Nov 17

UGC2 – Futures of Entertainment

Notes from lat 90mins

Q: interested in the gameworld economics.  Games were initially one track, single developers, now we keep expanding, now MMORG, more user generated.   Game developers are stepping back; where do you think the developers will end up?  Will users have more control?    How do we move forward with game currency?   People do not act the same way in virtual world…what will the economics.


Kevin: if only 1% are creating, there is still 99% pf people who need a product. Therefore always necessity to have professional developers to support this.  On economics, the use of real world currency to create virtual currency can be a problem.  How do we develop way to be secure, safe etc to provide a consistent experience for the consumer.  The community at large still have a larger brainpower to get round the system.  There’s always a new problem and we still have to solve it.

Rob: no matter how clever you are as a developer you will still not be cleverer than the web…so those who invite participation may be more successful.   Games are a very interesting…as a designer you are a developer, toymaker, story teller.  You need many different skills and it is a complex process to manage.    So will the developer step back? It depends what you are trying to create.   The designer may want to leave room for people to create themselves.  Most artistic forms end with a single result, games often have multiple endings.  I see the games opening up to more UGC, whether SL or WoW.  The reward participation on many levels, one of which is the creation of things in the game which can be traded.  And this can be gamed.   Today… you have companies that play games for you to build levels…to create objects that can be sold in real world.   The companies that design the game assert they own the content, they own the IP of the objects that are created ingame so they cannot be sold in real life.  If you open up your world to people see emergent behaviour they do not expect at all.    Open APIS embrace the notion of emergent behaviour.  You enlist your audience to propagate your meme.


Josh:this raises the question of labour.  If UGC create value for the company, do you compensate them


Caterina: youtube and revver.  Which one took off?   There are different motivations; making this cool video of lipsynching to get fame, notoriety as opposed ot sitting there and working out what can get you money.  Different ways of thinking, gets different content. Revver is commercial, youtube is real (in general).   There are lots of people who do make money from the Flickr photos, they don’t facilitate it, it happens.  If you want to sell your photos, there are other ways to do it.

Ji: the bubble project got a lot of interest from commercial companies, who wanted to do it different ways.  But the reason why people were interested was that it was not commercial.  Look at lonelygirl15, on the cover of wired magazine complaining she not get paid.


Q: what is fair use and what is derivative. Has their been legal issues in Ji publishing the books with the bubbles.


Ji: I just create a platform for people to communicate.  Have been called a vandal a lot.   He makes it clear that they do not support vandalism.  He did get a few issues with police and requests from the lawyer from van wagner about stopping his work.. but it is now outside his control and a life of his own.  It’s in the domain of people who are doing it, no one is responsible.  On the website…he spoke to his lawyer and is comfortable.  Changing the context of ad by putting sticker and creating an artistic photo, so creating an artistic work so protected.


Q: how do you pick out a community to stake out your territory (as a user).  From a user, how do you sort out what there is.   Once you make your choice, how do cope with your choice changing.  With all of the sites you do not know where they going.   How do you agree with trust?


Rob: check out ToU for youtube.

Caterina – check out flickr – you own your content.   Not all photos sites do.

Q: friendster changed….it changed the trust.

Caterina: worked on netscape a long time ago.   After AOL bought it, they shut down the communities.  It was bloodshed, all the people who had developed communities, there was no where to go, you could not find your friends.  Companies appear to be learning you cannot do.  Insistent when joined Yahoo that they did not change things.  Yes, there could be too many sites out there, you need to choose which ones to put your energy into.   I try a lot of things, but don’t carry on.   So what comes after this, after participatory media.  Speaking to Linda Stone, (continuous partial attention.)  who suggested we are moving away from lots of social connections and moving towards being able to chose the connections, constricting the networks.  Focusing on the key number of people.  Less of multiple connecting, more to the focus on you key services, key people.  So what is the killer app for this world?


Q: when thinking about UGC, it is still cutting edge.  Online, quite young.  Can it really become a mass phenomenon.   How about people who don’t have the time and energy to plough through this?  Is there roles for choice editors?


Caterina: bought up Brad Horowitz pyramid.   This is typical across many of these services.  Ever since the internet has existed, the lurker has been there.   They just consume.  They are still in it, just not doing anything.  

Rob: what do you mean by mass?   It is, look at the profiles.   It is mass.   It may not be across all the demo, but it is mass.

Q: look at US population, it is still limited, so what are the others doing?

Rob: savvy marketers are using myspace like crazy.  There are over 300 networking sites at least, for all segments.


Rob: it is important if you are asking people to invest time, you are being entrusted with something precious.  It may not be monetizable, but it is worth something to the user.  If you exploit the content, then you lose the trust.  It is worth paying attention to the sites ToU, so you understand where your content is going. Especially as you create your identity across the web.

Caterina: the AOL search thing was a good example.   You could track down people from what searches were done.  


Q: (advertiser).  When there is a model to monetise for UGC, will this hurt or help?


Caterina: people don’t pay for distribution, they pay for storage when they are a member.   There are advertisements (but not on pro) and you won’t see them on an individual user photo.  


Q: You’ve talked about ratings and whether to use or not.   And how do you get critical mass at the beginning when starting these things?


Caterina: we were assiduous community builders from the start.  Every single person that came to the site, they greeted.  They would engage in conversation, they would chat, around the clock.  Cos every single one of those users was important.  We wanted them to come back.   But this does not scale, but you have established a culture that everyone is social and greets people.  You have to establish the accepted behaviour.  

Rob: meshes with a new trend.  The first wave was sites that let you connect with a community of friends and it moves to communities of interest, linking round a hobby. Now ,moving to a community of practice, whether religion or social etc, where you have a common sensibility.   It’s hard to create a new practice and create a new mode of behaviour.  

Caterina: legs pantyhouse wanted a community, so put up all these photos.  All the fetishists turned up  – not what they wanted.

Ji: took about 3 years to get to the critical mass.   There was the virtual aspect and the real aspect.   Both were important, the two elements co-exist and cannot be separated.


Q: there was an early consensus that it did not matter is UGC was bad?  Will it be a more pressing question in a few years?  


Kevin: when I indicated that it did not matter, the fact is that people are participating in the community, so we as a business is to build as big a community as possible,  we are not going to put a value judgement on quality, but it is awesome that it is happening. That is what we want.,  they do things that goes beyond content generation,  because some peoples stuff is good, it creates this pool of employees.  A large proportion have been hired out of the community.  People who contribute can be identified as generators, they can get contracts etc.  this all just generates more stuff for the community. So 4400 neverwinter community modules have been created.  That is a lot of extra material for people.  Neverwinter came out 5 years ago…average cycle for games is first few weeks,  because of the toolset, it is in its 5th edition and is high in game charts.   So it is not bad that a lot of material is bad.  It is good that some is good.  From the business model, it is not ness for all to be good.

Caterina.  Same for flickr,  my photos are consistently crappy.  I take with cameraphone, more as a way to communicate with friends.  95% of everything is crap, or not relevant to you. You need to create a system so you can find the 5% you are interested in.  Just because not good for you, does not mean it does not have a value.

Rob: good or bad is a relic of a scarcity economy.  A 2 way network invites the possibility of an exchange when people can create a context, with metadata.   Gives different ways of perception. This is the biggest shift, so that audiences can deem what is valuable and they make the decisions themselves.

Q: are you predicting a shift to get exclusive UGC when these become hubs (ie without the ‘original’ ie star wars)

Rob: isn’t this what flickr is?  Content streams intersect.  Lonelygirl15 is the same.  you get an economy around these that becomes self sustaining.


Q: what is the boundary for what is or is not a game. How do you get people involved


Kevin: when a company wants to develop a community they made a difficult decision.  They make a decision to release a toolset that takes a lot of time and consumes many people in the company.  Look at Oblivion. You have access to everything.  You can manipulate everything.  Therefore you can break the game in a second.  When you make a conscious decision to release a tool set you have to provide a wide breadth of things they can do and then a lot of work to make sure they can’t break it.

Li: on the bubble project, it was just peoples frustration towards advertising.  Gives people a chance to talk back to things that is forced down their throat.  Give the opportunity to express their freedom of speech.

Caterina: a human need.  A 10month old nephew just points at things…look, look.  You want to share your experience and show things to other people,  it is a desire to connect, to have your perspective seen and understood.  We have ended up with mmp photosharing.  When we made groups we anticipated certain things, not people using them for numerical order groups.  What’s in my bag.  Transparent screens is so much fun.  it changed photography from being formal etc to people taking photos to participate which is very different behaviour.

