Tech Watch: Communications Minister vows to bring clarity to regulator debate

Leveraging the growth in cellular content, Partner Communications has merged its three portals for television, video and music into one using California-based Mobilitec software.

tech watch 88 (photo credit: )
tech watch 88
(photo credit: )
The role of state regulators dominated the annual Globes Telecommunications Conference in Tel Aviv this week as Communications Minister Ariel Attias said he would work to ensure that a balance is struck in the control of television content. "I intend to fix a long-term policy regarding the regulators that will better allow the companies to plan their steps, and that the necessary clarity is provided for consumers and investors alike," Attias said. Regulators, being the Second Broadcasting Authority and the Israel Broadcasting Authority, and the affected concessionaires like Channel 10 and Channel 2, seemed less confident the long standing heated debate would end any time soon. The question centers around the content requirements on Channels 2 and 10 and the impacts on the franchisees' ability to profit and effectively market their programming. Central to that profit are the channels' abilities to attract advertisers and compete with competitors in new media forms, particularly the Internet. In its research on the potential for the interactive advertising and marketing services market, investment house WRHambrecht said the Internet advertising market was leading the surge in the industry, ensuring its earnings expectations are met. WRHambrecht said it believes "marketers will continue to shift their advertising dollars from traditional to interactive media as consumers spend more time online and adopt broadband and personalized media technologies." Meanwhile, PricewaterhouseCoopers said it expects global spending through online and wireless channels to increase from $19 billion last year to $67b. by 2010 as technology continues to drive the entertainment and media (E&M) industry. Presenting its five-year outlook on the E&M sector, PWC said digital technologies are becoming increasingly lucrative distribution channels that are changing the way consumers acquire entertainment and media content. Internet and video gaming continue to be the fastest-growing industry segments, it said. PWC expects the global E&M industry revenue to grow 6.6% to $1.8 trillion in 2010. Leveraging the growth in cellular content, Partner Communications has merged its three portals for television, video and music into one using California-based Mobilitec software. Mobilitec, which has its main R&D center facility in Haifa, said the consolidation will allow Partner to decrease the time to market on its television, video and music content, which inevitably will reduce operating expenditures. As data services such as emailing and messaging become more crucial to companies so do the security needs surrounding this. Internet security company Symantec Corp., which has an R&D facility in Ohr Yehuda, has announced an update to its product to secure instant messaging (IM) and real time communications, Symantec IM Manager 8.0. The solution is scheduled to be available in North America in April. In a similar way, Internet provider Bezeq International has launched a new service to secure and conceal email for its business customers. The "Safe Mail" service was developed by Israeli company Aliroo and will allow companies to forward sensitive information to the appropriate emails to businesses that have an interest in the information such as banks, financial institutions, security companies, government agencies etc. Elsewhere, CA Inc., the world's second-largest maker of mainframe computer software, agreed to buy XOsoft to add to its line of products that keep systems running during breakdowns and maintenance. XOsoft, founded in 1999, is based in Waltham, Massachusetts, with research and development offices in Israel. CA is following technology companies including EMC Corp. and Cisco Systems Inc. that have added research units in Israel to tap the talents of software engineers living there. Terms of the deal weren't disclosed. Separately, 20 Israeli hi-tech companies are participating in the annual emerging growth conference, which started in New York Tuesday. Hosted by investment bank C.E. Unterburg, Towbin. Through the two-day event the companies, which span the technology, healthcare and homeland securities markets, will make presentations to over 300 global funds and investment companies. Unterberg said the Israelis' presence at the conference was "significantly high," making up almost 20% of the company presentations.