Summary:

The company that brought you American Idol and The X Factor wants a drastic reduction in VOD prices and tougher enforcement for P2P freeload…

The company that brought you American Idol and The X Factor wants a drastic reduction in VOD prices and tougher enforcement for P2P freeloaders to help it grow. FremantleMedia CEO Tony Cohen told MediaGuardian’s Changing Media Summit: “On-demand viewing will be just another option on your living room TV screen. Pay-per-view now can cost between £0.99 for a drama to £14.63 for a boxing match. We must look afresh at the potential of micropayments per-view – charging just a few pence, say £0.05, to watch catchup could really help stimulate demand and fill the gap left by dwindling revenue. You’d have to be able to order easily, just one click.”

Cohen urged Digital Britain author Stephen Carter to consider whether this collection could be a role for his proposed Rights Agency. He is clearly thinking this idea, which would mean charging less for content in order to grow the overall income, could be delivered via proposed open IPTV platform Project Canvas, which he said will be “enormously relevant to the way that a mass of audience use their television”.

And he also backed Digital Britain’s proposal to tackle illegal downloads by compelling ISPs to warn, and perhaps disconnect, file sharers. He acknowledged this would be “expensive and time-consuming”, but: “There needs to be an effective intermediate stage that will limit, suspend or cut off offenders’ access to broadband capacity.” Cohen lauded France’s three-strikes disconnection efforts. “Big Content” barely comes bigger than FremantleMedia, producer of some of the most popular TV format in the world. It’s no wonder Cohen is calling for greater protection. But will P2P enforcement really work? “You have to provide an alternative, hence the micropayments idea, and you have to stop theft.”

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