Royal Television Convention sets schedule

BBC, Google, and ITV execs to appear at Sept. event

LONDON -- Program financing, budget cut-backs and new business models for the broadcasting industry will top the bill at next month's Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention, the biennial event that drives media policy and debate in Britain, attracting leading politicians, broadcasters, regulators and producers.

Highlights include culture minister Ben Bradshaw's first address to the industry, BBC director general Mark Thompson's interview with Google chairman and CEO Eric Schmidt and an analysis on the future of free-TV from RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler.

In a panel entitled "TV's Next Top Model," FremantleMedia chief executive Tony Cohen, BSkyB chief operating officer Mike Darcey and TV analyst Tess Alps from Thinkbox will discuss such models as subscription television, advertising and micro-payments.

ITV chief operating officer John Cresswell, Channel 4 chairman Luke Johnson and RTL chief executive Zeiler will discuss the state of play for commercial broadcasters and ask if the model has to be re-engineered.

Other panels will focus on regional news, the changing political landscape and how a new government could impact the broadcasting industries and a one-off version of panel show "Question Time" where the audience of executives, broadcasters and delegates can quiz an executive line-up of Five chief executive Dawn Airey, ITV chief executive Michael Grade and BBC director general Mark Thompson.

The 2009 Cambridge Convention is held at King's College Cambridge and runs September 16 through 18.