MAJOR POLISH PIRATE SITE TAKEN DOWN

Police officers from Poland’s Central Bureau for Combatting Cybercrime (CBZC) have closed one of the largest pirate site in the country offering viewers movies and series.

According to the anti-piracy body Signal, last November CBZC arrested a 28-year-old man responsible for the technical service of the site, named Zaukaj.vip. Then in January it also detained the owner and originator of the site, with the 33-year-old man in addition being charged with fraud.

Commenting on the development, Piotr Wójtów from the Anti-Piracy Section at Canal+ Polska, a member of the Signal Association, which brings together broadcasters and distributors of video content in the fight against piracy, said: “Zalukaj.vip was one of the largest pirate websites disseminating movies and series. Its activity was based solely on the unlawful distribution of audiovisual content. This resulted in huge financial losses on the part of entities offering legal access to films and series in Poland.

“Joint actions of the victims and law enforcement authorities led to the closure of the website and the arrest of those responsible for its operation. This shows that the fight against piracy is taken seriously, and the people running such services must take into account the disclosure of their identity and the consequences”.

Teresa Wierzbowska, the president of Signal, meanwhile pointed out the inevitability of a penalty. She added that an additional warning for pirates should also be the verdict heard by the owner of another website, which was ordered by the court in Bialystok to pay over PLN47 million to copyright holders in 2021.

Signal points out that Zalukaj.vip was illegally disseminating video content since at least February 2020.

Source: broadbandtvnews.com

ANTI-PIRACY GROUP TAKES DOWN ANOTHER VIDEO-STREAMING SITE

The Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) said it has shut down an illegal video-streaming site that was racking up millions of monthly visits.

ACE, whose members include the major studios, said that Streamzz, an Ahlen, Germany-based global file hosting service, was drawing more than 7 million monthly visits to its ill-gotten streaming video gains, with the second most visits coming from the United States.

The site had been operating since 2019 and had hosted more than 15,000 TV show and 75,000 movies for illegal streaming, supplying more than 60 pirate websites, ACE said.

ACE said it got an assist in the takedown from member Constantin Film. “Piracy continues to undermine the legal market and the investment into new and exciting content,” Constantin executive VP Philipp Wohlfrom said.

“The shutdown of Streamzz is fresh proof that no one in the content piracy ecosystem — whether they’re a streaming service, video streaming host or anything in between — is above the law,” said Jan van Voorn, executive VP of the Motion Picture Association and head of ACE.

Source: nexttv.com

EUROPEAN BROADCASTERS PUSH FOR WIPO ANTI-PIRACY TREATY

European broadcasters, represented by the Association of Commercial Television and Video on Demand Services in Europe (ACT) and the European Broadcasting Union (EBU), have backed WIPO Member States to finalise the WIPO Broadcasting Organizations Treaty.

According to ACT and EBU, the treaty would harmonise the anti-piracy protections for broadcasters by setting minimum standards internationally as well as perform as an anti-piracy instrument to protect programming.

In a joint statement the pair commented, “Protecting broadcasting organizations from illegitimate actors has never been more important: global piracy significantly undermines the commercial value and exploitation of live and premium content. This content is a core pillar of media (re-)financing and remits, so they must be able to act quickly and efficiently to fight piracy worldwide.

“The Second Revised Draft Text for the WIPO Broadcasting Organizations Treaty (SCCR/43/3) is a balanced instrument aimed at protecting the programme-carrying signal. The revisions allow for a common understanding of the scope of protection and provide efficient tools to fight piracy, both on domestic and international levels.

They added, “the signatories are of the opinion that the Second Revised Draft Text for the WIPO Broadcasting Organizations Treaty covers the principles necessary for the legal protection of programme carrying signals; and, therefore, could serve as a basis for finalising the text of the WIPO Broadcasting Organizations Treaty in view of convening a Diplomatic Conference for the adoption of said treaty.”

ACT and EBU said European broadcasters will continue to support WIPO’s battle against piracy globally.

Source: digitaltveurope.com

THE EU’S DSA/DMA PACKAGE; THE DIGITAL SERVICES ACT (DSA); THE DIGITAL MARKETS ACT (DMA)

The EU’s DSA/DMA Package entered into force at the end of 2022. The Digital Services Act and Digital Markets Act aim to create a safer digital space where fundamental rights of users are protected and to establish a level playing field for businesses.

