SXSW on Tuesday

My first panel today was on VIdeo Blog Business Models. From the beginning this panel was far more of a conversation than a presentation. Well moderated, it explored the various business models that could be used. These ranged from in video advertisements, adsense, through to subscription. No common best model emerged; the key thigs wre knowing your audience. The challenge appears to be selling these type of ads, as there is a lack of understanding within the companies and agencies approached to provide ads. Even with high numbers (rocketboom gets between 2-300k downloads) the opportunity was difficult to explain. For large scale video, the business has not yet solidified its model. A single site may be able to support hosting with Adsense or local sponsorship, larger providers of hosting need to have a far more robust model to ensure they can provide the infrastructure needed.

There was a vigrous discussion about ads and their placement. Rocketboom, where they have creative control over the ads, have placed them at the end. There was some challenge from the audience that maybe the ads should be at the beginning as well, otherwise people may just not watch them. As people are used to watching ads throughout TV programmes, then the audience would accept it. Here I disagree – I’d rather pay subscription (eg licence fee) with no ads or watch via tivo and skip them.

A final discussion related to building brands. An important aspect of video blogs or any element that is looking for advertising, is to build credibility and a brand. The panel were asked how they are doing it. The answers ranged from offer a specific type of content, always give a great user experience, know the audience and listen to them and participate and converse with the audience.

Next up was a geek lunch. Here, Brian Oberkirch, Jon Lebkowsky and Evelyn Rodriguez talked about their experiences with Hurricane Katrina and the Asian tsunmi and how they used blogs, wikis and online communities to assist in the locating of missing people, supporting survivors and getting the story out. Less of a discussion than the previous one, it was a fascinatiing insight into the challenges faced.

A quick diversion into the Secret Sex lives of video games gave me far more information than I ever needed to know about the various online games that support sexual activity. The last session with Bruce Sterling ended up being standing room only as he gave a monologue about globalisation, spimes and poetry.

So that was the last day of the SXSW Interactive. The conference and the evening activities made for a an exhausting time. I’m staying for the music festival now, which is just as packed, if not more so. The music regstration started today and it looks like a far different crowd – the clothes are far cooler for a start. And I think the wireless will be slightly less temperamental as the number of laptops may reduce.

I picked up the swag bag for the music. Still lots of paper, but more CDs and a few more goodies. As the photo shows, the expectation of the sponsors is different for the music festival. As well as the tape (for which I have no tape player) you get a lighter with an inbuilt bottle opener, a condom and an hangover survival pack.

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