The Business On... Richard Hooper, convergence guru

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The Independent Online

What does that mean?

You know, convergence, the coming together of telecoms, television and media technology. Mr Hooper is the go-to expert for serious work on the issues involved. That's why Vince Cable appointed him yesterday to lead a feasibility study on a digital copyright exchange for Britain.

And that's what exactly?

It's one of the recommendations made by Ian Hargreaves' report into digital media this year. He suggested such an exchange would enable the owners of copyrighted material to register the terms on which they would be prepared to license it – making it easier for consumers and businesses to access such material more easily. The Government thinks this could be a £2bn-a-year industry.

So what will Mr Hooper be doing?

Working out how to set up such an exchange and how it would operate. Mr Cable wants it done quickly – he's expecting a report on his desk by next spring.

What's his experience?

He's a long-time media and telecoms key player. He started his career at the BBC, but spent time at companies such as BT before getting involved with satellite broadcasting. He's also done regulatory work, at the Radio Authority, for example, and he was a founder member of Ofcom, where he served as deputy chairman.

Good government links?

Impeccable. Lord Mandelson, back when he was Business Secretary, asked him to chair an investigation into the future of the Post Office. He's already worked with the current Government, helping the Departure for Culture, Media and Sport appoint regional news providers.

What do ministers like?

That track record of experience, which includes plenty of work in the private sector. He's held directorships, for example, at Yell (where he still does), Informa and United News & Media.

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