The Digital Services Act (DSA)

The DSA entered into force on November 16, 2022 in the EU. The Digital Services Act includes rules for online intermediary services, which millions of Europeans use every day. The obligations of different online players match their role, size and impact in the online ecosystem.

For the first time a common set of rules on intermediaries’ obligations and accountability across the single market will open up new opportunities to provide digital services across borders, while ensuring a high level of protection to all users, no matter where they live in the EU. The Digital Services Act significantly improves the mechanisms for the removal of illegal content and for the effective protection of users’ fundamental rights online, including the freedom of speech. It also creates a stronger public oversight of online platforms, in particular for platforms that reach more than 10% of the EU’s population.

Here are key ways, rights and obligations which are newly provided via the DSA:

1) Protecting us from dangerous goods and illegal content

Without DSA there would be no consistent flagging system for when you see illegal content, goods or services online. The DSA makes it easier for you to report illegal content, such as hate speech, and goods such as counterfeit products by introducing mandatory user-friendly flagging systems. According to the DSA, platforms need to process alerts in a timely and diligent manner and keep you updated and to provide you with clear information about whom you’re buying goods or services from online.

2) Helping us tackle cyber bullying

Cyber bullying and cyber violence are an increasing problem for children and adults alike. The DSA introduces stronger protections for people targeted by online harassment and bullying. This includes making sure any non-consensual private images and other abusive, illegal content that are shared can be quickly flagged by users.

3) Limiting targeted advertising

The DSA introduces transparency around advertising, making sure it is clearly labelled, and information is available about who is placing the ad and why you are seeing it. It also introduces a ban on certain types of advertising on online platforms, like advertising based on sensitive data categories including sexuality, religion or race, and a complete ban on targeted advertising of children based on their personal data.

4) Helping us to understand and challenge content moderation decisions

At the moment, if a platform decides to take down something you post, it is hard to contest that decision. The DSA will allow us to challenge platforms through an easy-to-use, free-of-charge complaint mechanism.

5) Simplifying terms and conditions

The DSA ensures that very large online platforms (those with over 45 million users in the EU) provide concise and unambiguous summaries of their terms and conditions, so we all know what we are accepting.

The Digital Markets Act (DMA)

The DMA entered into force on November 1, 2022 in the EU. The DMA aims to secure fairness in digital economy and establishes certain restrictions and obligations for big tech. The Digital Markets Act establishes a set of narrowly defined objective criteria for qualifying a large online platform as a so-called “gatekeeper”. This allows the DMA to remain well targeted to the problem that it aims to tackle as regards large, systemic online platforms. The DMA will be applicable as of beginning of May 2023. Within two months, companies providing core platform services will have to notify the Commission and provide all relevant information. The Commission will then have two months to adopt a decision designating a specific gatekeeper. The designated gatekeepers will have a maximum of six months after the Commission decision to ensure compliance with the obligations foreseen in the DMA.

Here are key ways, rights and obligations which are newly provided via the DMA:

1) Business users who depend on gatekeepers to offer their services in the single market will have a fairer business environment.

2) Innovators and technology start-ups will have new opportunities to compete and innovate in the online platform environment without having to comply with unfair terms and conditions limiting their development.

3) Consumers will have more and better services to choose from, more opportunities to switch their provider if they wish so, direct access to services, and fairer prices.

4) Gatekeepers will keep all opportunities to innovate and offer new services. They will simply not be allowed to use unfair practices towards the business users and customers that depend on them to gain an undue advantage.

The DMA and its main benefits for Users:

1) Empowered citizens and users

Today, platforms optimise the presentation of information to capture attention and drive revenue, but their users are often unaware of how their systems sort content and how platforms profile them. The manipulation of recommender systems and abuse of advertising systems can fuel dangerous disinformation and propagation of illegal content.

2) Quality digital services at lower price

The systemic role of a few online platforms affects the lives of billions of users and millions of companies in Europe. Some companies have a major impact on, control the access to, and are entrenched in digital markets. They can impose unfair take-it-or-leave-it conditions on both their business users and consumers.

PRIMA BOUGHT A MAJORITY IN THE REPRESENTATION OF IMPRESSION MEDIA

The Prima Group is now the holder of an 80% stake in Impression Media, which is mainly active in the online advertising market. It is already the owner of Media Club.

