Milia’s moment arrives

Long-mulled convergence of mobile, Net and b'cast at critical mass

Milia, the new-media confab that last year aligned with Mip, has continued to gel with the TV market as the ever-evolving event adapts to a fast-changing industry.

Together, Mip and Milia has become a venue showcasing content creation, production and distribution across all traditional and digital platforms.

Milia is focusing on a wide array of topics, from mobile TV and video on demand to iPod and cell phone programming, and grappling with issues such as developing entertainment business models in view of increasingly unlimited choice and control among consumers over what they watch.

Milia director Ted Baracos says the merger of Milia and Mip is “symbolic of the convergence currently taking place.”

Indeed, convergence of mobile communications, Internet and broadcasting has long been a hot topic at new-media panel discussions, but in the past year these issues have reached critical mass.

“The landscape continues to evolve and there will be more challenges to meet. Milia provides a context to bring people together, build bridges. It makes the whole event much richer,” Baracos adds.

Discussing how the Internet is becoming more significant in covering major events, America Online chairman-CEO Jonathan Miller — who is receiving the Pioneer Prize at Milia for his contributions to the field of interactive TV — says, “As our coverage of Live 8 showed, the Internet is unmatched when it comes to delivering a big event that entertains, engages and mobilizes a global audience.” Live 8 was the first major event watched by more people on the Internet than on television.

Miller will be among the slew of industry reps on hand for keynote addresses taking part in this year’s conferences. Other notable speakers include Ashley Highfield, director of new media and technology at BBC; Erik Huggers, general manager of Microsoft Windows Media; Michael Jackson, president of programming at IAC/InterActiveCorp; Takeshi Natsuno, head of Multimedia Services at NTT Docomo; and Gary Carter, chief creative officer of FremantleMedia’s new platforms division.

Another highlight will be the first Content 360 Digital Commissioning Pitches, organized in partnership with the BBC, the Korean Broadcasting Commission and the National Film Board of Canada. The new initiative encourages multimedia and application developers to develop and collaborate on new-content ideas with international broadcasters. Developers will present their original concepts at the event.

Among mobile market players attending this year is Cologne-based TV and mobile content and distribution outfit Ohm:TV. Company is distributing four mobile TV channels — Mango TV, a gay lifestyle channel; Short Cut TV, a short-movie channel on air with T-Mobile in Austria and Germany; Shortz!, a short-movie outlet soon to launch in Austria; and Crime Scene Television, a police and crime channel.

Mip mainstay Fremantle continues to beef up its mobile content activities, including a recent agreement with Channel 4 to provide exclusive content for mobile and online platforms for the new comedy series “The IT Crowd” as well as a slew of multimedia deals in the U.K. for “The Apprentice.”

In its effort to bring together industry players together, Milia is hosting a Mobile Networking beach soiree Wednesday .

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