Tuesday, November 16th - Toronto, Ontario -
The nextMEDIA Digital Hot List program seeks out and showcases the hottest emerging online properties, the most innovative new apps, games and tech solutions, and the freshest ideas from online content creators. Filemobile's Media Factory platform has been chosen as one of two technologies on the Digital Hot List. The Digital Hot List takes place at the Design Exchange in Toronto on December 1st, 2010 during the nextMedia Conference.
Banff, Canada | Sunday, Jun 7, 2009 | Day 3 started with a session on web trends with Bryan Segal of Comscore. Some of the points:
51% of video watched online is from YouTube.
Overall click through rates are dropping.
Combining online ad tactics (e.g. search and display) multiply the results.
Next was the panel discussion on 'Twitter, Facebook, Linkedin: Anyone Else Having Trouble Keeping Up?' ... and being one of the panelists I was anxious to meet-up with the group: Maggie Fox from Social Media Group, Dario Meli from Invoke and Kris Krug our moderator. We'd been sending emails back and forth but the online discussions didn't become real-world meet-ups until about 45 minutes before the session. With the conference attendees being media and tech savvy, this panel was a chance to get past the basics of social media and talk about some practical and effective ideas for how to make the most of all the new ways to interact. Kris took a very active approach with the audience, soliciting questions from anyone right from the start, and embedding himself at various sites in the theatre ... it was a great way to drive the discussion. Here are some of the main points that were discussed from my point of view:
Principal of needing to give back when engaging in social media campaigns ... don't repeat the spam mistakes of previous digital innovations like email.
When starting with Twitter, begin by listening before talking. This was a validation of a point Steve Hulford, Filemobile's Founder and Chief Creative Officer has made to me before and it makes a lot of sense.
Lots of third party tools out there (e.g. Tweetdeck, Hootsuite) to filter and search the social applications for relevant information, conversations on your company, industry, competitors, etc.
There were some different points of view on the role of brand or commercial 'micro sites' amidst the emergence of the various social sites. Some suggested that 'micro sites' were no longer relevant. I didn't agree with this and suggested what we are experiencing is a blurring of the lines between public social portals where people spend the bulk of their digital lives, and destination sites which more and more will integrate social streams such as twitter streams, public registration (e.g. Facebook Connect or OpenID) and community.
Linkedin received some love ... I'd suggested it is poised to experience significant growth as a 'Facebook for Business'
Thanks to all my colleagues on the panel for a great discussion. I really enjoyed meeting everyone.
Next up was the 'Think Tank Luncheon – Why Mobile, Why Now?' which was being facilitated by a few colleagues including Dale Fallon from The Score, Mark Thompson from The Weather Network and Mark Ruddock from Viigo. The group was divided by table and asked to discuss various topics related to the mobile space including monetization, trends and adoption. My table discussed ideas for what we thought the mobile space would look like in 2012. Some of the points made included:
Growth in utility based tools - the mobile devices as the 'remote control for your life'.
Location and context aware utilities that know user's likes, preferences, location and can proactively provide useful and timely information.
The device as an extension of your other appliances (e.g laptop, refrigerator, car) with data managed in the 'the cloud'.
After lunch, I went back to the main convention area to watch 'Build Your Business with Mobile Applications' presented by John Saydam from Blackberry. Up next was the 'Branded Entertainment: In the Trenches with the Experts' panel. Panelists included Dayton Pereira, Co-Founder and Chief Creative Officer of Indusblue. Dayton was joined by a group of panelists which included Matt DiPaola | Proximity/BBDO, Sean Embury | Fjord Interactive/Cossette, Jesse Albert | ICM Talent, Jeffery Dickstein | Ubisoft as well as the moderator Andrew Lane | *nitch. Each had a great case study. Darren presented the CBC/Rogers - Hockey Mashup campaign. Others included CapriSun 'Respect the Pouch' and Alka Seltzer 'speedroadtrip.com'. Jesse made an interesting point that he thought the recent writer's strike in Hollywood was an important catalyst in driving creativity into other parts of the industry including performers. One common themes at the center of these campaigns was the focus on the 'prosumer' or 'user generated talent' which often brought an element of energy, fresh content and product knowledge to the projects.
Day 3 was now turning into 'all things mobile' with the next session: 'Mobile Apps that Work: Augmenting The Business Model By Innovating Utility' with Marina Mann. This was a great session with Marina talking about some of the most innovative mobile applications she'd seen ... some I didn't even think were possible so it was pretty exciting:
Sling Player | Stream your cable programming to your mobile phone.
