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Monthly archives for September, 2019

Why the Media Sector is Growing in the Isle of Man

A Global Growth Industry

Enabled by ubiquitous connectivity and English having become the Lingua Franca, we witness an unseen growth of the global media and entertainment industry. Fueled by US investment, the United Kingdom’s Creative Industries have outpaced all other British sectors, with its jobs base having grown by 30.6% between 2011 and 2018 according to Department for Digital, Culture, Media and Sports DCMS. Similarly, the Republic of Ireland has set an ambitious goal to double the employment of the Irish audio-visual and animation sector within the next five years.

Neither are creative jobs in our sector threatened by automation, nor will Brexit impact the British audio-visual industry* which is poised to grow by overseas investment and the need of UK broadcasters to ramp up content acquisition, production and their technical platforms. The technological revolution due to streaming, cloudification and digital profiling of the consumer is pushed by a myriad of new media tech companies, with the next economic cycle of consolidation in a few years providing great exit opportunities for today’s startups.

*From an Isle of Man point of view the potential loss of EU passporting rights of largely London based EU broadcasters is unrelated to the Isle of Man positioning.

Last year the Isle of Man saw more than 20 new media companies being founded with 10 being operative by now. The first eight months of 2019 we are proud to report another 8 new media companies increasing employment. With dozens of enquiries of interested media companies exploring the Isle of Man their potential operations hub, we are not short of further growth opportunities.

 

Comprehensive Value Chain

First Pillar: Content Creation

BBC Top Gear filming on the Isle of Man

The Island already features a wide-ranging supply chain for global media companies. Often and wrongly abridged to film production only, the media sector is by far broader. But let’s start with the ‘Content Creation’ side. The Isle of Man prides itself for its heritage in more than 100 films being produced, largely for theatrical release. Today’s setup has already shifted towards a more television and commercial video-centric production base. We are more than 20 production and post-production companies now, supported by casting and talent agencies, prop stores, drone operators, training & education. Actors and professional vloggers from abroad have made the Island their home.

Actiphons, Animation Explainers, Ballaskeig Films, Bloom Creative, Blue Olive, CG AerialFilms, Cooil Creatives, Cool Edit Production, DAM Production, Dark Avenue Film, Duke, EDITIOM, Ex-Isle Casting, Flix Facilities, FormatZone, Glass Line Media, Global Motorsports Ventures / Pilgrim Media Group, Greenlight TV, Greybox Media, Halycone Studios, IOM Props and Film Services, Island Media Studios, LovelyGreens, Mannimation, Open Water Films, Parker & Snell, Pomenia World, Studio @ The Nunnery, Talon Media, Visual Picnic, Your Movie Crew

 

Second Pillar: Rights Distribution and Advertising

With several commercial rights distribution companies and an international media buying ad agency, this layer of the supply chain is the second pillar for the Isle of Man sector. Also, global video platform operators have setup holdings on the Isle of Man for their global assets. Content creation and rights distribution both are clustered around Motorsports, a rapidly growing number of Animation companies, Video Commercials and Nature/Health/Lifestyle.

Ayngaran International, Beckmann Visual, Duke Video / Motorsport Network, EROS International, Greenlight International, Heroes & Friends, MediaTech Advertising, Motorsport Mundial

 

Third Pillar: Video Technology & Delivery, Broadcasting

The third leg of the Island’s burgeoning media landscape is its video technology and broadcasting sector. Our audio-visual tech sector had recently been joined by a film camera stabilization platform manufacturer, an underwater film drone developer, a channel launch and playout service provider and a Video-on-Demand Platform for classic movies.

Last but not least we enjoy three indigenous radio stations, including the National Public Broadcaster Manx Radio, the first ever commercially licensed radio in the British Isles, plus presences of the BBC and ITV and local video journalists operating their own platforms.

3FM, BBC, CG AerialFilms, CleerVu, EnergyFM, ITV, grq consulting, Immortalize TV, Launch TV, Manx Radio, MK-VR, PMC Television, mt.tv, SES Satellites, UniqueX, Waterbear Network

As Isle of Media, we do encourage, facilitate and witness now a growing cooperation between all three layers of the media supply chain, may it be content creators we introduce to rights buyers and distributors or ad agencies, content owners introduced to opportunities in video on demand opportunities for ship crew welfare, live broadcasts including the TT facilitated via satellite and fibre end-to-end by local companies, or an award-winning multi-jurisdictional production company shooting a documentary about the Isle of Man Beach Buddies.

