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Global Media and Communications Watch The International Legal Blog for the Tech, Media and Telecoms Industry

Peter Watts

Posts by Peter Watts
Posted in Technology, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Caitlin Weeks

Connection vs Contagion – A digital world amplifies risk and opportunity when the going gets tough

As COVID-19 erupts with unprecedented speed and scale and immediate health concerns hold centre stage, concern grows about economic fallout threatening millions of livelihoods. This crisis will be different The coming economic crisis will be very different from any that has come before. One reason is the nature of the trigger – impacting both production and consumption, disproportionately affecting activities involving physical human contact and generating real fear. But the coming months will also highlight ways in which underlying changes since the crisis of 2008/9 have created new areas of

Posted in Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Penny Thornton

Online Harms White Paper: UK Government publishes its consultation response

The UK Government Department for Culture, Media and Sports (DCMS) has today published its initial response to the public consultation on the Online Harms White Paper, published in April 2019.  In its response, DCMS gives an indication of how it plans to adapt the proposed regulatory framework to take account of some of the concerns raised by industry stakeholders, including the fact that is it minded to make Ofcom the new regulator and that Ofcom will be providing guidance on the companies in scope. The Online Harms White Paper, published

Posted in Technology, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Michele Farquhar

TMT Horizons 2019: Dynamism of TMT sector set to continue

Challengers can reach scale seemingly overnight, forcing market change at a similar speed. Established business models are upended, driving consolidation and restructuring. Regulators rush to respond, radically reshaping the environment. These trends show no sign of slowing down. This year’s TMT Horizons includes 22 short articles contributed by our lawyers around the globe, focusing on trends and issues our clients are facing and the fact that the intersection between the inherent dynamism of the sector and the increasing challenges to unchecked globalization will dominate the next chapter for TMT. Click

Posted in Technology Photo of Peter Watts

Big deals, big ideas, and big challenges spur TMT activity

This interview with Peter Watts takes a look into how intense innovation, diverse deal structures, and political protectionism are changing the face of M&A in the technology, media and telecommunications space. Peter focusses on the following questions: What are the main drivers for cross-border deals at the moment? What do you think has been the most intesresting deal of Q3, and why? With innovation as a major driver of deals, do you feel that M&A is the best way for companies to nurture that kind of innovative spirit? Does the

Posted in Artificial Intelligence, Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Richard Diffenthal

Truth is subtler than fiction

The evolution of science fiction into science fact has become so prevalent it no longer attracts remark. Technologies that once lived only in the pages of futuristic novels or the flight deck of the USS Enterprise – like the universally connected mobile phone or DNA editing – already surround us. And, from the driverless car to delivery by drone, if they are not commonplace quite yet, surely it is only a matter of a few short years before they are? Of all these scientific transformations, the most talked about is

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter Watts

Headwinds make little impression on cross-border deal dynamics

For those operating in the TMT sector the pace of change in technology and in business models seems only to be matched by the pace with which regulators rush to keep up. It can sometimes feel like decisions in Beijing, Brussels, London and Washington, to name but a few, are creating unbeatable headwinds for those looking at cross-border M&A in the sector. Deal Dynamics, the new Hogan Lovells analytical tool looking at cross-border M&A, presents little clear evidence to support that concern. There may be some signs of a slight softening

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Mark JonesPhoto of Peter Watts

Is the UK’s post-Brexit approach to platforms and the digital sector starting to emerge?

The Chancellor of the Exchequer’s statements of intent on a digital service tax and competition law reforms reinforce other recent indications that the UK government is looking seriously at making significant changes to the way it approaches online platforms and the so called “tech giants”. Brexit will potentially allow the UK to create its own strategy for the sector without necessarily needing to reach agreement with, or wait for, other European countries. Philip Hammond’s remarks at the Conservative Party conference come on top of the clearest statement yet, from Jeremy

Posted in Broadcasting, Copyright, Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy, Digital Single Market (EU), e-commerce, Policy & Regulation, Technology, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Penny Thornton

The Brexit White Paper: A digital Brexit?

