The annual Media & Entertainment Leaders Summit took place in London last week, with speakers examining trends and technologies that are accelerating change in the television and video business. Alongside topics like Free Ad-Supported TV (FAST) platforms, connnected cars and AI, there was also a place on the agenda for sustainability, which was the focus of a full session for the first time at MELS.

Hemini Mehta, who leads across a range of sustainability topics for the EBU, was one of the panellists for the session titled Profitability and Sustainability in M&E: Driving End-to-End Transformative Change. She joined Dee Davison (Deluxe Media) and Will Ennett (TalkTalk), both across sustainability for their respective companies, for a wide-ranging discussion. There was broad agreement across the panel that setting a solid net zero strategy for 2030 should be a top priority for companies that want to take sustainaiblity seriously. Such strategies should ideally be audited and certified by a third party, such as SBTi (the Science Based Targets initiative).

As suggested by its title, the session focused in particular on how sustainability should fit into the end-to-end chain for the media industry, taking into account consumer attitudes. The question of greenwashing was discussed in this regard. Panellists agreed on the importance of backing up words with actions on sustainability; indeed, a genuine commitment to sustainability can be an important element in attracting talent to join and stay with a company.

Elsewhere at MELS, there's no doubt that FAST was the most-heard acronym throughout the day. Platforms such as Roku, Crackle, and others, have emerged as key players in this emerging landscape. They are providing an attractive alternative to traditional paid channels, sparking a debate over their role as aggregators in the industry. Related to the FAST discussion were sessions and presentations dealing with content discoverability, AI-driven recommendations, experimentation with pop-up channels, and the opportunity for content providers to expand their reach with connected cars.

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