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.
Germany has warned internet giant Google that it might take legal action to prevent Google Street View from offering photos on the country’s cities and streets. The country’s Consumer Protection Minister Ilse Aigner told Focus magazine that she was considering “legal steps and possible changes to the law,” to prevent Google from publishing photos taken in Germany. Google’s Street View offers 360-degree pictures taken along streets in cities and towns across a country. Aigner said she was considering reversing a 2009 settlement whereby individuals would have to object should they not want to have their house or property photographed. Rather, Aigner suggested, it should be Google who has to seek permission from individuals to put their data online. The minister described the images on Google street view as “a millionfold violation of privacy rights.” Google rejects the criticism, saying that it had been granted the permission to take the pictures under the 2009 settlement with the German authorities. The deal included a provision that licence plates and faces would be blurred and that any individual could object to the their photographs appearing online. Google says only some hundred people so far had objected. The internet company plans to make the street view service available later this year
German newspaper and magazine publishers VDZ and BDZV have filed a complaint with the country’s Federal Cartel Office against US internet giant Google. While the precise foundation of the complaint has not yet been released, German publishers have previously expressed their belief that Google profits from their online content without offering them a fair share of advertising revenue. One of the main points in the complaint is believed to revolve around “snippets” from media websites and news articles which show up in lists on Google search results. Publishers say Google have not paid for the use of these articles, and that regulations must be tightened to protect the authors from plagiarism. VDZ and BDZV are not the only ones to have recently filed complaints against the internet giant. Ciao, a Microsoft-owned social networking site for shoppers, and online map company Euro-Cities have both expressed concern with Google’s business practices. However, neither the Federal Cartel Office nor the complaining parties have so far commented on the issue. Euro-Cities chief executive Hans Biermann said the parties agreed with the Cartel Office not to make the case fully public until January 20.
Britain’s claim to be a world leader in green energy investment has been called into question by an authoritative new study that will embarrass ministers as they prepare to launch an important climate change initiative tomorrow.
A report from Deutsche Bank says that the UK does not have the right climate change strategy to attract international investment and is lagging behind other countries, such as Germany, France and China. Britain’s energy strategy lacks the level of transparency and certainty required to encourage investment, according to Deutsche Bank’s study on the best places to do business. It comes as ministers prepare to launch six draft national policy statements on energy and climate change policies tomorrow.
“What investors want is transparency, longevity and certainty – TLC – in policy regimes to mobilise capital,” said Kevin Parker, global head of Deutsche Bank’s asset management division, which is based in New York. “Many major emitters such as the US and the UK do not have enough TLC in their policy frameworks. Our rankings show that China has a lower risk for climate change investors, as does Germany, but the research also shows that in order to avoid catastrophic climate change, they have demonstrated their ability to deliver scale.”
The Department of Energy and Climate Change said its host of new initiatives to streamline planning and ensure the building of new infrastructure, such as clean coal plants, is proof of its positive commitment to moving to a low-carbon economy. “You will have seen [from] the recent announcement from RWE and E.ON about spending £15bn and creating thousands of jobs here in new nuclear plants that investment does seem to be coming,” said a DECC spokesman. But Deutsche Bank says Japan and Australia are among the countries that represent lower risk profiles than the UK because they have more comprehensive and integrated government plans.
Parker and his colleagues are particularly keen on feed-in tariffs – which pay consumers to generate their own electricity and sell it back to the grid – to encourage green power, which have been very successfully used in Germany. Britain was originally opposed to this kind of incentive but has recently accepted that they should be introduced, although, crucially, ministers have yet to indicate what price utilities will pay to those consumers who generate their own power. Deutsche Bank claims that the UK has attracted $17bn (£10bn) in capital investment as a result of climate change policies, compared to $36bn in Germany and $41bn in China. It admits the UK figure is still “substantial” but largely puts this down to the fact that the City is a major centre for the capital markets.
The national policy documents the government will unveil tomorrow will cover energy sectors including gas, the electricity grid and, in particular, nuclear. The nuclear document will give detailed analysis of the 11 sites put forward by developers for new plants and give initial verdicts on their suitability. Those areas are expected to include those nominated already by EDF and RWE, such as Sizewell in Suffolk and Wylfa on the Isle of Anglesey…Ed Miliband, the energy secretary, is also expected to give a draft “justification” statement explaining there is a national need for new nuclear stations.