He doesn't believe the Internet and television will converge from a content standpoint, but from a platform standpoint. "The idea of having a television in your living room is always going to be the case," he asserts, "but it'll be hooked up to a computer and what you now have to catch on your DVR will be on demand. That's clearly where it's going."
"The implication becomes, well, if I'm a channel, and I've built my whole business around the fact that I own a direct pipe in to my audience, and my whole competitive advantage is based on owning that single channel, I'd be very scared," he continues. "I think what'll happen is the audience is going to determine all distribution. How do I find out about a show and sit in front of my television set? Just like now I get an e-mail with a link to something funny, I'll get an alert that my friend John recommended this show and I'll either watch it or I won't watch it. I think once that happens, all of a sudden the idea of owning channels is not a good business to be in."
He admits to being not much of a television watcher himself, though he's enthusiastic about House when I (naturally) bring it up, and he's keen to hear that Greg Daniels, creator of one of his wife's favourite shows, is also attending the Festival.
But he refuses to look at the current landscape as a battleground between television and the Internet, with viewers as the elusive prize. "I think there's a lot of people like me, I'm sitting on my couch with my laptop and I'm doing both things at the same time."
He points out that two minute online videos are no threat to the half-hour sitcom or hour-long drama. "People still want that kind of programming. They're still the best at producing it, but what they need to look at is really ground-up at their distribution strategies, and say, we own this great asset, which is a pipe into the living room, but that's going to become less and less valuable over time. Then how do we transition into getting these hour and half hour programs to market without depending on that? Those are storytelling formats that are great for passive entertainment consumption."