Elisabeth Murdoch To Give The MacTaggart Lecture

Submitted by edg on Tue, 31 Jan '12 3.32pm

Elisabeth Murdoch, Chair and CEO of Shine Group, has been confirmed as this year's MacTaggart Lecture speaker at the MediaGuardian Edinburgh International Television Festival after last year pulling out of the festival amid the telephone hacking scandal.

Murdoch, who made $214m (£129m) from the sale of her company to her father in February last year, is the third member of the Murdoch family and the first woman since Janet Street Porter in 1995 to give the prestigious MacTaggart lecture. 

Now in its 37th year, the Edinburgh television festival will this year add another day to its customary slot at the end of August, taking place from Thursday 23rd to Saturday 25th August 2012. The MacTaggart will move to the Thursday, a day earlier this year.

The MGEITF sessions line-up will include a masterclass on one of this year’s most talked about series, BBC One drama Sherlock, with appearances from show creators Steven Moffat and Mark Gattis and producer Sue Vertue.

Past MacTaggart speakers have also included Eric Schmidt, Mark Thompson, Dennis Potter, Michael Grade, Verity Lambert, Ted Turner, Greg Dyke, David Liddiment, Peter Fincham, Charles Allen, Jeremy Paxman, and John Mortimer. James Murdoch lambasted the BBC and "state-sponsored journalism" in his keynote address in 2009. 

Elisabeth Murdoch said it was "a great honour" to be invited to give the MacTaggart lecture.

"At such an incredibly exciting time for our ever changing industry it is a privilege to be entrusted with its most prestigious platform to address some of the countless challenges, extraordinary opportunities and profound questions that we collectively face. I am very much looking forward to it.”

Advisory Chair of the Festival, Kenton Allen, said: "Elisabeth is one of the foremost creative leaders in our business and she promises to give us a fascinating insight into what the future may hold for content creators.”

Executive Chair of the Festival, Elaine Bedell, described this year's MacTaggart speaker as "indisputably a major figure and a leading creative leader in the television community."

Bedell added: "Liz has been both a broadcaster and a producer, has a major footprint in the States and across Europe, as well as the UK, and is uniquely placed to offer a broad, insightful, and thoroughly well-connected appraisal of the many changes facing the media industry.”

Elisabeth Murdoch background

Since founding Shine in 2001, Elisabeth Murdoch has steered its growth from a single multi-genre independent to an internationally renowned content group responsible for some of the most prolific production companies in the worlds of scripted and non-scripted television.

Shine Group companies now number 27 across Europe, the USA and Australasia, and are responsible for some of the world’s most popular and travelled television programmes (Masterchef, the Biggest Loser, The Magicians, Got to Dance, Merlin) as well as encompassing international distribution, film production, social gaming and online broadcasting.

Murdoch began her career in television at the Nine Network in Australia as a researcher in 1990, later joining Fox Television in Los Angeles as Programme and Promotion Manager for seven stations.

She then went to the FX Cable Network as Director of Acquisitions. In 1995, she started her own company, EP Communications, managing two dominant NBC affiliate television stations KSBW-TV and KSB-TV. The stations won one national and five Californian Emmy Awards as well as the 1995 Peabody Award for Broadcast Excellence.

Prior to setting up Shine, Murdoch joined British Sky Broadcasting as General Manager before rising to Managing Director, Sky Networks with overall responsibility for Sky’s programming business, group consumer marketing and its news, film and entertainment channels.

In 2008 Murdoch was appointed a Tate Trustee and a Director of the UK Film Council.