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Broadcasters have lost monopoly on content delivery, CEA chief says

Consumer Electronics Association (CEA) president and CEO Gary Shapiro told attendees of IBC2007 that broadcasters “no longer enjoy a monopoly on content delivery” during his keynote speech Sept. 7 in Amsterdam.

New types of content delivered to consumers via alternate delivery paths are attracting the “ears and eyes once devoted exclusively to broadcasters,” he said.

During his speech, Shapiro discussed developments that have shaped both the broadcast and the consumer electronics industries in the 40 years since the first IBC conference. He also shared his vision of the challenges and opportunities that new media and consumer demand pose for broadcasters in the future.

In growing numbers, consumers are purchasing the tools they need for on-demand access to information and entertainment. Shapiro told broadcasters that if they can learn to anticipate consumer demand, adapt quickly and take advantage of their existing assets, there will be a bright future ahead.

Broadcasters must turn the digital world in their favor, and the first step to doing so is considering their assets, he said. Heading that list is “the highest quality spectrum there is,” which gives broadcasters a leg up on cable, satellite and mobile operators. “This enormous bandwidth is more accessible than any other network owner,” he said. It is essential for broadcasters to “take advantage of this scarce resource in the form of new services to the consumer.”

The CEA chief also pointed out that broadcasters enjoy a unique relationship with their viewers, offering entertainment and news in the home at the touch of a button. “No other market has a direct pipeline into people’s homes like broadcasters,” he said. “There is no ticket to ride or box office fare, no WiFi access or five-minute download required.”

"The winners over the next 40 years will be those who have the clearest vision," he said. "They are able to identify potentially disruptive new channels, recognize consumer trends and yet, go out to meet the challenge."

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