Rob: people trying to meet human needs, eg maslow diagram.   Certainty and variety.  Significance and connection.   Growth and contribution.   Any collaborative effort can fulfil these needs, giving satisfaction.   Money is not the driver why people do this.   This is not about the product.  If you think about you video being a product, it is the wrong way of thinking. It is not a product, it is participation.  Participatory is all about the doing, not the end stuff.  It is most important that they are doing not consuming.


Q: from media planning, getting a lot of messages whether welcome or not welcome.  We are funding the space, so reps trying to get them to be involved.


Caterina: example is Nikons stunning gallery. Got in touch with flickr users, gave them a camera, used on website and on commercials.   Thought that was the perfect intersect. Have been doing a fantastic job of doing.  Needs more creative thinking, more co-operation, is harder, needs more leg work..  but is authentic and this pays off big time.. there is a place for it and it is not just slapping an ad against the content – involving the people.  

Kevin: we are starting to explore ingame advertising, there is a strong cultural push in company that it is not exploitive, not intrusive.  We anticipate that movies have product placement/  we have to ensure we do not break suspension of disbelief with players in world with ingame adverts.   You can’t pick up a coke in a medieval game.  Has to be completely in context and so well woven into the world to be transparent so you are expecting to se the ads.

Caterina: you also have to be prepared to have the bubble ads to come along.

Ji: the bubbles add value to the ads. Things happen organically; give up control and you may be happy.


Q: when creating elder scrolls 2, got a number of people registering opver 65.  they had been given the game along with a computer by children. Generally now housebound who enjoyed travel. They created a character that suited themselves. The walked around being an itinerant priest. Got social interaction,, just walking around.  The did not give a damn about the quest…they wanted to see the detail.   They used it for their purpose.  This taught us that the move you try and constrain, the more people try and break the game.  Oblivion toolset was put in with the understanding that people wanted to break it.   We talked about metatagging, by it’s nature it is wonderful, to give more information.  But how do I get rating and determine good and bad.   How do I find the good stuff?


Li: that’s web3.0!!!

Caterina: there’s a lot of work that is being done about personalisation.   Working at yahoo on myweb…gives search results that I am interested in.  you have own definitions of cool.   Myweb would find me things that I thought was cool. Was constraining search  results to pages that my friends had looked at.  You will see more stuff that does that.

Kevin: does movielens do what you are after.  You rank your movies and then it matches up with similar lists and displays similar preferences.    

Caterina: you have to contribute the content or it is not going to work!



Nov 17

Futures of Entertainment – User Generated Content

Notes….after first 45mins.

User Generated Content

Caterina Fake, Ji Lee, Rob Tercek, Kevin Barrett

Caterina: we are coming back to a time when the producer and the consumer are one. People make their own content. The big bands are not a natural state of affairs…UGC is a return to this kind of activity.

Rob: participatory media is a broad section, a subset is UGC. There are people who want to create. SL is another area. The 2 terms are sometimes blurred…not all PM is UGC.

Josh: the initial flickr game was about building an architecture…the creation gives an area for people to participate. Why at this point is there such growing interest/

Rob: the traditional economics have fallen off a cliff. The numbers are not going to get better soon and does not see a bright tv future. On the web you have to drive costs out and have to get production to the consumer. The tools are getting cheaper, and the threshold of getting in is much lower and the cost of distribution is trivial.

Caterina – there is annoyance with mass consumer culture…the choice is reduced and everything is the same. There is a desire for personal expression and individuality. This is a way of doing that.

Josh: Is there a way in advertising?

Ji: yes, that is what they are getting into. They all look the same, people do not want to watch the boring ads…so what is the way to connect with consumers? Look at Chevy Tahoe example. There was a lot of negatives as well. But in the end there was a lot of consumers to their site, over 600k visitors who were there >9mins on the commercial and increased to the .com site. Creating a dialogue is far better than just shouting. This is the future in that they can connect with their consumers.

Josh: what are the risks with letting go of control. Chevy let go and what they got back may not have been quite what they expected.

Ji: similar to a personal conversation. It’s like me talking to a friend one way…by creating a dialogue you have to listen.

Kevin – from the game side there is opportunities and risks. Games want the UGC, community generation, etc. 3.2 million in their community, adding 50k month, even in a year when no games released. The aurora engine that shipped was a powerful CMS, and gives tools for people to create adventures, wanted to empower players to be able to create. A powerful tool set to create in an electronic environment. You get a lot of hobbyists getting together to compare stuff, with a lot of dominance assertion behaviours. Maybe only 1% are generating material (30k) but stats tracking 20% of users are using the content. The material can be 20-30min or as long as 20 hours. Tonnes of opportunities for community building. If 20% want to get the extra stuff, as the content increases and gets better the participants will increase. The risks is that the content is poor…but it does not matter.

Rob: you can have an architecture that invites participation or control. Chevy was about control. The shots were limited, high production values. The response was limited and not surprising there was a backlash. Limiting choice means control. Other sites do not do that, web2.0 sites same to open themselves up. This is why traditional media companies don’t necessarily get this so do not give up control and not breakout on web. Look at tv companies, they are not good at listening, it is broadcast and control. People move away.

Caterina: you have to be honest with users. Dealing with large companies you get blanket denial. If you can confess as a company, agree that it sucks, you can be honest, then this is a refreshing change. Do right, and people will support.

Josh: UGC goes hand in hand with community. Does it matter is all the users do not participate? There are degrees of engagement, that is missed from the debate.

Kevin: our best download was a pack that just gave lots of content…the community expansion pack.. they were interested in finding out what the rest of the community were doing.

Josh: one of the criticisms is that it is amateur?

Caterina – it used to be very expensive to buy a camera. The prices have come down and now within reach of all. Access to tools is growing. The mass of amateurs will beat out a professional

Rob: a lot of rules about content creation are broken all the days. MTV broke the rules of the BBC. The editors they had wanted to do it the BBC way, and did not want to do it the new way. Now those techniques have been adopted.

Josh: Are we looking at a greater diversity of products?

Rob: Yes. We change the way we are doing it. Look at the breadth in music, filesharing allows more exposure. The audience grows, more music increases

Caterina: in 2005 a lot of teenagers from Dubai/UAE suddenly joined. Not planned, just came.

Rob: a question about tagging, as the meta info is big. Tagging is a way for everyone to join in. You may not take great photos, but you can join in.

Caterina: Interestingness – a collection of algorithms that look at the user behaviour. How are the photos used.

They made a deliberate decision not to include ratings. .despite the early requests. Voting can lead to gaming the system so did not want to do.

Josh: digg – the ratings is the UGC.

Caterina – dig is confronting a lot of gaming. One of the biggest issues is the gaming of it.

Kevin: quick slideshow Can UGC content replacing professional stuff in the gaming world? Potentially, yes. Amateur producers would need to understand that the aim of game design is to produce something fun not just something cool. Most of the UGC is cool, they want to play – eg setting everything on fire in the game. So what is fun? We have to go way back to understand the natural history of fun. three hunters go out and get an antelope. Brings back enough for 3 days. The 1st type goes straight out to get the next one. The 2nd goes to sleep for three days before going out again. The 3rd tries out new things and teaches all the other people to hunt and what went well. SO what happens to them? The 1st goes out and get killed.., so no kids. The 2nd rests for a few days, gets unfit, loses skills does not get food and then they all starve. The 3rd. simulates the hunts in the safety of the camp, plays games, increases rate of survival, improves his chances the next time. We are descended from the people who played games, who taught others, we inherited these predispositions to teach and learn, tell stories, to have fun. When we work out, solve problems, tell a good story, we rerlease dopamine, which means we feel good and do it again. We do activity, enjoy it, so do it again. This theory proposes that fun is this cycle. As a theory, this helps us in game design. So the early guys hunted, told stories and simulated. All of these fun cycles can be replicated in the games. So we have simulated combat, movement and manoeuvre, etc. Eg Doom. We have social fun and games, story, trading, sharing, competition, teamwork, eg Sims. We have metal fun and games, tactical, strategic planning, pattern setting, goal choice, meaningful choice making eg tetris. So to make gthe best game we blend it all together, eg world of warcraft. 4-5 million users. Blended fun games do physical, social and mental. So back to the question is …only if the nature of fun activities become understood.

