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Theyve reinvented Montreux

What has been one of the world's leading technical symposiums, held biennially in Montreux, Switzerland, is beginning its fourth decade as World Television Forum Montreux 2000, scheduled for June 1-4. The new focus: to be not a trade show but an international forum, bringing together the leaders of the international broadcasting, cable, satellite and Internet communities with those who are implementing the new technologies.

The new Montreux is under the chairmanship of George Waters, formerly of Irish broadcasting. A keynote speaker will open each of four morning plenary sessions: Lord Puttnam, of Queensgate, known for producing Chariots of Fire and other films; Craig Mundie, senior vice president, Microsoft; Robert Hopkins, senior vice president, Sony Pictures USA, who heads that company's high-definition center; and Nicholas Negroponte, director of MIT's Media Labs and a leading futurist in radio and TV.

The program, expected to attract some 800 attendees, is on four tracks: cable, satellite and terrestrial; management; interactive; and production/post-production. There will be a roundtable session ("The Big Debate") each day. The opening session will examine whether public service broadcasting remains relevant in today's climate. Participating: Lord Puttnam; James Goodmon, wral-hd Raleigh, N.C.; Philip Langsdale, British Broadcasting Corp.; Donald Wear, Discovery Communications; and Andree Wylie, Canadian Radio & Television Commission.

Although there will be no technical exhibition at the new Montreux-that activity has been preempted by the International Broadcast Convention held each September in Amsterdam-the program remains largely technical. Among the sessions: Sony's Larry Thorpe will speak on image capture in the digital era, and a Big Debate on cinema and television in a digital world will be moderated by CBS' Joe Flaherty and feature Barry Clark, Mandalay Media Arts; Mike Figgis, a director from the U.K.; and Wim Wenders, a director/producer from Denmark. The complete agenda is available at