MIXX: The Future Is Now

With six high-energy, competitive execs and multiple agendas, the MIXX super session on The Future could have been a disaster. Instead, moderated by Jack Myers, it was an energetic discussion with a lot to say about the present. (As good as it was, allowing questions from the attendees would have added a much-needed dimension of, well, interactivity; always a plus, especially at an interactive conference.) The panel included: Tim Armstrong, VP-advertising sales, Google; Shelby Bonnie, CEO, CNET Networks; Joanne Bradford, CVP, global sales and marketing; chief media revenue officer, Microsoft; Greg Coleman, EVP-Global Ad Sales, Yahoo; Michael Kelly, president, AOL Media Network; and Jim Spanfeller, CEO, Forbes/chairman, IAB. Setting the tone, at one point near the beginning, Coleman said, “We’re making it up as we go along” drawing a quick rejoinder from Bradford: “We’re not.” When Bonnie talked about the web content universe once being more like magazines but heading toward the cable channel model and a time five years out when CNET’s GameSpot and cable net G4 are going for the same market share and both will share many multimedia and interactive aspects, Spanfeller suggested not holding these models too closely to what’s come before.
Partnerships: Kelly: I think that as an industry sometimes we have silo-vision. And we think we’re going to be able to do it all ourselves and it’s all going to be on our platform and instead it’s going to be across platforms. That’s what the marketers want; that’s what the consumers want.” Coleman: “We’ll dabble (in content) but the premium that’s it’s going to place on partnerships in this marketplace are going to be very, very high.” The real difficulty, he said, is what he calls “Tom Sawyer deals — a lot of the content dealers want us to pay them to whitewash their fence. It’s difficult and it’s going to take both sides to understand each others’ needs better.” Bradford: “Is CNET on MSN a better thing for CNET or MSN? We execute a deal and we find out when the deal runs out. รข

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