Why Google’s Schmidt Finds Media Harder Than Technology

Mar 7, 2007  •  Post A Comment

By Claire Atkinson, AdAge

Didn’t get chance to head down to Palm Beach, Florida for the Bear Stearns annual media conference, which wraps today? MediaWorks has saved you the frequent-flier miles and picked out the juiciest highlights from the keynote speakers.

Eric Schmidt

Eric Schmidt, CEO, Google: On being part of the media landscape: “I have learned that as apart of being a player in the media industry, the way one negotiates is everything is leaked and you are sued to death. This is news to me. It may be because there’s a lot of lawyers or because that’s the way we are running the business, I don’t really know. It’s not normal in the technology industry, I can assure you.”

Robert Iger

Bob Iger, CEO, Walt Disney Co.: On the prospects for traditional media: “There’s a sense of the traditional media as either under siege or there’s no growth. Or somehow or another you’re going to get swallowed up by new media, which is where all the sex appeal is and that’s not necessarily the case.”

On what advertisers will buy in the future: “There’s a network buy, a traditional network buy that is probably very much more encouraging today because it’s still mass and it’s very efficient. I don’t see that going away. Whether it will be threatened somewhat, could it possibly decrease somewhat? Yes, but it’s not going to disappear, at least not in the foreseeable future.”

On his disappointment in ad creative: “The advertising industry is behind where it needs to be in tailoring messaging to these new platforms. There are great opportunities, but we may have to show them the way a little bit more. I’d say I’m a little disappointed with where things stand today because there’s only a handful of advertisers that are stepping up in a way that we believe is really creating value for them. I think there’s a lot more that could happen.”

On why he’s thrilled with iTunes: “To date, over 1.6 million Disney movies have been downloaded on iTunes and that’s since October, it’s probably closer to 2 million at this point. And I’d say roughly 20 million TV shows have been downloaded or purchased on that platform since a year ago October when we were the first to launch. That revenue is still relatively modest, but we’re going to continue to see growth. We’ve seen no cannibalization in our DVD business since we launched Disney movies on iTunes, nor have we seen cannibalization of the DVDs of our television products.

Jeff Bewkes

Jeff Bewkes, president-chief operating officer, Time Warner: On CNN versus Fox: “Even though the leader in TV aggregate day ratings is Fox News and they’re doing great and respects to them, but CNN is making more money in TV news because of the nature of its audience and the price of its advertising, essentially because CNN’s got a lot of people tuning in, they tune in for shorter periods of time. They are not here to watch an hour of the hosted show. But the nature of that audience is that they only watch TV at CNN, they don’t watch NBC.”

On DVRs: “When you fast forward, you get a quick visual version that is three seconds instead of 30, you could get the same message anyway. I mean essentially it is the billboard. All that stuff about the ads passively disappearing is, we think, overblown.”

On Time Warner’s future: “We try to look at each of our brands or subdivisions inside our five or six industries and we try to look at all of them and say, are they benefiting by being in here or would they be more valuable, not.”

Brian Roberts

Brian Roberts, chairman-CEO, Comcast: On retransmission payments to the likes of CBS: “We have done 600 retrans deals. The model we have had is that we will be happy to sit down with reasonable folks and talk about some sort of co-operative deal where value gets exchanged. …We are not interested and we will not pay cash to retransmit as a flat out if that’s all you do. This is not a conversation we are having anytime soon. That line is not changing, I don’t anticipate that changing anytime soon.”

Leslie Moonves

Leslie Moonves, president-CEO, CBS Corp.: On the decline of the broadcast networks: “We’ve been hearing this for years. The network is dead. The network is dead. All four networks have a very great story to tell this year. All four networks are going to get CPM increases, in the upfront. The business is extremely healthy.”

On “American Idol”: “When you can get a Super Bowl watched by 93 million people, and when you can get a show like ‘American Idol,’ which is like a Super Bowl every week, [the business is healthy.] We call it the Death Star. No matter what you do, it just keeps coming at you, you know? And for Fox, as soon as you beat them, they’ll add two more hours of that show and — they have 15 hours a week and they put on six, eight hours of ‘American Idol.’ It’s always tough.”

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