "stealth mode" to oppose it.

The bill would require social sites to explain their privacy controls in "plain language" with willful violations of the law resulting in a $10,000 fine for each violation.

Says Corbett:"You shouldn't have to sign in and give up your personal information before you get to the part where you say, 'Please don't share my personal information'."

The bill also would require social-networking sites to remove personally identifying information if requested by a user and/or the parent of a user under 18.

Unsurprisingly, the bill is facing fierce opposition from online companies who argue it to be both unconstitutional and unworkable. They also claim that such a measure actually would decrease privacy for those who use social networking sites.

The bill passed through a legislative committee last week and is now headed to the Senate floor, where it will face an even more intense assault from the industry.

Tammy Cota, executive director of the Internet Alliance trade association, claims the law would have myriad unintended consequences.

In a letter to the Senate Judiciary Committee, which approved the measure, Cota argues that it "would force users to make decisions about privacy and visibility of all information well before they even used the service for the first time, and in such a manner that they are less likely to pay attention and process the information."

Concerns about the bill's impact and the possibility it might drive internet businesses out of the state, is resulting in opposition among some lawmakers.

Toeing a predictable party line, Senator Sam Blakeslee [Republican-San Luis Obispo] said a single mid-level manager who willfully violates the provisions for one million users would expose his/her employer to $10 billion in fines.

Blakeslee also argues that the state Capitol is the wrong place to address online privacy.

"I think it is certainly something that should be addressed at the national level. That's the appropriate place to deal with internet laws," he said.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: SFgate.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5573

US Bi-Partisan Bill May Ban Behavioral Ads to Under-18s

Two US lawmakers from opposite sides of the political divide have introduced a bill that would ban companies from exposing under-eighteens to targeted behavioral advertising techniques. The duo, Ed Markey (Democrat Massachusetts) and Joe Barton (Republican, Texas)  -- both members of the House of Representatives -- last week unveiled draft legislation that, if enacted, would require online advertisers and media owners to ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2011 onward ]

... desist from deploying online behavioral advertising techniques on minors under age 18.

A draft of the Do Not Track Kids Act, unveiled Friday by Representatives Markey and Barton significantly expands the decade-old Children's Online Privacy Protection Act [COPPA]. The earlier bill  requires that companies obtain parental consent before collecting personal information from children under 13. COPPA also defines personal information relatively narrowly as names, email addresses or any other information that could be used to contact children.

The new measure would broaden that definition to include unique identifiers, IP addresses and anything that permits the identification of a computer.

In addition, the proposal bans all behavioral targeting of children under age 13, as well as teens under 18. Specifically, the bill says that websites aimed at minors, or sites that know they are collecting data from minors, may not use or share that data for purposes of "targeted marketing."

A similar bill is currently en route through the Senate.

Payoff: The writing is on the wall for unauthorized tracking of minors' online activity.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MediaPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5561

Senior Senators Propose New US Online Privacy Bill

Growing concerns about unregulated online collection and storage of consumer data for marketing purposes has united two senior US senators from opposing sides of the political fence. On April 12 Senators John Kerry (Democrat, Massachusetts) and John McCain (Republican, Arizona) jointly introduced a new bill -- the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights -- to the US Senate. If passed the bill will override the ad industry's half-hearted voluntary effort to allay consumers' privacy fears, instead imposing ... 

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2011 - onward]

... robust restraints on the current personal data-collection free-for-all. The draft bill aims tocentralize various privacy efforts already under way from industry trade groups, government regulators and the Obama administration.

In recent weeks, President Obama has called on Congress to establish a digital privacy law. The online ad industry, meanwhile, had mounted its own self-regulatory program in the past year. 

According to the bill's co-sponsor, Senator Kerry,  the Commercial Privacy Bill of Rights Act will:

  • "Keep our private data safe by laying down fair information practices;
  • "Ensure that businesses collecting personal information will secure that information and will allow those people to say whether or not they want that information used."

Concedes Kerry, however: "All of this information sharing can be good to customers -- we acknowledge that [but] the data deluge is worrying at the same time."

The bill is one of the few currently on Congress's plate with bipartisan support, and given the Obama administration's recent push for a privacy law, insiders say it has a good chance of passing.

The Washington grapevine, however, remain cynical about the bill's prospects.

"It's going to get watered down," warns one person familiar with the process. "If we don't start with the highest possible standard, it's going to turn into a digital Dorian Gray."