 

Connectivity

Isle of Man links to global satellite and fibre content delivery network

On top of being ‘super-connected’ with five submarine cables on diverse routes to Britain and Northern Ireland, with two additional connections to Dublin and Blackpool (Manchester) in construction, the Isle of Man features a multi-million teleport for broadcast uplinks, a standing telecommunication infrastructure for live playout via 24/7 operational MPLS fibres circuits to London and satellite in parallel, a cinema content delivery service operator and six Tier III data centres. If you want to link globally to any broadcaster or distribute cinema content to 2,500 cinemas in Europe and South Africa, the Isle of Man connects you as easy as to the Big Three Public Cloud providers in London and Dublin.

 

Talent & Education

Royal Television Society Centre Isle of Man

Victim of its own success, the Isle of Man enjoys an ultra-low unemployment rate of less than one percent. Talent is a scarce resource in most industries, but less a problem for the creative sector. While on the one side we still can built on the talent of the Island’s former film-centric sector inherited, talent is used to be generally mobile in the content production industry, taking on engagements which last from several months to many years. Further on import of talent is financially supported by the Isle of Man government with a bounty for employers and a National Insurance Holiday Incentive for the recruit.

Research in the Island’s population challenges ranks both, ‘Film & Animation’ as well as ‘Tech’ into the Top-8 of Isle of Man graduates most attractive career options to motivate them to move back to the Isle of Man.

The University College Isle of Man UCM and private initiatives produce home grown talent as well. The vibrant short film scene on the Island, supported further by the Art’s Council, creates the entry ticket of young talent to the sector. Isle of Media is a Patron of the Royal Television Society RTS, an educational charity for the broadcast sector with an own RTS Isle of Man Centre, offering information, industry insights and networking on the career ladder.

 

Lifestyle & Location

Centered right in the middle between the film hubs of Liverpool, Belfast and Dublin with their never-enough-studio capacity, and Manchester Media City and upcoming Leeds as broadcast hubs, the Isle of Man offers a natural business and lifestyle alternative to its overcrowded neighbors. A more laid-back country-lifestyle and one of the best work life-balances you can find in the British Isles, the Isle of Man is never far away from any major UK city by its dense flight connection network.

Used to serve as a diverse film shooting location, the Island has been often described by producers as a ‘mini UK within 32 miles’ due to its varying landscape and architecture, ranging from Scottish Highlands, to West Coast sand dunes, Welsh coal mines, English gardens and sea resorts, Victorian railways, Viking burials and Neolithic tombs. The hills, glens, beaches and bays provide a great environment for those who love the outdoors and sports.

Last but not least, the famous TT race course, especially the iconic mountain course, still serves for many car and bike commercials, or for a quick commute to work.

 

Offshore Benefits in Taxation & Investment

A global finance centre, the Isle of Man is Europe’s unique Offshore Media Hub. You probably need to look as far away as the Media City in Dubai, hence outside Europe, to find another offshore jurisdiction actively attracting the media industry.

In the Isle of Man, residents enjoy low taxes; pay NO Capital Gains Tax, NO Inheritance Tax, and NO Stamp Duty. With ZERO corporate tax and NO capital gains tax, the Isle of Man caters for high-profit companies, headquarters and media holdings as well as startups with an aggressive growth path and intention to exit.

Low income tax of just 20% and a tax cap of £175,000 for an individual and £350,000 for a jointly assessed couple, plus a Key Employee Concession program make the Isle of Man very attractive for entrepreneur and top executives.

The lack of withholding taxes on the Isle of Man is especially attractive for the commissioning and distribution of media IP.

As there is no corporate tax, the Island does not offer a ‘film tax relief’ like the UK or Ireland do for financing drama or high-end documentaries. But there are many other genres like TV shows, sport productions, or video commercials which nowhere else are eligible for any tax relief either. This part of the ‘Content Creation’ layer in the media supply chain clearly benefits from the Isle of Man tax regime as do the other two pillars of the media sector, rights distribution & advertising and video technology & broadcasting.

