“People love choice, but hate to choose”

This week was the third LetsGoConnected Brussels and this humble blogger had the honour of hosting it. It is a digital media event, and while Netopia’s focus is broader, digital media is a perfect illustration of where some of the challenges and conflicts line are online (plus it’s my background, which makes things easier). Digital media has been very much in focus in the past month. A silly Hollywood comedy leaked in a hacker attack started an international crisis involving the world’s last Communist dictator and the leader of the free world. Terrorists use digital channels, not only for cyberterrorism but also for spreading their terror in social media. And that terror became very real for our colleagues at Charlie Hebdo – when we say “Je suis Charlie” we express our sympathy with the victims and their families, but we also take a stand for freedom of expression. The pen is mightier than the sword. The sword knows this and keeps trying to kill the pen over it. This is true in this digital age, as ever.

So there are many reasons, good, bad and ugly, to look at digital media. The Juncker Commission has made it its first priority to fix jobs and growth in Europe and a key part of its plan is the “digital single market”. There can be many definitions of what this DSM entails exactly, but a lot of the conversation focuses on copyright, and particularly on territorial licenses and portability of services. This is of course too narrow, a digital single market must also take into account such issues as infrastructure, spectrum access, marketing regulation, protection of minors, competition law, payment services, local language adaptation, sales tax, consumer protection and probably dozens of other factors. The European Commission is of course aware that the issue is broader than copyright, but the discussion keeps coming back to that particular topic (and especially that eurocrat headache of not being able to access the home country’s content services). Many LGC-speakers stressed the importance of local quality content for reasons of both business and cultural diversity. One speaker stressed that local television series in Central and Eastern Europe beat global hit shows like Game of Thrones. Whichever way the DSM is implemented, it needs to be set up in a way that doesn’t undermine the possibility to fund this local content is what Netopia takes away from the panels. Author Andrew keen gave a thought-provoking keynote based on his new book The Internet Is Not the Answer, which Netopia will cover in a separate post.

Lastly, this brilliant quote by RTL Nederland’s digital manager Arno Otto was the thought of the day (on success factors for digital entertainment services): “People love choice, but hate to choose”

UPDATE: Video from seminar now available at https://www.letsgoconnected.eu/brussels-2015/