The next session was the funniest of the conference: 'Digitization and Disruption: 5 Rules of Survival (or more)'. This panel pitted the CEO of BitTorrent (and a retired Navy Seal), Eric Klinker against Dave Purdy, VP & GM, Television Products, Rogers Cable. These two personified the two extremes of the digital media IP debate. There was discussion of how IP owners and distributors could utilize technologies like BitTorrent to legally distribute content. It was news to me to hear that BitTorrent transfers more data in a day than Akamai does in a month, and that there are over 300,000 downloads of the BitTorrent client per day. Dave had a good catch phrase about the trends we are all living in being a shift from the 'tyranny of the corporations to the republic of users'. Dave pointed out that the carriers and broadcasters can't affect this trend, so we must figure out how to add value given the market demand of users watching what they want, when they want ... and given users have the ability to time-shift and place-shift content. Eric highlighted the inevitability of technological advance with his sound bite: 'Technology is like gravity - while you can try, you can't win an argument against gravity'. He also brought in a Civil War analogy (nice!) to illustrate the same idea, equating the inevitability of technological advance to the inevitability of the victory of the Union Army over the Rebels after 1863 - in both cases, the battle rages on, and there will be more casualties as a result, but the outcome has already been determined. The conversation included a description of Rogers move to enable customers to access the content they've subscribed to via any device or platform and the necessity to wrap this experience with an authentication layer ... opening up the potential to utilize peer-to-peer technologies within this layer. This is likely not as great a fit for Rogers given their cable business but other media companies need to continue to look for alternatives to effectively distribute increased volumes of content. The panel was moderated by Gavin McGarry of Jumpwire Media. Gavin recommended the book 'The Pirate's Dilemma' for those interested in delving deeper into the topic.
With the nextMEDIA conference drawing to a close, the TV people started arriving. The Banff Television Festival is a much bigger (and fancier) affair. The two conferences mixed together with a few 'cross-over' events. The centerpiece was a presentation by Ron Berryman, SVP & GM, Fox Interactive Media. A few gratuitous FOX plugs .. and with all the talk of Facebook and Twitter, Ron didn't forget to point out at the start that MySpace is out there as well. I was able to glean three interesting nuggets:
Television commercial reach has diminished significantly ... In 1965, you could reach the 18-45 year-old consumer segment with 3 television commercials (one on each of the three major networks). To reach that same audience in 2006, it requires 211 commercials.
Types of revenue streams in digital (from FOX's perspective) include: CPC, CPM, CPT (cost per transaction), lead generation, subscription, affiliate revenue, brand licensing, sale of information, content licensing, content up-selling / free-to-pay, branded content, syndication, value added services and experiential programs.
FOX uses meta data derived from speech recognition and image recognition to search video content.
The last day ended with a reception for both the nextMEDIA and TV festival attendees. It was great to meet people from the various parts of the broadcast media world as well as see colleagues and spend time with friends and customers including Joan Prowse from CineFocus. Joan's television perspective mixed with her interest and knowledge of interactive made for great conversations. We talked about how the two conferences could be combined fully into a cross-platform media conference to further drive the discussion and innovation.
So, all in a all, a whirlwind of learning and networking. While the panels and presentations were thought provoking, the greatest part was meeting with groups from all walks of digital life and sharing ideas and opinions. Some of the 'trends' that seemed to be emerging as themes included:
'Localization' of content on the web and mobile;
Power of mobile to capture the live event, in particular live video streaming;
Increase in the use of web and mobile as utilities, aiding in life's everyday tasks ('life-hacking');
Continuation of online ad optimization based upon results, including less reliance on traditional search and banners;
Advances in 'augmented reality' and its ability to remove 'live advertising spam';
Belief that funding models besides advertising will emerge in digital, including subscription;
Understanding that content must be developed from the beginning with all platforms of distribution in mind;
Fragmentation of 'social' destinations sites to serve more and more specific needs and segments (ok... this is more my own opinion but seems reasonable ... :) as it would be a mirror of the pattern of most emerging or restructuring industries); and
Confusion seemed to be an underlying emotion at the conference - for me, one thing that seemed to help navigate this confusion was a 'back to basics' mentality, centered around what really motivates people to consume media. It was pointed out a few times during the conference that while the viewing of scheduled television is dropping, particularly with younger demographics, OVERALL media consumption is increasing. In the midst of this dynamic, keeping your eye on basic human behavior might aid in finding success. In the end, people like to hear/watch/tell a good story. People love to be asked for their opinions about things they care about. People love to know what other people think is hot and cool. And people want to know what other people think about them. I find it helpful to keep these truths in mind.
