Special Focus

Let’s go connected

Let’s Go Connected 1/13


European entrepreneurs and creative industries executives met in Brussels on May 8 to 10 to discuss opportunities and challenges in developing new business models for digital media. Vivendi was one of the initiators and organizers of this three-day event, together with Bertelsmann and NBCUniversal.

Some 200 people, including representatives from the European Commission and the European Parliament, as well as several Ministers of Culture and national MPs, took part in this unique live “think-thank”. Workshops and panel discussions looked at ways to tackle the multiple challenges the industry is facing: developing sustainable online businesses, meeting new consumer expectations, adjusting licensing practices to the online challenges, and rebalancing the fiscal level playing field for European digital players.

Try it out for yourself 2/13


More than 20 European startups showcased at Let’s Go Connected a wide range of legitimate and creative digital offers in the fields of music, film/television and publishing.

This diversity of offers is now a market reality: there is plenty of licensed digital content available to purchase or consume all over Europe today. IFPI counted some 550 legal, interactive music services across the 27 European member states, in addition to hundreds of ad-supported non-interactive webcasting services.

The European Audiovisual Observatory reports 264 licensed video-on-demand (VOD) services, not including the VOD services provided by pay-TV operators, free-to-air broadcasters, and VOD channels intended for a large audience on iTunes and other video-sharing sites.

Prominent visitors 3/13

Among the many prominent visitors sightseeing the exhibition and attending the workshops, Jean-Bernard Lévy, Chairman of the Management Board of Vivendi, and Neelie Kroes, Vice President of the European Commission and Digital Agenda Commissioner, spent time talking to the different entrepreneurs who launched legal services.

In his opening speech, Neelie Kroes said: “Here in Europe I’m pleased to say we already have the most important ingredient: content. That is what is at heart of all these new services and at the center of mu vision. European culture and creativity are perfectly able to deliver incredibly attractive talent.” Check the full speech here.

Jean-Bernard Lévy reminded participants that “the development of an ambitious digital Europe remains conditional upon the progress that must be made in relation to all the drivers of e-commerce: e-payment, the interoperability of services and terminals, and the deployment of very high speed internet.”

Jean-Bernard Lévy commented his visit to the Brussels forum on his blog: check it out here.

Vivendi’s businesses well represented 4/13

Vivendi’s different businesses were well represented at the exhibition. Universal Music Group (UMG) is now present, so to speak, everywhere in the digital ecosystem. Over the last 12 months it licensed 68 new online platforms in Europe – in total, it now has deals with over 415 platforms across the European Economic Area (EEA). Consequently, UMG content was in all online music offers showcased at the event. In addition, UMG took an active part in the discussions on licensing issues.

SFR presented its innovative box “neufbox Evolution” and a new interactive experience that this set-top-box provides. Its unique user interface working identically on multiple devices (TV, mobile, iPad, PC, …) with fluent 3D animations, ease of navigation and functionality, is much appreciated by its French customers.

“neufbox Evolution” also featured the unlimited video-on-demand subscription service “CanalPlay Infinity” successfully launched by Canal+ in November 2011 in partnership with SFR, and now available in France on several telecom platforms.

Business opportunities for European entrepreneurs 5/13

For its first panel session, Let’s Go Connected invited European entrepreneurs and creative industries CEOs to discuss the opportunities to develop new businesses in the digital environment.

Together with Axel Dauchez (Deezer), Laura Hicks (Spotify), Denis Ladegaillerie (Believe Digital), Luis Elias (Grupo Planeta), Johannes Studinger (UNI-MEI) and Ian Hudson (Random house), the panel explored how content industries are facing new digital challenges such as piracy and seeking how to leverage the opportunities offered by new media, social networks and interactive features. The group also discussed how European start-ups can build a successful business and address untapped potential of new usages and technologies.

Rising to the stars! 6/13

Let’s Go Connected is about digital content, and therefore about creation, talents and culture. The Danish band “Asteroids Galaxy Tour”, a BMG artist, honored the Danish European Presidency by entertaining the conference’s participants on the opening night.

Promoting cultural diversity is a real challenge in the digital environment. Its dynamism is closely linked to the ability to develop new, sustainable business models. This means effective action from regulators and policy makers to support the development of a dynamic legitimate marketplace for cultural content.

A report that says it all 7/13

A report published by Enders Analysis evidenced the existence of a considerable number of legal film, music and publishing online offers all over Europe. Says Claire Enders (talking on the picture with Jean-Bernard Lévy), from Enders Analysis, “From downloading to streaming services, from webcasting services to catch-up TV, it is remarkable how fast the internet has allowed entrepreneurship to flourish and cross borders”.