On the contrary to offering film tax relief to one-off productions, the Island offers financial support in grants to Island based media businesses.

Finally, for big ticket items, the Isle of Man and Channel Islands based International Stock Exchange TISE offers listings and bonds for international business like it provided Netflix with a €1.3 billion bond.

 

Professional Team

Compared to other regional film boards, Isle of Media’s remit as an inward investment agency for the whole media sector is much wider. It is operated by ‘Media Natives’, bringing decades of executive experience in the broadcasting, content creation, commissioning, distribution, gaming and investment together, RTS and BAFTA awards included. Our global C-level advisory board features as prominent figures as the ‘father’ and previous president of Discovery Networks, the former head of the European Broadcast Union, the founder and CEO of ZDF acquired OffTheFence, the Chief Executive of the film charity Cinemagic, the chairman of the media industry research agency and publishing house C21, the director of the Celtic Media Festival and directors from KPMG and wealth management company Dixcart.

 

You can meet our executives and advisors regularly at MIPCOM, MipTV, Sportel, IBC, the Celtic Media Festival or at TV Connect. If you don’t want to wait are interested in joining Europe’s only offshore media hub, arrange a meeting! Email: info@34.77.144.24

Isle of Media:

Isle of Media is the national development agency for the thriving Isle of Man video, broadcast and film sector. Driving inward investment in Digital Media and foster the indigenous industry and talent, we provide pro-bono advice to develop your next media project on the Isle of Man.

We promote the Island’s excellent capabilities in financing and growing media ventures, its stunning filming locations, its exceptional talent and world class telecommunications infrastructure, we support and attract the whole industry supply chain: production, post-production, global distributors, ad agencies, consultancies, OTT operators and satellite broadcasters.

IBC 2019 Trends – Our Takeaway from the largest Broadcast Tech Trade Show

The world’s most influential media, entertainment and technology show, the International Broadcast Convention or – IBC – attracts managers and nerds from the broadcast and media industries for the yearly pilgrimage to Amsterdam. So were we, from the Isle of Man.

Owned by a partnership of six industry associations including the Royal Television Society, which Isle of Media is a proud patron of, IBC is the ideal platform to interact and discover the latest trends. 15 themed halls present all the big names and challenger brands of the entire broadcast-video value chain: From ‘Capturing’, ‘Studio Tech’, ‘Post Production’, ‘Cloud & CDN Providers’, ‘Content & Communications Infrastructure’, to ‘Streaming Platforms’. From AWS to Zeiss, from linear TV broadcasters to the big boys from FAANGS, the whole who-is-who of the broadcast world flocks to Amsterdam.

We take a look behind all the marketing hype to figure out what the industry trends driving the fourth industrial revolution really are.

#Convergence of Telecom and Media

IBC Content Everywhere Hub Panel Discussion with Steve Russell, Simon Eldridge and Bill Gash

As media and telecom companies push into video streaming and telcos are desperate to improve their low margins, gone are the days when content owners and broadcasters ran their bespoke distribution networks and co-existing telcos provided voicecom and broadband only. In an unseen deal frenzy companies like AT&T, Comcast, Disney, Hasbro, MGM, etc. are snapping up competitors. Telcos are bundling in TV subscriptions, and TV networks offer broadband deals. Boundaries have blurred and even vanished as content producers and owners, supposed to understand the emotional side of the consumers best, discover that they are depending on the tech companies to get access to the hard data of their clients. Rightly, IBC dedicated an own ‘TM Forum’ for this, the Media-Telecom Catalyst Programme.

#Cloudification

Hurray we have a new hashtag! #Virtualization is out. Seriously, there is no way to avoid a cloud-based operation, may it be in the private or public cloud or in a hybrid architecture. Cloud native applications are a must for performance and cost reasons. The entire playout with encoding, transcoding, scheduling, ingest, encryption and watermarking has been moved to the cloud. Now a new TV channel can be launched within a day on multiple platforms, opening even the possibility for pop-up channels for events. Already a trend a previous IBCs, cloudification is still growing.