Banff, Canada | Saturday, Jun 6, 2009 | Day 2 started with the Banff-Jasper Relay. I was on the Sun Life Corporate Team and completed a stage just at the bottom of the highway to Jasper, heading north. Beautiful views and run despite the blustery conditions. The team finished third overall and first in the corporate division. Then back to Banff in time to catch the conference and continue meeting lots of interesting people from the worlds of media, interactive, advertising, creative and production. Some notes and pics from the various sessions:
Live Interview: Michael Scissons, President & CEO, Syncapse | Interesting session moderated by Nader Elm. Michael made an interesting point that the economic downturn has positively driven spending on digital in the midst of cuts to spending in television and print. Why? Cost effective, measurable, interactive, attractive demographic.
The Bliki?! Revenue Generation Know-How For Producers Of Multi-Platform Digital Media | On stage was a group of new media professionals covering a range of disciplines including content, production, law and advertising. A real case study was used to solicit advice from the panel. The project focused on pilots in the Northwest Territories ... check out www.buffaloair.com ... and was produced by a group called Omni (I didn't catch the full name) and Switch Interactive from Vancouver. Some interesting feedback and suggestions. One idea was to take the site's google map information and 'push' it back to the public Google Maps site so that it would show up in public map searches. Another was to create content 'pods': packages of information and content related to the show / story concept that could be distributed to draw in various target groups that would have a related interest to the show concept (e.g. history of the North, aviation, adventure travel, etc.). The Buffalo Air case study had already received development funding from the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund and is preparing for full production. The fund has a wiki of professionals providing content supporting the funding process, called the Bell Fund 'Bliki'.
The Wolf in the Story | Keynote by Gary Carter, COO, Freemantle Media and CCO, FMX, Freemantle's research and development arm. Gary's presentation was very engaging and demonstrated a rich mix of experience and execution from the television and digital worlds. This included noting that the art of storytelling is a basic human skill and not reserved only for 'professional creative types'. In times of change, Gary noted that we tend to overestimate the speed of the change while underestimating the depth of the change, observing that the transition underway in media is no exception. With respect to the production of television drama, Gary talked about one TV producer stating that the audience 'doesn't watch them the way we make them anymore' ... an interesting way to think about the changes that are happening to how audiences demand to consume content, at a time, place, sequence and format of their choosing. A couple references to the growth in branded entertainment and a great sound bite: 'good advertising is great entertainment'. Gary talked about the changing ways in which stories are told to audiences, including the ability for the user to choose the story line, or the ability to follow a show by character or theme. This includes direct engagement of the audience as they often know as much or more about their favorite characters or sequences. Audiences can provide content including the dialogue between characters for situations such as telephone conversations, text messages or emails, providing new layers and subtext to the narrative. Lastly, the idea of improving the quality of user generated content was discussed, including 'Project V', an initiative that recruited professional writers, performance artists and others to come together and create one piece of content per day.
The day ended with the nextMEDIA interactive awards. Nadia G and Joshua Dorsey from b360media won the 'Hottest Emerging Canadian Digital Brand' category for their web and TV program: Bitchin' Kitchen Cookbook which will air on Food Network next year. I had a chance to talk more with Nadia and Joshua on Sunday and it was great to hear people who are so passionate about the industry and where its headed! Congrats to all the award winners.
Banff, Canada | Filemobile was fortunate to be asked to participate in this year's nextMEDIA Conference | June 5-7, 2009 | Banff, Canada. The conference is hosted by Achilles Media. Listed below are my notes from the conference. It would be great to share various perspectives from those who attended. Remember that these are my own rambling points so please comment or let me know what you think ...
Friday, Jun 5, 2009 | Day 1 I Arrived in Calgary and a meeting with the Sun Life Financial National Business Development team. Then headed out to Banff for the kick-off of the Calgary Democamp session where we presented Media Factory and some samples of campaigns that utilize Filemobile's white label applications for UGC Contests (Example | Kraft '10 in 10' Celebration Tour and Video Communities (Example | Mesh 'My Media' community. Also got a chance to check out some interesting applications including:
Touchmetric | Survey builder for iPhone & iTouch; uses technology called 'Juggernaut'
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