Summit Notebook

Exclusive outtakes from industry leaders

Is Rupert Murdoch toast?

Photo
-

Rupert Murdoch may have a sprawling empire and may be one the media industry’s last moguls but sometimes a small trust-owned outfit can show the big guys how it’s done. And what does that say about the future? Read for yourself.
The Guardian has been a fanastic innovator online, absolutely amazing innovator,” said David Levin, Chief Executive of United Business Media UBM at the Reuters Media Summit.”The big debate is how does Rupert Murdoch’s approach, saying I’m going to try and come off the search engines play, contrast with what the Guardian may or may not do. The Guardian is at the other end of the spectrum.
So, you got people who are webcentric and those who say well, ooh, I don’t like that web thing, I will somehow go off line…they’re toast.”
Rupert Murdoch take heed.

ABC: Don’t you know that I’m still in love with news?

Photo
-

I asked ABC TV chief Anne Sweeney at our Global Media Summit on Monday whether the nightly news broadcast will go away someday soon. Everyone who follows the broadcast TV business has wondered this at some time or another, particularly as fewer people tune in.

Here’s a bit of that conversation, where I got Sweeney to firmly say… not much. If you’re in a rush, the general message appears to be:

ABC TV chief to daughter: You *will* watch television

Photo
-

When I went to college in 1991, I begged my parents to buy me a small television for my dorm room (They wouldn’t let me work during my first year of college, so I had no money). How things have changed in 18 years!

I learned how much they changed at the first day of the Reuters Global Media Summit. Anne Sweeney, president of the Disney/ABC Television Group, was talking to us about how quickly the Internet and mobile technology are changing the way that we look at news and entertainment. That led to her divertimento into campus life:

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

Photo
-

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.

‘String of pearls’

Photo
-

  ”String of pearls” could have different meanings.

It is how MphasiS Chief Executive Ganesh Ayyar refers to the Indian IT services provider’s strategy of going for small to mid-size acquisitions. The bigger ones can become a “noose around your neck”, Ayyar said.

The company, 61 percent owned by Hewlett-Packard, is buying the India-based IT services arm of troubled U.S. insurer American International Group. Ayyar, who spoke to us about the company’s “ambidextrous approach” to business, indicated today that any future acquisitions would be in the AIG ballpark.

Breakfast with SAP, anyone?

Photo
-

If you know 5,500 software professionals in India looking for a job, just send them over to Stephen Watts, SAP’s chief operating officer for Asia Pacific and Japan. The Irish-born Watts, who is also temporarily heading the business software group’s India operations, denied any talk of doubling headcount in India by 2010.

SAP has focused in the past on contracts with large customers but is increasingly turning towards mid-sized companies. While talking to us on a conference call from Singapore, Watts compared
small and medium enterprises (SMEs) to breakfast. “Life begins with a good breakfast,” he said, emphasising the importance the company gives to SMEs.

Love isn’t in the air for now

Photo
-

Technology giants this year have been encroaching on one another’s markets, buying up companies as they try to become one-stop shops for computing, networking and data storage, but Infosys still hasn’t jumped on the bandwagon.

Infosys Technologies Chief Financial Officer V. Balakrishnan compared acquisitions to “falling in love,” saying that one does not generally know when or how it will happen. When we asked about who Infosys was dating, Balakrishnan was noncommittal.

What’s in a Name?

Photo
-

Mahindra Satyam’s president of global operations, Atul Kunwar, told us the “first instinct” was to drop the Satyam name when the company was acquired in the wake of India’s biggest corporate fraud.

“We all need to have a name; sometimes we like them, sometimes we don’t,” Kunwar said while explaining that the company known as Satyam Computers was also known for its “solidity” and “great delivery.”

Six months a long time for BSE’s Kannan

-

When 36-year old Madhu Kannan took over the reins at the Bombay Stock Exchange (BSE) earlier this year, he was faced with the task of turning around Asia’s oldest bourse, which had lost market share to tech-savvy new rivals.

Kannan, the youngest-ever CEO at the 134-year-old exchange, also had to gain acceptance from his employees in what had until then been a largely hierarchical firm.

The Reuters India Summit comes to Bangalore

-

On Wednesday, the Reuters India Investment Summit comes to the information technology hub of Bangalore.

The city has become synonymous in the West with outsourcing and “cheap labor” but is rapidly emerging as a hot spot for research and development. Bangalore is also marching ahead in the information technology value chain. Some companies like Wipro actually outsource work from India to Egypt.

  •