Personal video recorders are having far less of an impact on viewing habits than had been feared, TV executives told the conference.
ITV's marketing and commercial director Jim Hytner and BBC director general Greg Dyke were among those who questioned predictions that viewers would soon be ditching TV schedules to watch programmes when they want, while skipping advertisements.
They also said that the uptake of PVRs has been grossly overestimated.
"The narrowcast boffins drone on about technology but it's the show and the schedule that rule in TV," said Hytner.
"It's the schedule that drives surfing - if you have a great schedule then nobody surfs.
Consumers still live their lives sequentially, they still watch TV sequentially," he added.
Richard Kilgarriff, head of channels at Turner Broadcasting, said that advertisers and creative agencies had a responsibility to make TV ads more entertaining and engaging.
And TV executives agreed that the uptake of PVRs in the UK has not been as rapid as was expected.
Referring to his own previous attempts to predict the future, Dyke admitted: "I thought personal video recorders like Tivo and Sky Plus would revolutionise our viewing. I still believe that will happen in the long term but so far only 150,000 homes have PVRs, and it will take far longer than I thought for them to have a real impact."
And Johnny Webb, controller of Challenge and Trouble, said: "Technology is a complete red herring."
However, he added that interactivity hands broadcasters new opportunities to weave commercial messages into content, and added: "Content, sales and advertising are still sitting in silos. If we're going to get creative about this then we all need to get together."