One of the biggest challenges and arguably the most creatively exciting part of media today is the quest for compelling content and the devices that can be used to drive and grow audiences. A light was shed on this subject at the recent Next TV Summit.
As the media industry continues to expand, transform and in some cases challenge us there are some truisms that are beginning to emerge. Some are golden oldie industry standards that continue to guide us. Others are completely new, based on breaking technological advances.
For me, it is the old truisms that not only still drive the business but also serve to remind us that basic audience behavior, even in a world of manic technological advancements, can be predicted and trended. And yet, while some things are eternal, the Next TV Summit demonstrated that some things may need an update. Here is the recap:
It is always about the content. But now content needs to be connected.
Storytelling is as old as time. We love to be immersed in gripping and compelling content. And now we can receive our stories via a myriad of advanced devices. What these devices now offer, according to Discovery's Sean Atkins, is a much richer experience. He said "story telling is getting deep and organic" and gave the example of multi-platform eventing of the Long Island Medium. Twitter was successfully used as a way for fans to connect with spiritualist Theresa and get a reading.
It is always about quality and relevancy. But now you have to consider all platforms.
Platform standards are getting higher for content. According to Univision’s David Beck, "social and digital is no longer cutting room floor content. Now it is socially curated content." Old familiar genres such as Novellas need to be “re-invented or evolve for the different platforms. You need to stretch the genre into other screens,” said Raphael Corres of TV Globe. Beck concurred: “Novellas are the original binge viewing experience five times a week. How do you reformat for multiplatform storytelling? Four characters on existing app push notifications. Notification from that character gives a clue to what was happening in the novella. The way you interact with the story has changed.”
It is always about the audience. But now the audience is has a voice.
For good or otherwise, today’s audiences actively participate in the programming and will let you know how they feel in real time. US Network’s Geetnajali Dhillon spoke of the responsiveness of audiences today: "They will tell you immediately what you are doing right and what you are doing wrong."
It is always about measurement. But now we need standardization.
There is still no generally accepted form of cross platform measurement and the metrics across platforms differ. How do we reconcile this and start to create standards? There is no easy answer. “We have a measurement gap,” explained Atkins. “Our biggest mistake is that we measure everything in digital while in TV we don't and advertisers pay for that waste. We need to measure engagement.”
It is always about partnerships. But now we need knowledgeable partners.
According to Sundance's Laura Michalchyshyn, “Partnerships are essential. You still need someone to help you make and pay for the content.” This is becoming more attainable as brands become interested in content creation. O&M’s Abigail Marks works with advertisers to create or co-create “content that is wonderful to share” and “can take viewers to new places.” “Brands are now curators of content” she said. “They are shifting away from renting audiences to creating audiences.”
It is always about "television." But now television means any screen that offers content.
Geetnajali Dhillon summed it up: "There is no first or second screen. There is just the screen.” So how do content providers deliver the best experience for a viewer? Comcast used to be organized around platforms but realized that it is really all video. So, as Matt Strauss explained, they developed Xfinity to merge all platforms into one. “Any device is a TV. We think television will become more of a personal media.”
Interview conducted by Charlene Weisler, Weisler Media LLC. She can be reached through her research blog www.WeislerMedia.blogspot.com or at WeislerMedia@yahoo.com. Full disclosure: Charlene hosts a street art blog on The Starry Eye blog community
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