Digital Media Pipeline: Media Farm Team, Competitor or Both?

At last week’s Digital Media Pipeline conference staged by the Entertainment Merchants Association in Los Angeles, the closing discussion centered on Internet fueled approaches to content authorship. “The Vast Expansion of Original Content,” moderated by Steve Apple of EMA, featured Derek Dressler of Vimeo, Reed Lucas of Bent Pixels, and Dana Shayegan of Collective Digital Studio. Topics included a maturing Internet video space, the influence of direct fan support, and the need for building engagement.

The wide-ranging discussion addressed the growth of programming developed exclusively for digital channels and identified several emerging trends.

Perhaps the space of Internet video is maturing. When discussing the problems that Bryan Singer’s “H+: The Digital Series” faced as it entered that market with well produced content but found adoption extremely difficult, collective wisdom suggested that without the total adoption of every tool of the social and online video world it is now hard to break through in what has become an established market.

H+_The_Digital_Series

While this does not always bode well for premium content within that space (given its friend-driven nature and demand for cheeky authenticity), there was an alternative viewpoint expressed later in the discussion that centered on a minor vs. major league metaphor.

It was stated that building engagement must be the focus of any move into this market across the board in all areas, if necessary penetration is to be achieved. Large companies often fail to recognize the completeness both in authentic and platform diversity necessary to gain acceptance, but they will recognize excellent curated new works, a focus for instance of Vimeo.

More creators in this space are in effect pre-financing their works by crowdsourcing through direct fan support. Their ultimate goal seems to predictably be the breakout success story of being adopted and perhaps augmented by the major media players.

That’s the interesting takeaway. Once again change is afoot and as Web media publishers of content quickly mature, this system is becoming a training and proving ground with new rules, developing professionalism and measures of success that will ultimately affect the elevated product and engagement process for premium media and the studios producing it.