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NATPE 2010: Shine's Murdoch Calls Social Media Key to TV's Success

Says engagement through social networking is "answer to our economic problems" 1/28/2010 11:18:00 AM Eastern

NATPE
2010: Complete Coverage from B&C

Social media
is the key to media's economic future, said Elisabeth Murdoch, CEO of
Shine Ltd. and daughter of media scion Rupert, in an address that issued a digital call to arms
to TV producers and distributors Jan. 27 at the annual NATPE
convention in Las Vegas.

"Audiences
expect more and they want to be involved more," Murdoch said. "If
you engage them, I believe they will pay more. This change is the answer to our
economic problems. Social networking is nothing less than Web 3.0."

U.K.-based
Shine--which encompasses Ben Silverman's former company, Reveille, in
the U.S.--is the producer behind such worldwide formats as The Biggest
Loser
and Masterchef, and series such as Life on Mars. With
social media in mind, Shine is focused on "rethinking our creative model
so audiences who desire to be even more immersed can be met on their terms. The
goal is to form enduring connections with our fans and create new and magnetic
social media experiences."

With the
arrival of such social-networking tools as Facebook, Twitter and YouTube, as
well as smart phones such as iPhones and BlackBerries, "our audience has
become unrecognizable over the past ten years," said Murdoch.  "We
in the TV business have to catch up with what our audience is doing. We can no
longer afford to be one-screen business. Social networks are finally the
interactive dimension of storytelling. We now need to evolve with our audience.
To resist this would be like resisting Technicolor."

Piracy
is a constant danger in the world of digital content and social media, but
it's a risk that producers must take, Murdoch said. "Fans remain
the best salesmen of our content, even if that behavior is on the borderline of
piracy. Danger of the new world is that we must concede that we'll lose
some control."

Still,
the many facets of social media are exactly what will protect producers against
theft, she said. "Experimental media is a very potent vaccine against
piracy. If our media is irreducible to a single file, we are far less likely to
be ripped off."

And
while she encouraged producers to push forward, she also advised them to remain
diligent: "Lawful society is a key economic indicator to the success of
all developing countries."

"This
is not about saving television. It's about enriching our industry,"
said Murdoch. "Our audience has always been smart, demanding, clever and
enthusiastic - it never has been more so than it has now. All we need to
do is actually join the party. They are having a lot of fun talking about us
already but they will not wait for us."

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