131 Marketing Trends found for Corporate / Legal

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US Telecoms Law to be Overhauled to Incorporate the Web

Back in 1996 when the web was known as 'The Information Super Highway' and seen as the sole preserve of academics and nerdish geeks, Congress saw no need to make anything other than a passing reference to the new-fangled fad when it reviewed the US Communications Act. Fourteen years later two senior Democrat lawmakers - Senator John D Rockefeller [West Virginia] and Representative Henry A Waxman [California] aim to drag the bill kicking and screaming into the age of Facebook, Google and the iPad. Among the issues the lawmaking duo will address are ...

[Estimated timeframe:June 2010-onward]

 ... how the Communications Act meets the current needs of of the three parties involved: the US telecommunications industry, the Federal Communications Commission and the general public. This is the resultant sequential scenario:

  • The present uncertainties came under the spotlight in April when a federal appeals court ruled that the FCC had overstepped its authority in applying a segment of the Act to an internet service provider.
  • Earlier this month the court's ruling provoked the FCC into introducing a plan to reclassify broadband internet service, currently classified as an 'information service' and therefore lightly regulated.
  • Under the change, broadband provision would be classified as a telecommunications service, analogous to a standard phone service, and bringing it under the jurisdiction of the FCC.
  • The reclassification would give the Commission the authority to implement portions of its recently released National Broadband Plan, as well as to enforce net neutrality, the concept that internet service providers must provide consumers with equal access to all types of content and applications.
  • Internet service providers have broadly opposed the reclassification, arguing that the FCC is already legally empowered to ensure fair competition among internet service providers. ISPs also are leery because the reclassification could give the FCC. the authority to regulate rates charged to consumers.
  • Telecommunications firms point out that a lack of legislation to date has not stifled competition among internet companies.

Nevertheless, AT&T svp James Cicconi declared that hiscompany welcomed the Congressional review. “The FCC’s legal authority should be decided by the Congress itself, and not by applying to the internet a set of onerous rules designed for a different technology, a different situation, and a different era,” he said.

Consumer bodies also welcomed the news. “The world has changed considerably since 1996,” astutely observed Gigi B Sohn, president and co-founder of the Public Knowledge group.


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=5204

UK Competition Regulator Okays TV-Broadband Alliance

The Office of Fair Trading, Britain's secondary competition regulator, has given the green light to a controversial joint venture between the UK’s leading broadband providers, the BBC and its commercial rival ITV. The duo, together with BT and TalkTalk, plan to launch an internet-connected successor to their extant digital-TV platform Freeview. But the project is not to the liking of Rupert Murdoch ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q1 2011-onward]

... whose BSkyB has spearheaded opposition to the venture (codenamed Project Canvas) along with US-controlled cable corporation Virgin Media which trades only in the UK.

The US duo have questioned the BBC Trust’s handling (and the BBC’s role in funding) the venture. While TV technology groups Sony, Pace and Cisco are also voicing concerns.

Starting life as a joint venture between the BBC, ITV and BT, Canvas has since been joined by TalkTalk, Channel 4, RTL Group's Five and Arqiva, a broadcast infrastructure provider which also runs SeeSaw, an online video site.

Given the involvement of the telco titans, the venture could become the dominant platform for internet services on TV.

But, says the OFT’s director of mergers Sheldon Mills: “Our investigation has confirmed that the [joint venture] partners, including the BBC, do not intend to transfer an existing business into the JV. Therefore, regardless of the potential significance of Project Canvas JV for the future of internet connected television, the notified proposals do not give rise to a merger qualifying for substantive investigation by the OFT.”

The BBC's ruling Trust, which gave Canvas a provisional green-light in December, has been waiting for the OFT’s ruling before giving the BBC its full backing.

Originally scheduled to launch commercially before the end of 2010, the protracted regulatory scrutiny to which Canvas has been subjected will almost certainly delay its debut beyond the Christmas sales season.

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

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5198

Transatlantic Probe into Google 'Data-Harvesting' Practices

Although it is not known if they acted in concert, German and US authorities this week united against Google following the latter's admission it had recorded communications sent over unsecured wireless networks in people’s homes. Privacy campaigners condemned the action as "one of the most massive surveillance incidents by a private corporation that has ever occurred”. German commissioner for data protection Peter Schaar has demanded a "detailed probe", while in the US the Federal Trade Commission is expected to launch an inquiry.