Some say prospects are cloudy for the cloud operators themselves, with 5G enabling to bring computing to where it is needed. Rather than using remote data centres far away, most processing of data and AI inference will move to the edge. This could be a huge opportunity for wireless carriers and a threat for the dominant cloud-computing players, whose facilities will be primarily used for storage and running longer computational tasks. Like with the previously mentioned convergence of telecom and media, also here the cloud operators need to team up with the carriers, in order not to be left out of the burgeoning edge market. Longer term, the pendulum might swing back as quantum computing will emerge first in the cloud. The race is on.

#5G

Huawei’s View on 5G Video in the Cloud

Honestly, where is the killer application? It might be mobile gaming or IoT. But on the video and broadcast side of things it’s a nice-to-have, not a must-have. Is it? NTT, the world’s fourth largest telco, who is involved in the Isle of Man TT, presented 5G network slicing. This network architecture enables the multiplexing of virtualized and independent logical networks on the same physical network infrastructure with different SLAs. Tour de France acts as the test case.

Rhode & Schwarz showcased their 5G Broadcast transmission, fully compliant with 3GPP release 14 (= Further evolved Multimedia Broadcast Multicast Service  – FeMBMS). The company is researching large-scale TV broadcasts in FeMBMS mode using high-power high-tower transmitters. FeMBMS enables up to 100% of the network’s capacity to be dedicated to broadcast services. Some analysts have pitched 5G as a potential disruption and threat to classical distribution methods by cable, satellite, terrestrial TV or now fibre broadband. We think this is a wild exaggeration. 5G will just add to the multi-platform distribution options for the consumer.

#8K

Another slow burner, 8K resolution, is now supported by the first TV sets. Shipments for 8K TV sets are expected to be just 0.1% this year, forecasted to grow to 2% by 2023. Transforming the legacy content production chain into 8K will take further time but the 8K kit is now available at affordable price points.But 8K screens as shown by Sony are phenomenal.

#VR

We saw virtually nothing. VR appears to be almost as ‘Dead in a Ditch’ as the former hype about 3D television. Of course, there are niches like in gaming and adult content, but for television and cinema, VR lacks content and storytelling techniques. It just hasn’t taken off. Similar with 360-video. Two years ago at IBC still a trend, it went rather silent. But the headsets are getting better as the 11k VR tech shows.

You wonna bet on something cool that works commercially? Take #AR. Adobe, Amazon, Apple, Alphabet all are heavily investing in.

#AI #ML

Already @ IBC 2018 every piece of software seemed to be labeled as AI for marketing reasons. But statistical analysis and deterministic algorithms are not machine learning. Still a few projects stood out from the crowd. AI for ‘Regulatory Compliance’ identification of on-air content using visual analysis was one of those. Regulators, cautious about controlling the video content surge, want to make sure that there is a safe and appropriate version for the vulnerable. But also scaring, this technology is per-destined to be used for censorship.

#RemoteProduction

Nothing really new, but remote production has become a maturing trend to re-locate the event coverage content production back into the cost-efficient studio. No need to send out that much personal and vehicles any more, as logging, editing, commentary and graphic design are done back in a central production hub. The OB van has gone virtual. A couple of such systems were on display at IBC. Connectivity is central to this concept. It is no wonder that the production company NEP bought an event connectivity provider SIS LIVE last year. With the efficiency gains it is now possible to produce more coverage of the smallest local events. Just announced this week, BT Sports, using remote production, can increase now dramatically its live coverage of small events like the Vanarama National League, the fifth tier of the English football league system.

Affordable Studio from Aximmetry

As a general trend, costs are coming down everywhere. Good cameras are getting cheaper but cheap cameras are getting really good. From slow motion kit like Kron to the Z Cam. Incidentally both of these co’s are Kickstarter funded. A full micro-studio with camera, graphics PC, greenscreen and lights comes at less than €3,900.

#CMAF

The last barrier for streaming Live Sports & Events has fallen. Low latency streaming was one of the key trends at this year IBC. Now Live OTT can be delivered as fast as on cable, terrestrial or satellite TV broadcast. AWS, Akamai, broadpeak, Harmonic, Limelight, SES etc., they all presented low latency streaming based on ‘Chunked CMAF’. A classical HTTP transmission of video like with HLS or DASH typically causes latency of between 30 and 90 seconds due to sequential buffering of multiple media delivery chunks. CMAF (MPEG Common Media Application Format) as a new standard and its Low Latency Chunk (LLC) option, enable live streaming using microchunks of about just 100ms.

