So you want to go viral eh?
Buzz Friday for October 19, 2007

Live blogging from Kent State Media Mindsets Conference

MMConfLogo.jpgI am attending, and live blogging from, the Kent State University Media Mindsets Conference today. Nice speaker list on tap today. Among them Joshua Green from the MIT Convergence Culture Consortium, Hollis Towns the Executive Editor of the Cincinnati Enquirer and Bill Stewart of IBM Digital Media. I will be updating this post through the day and cross-posting it to my agency's blog here. They're streaming this live as well.

You can get real-time updates from this conference at my Twitter account.


Welcome from Robert Frank, KSU Senior VP and Provost
KSU has created their communication college to merge mass comm, journalist, comm, etc. to one curriculum to get students to hit the ground running. Creating partnerships with technology companies to conduct research.

billstewart_small.jpgKeynote from Bill Stewart, IBM Digital Media
"Creative destruction - trends and directions of new and traditional media companies"
Devices drive innovation through history. These devices + the internet are breaking through walls. iPod in Music, World of Warcraft in video games, Netflix downloads in movie rentals and IM/VoIP in communications.

This is leading to a user-centric fluid media lifestyle. Barriers to entry are lowering and will continue in next 3-5 years. Media companies will see an upheaval. New media companies must drive new strategies. Divergent paths will be forged.

Drivers of change. Devices, access, content innovation and buyer and consumer behavior shifts. These are predicated on the devices. The next inflection point will be around 3G+ mobile and broadband, connected devices.

As far as broadband is concerned, cable-to-home has the most US capacity. WiMAX has the most capacity in wireless, but is slow compared to the wired options. A song download from iTunes on wired access is <1 minute. The same song would take 33 minutes on WiMAX.

Primetime TV shift to digital is opening doors for other media. Outcomes include show willingness of consumers to pay, increase total consumption, creates piracy alternatives, shift downstream demand, challenge funding models (PPV) and opening service providers. YouTube traffic bigger than MTV.com. New models are shifting the revenue streams. iTunes = more revenue to the creator, YouTube = 100% to creator.

Business models and leading players are shifting to user contributed open platforms. traditional media is stuck in professional, proprietary quadrant. MySpace uniques in January 2007 close to Super Bowl viewership. Spending is not following the shift to new platforms.

Four prime business models:


  • Walled communities (user contributed, proprietary) - Apple iLife, Apple podcasts, Current TV
  • Traditional media (Professional content, proprietary) - BBC, ABC, EMI
  • New Platforms (user contributed, open) - SL, YouTube, Google, Facebook, MySpace
  • Hyper content syndication (professional content, open) - Amazon video, BBC player

Proprietary networks can either open up or shift to include more user generated content to move models. This shift can lead to more attention, first-hand learning and user intimacy and refresh their brand. Traditional creators need to figure out how to leverage these changes to capitalize on the changes from a strategic perspective. Music industry prime example of waiting and doing nothing.

Ad spending will change as well. TV spending will take the biggest hit by 2010. Internet spending will continue to grow. Newspaper and magazine will shrink, but not as quickly.

Current.tv model. 1 minute of TV programming costs between $1000 and $10000. Same cost on Current is around $500.

10 recommendations for media companies in the new media world:


  1. Put consumers at the center of the business
  2. Convert knowledge of user behavior to competitive advantage
  3. Give control to consumers to get share
  4. Deliver experiences, not just content
  5. Leverage virtual worlds
  6. Innovate business models
  7. Invest in interactive, measurable ad services and platforms
  8. Redefine partnerships while mitigating fallout
  9. Shift investments from traditional business to new models
  10. Create flexible business model


hollistowns_small.jpgKeynote from Hollis Towns, Cincinnati Enquirer
"Gannett and the Enquirer's response to it"
News media is shifting. Content is being created faster and looking at new platforms. Community conversation is very important for the Enquirer. Feedback through message boards, etc. is the new engagement strategy. Using moderated boards (why?) instead of open boards. Cincinnati.com is one of the top traffic sites in Ohio. 226 community web pages on the site now. Moving into digital in every way possible.

