Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2010

March 14, 2010

I have just returned from an intense 3-day media summit in Abu Dhabi. I took some photos and tweeted from the summit, but here are some key take-aways:

Abu Dhabi
Abu Dhabi is very ambitious. And is not shy to show it. The summit was held at a brand-new futuristic hotel built on top of a Formula-1 race track. Abu Dhabi has established the Abu Dhabi Media Company (with an unlimited fund for investments) and twofour52 to become a media center. Recent investments of ADMC include the very promising Vevo (Hulu for music videos, with Sony Music Entertainment) and Gazillion (which holds the rights to all Marvel Comics characters).

Carriers are very afraid. Not from competition or government regulation. They are very afraid that they won’t be able carry all the upcoming heavy bandwidth from mobile web and smartphones with streaming media.
Smart carriers like Korea’s KT sees the solution with dumping off as much load as possible to WiFi, so they will play nice with WiFi. Not so smart ones will see WiFi as the enemy. Even LTE won’t help, as it had collapsed already once in Korea under very heavy load.

Watch out for Asus. Their ‘Less is More’ philosophy paid off big time for them, as they took over the netbook market. After watching their Chairman Shih at the conference mention MIT’s “Sixth Sense” technology over and over again, I am very excited about the possibility of walking into a Best Buy one day soon and picking up an Asus Sixth Sense device. They are very innovative and will win.

AMD CEO mentioned they will go for the PC and tablet markets and will completely abandon the mobile market. His words were ‘we will go for the larger screens and will not compete in the small screen market’. With their acquisition of ATI, and NVidia going big for mobile with Tegra 2 and similar chipsets, I don’t know if this focus is a good thing or will end up very bad for them.

News Corporation
Rupert Murdoch’s keynote: Copyright is top priority, creativity needs to be fostered and funded. Middle East is key. Moving some of his international TV stations from Hong Kong to Abu Dhabi, along with his global online advertising unit.

Who will pay for news?
Undecided. Many panels, many speakers, lots of discussion, many ideas, no consensus. All ideas but one will fail. The market will decide which model will win. The only consensus was that the winning business model will come from a startup.

The upcoming Media Industry/ISP battle
There will be a huge battle between the media industry and the ISPs. Media Industry is hell bent on bringing the non-working three-strikes rule to the US from France. In France, it doesn’t work (piracy is up in France after the law). File sharers find other ways ( darknet, freenet, direct-download sites – which can’t be tracked) if bittorrent is tracked.
Media Industry needs a Plan B. Technology will get around their courtroom ambitions. Again this area is ripe for startup innovation and disruption.

Eric Schmidt
Google CEO apparently gave his Barcelona Mobile World Congress speech verbatim. Nevertheless, key take-away was “Think Mobile”. Google engineers now start with a mobile-focused approach to every new app. Google Buzz for Mobile is a fantastic example of this. A thin mobile web front-end coupled with cloud computing is the future, as Mark Suster has been talking about recently. And one last thing, of course Android tablets ARE coming (Chrome OS or Android wasn’t made clear by his comments though).


One Response to “Abu Dhabi Media Summit 2010”

  1. Thank you Murat, for this exceptional summary of your impressions. I found your notes to be very informative and useful. Best!

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