Prima Group has completed the acquisition of the media group Media Bohemia. It now holds an 80% stake in the online media agency Impression Media. This strengthens Prima’s Media Club representation in the field of online and programmatic advertising.

Impression Media represents more than 153 websites from all segments, which reach over 6.6 million users per month on the Czech market, and thus ranks among the top 3 players in the online advertising segment. Thanks to the acquisition, the Prima Group’s portfolio will also be expanded by the marketing agency Programmatic Media, which offers programmatic planning, web development and web analytics, social media marketing, PR communication, production and brand employment. The agreement also includes the websites Femina.cz, Autoweb.cz, Magazinzahrada.cz, Living.cz, which will be newly integrated into the Prima Group’s online editorial team.

“The Media Bohemia media group is optimizing its product portfolio and in the coming period will focus on the development of key brands such as Rádio Blaník, Hitrádio, Fajn rádio and Rock rádio and digital activities related to them,”

Miroslav Hrnko, CEO of Media Bohemia, explains.

“This is a strategic move by the Prima Group. Our sales agency Media Club is a market leader in the field of television and radio advertising. With the acquisition of Impression Media, we are significantly strengthening our online advertising business and will become one of the leading players on the Czech market. Thanks to our rich portfolio of websites, we can offer clients precise targeting of campaigns to a selected segment,”

says Vladimír Pořízek, Commercial Director of Prima Group.

Impression Media will be newly incorporated under the Media Club commercial representation and will continue to provide the same services to its clients as before. Roman Stolejda will remain the company’s managing director, who will be joined in the position by Petr Hatlapatka, commercial director of Media Club’s online division. As part of the acquisition, the 40-strong team will be relocated to the Prima Group address. Roman Stolejda (13%) and David Bauckmann (7%) remain minority shareholders in the company.

Petr Miláček, director of analysis at the Prima Group, will join Programmatic Media’s executive team and will focus on the company’s development in the area of media planning. “We would like to offer smaller clients who do not have their own media agency a full service, including media planning and campaign implementation. That is why we will take advantage of Petr Miláček’s extensive experience and plan to strengthen this area,” adds Vladimír Pořízek.

Media Club was established in 2013 and represents the Prima Group in advertising sales on nine TV channels (Prima, CNN Prima News, Prima Cool, Prima Max, Prima Krimi, Prima Love, Prima Zoom, Prima Show and Prima Star), as well as in the Prima Group’s online projects, print magazines, public events and esports in conjunction with PLAYzone. Media Club also continues to represent the music stations of the Óčko group, the channels of the Barrandov group, the Paramount Network, the children’s channel Nickelodeon and Nick Jr. and the channels represented by Atmedia Czech. Among radio stations, it represents Impuls radio, Europe 2, Frekvenci 1, Radio Kiss, Radio Beat, Country Radio, Signal Radio, Radio SPIN, Radio 1, Rock Zone, Radio Bonton, Dance Radio and Český Impuls. Newly added to its portfolio are websites commercially represented by Impression Media.

Source: mediaguru.cz

HELLSPY IS DEFINITELY OUT. REFUND USERS

Hellspy, the internet data sharing platform, has decided to be closed as of next month. This is a direct response to the amendment to the copyright law, which has been in force since the beginning of this year. The creators have informed users of the service in an email, saying that they will be refunding their subscription money.

Hellspy, as one of the largest data sharing servers in the Czech Republic, has been a thorn in the side of copyright protectors for some time. On this portal, as well as on a number of other Internet storage sites, people have been sharing movies, music, games and illegal copies of various programs.

For example, Weemazz, a company that searches for and removes films and music from online repositories, said last year that requests are sent to operators every day to remove copies of thousands of copyrighted works.

While Hellspy promptly deleted the reported copies, illegal content was still abundant on the site. An agreement last September, when the I&Q Group – the operator of the Hellshare and Hellspy online repositories – agreed with representatives of commercial TV stations to deploy filters that would automatically search for and delete illegal content, did not help much.

Accountability for users
But the new year was a turning point, when the aforementioned amendment to the Czech Copyright Act following the European regulation came into force. According to the amendment, the operator essentially assumes responsibility for its users – it is responsible for what data users upload to the server.

