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Couch Potatoes On Track For Virtual World

All eyes will also be on the MIPTV/MILIA "Content 360" international competition inaugurated last year to generate innovative, interactive entertainment that will work on the Web, cellphones, and other new and emerging new media platforms.
by Audrey Stuart
Cannes, France (AFP) April 16, 2007
TV addicts looked set to make the leap from couch to computer or cellphone, as TV, Internet, mobile phone, video game and advertising execs gathered Monday to mull how to propel their converging worlds into one future.

Giving a first pointer on the times to come, reality TV pioneer Endemol, maker of the hit "Big Brother" series, said it was teaming up with interactive gaming leader Electronic Arts to launch a new virtual world for television addicts, after Internet's "Second Life" and "Cyworld".

The creation of "Virtual Me", a digital entertainment concept marrying traditional TV with video games, was announced at the opening of one of the world's largest broadcasting and audiovisual trade events, the five-day MIPTV/MILIA trade show. The drive to entertain fragmenting audiences as TV and video jump out of the box onto a plethora of new screens -- from the tiny mobile phone to PCs, handheld gaming devices and even the iconic iPod -- is at the centre of the five-day show.

"The amount of innovation and flux going on within the confines of TV is pretty breathtaking," marketing guru Joseph Jaffe, author of best-selling advertising book, "Life After The 30 Second Spot," told the daily MIPTV News.

"Innovation is no longer a nice-to-have, it's a have-to-have. It's an absolute necessity for survival."

Increasing competition as large numbers of new players worldwide fight traditional broadcasters for a bigger slice of action has attracted record numbers of more than 13,000 participants to this year's market.

The growth in content for TV, Internet (IPTV), cellphones and other platforms is more about reaching niche rather than mass audiences, Paul Johnson, television director for the show's organisers, Reed MIDEM, told AFP.

"The future will have consumers dictating what they want to watch, when they want. It will offer more choices across more platforms than at any other time in our history of the medium," Johnson emphasised.

The Asian digital power houses were in Cannes in force, with Japan, South Korea and China bringing large delegations.

More than 3,570 TV buyers from around the world are also due to attend, up eight percent from last year. Regions expected to come on a buying spree include Eastern Europe and the Middle East as well as Asia Pacific.

Run in parallel with the hectic buying and selling, brainstorming sessions will tackle burning issues such as whether "green TV" can become prime-time TV.

Increased environmental concern about global warming has sparked a new trend in TV programming and is behind the recent launch of a couple of dedicated "green" channels. The United Nations will be in town to offer its slew of green-themed documentaries and series.

All eyes will also be on the MIPTV/MILIA "Content 360" international competition inaugurated last year to generate innovative, interactive entertainment that will work on the Web, cellphones, and other new and emerging new media platforms.

But although more key players than ever before from the Internet, cellphone, video-on-demand and advertising worlds will jet in for the event, demand is expected to be high for the old favourite, bread-and-butter TV staples.

The popularity of the oft-maligned but hugely successful non-scripted TV formats that have sent reality, cooking, home-improvements and quiz shows around the globe are still riding high.

Recent scripted drama and comedy hits from the United States are also on many buy-lists while the recent upsurge in docudramas also shows no sign of abating, industry watchers note.

The show is truly global with 102 countries expected to attend, 10 percent more than last year. New boys on the block include Bangladesh, Belarus, Macedonia, Senegal and the Democratic Republic of Congo.

Source: Agence France-Presse

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All Of Russia Will Have Internet And Phone Access
Moscow (RIA Novosti) Mar 27, 2007
Russia lags significantly behind developed countries in the IT sphere, said First Deputy Prime Minister Sergei Ivanov at a meeting of the board of the Information Technologies and Communications Ministry.

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