Royal Television Society reveals line-up for Cambridge Convention 2017

The Royal Television Society (RTS) has unveiled the line-up for the RTS Cambridge Convention 2017: A World of Opportunity. The biennial event, which takes place in Cambridge from 13 – 15 September, will see the industry’s most senior figures converge to discuss how, in a year in which the UK will start to forge its own new wider relationships, the television industry can make the most of this and other opportunities at home and abroad.

In the opening session, A World of Opportunity, Sky’s Group Chief Operating Officer, Andrew Griffith and Managing Director, Content, Gary Davey, will chair a scene-setter for the convention. Bringing together the latest research with expert comment from Thinkbox CEO, Lindsey Clay and David Rowan, Editor-at-large, WIRED UK; the session will offer a thought-provoking discussion on the future of the UK television industry post Brexit.

Nancy Dubuc, President and CEO of A&E Networks – a global entertainment media company with six original brands and a reach of over 330 million worldwide and more than 500 million digital users – will then offer a global perspective on operating a media company in this fast changing sector in her international keynote, which will be chaired by Jay Hunt, Chief Creative Officer of Channel 4.

Andy Harries, CEO of Left Bank Pictures and Andy Wilman, Executive Producer of The Grand Tour are then in conversation with Peter Fincham, Co-CEO of Expectation in Show Me The Money! Here they will discuss the opportunities and pitfalls of making mega-budget shows such as The Crown and The Grand Tour and what it is like creating content for the new platforms.

Wednesday closes with a keynote address from Sir David Clementi. Chaired by media analyst, Lorna Tilbian, this will be the first public speech Clementi has given since he was appointed as Chairman of the BBC in February 2017 and will be followed by a dinner sponsored by Discovery Communications.

Day two of the convention will see keynote addresses from James Murdoch and Sharon White. As CEO of one of the leading international powerhouses, 21st Century Fox, Murdoch will offer a unique insight into the challenges of a shifting media landscape in this session chaired by Sarah Sands, the Editor of BBC Radio Four’s Today Programme; and Sharon White, Chief Executive of Ofcom will be in conversation with broadcaster, Kirsty Wark.

The convention will also un-pick some of the topics that have dominated industry discussion this year. Broadcaster, Barbara Serra, will explore how, in a climate of fake news, internet propaganda, unmediated user generated content and rolling news, the news feeds stack-up in Whose News is it Anyway? Decision makers from the major news broadcasts and online providers including: independent media consultant, Chris Banatvala; James Harding, Director, News and Current Affairs, BBC; Julie Hulme, Director of Newsgathering, ITV News; Jonathan Levy, Director of Newsgathering and Operations, Sky and Stuart Millar, Head of News, BuzzFeed; will be pitted against each other in a fast-developing hypothetical story to see what they would do and how their approaches differ.

Ben McOwen Wilson, Director YouTube EMEA; Alexi Mostrous, Head of Investigations, The Times and Kelly Williams, Commercial Director, ITV; debate the big questions about the future of advertising in the digital age. Amidst stories of fraud, over-claiming, brand safety and even links to terrorism in online advertising on the big social media sites, will advertisers choose to back the broadcasters? The session will be chaired by Hugh Dennis.

Later in the day, The Rt Hon Karen Bradley MP, Secretary of State for Digital, Culture, Media and Sport will deliver a keynote address chaired by Anushka Asthana, joint Political Editor of The Guardian.

Sophie Turner Laing, CEO of Endemol Shine Group, will ask international leaders including Cécile Frot-Coutaz, CEO, FremantleMedia Group; Michelle Guthrie, Managing Director, ABC and David Lynn, President and CEO, Viacom International Media; where the greatest opportunities lie for the UK production industry.

The final session of the day will take a light-hearted look at the future of entertainment and how we can maximise lucrative formats in a fast-changing world. Richard Osman will front a lively panel including Philip Edgar-Jones, Director, Sky Arts; Siobhan Greene, Head of Entertainment, ITV and Kate Phillips, Controller, Entertainment Commissioning, BBC; as they discuss the next big trends.

Delegates will also hear from Alastair Campbell, who is confirmed as the after dinner speaker for Thursday evening. The dinner is sponsored by Accenture.

The opening session of day three, A World of Opportunity – For All? will discuss the prospects for creating a more diverse workforce which truly reflects society. It will look at class and social mobility, both on-screen and in the broadcast business. Greg Dyke, media executive and former Chairman of the FA; Anne Mensah; Head of Drama, Sky; Fraser Nelson, Editor of The Spectator and James Purnell, Director, Radio and Education, BBC, will provide their views in this thought-provoking session chaired by Tim Hincks, Co-CEO of Expectations.

The penultimate session will focus on Talent – How to Find It, Nurture It, Pay for It and Keep It and at the end of three days of debate the conference will close with senior figures, including Susanna Dinnage, President and MD, Discovery Networks UK and Ireland and Chief Content Officer, International; Mai Fyfield, Chief Strategy Officer, Sky and the BBC’s Director-General, Tony Hall, as they consider what we have learned and ask the question – does the future indeed offer A World of Opportunity? Further names for these sessions will be announced in due course.

The Principal Sponsor for the RTS Cambridge Convention 2017 is Sky and it is co-chaired by Andrew Griffith and Gary Davey. Other sponsors include: BBC Worldwide, Atos, VICELAND and 21st Century Fox. Tom Mockridge, Chair of the RTS Board of Trustees and CEO of Virgin Media, will open and close the convention.

The RTS has collaborated with Accenture to develop a bespoke app for iOS and Android devices, allowing delegates to navigate information about each session, read speaker biographies, access social media links, download presentations, vote and comment during sessions, and find out more about getting to/from the Convention in Cambridge.

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