Hellspy reacted to this by scrapping searches after the new year. No matter what terms you typed into the search box on its site, all you got was a message that the file you wanted could not be found.

Considering that this year the service was only available for downloads as part of a subscription fee or for credits that users earned by uploading data, the company lost a substantial amount of funding with the new year. That’s apparently why the company has decided to cut back on operations from the coming month.

It will return the money
“Due to the legislative situation in the Czech Republic and in order to make the Hellspy service as transparent as possible to its users, we would like to inform you that the Hellspy service will be discontinued on April 1, 2023,” the operators of the service wrote to their users.

People who have subscribed to the service for a longer period will not lose their money. “We also want to inform you of your entitlement to a pro-rata refund of your purchased unlimited download,” the email sent out reads. People can request a refund directly on the Hellspy.cz website.

Source: novinky.cz

VIEWERSHIP REMAINS SIMILAR TO THE PREVIOUS MONTH, ČT STRONGEST, NOVA AND PRIMA ARE STRENGTHENING

Czech television’s stations remained the strongest TVgroup in terms of audience share in the universal audience group over 15 years old in February. Their share in full-day broadcasting was 31.3 %. They also had the highest share in this audience group in prime time. This is shown by the official ATO-Nielsen Admosphere audience measurement data.

Nova Group stations remain strongest in the 15-54 audience group and narrowly so in the 15-69 audience category in both day and evening time slots.

Prima Group stations confirmed the second highest share in the universal 15+ group. This is true for both daytime and prime-time broadcasts.

The share of Czech Television stations decreased compared to the same month a year earlier. This is due to a decrease in the share of the sports channel CT Sport, which offered coverage of the Beijing Olympics last February and therefore had an above-average share last February. At the same time, it should also be taken into account that CT3 is not broadcasting this year. On the contrary, both main channels of CT – i.e. CT1 and CT2 – improved year-on-year.

The growth of the main commercial TV groups continued in the second month of this year. The Nova group gained 1.6 percentage points (the average for the target groups) in all-day broadcasting, with an increase of around 0.5 percentage points in prime time. Among the Group’s individual stations, the main channel Nova and the thematic stations Nova Gold, Nova Fun, Nova Lady and Nova Action improved year-on-year.

Prima Group stations also improved by more than one percentage point on average in all-day broadcasting. On the other hand, the group’s share in prime time decreased year-on-year. The Prima Krimi channel in particular improved year-on-year, followed by Prima Max, Prima Zoom, Prima Star and CNN Prima News.

Also noteworthy is the increase in the share of Atmedia and Television Seznam.

The most watched February programmes were the miniseries Docent (the most successful episode 2.19 million), the series Crime Scene České Budějovice (the most successful episode 1.6 million) and the film Prvok, Shampoo, Dot and Karel (1.5 million). All these programmes were broadcast by Czech Television in February.

Source: mediaguru.cz

HALF A MILLION PEOPLE PAY FOR VOYO. AND THEY DON’T WATCH ONLY ORDINACE ANYMORE, SAYS NOVA’S BOSS

In the last month alone, two more video libraries have been launched in the Czech Republic. Eight services are already competing over paying customers that will watch movies and TV series on their platform each month. Voyo, operated by Nova TV, has just reached 500,000 subscribers for the Czech Republic and Slovakia combined, and is estimated to be catching up with Netflix.

There are more reasons for this. The media company CME, which Voyo and Nova are a part of, was bought by the financial group PPF for almost CZK 50 billion a few years ago. In order to revive the dormant video library, it moved the most watched Nova series, Ordinace v růžové zahradě 2, to it. And she put media manager Daniel Grunt in charge of the video library. All this at a time when Czechs, shut in at home because of the pandemic, started paying more for films and TV series on the Internet.

With the media staggering from one crisis to the next, Grunt built Nova a business with estimated revenues of up to CZK 1 billion a year in two years. And while rival HBO has stopped making films and TV series in the Czech Republic due to cost-cutting, Voyo and Nova announced 46 new releases last week. “We are becoming the biggest video content creators on the Czech market,” Daniel Grunt now announces in an interview with Aktuálně.cz, his first as CEO of Nova. He became the new CEO in January, when, in light of the success of Voyo, he assumed the influential post of the head of the largest Czech commercial television, which had previously been held by Vladimír Železný and Petr Dvořák. He immediately replaced Klára Brachtlova and Jan Vlček, who moved to CME.

