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nextMEDIA Conference | June 5-7, 2009 | Day 2 Notes

Posted by Chris Becker on 09.06.09

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.

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