Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

What will the media company of the 21st Century look like?

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In the run-up to the annual Reuters Media Summit, taking place in New York and London next week, we have been asking experts and executives how they think media companies should reinvent themselves for the 21st Century.

Will the big need to get bigger? See Comcast’s bid for a controlling stake in NBC Universal.

Or will it be a question of being slimmer and more focused? Like Time Warner,  which is now essentially a pure content company after spinning off Time Warner Cable in March and AOL next week.

All these businesses are heavily impacted by the Web as a distribution tool and they are doing various things to counter that. But it won’t be easy, say analysts in our Summit preview. While content will continue to be extremely valuable, content owners will need to figure out how to make money from the Web and other new platforms of distribution.

BrightSource CEO talks about building carbon-free future

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John Woolard, the chief executive of solar thermal energy company BrightSource, sat down at Reuters’ Global Climate and Alternative Energy Summit in San Francisco to talk about energy efficiency, project financing and the future  of carbon-free power.

His advice: build fast!

(Editing/video by Courtney Hoffman)

from MediaFile:

Tech execs, where would you put a million dollars?

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Most top technology executives are used to juggling businesses worth hundred of millions of dollars, yen or euros. But this week at the Reuters Technology Summit, we asked: if we gave you $1 million to invest anywhere -- but not in your own company -- where would you spend it?

INTERNET / STARTUPS

If you want the quick answer, I would invest it in Twitter.  I'm sorry that we weren't in it. I don't know where it's going and it would be a fun ride.

Say what? I could have had me a download on my old Nokia?

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At least 100 million users of Nokia smartphones have been kept in the dark about opportunities to download software applications years before Apple launched its AppStore, says Lee Williams, Executive Director of the Symbian Foundation. ”It’s actually probably one of the biggest marketing mistakes… certainly in the mobile industry, for as long as I can remember,” Williams said at the Reuters Technology Summit.  “Somewhere between 100 and 125 million units have shipped with that capability. There’s been a download facility in 100-125 million phones,” he said.  And who’s ever spoken about it? Does anybody know it’s there?… Maybe 10 percent have ever even loaded a third-party application onto their product.” So is Apple getting credit for other people’s work? “Absolutely. I was laughing out loud when I saw the iPhone OS3 launch,” Williams said, adding that what was tagged as the world’s most advanced mobile OS (operating system) features, Symbian had had for 3-5 years.

Williams did credit Apple with one thing — a knack for design:  ”They pioneered new ground by taking this beautiful display size and doing a display-only product. That was pioneering”.  Symbian software is used in about two-thirds of all smartphones but of course not in the hugely popular Apple iPhone.

 

 

                                                                                                                        Apple introduces iPhone

from MediaFile:

It’s not easy being Biz

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In the adrenalin-fueled world of Internet start-ups, where "Biz" is usually followed by "Dev," where did Twitter co-founder Biz Stone get his nickname?

After talking to the Reuters Technology Summit of growth rates and future revenue possibilities, the Twitter co-founder chatted with the Reuters San Francisco bureau about his unusual moniker and why it can pose traveling hiccups.

from MediaFile:

Counting Twitter users with Wolfram Alpha

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Twitter co-founder Biz Stone told the Reuters Global Technology Summit on Monday that unless Twitter's growth rate slowed, by the end of the year its user base would exceed the population of Planet Earth.

Break out those calculators, nerds!

Let's put Biz's admittedly tongue-in-cheek statement to the test, using some back-of-the envelope math and the much-hyped, newly launched online knowledge compendium Wolfram Alpha.

No gadgets please, we’re tech executives!

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Tech managers are not just savvy about new technology but also own the coolest, most cutting edge gadgets, right? Think again, some of them have no use for gadgets at all, finding pleasure instead in century old paintings and (gasp) pen and paper.

Alain Dutheil heads the world’s second largest mobile chipmaker, ST-Ericsson, but told Reuters Technology Summit he is not a big fan of the gadgets that run on his company’s chips.

from MediaFile:

$60 video games? Do the math, says Zelnick

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How do entertainment retailers come up with the prices they charge? Why is a movie theater ticket $10, a music CD $15, a rental DVD $3-$5 and a top video game $60?

We asked Strauss Zelnick, executive chairman of game publisher Take-Two. He says it's simple math, based upon the value of that experience.

from MediaFile:

Cautious splurge: the art of luxury advertising

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Advertising at the highest end of the luxury market may be the last to get hit in an economic slump, but it's still going to get scathed before the ad market turns around, Nick Brien, who heads up Interpublic Group's Mediabrands, a holding company for media buying and planning agencies,  told the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

"There will always be some brands and marketers who are going to want to live beyond the realities that are going on for the masses of people," said Brien, who's responsible for agencies like Universal McCann, Initiative, Magna, and J3 . "That will go on... (but) will it be as pronounced as it was, will be it as mainstream?"

from MediaFile:

Home is where the growth is: WSJ’s Thomson

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Global strategy aside, Dow Jones Editor-in-Chief Robert Thomson sees a growth opportunity right here on his home turf. With regional U.S. papers laying off staff and scaling back business coverage, Thomson sees a "real opportunity for another paper to come in."

And yes, that would be The Wall Street Journal. "What we're noticing in markets like Chicago, LA and Miami... big city markets with papers that are changing, there are real opportunities to bring new readers to print as well as online," Thomson said at the Reuters Media Summit in New York.

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