Digital Hollywood - Is New Media Taking Over?

From October 18 through the 21st, 2,000 live gathered at the Lowes Santa Monica Hotel for the Digital Hollywood, Los Angeles, conference.  

Digital Hollywood: Stephanie Piche, Todd Swacki, Aaron Meyerson

Social Media, Brands and Target Markets, moderated by Nicholas Mitchell, featured Stephanie Piche (Mingle Media TV); Todd Sawicki (Cheezburger Network); Chris Parker (Brandracket &BrandsforBrands); Aaron Meyerson (Coincident TV); Patricia Handschielar, Dan Gellert (, Stacy DeBroff (Mom Central); Chris Carvalho (Kabam) and Robert Gonsalves met to talk about transforming and disassembling the world of traditional media and communications.  

Not surprising, the internet is everywhere. Little thought that in 1970’s, this burgeoning information highway, would become, to many of us, our daily lives.  We are not only in social media as Facebook, LinkedIn, and Twitter, but people can interact with the host on such programs as Mamapalooza (a mother driven audience of talk topics helping other mothers ) While it helps to have a web cam, it’s not necessary.  You can just watch without logging in. You can be on your smart phone, iphone, iPad, or Blackberry.  Amazing apps (applications) are available for almost anything you can image – going from managing your schedule, to listing calories, listening to music on iTunes, or to playing a game.  

Digital Hollywood Conference - Santa Monica, Robert Pattern, Susan Bonds

Brands, for the most part, are just reaching out to see what is out there and how much working with a web series can increase their business. This is beyond the ad spasm that we often disregard.  Shows no longer have to be three minute pieces, as they were in the early days of the web, but can, according to Mingle Media, be as long as an hour and half.  

Not everything, however, benefits from the web interaction.  Hollywood has yet to learn how to put branding to it’s advantage.  Many film companies only do their ads four weeks before the release.  Things move a lot slower in the world of the web and it’s necessary for them to have a presence, I learned, a good six months ahead of release.  But even if they manage to drive people to the movie for the first night, they fail to keep up the momentum and take advantage of things.  “There are the DVD’s and future serials that are often ignored.  Once the movie is out,” Stephanie Piche says, “they drop the Facebook page and leave their audience hanging. 

Digital Hollywood Conference - Santa Monica - Daniel Beebe, Jeff Gomez

Is there money to be made in the web?  Yes, of course, but the build is slow. Unless you are a super fan of a show like Glee, you might not be willing to pay for the extra games, songs, interviews, etc.  To the extent that people are willing to pay for content, there is money to be made but you have to know your audience and know what brand you want to be aligned with.  For instance, a mother’s show might not like to be associated with Nestle Foods because of their problems with the third world and baby formula.  

Digital Hollywood Conference -Santa Monica- Amber Lawson, Max Benator

There are a wide variety of web series out there now. Besides talk shows, there are relationships shows, shows about ghost hunting ( R.I.P. Files), scripted episodes, or shows on how to give red carpet interviews.  

Many of the programs can be live fed as well as stored, which means the participants can be engaged almost immediately or can watch it any time later.  

“Engagement of the audience is the key,” says Chris Carvalho.  This is true whether you are doing talk shows or just marketing as does Stacy DeBroff of Mom Central.   “The web can be anything for anyone,” says Brian Seth Hurst of Opportunity Management who assists showrunner Tim Kring with his project, Conspiracy for Good.  

So is writing for the New Media going to be different than what we have now?  Most experts agree that, like early television with such shows as Texaco Hour, things will need sponsors.   TV won’t disappear just yet, but it will change.  The benefit of the web is that the material is always available and always out there, even if you don’t want it to be.  

Some of the sponsors for Digital Hollywood this year were CEA, Variety, Gerber Rigler, WGAw, IDA, KCET, AFI Digitial, IndieWire, SAG, Eqal, Withoutabox, Transpond, IBM, Rovi, Microsoft, Comcast Spotlight, BuddyMedia, The Wrap, Active Video, Associated Press, Open TV, Ramp, Alcatel-Lucent, IPF, IPG emerging media, Deloitte, Adobe, Payment One, BMI, ultra live, Siemer, Lionsgate, Interactive Television Alliance, and Tubefilter.  

For more information on next year’s events, go to

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