TELECOM Digest OnLine - Sorted: TMT Test of Cash, Clicks and Content

TMT Test of Cash, Clicks and Content

Gavin Haycock, Reuters (
Sat, 12 May 2007 12:01:43 -0500

By Gavin Haycock, European Media Correspondent

The global technology, media and telecommunication industries are in
the throes of upheaval that experiments with new markets, new
technologies and new partners as well-funded start-ups jolt old
business models.

Leaders in the industry will gather at the Reuters Global Technology,
Media and Telecoms Summit in Paris, New York and Seoul next week to
discuss their strategies at a time of fevered deal activity and
intense competition.

With stock markets surging, borrowing costs low and buyers -- both
strategic and financial -- ready to front up rich valuations for
assets they deem to be in critical sectors and markets, the future
seems to be bright.

But pricing and product pitfalls cover everyone from media companies
to consumer electronics makers and their component suppliers.

To help combat the pressure, equipment makers in the tech and telecoms
industries are getting together with media content providers and

"Content is king and the queen is brand," Wolfram Winter, managing
director of German pay TV broadcaster Premiere Sky told bankers and
executives at a Media Finance conference in London this week.

From a flood of private equity investment in technology to Google
Inc.'s $3.1 billion deal for Web advertising supplier DoubleClick or
Rupert Murdoch's proposed $5 billion acquisition of Dow Jones & Co.
Inc., the competitive landscape is changing fast.

At the Reuters Summit, executives from established media and
advertising companies like Viacom Inc., WPP Group Plc and ITV will
talk about how they compete against small but often more agile
upstarts like Sling Media Inc. and Joost.

The emphasis is on speed and a debate over the relative value of
online and offline offerings.

"You need a combination of both," Warner Mandel, a managing director
at Rothschild told the Media Finance conference.

"No business wants to put all its eggs in one basket. Nobody knows
where it is all going. You also have to remember online is a vast
world and a lot of what drives eyeballs to sites is done offline," he


In the telecoms sector, handset makers Nokia and Sony Ericsson,
carriers AT&T, Verizon and Telefonica/O2, and equipment makers like
Cisco and Texas Instruments are expected to discuss 3G, emerging
markets and whether the wave of M&A will continue.

Investing in new networks to cater for growing demand for online,
mobile and high-definition video will also occupy the thoughts of
phone carriers and cable and satellite rivals.

"The competition is extremely fierce, I mean it's bloody around the
globe," Neil Strother, a wireless analyst at Jupiter Research told
Reuters Television.

"Nokia being the leader is very skilled at that and is able to
navigate the waters quite well, but you look at Samsung, Motorola, LG,
Ericsson -- they all battle it out for the rest of the pie," Strother

"Those five manufacturers account for roughly 80 percent of the world
market so they go into those markets in a very competitive way and I
don't see that changing anytime soon."

Meanwhile, in technology, Asian makers of LCD televisions such as LG
Philips, Samsung and Sony will likely debate industry standards and
the outlook for prices at the summit.

Software makers like Microsoft, SAP and others will look at servicing
the small and medium-sized business sector and enterprise security.

No matter the sector, the core themes of content and its delivery, the
power of brand, and taking advantage of fragmenting markets will
likely dominate executives' thinking.

Another summit speaker, Taiwan's BenQ Corp., last month announced
plans to set aside its struggling own-brand business to refocus on
contract manufacturing.

(Additional reporting by Ruben Ramirez in New York)

Copyright 2007 Reuters Limited.

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