[Estimated timeframe:Q3 2010 onward]

Commissioner Schaar is unconvinced by Google's claim that the collection of data was an accident, describing the incident as “highly unusual”.

Continued Schaar: “One of the largest companies in the world, the market leader on the internet, simply disobeyed normal rules in the development and usage of software.”

Marc Rotenberg, leader of the nonprofit Electronic Privacy Information Centre in Washington DC is of like mind. “It is unprecedented vacuuming of WiFi data by a private company. Can you imagine what would happen if a German corporation was sending cars through Washington sucking up all this information?”

In the UK, the Information Commissioner’s Office said that Google appeared to have breached the Data Protection Act.

Hands aloft in pious innocence, the Mountain View colossus claimed it it had been using a fleet of camera-equipped Street View vehicles, which photograph the group’s imaging services, and had been at the same time using the cars to assemble a database of electronic WiFi addresses intended to improve the functioning of its maps and other location services.

It goes without saying, of course, that this monumental goof wasn't the responsibility of Google's Top Brass. Nosirree, the fault lay down the line, pinned well and truly on the minions!

The project leaders, it seems, overlooked that the vehicles were also recording snippets of activity on adjacent WiFi networks.

“We didn’t want to collect this data in the first place and we would like to destroy it as soon as possible,” said Google’s abject PR hack Peter Barron. The data in question had never been available to outsiders, he insisted.

It is unlikely his explanation will satisfy privacy authorities on either side of the Atlantic and a prolonged investigation seems inevitable. Probably followed by legislation.

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

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5194

UK Regulator to Probe Nation's Outdoor Advertising Market

The "highly concentrated centre" that comprises Britain's outdoor advertising market (estimated annual worth £600 million), is set to undergo a fullscale investigation by the government's Office of Fair Trading. The watchdog will particularly focus on commission payments passing between site-owners and media agencies. Of especial interest to the regulator are  ...

[Estimated timeframe:Q4 2010 onward]

... the two biggest specialist buying shops Aegis Group-owned Posterscope and WPP Group's Kinetic. Also under the OFT's magnifying glass will be the dominant outdoor media-owners JCDecaux, CBS Outdoor, Clear Channel International and Primesight.

Declares the OFT's senior director of infrastructure Heather Clayton: “The cost of all forms of advertising is reflected in the price consumers pay for goods and services.”

“This market study into outdoor advertising will take a look at whether the market works well in terms of offering firms and local authorities deals that are fair, competitive and transparent.”

According to the OFT, the sector has a “complex, multi-levelled structure” which is “highly concentrated at the levels of the specialist buyers and outdoor media owners”.

The probe will determine whether the current structure has distorted the market or prevented others from entering, with particular regard to commission payments between media owners and agencies, plus the contracts via which local authorities lease property to billboard operators.

Reveals a statement issued by the regulator: “The OFT understands that some contracts might contain clauses that prevent local authorities from dealing with other outdoor media owners or with advertisers directly. This may be to the detriment of local authorities and therefore the taxpayers that fund them.”

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

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5192

Alcohol Marketing Online: Consumer Watchdogs Seek FTC Probe

There is increasing concern among US consumer bodies that alcohol vendors online have resorted to inappropriate tactics to target the under-21 market via video games and social media. Campaigners are urging both the Federal Trade Commission and state attorneys-general to investigate whether liquor companies are using behavioral targeting techniques - including the profiling of web users - to reach users who aren't yet legally permitted to drink.

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

A report co-authored by university professor Kathryn Montgomery, Center for Digital Democracy director Jeff Chester, and Berkeley Media Studies Group's Lori Dorfman, calls on the FTC to investigate the digital marketing techniques used by alcohol companies.

Urges the report: "The FTC and other regulators need to determine whether alcohol beverage ad targeting is reaching specific young people and their networks, providing a complete picture of the industry's online data collection practices - including whether their privacy policies are accurate."

David Jernigan, associate professor at Baltimore's famed Johns Hopkins Hospital, says the study raises troubling issues. "Internet marketing immerses the audience in a world that has a single message - and the message in this case is: It's good to drink."

It's a theme Jernigan believes should be independently challenged: "We need the FTC to use its power and, failing that, for the state attorneys general to use their power to start inquiring about what the industry is doing."

