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1. Digital Music Forum West
Hot topics: Are consumers stealing control from the record companies? How are legal P2P downloading, nontraditional music retailers (
2. Streaming Media Europe 2007
Hot topics: How can big companies finally make money off streaming media? And how will the rise of Internet TV force broadcasters and advertisers to shift direction yet again? "The focus is on the push and pull between advertising and creativity," says keynote speaker Ari Paparo, DoubleClick VP of rich media and emerging technologies. "Companies are looking to innovate, using [advertising] 'bugs' that overlay the video, or ticklers that run at the bottom of the screen."
3. DisplaySearch HDTV
Hot topics: How will U.S. cable companies get from the current 195 high-def choices to 800 by 2009? And watch out for the coming OLED TV revolution, with TVs as thin as credit cards that roll up like a yoga mat. "Once consumers see HD, they don't go back," says Brian Burns, ESPN VP of strategic business planning and development. "They're watching programs they don't usually watch, and are watching them longer."
4. SMX Social Media
Hot Topics: How do advertisers navigate the vast array of social networks to place ads well? Call it the niche-ification of social media. "These sites are all about the little guy and how he can make an impact," says Neil Patel, SMX cofounder. "Companies want to know how they can use that."
5. Billboard Mobile Entertainment Live
Hot Topics: A glimpse of the future, from social networks on mobile phones to the debate over subsidized advertising versus paid programs to how the iPhone is shaking up standards for 241 million U.S. mobile subscribers. "In this industry, there are no rules," says Anthony Bruno, executive producer of the conference. "There isn't a business model yet."
A version of this article appeared in the October 2007 issue of Fast Company magazine.