Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

AOL CEO says broadcasters should ‘let go’

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AOL LLC Chairman and Chief Executive Officer Randy Falco Former NBC chief Randy Falco has some advice for TV and advertising industry bigwigs: be more experimental and mindful of the opinions of your viewers and customers.

Falco, now Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of AOL LLC, told the Reuters Technology Media and Telecoms Summit that TV and advertising decisionmakers must have the “guts” to listen to the opinions of their customers, especially as the ways they experience media change.

I came from a business [where] you were a one-way publisher. And so are advertisers by the way. They came up with a show… and you just published it. You didn’t expect to hear back from your customers (or) your viewers. It was a supply economy, and we are so much now into a demand economy.

[Consumers] are not just going to sit there and take it. They are not just going to sit there and watch a 30-second spot if they have an alternative. They are in control. What’s great about the Internet is that it is a constant two-way conversation, and if you have guts enough to listen, you can iterate your way to sucess.

Cable guy: Media savior

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The adversarial relationship between cable companies and broadcasters is legend in the media industry.

But not for long. They need each other.

So says Time Warner Cable Chief Executive Glenn Britt, who got into a little of that history at the Reuters Technology, Media and Telecommunications Summit in New York on Wednesday.

EMC CFO: U.S. Tech spending cautious

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EMC Corp. Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer David GouldenTechnology spending growth in the United States is likely to lag the pace of 2006 growth, due to caution by corporations, according to David Goulden, Executive Vice President and Chief Financial Officer at EMC Corp.

“There will be an increase in spend in U.S. enterprise but it won’t be as large as we saw last year,” he said at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in New York.

Mickey come find me

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Think of it as a tap on the shoulder from a four-fingered white glove – worn by a giant mouse. Disney is working on new ways for fans of its movies, cartoons and television shows to communicate with each other, whether they are surfing the Internet or playing games on a mobile phone. We spoke today with Steve Wadsworth, Walt Disney Co. Internet group president, during the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.

Here’s how he described it: 

The third thing we’re focusing on hard with product is much more cross-platform integration. If somebody is touching or in contact with the Disney brand, whether it’s in a virtual world, whether it’s on Disney.com, whether it’s on a mobile platform, that is a contact that is well integrated with all the other connected products that we’re creating.

Italian Yellow Pages publisher protects privacy, but not from police

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majocchi.jpgItaly’s Seat Pagine Gialle doesn’t publish all the images it gathers from webcams, in the interests of protecting privacy — but it does pass them on to the police, Seat’s CEO told Reuters journalists in Paris. Asked whether images gathered by Seat, a yellow-pages publisher that is active on the Internet, didn’t provide opportunities for criminals, Luca Majocchi said: “I agree with you. Actually, we show on the image much less than what we have to, to protect privacy. Second, we try not to use webcams on the street.” Asked what information Seat provided to the police, Majocchi said: “The works we do for the government, say for the police, they are not sent online. We don’t make this accessible on the net. They use our system.” 

TeleAtlas CEO sees Galileo going ahead with delay

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de-taeye.jpgThe CEO of digital mapmaker TeleAtlas expects the European Union’s Galileo project, designed to be a rival to the U.S. GPS system, to go ahead, albeit with further delays, he told Reuters journalists in Paris. Alain de Taeye said he was a “big fan” of Galileo, which has been held up by the kind of squabbles between EU countries that typify such European ventures as well as a dispute about who will pay the bills for the 3.4 billion-euro project. “Galileo today is encountering a lot of problems that are typical in getting Europeans to agree,” he said. The EU is asking for public funds of 2.4 billion euros to complete the project, originally meant to be part-funded by public-private partnerships, after the companies meant to build it balked at the costs and risks involved. He said the European initiative to build a GPS rival had been a factor in Bill Clinton’s decision to unscramble GPS, which was built for U.S. military use, in 2000. The decision to unscramble could have come earlier but was delayed by the first Iraq war, de Taeye said. “That delayed the whole of our industry,” he said.

BenQ says confident of recovery by 2008

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BenQ Chairman K.Y. LeeBenQ Chairman K.Y. Lee said the company would see recovery next year as the firm has been struggling from the losses caused by its ailing mobile phone unit.

“Sometime in 2008, we should see the company in very good shape,” said Lee at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit.

Samsung SDI bets on Q4 Turnaround

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Sky Park Samsung SDISamsung said it will turn to a profit in the fourth quarter, as larger flat-screen television demand will grow towards the end of the year, said Sky Park, vice-president in charge of Samsung SDI’s PDP marketing, at the Reuters Global Technology, Media and Telecoms Summit in Seoul.

Park said demand should grow sharply as the market becomes more stable in the fourth quarter, and factors such as the Beijing Olympics in 2008 should also drive consumers to buy more plasma screen TVs in the near future.

China’s Qunar.com eyes Japan JV by 2007 year end

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Fritz Demopoulos CEO Qunar.ComFounded in 2005, China’s third largest travel search engine firm Qunar.com, is hoping to finalise a joint venture in Japan towards the end of this year, and is also in talks with South Korean internet portals for potential partnerships, said Chief Executive, and co-founder Fritz Demopoulos.

Demopoulos said there is a developing trend towards direct consumer marketing, where businesses such as airlines and hotels want to have direct relationships with consumers, without an agent in the middle.

The fast and the curious

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AT&T’s new U-Verse service, which it says will make digital TV and high Internet access speeds available to 18 million homes by 2008, will be fast enough for consumers over the foreseeable future, a company executive told the Reuters Global Technology Media Telecoms Summit on Tuesday.

John Stankey, group president for operations support, indicated that the services will probably peak at around 50 mbps. Comcast Corp. demonstrated speeds of up 150 mbps at last weeks cable show, but Stankey isnt impressed.

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