Meantime, the booze industry's loins are girded to contest this latest challenge to its members' constitutional right to screw a few billion more bucks from the US public.

Self-regulatory group The Distilled Spirits Council of the US insists that its member companies "adhere to a rigorous set of content and placement guidelines for advertising and marketing materials in all media including online and digital communications channels."

It also claims that the industry's "longstanding commitment to responsible advertising regardless of the medium has been commended by the FTC and industry watchdogs."

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=5188

Diabetes Experts Tell UK Government to Impose 'Total Ban' on Child-Targeted Junk Food Ads

Addressing the Royal College of Physicians' conference in Edinburgh, Dr Scott Ramsey led a demand by over one hundred diabetes experts that the UK government impose a "total ban" on all forms of "unhealthy" food ads that target children. The physicians argue that current restrictions on TV advertising during children's programmes should be extended to all media, including newspapers, magazines online and billboards.

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

Said Dr Ramsey: "Rates of obesity and diabetes are continuing to increase at alarming rates and pose one of the most serious health challenges of this time. In response to this situation, diabetes experts from across the UK have come together to call on the Scottish and UK governments to demonstrate greater leadership in tackling this crisis.

"In particular we believe that ... this should involve tighter regulation of the food and drink industry and the extension of restrictions on 'less healthy' food and drink advertising in children's television programmes to all forms of advertising aimed at children."

According to the experts, preventing an increase in the number of youngsters who are obese would also cut the risk of more people developing Type 2 diabetes.

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

Source: mad.co.uk
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5186

US Newspaper Industry Lobbies for Copyright on 'Hot News'

According to an article in The Wall Street Journal by academic James Boyle, Professor of Law at Duke University Law School, US newspapers are lobbying the Federal Trade Commission for a new intellectual property right over so-called “hot news.” It is a legal right that extends far beyond copyright law to cover the facts of the news themselves - for as long as the story has immediate currency. European equivalents have also been proposed. 

[Estimated timeframe:2010 onward]

According to Professor Boyle: "The right has existed in US state common law since a 1918 case called International New Services v. Associated Press. The British government did not like the sceptical coverage of the First World War by US newspapers owned by Randolph Hearst (the real life Citizen Kane). It banned them from using the transatlantic cables to report the news – an early 20th century version of the Great Firewall of China. In the process, the British government conveyed an effective monopoly of European coverage on the Associated Press."

The Prof, however, has a healthy cynical take on this latest development: "Fast forward 90 years. The newspaper industry is struggling in the online world. You might think that it is not struggling because its content is being illicitly copied but because it has no good business model to make money off entirely licit, legal uses of its content. The momentary eyeball tracks across news pages just do not translate into enough subscriptions, advertisement clicks, or classified ad sales. You would be right."

He continues: "So the new right would have no effect on the real problem newspapers face. And it would give them almost no protection that they do not already have either through law or technology. What would it do? It would cast a pall of fear over free speech. Is my blog or twitter feed allowed to say that there has been an earthquake or that some political scandal has erupted? Or must I buy a license to say so? After all, in the new world bloggers are “competitors” as news sources.

"In fact, the right would produce all kinds of effects the newspapers have not thought about. They are assuming that this new right will only be wielded by them. Not so. Think of political activists who break a story – for example the young conservative filmmakers who produced devastating information on the operation of the organization ACORN. They are a news source. They might think it was a great idea selectively to decide which news organizations got to report that story, at least as long as it was “hot.” Does that sound attractive? I think not.

"And then think of the difficulties of proof, the possibility of chilling of speech by wrongly claiming to be its source. Implementation would be a nightmare.
So there it is. Our next bad idea. In some ways it shares many characteristics with other recent expansions of intellectual property law. It is unsupported by data and it has unintended and anti-competitive consequences. The sad difference is that newspapers truly do face a wrenching future and the debate over how to pay for high quality investigative journalism is an important one. Unfortunately, the hot news right would do nothing to help solve the real problems newspapers face.

"Instead, it would do much to impede the benign effects that the internet has on news gathering, and distribution and to chill the social media that will surely be part of the marketplace of ideas in the future. The negative effects of a new legal monopoly without even the benefits to the current market incumbents! Which is what makes the proposal all the more poignant."

