Lines Blur Between Traditional and New Media Across Platforms

In a world of multiple platforms, anyone starting a studio today needs to think beyond the 100+ year old model. “A key part of these [traditional] studios is that they are very siloed,” explained Evan Bregman of digital studio Electus. “Consumers want to consume wherever and whenever, so whether you’re a distributor or a content creator, you have to understand the nuances of the platforms. It’s not a TV show or a Web show… it’s a business.”

How to do business in a multi-platform environment was the topic of conversation in a CES panel on Content for New Platforms at Digital Hollywood. Accenture’s Serena Cheng explained the challenge: “Different channels and different value propositions are attached to each platform. When you talk about mobility you think of tablets and mobile phones but people use those two devices for different reasons. You have to form a strategy around each channel specific to what it brings.”

Exploiting the interactivity of platforms that offer this feature is also key to maximizing the value of content. Microsoft’s Matt Feodoroff, who handles Xbox LIVE advertising, describes how the company worked with “Sesame Street” to create eight episodes optimized for the Xbox.

“Keep in mind the power of the platform you’re creating for,” he advised.

Analytics are crucial in such a complex ecosystem. “It’s as important as the content you’re making,” suggested Bregman. “Being able to pull up more statistics about user behavior allows us to figure out the key metrics that are showing us we’re creating tangible value.”

Monetizing that value has also undergone a sea change. “We’re learning what real value is,” said Bregman. “There is a real education process about what you can monetize and how an advertiser can convert [content] into a sale.” Right now, said Bregman and other panelists, everyone is experimenting and listening to people consuming the content.

To that point, said Cheng, quite a bit of information on social networks is “untapped and unmined.”

“A lot of businesses don’t know how to use these channels,” she said. “It’s beyond tweeting what you saw or seeing how many people like a photo. The tricky part is how you understand what people are talking about on social media, who’s talking and who’s influencing everyone.”

“Giving people tools to communicate with each other is the best thing that we as content creators and distributors can do,” agreed Bregman. “Participating in that conversation is really important. As distributors and creators, we have the upper hand in giving users these tools.”

Advertisers also have to keep in mind that users expect a level of personalization. “Waning are the days when an advertiser can hand out a brief of how they want to be perceived and we want to hammer messages until it works,” said Bregman. “It’s so much more of a conversation now if you’re really going to create values among consumers.”

Red Bull, Oreo and Kraft are companies that have taken that advice to heart. “Some brands are beginning to create their own content,” said Feodoroff. “Seeing brands control their content is an interesting step.”