Ad Week: Content Chaos - Michael Kassan

By Michael Kassan Media Link-ed Archives

I hope the scientists who came up with chaos theory are right and there really is an underlying order to what the dictionary defines as "a state of utter confusion and disorder." Because when it comes to arguably the most critical element in modern marketing—content—chaos reigns…at least for now.

Take the rise of the social ecosystem, mix in the falling cost of distribution and production, add an endlessly multiplying number of outlets and fragmenting audiences, shake vigorously – you have the perfect recipe for, well, utter confusion and disorder.

Everybody is a content creator now. Media, agency, marketer, consumer. You name the group: they are making something and often, along with the power of global distribution.

The Berlin Wall between editorial voice and paid messaging has eroded—if not torn down entirely. Brands have their own Facebook pages, Twitter accounts and YouTube channels, siphoning off media usage from other places. Apple is simultaneously maker of technology as well as a distributor of content and in the process changed the heart of longstanding business operations.

If this all sounds somewhat familiar it may be the not-so-distant memory of the media disruption brought about by the separation of media from its context, the rise of programmatic buying, and the proliferation of ad tech and data driven decision making.

While there is no easy answer, to bring some clarity to the chaos, MediaLink is presenting a panel discussion at Advertising Week on Wednesday of next week [details below] with media leaders and content experts called, what else, "Content Chaos". Our session features a conversation between myself and Bob Pittman, a master of both content and disruption. As well as a panel exploring how to make sense of this new reality – and featuring many of the individuals responsible for creating the content universe as we experience it today, including :

· Jon Steinberg, CEO, Buzzfeed

· Matt Sanchez, CEO, SAY:Media

· Matt Diamond, CEO, Alloy

· Allen DeBevoise, CEO, Machinima

· Courtney Holt, CEO, Maker Studios

· Keith Richman, CEO, Break

· Greg Goodfried, CRO, EQAL

· RJ Williams, CEO, Young Hollywood

· Eddy Moretti, CCO, VICE

We'll investigate what all of this means for the media value chain. Branded content, for example, is now an entirely new business. But whose business is it? Which begs the question: what is the role of the media and the creative agency in this new world?

In fact, it's clear we need to redefine what we mean by "content." It's not pure storytelling anymore, but it's certainly not traditional advertising either. In fact, the intrusiveness of advertising is counter-productive in a socially networked world.

As well, I'll be moderating a panel on Wednesday morning for the ANA's Alliance for Family Entertainment [details below] titled "Content as Kin" which explores how the more things change, the more they stay the same. For all the innovations, advertising still comes back to delivering a good story well told, and a good product well sold. The most important thing is to reach your consumer and many consumers are families. Sometimes you need to remind yourself about something you know.

And to help us get back to first principles, we'll have some of the biggest names in marketing - Gail Tifford of Unilever, Ben Simon of Wal-Mart, and Bob Liodice of the ANA – joining me on stage.

The key to success in an ecosystem caught in the grip of content chaos: create conversation, not disruption. And use digital technology's ability to aggregate audiences.

How to fail: forget your audience. Send them a "commercial interruption."

That is considerably easier said than done. Particularly when there is no certainty over who creates the conversation. But order is born of chaos. At least, theoretically.

Ad Week Panels

MediaLink Presents: Content Chaos

Date: Wednesday, October 3rd

Location: Liberty Theater 234 West 42nd Street (Between 7th and 8th Ave)

Time: 4:00 pm

Opening Remarks: Wenda Harris Millard

Keynote "Fireside Chat": Bob Pittman, CEO Clear Channel Media and Entertainment, and Michael Kassan

Panel moderated by Michael Kassan, featuring:

· Jon Steinberg, CEO, Buzzfeed

· Matt Sanchez, CEO, SAY:Media

· Matt Diamond, CEO, Alloy

· Allen DeBevoise, CEO, Machinima

· Courtney Holt, CEO, Maker Studios

· Keith Richman, CEO, Break

· Greg Goodfried, CRO, EQAL

· RJ Williams, CEO, Young Hollywood

· Eddy Moretti, CCO, VICE

ANA's Alliance for Family Entertainment: Content is Kin

Date: Wednesday, October 3rd

Location: Nasdaq Marketsite – 4 Times Square (between 42nd and 43rd Street)

Time: 9:00 am

Panel moderated by Michael Kassan, featuring:

· Bob Liodice, President and CEO, ANA

· Ben Simon, Director Global Family Entertainment Marketing, Wal-Mart; Co-Chair of the Alliance for Family Entertainment

· Gail Tifford, Director of Media North America, Unilever; Co-Chair of the Alliance for Family Entertainment

Michael E. Kassan is Chairman and CEO of MediaLink, LLC, a leading Los Angeles and New York City-based advisory and business development firm that provides critical counsel and direction on issues of marketing, advertising, media, entertainment and digital technology. Michael can be reached at michael@medialinkllc.com

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