Nov 17

Futures of Entertainment – Television Futures

This is the first session from the Futures of Entertainment conference taking place at MIT this weekend. THis has been corrected for spelling not for sense.
Television Futures

Andy Hunter, Mark Warshaw, Josh Bernoff, Betsy Morgan

Set the scene:

Josh: speaking from a perspective of thinkers..people who
have ideas about media. analysed this for 10 years…has
some advice on ways t think about it.

1. do not assume that nothing is going to change – there is real change, all the
online and offline stuff. money is now shifting.

2. do not
assume that everything will change. you may not be able to
see everything you want all the time. Still will be telly
in 10 years.

3. do not assume that its about the ideas and
not about the business. still about the business, the
changes that happen come about due to complex
relationships challenge the ability of ideas to happens. 4.
do no assume that business drives everything. Start with
consumers and consumers behaviours, when people want things
and the tech is there, they take it into their own hands.
and business has to catch up somewhere in the middle of that lot
something will happen. trends: 16-17% of US population have DVR, 20% HD TV, >25% VOD cable, (about half of them using it). By end of this year. It’s
making a difference now. 1.DVR tend to watch more than half
recorded, and skoip80-90 % commercials. The TV networks say
it is not a problem,,,therefore it is!!!! A Survey of
advertisers – and they are shifting investment from TV to
web. 2.Video in multiple formats – companies do this, eg
cbs, discovery. this is a big shift in industry..they look
to move across the media. 3.TV is broader now and
tiered…top tier, generally watched at the time, 2nd tier of
cable content, also repeated, in VOD, =on web, extensive
syndication. 3rd tier independent producers, those who
aspire to be professional and place content where people can
be, and finally the real amateur, anyone can be there.
every element of the pyramid can make money, but not necessarily
in the same way. all have own economics and business
models…very confusing…

Betsy: in the last 18 months, there has been a growing
interest in opening minds and cheque books to put content in
a lot of places. traditional companies find it hard to embrace
disruptive technologies. the rules are changing and the
execs have to change. .the construct is getting blown up.
everyone is asking what does it mean using these techs.
what does it mean to have csi on cbs, Google video etc.
the networks still follow structure, have seasons, have an
upfront. this year they have a couple months of data looking
at the new stuff, model this fall has been to put it out there
and see what people are consuming and there is a great
interest in what is happening., they are experimenting and
seeing how well or poorly it does. get the data and let it
inform the next steps. On the news side, the is
doing ok and is growing. My business is not just to put
the content on the site, but on a lot of different
platforms..other vides, cell , etc. lots of relationships.
I thinks about all the different ways when thinking
about the reach of her brand. going forward looking at more
commercialising it, will have ads to it and be able to
monetise it.

Mark: it is about putting it out there. put on net and see
what happens. all collecting data. putting it on AOL firsr
– the samllville fan was not a AOL user.. but it
attractedpeople to AOl to ewatch it. tinnes of peopel came
from all over the world. t hat changed their thinking, shpwed
when they were big, showed wher ethe fans were. talkign
about it and putting on sites and starting to activate
people. it moves fast,..this influenced the way the next
series was built/rolled out. adjust all the time. change
the dvds etc. this year will be putting on phones and
on the web after that. still at beginning, still learning,
no clue where it will go.

Andy; we have a very tuff job. as the world changes, the
model of how we go to business has turned 180. we are looking
for a big bang for the buck, mass speaking through conduit of
tv, all metrics and market economy all based on tv, how they
think about things. what you are seeing is the move away
from the tv at the top to being equalised, so everything sits
on a paralllel. the networks business folks change what
they are dong, but the background still the same form the tv
business side. most of the revenue comes form trading floor
of buying selling media – 30dec commercials, and as that
changes, the business models need to changes. it’s a slow
change. We would love to tell the stories walk
away from a single TV spot and sell transmedia stories.
clients uncomfortable as there is no metric tied into it and
we can’t tie them all together,…all the metrics based on
mass audience, then precarious position selling to clients.
last thing is about coming up with ideas. the creative
industry is driven from 30sec films that have a single
message, and now we need to tell stories in chapters across
media and that is a far more difficult job and the creative
folks hold some of the burden but changing the way they think
is very very difficult. excellent position for the fact far
more channels to work with, ways to try things new, we are
but clients not necessarily there yet, have to be able to take risk.

Josh: so why don’t they just change? The media buyers have to
be very efficient as the margins are small, there is
market as all the good in the tv market are the same..30
secs…they are all interchangeable. the sameness makes it
easy to skip..the sameness makes them vulnerable. they
can’t just change it..the market provides inertia.

Betsy: one of the reasons the media company are willing to
experiment, as the old model is not in immediate jeopardy
due to the consistency of the model, the web makes it more
difficult to get the data and the roi,,,all the different ways of
measuring’s a lot easier to buy the 30sec slot.
4.5billion tv adverts on cbs. all together do 13billion in
30secs slots. that a pretty big engine to disrupt quickly.
the model will change, the cracks are there, the curve ill
flatten out but not immediate.

Mark – they are trying to change things, it is a learning
curve, online etc, they can offend the fan easily, need to
meet fans objectives and tell the story. they work with
brands to bring them in and brands are coming back to work
with them in a different way.

Betsy – looking at different do story line, on web,
digital. Mark, are the writers getting paid for webisodes?

Mark: the unions are going to have to figure out the payment
structure for this. the fans want tit the advertisers want to
part of it. can’t not have it anymore, if the actors don’t
do it, how can you tell the story. moving from fear to
greed. unions need to structure this.

Betsy – the networks need to change their budget structures
to allow the influence of web to come on. all of a sudden
you have to do digital, and other things, and things become
more expensive so that is changing that budget model. the
actors ask for more money, the writers do and this disrupts
the existing model

What happens to appointment based tv in a world of on demand.

Josh: the scheduling is the largest change that has happened
to tv.. the VOD etc means people don’t watch tv at the time
broadcast. the ratings of the broadcast times go down, but
still people watching. there will still be some of the
appointment stuff…they will become more valuable, the rest
of tv is moving away from the schedule…and that makes the
tv ads more difficult as they are no longer timebound. the
good thing is that the audience has now a longer life. the
schedulers themselves are going to have to change – they will
have less power. the power is in promoting and bankrolling
programmes overall, not about who will own Thursday night.

Betsy: not immediate; there is still a role for them. they
put nights together…has been historically to get the
audience to a new show. now the impact on marketing 0 how
do I tell people about a new show as you can’t assume that you
can thread people through the night. nbc said a few weeks
ago not necessarily going to think about leadins etc.

Andy – NBC doing some interesting things…their business sis
being challenged, so having to change. appointment tv is
starting to dissolve. sports is still appointment tv and
always will be. participatory media will drive app tv and
will continue. you want to know the story and follow the
people. Murdoch is looking at creating cgm for tv
programming, embedding technology so people can mash up
content in set top box. relevance will get bigger.

Josh: some companies looking at doing set top boxes that
deliver internet tv, announced in CES. all january you will
here about boxes bringing internet content to the tv. cbs
announced this week that they have done a deal. believes
that apple will come out with a hardrive on their new set top
box…move away from streaming..thinks 50/50 chance there will
be a tv tuner in it, they own the interface – impact tivo
etc. they have all 4 tiers of content on the tv. the future of
tivo is intimately connected to the deals. the service
becomes important rather than the box.

Betsy: on doing the itunes deals..the apple guy was just
thinking about the consumer. the cbs were thinking about all
the business issues.

Andy: these things challenge the networks – if I can go to
apple/setbox etc, what is the reason to go to a network
anymore. what does the brand stand for. of everything is
transactional.. I’m attached to content, not to the network.
so ads should look at attaching to properties etc.

Betsy: cbs is in the business they are in and gets great
content is that the financial model still does work where the
big networks can bankroll the biggest shows, have a strong
structure in place, see the relationships to see the good
stuff etc. there is value in the big networks.. you may not
be threading people through a night there is still value and
power in the networks and if they do everything right and
get stuff on other platform they are still gatekeepers and
content producers. If apples sell devices they do not necessarily
want to bankroll producers in hollywood

Andy: outside of the network space, when you look at Google
etc becoming an aggregator for content having the money and
the power may not ness be as important. look at Revver, you can
attach ads to the content that you are that
model grows and independents figure ways to sustain their
process the model will change.

Henry: how long until a producer (eg jjabrams) goes direct to
market and not through networks.

