Eric Schmidt

Google chairman Eric Schmidt to deliver keynote speech at TV festival

Google chairman Eric Schmidt will give this year’s keynote speech at the Edinburgh television festival.

Dr Schmidt is expected to offer an olive branch to the television industry in his MacTaggart lecture tonight. His speech is expected to say the television industry and Google can benefit from closer collaboration.

Dr Schmidt, who is the first non-broadcaster to give the lecture, will focus on the impact of the internet revolution and how television can engage with new technologies.

Google has previously struck deals with broadcasters including Channel 5 and Channel 4 allowing it to show their programmes on its online video-sharing site YouTube. But not all broadcasters are so friendly - the firm is still locked in a lawsuit with Viacom, which owns MTV, over what Viacom says is “rampant infringement” of copyright.

Speaking earlier this year, Dr Schmidt said it was “a great honour” to be invited to give the lecture. “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,” he said.

The lecture, dedicated to the memory of actor and producer James MacTaggart, has been delivered by some of the biggest names in broadcasting including Jeremy Paxman, Ted Turner and Rupert Murdoch and his son James.

Among the luminaries at this year’s festival are Downton Abbey star Joanne Froggatt, comic Ricky Gervais, Miranda Hart and Brian Cox. Controllers from the major channels, including Danny Cohen (BBC1), Peter Fincham (ITV1) and Jay Hunt (Channel 4), will be discussing their channel highlights.

The MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival runs until Sunday.

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