New Media Interchange

In The Field. Digital Media Summit

Tracy Pattin, host, Sizzle in the Middle.com

Tracy Pattin, host, Sizzle in the Middle.com

When I think back to all the New Media events I’ve attended over the past year one thing is for certain in this uncertain world;  just as the world of New Media has expanded, so have the audiences. Seems now they are always at capacity. If this is any barometer, it looks like New Media/Digital Media/Social Media, Non-Traditional Media have reached critical mass.

We’re all hungrier to participate in cyberspace but we don’t know where this is all going. How to navigate it. How to make it work for us. Filled to capacity, The Digital Media Summit at UCLA this past summer addressed those concerns.

“Today is about the existing media structure and the disruptive technology that will change media as we know it”, said the event’s producer and founder, Michael Stroud.

This “disruptive technology” seems to be cutting a wider swath of disruption at an accelerated pace. “We are no longer in the demonstration phase” Stroud says. This is an interesting, exciting time for New Media, Social Media,  and Web 2.0 (about to be 3.0). Although we’re not in the demonstration phase, it seems we’re still theorizing, hypothesizing and trying to figure it all out.  And on everyone’s mind is one word, monetizing. It’s beginning to sound like one of those (old media) broken records. So the questions are “Where is New Media going? How will we and it, get there? And the biggest question, “How will we all make money when we’ve arrived?”
There are all kinds of predictions like, “video on demand will replace the DVD within the next 5 years and disruptive technology will completely change the entertainment business model.

The first panel addressed “Rising Above the Marketing Noise.” Marketing to increase immediate eyeballs and growing brands long-term. Andrew Lin of Miramax, says, “a lot of brands are advertising on the web and it’s a good place to be.” But there has to be a conduit for engaging the viewer. This is where the line is drawn between New Media and (old) Traditional Media. It’s about the “lean forward” instead of the old “lean back” way of watching movies and television. It’s also about getting the marketing message out. ” Then, there has to be a reason to share the message.” Joerg Bachmaier of Endemol USA says “companies make the mistake of creating content while ignoring user behavior.” He goes on to give the example of “Married” the successful MySpace show. “We invited users to the wedding” he points out.

Chris Di Cesare CMO of YouTube, says “Traditional TV media buyers are starting to have opportunities to buy on YouTube as they are integrating brands with content. But he says it’s still a word of mouth world. Digital Media is a new tool for that word of mouth.

YouTube’s Jordan Hoffner in his key note address says YouTube is signing deals with Hollywood but we have to bridge the gap between OLD and NEW media. Once we stop making the distinction, we’ll bridge that gap. Jordan went on to talk about the major Hollywood disruption and resistance to New Media. In other words; Controlling the assets. But isn’t this a complete contradiction? New Media/Social Media is about a leveled playing field. It’s about the democratization of information and creative content. It’s about viewer control in both entertainment and marketing. The viewers can make or break, en masse,  a show or company with the touch of a key.

The second panel answered the question, “Who Controls What Viewers Watch?”
The simple answer in these Social Media times is, the ViEWERS control what viewers watch(At least for now).  But, Hollywood would like to incorporate a pay to play strategy. Then the topic becomes, Pay vs. Free. Always ending up back at the overall topic; Monetization.

As far as marketing is concerned, people are reaching people through Social Media, but there has to be a reason for them to share a message.” So it’s still a word of mouth world, morphing into a word of MOUSE world.  As far as the monetizing, it’s about the audience and the audience is about good content but it’s more than that. It’s about engaging those viewers.

Hollywood executive, Curt Marvis of Lionsgate summed it up best when answering the question, “How do we create content for digital media?”It’s all about the marketing. It’s just like traditional media. You need a budget to make the movie then a budget to market it. This is the formula that has to be there with digital media.”

So there you have it. Maybe the answer is in the question:
“How do we converge New Media and Old Media?” Because it looks like (in some form) both are here to stay.

Check out iHollywood Forum for events throughout the year.

-Tracy Pattin

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