Josh: Fish put concerts on their site and allowed people to
download unprotected content. fish said we had a
relationship with our fans, we will make money from the stuff
we put out. they were not ness interested in working with
big labels. when you are an artist, it is easier to
delegate distribution and marketing to the publishers than
do it yourself. most producers, even if a direct
relationship, would still delegate the work and distribution
to someone who does this professionally.

Andy: can an artist walk away from the distribution networks.
it is happening and will happen more, but slow approach.
yesterday morgan freeman was talking about his own studio and
will be distributing over the web. lucas is not going to do
blockbusters and changing the way he is producing, he is
doing 30-50 short films over the year distributed digitally.

Q: what do you think about kids on line (AOL kids stuff).
digital stuff moving onto networks.

Josh: it is very expensive to find good tv shows. cbs have a
facility in las Vegas to screen pilots, spends lots of money
doing the research etc. it’s all a lot easier if you can
sit and wait for stuff to trickle up through internet and
become popular and then networks can see them. the lower
tiers will generate talent and will go up if great, and the
opposite way as well as things go down and not a broad
enough audience. the tiers give the flexibility for things
to move up and down.

Mark: studies are looking a the web as a farm system, put
stuff out there and see if people react to it and see what
the audience is.

Josh: the cost of tv production has been reduced, you can make
stuff pretty good on a computer., the cost of distribution
is 0. but mass distribution is very expensive. where costs
are low is where people try things out. there; has always
been more talent than success..the cheap stuff allows people
to create.

Q: a lot of what you are talking about are disintermediation,
where a lot of the power of the gatekeepers are changing.
the power gets split. comments on whether the trend is true
or if there is a missing piece and we have to move to a
different level of intermediary, gatekeeper. do we end up
with new forms, new services in a fractionalised advertising

Betsy: there’s an economic system that has not caught up with
the tech yet. people consume in lots of places.
advertisers have a different way of thinking about it. needs
to simply distribution. research has not caught up yet.
want to be able to say to the advertisers how many watched the
show in the different forms. they need a system that is
robust enough so that the agencies understand the numbers and
can share with clients and they can understand. youtube
will start to introduce more commercials in their products.
a lot of feedback about preroll..people don’t like the 30sec
ad just shoved on. do people disappear from yt once
commercials on the video. it is happening, you can’t stop
it, so how do you respond to it.

Josh. in 1995, walmart and tower records were the most
powerful music companies. Now apple and myspace are power
mongers. there are new companies that do it – the player
changes, not the role. if you want big money you need big
audiences. google buying yt is about creating a big
gatekeeper/intermediator. Brightcove put adverts across the
videos and send money tot eh content providers. they are a
new gatekeeper. the role stays the same. he sees this all
the time. the rise and fall of power. efficiency needs
someone in the middle

Andy: from the ad industry, looking for integration. you
have media traders for the different silos. thinks you will
begin to see buys across the silos, more like a mutual fund
manager, what is the portfolio, what’s the model across the
different categories. need to get the skill and the people.
the agencies become an aggregator as well.

Josh: the devices will have to change to allow you to
navigate across the large amount of content. so the service
provider, and set top box will start to curate and point
people. and people will have to pay to be on the top of the

Betsy: it happens now with mobile phone companies. they
curate what they display. the channel position is on the
cell, you have to negotiate this. you have to think about
channel position on multiple media routes. 60mins have had
a successful partnerships with yahoo, they get outtakes and
additional video etc. on Mondays when on yahoo homepage, the
traffic numbers spike. 82million come through this
page..this drives a lot of traffic. the pole position is
very valuable. when on youtube homepage, on directors cut
loop, does a lot better, so on the home pages, they are the
gatekepers, and this is a market to manage.

Q: in 2009, the fcc is saying that over the air will all be
digital. the number of channels could increase
dramatically, further fragmentizes the audience. undermines
the regulatory authority (as will as the advertising base),
undermines the compelling state interest in treating broadcast
as a right. the position is based on the scarcity rationale.
so what kind of tv will exist this, will networks be group
owners etc monopolies

Josh: forester is surveying at the moment, and hopes to be
able to prove that the average consumer has no clue what is
going to happen. so what happens when the 20% (who only get
over the air)or so people discover that their telly won’t
work. the scarcity rationale is already blown, it’s based on
those people who only have over the air and this reduces all
the same most people will not give up their cable. the fcc
continues to try and get public interest etc, the networks
are looking at multicasting, but think their survival is
still dependent on having one high quality the big
ones still likely to exist.

Andy: we hope we do not have another 17000 channels with
noting on it. as we move into the hd world, it is an
opportunity. they can be more relevant etc on the radio.
on the TV side it is not just channels but about relevance,
you need that filter to fins what they want. the companies
will be a filter.

Q: josh thought that vivo etc have to force advertisers to
look at other manners. challenge that advertisers are going
with their consumers. so going this as opposed to TV losing
its effectiveness. advertisers are not saying TV is not
working, but looking at others. and Betsy – is Google
friend or foe. does Google want to become the advertising
OS. to sell real-time, relevant advertising

Josh: did a survey in conjunction with assoc with national
advertisers – asked them if they were planning on shifting
money away from telly..a clear majority said yes (60% or so)
reducing TV by at least 20%, it is going to web. Presented
to the advertising conference. they asked the audience to
poll..what is biggest threat to TV advertising..they picked
clutter – too many ads on the TV. that’s monopoly thinking
as the networks add more ads to the programmes as they make
more money. there is a clear rumbling in the industry.

Andy: advertising is TV focused, to a degree where they may be
in a state of denial. peoples media usage has completely
changed. they are still looking at TV as pinnacle and this is
wrong. its not saying that it is ineffective but that role
and importance has been put on a plane. we have to create
the ecosystems where there are several channels speaking
together and creating a story. we do a lots of research for
18-24 yo and all you need to look at the anecdotes. TV is
not important, still watch it and not as relevant, they are
doing lots of other things all the time, their engagement is
very different as a marketing industry have to get out of
that state of denial and we are in a media neutral world.

Josh: all the big companies are saying they will move
significant proportions out of TV.

Andy: one of the reasons why not an immediate shift is
because the metrics not there to track effectiveness.

Josh: on record that 2007 is the year of change.

Betsy: Google friend or foe? it’s both. co-opetition. you
can both. you can be a partner and a competitor. we know
the Google guys well and working with them. we want to
understand what they are doing. trying to understand them..
they are trying to understand what the networks are doing,
Eric Schmidt is clear that they do not want to be a content
company and has stated that in meetings. they are clear they
are engineering companies and focusing on the ads. the
business are looking at the way the media planners buy the
media – its a human capital intense business to sell
advertising. Google comes in and thinks about making this
far more efficient for the advertisers. can’t you make that
a far more efficient process. wouldn’t the advertisers be
pleased with far more technological answers with lots of
numbers. they are looking at this really seriously. thinks
we will end up in the middle. it is less intense, and not
fully tech. if the media company is smart will embrace the
tech but do not give up their strengths. need to understand
what the agencies want and what the advertisers want. as a
distributors in the same positions. abscond get 30million
Unique/month. we look at the information distribution, how
you can find the info. think about the content going out in
tiny bits bites and now think about 30second bites that can
be bucketed and searched and tracked. trends is a great
product and working with this..plugging a word and see how
people are searching, geo, layer this on census and maps etc.
gives a tools for journalists etc to find out what people
are interested in etc. products that Google are creating
can be really helpful for media companies and news
information, in the business of reporting and telling
stories..the tech can help us report and find stories.

Q: entertainment can include informational content is served
up in the right way, eg MLB site…was wondering who stands
to win fro the putting stuff out there strategy. is it the
independents, or the aggregators. can you create a
community. or is it a mater of luck. does this mean the
aggregators win again in the long run. can you apply Google
to TV to find stuff as lots of content. now I’ve just
goggled josh and found presentation from 1997 about how
people would get TV in 10 years. so what would your
predictions now be!!

Josh. there are breakthroughs. Hillcrest homes. a remote
control that looks like a bagel, three button and a scroll
wheel, a TV remote, interacts with TV. a high level of
precision, like wii remote. combined with graphical
interface. this is a way you can get access. one of the CES
announcements will include this interface. does for telly
want the mouse does for computer. there is still an
important role for aggregators. who has the power in
ebay..comsumers has the power and not really great for
retailers as they buy stuff form each other. communities is
not just luck.,.there are certain qualities that help it take
off. just in brazil and everyone uses orkut. always about
empowering the community..can;t create too much rules..they
go elsewhere to carry on the conversation. there will be more viewing on demand, all different content
tiers, looking at anything you want when you want.
advertising still central to delivery. form of advertisements
will have greater variety. move away from 30sec to
interactive, branded entertainment etc.

