Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Media executives (mostly) read free news

BosHere’s one of the headlines that we produced at this week’s Reuters Global Media Summit: “Media get real about paid-for Web news.” In it, we distilled media executives’ thoughts on the future of news to this: The romance with free content — stimulated by global ad spending that reached a peak of almost half a trillion dollars last year — was over.

Or… maybe it’s not over yet. Plenty of media executives, the people trying to find a way to get paid for what they produce when free stuff on the Internet makes that ever more difficult, still read free news. Not all, but some, even though they pay for some of it too. Here are some responses to the question we asked in New York and London: How do you read your news?

Nikesh Arora, president of global sales operations and business development at Google Inc (who, despite Google’s despised status among newspaper defenders, pays for some of his news):

I read my news in a combination of Twitter, Facebook, Google News and The New York Times. I get my New York Times delivered to my house.  I have it before I wake up. I scan through it. I get my newspapers in planes and whenever I have a sort of down moment, I am following CNN, the BBC, Reuters (aw, thanks!), TechCrunch and a whole lot of other relevant people at Twitter… If I have a free moment at my desk, I will go onto the Google News site to see what’s happening in the world. For some reason, I feel as informed as I used to be when I used to read two newspapers every morning.

from MediaFile:

Soccer clubs and mortgages: How a media mogul spends $10 million

Unlike many of us, media executives know what it’s like to play around with large wads of cash. So it seemed natural to ask them about what kind of investment opportunities they’re seeing when they gathered in New York this week for the Reuters Global Media Summit.

We gave each media honcho $10 million in hypothetical cash and told them to put the money to work without buying stock in their own companies.

Michael Haneke: How to politely dislike his movies

HanekeRTL Group Chief Executive Gerhard Zeiler came to our U.S. headquarters on Thursday so we could interview him for our Global Media Summit this week. While we waited for our colleagues in London and Germany to beam in remotely, I asked him about what he and other Austrians generally think of Michael Haneke.

Haneke is perhaps Austria’s most well known artist these days, a director whose films (“Cache,” “Code Inconnu,” “Benny’s Video,” “La Pianiste,” “Le Temps du Loup” and others) contain violent and intense episodes combined with queasy comedy that tend to disturb, shock and dismay his fans and his foes. He also enjoys the distinction of having made “Funny Games,” the only film to ever make me physically ill. In terms of his provocative content, think Peter Greenaway, not Steven Spielberg.

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.

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.”

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