So, Friday and writing this while flying back from six days of MIPFormats, MIPTV and Connected Creativity. I see no real point in going throught the proceedings in too great a detail in this post, as you can find all live blogs, links to videos and pretty great insighty stuff at the MIP Blog pages here. Kudos to James, Angela, Stuart and anyone else involved, they did an absolutely marvellous job of keeping people – including me – up to date with what was happening. I’m going to try – as was suggested to me – to Storify my tweets from the past week. I’ll let you know when I’m up to scratch on that.
Gavin McGarry asked me during his wrap up session what had been the key things I’d seen or experienced during these past days… and in a way, there wasn’t anything really new to get me excited and up-in-arms, not directly. In a way, the Palais was still filled with people selling or buying animated series, drama or documentaries, much as it has been for the past six years I’ve been attending.
A new deal on the horizon
But still, something is clearly afoot. You hear about Netflix commissioning series from major producers, Facebook teaming up with Warner Brothers to offer tier one movies for Facebook Credits, Google earmarking 100 million dollars for low-cost content for re-branded YouTube channels… TV is under pressure. Yet, in my book, it’s a good pressure, as the aforementioned ventures are great examples of cost-effective ways to get content to people via services they use daily anyway. When thinking of combining content with FB and YouTube there are also a lot of possibilities from a storytelling and transmedia angle – challenges, yes, but first and foremost possibilities.
One possibility I for one will be looking into is the possibility to combine content distribution with the very well working platform that BitTorrent can offer. Now, as CEO Erik Klinker pointed out, they offer a distribution platform and over 100 million active users, but they are not going into commissioning or producing. Again, I don’t believe this is the only or ultimate solution, but is is A solution, and one that could work very well in combination with others.
Such a lot of people are touching on the convergence between mobile and televison and online and what have you. Still, these days gave me the feeling that – as I tweeted during the week, with regards to SXSW vs MIPTV – you have social media and location based services people on one side, trying to figure out how to reach the massive audience and the massive revenue streams that television still has to offer, while on the other side are the television people, scratching their heads while trying to figure our how to integrate social media and other new servicese with their shows and online content. What is needed is some sort of translation service and/or facilitating service that would just put the right people together with each other and explain one’s viewpoint to the other . (Need something like that, give me call ☺ ).
Mind over matter
This was what Connected Creativity along with their Experience Hub was about, at least as far as I understood it. To a point it worked well; the talks at MIPCC differed quite a bit from the ones in the Palais. Many of them gave great insights into areas I had been lacking in. Especially Tomi Ahonen’s talk (where the way he delivered it was half of the experience), the talk from Fjord on the future of augmentation and AR, Facebook’s visions… I heard so much good things said about Tiffay Shlain’s presentation, which I unfortunately missed, but will try to catch up on later.
On the other hand with regards to Connected Creativity, so many of the people who would’ve needed to hear those talks were in meetings at the Palais or elsewhere during the sessions – not to mention that there being an extra and pretty substantial fee for registering to MIPCC had deterred a number of people from even registering.
The Experience Hub was a nice feature – a big tent quite close to Lionsgate by the beach, essentially straight ahead if one decended the stairs from Riviera Seaview – showcasing a lot of new technology to, with luck, be part of the entertainment and media toolbox in the future. For example, Emotiv’s helmet with it’s almost magical use-this-to-control-anything-on-the-screen-in-front-of-you-with-only–your-brain powers was pretty amazing. We’re getting one for research purposes – as we have a state-of-the-art User Experience and Media laboratory – so I’ll let you know my verdict when I’ve had the chance to play around with it for a while.
IMHO one of the best speakers at the MIPTV panels was Kevin Slavin of Starling.tv (see more about his talk here). Many others touched on the same subject, but he was the clearest and most to-the-point; what the industry has been thinking of as the ”audience” or the ”consumer” or the ”target group” or the ”ratings” are actually human beings, and they set the agenda. They can be as much a part of your story as any scripted character (or show host, or contestant) that you as a producer choose to show as part of the content. If there is a vacuum – as in there not being any Mad Men characters on Twitter – the audience will fill that vacuum for you (there are over 20 Mad Men characters on Twitter to date, registered and managed by fans). If they like (or even better, love) your content, they will also take extremely good care of these characters.
So, a much frowned-upon term….
This then is where the magic of transmedia would enter. Only that transmedia, in the setting of MIPTV, still is more of a hindrance than a help when trying to get something commissioned. As we all know, it is a lot easier to say NO than YES, if you are in acquisitions, and making people unsure about what they actually are buying is a sure-fire way of making the likelihood of a NO reach 99,5%. And, unfortunately, ”transmedia” is still a term that often makes people at least a little bit unsure of what they exactly are being pitched. As Nuno Bernardo said, many a good sales pitch has been ruined by not stopping in time and instead continuing with the fatal words ”…this is also multi-platform, integrating the web and mobile solutions…”. What we need are a lot more great transmedia tv examples to point to – ”hey, like that one, but a little bit different, yeah!”.
Will try my best to do my part on that account.
So, a mix between the old and the new, this week’s MIP – now more so than ever, in my book. Thanks again to all the great people I met – both old friends and new – and hope to see you all again in the not too distant future!