ASTRA Conference speakers announced

ASTRA has announced the speakers for the ASTRA 2008 Subscription Television Conference in Sydney on Wednesday 19 March.
The ‘Claiming The Future’ conference will feature Australian and international leaders in growth media who will explore the opportunities and challenges for television entertainment in Australia and internationally at this unique industry forum.
Speakers include:
* Senator the Hon Stephen Conroy, Minister for Broadband, Communications and the Digital Economy

* Philip Evans of the Boston Consulting Group – a specialist in broadband and broadcast convergence who will provide the keynote industry address

* Kim Williams AM, FOXTEL CEO and Managing Director

* John Porter, AUSTAR CEO

* Richard Freudenstein, CEO News Digital Media

* Beth Roberts NBC Universal Executive VP, Cable Entertainment Business Affairs, Digital and New Business Development.
ASTRA CEO Debra Richards said: “Subscription television, with more than 2 million subscriber homes and more than 6 million viewers and rising, is the leader in digital television growth and service innovation. Our conference will explore how we can maintain our leading edge.
‘ASTRA 2008 has attracted an outstanding group of speakers who will light the way ahead with their knowledge of the communications future.’
Other speakers at ASTRA 2008 include: Michael Ephraim, Managing Director, SONY Computer Entertainment; Donald McDonald, Director of the Classification Board; Andy Townend, Deputy Secretary, Digital Switchover Taskforce; Lyn Maddock, ACMA Deputy Chair.
They will debate and discuss the key issues, challenges and opportunities for the Australian industry along with industry experts Brian Walsh, Executive Director Television and Marketing, FOXTEL; Deanne Weir, Group Director Corporate Development & Legal Affairs, AUSTAR; Patrick Delany, Executive Director Content, Product Development & Delivery, FOXTEL; consultant Paul Fletcher and commentators David Speers, SKY NEWS; Michael Peschardt, BBC World; and John Durie, The Australian.
Philip Evans is a frequent speaker on the new economics of information and is the co-author of Blown to Bits. His consulting practice is focused on resolving strategy issues for clients in the media, financial services and consumer goods industries.
Beth Roberts has been with NBC Universal for 10 years and in her current role she has wide arc of cable network and production responsibilities. She oversees all USA, SciFi, Bravo, UniHD, Sleuth, Chiller and emerging networks acquisitions, program development, current series negotiations, brand integration and digital content strategic initiatives.
Ms Richards said: ‘The annual ASTRA conference provides subscription television businesses the forum to showcase what they have to offer, as well as discuss critical issues and policy. The conference will inform communications policy debate for the year ahead.
‘Delegates at previous conferences have found the event to be a full and energetic program that is a terrific opportunity to not only see and hear the latest, but it is a great opportunity to network as well,’ Ms Richards said.
The event to be held at the Hilton Hotel in Sydney will include a lunch hosted by James Kerley, Channel [V] and conclude with a cocktail function at the ArtHouse Hotel.
To register online for ASTRA 2008: Claiming the Future go to
Media can register free of charge for ASTRA 2008 by contacting Kym Druitt at eckfactor on (02) 8570 5511 or
ASTRA 2008 sponsors include AUSTAR, FOXTEL, Globecast Australia, XYZnetworks, FOX SPORTS, National Geographic Channel, NDS, OzTAM, Pace Micro Technology, Sky News Business Channel, AI Media, Allens Arthur Robinson, MCN and Turner International.

[release from eckfactor]

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