Moving to "total audience reach" instead of circulation. Community + web + print. Heavy focus on boomers. Abandoning the young reader print reach and trying new models of outreach (Cin Weekly). Readers are skewing a bit older than they'd thought.

Reaching out to local communities. Using "get published" platform to allow local officials and residents to publish hyper-local content.

CincyMoms.com site is hugely successful. Attempted to inject experts and other content, but was rejected by the community. Unfiltered community where the users are the subject matter experts. Self-policing area with a single, known moderator to look for libel or slanderous content.

Big push into video. Partnering with Scripps TV station. Have installed editing suites in the newsroom. Doing a daily webcast that is unpolished and unscripted - getting highest page views on the site. Have hired three full-time programmers to integrate 3rd-party data sources. Creating a community-centered resource for residents.

Created a boomer focus group. Reading styles are different. Boomers lean back and read, younger readers lean forward to read. Subtle differences, but important. Reporters are mobile working in Starbucks and Panera looking for new stories and rarely coming into the office.


joshuagreen_small.jpgKeynote from Joshua Green, MIT
"Losers, users and producers: what happens to the audience in a participatory age"
Consumer value chain is shifting. Where, what, how, who are all shifting. Loyalty is shifting as well, could be there today and gone tomorrow. Measurement and categories are changing quickly. Terminology is outdated and tired.

"Convergence Culture". Old and new and merging, shifting in unpredictable ways. Social, cultural and technological shifts = convergence. Transmedia texts - flow across multiple platforms. Conglomeration and cooperation of multiple media sources. Strategic cooperation growing. Media audiences are migratory; consume what they want when they want.

Living in a networked society, growing knowledge communities -> collective intelligence. Participatory culture is emerging as people rework content to be personal. Acquiring skills through play that are applied toward more serious ends. CSI driving interest in science, drives education down the road. Non-linear roadmaps to success.

Four ways to think about consumers:


  1. Old consumers were compliant, new consumers are resistant (GMC UGC ad example)
  2. Old consumers are predictable, new consumers are migratory
  3. Old consumer isolated, new consumers socially connected
  4. Old consumers silent and invisible, new consumers noisy and public

Convergence altering distinctions between platform, medium, audience, channel and "content". Fans are not on the edge any more. Watching Sopranos on DVD through Netflix is still watching TV content, just not as part of the audience. The relationship between content and form is shifting. Content is being dis-embedded and re-embedded as consumers like.

"Viewser" - combines viewing and using content in ways not intended by creator. Watching shifting to interacting.

"Produser" - audiences are becoming content creators, making the flow of information easy to reverse.

"Collaborative media creators" - Wiki applications allow groups of users to great joint content.

Fan production operates in a different economy than the professional production. It's more of a gift economy than transactional.

Measurement. How to measure expressions vs. impressions. Hard to measure and compare.

Ideas changing. Control, value, reward, niche (collective niches).


johnwest_small.jpgJohn West, KSU
LCD: the Next Generation
KSU was the originator and is a top innovator in LCD technology. Industry is moving toward flexible technology and making HD fit smaller spaces. Display technology has kept up with science fiction. Technology is changing design patterns in major industry including automotive.

Kent Displays is introducing flexible LCD into small, commercial applications. Kent is using small, continuous improvements vs. introducing the killer display. Switchable LCD technology (used on glass windows) is moving to consumer products like ski goggles.

New displays will be printed/sandwiched, not in high-tech manufacturing facilities. The material is getting more like cloth and less like molded plastic. Interestingly, LCD technology is born from molecules in cholesterol.


Thoughts from afternoon student panel discussion:


  • News is coming to them, not having to go find it
  • News is coming from non-traditional sources
  • Using mobile to gather and read news
  • Top media option they'd give up is overwhelmingly newspaper/magazine, then radio and then TV
  • iPod is the new radio
  • Using MySpace for music
  • People's friend counts don't mean anything, more about quality
  • Using Facebook to communicate (shift from email/IM is massive)
  • Limited use of virtual worlds



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