Panel Notes from FoE 5: Spreadable Media in a Networked Society

Here are some key remarks from a panel at this week’s Futures of Entertainment conference at MIT.

Panel: “Spreadable Media: Creating Value and Meaning in a Networked Society”

  • Letting unauthorized content circulate and studying how it’s used and consumed is a great opportunity that no one seems to be taking advantage of.
  • Kickstarter crowdsources funding. The key is that the audience buys into the idea of a film financially. But crowdsourcing doesn’t have to stop there; it could lead to crowdsourcing of casting, SFX, etc… increasing the attachment the public has with a project.
  • A shift from the term viral to spreadable. Viral gives the content a feel of “special,” “hard to do” or “a one-off,” but spreadable allows people to think of producing content that people will want to share and consume.
  • If you start to “pay” the fan for their “free labor” of connecting with your brand, the relationship shifts and is no longer a legitimate serendipitous fan connection.
  • The impression model (number of views) is no longer valid. There is a growing trend to say, “But I can find a few people that are influencers.” However, picking a small group of people to communicate with can be shortsighted. Those small groups may be vocal, but may not know what the masses truly like or want.
  • Massive organizations are set up to hear, very slow to response. Massive organizations aren’t set up for listening. Listening is a very human response; you can’t take the humanity out of communication.
  • Companies need to start thinking about taking a much more service-based attitude. Take for example Dominos: “Our pizza was bad; what can we do to make it better?”
  • Companies are crisis-based, companies must be able to listen to audiences. Media producers have to listen to their audience before a crisis hits.
  • But we have to understand that too much media circulating outside of context can lead to dilution or can be used against the media creator.

Speakers:
Henry Jenkins (University of Southern California)
Sam Ford (Peppercom Strategic Communications)
Joshua Green (Undercurrent)