ASTRA Conference wrap up

30 March, 2011 by IF

Press release from ASTRA

The content matters’ themed Conference held in Sydney on 29 March gave attendees the opportunity to learn global best practice from, network with and hear about future trends forecast by global and local industry leaders.


Key insights included:

* Personalised TV
* Quality content that people look for and are willing to pay for
* Staying connected to technological and social media innovations and;
* Giving consumers the best possible entertainment experience

The Conference commenced with the Women in TV breakfast where Johanna Blakely, Deputy Director of the Norman Lear Center in the US discussed social media, women and the networked audience, with over 600 attendees – a sell-out crowd that topped any previous attendance levels.

Johanna's address reflected on how social media is re-defining stereotypes while simultaneously providing us with more information about consumers and audiences. She also talked about the challenges faced by traditional media companies as they grapple with an always-online audience.

The Hon Steven Bracks AC, Chairman of ASTRA, reiterated the importance of subscription television in Australia in his opening address, “We can see that existing customers are taking up more products and services, deepening their relationship to STV and all if offers them”.

He noted that the industry does not exist in a vacuum, calling for Government to see the convergence review as an opportunity for real productivity reform through light touch, not paternalistic regulation.”

Delivering the channel keynote address, Ben Pyne, President, Global Distribution at Disney Media Networks acknowledged how television is becoming more personalised and adapting a placebased viewing model. Ben argued (don‟t use acknowledge again here)that digital devices
complement existing terrestrial, cable and satellite services and contribute to increased numbers of people watching TV content through multiple platforms. He cited examples of great content mixed with technology that is creating a true social network and said that this presents an
opportunity for Australians due to the high usage of social media locally.

In contrast, the platform keynote address delivered by Jeremy Darroch, CEO of BskyB, centred on increased consumer focus and delivering the best possible entertainment experience. According to Jeremy, the growth opportunities for STV lie not just in getting newcustomers, but selling more to existing customers. Having spearheaded BskyB‟s growth through the Global Financial Crisis, Jeremy said, “In uncertain economic times, consumers are making careful choices and spending money only on the things they really care about.

That puts subscription TV in a good position, because we know that people really care about their home entertainment.” Jeremy also acknowledged that BskyB's growth has come in part from catering to niche audiences like arts enthusiasts (through Sky Arts) who wouldn‟t find
relevant content elsewhere.

FOXTEL Chief Executive, Kim Williams and AUSTAR Chief Executive, John Porter discussed the current regulatory environment, issues and challenges for STV in Australia.

In addition to the main keynote speeches and addresses, there were individual sessions on:

Programming trends panel discussion: Industry leaders discussed trends in programming from their individual perspectives as experts in documentary, drama and news programming respectively.

Original Australian Production: The session discussed the range of diversity in Australian content and trends in production to what is making an impact with Australian audiences.

Connecting with your Audience Beyond the TV Screen: This session reviewed industry trends including interactivity, social media and activities that create loyalty and illustrated how channels are generating and maintaining strong connections with audiences.

New Breed: Leaders of Tomorrow: This session discussed the business landscape and role of leadership in Australia today through a moderated discussion with experts in their field.

TV everywhere: Panellists discussed the changing environment including new products and services and their impact on audiences and subscription TV.

In addition to the sessions, PricewaterhouseCoopers presented its Australian Entertainment & Media Outlook, a trend analysis through 2014, highlighting the changing landscape and where technology and consumer demand are headed at the Conference.

The Conference concluded with the presentation of ASTRA Industry Excellence Awards.