JUVE Law Firm of the year

Media

Digitalization rocking the media sector

Digitalization is turning the media sector upside down. Traditional film and TV advice is losing significance, while purely digital content has long lost its niche quality: revenues for video on demand have risen by €717m over the past year, Netflix and Amazon are launching their own series in the German market, and the game streaming portal Twitch recently racked up 133 million clicks in one month. Meanwhile, Facebook’s investment in Axel Springer is a sign that traditional and new media need not be in competition. The media company will use the money to expand live video tools.

Industrial companies are also cooperating with content providers: Deutsche Bahn teamed up with streaming service Maxdome. That these developments would lead to continued copyright disputes is no surprise. However, lawmakers are not keeping up with the pace of technological development. Following a long discussion in spring 2016, a reform of the copyright law was issued and immediately came under tough criticism from copyright holders.

Interfaces becoming more important

Beyond traditional media law, advice on several interfacing areas is becoming more significant: data protection questions touch on digital content while unfair competition proceedings against ad blocker Eyeo are occupying publishers, and media providers are suing Google over antitrust issues. Retransmission fees and bestseller compensation have proven to be long-term concerns.

Against this background, the firms best placed to meet the growing demand for digitalization advice are those with strong and well-integrated IT, unfair competition and antitrust practices. Highly visible in the past year were CMS Hasche Sigle with representation of ad blocker Eyeo and advice on e-sports, along with SKW Schwarz and Morrison & Foerster with their advice on streaming platforms.

Smaller outfits, such as Lausen, KNPZ Rechtsanwälte and JBB Rechtsanwälte can also hold their own in this market. In antitrust law – e.g. against Google – Hengeler Mueller and Taylor Wessing stood out this year, as did Raue on the side of VG Media.

In terms of personnel, the market as a whole can look back on a quiet year, with one prominent exception: the entire media team around Prof. Dr. Stefan Engels and Dr. Michael Stulz-Herrnstadt left Bird & Bird for DLA Piper.

 


 

The firms presented in this subchapter specialize in advice to the film, TV, entertainment and publishing sectors. In order to clarify the various specializations, there are three separate ranking tables. One is for contracts, one shows firms specializing in media regulatory law, while a final one lists firms that are particularly active in transactions.


PfeilJUVE Law Firm of the year