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Media Leaders Forum ’06 summary

March 1, 2006

I spoke & attended the 2 day Informa Media Leaders Forum ’06 ( in Sydney (Australia) last week and it is obvious that there is still quite a bit of angst & confusion in the media world on what New Media & the Internet are all about.


Day 1 – Thursday 

Gerald Tooth (Presenter of The Media Report Radio National Australia) opened the day with stating that the Internet is the “Free thinking Universe” where everything is up for grabs in the media race. Tooth commented that Podcasts on their national Radio Site accounted for a significant portion of their listeners.

The Shadow Minister for Communications & IT, Stephen Conroy gave the usual shadow cabinet drawl of the-Australian-IT-economy-sucks-because-we-aren’t-in-office rhetoric that was pinpointed with woefully inaccurate statistics such as Australian broadband is a joke (ok agree with that) because we only have 256Kb speeds (WTF!?!?) and Blogs shouldn’t be taken seriously as there are only a few thousand of them (Who the heck does his research!?!?). Conroy stated “You cannot compare Blogs with the giants of old media” Enough said.


Keynote session on “Regulation & the revolutionary media market”

Eric Beecher – CEO Private Media Partners

  • The media industry has never been in such a state of flux
  • The synergy of media & the Internet are forefront of old world media decisions being made today.
  • Cannot hide from the Blogospher

Angela Clark – CEO of Macquarie Radio Network

  • Telecommunications will be consumer led
  • Definitely opportunities for old world media to play with new media
  • Still a lack of catering for what people want to watch

Michael Anderson – CEO of Austereo

  • Currently seeing a seismic shift in consumer behaviour
  • “Meta Convergence” is where media companies are forced to offer all forms of media and having to compete on all the same platforms
  • Consumer’s choice is going to be content related not technology (sw: yeah but don’t forget how the Internet changed a lot of that)
  • Unlimited choice is scary for the customer


Harold Mitchell, Executive Chairman of Mitchell & partners gave a very well informed & researched speech that included these points

  • We will see more changes in 5 years than the last 30 years
  • Moving from a mass media world to a media for individuals world.
  • Don’t throw away established brands for new ones as brands are what customers really trust.
  • Advertisers need to go and spruik more where the customers are.


On both days representatives from the free to air network channel Seven presented and in both cases they drove home the dinosaur we-will-be-here-forever defensive mentality posture that was quite comical to watch. Especially when they constantly referred to people who watch their network as “eyeballs” (So, what are the rest of their bodies doing!?!?!?)


Colin Smith of LEK Consulting gave a great presentation full of wonderful statistics about how new media and user’s behaviour are changing the media landscape. Unfortunately, I think so much of what Colin said fell on deaf ears.

One of the amazing stats Colin mentioned was that due to people in the US time-shifting TV content and advertisement skipping, the cost of unwatched advertising is US$5.5 Billion.



Michele Levine, CEO of Roy Morgan Research gave a great customer centric presentation and had this statistic on 3G take up on Australia that has 6% of the Australian population currently using 3G devices.


Day 2 – Friday

In the keynote session on “Who’s really making money in the distribution of digital content” Sensis General Manager of Classifieds, John King stated that although digital is a targeted medium and there is no single winning model, they have found that using print & online is definitely a “two are better than one” strategy.

EBay’s Simon Smith (Vice President Managing Director) announced that they have/are releasing a new digital category for the selling/buying of digital content such as e-books.


I presented on “from digital home to mobile universe: the technological outlook” which incorporated how 3G was dramatically changing the way people were using mobile devices.


Great quote that SBS Managing Director Shaun Brown shared with the group on what the Head of Grenada TV said “We are the generation of digital immigrants and our children will be digital inhabitants” I was very impressed with Brown’s grounded views on how things are eventuating and it is a testament to how SBS are leaders in some aspects of incorporating new media technologies and attitudes in their offerings.


Not many were left for the last presentation of the forum by Andrew Perry, Director – Legal Technology of Legal Consult, but his upbeat style and great examples such as and the concept of “weedshare” (play before you pay) ended the forum on a high point.


Informa’s crew did an exceptional job on organising and managing the event, especially the Conference Manager Alana Piper.

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