U.S. Media Expanding to Europe
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[Rome, Italy] While many U.S.-based e-businesses continue to resist European expansion, the same cannot be said about industry media. Ken Rutkowski, host of World Technology Roundup, the daily radio webcast heard by 120,000 listeners around the world as well as the weekly eYada program, e-Files, showed up in the Italian capital this week to report on the rapid Internet development in this Mediterranean peninsula, as well as other parts of Europe.
"Italy is fiber optic from top-to-bottom," reported Rutkowski during his live webcast from the Hilton Rome Airport Hotel. "This positions the country for extremely rapid growth, much faster than has taken place in America over the past five years."
Rutkowski was the first radio broadcaster to transform the net into a source of live interactive news and talk. With his popular talk show, Tech Talk, he helped pioneer work by AudioNet (now Broadcast.com) and Progressive Networks (now RealNetworks). A regular guest on ABC Nightline, MSNBC and Streaming Media Talk, Rutkowski went on to explain that, "Recent figures indicate that 15.3 percent of the Italian population is online. Thats a 25 percent penetration. That is amazing growth when one considers that only three years ago penetration was only eight percent."
Rome was the first stop of the American webcasters European tour. His trip coincided with Italys annual E-Commerce Summit, afterwhich he traveled to London to report on the latest high-tech news from the Streaming Media Europe Conference.
"I am here to see, first hand, what is happening in Italy, the U.K., and other countries. Our strategy calls for expanded coverage of Europe, the industry leaders, and those that are making news in all sectors of the Internet. We plan regular trips and participation in several European conferences each year to stay on top of the technological developments. While one can gather news from anywhere, it is not the same as experiencing it first-hand. One has to have a presence.
A good example, said Rutkowski, is WAP. "While we hear a lot of hype about it in the United States, one does not get the full effect of why the European industry is so keen on it until they get to, say, Italy, where 63 percent of the population, including children, have cellular phones. Its an amazing marketing opportunity."
As if to confirm his statements, The Industry Standard magazine, an institution in the U.S. Internet industry, will launch a European edition later this month, hoping to wedge its way into the market. It will be facing touch competition, however, as Rutkowski points out.
"There are a number of major players in print and online media covering European Internet. The Financial Times and Tornado Insider, to mention but two. Both offer timely insightful information into the marketplace."