How many streaming services do you subscribe to?

We have Voyo at home, Netflix, HBO Max, Disney+, Eurosport, Amazon Prime Video and now newly Skyshowtime. Plus Spotify for music and Xbox Gold for games, so nine services.

In addition, people pay for newspapers and websites, ad-free YouTube, podcasts, video interviews, Twitter account verification, prospectively maybe translators or artificial intelligence. Isn’t that too much?

It is too much. And I don’t think we’re going to end up paying for ten services. It’s going to get overwhelming. In America today, people pay for an average of four video services per household. That’s going to be the ceiling. In the Czech Republic, we estimate that about one million households subscribe to an average of 1.5 services. I think it will go in a similar direction to Scandinavia, where local Viaplay has taken hold alongside multinational video services like Netflix and has some three million users. In Scandinavia, people pay for an average of 2.5 services per family, and somehow it will be the same in the Czech Republic.

Do you think that Czechs will pay for, say, multinational Netflix and local Voyo on top of that?

We are betting that one local player will succeed alongside the big players and that will be our Voyo. Video services like Netflix are aware of the importance of the local factor, but they lack the knowledge of the mentality, how people live here, what are the historical stories behind them, what they like. We tailor-make content for them with that experience. It’s not just in the Czech Republic and Slovakia, Voyo has already surpassed Netflix in Slovenia, which has two million people, and it’s the market leader there, and it’s taking off nicely in Romania. Just as you have Viaplay in Scandinavia, we have the chance to become the local leader for Central and Eastern Europe.

How did we even get to the stage where we are choosing from eight video libraries? For example, there have never been so many mobile operators in the Czech Republic.

I think covid was the tipping point that taught Czechs to pay for content on the internet, and now everyone is arguing over who the money ends up with. Of course, there used to be some number of Netflix users or people paying for games or in-game purchases on the App Store and Google Play.

The increasing penetration of smartphones with data plans, when it became terribly easy to buy something online, played a major role. But it was covid that made the difference. In the end, it doesn’t matter what one pays through. The hardest thing is to get a person who has never paid for anything on the internet to spend their first penny. Then it’s on.

You just announced that Voyo has 500,000 subscribers in the Czech Republic and Slovakia. Can we say that there are about 400,000 Czechs paying?

Let’s say you’re getting close to the truth.

Yet the service started in 2011 and has been stagnant for ten years?

In short: three years ago, investment group PPF bought CME, including Nova and Voyo, assessed that the media market would grow in terms of paying for content from viewers, set a target of getting one million subscribers for Voyo by 2025, and I was tasked with this as the new head of digital content.

It was a challenge for me. When I told my friends in the business about the ambition, they tapped their foreheads wondering if I was crazy that Voyo had a few tens of thousands of subscribers after ten years of existence. Two years into the pandemic and we’re a long way from there.

According to a study last year by Nielsen Admosphere, not only has the willingness of Czechs to pay online increased, but it is higher among people aged 15 to 24 than among older people. Are you taking this into account?

The most important group for Voyo is the 25 to 45 year old group, typically young families with children. It would be tempting to go after the youngest, who are already used to paying online, but Netflix is burning its brutally expensive series into them and we can’t compete with that. Also, this is a fairly low loyalty group, it goes where the content is right now.

What about the caveat that if you don’t enter the lives of Generation Z now and show them that you care about their issues too, you’ll never reach them again?

We do everything for Voyo with the ambition of picking up a million subscribers, we can’t afford to only go after such a narrow target group. But we try to meet them on social media like TikTok or Instagram so that they have an experience and insight into what they find with us. And in early March, we’ll be launching a series called Sex O’Clock, which is enjoyably cheeky and will be watched by teenagers and 50-somethings alike. I enjoyed it. And I’m sure my 15-year-old son will enjoy watching it too.

You’ve gained hundreds of thousands of subscribers at a time when the boom is over and households have started to cut back because of inflation and energy prices. So are the wealthier people paying for Voyo?

It’s a question of what you call richer, 159 crowns a month for a bill for the whole family is less than one cinema ticket. These are people who have a computer, a smart TV or a tablet, know how to use it and are interested in new things. The internet literacy evokes the young, but at the same time that group is expanding a lot, we have quite a few subscribers over 50.

