• AI, digital regulation, a buoyant M&A market and a focus on digital inclusion will all be key

International legal practice Osborne Clarke has published its new Technology, Media and Communications (TMC) Annual Review for 2024. Published every year, the report identifies some of the most important business and legal issues predicted to affect the sector around the world.

AI is a major theme in the new 2024 edition [published on 8 February] with industries including media, entertainment, sports and telecoms all facing distinct challenges as a result of this new technology, while litigators are gearing up for different waves of AI-related disputes.

Digital regulation is another significant theme. In the EU alone, new obligations under the Digital Services Act, the Digital Markets Act and the Data Act, among other laws, have required significant compliance and readiness work for many. Further new legislation such as the EU AI Act and the UK's Online Safety Act will only add to that burden in 2024.

Recently the TMC M&A market has been comparatively resilient globally and Osborne Clarke expects areas such as managed services and IT services, SaaS (software as a service), unified comms and cybersecurity to remain hot in 2024. However, corrections in valuation multiples in many territories have made TMC M&A more of a buyer's market than in previous years.

Nick Johnson, international head of TMC at Osborne Clarke commented: "Who would have thought at the beginning of 2023 that generative AI was going to come crashing into our lives in the way that it did? There is already, however, a growing understanding of IP, bias and accuracy risks associated with it. Wider AI issues are also arising, not least in the areas of sector-specific regulation, consumer protection, open-source software and the impact on contracts and standard industry positions.

"We also expect "digital inclusion" to be a key theme in 2024, as governments and businesses look to unlock the widest possible benefits of technology and avoid leaving behind those who are digitally excluded. Connectivity will be a significant part of that, and there is a growing need for governments worldwide to support 5G and fibre infrastructure investment with appropriate intervention."

The Osborne Clarke Technology, Media and Communications Review 2024 can be downloaded for free from the firm's website. It contains 16 feature articles looking at issues ranging from 5G infrastructure and the Indian M&A market through to workforce flexibility & the gig economy.

Full article list:


· A global regulatory revolution? Disruptive tech and AI pose novel legal challenges

· What does the rise of AI and source-available licences hold for the software world?

· Dealmaker, regulatory and competition trends in TMC M&A in the UK and Europe

· India's tech M&A activity set for 2024 in resilient and confident shape

· Europe recognises the benefit of incentives for tech growth companies

· How to retain workforce flexibility as the use of gig workers and independent contractors faces regulatory attack

· Commercialising internally developed digital products: an opportunity or risk?

· SEPs: The rising global significance of patent rights in everyday technology 


· Why data clean rooms are becoming central to advanced advertising

· As AI reshapes the media and entertainment industries, what are the key issues and challenges?

· Upcoming changes to the games industry landscape will heighten regulatory complexity

· How AI is transforming the business of sport globally


· Don't let customer service generative-AI chatbots become skeletons in the closet: the risks of outsourcing

· Is legislative intervention necessary for 5G and fibre infrastructure investment?

· European legislators focus on connectivity as a prerequisite for digital inclusion

· The implementation of new cybersecurity laws in the telecoms sector

Osborne Clarke has a deep heritage in the TMC sector, acting for both the leading players and the disruptors. Known for its international regulatory expertise and proven track record in providing strategic advice, they specialise in digital inclusion by design and regularly advise clients on the inclusive design of digital products, services and platforms.

The firm is also committed to a long-term funding programme for UK Youth to support young people at risk of digital exclusion, supporting 20 community organisations across Bristol, London, Reading and key digital cold spots across the UK.

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