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Milken Institute Global Conference Highlights Through the Eyes of Todd Harrison


Lessons learned from America's left coast.

Question: Who will report the news?
  • Andy: It's still unclear. It's a function of the ownership of networks and their support of news divisions. What was once an oligopoly is now a wide-open playing field. There will be winners, but it will be tougher given influx of competition.

  • Vivian: There are massive opportunities in "local accountability journalism." That's one space NPR wants to "double down" because so many are abandoning. Technology for news media is just scratching the surface of where we're going. The power of collaborative reporting is "thrilling". It makes all public media content, data and archives available on open APIs -- it's a flowering of new ways to tell stories!

  • Ariana: We need new media to practice better journalism. Why was the balloon boy story considered "news" for so long? Self-expression is the new entertainment. We're seeing that on Facebook, Twitter, and Blogs. The ability to tell stories, stay with stories, and engage the audience persistently and consistently will define the winners.

  • Gordan Crovitz asked, "How many institutions will be left to stand up to government, which is getting bigger and bigger, on every level?" Investigative journalism is "gone". It's been replaced by new and smaller independent operations. Bloggers must find revenues outside of advertising. News organizations must rethink sources of revenue and value of brands: "Is this journalism worth the money?" That is the responsibility of editors and they will dictate the landscape. Millenials, who are well-versed in media and gaming, will shape the winners.

  • Bill Keller: Newspapers can't blame Craig's List for their demise, the publishers have been killing newspapers for decades. Why? There is big money in monopolies. In the future, he sees a combination of survivors and start-ups. He's seeing convergence; big media is adapting to cultural and psychological shifts of the new world and start-ups assuming more responsibility and are increasingly credible.

The last panel I attended before sneaking a drink with some colleagues and heading to LAX for the dreaded red-eye, was The Business Behind the Show: An Outlook for the Entertainment Industry. While tired and fried after a long stretch of sessions, I was particularly interested to hear what these thought-leaders had to say. The session was moderated by Terry Semel, Chairman and CEO of Windsor Media and an industry veteran who spent 24 years at Warner Brothers, where he was Chairman and co-CEO, and CEO of Yahoo (YHOO).

  • Irving Azoff, Executive Chairman, Live Nation (LYV): The impact of digital technology is helping business (in areas such as paperless tickets) and killing business (piracy and theft on the music side). He sees Live Nation as the eventual "Amazon (AMZN) of the music business." He's a fierce protector of intellectual property rights, as well as the rights of the owner/creator, and is focused on licensing rights and rewarding the proper components of the food chain.
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