Media entrepreneur James Murdoch has called on the German media industry not to obstruct changes in the digital world, but to embrace challenges and participate in the changes.
Companies wanting long-term success must take viewers seriously and accept changing customer wishes, said Murdoch in his keynote speech at industry fair Medientage München (Media Days Munich). It is dangerous to remain complacent and sluggish, he warned, adding that companies have to side with their customers and consistently align offers to meet their requirements.
The 35-year old, who heads the European and Asian business of his father Rupert Murdoch's media concern News Corp, stressed the important role innovations play for growth and success. Despite internal resistance, News Corp-backed UK pay-TV operator Sky Digital introduced high definition television (HDTV) at an early stage. There are now 26 HDTV channels on the platform which boasts half a million subscribers. Viewers have welcomed the new technology: "Whoever has seen television in high definition doesn't want anything else", said Murdoch.
Personal video recorders have also been well received by Sky Digital subscribers, not least because of the possibility they offer to skip commercials. Murdoch said that despite criticism from TV broadcasters, the product met the wishes of its customers and consequently Sky Digital introduced the devices on a broader basis, achieving great success.
Murdoch now wants to lead German pay-TV operator Premiere, in which News Corp is the largest single shareholder with a 25.1 per cent stake, to success using the model of News Corp's pay-TV activities in other countries. However, he did not give concrete details. But by pointing towards the great success Sky Digital achieved with its large HDTV package, it can be concluded from Murdoch's words that Premiere's HDTV offer will most probably be increased.
Observers have long been pushing for a broader HDTV selection in order for Premiere to distinguish itself more distinctly from free-to-air television as a high value premium product for a demanding, affluent audience. With movies and sports channel Premiere HD and documentary channel Discovery HD, Premiere currently only offers 2 high-definition channels.
© Rapid TV News 2008