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Stray Comments From Gerhard Zeiler’s Keynote To The MIPTV Conference, With Annotated (And Parenthetical) Sotto-Voce Commentary

Posted by: Jon Fine on April 19, 2007

(Gerhard Zeiler is the CEO of RTL Group. RTL runs 38 broadcast channels and 29 radio stations in tne countries. They also own the rights to over 300 programs in TK countries, including the UK’s Fremantle Media, which owns the “Pop Idol” “American Idol” franchise. He spoke to MIPTV on April 16.)

After noting that TV in the US has lost around 50% of its total audience, but ad revenues have more than doubled in recent years: “Big audience equals big premiums.” (And leave a bigger question: Can this kind of imbalance last? I think it will for a little while longer—but only a little while longer. Even so, I don’t see how you cite a stat like that and feel good about it.)

“The basic human need for relaxed entertainment remains very strong.” (Take that, Internet!)

“Content is king. But brand is king’s boss.” (Really? So people are fans of Viacom, not Jon Stewart?)

On how the challenges to the newspaper industry now are substantially different to the challenges the TV industry faces: “It’s not enough now to report the next day what happened the last day. They have to change the content they offer. We don’t have to change the content we offer.” (Good point. But TV will likely have to change how you offer your programming. And change what you let fans do to it, with things like clipping and sharing, and creating their own mash-ups.)

On how much revenue is coming from digital offshoots: “Very little … [Around 5% of revenues] are generated by new platforms. America is a year ahead of Europe” in terms of cadging dollars from the Web. (When you’re falling behind the US in making a dollar off new platforms, that’s not good. Really not good, in fact. But I’ve no doubt some American TV execs swelled with pride when they heard him say this.)



The media world continues to shapeshift as new forms arise and old assumptions erode. On this blog, Bloomberg Businessweek will provide sharp analysis and timely reports on the transformation of this constantly changing terrain.



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