Blog Post

paidContent:UK London Mixer Report: Thanks For Coming

Contacts were made, plans were hatched, wine was drunk… but, sadly, there was no answer to the ongoing conundrum of free-vs-paid content at our London mixer on Tuesday night (here are our photos and sound clips).

A packed audience exchanged business cards over refreshments at Edelman’s Victoria HQ, before listening to PCUK editor Robert Andrews grill We7 CEO Steve Purdham, Perform Group’s MD James Rushton site and Pirate Party UK leader Andrew Robinson…

— Refreshingly honest, Purdham said that, while his site compensates artists in royalties for playing their music on We7, other payments are also due for the music industry. “There’s a mismatch — we know mathematically we can make it work, but when and whether we have enough money to do that are two different questions altogether,” he said.

Isn’t Spotify a gorilla trampling all over We7’s rosebed? “In a PR sense, it’s been making a lot of noise. But it’s not a gorrlla, more of a noisy chimpanzee,” Purdham said. Is Purdham making the business work, Robert asked? “No,” Purdham said. Is that because there’s an advertising recession? Not exclusively. “There’s a basic disparity between … the cost of a stream and of an advertising impression.” He bemoaned a penny-a-stream royalty rate.

— Andrew Robinson came expecting a tough reception for representing his upstart party’s ideas on copyright reform and P2P file-sharing legalisation. His party is yet to vote on whether content copyright should be shortened to 10 or 14 years – which, in any case, flies in the face of EU plans to extend copyright from 50 to 70 years. He told the event he’d be disappointed if pirate parties across the continent didn’t return at least 40 14 MEPs at the next European elections. Still, Purdham, suspicious, told Robinson: “Behind the sanity you come out with is a lot of darkness.”

— Perform’s Rushton, whose company recently delivered the online-only PPV England-Ukraine football match, told mixer-goers that the crazy escalation of premium, linear sports rights bidding (BSkyB pay £1.6 billion for a three-year English Premier League deal in February) has not yet reached its peak and is set to continue.

He also said that Perform’s recent live, online broadcast may not be one-off – despite only coming about due to Setanta’s demise.