SES Satellites displaying a live demo of Satellite and OTT in sync at IBC2019

Low latency encoding plays another key role. This approach reduces the delay of an OTT distribution down to ca. 5 seconds. While many company booths just saw a ‘recorded’ demo, SES Satellites set the benchmark not just by a live demo of low latency streaming, but by a unique service of OTT and satellite broadcast being actually in sync. Welcome to the new world of hybrid video distribution! Now most of the required components for the next gen media operations are available – lets go for it!

#Disruption

Michelle Munson, CEO and Founder Eluvio

Nowadays you try to avoid the buzz word ‘disruption’. But the new Californian startup Eluvio has given a dramatic debut of its new, content-centric network approach for video distribution, that if successful, will redefine the media supply chain. Eliminating transcoding and CDNs, the radical streamlining of the traditional media distribution workflow reduces costs by minimizing core bandwidth and storage needs. With no need to create additional copies of files used in networks or for storage, Eluvio’s propriety architecture uses a novel representation of media and data protocol implemented in a blockchain network to create a direct-to-consumer media distribution network.

One of the first users publicly announced is MGM, which is using the Eluvio Content Fabric for global streaming to web, mobile and TVE audiences. Run by CEO Michelle Munson and Serban Simu, the founders of Aspera and inventors of the FASP fast file transport protocol, the creators of Eluvio are no newcomers. If you have shares in a CDN like Akamai, you may want to reconsider your investment. We will observe this promising new technology.

#eSports

Another takeaway from IBC 2019 is that eSports is going to stay in the TV market, outside their native presence in PC based world of Twitch, YouTube Gaming or Mixer. And obviously the content production workflow for an Overwatch or League of Legends tournament is similar to other (sport) events. With a full day dedicated to eSports, live gaming and live production on display, IBC has made a massive statement that this is part of the media sector.

#ClimateChange

The debate about the fundamental role of PSBs in the age of #FakeNews continued at IBC 2019, including the topic of Climate Change. Also, sustainability is an opportunity and corporates want to tell their PR story in this space.

Isle of Media advisor Ellen Windemuth, was IBC panel speaker on ‘Creating Content for Environmental Change’. Ellen, known as founder and CEO of the ‘Off the Fence’, a non-fiction production and distribution of global scale and reach, was in Amsterdam to speak about her new venture ‘WaterBear Networks’, an interactive video-on-demand platform dedicated to the Planet. WaterBear has produced a new series including a feature of the Isle of Man Beach Buddies. The video has been shortlisted for the Good Natured: Conservation Optimism short film festival. It showcases the positive influence the Beach Buddies have on the wider community, and the fun they all have in the process, increasing community spirit, general wellbeing and depolluting the beautiful beaches with this UNESCO Biosphere. Ellen was recently presented with Wildscreen’s Christopher Parson’s Outstanding Achievement Awards.

 

Isle of Man Engagement at IBC

Isle of Media Advisor Dr Frank Hoffmann, Senior VP Video Strategy SES, and Isle of Media Chairman Dr Richard Arning

With circa 55,000 visitors and 1,700 exhibitors, IBC together with the NAB in Vegas, is the world’s leading trade show on tech side of the media sector. 200 new companies have joined IBC this year for the first time. The Isle of Man and Isle of Media team had been greatly represented in Amsterdam with two of our board directors, two of our advisors, a team member and four companies with a presence in the island: CG Arial Films, CleerVu, Greenlight TV and SES Satellites.

Meet us next year at IBC 2020, or if you don’t want to wait are interested in joining Europe’s only offshore media hub, home of the famous Isle of Man TT, arrange a meeting! Email: info@34.77.144.24

 

Isle of Media

Isle of Media is the national development agency for the thriving Isle of Man video, broadcast and film sector. Set up as a not-for-profit Public Private Partnership with the Isle of Man Government to drive inward investment in Digital Media and foster the indigenous industry and talent, we provide pro-bono advice to develop your next media project on the Isle of Man.

We promote the Island’s excellent capabilities in financing and growing media ventures, its stunning filming locations, its exceptional talent and world class telecommunications infrastructure, we support and attract the whole industry supply chain: production, post-production, global distributors, ad agencies, consultancies, OTT operators and satellite broadcasters.

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