Russia and India will record the strongest growth in advertising spend over the coming year, according to the latest Warc international ad forecast. It predicts that Russia will increase expenditure by 16.5%, followed by India (14.0 percent), China (11.5 percent) and Brazil (8.5 percent). The picture is very different outside the BRIC quartet, especially in Europe, where three countries – Germany (1 percent), France (0.8 percent) and Italy (-0.2 percent) – are now expected to record the worst year-on-year performances. All three economies are facing the possibility of renewed recession due to the eurozone debt crisis. Taking into account the likelihood of inflation, all three countries are likely to see a decline in advertising spend in 2012. The forecast for the UK is more positive, with predicted growth of 4.2 percent. But Warc, the marketing intelligence service, points out that the figure will be boosted by two sporting events – the London Olympics and European football championships. As for the United States, which is forecast to see a 4.1 percent increase in ad spend, its TV broadcasters will undoubtedly benefit from the presidential election. Indeed, across all 12 countries covered by the survey, TV is predicted to increase its share of main media advertising, growing by 5.3 percent compared to the overall media total of 4.5 percent. As for online advertising, the pace of expansion is expected to slow to 12.6 percent this year, down from an estimated 16.6 percent in 2011. The internet is expected to account for 20 percent of all media spend by the end of 2012.
Google Inc has pledged to change rules and procedures for its keyword advertising policy in France to settle an investigation by the French antitrust regulator and stave off a possible fine. The Autorite de la Concurrence had been investigating Google since June after French GPS and smartphone data services company Navx accused the world’s No. 1 search engine company of abusing its dominant position by scrapping its AdWords contract. The AdWords service, where Google sells keywords that trigger advertisements, is the heart of the company’s USD 23bn online advertising operations and a pillar of commerce for Internet service providers. The French watchdog said on Thursday that Google’s binding commitments, which are valid for three years, were sufficient to address its competition concerns. Google said the watchdog had made “no finding of dominance or monopoly abuse.” As part of its pledge, Google will give three months notice when it changes its policy related to specific products in France.
The French government has asked its broadcasting authority to put an end to “incitement to hatred’ on a Hamas-run television station broadcast via a Paris-based satellite company, officials said Monday. Foreign ministry spokesman Bernard Valero said that France had received a warning from the European Commission that Al-Aqsa TV, which is accused of inciting hatred of Jews and Israelis, had repeatedly breached European rules. The station, broadcast via the Eutelsat satellite operator, shows programmes which “incite hatred or violence for reasons of religion or nationality,” Valero told reporters. He said French authorities were confident the CSA broadcast authority would take rapid action to ensure content broadcast via satellites owned by French-based firms and beamed into the EU respected French and EU law. The CSA in 2008 and 2009 warned Eutelsat about breaching French laws that ban incitement to hatred, but these warnings did not lead to any change in the content broadcast via its satellites. Eutelsat said in a statement that it had always strictly complied with decisions taken by the CSA. Al Aqsa TV is run by Hamas, the Palestinian Islamist group that controls the Gaza Strip.
Google is bowing to the demands of three European governments and says it will begin surrendering the data it improperly collected over unsecured wireless networks
Eric E. Schmidt, Google’s chief executive, told The Financial Times in an interview in London that within the next two days, the company would share the data with regulators in Germany, Spain and France. The data is thought to include fragments of personal information like e-mail and bank account numbers. Google had previously resisted requests from European officials and privacy advocates to hand over the data, saying it needed time to review legal issues. Last month, Google revealed it had been inadvertently collecting 600 gigabytes of personal data, saying that the roving, camera-mounted cars in its Street View program had collected not only photographs of neighborhoods but snippets of private information from people whose personal Wi-Fi networks were left unencrypted. In Thursday’s interview, Mr. Schmidt said that the software code responsible for the data collection was in “clear violation” of Google’s rules. Mr. Schmidt also said that Google would make public the results of internal and external audits of its Wi-Fi data collection practices.
France and the Netherlands have joined forces to develop an international code of conduct against Internet censorship, the Dutch foreign ministry said Tuesday. The foreign ministers from both countries met in Rotterdam and expressed concern over a recent rise in Internet censorship. A pilot group is due to meet in the coming weeks in Paris, and will bring together governments, rights organisations and web-based businesses all working to protect freedom on the Internet, the French foreign ministry said. As well as the code of conduct, the working group will aim to set up at the international level a mechanism to track the commitments made by governments regarding freedom of expression on the Internet.
