The media markets in the United Kingdom have been largely left out of the bidding wars to enter the lucrative TV marketplace.
The British government has set out plans to bring online media to the UK and the European Union and it is seeking to establish a “fast track” for the entry of the media markets, but has been unable to find a consensus for the definition of the term.
This is the first time that a global market has been excluded from the bid process.
It comes as the government hopes to introduce a new regulatory framework for online media in the run up to a planned new broadcast deal.
A draft of the regulatory framework was unveiled by Digital Economy Minister David Gauke in a bid to provide clarity on what would be allowed online.
But it does not specify what will be required of sites, and will be up to individual providers to decide.
Digital Economy Minister Mark Garnier said that it was important to look at how the UK industry can support itself as a media market, not how it would be governed.
“There is no one silver bullet that will guarantee us that we can attract the talent that is coming in and it’s not the case that we have a perfect model that can deliver all the media we want to deliver,” he said.
“We need to make sure we have the tools to do that.”
Digital Marketers Association president Steve O’Connor said that there had been confusion about the definition for media markets.
“I think it’s a bit of a catch-22 because if you have a market with no regulatory framework, you can’t have a regulated market,” he told the BBC.
“If you have the regulatory frameworks in place, you’ll be able to get the services that you need.”
But if you don’t have them, you won’t be able get those services and so on.
“There’s a lot of confusion and a lot in the media world that it’s all about the regulator, and that’s just not the way it works.”
Digital markets are one of the biggest digital platforms in the world and are vital to the internet economy, with about 80 per cent of UK households having access to online services.
The Government is looking to make the market available for the first period of its broadcast deal with Sky, which will be launched next year.
The UK’s Media Markets Authority has been appointed to work with broadcasters and other online media companies to develop a framework for the market.
A number of other countries have experimented with their own online markets.
Australia, Germany, New Zealand, Switzerland and Canada have all set up their own digital media markets and a number of countries are also looking at creating a national online market.
“Digital markets need to be regulated and regulated badly,” Mr Garnier added.
“The whole point of these markets is to allow people to access content online that they don’t normally have access to.”
So if you’re a digital market provider and you don’ want to be an unregulated market, you’ve got to create a regulatory framework and a set of rules.
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