The Government’s release of a Green Paper on Convergence and associated Discussion Document on Content Regulation has been welcomed by online video-on-demand provider Lightbox as necessary steps in preparing New Zealand for the digital future.
“Digital disruption is changing our world and consumers now have more choice than ever before,” says Kym Niblock, CEO, Lightbox.
“The issue is that legislative and regulatory structures haven’t kept up with the pace of change.”
Convergence is when previously distinct technologies, like telecommunications and broadcasting, come together to create new products and services.
“It’s positive that the Government is leading a discussion on how to update our laws so digital businesses like Lightbox can operate in the most effective way,” Niblock says.
“The new digital economy presents disruptive New Zealand businesses with exciting opportunities to shake things up.
“What we need is a flexible and durable approach that recognises the changing landscape that new digital businesses operate in. With that in mind, we need a system that doesn’t load any new costs onto the industry.
“It is important that consumers can make informed choices about what they are watching.
“Our experience with setting up Lightbox highlights that responsible content providers are best placed to provide proper content classifications, with appropriate standards, to ensure guidelines are maintained and customer know what they are getting.”
Niblock believes that trying to retrofit old broadcasting-era models won’t work in the digital environment because that would just load cost onto online providers who are competing with the likes of YouTube, which doesn’t go through any classification processes.
Since launching in August 2014, Lightbox has streamed more than 12 million hours of content to New Zealanders.
“More and more people are watching online TV and the trend is only going to accelerate,” Niblock adds.
“We welcome the opportunity to update our laws to take account of the changing environment.”