The UK Government’s White Paper sets out detailed proposals for the UK’s relationship with the EU following Brexit. As described in our dissection of the document as a whole, the White Paper sees the digital economy as an area of global opportunity for the UK.   So what does the Government have to say about sector? The White Paper’s distinguishes physical goods from the digital and services sectors. Integrated supply chains and the challenges of the Irish border have driven an approach to physical goods which maintains a high degree of

Posted in Advertising, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Technology Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Oliver Wilson

House of Lords issues report on digital advertising market

Yesterday the House of Lords published a report into the UK’s digital advertising market.  It includes: a call for a CMA study into whether the market is working fairly for businesses and consumers; proposals for enhancing workforce skills and attracting international talent; and, for those who have been involved the debate about digital ads, it covers some familiar themes: Measuring ad effectiveness.  While acknowledging the undoubted benefits of digital advertising, the report cites calls from advertisers to improve the standards for what counts as an ad view for the purposes

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Peter WattsPhoto of Marco Berliri

Tomorrow’s landscape for digital business – The Digital Single Market becomes real!

DSM – What is it about? In 2018, we will see new EU legislation being widely implemented as part of the EU Commission’s Digital Single Market (DSM) Strategy. The amendments to the current legal framework are far reaching and will potentially be game changing. Some of the key areas to be affected will be:   — Unjustified geo-blocking — Copyright law — Audio-visual media services (AVMS) — Internet broadcasting — Free flow of data / Cloud Services — VAT regulation for online trade — Platform liability — Electronic Communications Code —

Posted in Cybersecurity, Data Protection & Privacy, Digital Single Market (EU), Drones, Internet, Policy & Regulation, Technology, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Michele Farquhar

TMT Horizons 2018

2018 will be another dramatic year for TMT. Our job is to help TMT businesses to chart a course through by bringing together the insights of over 800 lawyers who focus on the sector across six continents. That is why we have asked some of our top thinkers globally to provide a snapshot of their vision for the coming year. A single publication cannot analyze every issue in detail – we do that elsewhere. But we hope this will help you to plot some key features on the map of

Posted in e-commerce Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Oliver Wilson

EU ends unjustified geoblocking

What has happened? The European Union will end unjustified geoblocking for consumers wishing to buy products or services online within the EU before the end of next year. What does this mean? The European Parliament, the Council and the Commission have reached an agreement whereby consumers will be able to buy goods and services online from any EU country. The EU expects that the new rules will boost e-commerce for the benefit of consumers and businesses. In effect, people in the EU will now be able to buy products online,

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter Watts

Brexit Ahead for TMT … 8 months’ on

Eight months ago, just before the Referendum, I anticipated the implications of a Leave vote for the sector. Today sees the publication of the first results of the Hogan Lovells “Brexometer”, which will track the attitudes of global business to Brexit through the Article 50 process. What does the Brexometer tell us about the TMT sector? Like other sectors TMT respondents were generally pessimistic. 53% of TMT respondents globally saw Brexit as a threat to the UK and 23% as a threat to the EU. TMT respondents appear more concerned

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Mathias SchönhausPhoto of Dina JubrailPhoto of Marco Berliri

DSM webinar highlights tax, competition law, copyright, AVMS and data economy issues for 2017

In a February 7, 2017 webinar, the Hogan Lovells Digital Single Market (DSM) team presented its take on new developments for 2017. Peter Watts introduced the session by warning that the loss of the UK voice in EU policy making could lead to rules that are less sensitive to business needs. Marco Berliri commented on the challenges currently facing large e-commerce clients and why a single market would bring significant benefits: “There are too many authorities to deal with. Some of our online clients have to deal with 10 different

Posted in Drones, Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter Watts

Plotting the UK’s drone future

With drones appearing under many a Christmas tree this year and growing estimates of the industry’s importance, the UK’s Department of Transport launched a review of the regime governing their use. The “Consultation on the Safe Use of Drones in the UK” looks at the most effective ways of balancing the UK’s aim to be a leading UAV innovator with the need to increase both the accountability of drone users and awareness of regulation. The UK’s development friendly environment has already attracted some major players but, as the popularity of

Posted in Technology Photo of Peter Watts

Talking about the future

Our cross disciplinary London “Tech Hub” last night hosted a great dinner for clients. Greg Williams, Executive Editor of WIRED led a wide ranging discussion.   Given “Chatham House rules”, here’s a purely personal perspective on the debate. We were inspired by the next wave of technologies – from autonomous vehicles to mixed reality. We were sometimes amused by the prospect of changes in ways that we interact with technology – from a touch centric experience to one built around vision and voice. But, perhaps prompted by reflections on the events of 2016,

