Mac Taggart Lecture: Eric Schmidt @Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival

An insightful presentation by Eric Schmidt (Chairman. Google) at the 2011 Mac Taggart Lecture at the Edinburgh Intl. Television Festival.

Eric Schmidt summarizes the direction television of the future will take while creating new value for content creators, distributors & and audiences by way of convergence with the Internet. Smart companies in the Technology, Media & Entertainment space  will do well to capitalize on this trend already underway in the US to find innovative ways to monetize this path of Convergence.

Summary: As television and internet technology converge, this year’s MacTaggart lecture was delivered just ashort while ago (6:45pm UK time/11:45am PST) for the first time in its history by someone not directly involved in the TV industry. Google and YouTube are technology rather than media companies but they have been hugely influential in shaping today’s TV and media landscape. So it’s the perfect moment for Google’s Executive Chairman Eric Schmidt to discuss the impact of the internet revolution on the television industry and to set out his vision of the opportunities and challenges that lie ahead.

The Edinburgh International Television Festival, founded in 1976, is held annually over the British August bank holiday weekend at the Edinburgh International Conference Centre.

Featuring prominent television industry voices and sessions covering pertinent issues facing the future of broadcasting, the festival is best known for its keynote address: the James MacTaggart Memorial Lecture. This was named in honour of the writer, producer and director who died in 1974. The lecture features prescient speeches from controversial and powerful media figures that reads like a who’s who of British TV over the last couple of decades. In recent years this has included Greg Dyke, John Birt, Mark Thompson, Tony Ball, John Humphrys and in 1989, Rupert Murdoch. One of the best remembered speeches was given in 1993 by an ill Dennis Potter, who attacked the chairman and director general of the BBC of the day by saying: “you cannot make a pair of croak-voiced Daleks appear benevolent even if you dress one of them in an Armani suit and call the other Marmaduke.”

John Birt, one of Potter’s targets, returned to give the lecture in 2005. The ex-ITV plc Chief Executive Charles Allen gave the 2006 lecture. Jeremy Paxman gave the 2007 lecture, using it to criticise what he saw as a loss of purpose and moral direction in the industry. The media commentator Maggie Brown has criticised the event for featuring only three women as speakers (Christine Ockrent, Verity Lambert and Janet Street-Porter) in the course of its history.[

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