Technology Is Great for Storytelling, But It's Not the Story

By Screenvision Media Archives

Another Consumer Electronics Show has wrapped, with marketing and media industry pioneers and innovators inspired by "what's next and best" in technological innovation.  Screenvision Media was there, contributing to the show buzz around "connection" by previewing the latest inventions and new tools to  amplify advertiser messaging via the connected cinema journey.  During the convention week, Matt Arden, Senior Vice President and Executive Creative Director at Screenvision Media cultivated new partnerships that enhance 360° cinema experiences for both advertisers and audiences.  In this exclusive interview, he shares his thoughts on the roles of technology and storytelling.

Mary Ellen Holden:  What did you accomplish at CES 2018?

Matt Arden:  We spent most of our time shooting original content for a tech brand.  I also scoped out what's new with AR, VR, MR, voice activation and smart home tech, as these are trends that we will tap into to create a fully connected cinema experience. I was especially excited to dig in creatively around VR as some of our exhibitors have begun rolling out VRX Networks in their lobbies.  This technology will afford us programming and branded content opportunities in VR.  This is the most immediate tech evolution in our theaters.  CES has become a fertile ground for us in the past few years.  We've been able to unlock real connections through gaming interactivity and are looking to build on this in 2018.

Holden:  How does Screenvision view the relationship between technology and storytelling?

Arden:  We are leaning in aggressively around new technologies to unlock the connected cinema experience.  At the same time, we are mindful that while technology allows us to tell better stories, technology isn't the story itself.  An effective, trustworthy brand narrative that resonates with audiences forms the core; the right technology can ignite this messaging across consumer touch points on- and off-screen.  My go-to analogy is the ice cream truck.  In the 1920s this was an awesome new delivery mechanism for ice cream when and where people wanted it.  But, if Good Humor were selling dog [poop] on a stick nobody would be that impressed with the truck.  My point is, when digging in on a new delivery mechanism, the product/story is what matters most.

Holden:  Has the intersection of creative and technology influenced your workplace?

Arden:  Yes.  We spend more time with creative technologists.  These hybrid creatives have their finger on the pulse of what's new to engage audiences.  We envision a future with new distribution technology unlocking the movie screen and transforming it into a smart screen.  We are developing real-time creative solutions that will have movie-goers feeling even more connected to the cinema experience, and as a result, to our advertising partners.

Holden:  How do brands benefit?

Arden:  Our creative team, in partnership with sales, shares our portfolio of innovations with clients.  Our team develops bespoke messaging for brands designed to work across the entire moviegoer journey … before, during and after a movie.  Our Connected Cinema strategy helps advertisers gain share of voice and find profound connections by leveraging technologies that allow us to speak authentically with moviegoers at the right time, with the right message, in the right environment.

Holden:  What technologies interest you most?

Arden:  We are exploring several technologies that will allow us to interact with consumers from the moment an ad appears on screen.  For example, our new "Shop the Movies" initiative, a partnership with The Take and EdisonX, will connect moviegoers to products they see on screen right at the moment of inspiration and impulse.  This advanced shopping program opens new revenue streams for Screenvision Media thanks to the convergence of technology, commerce and content.

Holden:  How is cinema different from other premium video platforms?

Arden:  Flexibility is the main differentiator.  We have complete control of our inventory, so we provide our brand partners with fun and innovative white spaces to work in.  We are open to endless possibilities when it comes to integrating technology, and ultimately brands, into our show.  Whether it's tying a brand to a major motion picture with a unique integration, or extending a brand's message off screen with geo-fencing or mobile-retargeting, or exploring Augmented Reality, Virtual Reality, Mixed Reality and gaming we've got our eyes on literally every possibility to create something new and compelling.

Holden:  What advice do you have for creatives entering this industry?

Arden:  I sit on a Board of Directors at my alma mater, Virginia Tech, focused on mentoring students.  Some tell me that they can't wait to get out of college because they don't like group projects.  I tell them that life is a group project!  Others state that they are tired of learning and just want to 'get out of school and get a job.'  My only response is: 'If you're done learning, you're done working.'  The reality is, like any good technology, when it comes to work it's important to reboot and download new upgrades!

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