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SQUAWK box: Social networking

The buzz surrounding broadband and social networking sites at MIPCOM didn't quiet down after the market. At November's Promax UK Conference, Dawn Airey, managing director of global content at UK broadcaster ITV, ran with the theme, adding her own spirited input. While she acknowledged the profound impact broadband is having on traditional media consumption, she also made comments like 'Television remains at the heart of any entertainment business and will for many years to come,' and 'A website like YouTube or Facebook doesn't create content. It doesn't control distribution. And it's not in the business of marketing anything either.' Airey furthered that the entertainment industry has to use these sites, not be used by them.
December 1, 2007

The buzz surrounding broadband and social networking sites at MIPCOM didn’t quiet down after the market. At November’s Promax UK Conference, Dawn Airey, managing director of global content at UK broadcaster ITV, ran with the theme, adding her own spirited input. While she acknowledged the profound impact broadband is having on traditional media consumption, she also made comments like ‘Television remains at the heart of any entertainment business and will for many years to come,’ and ‘A website like YouTube or Facebook doesn’t create content. It doesn’t control distribution. And it’s not in the business of marketing anything either.’ Airey furthered that the entertainment industry has to use these sites, not be used by them.

Since Bruce David Klein’s New York-based prodco, Atlas Media, recently started a digital and emerging media group, realscreen asked him to chime in on this topic: ‘Facebook and MySpace are cool tools, but not transformative entertainment experiences. They are more like mini-entertainment experiences. For now, and for the foreseeable future, broadcast and cable programming delivered to a TV at home will absolutely be the critical mass of the TV business. Still, the creative opportunities in creating these mini-experiences for mobile devices and the Internet are staggering. We have seen a tenfold increase in revenue from our digital division this year – so we have been careful to build new media into our plans in a big way. Traditional TV will be king for a long while, but there will be a lot of cool princes making a lot of noise on other platforms.’

Ira Bernstein, co-president of New York-based Debmar-Mercury, is keeping his sights firmly set on traditional TV. ‘Right now TV still commands 90-plus percent of the audience and probably an even greater percentage of ad revenue,’ he says, ‘which is why it remains the focus of our attention.’

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