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Internet, Policy & Regulation Photo of Christian Ritz, LL.M. (USYD)Photo of Falk SchoeningPhoto of Peter Watts

Fragmentation instead of level-playing field? How the German Government’s announced White Paper on digital platforms adds to regulatory uncertainty on topical issues of the digital economy after Brexit

Many digital platforms attract consumers and businesses on a global basis. It is a challenge for national regulators to enforce competition law and other regulatory provisions against such international players. Germany´s Federal Minister of Justice, Heiko Maas, argued in a similar way in an interview with the German newspaper Handelsblatt on 5 October 2016. He took a stand on the significant market shares of certain digital platforms questioning whether current competition law rules enable enforcers to sufficiently tackle current issues in the digital economy. Interestingly, despite calling for an EU-wide

Posted in Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter Watts

Brexit Ahead… for TMT

With Leave ahead in the Polls and 1 week to go, is there opportunity as well as risk for the Sector? Opinion polls showing a swing and narrow lead to “Leave” mean the UK’s Referendum is now genuinely “too close to call” and the EU’s 2nd economy could really exit the Union. One thing that’s certain is that no one knows for sure what would happen after a Leave vote. But thinking ahead is still vital. What do we know? Back in February, our Constitutional Change Task Force summarised the

Posted in Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter Watts

New UK Digital Economy Bill on the way

The UK Government has announced the key themes of a new Digital Economy Bill. Reflecting an alignment in several  areas with the priorities of the EU’s Digital Single Market initiative, the Bill will have a number of areas of focus: A potential new universal right to 10Mbps broadband with the possibility of speeds increasing the future An overhaul of rules covering the physical roll-out of networks to make deployment easier Enhanced consumer rights to help improve the B2C broadband market Greater alignment of online and offline copyright laws Reform of

Posted in Broadcasting, Digital Single Market (EU), Policy & Regulation Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Winston MaxwellPhoto of Jan BlockxPhoto of Matthew Levitt

DSM Watch: Commission publishes geo-blocking issues paper

The European Commission’s newly published geo-blocking issues paper concludes that geo-blocking practices are widespread across sales of both consumer goods and digital content. The Commission has reconfirmed its intention to look carefully at such practices under the EU competition rules particularly where underpinned by agreements. This suggests a range of distribution and licensing arrangements are likely to be subject to further scrutiny. However, the Commission has also re-emphasised the principal that unilateral decisions to limit distribution which are not implemented through agreements are not generally concerns for competition law. This suggests that

Posted in Advertising, Broadcasting, Digital Single Market (EU) Photo of Peter WattsPhoto of Charlie HawesPhoto of Oliver Wilson

CJEU Debates Limits on TV Advertising in Europe

In its decision in Sanoma Media v Viestintävirasto the Court of Justice of the European Union signals a technical but potentially significant clarification in the application of the Audio Visual Media Services (AVMS) Directive. This may trigger some national regulators to re-examine their approach and some broadcasters may, in turn, face pressure to adjust the amount of advertising content within their schedules or their presentation of that content. The Directive, currently subject to possible review as part of the Digital Single Market initiative, is the foundation of much of the

Posted in Data Protection & Privacy, Internet Photo of Peter Watts

UK Government Boosts Digital Health Initiatives for NHS England

This week the Secretary of State for Health, Jeremy Hunt, announced that the Government will be investing £4.2 billion in digital health initiatives. The investment is part of the Government’s latest drive to create a “paperless” National Health Service (NHS) by 2020. The full details of the funding are still being agreed between the Department of Health and NHS England. However, the funding is expected to include: £1.8 billion to create a paper-free NHS and removing outdated technology £1 billion on cyber security and data consent £750 million to transform

Posted in Broadcasting, Policy & Regulation, Telecoms & Broadband Photo of Peter Watts

Trends in TMT M&A

Peter Watts and Don McGown, corporate TMT partners at Hogan Lovells spoke to Reuters about trends for M&A in the sector.  They discussed the drivers for the recent surge in dealmaking and some of the likely future opportunities in a convergent, consolidating and rapidly evolving space. You can watch the interview here. .