ASCAP's Matthews and BMI's O'Neill
Photos: Lester Cohen and Frazer Harrison/Getty Images
Database: ASCAP, BMI team on data transparency
Rounding up recent tech news that impacts livelihoods in the creative community …
ASCAP and BMI join forces and databases to improve transparency
On July 26, leading U.S. performers' rights organizations ASCAP and BMI announced a joint effort to mingle the data from their respective works databases so it can be comprehensively searched and updated online. Testing is in progress, with a phased roll out expected to begin late next year. The shared database is expected to be able to evolve with the addition of user-friendly improvements to interactivity, and there will be added data sets should other competitors choose to participate. BMI President/CEO Mike O'Neill said, "While BMI and ASCAP remain fierce competitors in all other regards, we recognize that our combined expertise allows us to create the best solution." Last month ASCAP and YouTube reached a separate data-sharing agreement, providing an example how relying on a works database for a solid foundation has the potential to assist accurate and timely compensation payouts. ASCAP CEO Elizabeth Matthews said, "We believe in a free market with more industry cooperation and alignment on data issues."
Creative Thread Foundation launched to promote diversity among content creators
Also on July 26, Fusion TV and more than 60 partners announced the creation of the Creative Thread Foundation to break down barriers that prevent underrepresented voices from creating content. Partners include 21st Century Fox, Amazon, AT&T, CBS, CCIA, Disney, Interactive Advertising Bureau, NAACP, NAB, Nielsen, Pandora, Spotify, Univision and Viacom. Foundation chairman Prof. Henry Louis Gates Jr. said the partners will "share best practices amongst our members on recruiting and retaining talent, developing content, and driving awareness of under-representation in media and entertainment." While thinking big, the Creative Thread Foundation is positioned to drive change through the combined impact of many small actions, such as promoting mentorships or content distribution deals that "reflect the beautiful diversity of America."
Roku stick lands at No. 1 for connected TV devices
eMarketer published its 2016 statistics detailing U.S. viewership of internet-connected televisions and devices that plug into TV sets. More than 168 million people used connected TV last year, a growth rate of more than 10 percent. Although connected TV sets are the biggest and fastest-growing category overall, sorting results by brand put Roku ahead of its better-known competitors: Google, Amazon and Apple, respectively. More than 38 million U.S. consumers used their Roku at least once a month last year, accounting for more than 23 percent of connected-TV viewership, a growth rate of more than 19 percent. Caveats to the results include consumer ownership of multiple options, and Apple TV's higher price point. While this is good news for digital innovation and reach, Roku sticks can potentially be misused for content piracy, leading a Mexican court to block their sales in Mexico last month.