Advanced Television

Royal Television Society announces full line-up for London Conference2016

September 9, 2016

The Royal Television Society (RTS) has unveiled an impressive line-up of heavy-weight speakers and thought-provoking sessions for the RTS London Conference 2016. The biennial event, which takes place on 27 September 2016 at Kings Place, is this year titled “Full Stream Ahead: Commissioning, Producing and Distributing Content in an Age of On-Demand” and will explore how the emergence of myriad new distribution platforms is impacting the commissioning and production landscape.

The conference, which is sponsored by NBCUniversal International and chaired by its Chairman Kevin MacLellan, will open with a Keynote from Steve Burke, Chief Executive Officer of NBCUniversal. As CEO of one of the world’s largest media portfolios, Burke, is uniquely positioned to give his insightful perspective on the evolving global media landscape during one of the most transitional periods in television’s history. In conversation with world-renowned journalist and author Tina Brown, he will share his experiences at the helm of NBCUniversal since its acquisition by Comcast in 2011. He discusses the powerful partnership of content and distribution, why monetization matters and how NBCUniversal is forging ahead in a new age of On-Demand.

Michael Edelstein, President of NBCUniversal International Studios; Tim Davie, CEO of BBC Worldwide and Director, Global; Stephen Lambert, CEO of Studio Lambert; and Sky Vision Managing Director Jane Millichip will join session chair, Tim Hincks, former President of Endemol Shine Group, for a session titled ‘Go Global or Go Home’. This panel of leading international producers and distributors will debate the current exhilarating state of the content market and asks whether content needs to be global to succeed and if local content is still important? How do you balance financing and rights in a globalised world?  And what does all this mean for the industry in the UK?

In ‘Brexit: What Next’, Channel 4 News Presenter, Krishnan Guru-Murthy will chair a discussion with Josh Berger, President and Managing Director of Warner Bros. Entertainment U.K., Ireland and Spain; Pippa Glucklich, CEO, Starcom; Peter Mandelson, former MP for Hartlepool and a former EU Commissioner; and John McVay, Chief Executive of Pact. The session will unpack the range of opportunities, hot potatoes and plain not-sure-yets that Brexit poses. From the political and economic impacts, to the employment and regulatory issues it throws up – not to mention headquartering questions for multi-national companies and country of origin conundrums.

Ben McOwen-Wilson, Director, YouTube EMEA, joins Simon Pitts, Managing Director – Online, Pay TV, Interactive & Technology at ITV; Jim Ryan, Liberty Global’s Senior Vice President and Chief Strategy Officer; and Sue Unerman, Chief Strategy Officer, MediaCom, for what’s sure to be a lively debate chaired by Actor and Comedian Hugh Dennis. As the number of platforms and devices for viewing content proliferates exponentially, ‘You Don’t Own A TV? What Is All Your Furniture Pointed At?’ will focus on consumer behaviour: where, when and how people are enjoying video content now, and what it bodes for the future.  Are certain demographics being left behind? What does it mean for linear television? How can and will it all be monetised? Is there too much content, and if so, what happens if that bubble bursts?

In the last session of the morning, Channel 4 News’ Cathy Newman interviews Sharon White as the Ofcom Chief Executive prepares to take on new responsibilities for the BBC and looks over a landscape in which UK people now spend more time on media and communications on average each day than they do sleeping. The challenges for the regulator have never been more intense: to protect the public’s interests as both consumers and citizens, and to ensure the UK’s communications industries continue to flourish in an ever more competitive and globalised world. She explains how Ofcom is doing.

The afternoon kicks off with a keynote conversation with Ted Sarandos, Chief Content Officer at Netflix, followed by ‘The New Commissioners’, in which The Guardian’s Media Editor, Jane Martinson meets the commissioners challenging traditional TV. With innovative transmission models and infamously deep pockets, these programme makers define success by buzz, subs and churn rather than overnight viewing numbers. The panel includes, Director of Sky Atlantic, Zai Bennett; Managing Director of BT TV and Sport, Delia Bushell; BBC Three Controller, Damian Kavanagh; Vice Media’s Head of News Programming EU, Kevin Sutcliffe and Richard Watsham, UKTV’s Director of Commissioning.

‘The Evolution of Public Service Broadcasting’ will see Pat Younge, MD at Sugar Films, chair a discussion with Channel 4 Chief Creative Officer, Jay Hunt; Monica Maggioni, President of RAI; BBC Director, Strategy and Education, James Purnell; and Peter Rosberg, Head of Planning & Scheduling at Danmarks Radio They will examine one of the central questions faced by PSBs over the next 10 years: how do they continue to serve loyal linear broadcast audiences while at the same time innovating for younger audiences, moving towards IP, mobile and on-demand, whilst  maintaining relevance and impact?

In the day’s final session, ‘Fit for the Future?’ chair Lorraine Heggessey will be joined by Channel 4 CEO, David Abraham; Sky’s Group Chief Operating Officer & Chief Financial Officer, Andrew Griffith; BBC Director General, Tony Hall; Dido Harding, Chief Executive Officer of TalkTalk Telecom Group PLC; and Tom Mockridge, CEO of Virgin Media; to reflect on the conference themes and discuss how well placed some of the leading media companies are to confront the challenges of the future.


The RTS has also collaborated with Accenture for the second year on the development of a bespoke app for iOS and Android devices, allowing delegates to navigate information about each session, read speaker biographies, network, vote and comment during sessions, and find out more about getting to/from the conference.


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