Jane Lighting on why we need an outward-looking RTS convention
Jane Lighting on why we need an outward-looking RTS convention.

This will go down as the year broadcasters and producers risked losing the trust of viewers. All television's senior figures know we need to put the shocking instances of programme fakery and telephony abuses behind us and establish a new relationship of trust with our viewers.

But we also need to address the fast-changing technological and consumer environment in which all of us operate. And that is what we will be doing at this week's Royal Television Society Cambridge Convention.

Every two years the TV industry decamps to Cambridge to see what we can learn about how the world is changing and what our chances are of keeping up.

The skill in assembling any Cambridge agenda is to combine debates between senior figures in UK broadcasting with contributions from interesting and authoritative voices from outside it.

As external influences on TV increase, it becomes important to shift the balance from talking to each other to listening to what is going on elsewhere. This is reflected in the programme put together under the leadership of Sky chief executive James Murdoch entitled Contrasting Horizons - Perspectives from the Wider World.

One of the key speakers I am most looking forward to hearing is John Riccitiello, chief executive of Electronic Arts. His company is already the world's largest independently owned games publishing company, with revenues of $3bn a year, and is eager to expand further. Are video games about to occupy some of TV's space?

Also crossing the Atlantic is Peter Chernin, chief operating officer of News Corporation and Rupert Murdoch's right hand man. He will lead a debate on the centrality of creativity and content in a panel discussion in which he is joined by the BBC's Peter Salmon, RTL chief executive Gerhard Zeiler and former ITV director of programmes David Liddiment.

A further session features three speakers geographically closer to home with no connection to broadcasting. But all of them have been involved in transforming major companies, so I am hoping they might just have some lessons for us.

Leading City financier Guy Hands, whose private equity firm Terra Firma has just taken control of EMI, has invested in businesses from cinema to brewing to energy. Allan Leighton was responsible for turning round Asda in the 1990s and faces different challenges in his current role as chairman of Royal Mail. Will Lewis is editor of the Daily Telegraph, where he has placed great emphasis on adopting digital media in his modernisation of the newspaper.

This Cambridge also sees James Purnell's first major speech about television since becoming Secretary of State for Culture, Media and Sport in June. I am sure James' long involvement at the heart of broadcasting policy means he will deliver a thoughtful and significant appraisal of the current state of television.

It will be surprising if the minister does not allude in some way to Ofcom's forthcoming review of public service broadcasting. The conference provides a curtain raiser to this policy-fest with a session kicked off by Ofcom chief Ed Richards that also gives me and the heads of the other main PSBs an opportunity to chew over what it may mean for the four of us.

The theme underlying all these discussions is what all the new developments we see - new technologies, new products, new patterns of consumer behaviour - mean for the TV industry. Hopefully, as we make our way back from Cambridge we will all be a little wiser -

Jane Lighting is chief executive of Five and chair of the Royal Television Society