Andy: you should not ask about creating of community but the
fostering of a community. but clients do not like the idea
of fostering they want to control it. you are not in the
position can help manage. you can foster, and it is
doable, but getting the client to that point is difficult.

Mark: it’s about the story and your relationship with your
fans., from that place you foster out your community and it
starts to build up on itself. as TV gets closer to internet
you will start at aggregators places to get the message out
and then you take the story deeper and the fans can go down
the rabbit hole. deepen and let people get time to explore.
people male more of an investment in their
entertainment. gets deeper, erg lost is perfect example. so
what other community am I going to dive now, heroes has won
this year., you can dig deeper. you get the novel, the
website etc. you put Easter egg out there. more things
you give your fans to talk about the stronger your community.

Q: people do watch sporting events after the fact…you said
that apple make devices, but are the major distributor of there any indications they want to move into

Josh: is being on the board of Disney not enough for apple? 2
years ago the songs sold on itunes has been 20 songs/iPod.
there are 4x ipods and the ratio is still the same. the
profit from itunes is tiny; they sold 8million ipods last
quarter. you have to make the de vice experience great but
happy to let the content people take all the risks with the
content. with the risks about the content choice. in the
content business you are only as good as your last hit.

Henry: what is the role of neilson ratings? they have just
added tivo ratings..and some shows have been way

Betsy: how much is based on diaries?

Josh: people meters are the key things. sweeps are a bit
diary based becoming a lot more automated. trying to fix
the problems. there are 8000 in their national panel.. they
move very slowly in adjusting to the tech.. the methodology is
base don home and not tracking the new stuff. they
announced a plan to monitor the new devices. they only came
up with dvr ratings in 2004, 5 years after they came
out. and had to retool for 6 months. now just doing vod
ratings. in any given month 95% of a VOD programme gets
watched. at least once. the sampling methodology does not
work with this distribution model. Rentrack track video on
demand..they give direct numbers on who downloads. the
problem is how to take all the different measures and assess
the value of the different flows. advertisers do not think
the metrics work.

Betsy: neilson web analytics not good as well for the sales.
so cbs go to home grown analytics and everyone uses
different ones so cannot compare across.

Andy: would like to see what happens if neilson disappears
for 6 months. it’s a crutch and a life-support. people are
looking for an absolute metric and does not know if they will
ever exist we have to aggregate info and look at
holistically and try and figure what it means. we are
stepping back from where and trying to understand how and
why. giving context to engagement, to connect back to the
brand. so the brand picks up something form the content

Josh: it costs nothing to put an ad on Google until someone
clicks though and engages. TV ads need to get to this..

Q: what may be the repercussions of the discussion in more
abstract terms, from a cultural perspective. scholars have
been interested in the changing forms of communities with the
changing technologies. the tech may have led to the waning
of other forms of communities, eg the erosion of appointment
viewing, reduction in mass audiences, the evening ritual of
watching the news, this has been an instrumental component
in citizenship and what bring the nation together. so how do
they see things unfolding on a society

Betsy: we think about this a lot. as a news organizing, the
6pm news is about analysis…so the show is on the web on
demand and there is a growing audience. but will not replace
the lost TV audience. we still have the money and reporters
to analyse and go round the world. what value is that?> it’s
different when broken up into a lot of different places. they
thought if not on TV then not on web so the 6pm is equivalent
of the home page. now half of audience is not through home
page, they come through search to find the story they want –
they are self choosing. so how do you take user and show
them other things and b ring them a bigger perspective. that
is a great frustration in how people look at news and info.
on other hand, the web has bought the 2 way conversation,
this is amazing, we launched the blog 18 months ago, and we
solicited opinions and take in user interest etc. we do better
stories, are more informed as we have that dialogue. we have
changed minds about selection of story etc, on the users etc.
the reporters are not on a pedestal and no longer tell you
what is can see the process and understand why
they say it is important…we want to be engaged and want to
here what the users are interested. the web guys go to the
editorial meeting and the web watching can change the TV
watching by understanding what users want.

Josh: the schedule is not ness for people to have community.
everyone experiences Harry potter separately. you can join
the community through different ways.

Mark: time shifting gives people the time, on your time, not
their time. no watercolor moment, but it goes on through the
day, you communicate with friends allover the worlds.

Andy: there is not that local connectivity with content to
the same extent..but it’s shifting to a larger network. the
social currency thing is coming bigger.

Q: there’s lots of people in the media chain. the social
development of what you 4 represent is fascinating. so, when
you have a structured business, with owned and not owned
stations, so what happens when the content owners own their
own distribution network, eg mlb…they have more power…how
will the content producers and the distributors cope with the
goring power

Betsy: sports are really expensive. the leagues charge lots
and lots of money. there is the money for the advertising
which allows the pays. cbs will save money if mlb went
their own way but loses advertising and chance o promote
programmes. think the league will still use the networks as
they do want to aggregate mass audiences for certain games.
mlb has done a great job on building their site as they have
spent their money well, investing back in it. cbs use the backend for some of their stuff. march madness on
demand has been a great success for them. has been worth
every penny. there was a lot of conversation about this, is
this going to cannibalize the TV. but there were a lot of
times when games not at a right time, and the web increased
the TV watching. so shouldn’t they do this them selves
(NCAA)> they may do, in the future. the experience was
great – offering all the opportunities and this generates a
lot more viewers offer what you want get more.

Mark: as a content producers this is far better as so many
different way doing stories an exciting time to be a content

Q: do you worry that piracy will continue to grow as people
find ways around the commercials. will people adjust to
watching things without commercials. #

Betsy – it will persist, and will stay. its not the lawyers.
give the consumers the right choice and give them ways to do

Josh – its a cat and mouse game. in the end if the
advertising gets more tightly couples with content even when
pirated still has value.

Andy: piracy will persist. they’re is an expectation that
people will take things and do things with it. so need to
look at how to get value out of this.

Mark: content takes money. so you have to get advertisers or

Oct 31

IAB – Taking Control of UGC

Bad, bad title. Setting up everyone to believe you can take control of the masses out there. As was acknowledged eventually in the panel conversation, taking control is out of the question but it seems that none of the panel had questioned the title in preparation. Again, this is taken from rapidly scribbled notes.
The panel were:

Stacey: What is an operational defintition of UGC?

John: It means different things to different people. It’s a community environment; it’s not new – message boards, newsgroups are all UGC.

Dean: It’s content, of multiple medias, designed by non-paid professionals or amateurs. ie they are not paid by a company/agency to produce the stuff.

Mary: HP looks at UGC the way dean defines it.

Stacey: Is UGC and consumer control putting pressure on the marketeer?

Mary: Yes. we are not used to giving up control. have to let go and accept that users have a voice. Teams have to change tack from push to pull. It is a different mindset for 90% of the work.

Stacey: Are publishers changing their mindset?

John: Yes. It is a major paradigm shift.You have to deliver something unique, create a reason for the user to engage. It’s collaborative; as a publisher have to tak to clients. It’s more of a challenge, more creative.

Stacey: Could collaborative processes become best practices in the ‘traditional’ properties with Fox, as traditional becomes more digital?

John: At the end of the day digital is the sizzle. TV is still mass. Views it as co-dependents, need to work together to do a collaborative campaign. Fox can provide multiple touchpoints. Publishers have to deliver the platform across the panels.

Dean: Online brings new transparency; marketing is supposed to be about the consumer, online supports this. the good brands will survive the transparency.

Mary: Agrees that we need many channels. Last year HP committed to double online spend year on year. They were at 10%, so far the trend is ontrack. There is definitely a metrics challenge with talking to traditional side and sees problems in trying to bring the two systems together (to make a common standard). Let them be content with their reach and freuqency if that’s what makes them happy. Would love to see traditional become more accountable. But online we say the key metric is engagement and we still can’t explain that in a satisfactory manner to traditional advertisers.

From here on in, there was little clarity between the differences between advertising on UGC sites such as MySpace and UGC as in content that supports (or not) the brand from entities other than paid agencies. Some times a question was answered from both perspectives. There was no pointing out the differences between the two approaches, both of which have advantages and disadvantages, which confused some people, if those sitting next to me were to go by.

