This time off to MIPCOM in route to the Frankfurt Book Fair. First things first -there is a spec of optimism is on the horizon. Reading an article in the NY Times today about the controversial TARP funds that were used to bail out banks, the auto industry and AIG. As AIG is reorganizing and organizing its plans to pay back the US government, things are looking rosey. The initial program set aside $700 billion dollars. In the end, as dispersements have been suspended, only $387 billion was allocated of the $700 billion that was approved and available. Nearly $100 billion has alreadyu been paid back - with interest. Depending on how quickly the auto industry can pay back the funds they were doled and if AIG is able to get on track and make full restitution, there is a a chance that the US taxpayer will make money on their TARP investment. From the times article, the range is a worse case scenario of losing $70 billion to an optimistic projection of netting $70 billion profit. Mind you I am making quotes from an article I read 5 hours ago, but if I am off, it is not by much. Considering your tea drinking neighbors will lead you to believe that $700 billion went up in vapors and that was the doing of Mr. Obama. To give full credit - GW Bush is the one that initiated the TARP program. I am optimistic it served its purpose in propping up the economy and saved it from caving in on itself. The article next to it also detailed that the economy grew by a surprising 1.7% last month, a full 1% more than anticipated.
Moving on from that positive news, which was one of few things (aside from my boys' picture for our Xmas cards) that put a smile on my face today - it buoyed my plans and purpose for going to MIPCOM. At the heart of BEA, the core will always be books, booksellers and authors - but BEA has to be a content event. That sounds like a generic, outside the synergy box type of business-speak jargon. It is not - in my heart and soul, I don't see books going away. However, what is next should be exciting and not scary. No one is sure what is next for publishing. I am certain about one thing - books are stories and content and there will be more formats, platforms and devices for them to be produced and consumed in the next five years than there have been in the last 100 years. Publishing is the fuel of the content engine. That is why BEA will be transformed to make certain that it is an event about content in its nascent form and that is ready to be consumed in books, on digital or mobile devices and be repurposed on-line, developed for movies and television or any place else that content will tell a story, entertain, inform, educate and inspire. My plan at MIPCOM is to marry the fuel of publishing content to the content engine that the entertainment industry represents. More dispatches to follow.
Also best wishes to Lance and Greg for NY Comicon next weekend. I am missing it for the first time since the epic 1st one in 2007. I have only been a spare part helper the last few years as Lance and Greg have driven that show to the great event it has become. I will miss it.
Event Director-BookExpo America
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