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Google’s Schmidt to give MacTaggart lecture.

LONDON, Monday 11 April, 2011: Dr. Eric Schmidt, Executive Chairman of Google, will give this year’s MacTaggart Lecture at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival on Friday 26th August.

Dr Schmidt will be discussing the impact of the internet revolution and how the television industry can engage with new technologies.

Dr. Schmidt comments: It’s a great honour to be invited to give the MacTaggart lecture – the previous speakers are all incredibly impressive. I have always been a profound optimist about the potential for technology to improve people’s lives — though I am also a realist and understand it can be immensely disruptive in the process. So I look forward to discussing the opportunities and challenges ahead for the TV industry in Edinburgh.”

Instituted 36 years ago to open the annual MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival, the prestigious MacTaggart Lecture always attracts major names from both UK and international broadcasting, and is known for producing controversial and agenda-setting speeches.

Past MacTaggart speakers include Mark Thompson, James Murdoch, Dennis Potter, Michael Grade, Verity Lambert, Ted Turner, Greg Dyke, Peter Fincham, Charles Allen, Jeremy Paxman, John Mortimer and Rupert Murdoch.

Advisory Chair of the Festival, George Entwistle, comments: “Television was supposed to be dead and isn’t; on demand was supposed to have triumphed and hasn’t. It’s the perfect MacTaggart for an industry at the convergence crossroads, the Chairman of Google will give us a steer on the way ahead that no-one can afford to miss.

Executive Chair of the Festival, Elaine Bedell, comments: “This is the first time that the prestigious MacTaggart has been given to someone not principally involved in television broadcast or production. Eric Schmidt will give us a unique perspective on the future of the UK’s television industry, as well as an insight into the global ambitions of the internet-based giant, Google.”

Since joining Google in 2001, as Chief Executive Officer, Dr. Schmidt has helped grow the company from a Silicon Valley startup to a global leader in technology. Under his leadership, Google dramatically scaled its infrastructure and diversified its product offerings while maintaining a strong culture of innovation.

In his newly appointed role as Executive Chairman, Dr. Schmidt will be responsible for the external matters of Google including building partnerships and broader business relationships, government outreach and technology thought leadership, as well as advising the CEO and senior leadership on business and policy issues.

Prior to joining Google, Dr. Schmidt was the Chairman and CEO of Novell and Chief Technology Officer at Sun Microsystems, Inc., where he led the development of Java. Earlier in his career, Dr. Schmidt was a member of the research staff at Xerox Palo Alto Research Center (PARC), Bell Laboratories and Zilog.

Dr. Schmidt holds a Bachelor’s Degree in Electrical Engineering from Princeton University as well as a Master’s Degree and Ph.D. in Computer Science from the University of California, Berkeley. Dr. Schmidt is also a member of the President’s Council of Advisors on Science and Technology, and the Prime Minister’s Advisory Council in the U.K.

He was elected to the National Academy of Engineering in 2006 and inducted into the American Academy of Arts and Sciences as a fellow in 2007. He also chairs the board of the New America Foundation.

Registration for the 2011 MGEITF is now open. The early bird rate of £500 + VAT is currently available until 24th June. Click here for more information

Twitter fans – follow the Festival @edinburghtvfest

Notes to Editors

Now in its 36th year, the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival is the essential annual event for anyone involved in the media industry

A diverse programme of over 50 sessions including debates about important industry issues, future trends, glossy entertainment sessions and some of the most innovative leaders in the media delivering keynote speeches

The Festival is attended by over 1,500 delegates, representing the full spectrum of the industry – from chief executives, controllers and commissioners to producers, directors, marketers, writers, new media companies, distributors and press

A key part of the Festival’s charitable remit is encouraging and developing new talent from a diverse range of backgrounds, and it delivers on this aim through two talent schemes, The Network and Fast Track.  These schemes help over 100 young people each year to get in and get on in the media industry.

MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival 2011 takes place 26-28 August. George Entwistle, Controller of BBC Knowledge Commissioning is the Advisory Chair.

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