How do you know that? When you sign up for Voyo, you don’t fill in your date of birth, your gender, or where you live.

We have surveys. We didn’t ask subscribers for more data because we needed to grow quickly, so we purposely removed any barriers they would encounter on the way to payment. We wanted to make it as simple as possible. For the same reason, we don’t give people multiple subscription types to choose from.

Would Voyo have half a million viewers if it wasn’t for Ordinace v růžové zahradě 2?

It’s hard to say, it certainly helped enormously. People have been watching Ordinace for 15 years on Nova. When we moved it to the internet, it was also a symbolic message to the market that we were serious and that Voyo would not be a superstructure. We risked losing a large part of our audience. But it brought a jump in subscribers, and there are still more coming for Ordinace.

900,000 people a week watched Ordinace, so by moving to Voyo you lost advertising revenue, so you were risking tens of millions of crowns a month?

Yes. And the costs remained because we continue to make the series in the same quality, with the same faces, in the same length.

The Nova Group earns over five billion crowns a year from TV advertising, more than half of the whole market. Will that figure fall as people move online?

It’s not so black and white. I don’t believe the majority of the population will watch either streaming services or TV, it’s more likely to be a mix. Today people spend about 3.5 hours a day in front of the TV, the same as before covid, but at the same time streaming services are growing. This means people are stealing from their free time and consuming more and more entertainment. At some point it will hit a ceiling and then it will be a matter of managing that audience distribution as effectively as possible. Which will be my main task. Unilaterally growing Voyo by devouring Nova TV is not the desired outcome. Although we make more money from Voyo subscribers than we do from TV advertising.

Daniel Grunt (47)
A native of Litoměřice, Daniel Grunt studied economics at the University of Agriculture. He started in 2002 as the head of marketing of the Centrum.cz portal. He first worked at the largest Czech commercial television station, Nova, between 2008 and 2010, when Petr Dvořák, the then director, appointed him director of Internet services.

In the past decade, Grunt spent eight years building up the digital activities of rival Prima, before returning to Nova TV in February 2021 as head of new media at CME Group to develop the Voyo video library.

Last month, he replaced Jan Vlček and Klára Brachtlová as the CEO of Nova. The station is owned by financial group PPF again from 2020, having acquired it for CZK 48 billion in the purchase of Central Media Enterprises, along with its television companies in Slovakia, Romania, Bulgaria and Slovenia. Voyo also wants to succeed in all these countries.

Source: magazin.aktualne.cz

DIGITAL CONTENT PIRACY IS ON THE RISE

Film and TV piracy increased in 2022 compared with the previous year, according to a research firm.

Digital piracy is on the rise and isn’t expected to slow down any time soon, according to a report from piracy-focused research firm MUSO that was published in Variety in early February.
In 2022, pirating films increased by about 39%, compared with 2021, while visits to piracy websites to watch TV shows rose by about 9%, the report said. Piracy is also expected to continue to rise throughout 2023.

“This trend continues to be a major issue for the industry, significantly impacting the revenues and livelihoods of all involved — particularly smaller, independent creators — and damaging the wider economy,” the report said.

In 2019, the US Chamber of Commerce’s Global Innovation Policy Center reported that piracy costs the US film and TV industry between $29 billion and $71 billion, annually.
MUSO attributes the rise in piracy to a few factors, including economic pressures. In 2022, many streaming platforms, like Netflix and Disney Plus, increased their prices. Netflix also announced that it would start cracking down on password sharing after it reported losing nearly 1 million subscribers in the second quarter.

A 2019 study by the New Zealand-based Vocus Group NZ found that making content cheaper and easier to access helps stop piracy, not new laws and regulations.
“These two options were by far ahead of other options, at 57 and 48 percent respectively,” Taryn Hamilton, consumer general manager at Vocus Group NZ, said. “Punitive measures, such as prosecution for pirates and censorship of pirate sites, were only thought likely to be effective by 33 and 22 percent of people, respectively.”

For more, check out how to save money on some streaming services and how the party’s over for streaming TV.

Source: cnet.com

TV RATINGS RETURNED TO PRE-PANDEMIC LEVEL

Czech viewers spent an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes in front of the screen every day last year. This was almost the same as before the onset of the covid-19 pandemic.

