And so begins another year… It is customary to make predictions at the start of the new year for media outlets such as this – it’s useful to know what is coming up and we have some on the site here and here. But after the events of the latter half of 2016, I would say that predicting what is likely to happen in 2017 – not least if it will be a good year or not – is impossible.
Next week The Donald takes the reigns of the US presidency and perhaps by March we may (May?) have some idea of what Brexit means (other than “Brexit”). How these two events will shape the world of telemedia remains to be seen. Unless Trump has a Twitter meltdown and presses the nuclear button within the first year in office it is unlikely that much will change there for telemedia. Presidents tend to cause a long term effect rather than an overnight shift.
Brexit on the other hand is a different kettle of fish. Once ‘The Plan’ is unveiled in March and Article 50 kicks off then we may have some better idea as to how this may pan out for UK companies. The US has pledged – under Trump, Obama was less charitable – to move the UK to the front of the queue for trade talks once we leave the EU. This is good, however it is another two fingered salute to Brussels and it won’t play well.
As you all know, the success or not of Brexit trade talks rest heavily on whether the EU sees us a useful market or one that it can do without. While leavers seem to think we are invaluable, I am not so sure. Plus I wouldn’t put it past the Eurocrats to cut their noses off to spite their faces and stick it to the UK.
But again, I have no crystal ball so I don’t really know.
On a practical level, the UK government has been reasonably clear that existing EU law would be absorbed into UK law as the transition takes place, so hopefully the progress made on things like PSD2 – which is great news for carrier billing – will be unaffected. Telecoms trade agreements and roaming is likely to be unaffected in the short term at least, too. So it seems that come the stroke of midnight when we actually leave sometime in 2018/19 nothing much may change.
But longer term, who knows?
Come October of this year when World Telemedia Marbella comes around again, there will be some meat to add to the bones of Brexit and it will offer a fascinating forum to debate what the challenges are and, more pressingly, what the opportunities might be. This is going to be one hell of a discussion and one I am looking forward to hearing.
Prior to that, we’d love to know what you think – send your views on what Brexit means for the telemedia sector or your business.