Media Forum opens – festive gala for the 25th anniversary in Cologne
- Opening address by NRW prime-minister Hannelore Kraft
- Keynote by Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe on chances and risks of digitisation
- Oliver Welke presents an entertaining journey through 25 years of the Media Forum NRW and German television history
- ¨Latest heavyweight round of all time¨
A festive anniversary gala kicked off the 25th Media Forum NRW in Cologne’s Gerling Quartier on Wednesday evening. The event was the prelude to another two conference days which are addressing the effects of the digital shift as well as the chances and challenges for the media industry, media policy-makers and society under the all-embracing banner of ¨Changing Media, Changing Society.¨
Around 500 guests accepted the organiser’s invitation to attend. The prime-minister of the Federal State of North Rhine-Westphalia, Hannelore Kraft, stressed in her address that the anniversary is not only a birthday, but also a new beginning. This was followed by Bertelsmann Chairman and CEO Thomas Rabe setting the tone for the next two conference days with a keynote speech. He pointed out that North Rhne-Westphalia is the most important location for the Bertelsmann Group which is one of biggest media concerns worldwide. He outlined the chances and risks of digitisation from Bertelsmann’s perspective: there are good reasons to be optimistic in the light of new opportunities, increased media usage and new business models. He placed particular emphasis on the issues of media convergence, copyright and data protection. In his opinion, there is still a need for action from a regulatory perspective in order to create reliable parameters for media companies.
The Media Forum’s opening gala was entertaining as well as serious on the occasion of its 25th anniversary. Oliver Welke, known from the political comedy show ¨heute-show¨ on ZDF, was the evening’s MC and led the guests on an entertaining journey through time. His stage show with film extracts showed highlights from 25 years of the Media Forum NRW as well as whimsical and almost forgotten items from 25 years of German television history: from the appearance of a very young Angela Merkel in the game show ¨Glücksspirale¨ through a blatant example of covert advertising from the early years of television to the young RTL anchorman Peter Klöppel with a Playboy bunny on a football pitch.
The festive event was rounded off by a discussion with top-notch panelists, the ¨latest heavyweight round of all time,¨ as the former VPRT president and ProSiebenSat.1 Media AG board member, Jürgen Doetz, called it. Doetz was joined on the podium by the former director-general of Westdeutscher Rundfunk, Fritz Pleitgen, the former RTL managing director Helmut Thoma, Berlinale director Dieter Kosslick, the managing director of Grundy Light Entertainment, Ute Biernat, and Jörg Grabosch, managing director of the production company Brainpool. They all agreed that events like the Media Forum NRW ought to provide more impetus for the much-needed political decisions on a regulatory framework for the converging world of media. The gala was produced by Kimmig Entertainment.
The evening ended with a convivial industry get-together of the participants in the garden of the Gerling Quartier.