In a break with tradition the organisers of the 2011 Edinburgh Television Festival in August have lined up Eric Schmidt for the MacTaggart lecture. This is a prestigious speech for notable figures in the television industry. So the choice of Eric Schmidt, the Executive Chairman of Google Inc., is remarkable…and brave. But will this Schmidt MacTaggart speech work out?
We can expect that he will address the problems, challenges and threats of emerging technologies for the television industry. So, we expect that advertising revenues will figure in the Schmidt MacTaggart speech.
Previous speakers, including Dennis Potter and Jeremy Paxman, have not disappointed. The most notable speech, that of Rupert Murdoch, in 1989 proved an effective attack on the duopoly then running British television. A duopoly that Murdoch’s Sky business has well and truly broken.
It remains to be seen whether the Eric Schmidt MacTaggart speech in 2011 proves to be as prescient as that of Rupert Murdoch in 1989. Or, perhaps the BBC MacTaggart speech with the Director General, Mark Thompson in 2010. However, whatever happens it’s quite a coup for a relatively young organisation. Albeit a very cash-rich organisation. But, as a company that still provides web search and advertising in the main, it’s certainly well and truly in the spotlight. Since questions have to be asked how its ambitions might look in future years.
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