Foreword

2020 was a game-changing year for technology, media and communications (TMC). As a result of the global pandemic and mass home-working, we have seen a massive acceleration of digital transformation across all sectors. As a result, our TMC clients at Osborne Clarke are changing rapidly themselves but have also been the agents of change for others. As we look ahead to 2021, we are likely to see yet more change. Businesses are looking to technology, particularly cloud infrastructure, software platforms and artificial intelligence (AI), to improve processes, facilitate distributed working, drive innovative new products and services, and address global challenges such as decarbonisation. At the same time, consumers are demanding increasing personalisation in terms of the content they consume and the services available from their mobile phones, while being more aware of their data and consumer rights, leading to challenges with international product design and compliance. Against this background, we have tried to provide a high-level snapshot of a range of the big issues facing some of the sectors that fall within the TMC umbrella as we move into 2021.

Increased regulation is a big theme throughout. The world of online content and data is driving lots of new regulation across the globe – in particular to protect consumers and improve competition. These new laws will affect sectors such as broadcasting, games, and advertising in different ways and there has never been a greater need to combine subject matter expertise with sector knowledge. The transactional landscape is also very interesting. While it was hard to get deals done in the early stages of the pandemic, we are now seeing high levels of venture capital, private equity and M&A activity in the TMC sector, much of it driven by a desire to invest in digital assets, particularly those that generate long-term recurring revenues. There is a race on among the smart money holders to invest in areas like cybersecurity, unified communications, AI-driven software platforms that have the capability to transform niche industries, and even more long-term opportunities like quantum technologies. So, if the regulation can be navigated and we can all get back to some sense of normality, there is lots to play for in 2021.

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Ashley Hurst International Head of Technology, Media and Communications ashley.hurst@osborneclarke.com +44 20 7105 7302