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.
A new German satellite launches on a three-year mission to create world’s most accurate 3D map of the globe, which will then be put to use in mobile phone network construction, flight plan creation and urban planning. A Russian rocket has succesfully launched a new German satellite on a mission to create the world’s most precise three-dimensional topographical map of the Earth. The new satellite, called TanDEM-X, is twinned with a previous German satellite launched in 2007. Together, the pair of satellites will follow a parallel orbit around the globe, slowly circling the planet in ever-changing arcs to cover ever square inch. The two satellites, which will fly just a few hundred meters apart at all times, work by sending microwave pulses from orbit to the planet’s surface. By measuring the time the signal takes to make the round-trip, the satellite’s computers can determine the height of the ground, ranging from the lowest valleys to the highest mountains. With two satellites doing this instead of one, they can complete the land survey of the 150 million square kilometers of the Earth’s surface with much greater accuracy than before. German space authorities say that the project will take three years to both complete the satellite-based survey and that the data from the global elevation model will take an additional year, and will reach a total of 15 terabytes, or approximately 60 computer hard drives. The new three-dimensional land map will be made available to planetary scientists and to the private sector as well, with potential applications in mobile phone network construction, flight plan creation and urban planning.
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.
The German book price fixing scheme has been in place for more than 120 years. But the publishing world faces new challenges now that e-books and electronic reading devices have been thrown into the mix.
The German book price fixing scheme has been in place for more than 120 years. But the publishing world faces new challenges now that e-books and electronic reading devices have been thrown into the mix. Germany likes to think of itself as ‘the land of poets and thinkers.’ Considering the nation has around 20,000 publishers, about 5,000 book-sellers and more than 90,000 new books hitting the market each year it may seem hard to disagree with that assessment. However, the country’s publishing industry has had a little extra help: Germany operates a fixed book price system that allows publishers to set the cost of new releases. The time-honored pricing scheme has been is even protected under European Union regulations. Traditional German booksellers are set to face unprecedented competition as the digitization of books becomes more commonplace. E-book devices like the Sony Reader and Amazon Kindle worry German publishers and booksellers, because they have the potential to eliminate, or at least weaken, the bookstore, just as Mp3 players hurt the record business. The same fixed-price laws that protect booksellers have a glitch when it comes to the virtual world. Legally, e-books are seen as a replacement for printed books, and as a result, must have set prices. But when it comes to taxation, e-books are considered software or electronics – not books. The higher tax and fixed prices mean that e-books are much more expensive in Germany than in markets like the US, where the dominance of Amazon and Apple has led to price wars.
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.
More than a billion books were printed in Europe’s largest book market in 2008 – most of them first editions. That’s more than 10 books for every German. But the good news for publishers isn’t so great for the environment. Increasingly, books sold in Germany are being produced in Asia, where the paper is often sourced from virgin tropical rain forest. The German branch of the World Wildlife Fund for Nature (WWF) recently tested a number of German children’s books, and found that a staggering 40 percent contained significant traces of tropical wood that is only found in virgin forest. That’s not just bad news for endangered species like Orangutans, which are gradually being deprived of their habitat. It’s also disappointing news for efforts to tackle climate change. Deforestation currently accounts for over 15 percent of humans’ contribution to greenhouse gases, and halting the loss of the world’s forests is a relatively straight forward way of reducing emissions. According to the WWF, the only way for consumers to avoid colluding with forest destruction is to buy books printed on recycled paper or paper certified by the Forest Stewardship Council (FSC). The good news is that some of Germany’s biggest book publishers are trying to lead the way. The bad news is their suppliers can’t keep up. A lack of certified paper is a common problem facing other publishers who want to make the change
As the Internet gains importance in Germany, industry representatives in the country are calling for the creation of a new authority in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government to coordinate cyberspace policy. German industry is growing increasingly frustrated with how the government is handling Internet policy and has begun lobbying for the creation of a new high-level government position to take control. At the opening of the CeBIT trade show in Hanover on Monday, Bitkom president August-Wilhelm Scheer suggested creating a new Internet Minister position, which would condense the cyberspace policymaking machinery of the various ministries into a single role. Scheer believes Internet policy has become too fragmented and dispersed across the government, and that the world’s largest communications network is now too important – to both businesses and consumers – to leave important decisions about its use and governance to chance. But German Chancellor Angela Merkel, at least for now, isn’t sold on the idea.