24/09/2021

LIVE! the Consumer Electronics Show

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I had of course been visiting the American Consumer Electronics Shows (‘CES’) for many years so when I learned that News International planned to launch a UK version, I was well versed to meet up with Robb Mackenzie and pitch for the Event Director’s role.

At the time News International owned the majority of Sky Television, and operated five national newspapers – The Times, Sunday Times, The Sun, Today and News of the World, as well as the Times Educational Supplement (TES). If these could not deliver a consumer audience then no-one could.

I sought and got strong support from Sam Chisolm at Sky, Kelvin Mackenzie at The Sun, Piers Morgan at Today and subsequently the News of the World. Andrew Neil was a little less committed to the notion of involving the Sunday Times. But they each signed up to support the event with supplements and competitions to drive the audience.

ASIDE: At some stage I had made an ill-advised, what I thought was smart, remark in Sam Chisholm’s office. I had likened business to being a game. He bo—–ed me for thirty minutes. Then smiled and said if I thought that this was a bollocking then I had never received one from Mr Murdoch. It was a key part of the NI culture.

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