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Sony Pictures Television, NBCU Beat CES Drum - Broadcasting & Cable

Sony Pictures Television, NBCU Beat CES Drum

SPT Pushing 'Sony United' Strategy; NBC Universal to Be Official Broadcast Partner
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Top executives from Sony Pictures Television and NBC Universal joined Consumer Electronics Association president and CEO Gary Shapiro at a New York press event Tuesday to promote the upcoming Consumer Electronics Show and highlight the growing role of content companies at the annual confab, which runs Jan. 7-10 in Las Vegas.

SPT president Steve Mosko said Sony’s presence at CES 2008 will exemplify the “Sony United” strategy being pursued by Sony CEO Howard Stringer of fully unifying the company’s electronics and content businesses. In that vein, Sony’s Jan. 7 press event in its booth will feature appearances by comedians Jerry Seinfeld and Drew Carey, crooner Tony Bennett and syndication stars Alex Trebek and Vanna White alongside its latest gadgets.

As first reported by B&C, SPT is shifting resources from other conferences to CES in 2008 for the first time.

Mosko noted that SPT has perpetually been asked the question of how it can survive without owning a program network as a distribution outlet for its content. But today, he said, that question has been flipped on its head.

“I say: How can you survive without being part of a technology company?” Mosko added.

Internally, Sony is focused on creating content for such platforms as its PlayStation gaming console and Bravia televisions.

NBCU will be exhibiting at CES for the first time, Shapiro said, as the “first-ever official broadcast partner of CES.” NBCU president of integrated media Beth Comstock was on hand to describe the company’s multiplatform exhibit booth, as well as its programming plans, which will include broadcasts from the CES floor from Al Roker of NBC’s Today, Mario Bartiromo of CNBC and Nancy O’Dell of syndicated show Access Hollywood.

“It seems like almost all of NBC Universal will be in Las Vegas that week,” Comstock said.

The CEA has been steadily building the role of content companies at its show, and this year’s convention will include keynotes from Comcast CEO Brian Roberts and Yahoo chief Jerry Yang. Not surprisingly, the show is forecast to be bigger than ever, with some 2,700 exhibitors, 140,000 attendees and 1.85 million square feet of exhibition space across the Las Vegas Convention Center and The Venetian.

The CEA is also making an environmentally friendly statement at the CES this year, Shapiro said, by reducing its carbon footprint through donations to carbonfund.org and through the use of sustainable and energy-efficient practices.

Additional reporting by Ben Grossman

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