Dean: Consumers are in control and that is good as consumers will make the decisions that are good for them and good for the brand.

A straw poll was conducted at this point and only one person admitted to being scared to death over the consumers being in control. I think more should be, it’s going to change a lot of people’s jobs.

John: UGC gives immediate feedback as to where users are connecting with positioning and proposition and allows you to examine the brand. It’s an immediate focus group.

Stacey: What are your top 3 concerns about UGC?

John: Cost! it delivers value (said half tongue in cheek). Trust. Security. Delivery.

Mary: Sees data that says that social networks (ie myspace) don;t trust content/products that advertise in the network environments, There are good examples, but product messages are not the answer; building microsites can take the user out of the network which is also not good. Worried about the learning cost of understanding UGC.

Dean: we have to be interesting. great messages. we have to break through with stuff people want to receive.

Next was an audience Q&A session – a lot of questions.

Q: How do you trust the UGC?

John: you can start by putting your toe in the water, [advertise] in safe places on the network, ie myspace homepage. Start to build up your credibility and trust. Some advertisers only want to be in protected areas. The risk takers are the automotives, fast foods, entertainment/studios.

Q: How far can you go with pulled content (ie can it be more edgier than traditional bought media)

Mary: a brand needs to create content that people want to pull. Create complete messages. As you get to the longtail how can you control? HP is slowly dipping toes in this area. Wants to be more associated with content that is sort of peer reviewed and is not prepared to go to the tail.

John: if innapproapriate content is placed around ads, they can (and have) pulled the ads. It puts pressure on media planners to be careful.

Dean: Kayak launched a TV campaign that was controversial, extended it online by creating an ad tool and asking users to create their own ads. they did moderate and remove things hateful, too sexual but it did go further than normally allowed (on network). It was seen as a way to extend the media buy.

Here, Mary may be doing a service to all us smaller bloggers out’s often about influence, not total reach and just ‘cos we’re out on the tail does not mean we are edgier. But I though only Dean answered the question about can you go more edgy online, or when consumers are choosing to create media or whn advertising next to uncensored stuff. I’ve seen the types of lines that can get cut from ads ‘cos the TV networks don’t like them and was shocked by some of the decisions, what was not allowed in. On line is slightly less restrained and you can stretch the brand, although you always have to remember that users can stretch it far further.

Q: is it really a paradign shift as marketing has always been about engagement and is it just an opportunity shift?

Mary: marketers have to think differently now across the channels.

Stacey: we have had a dialogue before but limited reach. Now we have a dialogue with a channel as consumers are a channel too. Consumers spread the word so this challenges how we engage.

John: it is having a huge impact on the ad infrastructure. The audience is fragmented, you have to customise more. You have to increase badnwidth to address this fragmentation.

Dean: it lets us do it faster, better, cheaper. Has unlocked a creative renaissance (all the tools). it is truly exciting.

Q: If Fox is selling the protected spaces, what % of reach is actually seeing this space?

John: the protected areas reference was about giving advertisers a safe space if they were uncomfirtable. many are moving into the unprotected areas. The home page gets about 15m uniques, about 200m impressions. This is about 25% of the user base.

Q: what happens when UGC heckles the brand?

Dean: that’s life! Not everyone likes the brand. we can’t get crazed about it.

Mary: It’s no longer the email that goes round the company, now everyone can see the problem. But if you are in the right the user community will stand up for you and defend you. If you are credible and stay true, the community will stand up.

Stacey: problems start with this when a brand ‘plays’ at this and does not really let up control.

Q: how much control is too much before you lose credibility?

Dean: You can’t take control and should not. things like Payperpost will backfire and cause problems.

Stacey: If you are just looking at spreading the brand then you are missing the boat. We should do more to learn about how users see the brand. We can’t just count eyeballs.

And there time was up. For me, this was a far better panel than the first one. Some realism that things have to change. But like the morning session, still a lot of confusion about what this means.

Oct 31

IAB – Fran Kelly keynote

Frank Kelly is the CEO of Arnold US and has written a book ‘The Breakaway Brand – How Great Brands Stand Out’. However, I found his talk about using interactive to help build brands extremely frustrating, with multiple asides and exclamation marks in my notes as he said something that I disagreed with or just left me baffled. (I’ll add those in to the notes as I go through). As the person next to me said, he was obviously selling his book but not necessarily giving any real insights into interactive usage. He’s CEO of an agency that has dome some great interactive work but he’s the CEO – I’m not sure that indepth understanding is within his remit. The first half of the talk was about branding in general before moving onto interactive. Again notes are taken as fast as i could, paraphrasing where necessary.
Building Breakaway Brands in an Interactive World

Companies aspire to get their brands to a great place and the book looks at 50 brands that great.

The web is the greatest development in marketing since TV; there’s unbelievable potential but lots of problems. You have to understand it but by focusing on many small details, on building a better heart monitor, we may end up blowing up the hospital.

To be a breakaway brand you have to be in a category of one, you have to be different. Interactive is a growing influence in building a brand. 15% of Arnold employees are digital specialists; for their biggest 20 clients these specialists sit in the service teams, not in a separate team.

You have to understand how the brand is different and then execute to drive the brand away from the competition. Interactive currrently has aound $16billion out of an industry of $300billion so there is a plenty of growth available.

The disaggregated model make sit harder to get a breakaway brand as all elements need to work together. You have to have a core idea against which all activity is executed. A good example would be Dove, Campaign for Real Beauty. The best campaigns often come from such simple insights.

Marketing has moved from building businesses to building brands and is now building communities. The two key elements in any campaign are TV and the web; you need to focus on how they work together, along with all the other channels. (The conference chair later made a comment about how three years ago they were doing sessions about convincing people that the web was an important component so was pleased that a CEO was now saying it was key)

We now move into the core of the talk, where Fran goes through 7 areas where he thinks the web really helps drive brands.

Building Commuity

Interactive is best for this. Three examples his agency has worked on – Royal Caribbean Cruises, Timberland and VW.

This section was the one that most annoyed me. There was no talk about how these sites build community; from the examples and from the text, it seemed to be that building community was equated with building a interactive site that engages people and gets them to spend time on the site. Not encouraging interaction and feedback amongst brand fans and back and forth with the brand which is where I’d put building community.

Driving Results

Examples – Google and Vonage. Both of these have used the web to successfully drive results and drive brands. Google is a $140billion idea and Vonage uses brilliant segmentation to drive targeted advertising.

Google is a web company and of course needs the web to drive the results. Google search was used as the key example that drives the results as opposed to the contextual ads which were the key to driving revenue. Again, the example driven did not illustrate the point enough for me.

Stretching Budgets
Example: Truth funding has reduced from $100m to $25m. !0 years ago 80% of their advertising was on TV, now it is only 20% and they are using the web to drive most of their message and stretch their budget. The site is continuosly changed and updated to keep it fresh

Here’s an example I agree with. The web is great for making more of your budget when it comes to engagement (if you are not necessarily after mass reach) And the site itself looks perfectly targeted, at ‘young, disaffected teeens’. As he says, the teens who are likely to be affected by the ‘talk to your children/talk to your parents’ message are unlikely to actually be the ones the need the message!

Respecting the Channel

examples – two commercials that were used on online programming. You cannot just repurpose the TV ads for this, both the ads were specially created and were effective.

Although this is not a reason why the web is good (which most of the rest are) it is a reason why you need to think differently and cannot just use it as an extension of TV or print but have to think holistically about the whole campaign and how all the parts fit together

Building Loyalty

Examples: and Tracking has shown that people can spend 10-45 mins on thetruth.

Is he measuring engagement and interest or loyalty. The first is about how long someone may stay on your site exploring it; the second is about return rates (for a website at least)? the principle is sound, the explanation is poor.

Brand Modernisation

Example talbots. A classic clothes brand (catalog) that has used the web to improve sales. the web is its fastest growing and most profitable of its biusiness. the web shopper has higher purchase and lower return rates than the catologue shoppers.

He gives a good example of a retailer that has used the web effectively to maintain and grow sales in a world that no longer relies on printed media for its at home purchases. But does this modernise the brand. Does beng on the web mean that a brand is hip and with it? No, it does not, it’s reality of marketing today that you often need to be on the web but being on the web is not a short cut to modernisation.

Disintegration vs Integration

The great brands see all the channels pulled together, it’s part of the whole campaign not treated as something different.

