MIP keynoter stresses flexibility for future

CANNES — Putting content into a new context will be key for media companies’ survival in the 21st century. That was the message delivered Monday by Werner Lauff, president and CEO of the Bertelsmann Broadband Group, in his keynote address at the opening of the 37th edition of the granddaddy of TV marts, Mip.

Lauff’s speech put market delegates in the right frame of mind for the two days of conferences and workshops that follow today and Wednesday during Mipnet@Mip TV, a new section of the confab covering the world of new media, broadband and digital platforms.

Watchwords

“There are two words that will have the most impact on your professional life in tomorrow’s media world,” said Lauff. “These are ‘context’ and ‘content.’ If you are in the content business, you should have in mind that you might only survive by having put your content in a new context.”

With the merger mania sweeping Europe bringing old content players and new-media and telco companies together, Lauff’s speech was more than timely. Newly merged congloms attending the market for the first time together include Spanish telco Telefonica and Dutch production giant Endemol, and cabler UPC and pan-European television group SBS.

Bertelsmann itself is included in this growing merger demographic since last week’s union between Britain’s Pearson and the Bertelsmann subsid CLT/Ufa should provide Lauff’s broadband unit with more content to play with than it could ever have wished for thanks to Pearson’s large library.

Beyond the conference halls, participants escaped the rain to gather in a new extension of the Palais market home that seemed to have been built in response to the ever-expanding German companies.

Taking a stand

Filling the Espace Riviera were the Teutonic darling kidvidders of EM.TV & Merchandising, which had by far the flashiest stand — plastered in Kermit the Frogs with miniscreens showing the company’s programs. The newly unveiled Epsilon, Germany’s Kirch Group and Italy’s Mediaset’s merged holding and itself a pan-Euro powerhouse in the making, could have housed an entire market in their stand.

Outside along the Croisette, EM, which stole the show here last year with its three yachts, a massive advertising campaign and a wild party, has given up billboard space to some of the dot-coms that are in attendance for the first time, making up 13% of the companies at Mip.

Getting into the new-media spirit of things, Lauff announced Monday that Bertelsmann will launch an interactive TV service Friday in Frankfurt.

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