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Banff: Media disruption brews

Article first appeared in MiC:

In the midst of a stunning landscape, the Banff World Media Festival has traditionally been a broadcast-focused conference for content creators, distributors and media professionals from around the world. Increasingly, this 30-year-old festival has brought forward top leaders from the digital space, and contrary to a kick-off session that focused on protectionism of traditional media and the threat from new players, this year featured a day dedicated to discussing digital’s continued impact on the media business.

Discussions throughout the rest of the conference showed that we are at a time where there is deep interest in how to evolve our current business models to embrace new media – the world is changing regardless of whether we want it to or not. I quote: “The only constant in our world is change.”

That said, there were two key themes that emerged during the sessions I partook in at the conference last week.

1) Audience driven Storytelling

With a plethora of the top content creators from across the globe, it was interesting to see the level of engagement that producers had in looking at how to crowd source stories, augment TV experiences through transmedia strategies and further engage the distracted audiences who watch TV today.

The majority of the attendees were traditional TV producers, looking to learn how interactive producers have created successful businesses from YouTube channels or other purely digital experiences. Lots of discussion focused on the need to think beyond creating incredible stories on film by creating holistic storytelling experiences that centre on the audience, listening to their interests, creating something that considers how audiences can participate, and then handing it back to the “fans” to help spread the word organically.

Cinecoup’s Film accelerator program was certainly a unique example of this. Five indie film makers pitched executives for a chance at $1 million in funding and guaranteed distribution in Cineplex. The winner, WolfCop, certainly leveraged consumer insights and social media to prove its concept.

2) Distribution beyond broadcast

Thinking beyond the film was front and centre for content creators at the conference. There were many conversations on distribution opportunities that could be incremental to traditional broadcast media. This was certainly driven by the extent of secondary device usage and Shaw’s recent announcements around augmenting broadcast content (with added content clips) via Twitter’s Amplify product.

Several workshops examined the successes that dozens of YouTube producers like Canadian Epic Meal Time, Awesome TV (recently acquired by Dreamworks) and Michelle Phan (product integration & creation). The resounding key success factors included: audience engagement, consistency, promotion (deep linking, paid or collaboration with other producers) and thinking about authentic brand tie ins.

So, what does this all mean for us in the media and advertising space? From the very first session on Sunday, through to my final meeting on Wednesday afternoon, discussions around business model change were central. Players like Netflix have forced the issue further due to the consumer friendly offering that has honed in on their desire to control the viewing experience (be it binge viewing or the flexibility of library access). Even YouTube has launched a beta subscription service globally for 30 channels (6 of which are Canadian), yet we are still only scratching the surface.

Audiences have been slowly but steadily been shifting their content choices from mass to niche for almost a decade. Yet our business models have not really evolved to mirror this. To my mind, the road forward needs to be one where media owners (traditional & pure play digital), content creators, agencies and advertisers work together to build on the innovative solutions that our quickly evolving consumers are reacting positively to. All aboard, exciting times ahead.

Filed under mediacom banff banff 2013 youtube facebook netflix

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#Twitter Posts Seem VERY Similar to New #Facebook Newsfeed

Now, I switch between using the Twitter app (right hand side above) on Android and iPhone quite a bit so just noticed that the Discover Posts have very similar treatment to the new Facebook newsfeed. If you have not seen the new newsfeed, don’t worry (you will). It’s currently only with under 5% of the population; and won’t roll out for Mobile/Tablets for a while yet.  

It seems to me that there is a lot of similarity here… has Twitter’s Discovery newsfeed looked like this for a while on iPhone?

Filed under twitter facebook newsfeed iphone andriod tablet design twitter app app

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Blog: The Vine effect

Post appeared originally on

There’s been much excitement about the hottest new social media network backed by Twitter: Vine. What is interesting is that Vine’s functionality is not new in and of itself. In simplistic terms it can be described as the video version of Instagram. There are several apps that provide users with the ability to simply create very short video clips, one app called Cinemagram, launched about 12 months ago with similar service features, has had greater traction with organic growth. This is likely due to its ability to sync up with Facebook contacts, which Facebook has blocked from Twitter’s Vine App.

Granted, Vine is just one week old. That said, some of the areas that it still has to solve against for it to really be a tool for Canadian brands would be: sensitive/adult content (which Vine had issues with last weekend), better user experience (you currently can’t save private videos or upload videos not shot using the app) and perhaps the most critical when it comes to Canadian brands, search by location (i.e. city or neighbourhood).

At this point there are no paid media placement opportunities available for these platforms, but what intrigued me is that within 24 hours 15 brands posted their #firstpost. Most of the brands were media brands from NBC to BuzzFeed, but it speaks to this race to provide a unique perspective/curate content. From a consumer perspective, many of these platforms are allowing consumers more of a chance at expressing their views quickly.

The bigger opportunity around these types of “expression engines” to me is how brands and media companies are watching and adjusting their approach to content. It’s the ultimate resource in real time insights, the trick will be for brands to think about how they can be ready to be agile and engage consumers in this exciting new landscape.

Do you think Vine will be picked up by brands the same way Twitter and Facebook has been? Or will it be a flash in the social media pan?

Read more:

Filed under vine vineapp twitter cinemagram agile marketing facebook

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#Facebook Testing New Page #Metrics

In the past week Facebook has rolled out two changes to their page engagement metrics. The first was rolled out last week was PTAT numbers shooting up as more parameters are being considered in the engagment index. The second change is popping up on just a few admin pages as of today and shows post level reach and engagement. A very interesting development for the network considering the heat they received when the 16% reach metric was disclosed earlier this year. But especially helpful for admins managing daily post volume. Seen it? Would love to hear any feedback.

Filed under facebook metrics insights

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Social Media success = a Kangaroo, Dragon & Hulk Hogan?

Love seeing these types of examples where brands truly get a voice of their own and interact with consumers on a human level. Two terrific examples I have seen come up in the last few weeks… one is from the UK (Sainsbury) and the other from Canada (Samsung, in disclosure my client).

Brilliant way of turning potentially negative situations into massive successes that amplify positive sentiment. In the case of Samsung, the customer in question was so enamoured with the response, he posted it to Digg which resulted in a slew of discussion about the brand.

Example 1: Sainsbury UK

Example 2: Samsung Canada

Filed under facebook sainsbury samsung galaxy III kangaroo dragon hulk hogan