Again agree. But can also see the place where the web is great to try out the outer reaches of the brand message.

And that was the end of the speach. Writing it up I’m still frustrated and annoyed. Kelly is a successful speaker about building brands and building great brands. The book itself is supposed to be good. But he hit all the wrong buttons with me, not really explaingin his points.

One more to go ‘taking control of UGC’. Happily, the panel were more realistic than the title.

Oct 30

IAB – Total Communications Planning

Today, I spent some time at the IAB ‘Agency Summit’ which looked at interactive advertising. I took notes of a few of the sessions, the first being a look at Total Communications Planning. The panel comprised of:

Bob DeSena, Managing Partner – Director of Active Engagement, Mediaedge:cia
Louis Jones, EVP, Managing Director, Media Contacts
Maria Mandel, Partner, Executive Director – Digital Innovation, OgilvyInteractive
Moderator: Mike Donahue, EVP, AAAA

The notes I took are verbatim or sumarised when the talking came too fast.

Mike: Can I ask the panelists to define TCP?

Maria: It’s a paradigm shift in marketing, moving from a content-centric push channel to a consumer-centric pull channel, where you plan around the user’s day, plan around the touchpoints.

Louis: the definition is still being written and there’s still a way to go. It’s changing all the while. Data and measurement help round out the picture.

Bob: Data is one of the key skills missing in TCP in many agencies. TCP is 21st century marketing and starts with the consumer. It needs a creative core, we run the risk of being too specialised and do not take a holistic view. A new model that needs a new way of thinking.

Mike: Do you think clients have the urgency to change?

Louis: Yes; they are interested in a single voice that resonates through the channels, but in practice this is difficult due to client/agency structures. Marketeers are beginning to change but still a way to go.

Mike: How are digital practictioners coming at TCP?

Maria: Everything is moving digital now; currently 50%, moving towards 80% in a few years. All channels move towards it; it comes down to the fundamentals of marketing.

Mike: How good is the measurement of TCP?

Bob: there’s some, but it’s disparate, oftne proprietary. In the end it all leads to sales but there are no standards – they are being worked on. But this is not a new metric to replace the old but is about understanding that this is a whole new world. We need to move away from transferring the old points of reference (TV/print) to the new one (the first TV was just radio with a camera pointed at it). We need to target better, to move closer to the consumer. the principles of marketing are the same but we need to increase the depth.

Mike: Do companies recognise the importance of opening their data up?

Louis: We keep pushing it, some do. The sales feeds is a key to understanding behaviour.

Mike: Are non-retail clients data driven?

Maria: Yes. Digital allows you to measure more than before. All clients now need/want data and agencies are evolving to match their needs.

Mike: Do you rely on the agency or the client for analytics?

Bob: We have our own specialists and rely on outsourcing much to other third party specialists. The skillsets are not at the clients to manage the databases, to build targeting algorithms and still a long way to go with database mining.

Mike:Are clients organised for TCP?

Maria: We are still trying to figure it out on both sides. There is blurring between the advertising and content model; it is difficult when the creative and the media buyers are separate.

Mike: How do you suggest clients organise?

Louis: you deal with what you have on a case by case basis. Client organisation does impact what you deliver; you have to set objectives/goals and describe the journey and work around the organisation issues.

Mike: should it be an aggregated or disaggregated model?

Maria: A disaggregated model can work if someone from the client pulls it all together but this is often difficult to do so an aggregated model may be easier to get the pull.

Louis: Aggregated is hard to pull off. You need specialists, it’s difficult to do everything. There’s always new things. Pulling it all together is a skill.

Bob: someone has to co-ordinated. Aggregated and disaggregated are just along a spectrum, you have to have a co-ordinator. You have to connect across the channels with the what and the how and organisation can help or hinder but it still has to happen.

My take:

From this (and others) I never got clarity about what type of online marketing they were talking about – is it advertising on others’ sites, using RM data to target users or building their own properties. Despite the talk about pull media, this panel still focused on the client/agency controlled model even if the touchpoints have fractured and the user is slighly more in control about when they see advertising.

The panellist recognised the difficulties involved in both agencies and clients in moving towards a integrated model but no-one had real answers to combine mass with targeting. The lack of measurement and standards is one I face all the time, espcially when combining it with more traditional methods so we do have to challenge some comparisons that are made. No major insights came out of this for me.

Sep 30


So BarCamp NYC2 has started. Microsoft have opened up their offices for us, the coffee is here, the bagels and muffins are tasty and the first set of sessions have started. Looking at the attendee list, a cool mix of people.

Sep 29

NextFest Visit

Nextfest is on at the moment in New York and I took a few hours out this morning to wander round. Lots of photos to be uploaded and it’s well worth taking at look at Rocketboom which showcases one of my favourites, the pettable seals. C

ute, soft, furry, big eyes, pitiful sounds, you just want to pick one up and take it home. There were lots and lots of robots of all kinds, musical instruments, games, hybrid cars, and a robotic bartender that only served soft drinks at that time of day. I loved the DiamondTouch table and the demos, using it with Google Earth and having all the people round the table annoting was fun. I can see applications for interactive advertising in this.

I spent my time wondering round with a big grin, as I love this sort of interactive exhibitions (I love good Science Museums). I managed to escape before too many of the school parties arrived and completely crowded out the queues, so getting their early is a necessity. I guess it may be worse at the weekend with crowds.

Sep 28

BarCamp and DRM protest

For people in New York and not going to BarCamp, an alternative is a protest against DRM outside the Apple Store organised by the DefectiveByDesign group.

Kicking of a week of activities to raise awareness about DRM. FreeCulture. and DefectiveByDesign will be teaming up to help organize this action outside Apple’s flagship store in New York. Join us!

Hazmat suits will be there of course, as will special representatives from the RIAA and MPAA, who will help us debate the issues through the techniques of street theatre 🙂

All are welcome to join and make this a huge kick-off event to the weeks efforts against DRM. Add your name so we know you are coming.

Have some fun, and join the Hazmat crew cleaning up the Apple/Disney DRM mess that Steve Jobs has created.

Sep 27

Corporate Blogging Conference

On Monday, I presented at my first conference, a Corporate Blogging Conference run by BFI. It was more by default then anything else, as the organisers were contacted me originally to try and get hold of someone from the Guinness team who worked on their blog. In the end I gave a talk about the sort of legal things you have to think about when blogging as a corporate, or having employees blogging when they are identifiably working for your company. Overall I enjoyed the experience, now I need to think if I want to do it again.

There were some great talks. JP Rangaswami gave an overview of corporate blogging (It was good to here he’s moving onto what looks like a great job with BT). Alison Watterson reviewed how they established blogging in HP and managed to skillfully deflect a question about the current scandal with their board (she said their bloggers focus on areas of their expertise and board activities don’t fall into their subjects). None of the presentations appear to be online, they were all handed out as part of the pack for the delgates which they then used to follow along and take notes. A different crowd to the conferneces I normally go to, being focused entirely on corporates with some vary big blue chip names in there. I had to double check, just in case I was going to mention one of them as a bad case of corporate blogging. There were no laptops open to take notes (except for a few of hte speakers by the look of it), there was no wireless made available (despite the hotel providing it) and there were no photos being taken. I’d bought my camera along, but ended up not taking any of the attendees, based on my rule of thumb that if there are a crowd of cameras you are OK but if you are the only one, probably not a good idea as no one there expects it.

Sep 19


Jeneane ran an interesting experiment today…PhoneCon. It was a test of the scaleability of to see if it really did scale up to 96 users for up to 6 hours. I only managed to get into the last 15 mintues but they were fun, with story telling and songs. The system seemed to work OK though.


Aug 07

Barcamp London

Where has the time’s been a week since I’ve been on here. No;s something you need to sign up for quickly – Barcamp London. Taking place in the Yahoo offices during the first weekend in September, there’s a limited number of spaces which are going fast.

BarCampLondon Sep 2-3

Jul 23

HOPE: Literacy and Gutenberg

In one of the talks on Friday, on text to speech software, a series of statistics about the US reading habits were thrown up on the screen. Co-incidently (i think) the same set of stats appeared on on Jeff Jarvis’s blog, sourced from Dan Poynter.

One-third of high school graduates never read another book for the rest of their lives. …
58% of the US adult population never reads another book after high school.
42% of college graduates never read another book.
80% of US families did not buy or read a book last year.
70% of US adults have not been in a bookstore in the last five years.
57% of new books are not read to completion.
Most readers do not get past page 18 in a book they have purchased.
Customers 55 and older account for more than one-third of all books bought.

