Media Summit New York 2009 Review - “Global Media + Technology Innovation = Communications Revolution”

The sixth annual Media Summit New York was held recently at The McGraw-Hill Companies headquarters, New York, NY, USA.  The theme of this year’s event was “Global Media + Technology Innovation = Communications Revolution.”

Panel on Bridging TV and Broadband: "Strategic Relationships - Advertising, Technology & Content" moderated by Rick Doherty, The Envisioneering Group, with (left to right)Jed Horowitz, Internet Video Archive (IVA); Richard Kang, MTV Networks; Martin Rienzle, Luke Bradley-Jones, Tara Maitra, TiVo, Inc.; and Fadad Siddiqui, Frnce Telecom

The Summit attracts some 1,000 attendees. Produced by Digital Hollywood, this gathering is one of two, bi-coastal international conferences on Internet, mobile, television advertising, cable & satellite, telcos, publishing & radio, print media, news media, motion pictures and marketing.  Presented by The McGraw Hill Companies, the event was also co-sponsored by  BusinessWeek and Standard & Poor’s.  Sponsors included IBM, Nielsen, Bitgravity, NDS, J.D. Power and Associates, Nixon Peabody LLP, Deloitte, Associated Press, Microsoft, Blinkx, OriginDigital, AT&T, Internet Video Archive (IVA), Teradata, and Siegel+Gale

Visited by media and entertainment providers from all over the globe, including Cananda, Norway, and Ireland, the two-day Summit featured some 150 panelists speaking on a wide variety of topics and representing business leaders in all areas of media and related services.  Keynote speakers included Jeff Zucker, President and Chief Executive Officer of NBC Universal, Steve Ballmer, Chief Executive Officer of Microsoft Corporation, and Philippe Dauman, President and Chief Executive Officer of Viacom, Inc.  Opportunities abounded to speak one-on-one with peers and industry leaders, network, and share ideas.

Elizabeth Rae Rosenstein moderates panel on Publications and News: "Re-Imagining of News Media, the Newspaper and Magazine Industries, Broadband, Mobile, UGM, IPTV and Advertising with (left to right) Jeff Litvack, Associated Press; Jonathan Shar, CNNMoney.com;Smokey Fontained, Integrated One; John Soppe, King Digital; Steve Zales, Time, Inc.; and Brett Wilson, USA Today

Among many hot topics was the question of whether or not consumers are showing a preference for getting their news only by way of hand-held readers vs. newspapers and magazines.  Sound familiar?  We saw this scurrying of feet before in the book publishing industry when the first hand-held reader came onto the market and printers and publishers were cringing over the thought of books becoming obsolete. 

Sidebar:  Sorry, this book-o-phile sees the impossibility in this, if only due to the monetization opportunities of collectible art books… However, how does the industry adjust so that hand-held readers can best shoulder their way into that market?  And how do established media providers integrate this technology?  Good questions.

It’s clear that magazines and newspapers can no longer be thought of as “just print” media.  It’s also more than clear that content and current business models must change in order to keep pace with the various choices available to consumers.

With the recent upheaval in the newspaper printing/publishing world, including upsets at venerable publications such as the San Francisco Chronicle (now considering going “all digital”), much attention has been given to finding a new business model for the news publication industry that not only accepts and incorporates new technologies, but also embraces them. 

A panel on publications and news entitled “Re-Imagining of News Media, the Newspaper and Magazine Industries:  Broadband, Mobile, UGM, IPTV and Advertising” took a stab at this question.   Moderated by Elizabeth Rae Rosenstein, principal with Deloitte Consulting LLP, the panel included Jeff Litvack, GM, Mobile and Emerging Products, Associated Press, Jonathan Shar, SVP and General Manager, CNNMoney.com,.  John Soppe, Managing Director, King Digital, Smokey Fontaine, Chief Content Officer, Interactive One, Steve Zales, President, Digital, Time, Inc., Lifestyle Group, and Brett Wilson, SVP of Advertising, USA Today.

These industry innovators shared their insights and excitement for the efforts they are taking on behalf of their firms to provide the highest quality content to consumers while also receiving maximum ROI and thus not only remaining viable but also competitive in the industry.

David Berkowitz of 360i moderates the Internet Video, Advertising & Marketing panel: "The Next Generation of Consumer Reach" with Rick Song, Microsoft; Jesse Redniss, USA Network; Ziv Navoth, Bebo; David Jensen, IBM Global Services; and Reggie Bradford, ViTrue

So just what IS this mobile platform that has these news publishing giants doing much quick thinking and moving?  We’re talking about the next generation of potential mobile devices that will offer a wide variety of features, network capabilities and the consumer expectations that go along with that.  These, of course, are items beyond the iPhone and similar product.  Another Summit panel speculated about what the future here might hold- and how they and their companies are adjusting to provide the appropriate content.

Moderated by Derek Kuhn, VP, Emerging Technology and Media, Alcatel-Lucent, this panel included Chip Canter, Vice President, Wireless Platform Development, NBC Universal Digital Distribution, Jonathan Barzilay, SVP or Programming, MediaFLO USA, Larry Berkin, Vice President, Ecosystem and Corporate Business Development, ACCESS Systems America, Tim Connolly, VP, Mobile Distribution, ABC, Disney & ESPN Media Networks, Jeremiah Zinn, SVP, Syndication & Operations, MTV Networks, and Jesse Goranson, SVP of Mobile Media, Nielsen.

