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Sky CEO Wants More Internet Regulation

29 Nov, 2017 By: Erik Gruenwedel

Sky CEO Jeremy Darroch

With the FCC likely voting to deregulate the Internet in the United States, in Europe, Jeremy Darroch, CEO of pay-TV operator Sky, wants more — not less — regulation on the Web.

Speaking Nov. 27 at a media conference in Tallin, Estonia, Darroch said traditional media distributors such as Sky — which is owned by 21st Century Fox — put considerable effort and resources into legally disseminating news, information and entertainment.

Yet, proliferation of social media, blogs and online distribution without traditional editorial checks and balances create enormous challenges, according to Darroch.

Specifically, the executive contends Sky’s regulated content and “socially responsible services” appear on the same devices and screens with un-regulated content.

“That is not good for our customers, it is not good for our industry and it is not good for our society,” Darroch said.

The executive believes the Internet has become an easy conduit for pirated content, including illegal video streams and downloads exploiting copyrighted content.

Sky believes scant regulation on the Web in Europe threatens an ecosystem with 11,000 TV channels and 3,000 on-demand services. TV and film is worth over €100 billion each year and employs 1.2 million people. It is part of a wider creative and cultural sector worth over half a trillion Euros — 4% of GDP, employing 7 million workers.

Indeed, the satellite TV operator alone is producing 1,000 hours of original content. Next year, each quarter will see the launch of at least four major original dramas. It has about 250 episodic programs in production and development.

Sky also distributes more than half a billion video streams annually to more than 80 consumer electronics devices.

“Our society and our industry face a tsunami of harms online from fake news to extremism, from theft of identity to theft of content. Everyone is struggling to navigate a path through a largely lawless Internet landscape,” Darroch said.

The executive said efforts by the European Union, including “digital single market” — which aims to open up digital opportunities for people and business and enhance Europe's position as a world leader in the digital economy, should also include a “digital safety market” strategy.

“The traditional role we play in society is threatened by the lack of a level playing field and a race to the bottom is in no one’s interests. A confident Europe can take the initiative and create a new framework that engenders trust, promotes transparency and establishes fairness in the digital age,” Darroch said.


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