I’m not sure how accurate these are (some of the other stats on the page contradict them) but they give a frightening picture of literacy today and, as Gerald Green stated in his talk, shows another aspect of the digital divide, that of reading. He focuses on using text to speach as a way of improving adult literacy, with tools that are out there translating the written word on a browser to the spoken one.

This leads nicely on to Project Gutenberg and Michael Hart, who gave the keynote speach on Saturday at Hope. His passion for all that he does rang clear throughout the talk and the interest and desire for involvement fromthe audience came throught he questions. The history of the project can be read here; it celebrated it’s 35th anniversary a few weeks ago and is giving away 1/3 million ebooks until beginning of August. During the talk, they gave away DVDs containing 17500 books, that’s more than double the number found in the average library.

The stated target is to provide a billion books to a billion people, building a better world from the bottom up. To help in this aim, he said he is also in the process of putting together a project with the $100 laptop team. If you want to help, send in your ebooks or go and become a Distributed Proofreader.

In my case, despite all the time I spend online, I still prefer a physical book. I own over a 1000 and that is still with a lot of pruning – getting rid of them is a very hard job! In the 2 months I’ve been in te US, I seem to have collected about 15 new books, which I now have to transport back. I spent a lot of my childhood reading; a perpetual refrain from my mother was to ask me to stop reading a book – actually, she still does that occasionally 😉 There’s always anticipation and pleasure when I buy a book from one of my ‘regular’ authors. But I buy a lot of crap as well, trashy airport novels, for holidays and travelling. These ones I could easily switch to ebooks, but I’ve not found the right tool yet; although I’ve not looked too hard. I need something that is easy to carry and probably lasts over 24 hours without charging (and I also need the trashy novels to be ebooks of course, which they are not from what I’ve seen). I’ve now got 17500 new texts to read an browse, but nothing to easily do that on. I may switch to reading somethings as an ebook, but I’m unlikely to stop buying the physical objects.

Jul 23

Hope: Privacy is Dead

I was looking forward to the Privacy is Dead panel at Hope today. Someone had volunteered to be the target and Steve Ramban, from Pallorium Ltd, had spent time gathering all the information he could, producing about a 500 page dossier. Instead, we were told that Steve had been arrested the evening before by FBI agents, who had come into a session he was giving the day before and led him away in handcuffs. Nothing further was known (or at least given out at the conference) The session after was supposed to be Kevin Mitnik, but he has apparently been taken ill in Columbia. Yet a third seesion was cancelled due to a power cut in Queens 😉

A session that did take place was Coupon Hacking, a fun talk about Sam Pocker’s advertures with couplons and his drive to use the system to get stuff for free. For example, buying a car load of Sunny Delight at 2 dollars a bottle, taking off the the lables to get 4 movie tickes for 4 lables and then leaving the whole lot in the supermarket carpark as he could not get anyone to take it away. Less a lesson on how to use the system than a series of anecdotes about the life – but very funny and had the packed house laughing.

Jul 21


I’m spending the next few days at a conference, a rather different type than the one I usually go to. I’m at Hope Number Six, where hope stands for Hackers of Planet Earth. Three days of talks about all manner of subjects with a hacking connection with two main tracks plus a do it yourself track where anyone can sign up to give a talk. One of the more obvious differences is that no-one gets a name badge, instead we all get issued with numbers.

I attended 2 talks about RFID chips this morning, the first from a PHD student who is looking at the security requirements to keep the info safe, at a physical, protocol and system level.

The second talk was from Annalee Newitz, a Wired reporter who went for the slightly unusual step of getting implanted with a Verichip rfid to test their claim that they were totally secure and un-counterfeitable. There followed a nice demonstration of reading the chip (which broadcasts in the clear) and then playing back the signal which is then easily recognisable by the official verichip reader. Of course, when all you are doing is re-using chips designed for pets there was probably little thought to additional security required. Now I’m off to go and learn how to pick locks.

May 04

WeMedia the conference

I spent some of the morning watching the WeMedia on video stream and via the online chat and IRC, then got to see a couple of sessions at the conference. There is a lot of blogging coverage about the event, some from participants, others from the virtual attendees.

The blurb says “The We Media Global Forum brings together the trailblazers of the connected society – the thinkers, innovators, investors, executives and activists seeking to tap the potential of digital networks connecting people everywhere”. From the bits I saw and the people I talked to, not too sure that really happened. Digital networks change things, move and share power, giving the potential to take control out of the hands of the few and spread it around. This can happen with or without the current set of gatekeepers. I would have thought the conference was about providing a chance for the traditional media centres to take stock and assess how they are going to support the devleoping communities across the world.

Instead I got the impression that what was being said on stage only supported the existing worldviews. There was little challenge, the same old questions were being asked and little movement made. Rebecca McKinnon puts it well: “The question we really ought to be focusing on is: how can citizens and professional journalists work together to create a better and more well-informed public discourse?”. Instead, it was the same debates about them and us, bloggers are scary and don’t we (media) know best?

I’m not sure if today’s was any different – I was travelling all day so missed it.

Apr 12

Hogmanay Unconference

Ewan is trying to get an unconference up and running over Hogmanay in Edinburgh. Waht could be better – a couple of days learning and sharing and then a night at one of the best New Year Party’s in the world. If you’re interested, leave a comment on his blog.

Mar 21

Mix06: Beyond Banner Advertising

Advertsing 2 post

My first panel today was entitled ‘Beyond the Banner: Advertising on the Web and where it is going’. The panel comprised:

David Jakubowski – Microsoft (Facilitator)
Jason Rapp NYT
Ron Belanger – Yahoo
Jennifer Slegg – JenStar
Jed Nahum – Microsoft Adcentre
Jeff Lanctot – Avenue A
Bant Breeen Interpublic group

The quick answer, if you don’t want to read the rest of the post, is that the panel really don’t know where digital advertising is going but have a lot of ideas.

Key points:

  • tracking needs to be sorted. Currently, there is a tolerance of emerging opportunities and the lack of tracking but this will draw to a close and a method of measuring and reporting needs to be worked out.
  • need to address accountability and assess the difference between direct response marketing and branding
  • standardising the offers from the tech companies would be nice from teh advertisers perpsective, make it easier to manage and compare campaigns consistently, but the competition between them drives innovation and can show the way
  • Behavioural targeting does help with ads, but can be viewed with suspicion. It can get a bad press, but agregating tools do help in managing campaigns. One audience member even asked for more permission based spyware to show him relevant ads (ie he was from New it would be good to get ads that show him bargains in Las Vegas as he is here)
  • the solutions could be software (as envisioned by the tech companies)…need to build into platforms ways to deliver target ads.
  • the advertisers have to get the right balance between advertising and content. Recently the creative agencies have been poor in attract the desentisised pople need to increase the ads that are relevant, engaging and inviting.
  • a number of the advertisers in the audience asked questions about tracking viral/Word of mouth. There are agencies that do perception and feeling measurement and the advice was to start tracking before you try and do viral marketing. But is is critical that the brand stays honest – seeding discussions is not a smart move!
  • looking to get dynamic ads in podcasting and videoblogging to really drive this space.
  • mobile devices will be big! (errr…yep) there was some discusssion about video to mobile, 2D bar codes, event ticketing etc as being..although they are only really new to US..a dive to make the phone/mobile device a bridge across other platforms.

There was nothing new in this panel at all for me, but it was interesting to see the same questions keep coming up from yesterday (localisatiojn etc)- so there is more of a need to educate and inform about what is happening here for all the advertisers.


Mar 21

Mix06: day 2

Last night there was a welcome party held in the mightclub at the hotel. There was a gap between the last session and the start of the party – in which time people started making their way to the club…but weren’t let in. Instead, they were directed to form a line. Which then proceeeded to form a human game of Snake as it wrapped itself around a square and back on itself and ended up crossing. The party itself was fun, but dark…not a lot of light to see people or avoid the multiple backpacks, an accessory that the club probably does not see very often.

I then moved onto a bowling party – in a hotel room with its own set of alleys. My bowling has not improved, so I was happy to get a few strikes. Finally a drive along the strip to really confirm that this place is weird.

I’m watching the keynote via the pressroom this morning..helping put together the Buzzword bingo card. Or rather not really helping, just nodding head and agreeing as the coffee has not kicked in yet.