SXSW Round-Up Day Four

This Monday started out on a personally slightly unpleasant note, as I apparently had managed to get some sort of inflammation going in my foot. Basically, it hurt like hell with every step I tried to take. But, well, staying at the hotel didn’t really feel like an option, so after a prolonged an unsuccessful search for a crutch or a walking stick (and a visit to the First Aid centre at ACC – ”what’s your status sir? Do you have an insurance?”) I just decided to hobble along (but discounting sessions at Sheraton or even the Hilton, as I really didn’t feel like walking a lot.

15 minutes of transmedia blast

So, first session was a short and intensive one, as Anthea Foyer held a talk on Transmedia – Formula for Success at the Future15 track of the SXSW (which is basically everyone talking getting 15 minutes to talk on their subject). Now, hats off to Anthea for this session, which from my point of view was the most condensed and to-the-point one so far.

So, as Anthea did put it, there are five aspects to creating a transmedia property:

• provide your audience with new and exciting ways to participate with your content (as an example, their own Time Tremors)
* create multiple points of entry, maximize audience exposure and uptake. And yeah, it really doesn’t matter if the audience understands what transmedia is; it is enough if they are comfortable with the platforms used
* drive content and audience through a number of interconnected platforms and channels. An example would be Cisco’s The Hunt
* create a momentum of audience participation that is both sustainable and far reaching. There might be audiences you had no idea of, but your audience will find them. And yeah, gone are the days of forcing the consumer to consume what you want them to. Just remember, be agile – let people come in and tell their stories.
* make sure you create meaningful content and a great story. When you’re in the story, you don’t care about platforms or tools as you’re immersed.

A fast and furious take on transmedia, and perhaps the best 15 minutes I spent in Austin this first time I was here. I sincerely do like when people who have done something can come and talk about their experiences and their conclusions from that. Thank you Anthea.

The future of television

I then – mostly because of said hurting foot – remained seated in ballroom E to hear more Future 15 talks. Richard Bullwinkle, Chief Evangelist of Rovi, talked about the Connected TV and about how the television is not a PC, however much you would like to make it into one. In fact, Rovi has pulled data from boxes in a lot of houses, showing that 86% of viewers have no idea what they are going to watch when they start watching television. Bullwinkle’s point was then, naturally, that no matter if you didn’t know, your box should know what you would want to watch and suggest those things to you (where I’m more inclined to think that it would be nice to open the box and immediately choose between two options – the “I handle this myself” option and the “OK then let’s see what you’d suggest for me” option). Bullwinkle’s take on it is to have a second screen be your navigator – your smartphone, tablet – and use that for better interface, personalized ads etc. Well, I don’t know about ads – I’d much rather have it as one entry into a transmedia project, use it for storytelling… Fine, if a brand can fit into that without messing things up, why not? But story first.

A little while later, Utku Can from Mint Digital delivered an interesting quarter of an hour on TV vs the Web back channel. Now this is one trend being discussed at several sessions here, about The Hills and their backchannel, about the Twitter streams around the Oscars etc. And yes, TV is social, and the social has moved from the sofa to the web, just as @utku pointed out. Fact is that 52% of all people use the Internet while watching TV (and a staggering 77% in the age group 18-24). With chatter being inherently competitive, and much content lending itself beautifully to chatter, this will just grow and grow – so design for that, design for split attention! But recognize that the viewer will choose how to watch.

@feliciaday and @garyvee

The keynote with Felicia Day was a bit interesting; she is an entrepreneur and she’s good at what she’s doing. Basically what she said was “Do your own thing, find your audience, let them advocate you, have great content, don’t sell out”. All good advice.

Rounded off the day by hobbling into Gary Vaynerchuck‘s session on brands. The man is a maniac to be sure, but a lot of the things he says makes sense – brands have got to become humanized; less like that friend who calls you all the time to tell you stuff you don’t really want to hear, but more like the friend YOU call when you want to talk to someone or needs to ask advice. Give first, worry later should be a motto. And yeah, like many others I’ve encountered during these days, @garyvee is a big believer in context. To quote: “if Content is King the Context is God. I’m obsessed with context.” This holds true for transmedia stories as well; don’t forget the context. And keep it real, true – authentic, not necessarily realistic.

…and an un-cooperative foot

All in all a pretty packed day, not to mention meeting such a lot of awesome people, also at some parties later on… Yesterday evening I ended the post thus:

(at this point I’m going to have to stop for the moment, as foot is killing me. Hospital next I think, which sucks majorly… I’ll be back with the rest later, bummed to (probably) miss the last day)

And to update – yeah, the foot was x-rayed, nothing broken, muscles and soft tissue getting an inflammation going basically. So, on crutches and following the last day over Twitter at the hotel, unfortunately. I’ll blog about that tomorrow, I think :). And yeah, thanks everyone who’ve expressed their concerns and offered help – you’re all brilliant. My foot says hi.

2 thoughts on “SXSW Round-Up Day Four

  1. Was scanning around on google for Anthea Foyer and found your blog. You must have been impressed with her as you wrote the most about her. I've seen part of your blog quoted on another persons blog with "Anthea Foyer Rocks" as its title. I would have loved to have heard her. do you know if there are any clips of her talk online anywhere?glad to hear your foot is getting better!Fiona Foyer

  2. Hi Fiona,yes, I was impressed as she had only 15 minutes time, and managed to condense a lot of – for me – useful information in those 15 minutes. I thought all talks were going to be online at some point, but I tried to have a look around now and as of yet there's nothing. Perhaps get in touch with the SXSWi organization and ask?Yeah, that foot … 🙂 At least I had something to discuss with people 😉 And I did get to be trolleyed around in a wheelchair all the way from Austin to Finland, so… cheersSimon

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