Well here's a surprise! A former UK TV chief turned US internet executive believes the web holds the key to creativity in American broadcasting.

Michael Jackson, erstwhile ceo of Channel 4 and now president of programming at Barry Diller's InterActiveCorp, told British newspaper The Guardian that the big US networks had stifled creative program making.

He believes broadband will enable a new generation of content producers to bypass the big media conglomerates, such as the Walt Disney Company and News Corporation.

Speaking at the MipTV programme market in Cannes, Jackson claimed the current dearth of independent producers in the US had led to a "creative deficit" but broadband would "enable content to get around the old aggregators".

Jackson's role at IAC is to find text and video content to complement the company's websites, which include the Ask.com search service, dating portal match.com and Ticketmaster.

Although zip-lipped on IAC's programming plans, he was adamant there will be no big acquisitions along the lines of NewsCorp's purchase of MySpace.com [WAMN: 19-Jul-05].

Despite his dismay at creative shortcomings, Jackson also emphasized IAC's content would not stray too far from the TV norm, concentrating on genres such as news, comedy and fashion.

Data sourced from MediaGuardian.co.uk; additional content by WARC staff