Chernin calls for more risk-taking

Innovate or die says News Corp. chief

CAMBRIDGE, U.K. — News Corp. topper Peter Chernin has urged British TV chiefs to adopt innovative, risk-taking strategies and embrace new media — or risk extinction.

Speaking at the Royal Television Society’s Cambridge Convention, Chernin, president and chief operating officer of News Corp., added that in such a complex market, creative, risk-taking strategies were more important than ever — and that it was high time the suits were regarded as creatives.

“It is a mistake to regard one set of people as creative and another as support drones. We need to treat every single person in our company as a creative.”

Chernin said the world of multi-platforms had created a truly Darwinian entertainment industry where only those fleet of foot would thrive.“There are huge rewards for those who innovate and death to those who do not,” he said.

He highlighted the move from a business where big players called all the shots to a world of infinite choice enabling audiences, users and consumers to exercise power.

“There has been a fundamental shift that has completely democratized our business,” he said. The News Corp. chief said there was a “golden opportunity” for media companies to make money from this new consumer-driven model.

“We possess the world’s most recognized and loved brands, and have the opportunity to leverage them in new ways.”

He added, “To dismiss user-generated content as crap and blogs as unauthoritative is not only unproductive, but a waste of time.”

Contemporary consumers will not tolerate workaday content.

“The middle is dead and that’s the greatest thing that has ever happened. The bland, safe, central, middle is never coming back.”

Speaking in the same debate on creativity, seasoned British programmer David Liddiment, creative director of Blighty’s biggest indie All3 Media, stressed U.K. webs needed to be less risk-averse.

That way they would combat “the increasing homogeneity in the output of the main channels” and “me-tooism.”

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