Gabfest nabs pair

Karmazin, Zeiler to speak at RTS fall event

LONDON — Viacom president and COO Mel Karmazin and RTL’s new chief executive Gerhard Zeiler will give keynote speeches at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention, held Sept. 18-20.

The pair will lead the international session at the biannual gabfest, the premier talking shop for the decision makers of Blighty’s TV industry.

“The End Game — winners and losers in the digital decade” is the theme of this fall’s event, to be opened by media minister Tessa Jowell and chaired by BBC director general Greg Dyke.

The government’s plan to deregulate British TV and allow U.S. companies to buy U.K. stations outright is expected to be law by the fall. The impact of this key change is certain to be keenly debated at Cambridge.

Also attending are BSkyB CEO Tony Ball and his new lieutenant, Sky Networks’ managing director Dawn Airey, Endemol U.K. chairman Peter Bazalgette and Carlton Communications chairman Michael Green, now attempting to merge his company with Granada to form a single ITV.

The RTS has commissioned what it claims is the “ultimate” 10-year model to predict the future of British television.

Another potential highlight is a session that for the first time puts the four men who have built and run innovative U.K. web Channel Four on the same panel — Sir Jeremy Isaacs, Michael Grade, Michael Jackson, now an executive at Universal, and Mark Thompson.