The average daily television audience time (ATS) in the Czech Republic has returned to the pre-pandemic covid-19 level in 2022, according to a comparison by Atmedia, which based its data on the Czech market on ATO-Nielsen Admosphere data and also compared the development of audience in four countries in the Central European region.

At the time of the pandemic (2020-201), TV viewership was above average. Slovakia experienced a similar trend to the Czech Republic last year. However, in Hungary, viewership continued to stay on the higher side, and in contrast, in Poland it fell below the 2019 figures.

“Television viewership not only in the Czech Republic will grow to record levels in 2020 and 2021. The reason for this was, of course, the global pandemic covid-19 and the associated measures against its spread. Watching TV was one of the most frequent activities people spent time doing at home,” says Pavel Müller, Head of Research & Marketing at Atmedia.

According to him, 2022 saw a return to normal in terms of TV viewing, with people devoting a similar amount of time to watching TV as in the years before the pandemic. Last year, Czech viewers aged four and over spent an average of 3 hours and 25 minutes a day in front of their TV screens, just one minute less than in 2019. In the adult target group 15+, TV viewing averaged 3 hours and 44 minutes a day, which in turn was two minutes more than in 2019. On average, 68% of Czech TV viewers, or 6.5 million people, turned on the TV daily last year.

The situation is similar in neighbouring states. An example is Poland, where TV viewing among 15-24 year olds has fallen below 1 hour per day, as in the Czech Republic. The exception is again Hungary, where not only older age groups watched more TV last year compared to 2019, but also viewers aged 15-24, for example.

Source: mediaguru.cz

ANTI-PIRACY COALITION SHUTS DOWN FRANCE’S SECOND MOST POPULAR ILLEGAL STREAMER

Anti-piracy coalition Alliance for Creativity and Entertainment (ACE) says it has shut down Extreme-down, which it says is France’s second most popular illegal streaming and direct download site.  

ACE said it had located the operator in Houmt Souk, Tunisia, contacted the operator who subsequently ceased  operations and transferred all domains to ACE. The domains now redirect to the “Watch Legally” page on the ACE website.  The service had more than 14 million visitors each month.

“Thanks to ACE’s rapidly expanding global network, we are in a better position than ever to act decisively against illegal piracy operators in all markets across the world,”

said Jan van Voorn, Executive Vice President and Global Content Protection Chief of the Motion Picture Association and Head of ACE. “Extreme-down offered a large library of TV series and movies in French and original versions; we counted more than 40,000 movies and TV series episodes affecting ACE members. That library is now closed.”

French premium television channel providers and ACE members CANAL+ and France Televisions worked closely with ACE and local authorities on this action.

“CANAL+ Group has fought content piracy for years and, as a member of ACE, we are particularly pleased with the takedown of this notorious illegal website,” said Celine Boyer, Global Head of Content Protection at CANAL+ Group. “The elimination of this website is a massive success for the protection of rights holders in French-speaking countries.”

“The damaging effects of piracy cannot be overstated, especially for a global public service media company like ours,” said Nathalie Bobineau, Senior Vice President of International Development for France Televisions. “We applaud the efforts of ACE in their fight to defend copyright and successfully close down a piracy operation of this magnitude. ACE is currently the only organization able to give powerful and efficient support to our relentless fight against piracy worldwide, and we will continue to work with ACE to combat illegal operations that threaten legal content creators.”

Source: www.tvtechnology.com

PRIMA+ RUNS ON ITS OWN PLATFORM, IT WOULD LIKE TO HAVE 600,000 USERS, BUT IT CAN HANDLE EVEN MORE

The video service launched on Wednesday last week, the “first impression” came out last Friday and now it’s time for a few questions about the implementation and other plans. In addition, the streaming service is the first one to come up with a so-called hybrid subscription offer combining a certain amount of advertising and a cheaper subscription. With this tariff, the Prima group is here earlier than the multinational streaming services, and it additionally begins literally at zero!

We informed you in detail about the new video service and especially about its content in a report from its launch in January (link below) and also in a recent first short introduction. The ambition of Prima+ is not to compete with established global video services, but to attract a specific Czech viewer.

Our questions are answered by Josef Beneš, director of VoD Prima, and Nguyen Hung, director of online technology development.

