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Piracy row hits BBC deals (Read 962 times)
Steve
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Piracy row hits BBC deals
Sep 16th, 2003, 8:12am
 
LOS ANGELES/LONDON (Hollywood Reporter) - Programming deals between the Hollywood studios and the BBC have virtually ground to a standstill in recent months because of a showdown over digital piracy, sources say.
 
"It's safe to say that this has held up talks," one top studio executive said. "To my knowledge, the BBC has only acquired one show since this began, and they were known to have been interested in a lot of Hollywood product this season."
 
A BBC spokesman said: "It is fair to say there has been some disquiet from the studios." But he insisted that new programme deals with Hollywood are "in the pipeline ... We have just got to the stage where we can announce them."
 
The problems began during the summer after the BBC decided to drop conditional access encryption and opt for in-the-clear, unencrypted broadcasting that could leave programming vulnerable to digital piracy.
 
The problem for the studios is that existing programme supply deals to the BBC have been for the United Kingdom only. The unencrypted signals put the studios' movies and series into the BBC's broadcast footprint that reaches into such major European territories as France, Spain, Germany and the Netherlands.
 
"It's one thing if you have an analogue signal that spills over, but with digital, a perfect copy can be created," one studio executive said. "This is an unencrypted digital signal without advertising breaks -- could it get any worse?"
 
No executives in Hollywood were prepared to go on the record, but most insisted that new business with the BBC is almost at a standstill until the problem can be solved.
 
Said one executive: "The BBC is a very important client, and it's something that we absolutely have a commitment to work out. But in the meantime, it remains a very, very serious situation that opens up a host of copyright, contract and potential piracy issues."
 
A BBC spokesman said: "We are working to try to resolve that (disquiet) in negotiations. These things take time, and we are trying to progress things as much as we can."
 
He had issues with the contention on the part of studio sources that new business with Hollywood has ground to a halt.
 
"There are all sorts of negotiations going on, and we are progressing some deals," he said. "It is in everyone's interests that this gets sorted out. The BBC has a huge audience that wants to see the great offerings that are available from around the world, and it would be a shame if they couldn't do that. It would also be a shame from the studios' point of view if they could not distribute those programmes."
 
 
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jrb333
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Re: Piracy row hits BBC deals
Reply #1 - Sep 16th, 2003, 10:55am
 
interesting read, thanks for the update.
 
rgds,  jrb333.
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dave.tv
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Re: Piracy row hits BBC deals
Reply #2 - Sep 16th, 2003, 5:34pm
 
i just get the feeling that this is dofo make or break for free 2 air sat telly i uk, if holywood holds out the beeb may fear 4 ratings which would eventually mean reencryption, sad.
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