In the News
New website smooths access to movies and TV online
In May 2013, the Motion Picture Association of America (MPAA) announced the launch of a new website, www.WheretoWatch.org, which allows audiences to get movies and TV shows easily, quickly and legally online. The website lists and categorizes the various services available, summarizing what each platform provides, the content available, how it is supported and the devices with which it is compatible.
Senator Chris Dodd, Chairman and CEO of the MPAA, underlined the importance of delivering content in new and creative ways in a media landscape that offers audiences unprecedented opportunities for viewing content. “Audiences want seamless access to film and TV shows. Our industry has listened, and we are now delivering more choices than ever before,” said Senator Dodd. “There have never been more ways to access movies and television legitimately online, and those platforms continue to grow and develop thanks in large part to a copyright system that encourages innovation, risk and growth. The companies I represent are committed to continuing to create and develop the best ways for audiences to enjoy the entertainment they love.”
The MPAA is a trade association that serves as the voice and advocate of the American motion picture, home video and television industries. Its members include Walt Disney Studios Motion Pictures, Paramount Pictures Corporation, Sony Pictures Entertainment Inc., Twentieth Century Fox Film Corporation, Universal City Studios LLC and Warner Bros. Entertainment Inc.
South America launches region’s first climate change think-tank
The first climate change think-tank in South America launched in Montevideo, Uruguay, in March 2013, reports Daniela Hirschfeld in SciDev.Net. The Regional Center for Climate Change and Decision-Making, a joint initiative by the Panama-based Avina Foundation (which promotes sustainable development in the region) and the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization (UNESCO), aims to help policymakers design tools tailored to local needs.
The Center’s programs will be implemented through a partnership program involving 10 universities and academic foundations from Argentina, Brazil, Chile, Paraguay and Uruguay. The first training event will take place in Uruguay in October 2013 and will provide an opportunity for decision-makers from various sectors and countries to discuss the latest trends in and knowledge about decision-making and climate change. A number of national and regional training courses tailored to specific local needs and designed to help put the latest development concepts and science into practice will then be rolled out in early 2014, according to Denise Gorfinkiel, Officer for Climate Change at the UNESCO Regional Office for Latin America and the Caribbean.
The initiative promises to generate “a critical mass of decision-makers who incorporate the complexity of climate change in their everyday decisions and develop new management tools,” notes Ramiro Fernández, Energy and Climate Change Director for Latin America at the Avina Foundation.
First revenue growth in 13 years for recorded music worldwide
The Recording Industry in Numbers report published by the International Federation of the Phonographic Industry (IFPI) offers insights into key trends in the recorded music market worldwide. The 2013 edition, released in April, reveals the increasing role of subscription services and growth in global recorded music trade revenue in 2012, driven in large part by growth of emerging markets. Key highlights of the report include:
- Growth of 0.2 percent in global recorded music trade revenue in 2012 – the first year of growth since 1999;
- The US remains the world’s largest music market;
- Digital channels account for 35 percent of industry trade revenue;
- Physical sales represent 57 percent of record companies’ income;
- Rapid growth in the use of music subscription services which, together with ad-supported streaming services, account for 20 percent of digital revenue globally and some 31 percent of all digital music revenue in Europe;
- Growth of emerging markets is supporting the industry’s recovery, with Brazil, India and Mexico witnessing growth rates, since 2008, of 24 percent, 42 percent and 17 percent, respectively;
- Demand for albums remains robust, with this format accounting for 56 percent of recorded music sales value;
- Revenue from music licensing is on the rise. Performance rights revenue (from broadcasts and public performances) grew faster than in any other sector in the recording industry in 2012, accounting for 6 percent of recorded music revenue, which rose to US$943 million in 2012, an increase of 9.4 percent.
Chinese pharma joins ranks to battle fake drugs in Africa
Guilin Pharmaceuticals, the world’s first producer of the World Health Organization (WHO)-prequalified antimalarial drug artesunate, has become the first Chinese company to adopt an sms-based drug verification system, allowing Nigerian consumers and patients to confirm the authenticity of the antimalarial treatments they purchase. The company recently joined the mPedigree Network, which brings together Africa’s major telecom operators and leading pharmaceutical industry associations and companies.
The mPedigree Network is designed “to empower African patients and consumers to protect themselves from the fatal effects of pharmaceutical counterfeiting, which kills nearly a million people a year and maims countless more, in vulnerable parts of the world,” the Network’s website notes. mPedigree (www.mpedigree.net and www.goldkeys.org) is a free and rapid means for customers to verify the authenticity of the drugs they purchase at the point of sale using a mobile phone. Purchasers scratch the drug packages they buy to reveal an identification code which they then send via text message to a toll-free number for an almost instantaneous response as to the legitimacy of the product. (“Dialing for Development: How mobile phones are transforming the lives of millions,”).
The service is expected eventually to expand across Africa. Bright Simons, founder of the mPedigree Network, told WIPO Magazine, "As has been the trend with trade in virtually all items, China has emerged as a major partner of Africa. Pharmaceuticals have been no different. Therefore, without the active participation of China in a program aiming to guarantee quality and authenticity in the pharmaceutical supply chain in Africa, there is seriously little chance of a comprehensive response emerging to the wanton infringement of intellectual property and, more importantly, patient rights on the continent. The entry of Guilin, and more recently Watson Global Pharma, into the mPedigree program consequently marks a fascinating watershed in the goal of empowering all Africans to insist on quality and authenticity."