The report concludes that markets where anti-piracy action is undertaken offer greater commercial opportunities. Participants to the event stressed that action to combat piracy will enable the market for digital cultural products to reach its fullest potential.

The full report is available on http://letsgoconnected.eu/files/Lets_go_connected-Full_report.pdf.

Educate, promote, and invest in culture 8/13

Film director Radu Mihaileanu (The Concert, Live and Become) greeted the European Union Ministers of Culture and their representatives who joined a private reception held at Let’s Go Connected. A few hours earlier, they attended a Europeana Event taking place the same day in Brussels.

Radu Mihaileanu said: “The real challenge for the future, not just the next seven years, but decades to come is about intelligence and knowledge. How can we solve the crises if we can’t read and decode the subtle and complex nature of the world and that, for the last 20 years, we have the feeling to run after a train that does not stop at any station?”

He added: “In the audiovisual field, television has become the most important educational vector in the world. If we don’t support, even “at a loss”, this important investment for the education of youth, we will hit the wall. Americans understood it after the war: the audiovisual industry is the greatest economic ambassador. Through motion pictures, we support diversity in every sense of the term: economy, tourism, or our way of life.”

Supporting young talents 9/13

The Belgian pop artist Coco Royal cheered up the end of the second day of workshops. It is a perfect example of Universal Music Group’s diversity of talent portfolio. Coco Royal is about to release his first album with the Mercury label, after a series of live performances that helped him capture the public.

UMG is, rightly so, proud to keep its focus on creativity and talent development, despite the fierce crisis that impacted the music industry. It decided to maintain a label structure in a number of key territories to ensure the continued close focus on the development of artists, particularly local ones. It is present in 21 out of the EU’s 27 Member States as well as in Norway and Switzerland. It maintains local teams throughout Europe and its investment in promoting culturally diverse recording artists through local offices and labels. It provides all of them with lots of support and pay close attention to the development of their careers and to the commercial exploitation of their music.

Digital licensing 10/13

Robert Levine, journalist and author of Free Ride (third from the left), moderated a conference on digital licensing practices.

In fact, digital licensing models become increasingly important as the online market diversifies and matures. The discussion in Brussels focused on how innovative licensing schemes have evolved significantly as new business models have emerged, particularly with the development of subscription services in the music industry.

Echoing the Enders Study, Let’s Go Connected raised attention on the fact that actual market mechanisms are well adapted to the online environment and can meet the needs of both users and platforms.

A new Digital Pact for Europe 11/13


Another highlight of the event was the visit of the digital showcase by Michel Barnier, EU Commissioner for Internal market and services. He also attended a lunch with artists, creative industry professionals and two prominent representatives of national parliaments: Philippe Marini, President of the Finance Commission at the French Senate, and Paul Farelly, Member of Parliament for Newcastle-under-Lyme.

In a keynote speech opening the afternoon session, Michel Barnier explained that “our initiatives have one thing in common: they all aim for a clearer application of copyright rules by striking a good balance between providing the widest selection of works online and ensuring fair compensation for artists.” Michel Barnier’s full speech is available here.

Sylvie Forbin, Senior Vice President, Public and European Affairs from Vivendi and co-organizer of the event, argued: “What we need is to open the reflection on the responsibility and the accountability of all stakeholders as it is a key element to foster the development of a dynamic online marketplace in Europe”.

(On the picture, from left to right: Sylvie Forbin, Philippe Marini, Michel Barnier and Paul Farelly)

Tax fairness please! 12/13

The last panel session was dedicated to fiscal neutrality in the digital space. Tax rules were designed several years ago, without taking into consideration the huge economic impact of the e-commerce on the whole economy. Philippe Marini opened the discussion by setting the terms for a new tax framework, more adapted to the online environment. Jean-Marie Letort (Greenwich Consulting) and Olivier Bomsel (ParisTech Chair on Media and Brands) highlighted the challenges for the Member States to collect taxes from decentralized and often delocalized online players.

In his opening address to the event and on his blog, Jean-Bernard Lévy stressed this point. “European governments and institutions must redouble their efforts to develop an environment in which all economic players are treated on equal footing. Today, the major American online platforms are the only ones to be in a position to efficiently make use of the fiscal competition existing between Member States.”

More information 13/13

Check the event’s official web site: www.letsgoconnected.eu.

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