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

Source: FT.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5185

Australian Government to Veto On-Pack Cigarette Branding in 2011

New laws to mandate plain packaging of cigarettes will be introduced within eighteen months, Australian Prime Minister Kevin Rudd said in Sydney this week. The abolition of on-pack branding is accompanies by an immediate rise in the cost of a 30-pack of cigarettes, up from A$14.50 [US$13.40] to around A$16.70. The global tobacco industry - including such titans as British American Tobacco and Philip Morris International - fear the anti-branding move is likely to spread to Europe and the USA.

[Estimated timeframe:Q2 2011-onward]

Australia will be the first nation to outlaw branding on cigarette packages, with premier Kevin Rudd stepping-up a forty-year  campaign to convince Australians of the risks associated with smoking - condemned as the nation's biggest preventable cause of disease and premature death.

Sales of tobacco products totaled A$10.9 billion in 2009, according to Australian government statistics. The proposed legislation will permit packaging to display only health warnings and basic product information.

“The big tobacco companies are going to go out there and whinge, whine, complain, consider every kind of legal action known to man - that’s par for the course,” Rudd warned in a press conference broadcast on Sky News. “We, the government, will not be intimidated by any big tobacco company.”

Fixed in Rudd's crosswires are London-based British American Tobacco, New York-headquartered Philip Morris and  Imperial Tobacco Group of Bristol, England.Their respective retail market shares Down Under are respectively estimated at 47%; 35%; and 18% [percentages rounded-up].

Imperial Tobacco may take legal action against governmental compulsion to sell its products in plain packaging, it warned in an emailed statement.

While BAT’s managing director for Australia David Crow took a different tack, expressing his concern for the welfare of Australia' youth: “As everyone knows, the criminal black market doesn’t pay taxes and doesn’t ask kids for ID,” he wrote in an email.


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

Source: Bloomberg.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5161

America's IAB Trials Targeted Ad Warning

With a view to fending-off possible privacy legislation the Interactive Advertising Bureau and the Network Advertising Initiative have jointly issued technical specifications for new behavioral targeting icons. The move is the online industry's  attempt to demonstrate that it has both the will and the ability to protect consumers' privacy.  The specs spell out how ad networks and other companies can use metadata tags that include details about who served particular ads and how to opt out of behavioral targeting.

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

According to Mike Zaneis, the IAB's vp of public policy, the release of technical specs marks a major step toward the industry-wide goal of providing consumers with clear notice of targeting techniques.

"We are beginning to revolutionize the way data is delivered to consumers for behavioral advertising," he says. "The entire industry will now provide real-time in-ad notice to consumers."

Although the industry groups have not yet released creative specs for the icons, they are expected to recommend that the warnings appear in the upper right-hand corner of ads. They will spell out how ad networks and other companies can use metadata tags that include details about who served particular ads and how to opt out of behavioral targeting.

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=5138

Murdoch on Confrontation Course With Google Over News Content

Addressing the National Press Club in Washington DC, Rupert Murdoch hurled NewsCorp shareholders' gauntlet at the feet of Google, heralding a battle that could out-hemorrhage Godzilla vs King Kong. At issue is Google's aggregation of newspaper content - a practice much to Mr Murdoch's distaste in that it fails to fatten his wallet. "We're going to stop Google and others from taking our content", averred the mogul in a speech to a Kalb Report Forum.He then laid out his wish list  ...

[Estimated timeframe:2010-onward]

Neither threats nor bluster are likely to cut much ice with Google - a company whose pockets are less deep [$21.8bn annual revenue in 2009] than NewsCorp's [$33bn] but whose current cashflow and future revenue prospects are a darn sight rosier.

Many believe the NewsCorp chairman will be squandering both time and stockholders' dollars if he attempts to reprise his previous attritional tactics with the Mountain View Mammoth. And he's cute enough to know that, unlike previous opponents, Google has the wherewithal to outlast him.

What Murdoch would like - really, really like - is for Google to "just publish our headline and a sentence or two" from an article plus "a subscription form for the Journal."

What, lesser mortals might term a "free plug".

Onlookers expect the media titans to eventually agree a pussycat quid pro quo.

Meantime, NewCorp's UK newspaper properties will erect their paywalls in June and its other Manhattan title, the tabloid New York Post is expected to follow suit shortly.

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

Source: MarketWatch.com
MTT insight URL: http://marketingtrendtracker.com/article.aspx?id=5122

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