Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

EPIX CEO: Kids are media omnivores, industry must adapt

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Remember when the “good” TV in the house only received 7 or 8 channels?

Most young people today cannot, and in many ways they could not care less. Even more, they probably think that it is just as odd that we “old folks” don’t understand their ability juggle multiple devices and inputs. Therein lies a critical challenge for broadcasters using old media models to reach younger audiences, Mark Greenberg, president of cable channel EPIX said speaking at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

Hey, even Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group,  had to force her college-bound kid to take an actual TV to school.

Greenberg’s EPIX offers a “screening room” service that allows subscribers to order a movie on EPIX’s web site and share it with friends who are watching at the same time in other locations. In the meantime you can chat with each other about the film — that’s “chat”, like, commenting about the star’s clothing by typing “I want to buy those shoes” into a little box, not “chat” as in “dude, pass the nachos.”

Discovery CEO talks about Oprah, her show, and OWN

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Now that Oprah Winfrey has set a date for when the sun will set on her syndicated talk show — Sept 2011 — everybody wants to know if she will recreate the show on OWN. OWN, the Oprah Winfrey Network, is the cable channel set to flicker on in some 80 million homes in January 2011 with Discovery Communications.

At the Reuters Media Summit in New York, Reuters Paul Thomasch put the question directly to David Zaslav, the chief executive of Discovery Communications:

A Barry Diller sampler from the Reuters Global Media Summit

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Interviewing IAC chief and media mogul Barry Diller nearly always means that you’ll get more quotable quotes than you can stuff into one article. He didn’t disappoint at this year’s Reuters Global Media Summit on Wednesday. Here are thoughts from Diller on a range of subjects from mergers and acquisitions and Comcast to AOL, MGM and marriage.

Q: What are you going to do with the cash on the balance sheet? What’s the focus? Are you still being cautious?

Redbox: Paving the way for “G.I. Joe” rentals

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You thought that maybe that giant Redbox machine in your local food mart, offering $1 DVDs, was simply a low-cost way to share a movie night with the family.

Its REALLY a (nearly) free pass for guys to grab testosterone-rich, leave-your-brain-at-the-door, man-cinema, where stuff blows up reaaal gooood.

Zynga CEO: Half of social web users will be social gamers

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Don’t ask Zynga’s Mark Pincus how much money his company is making.

The founder of the hot social gaming company, which is operating at a more than $200 million yearly run rate according to sources familiar with the matter, said sharing such information would contribute to the kind of hype that would be bad for the nascent industry.

“I just hope that we can all partner to try to get the story out in a balanced way, so that the media doesn’t necessarily have to go back and forth, ‘This is the next great coming,’ and hyping it, and then two or three months later, ‘Oh they didn’t deliver on these very high expectations that we’ve all put out there,’” Pincus said in a conversation with reporters at the Reuters Media Summit.

Recession’s perfect storm speeds up change in ad industry

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Why is it that the United States’ advertising as a proportion of marketing services is at its lowest point since 1977, maybe even lower than since the Second World War?

You may have guessed it it’s the recession.

But it will get better, Martin Sorrell, CEO of advertising giant WPP, said.

“The recession is less worse,” Sorrell said, repeating a favourite phrase of late, and while it’s the biggest recession since 1929 it is also “a perfect storm” that has brought forward change. 

Daily Beast staff ‘happy as clams,’ says Barry Diller

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The journalists and staff who work at The Daily Beast don’t look at life like you other sad-sack scribes out there who are watching your job market wash out to sea with the ebb tide. In fact, they are happy in a particularly mollusk-like way.

“They’re as happy as clams,” said Barry Diller, chief executive of IAC/InterActiveCorp, which is financing the online news outlet with its editor, Tina Brown. “They wake up every morning filled with possibility.”

THQ CEO: No need to buy social gaming share

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Internet social networks like Facebook are the new frontier for video game makers.

But not all companies see a need to buy their way in, as Electronic Arts did with its $275 million purchase of Playfish last month (the deal could be worth as much as $400 million if the company meets certain future financial milestones).

NHL commish: Bigger not always better

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If you want a new National Hockey League team, you’ll definitely need a spanking new arena, or at least one that’s been gussied up in a significant way. But that doesn’t mean it need be a super-sized arena,  Commissioner Gary Bettman said at the Reuters Global Media Summit.

“While we play to 93 to 94 percent capacity, we’d like to play to 100 percent capacity,” Bettman said. “A 15,000-16,000 seat arena might work better in some markets than a 19,000 seat arena.”

ESPN: We all live in sports towns (And tell great jokes)

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ESPN President George Bodenheimer has been at the business of TV sports, one way or another, for nearly three decades, starting in the mailroom and working his way up.

It’s the classic media story — and this one even involved a stint driving through nearly every little town in Texas, Arkansas, Oklahoma, Louisiana and Mississippi to sell this odd new 24-hour sports network to cable distributors.

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