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HRTS: Iger: TV's 'Golden Age' Great for Consumers, Not for Programmers

Disney CEO Believes It's More Important to Focus on Competing Than Who You're Competing With 1/23/2013 3:16 PM Eastern

Robert Iger, chairman & CEO of The Walt Disney Co., maintains that the influx of new competitors in today's television marketplace has created a new Golden Age for viewers.

"It's a golden age of TV for the consumer, because there's never been more of it, more choice. There's never been higher quality," he said during the Hollywood Radio & Television Society's "A Conversation With Robert Iger" newsmaker luncheon Wednesday at the Beverly Hilton Hotel in Beverly Hills, Calif. The discussion was moderated by film and TV producer Brian Grazer.

Iger argued it's easy to become daunted by the "competitive set",  but that it's more important to be seen as an established competitor, instead of focusing on who you're competing against. "I've run into a lot of people who are obsessed with 'competitors'," said Iger. "I'm obsessed with 'competing.'"

He said that those who are constantly focusing on what the competition is doing are not paying attention to themselves: "If you're obsessed with what everyone is doing then you're not obsessed with what you're doing."

This Golden Age, he continued, is not just great for viewers either. All of the new competitors have created more "shelf space" for creators to peddle their ideas. "You have so many more places to go with your creative voice." He did, however, note that it's probably a "less forgiving" environment than it used to be.

While a Golden Age may exist for viewers and creators, the current ecosystem tougher for programmers. "It would be ridiculous to have blinders on in terms of the challenges of the business model," he said. "I don't necessarily envy the programmer of today."

Iger said the toughest challenge is figuring out how to serve advertisers with the expansion of viewing platforms. "There's no question that TV can provide real advertising and real value," he said. "We've got to figure out how to best reach people in an era where they're watching television in so many different ways."

He also addressed a recent hot-button issue -- violence in the media, especially in video games. He met within the company ranks Tuesday to "take stock of everything we've got that could be considered near the line or over the line." Being at Disney means it don't have too much violent content, he said, but stressed he still wants to be "part of the dialogue."

September