Derek Kuhn of Alcatel-Lucent moderates panel "The Mobile Platform 2.0: Establishing the Personalized Video, Music, and Communications Experience with panelists Chip Canter, NBC Universal Digital Distribution; Jonathan Barzilay, MediaFLO USA, Qualcomm; Larry Berkin, ACCESS Systems America; Jeremiah Zinn, MTV Networks; Jesse Goranson, Nielson; and Tim Connolly, ABC, Disney & ESPN Media Networks

Are we in the media- and the media-supplying- industry really in tune with how mobile devices are changing the business?  That is a key question.  And are media companies thinking beyond the iPhone?  And is this change sustainable?  Along with these questions, a perhaps bigger area of concern, of course, is business model.

“Essentially, at NBC Universal we’re all about driving end user engagement,” Canter said.  “But the place where we make money is from our distribution partners- cable companies, telcos, folks that we distribute our content to, and advertisers.  Insofar as the introduction by Apple, our role is to drive dual-revenue stream models, a sub-fee business for the distribution of our content and to supplement that with advertising  Both of those require that you have great content that drives tons of  users that is valuable to both distribution channel and to advertisers to create experiences that are valuable to those partners and ad vehicles that we can go to and say ‘This created sales,’ which is something interesting.”

The panel agreed that the iPhone hasn’t changed those two fundamental goals for media providers, but it’s forced a change in thinking since it’s underscored the urgency in paying attention to personal mobile devices and the potential opportunities for news sources provided there.

“What the inception of the iPhone,”  Goranson said, “it’s for the first time really galvanized consumers that use these and caught the attention of the media that made it more broad than some mobile content before.  Usage is exponentially bigger across everything if you go across the list- from email to video to gaming to anything on that platform.  It just goes to show you if you build a user experience, people will consume the content.”

So will the iPhone be getting a run for its money?  Of course.

“Two things stand out for me,”  Berkin said,  “a phone called “INQ” from a company out of the UK.  It represents a new era for phones that are beyond the iPhone…  A second phone from Samsung called the “Optima” which has incorporated a pico display which allows someone like a traveling salesguy to actually project from his phone without a projector.”

Many speculated as to just what bundles of services these new devices might bring to the consumer, but all spoke about their plans to be ‘on the ready’ to provide all that could be monetized and sent out.  Consider that we’ve seen some big changes in iPhone content delivery from the advent of once-considered ground breaking applications like “ Sponge Bob.” Of note was the importance of devices supporting long-form video such as twenty-minute television shows.  (Seen those ads on TV for Hulu yet?  Pay attention…)

The recent gathering at Mobil World Congress in Barcelona brought some interest.  “There’s a lot going on,” Goranson.  “Apple’s really shaken up the whole world.  And to put this into context:  there’s probably 25 different ap stores out there, and about 7 open OSs- iPhone being one of them.  Generally, the total revenue for that content base in 2008 was somewhere are around $300 million dollars.”  That’s a lot of opportunity for news, entertainment and other content providers. 

“What we hope can happen is that platforms will focus less on competing and focus more on working together,” Barzilay said,  “and the carriers will focus less on competing and much more on working together.  It could be this vision for what we can do with a larger mobile ecosystem and that’s where I think we’re going to see the real benefit because there’s a lot we can do with Palm, as an example… We think there’s a huge consumer base out there that doesn’t have an iPhone and it wants the same type of services, and we need to address that.”

So will consumers ignore their televisions now that they will have access to so much content on their hand-held devices?  Not so fast!  Industry leaders are busy working on ways to better engage television viewers by way of the Internet.  A panel spoke about how they see television and the Internet working in tandem to create consumer loyalty and buy-in- and “buy-in” in the truest sense of the word, considering full-blown product placement schemes and in-tandem advertising is enthusiastically being deployed in some cases.  (Recall The Electric Sheep’s project with CSI-NY.)

With video on the Internet on the “established” position of the advertising and marketing industries’ acceptance bell curve, it’s being used more and more   Moderated by David Berkowitz, Director of Emerging Media & Client Strategy for 360i, the panel attacking this opportunity- and its current foibles, including Internet-delivered product ending up on PC, mobile, or even television- included Rick Song, Senior Director, Eastern US Sales, Microsoft Advertising, Jess Redniss, Vice President, Digital, USA Networks, Ziv Navoth, SVP Marketing & Business Development, Bebo, David Jensen, Partner, IBM Global Business Services, Reggie Bradford, CEO, ViTrue. 

The consensus of the event?  Media providers are doing their best to not only keep up with technology, but also to be ready so as to best be creative, to best ride the potential waves of opportunity that might be provided to them and, of course, to provide the highest quality content to consumers while also fully exploiting all monetization opportunities.  Pretty simple, right?  Marriages in heaven of technology and business model will need to happen.  Let’s see…


The McGraw-Hill Companies was founded in 1888 and is the leading global information services provider meeting worldwide needs in the financial services, education and business information markets through leading brands such as Standard & Poor’s, McGraw-Hill Education, BusinessWeek, and J.D. Power and Associates.  (www.mcgraw-hill.com)

Digital Hollywood was founded in 1990 by Victor Harwood and produces the leading trade conferences in the media, entertainment, advertising and technology industries.
(www.digitalhollywood.com)


Information about upcoming events can be obtained by visiting the web site:  www.media-summit.com.

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Photos and text copyright M.D. Caprario March 2009
M. D. Caprario is a writer/editor working in Los Angeles, New York, and San Francisco and covering everything that is good in the world of entertainment.  Reach her at:  [email protected]

 

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