According to you, the platform on which the Prima+ video service is built is in-house. What led you to not reach for something already established? The Czech Republic, as with anti-virus programs, is a superpower in this respect.

NH: We have strategically divided the overall platform into functional units or components, in which we have prioritized sections that we have worked on with our internal team due to synergies with our TV broadcast. But at the same time, we also developed some solutions with external suppliers. For example, mobile apps, Smart TV apps and HbbTV.

Tell us, how scalable is your platform? For example, what is the optimal range of its use in terms of the overall number of users and the number of users using it at the same time?

The platform infrastructure is built on a global cloud solution so that we can flexibly respond to current needs while thinking about future product development.

What targets do you have set in terms of audience numbers?

JB: We don’t have fixed benchmarks, but we would like to have 500,000 users in the Free version where people can watch content for free. And ideally around 100,000 paying users. We estimate these numbers based on the number of ad-free iPrima user registrations and video rentals on iPrima.cz so far.

Will Prima+ expand to other countries?

JB: Our target is the Czech market, as the Prima group also targets the Czech viewer. The website primaplus.cz will of course be available abroad as well, but the app will only be available in the Czech Republic. The formats based on the original theme of the Prima group can be played by users from all over the world. Acquisition and licensing videos can only be watched in the Czech Republic.

Where did you get your inspiration for the user interface?

JB: We looked for inspiration at home and abroad. Our goal was to offer Czech viewers a modern and user-friendly interface that is easy to navigate for every member of the family. This is where multinational streaming services in particular have high standards.

Have the defects of most current VoDs been eliminated, such as language mutations that are not visible before you watch the show, or the total number of episodes for a new series not being shown one at a time?

JB: We are working hard on the availability of the language versions and they will be available in the coming weeks. A range of original languages with subtitles combined with dubbing will be available.

For original productions, will you go the “one episode a week” route or will you occasionally release everything at once?

JB: Like other streaming services, we have a different strategy each time we deploy Prima+ Originals premium formats. Whereas with Bodyguards (Bodyguardi) and Midnight Confession (Půlnoční zpověď), you’ll be able to watch all episodes at launch, with Seven Steps to Power (Sedm schodů k moci) we’ve decided to deploy two new premiere episodes a week for a month at a time.

The original Bodyguards series (Bodyguardi) is available to watch in its entirety right from the launch of the service.

Is Prima+ coming up with something special or outright unique within the user interface? For example, will they be able to filter shows by age, sound quality, etc.?

JB: What is unique is our “recommendation” system, which will offer content based on viewership, trending shows or user preferences, for each profile separately. The content offering will also be dynamically filtered by user account, differently for Free and Paid tariffs.

You talked about family profiles. Will it be possible to create a purely children’s profile? How do you ensure that content is filtered by age? Do you use domestic age limits, including 15+ and 18+, or do you rely on foreign or American ones?

JB: Each registered user can create up to five family personalized profiles with customized content recommendations. In the next phase of the site’s development, we definitely want to focus on safe viewing of shows for the little ones and ensure that children’s profiles are set up to allow children to view safe content.

Affordable subscription packages are a strong point of the new video service, and it even has a world premiere at that! Given the number of ads being aired, though, we’d guess that there will be more than a hundred thousand people interested in the paid service…

Is there anything else about your video platform that you’d like to highlight that hasn’t come up?

JB: We would definitely like to emphasize that Prima+ is the only flexible video service on the Czech market. It allows users to consume content based on a choice of three tariffs.

  • The basic Free offer, which allows access to the Prima Group’s video archive of programmes, is free. Registered users will also be able to watch live broadcasts of all Czech Prima Group stations. All in SD quality and with advertising.
  • The extended Light offer for CZK 99 per month will also offer users previews of their favourite shows and series up to seven days before the TV broadcast, more than two thousand Czech and foreign titles and exclusive Prima+ Originals content. And all this in HD quality and with half the volume of advertising.
  • The Premium tariff for CZK 149 per month includes the complete offer in Full HD quality and completely ad-free.

Each registered user can also create up to five family profiles with tailored content recommendations. It is also possible to register up to five devices in the home (Smart TV or HbbTV, phone, computer or tablet), and three Prima+ streams can be watched simultaneously.

Source: televizniweb.cz