Officials in Spain, France and the Czech Republic announced plans on Thursday to investigate Google’s collection of data from wireless networks in their countries, raising the likelihood that the company could face sanctions in Europe. Five days after Google said it had inadvertently collected 600 gigabytes of data described as snippets of Web sites and e-mail messages from unsecured Wi-Fi networks around the world, privacy lawyers said Google was likely to face fines and suffer damage to its reputation. Data protection officials in Spain, the Czech Republic, France and Germany have started administrative inquiries into the company’s practices, which they said violated local privacy laws. Investigators at France’s National Commission on Informatics and Liberties said they had inspected Google’s Paris office on Wednesday as they began to gather evidence. In the United States, two members of Congress asked the Federal Trade Commission on Wednesday to begin a review of what Google had collected. In Hamburg, prosecutors opened their criminal investigation this week after receiving a complaint from Jens Ferner, a law student completing an apprenticeship at his father’s law firm in Alsdorf, Germany. During an interview, Mr. Ferner said German courts had taken a strict line with those convicted of using Wi-Fi networks without an owner’s knowledge. In Britain and Ireland, by contrast, regulators said they were not initiating investigations but had asked Google to destroy the data collected in their countries. Google said last weekend that it had destroyed data collected in Ireland, at the request of the local regulator.
Watching classics like ‘Citizen Kane’ will help pupils understand real-life power struggles
All secondary schools in France have been ordered to screen classic films – from Orson Welles’ Citizen Kane to François Truffaut’s Les Quatre Cent Coups (The 400 Blows) – in a bid to expand children’s knowledge of the so-called “septième art” (seventh art). The initiative, Cinélycée, will launch in September. A member of staff from each school will sign up to be the resident “culture tsar” – a position for which they will be paid extra – and will sit alongside five students on a mini film council. It is part of a wider reform of the secondary school system promoted last year by President Nicolas Sarkozy, who believes France’s rich cinematic heritage is being sidelined by modern, celebrity-heavy fare. Under the plans, unveiled Tuesday, each school will have its own club with a repertoire of 200 films. They will include masterpieces from the silent movie era, as well as British, Italian, American and Asian films, and such homegrown chef d’oeuvres as Marcel Carné’s Les Enfants du Paradis and Jean Renoir’s La Grande Illusion. All the films in the school archive are pre-1980 and are intended to be watched alongside current releases. Schools will be expected to screen films – either streamed live or downloaded – several times a month in their original languages with subtitles. In a bid to stop piracy, only 20 films will be on offer each month. For Frédéric Mitterrand, the minister for culture, screening film classics in the classroom is not just about developing pupils’ cinematic knowledge but also educating them about the reality of the 21st century, by exposing them to a whole range of human emotion
After an investigation of months conducted jointly with the F.B.I., French authorities on Tuesday detained a 25-year-old Frenchman accused of hacking the Twitter accounts of several high-profile people, including the official account of President Obama and an account for Britney Spears, French media reported Wednesday. The man, known by the alias Hacker Croll, is accused of infiltrating the accounts on Twitter, a social networking Web site, in April 2009. French authorities have not revealed his real name. The man was released Wednesday but is set to face charges in court in June. He could be sentenced to up to two years in prison if convicted.
France-Soir, a historic title with its roots dating back to the French resistance, was re-launched Wednesday by Alexander Pugachyov, the son of Russia’s most influential billionaire oligarchs, Business Week reported. EUR 20m have been invested in the newspaper’s publicity efforts to announce the launch and claim a spot beside competitor titles like Le Parisien, Le Monde and Le Figaro, according to Business Week. The launch will see 500,000 printed copies at an initial price of 50 cents, which is half the price of competing newspapers like Le Parisien and Aujourd’hui en France. The newly launched title is more colourful, with an unchanged volume of 40 pages, Ennahar Online reported. Pugachyov told Ennahar Online that the paper will focus on exclusive photographs even if it’s expensive. Since its acquisition last year by the Russian oligarch for 50 million euro, the paper has been expanding its newsroom staff size from 40 journalists to 100, a spokeswoman for the newspaper told Business Week. She added that the revamped title targets a daily circulation of 150,000 to 200,000 copies, and will eventually position France-Soir as the fourth largest national daily in the country.
The Paris-based citizen photojournalism agency Citizenside has partnered with Metro International to launch a new website for citizen reporting. The site, MetroReporter, allows readers to upload and share their news photos and video. All contributions are vetted by editors before being posted. If they are published in print or on Metro’s primary site, the member is paid between €10 and €70. Membership of MetroReporter is free and Metro has agreed to purchase and publish user contributions on a regular basis. This means that an international publication has plans to regularly pay its audience to contribute content, rather than expecting user-generated content to be free. MetroReporter is part of the MetroFrance site, exposing it to the publication’s high traffic. This is a pilot project in France and there are plans to establish similar sites in seven other countries. Citizenside also recently formed a partnership with French radio station RTL, which has launched the website Témoins RTL (RTL Witnesses). This site allows users to upload photos and videos, and if other media organisations wish to purchase them, RTL sells the images and then pays their creator. The site uses geo-location and users who have provided their place of residence can receive email alerts about events that are taking place nearby