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: AdAge.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5546

Major US Marketers, Agency Groups Seize 'Do Not Track' Initiative

Fearing FCC intervention -- and fazed by the snail-like pace among browser giants and the digital ad industry in imposing a 'do not track' consumer privacy mechanism -- major advertisers, trade associations and agency groups are leaning heavily on all concerned to extract their digits. Among those with their foot on the gas pedal are ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q2 2011 onward]

... the Interactive Advertising Bureau, the Association of National Advertisers and the American Association of Advertising Agencies. And, according to Stu Ingis, counsel for the Digital Advertising Alliance, all are frantically parlaying with browser-makers including Microsoft's Internet Explorer, Google's Chrome and Mozilla's FireFox.

This sudden hyperactivity marks a major shift from the industry's former 'don't call us; we'll call you' stance - a seachange attributable to fears that the FCC will intervenein the absence of voluntary action by the industry.

A do-not-track tool available across all browser platforms would enable surfers to indicate their objection to the monitoring of their online activity.

Microsoft and Mozilla have already built such features into their recently updated browsers, but the tools are reliant on ad networks and others to honor people's do-not-track requests.

Says Jules Polonetsky, director of the Future of Privacy Forum, an industry-funded privacy think tank in Washington, DC: "It's a dramatic turnaround from where the industry was just weeks ago."

But whether or not the moves are sufficient to appease the internet privacy lobby remains to be seen.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5540

China Outpaces Rest of World in Global Patent Filings

The Geneva-based World Intellectual Property Organization [WIPO] announced last week that international patent filings by Chinese companies surged by 56.2% in 2010, compared with overall patent growth wordwide of just 4.8% during the the year. According to WIPO director-general Francis Garry, China's growth in patent filings is "astonishing". Conversely, however ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 onward]

... none of the nation's universities made it into the top patent-filing university rankings, currently is dominated by universities from the USA and other developed economies.

In 2010, China filed 12,337 patents under the PCT [Patent Cooperation Treaty] system, up from 7,900 cases registered in the previous year, overtaking the Republic of Korea (ROK) as the fourth-ranked PCT filing country worldwide.

Two Chinese companies, ZTE Corporation and Huawei Technologies, were ranked among the top ten world applicants under the PCT system.

Northeast Asia was the most dynamic region in world PCT filings. In addition to China, Japan (ranked second) and the Republic of Korea (ranked fifth) also scored high in patent filings

The two Asian neighbours have respectively seen 7.9% and 20.5% increases in new patent applications. In comparison, the United States, the world's top international patent applicant, registered a 1.7% decrease in PCT filings during 2010 - the third consecutive year in which that nation has registered a negative performance.


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: http://news.xinhuanet.com/english2010/china/2011-02/10/c_13724928.htm
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5498

WSJ Predicts Major Technology Showdown Between US and China

No crystal ball is needed to verify the WSJ's prediction. It's a prophesy that will surely come to pass and, equally surely, lead to tears. US President Obama himself raised the issue of mushrooming techno-rivalry between the two superpowers in his State of the Union address last week. Exacerbating the issue is the frenzied activity of China's bureaucrats to build a Great Wall of interlocking regulations and state investment with the aim of ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 - 2020]

... ensuring that the People's Paradise becomes the global leader in technology by 2020.

China's agressive new initiatives are moulded by rising nationalism and a belief that foreign companies - especially US and European multinationals - unfairly dominate key technologies.

The still-Communist nation's response to this perceived threat ranges from massive investments in national industries to patent laws that favor Chinese companies, plus the introduction of laws that in essence require foreign companies to transfer technology to China if they want to sell in that market.

The Wall Street Journal likens American business executives view of Beijing's massive new industrial policy to that of the Borg in Star Trek: an enormous organic machine assimilating everything in its path.

These executives claim that China's 'road map', as outlined in the nation's 2006-2020 National Medium and Long Term Plan for the Development of Science and Technology," talks in just such terms.

China, they fear, will build its dominance by "enhancing original innovation through co-innovation and re-innovation based on the assimilation of imported technologies."

"It's a huge, long-term strategic issue," says a top executive of a US technology firm operating in China. "It isn't just the crisis of the day for US business. It's the crisis."

Historians, however, point out that it was just such practices that benefitted the US industrial base after the surender of Nazi Germany in 1945.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5486

Publicis Boss Demands Seven-Year EU Limit on Google's Digitized Content

The European Commission should impose a seven-year limit on publicly-owned content and data digitized by Google, after which period these materials would be available for commercialization by other companies and institutions. Or so argue three EC-appointed advisors, one of whom is Maurice Lévy, chairman/ceo of the world's third largest marketing services company, Publicis. With Google clearly fixed in his crosswires, Lévy also wants to see ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 onward]

... the emergence of other innovative tech companies to help digitize Europe’s cultural heritage.

