FIPP World Media Congress: Meet the Speakers – Alastair Lewis

Whether it’s the rise of generative AI, the mission for greater equality in the workplace or the state of digital advertising, the 46th FIPP World Media Congress, which takes place from 4-6 June 2024 in the picturesque seaside town of Cascais, Portugal, arrives at a time when the media industry is evolving faster than ever. Tackling these pressing issues and more will be a line-up of top speakers who will head to the event from across the world.

With Congress around the corner we have asked those speaking at the conference to sit down for a quick interview to introduce themselves to delegates. First up is FIPP’s own Interim Managing Director and Principal & MD of FIPP Consulting, Alastair Lewis, who will be joining FIPP Chair Yulia Boyle on the Auditorium Stage on 5 June to cast a spotlight on the rapidly transforming landscape of media brand and content licensing and syndication, with a special emphasis on the engagement with non-traditional media brands and the burgeoning field of Large Language Models (LLMs).

Please tell us a bit more about your role at FIPP

I helped to launch FIPP Consulting in 2023 with (former FIPP President & CEO) James Hewes. After James left FIPP at the end of last year, the Board asked me to step in as Interim MD. My role right now is to help ensure we continue to serve our members and our mission to connect global media, whilst making some recommendations to the Board, alongside our Chair, Yulia Boyle, about how we can structure the organisation in the future. 

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How important is it for those in media and publishing to get together at an event like the FIPP World Media Congress during a time when there are lots of challenges, but also opportunities, in the industry?

I’m really lucky to have attended many FIPP events and congresses over the years. In fact, I think this will be my 10th FIPP World Media Congress since I first attended Beijing in 2007. The Congress sums up what FIPP is all about. Bringing people together from across the world, learning from one another, connecting and ultimately, we hope, growing businesses through collaboration, partnerships, joint ventures, and other agreements. If FIPP can help foster an environment that enables people to find partners, do business and to grow, we are doing our job. Right now, more than ever, it’s critical not only for publishers and media owners to be looking to find new ways and new markets to do business in, but to be working together and unified to face those threats, challenges and opportunities. 

Alastair Lewis interviews Mbali Soga, Editor-in-Chief, TrueLove magazine, South Africa, during the FIPP World Media Congress 2023

What do you think will be the key trends that will be discussed at this year’s Congress?

I am really excited about what we are going to see and hear at this year’s Congress.  I believe media owners are increasingly confident in their business models, understand their audiences and how their products can match and reach those audiences (be that in digital, print, live or other formats), and there will be plenty of strong examples of how a variety are doing that from all over the world. I have no doubt that AI will be a key theme, but we have come such a long way in 12 short months since the last Congress that the conversation will move on towards solutions – how publishers can align together to get the best deal from LLMs looking to licence and re-use their content, how we can build enhancements and opportunities into our business models using AI tools, and how we can improve our workflows, grow profitability and better serve our audiences. I’m very much looking forward to hearing more on all of those topics and more!

What advice would you give to those attending Congress to make the most of the event?

I would heartily recommend making sure you either arrive early or extend your stay beyond just the two main days of the Congress. Cascais is a wonderful town and within easy reach of Lisbon, Sintra and many other beautiful places to explore. As for the Congress itself, plan your day around the sessions you don’t want to miss – work out when you have gaps for networking, and use the booking system to ‘huddle’ with contacts you’d like to meet or re-acquaint with.  And bring sunglasses, sunscreen and appropriate attire – it can be really warm!

What is the best business advice you’ve ever been given?

Well, it may not count as the best overall, but the most relevant was from my former boss at Haymarket, Kevin Costello, who always said to me that one should always ask oneself three questions after attending a business event/conference and say YES to each:

  • Have I met someone new who I might do business with in future?
  • Have I strengthened a relationship with a contact I already knew?
  • Have I learned something that will help me do my job better and grow my business in future?

It’s something I still refer to today, and I really hope that anyone coming to the FIPP World Media Congress in June will very quickly be able to pass the ‘KC Test’ and feel it has been more than worthwhile.

Connect with an unparalleled global network of industry colleagues and join 500 decision-makers from more than 40 countries at the 46th FIPP World Media Congress. See the list of speakers here and the agenda here.

Book now with of our Early Bird Offer.

See you in Cascais!


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