Says the Publicis boss: “We believe there is a lot of opportunity for new players to come and confront Google.”

And whilst Lévy acknowledges that Google has been “essential in the process” of digitizing cultural materials like books, films, photographs and paintings", he argues that the Mountain View mammoth's virtual monopoly is not “very good for competition to have one player on the ground.”

The EU commissioner for education and culture Androulla Vassiliou, also backed the experts’ proposal for a system in which companies like Google could recoup the costs of digitization, whilst ensuring that the period of 'preferential use' did not exceed seven years.

The term 'preferential use' means that during a seven-year period a public domain book digitized by Google would be available only through a library’s website, Google’s website, or a non-commercial webites

Currently Google is observing a 15-year limit - a limit that Ms Vassiliou wants to see more than halved - as does the EU commissioner for digital issues Neelie Kroes.

In opaque mode, Google spokesman Al Verney said the call to lower the limit “adds to the discussion on digitization and highlights its importance in preserving and increasing access to cultural heritage.”

As to whether Google would accede to the limit, Verney remained silent.


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: NYtimes.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5472

UK TV Ad Formats Face Future Competition from Product Placement

UK communications regulator Ofcom and its political masters have given the thumbs-up to product placement on British TV - thereby conferring legality on a practice that has operated undercover for decades ... and not only on commercial stations, some say! The free-for-all will kick-off on 1 February 2011, with even radio muscling-in on the act with paid-for verbal references to brands and products.The liberalisation follows recent changes to EU broadcasting legislation. However, there are some exceptions to the new free-for-all ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 onward]

... with restrictions on the types of products that can be placed; limitations on the types of programmes in which products can be placed; and limits on the way in which products can be seen and referred to in programmes.

Major no-go areas for placements include children's and news programmes; also all UK-produced current affairs, consumer affairs and religious programmes.

Broadcasters will be required to display an onscreen product-placement logo in all programmes in which placements occur. It must appear for a minimum of three seconds at the start and end of shows, enabling viewers to identify which UK-produced programs feature 'placed' products. The logo must also appear after each ad break.

Commercial TV stations intending to feature product placements will launch an audience awareness campaign in the New Year. Overseen by Ofcom, the campaign will include short information slots within the advertisement breaks of popular programs.

Whilst PP will be hailed with glee by commercial broadcasters, it may get a chillier reception in other quarters - for example commercial production houses and creative studios - which could experience a significant falloff in revenues.

All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: WSJ.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5455

FCC's Net Neutrality Vote: There May be Trouble Ahead ...

In the words of the Nat King Cole classic ...
"There may be trouble ahead
But while there's music and moonlight and love and romance.
Let's face the music and dance.
Before the fiddlers have fled
Before they ask us to pay the bill and while we still have the chance
Let's face the music and dance."

It's unlikely, of course, that Nat was crooning about the Federal Communication Commission's decision earlier this week to regulate US broadband carriers. On the other hand ...

[Estimated timeframe: Q1 2011 onward]

... it's rare that net neutrality advocates and internet service providers are in agreement about anything!

On this occasion, however, there's zero dissent on either side of the fence that the Federal Communications Commission has created years of legal uncertainty by voting to regulate broadband carriers.

The FCC's oversight rules have yet to be published, although officials have said the order bans wireline providers from blocking or degrading content and from engaging in "unreasonable discrimination."

FCC chairman Julius Genachowski earlier opined that such discrimination could include paid prioritization, or fast-lane treatment for companies that pay extra, but the extent of that restriction isn't yet clear.

The order also bans wireless providers from blocking sites or applications that compete, but fails to impose a similar restriction on wireless carriers.

Even though the substance of the rules offers wireless carriers a great deal of leeway, some ISPs condemned the decision. They argue that the FCC's order could result in years of litigation because it's not clear that the agency is legally empowered to enact neutrality regulations.

Verizon warned in a company blog that the FCC's "assertion of authority without solid statutory underpinnings will yield continued uncertainty for industry, innovators, and investors."

That smackin' sound you hear in the background is the licking of lawyers' lips!


All data sources are attributed with links to the original insight. The insight is then summarised and, where appropriate, enhanced with additional information.

Source: MediaPost.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5454

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