Category Archives: Events

Conferences, seminars, keynote speeches and contests

2009 Mobile Excellence Awards Accepting Submissions

The Mobile Excellence Awards is now officially accepting submissions for 2009, for “all walks of the ecosystem,” including entertainment, media & technology, in a series of upcoming events for the industry to celebrate the best of mobilemealogo entertainment.

The premiere Mobile Excellence Awards event last year was a killer event. MobilizedTV encourages its readers to submit and join the fun at the event.

The 2009 Mobile Excellence Award Categories are as follows:

Industry Star Award
Chosen for exemplary achievement and overall impact on the mobile entertainment industry, by either, product, service, or executive team’s effort in making a difference

People’s Choice Award
Special Recognition for Industry Achievement chosen by the Mobile community itself

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Mozes Kicks Up Brand Awareness at SXSW

If you’re creating mobile content, you’re marketing it. At SXSW, image001 Mozes‘ pics-to-screen technology took center stage at event producer/promoter C3 Presents’ 10th Annual Late Night bash, sponsored by Playboy. Pics-to-screen technology enables guests to send mobile photos to the venue’s display screen. MobilizedTV had the chance to speak to Greg Estes, vp of marketing at Mozes who talked about the ABCs of mobile marketing in confusing times.

Mobile marketing seems to have as many meanings as the people using the term. What’s the confusion here?

greg_estesThat’s true. If you type “mobile marketing” into Google, what will come up is everything from an ad agency that doesn’t have any technology all the way to Verizon and everyone in between. It’s helpful to draw ‘coarse grain segmentation’ of the marketplace. One is mobile ad networks. That’s basically doing advertising; people will sell inventory and space to take it into mobile. A second is building mobile websites, which helps people to take online properties and bring them into the mobile world. The third is around online direct marketing, or the mobile equivalent of direct marketing. That’s the category that Mozes is in. Some people call it CRM, or customer relationship management, but that means a lot of different things so I try to stay away from that term. It is about a customer community and having an engagement with them, and we do that for sure. There’s also a fourth category, which is mobile commerce or m-commerce. That’s taking your electronic storefront and bringing it into the mobile realm.

Can you describe what Mozes does?

We’re about being a platform for marketers to be able to send their message out to a community. We would further segment that in three ways. Usually most of our customers will do one of these three things: They do marketing when they don’t have a mobile list. The whole thing about mobile is it’s all about giving permission. Some people will run a mobile campaign or promotion or contest, to get people to interact with them, but not to build a list and build on-going engagement.

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MOFILM for More Mobile Content

If you’re interested in mobile content, you need to know about MOFILM,which, according to its website, “celebrates the intersection of art, commerce and technology in the fast evolving sector of mobile entertainment,” and also distributes independent film content to mobile operators and content service providers around the world. MOFILM just debuted its first film festival on February 18th and 19th, 2009 at the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, in collaboration with the Mobile World Congress and sponsored by Chevrolet, Gigafone and Accenture. Mobile film festivals are an essential way of moving mobile content forward, exploring formats for mobile content, celebrating creatives who achieve success in the arena, and developing the aesthetics particular to the format.

For the first MOFILM Film Festival, participants submitted films of five minutes or less. A panel of leading experts selected the short list of five films, and the audience then voted for the winner with their cell phones. Winners were: Best Comedy (Frank Chindamo for English as a Second Language), Best Drama (Tor Kristoffersen for Enough), Best Documentary (The Science of Attraction by Claveski), Best Science Fiction (Star Chicks by Jay & Angela Lee) and Best Animation (Pushkin by Trevor Hardy). The overall winner was a close contest but in the end Frank Chindamo won the Chevrolet Cruse. [MobilizedTV will have an interview/story with Frank Chindamo early next week, so stay tuned.]

MobilizedTV had a chance to interview the MOFILM co-founder Ralph Cochrane, a pioneer of content for mobile and online services.

When was MOFILM founded and how has its mission evolved?

It started two years ago in 2007, the result of a dinner conversation in Chicago between the Sundance Institute and the GSM Association. The conversation went along the lines that the Sundance Institute is tasked with showcasing emerging filmmakers, they have a huge catalog and a number of submissions every year in the short film category. Two years ago, we had a huge issue of needing short, punchy clips for mobile. We asked the question, would it work on mobile? So we created a test at Barcelona. We took five leading filmmakers that Sundance recommended including Dayton & Ferris, Justin Lin (who directed Fast & Furious: Tokyo Drift); Corey McAbee (the actor in American Astronaut); and the writer/director Jody Hill, now working with Seth Rogen and Maria Maggenti. That’s how we started. I was brought in because I was the ‘expert’ who knew how to deliver film to the phone. For us, it was a marketing project: trying something out in the Sundance lab style. The reaction was so positive we thought, maybe something is here.

What changes/evolution have you seen in mobile content over the years?

There are lots of changes. The biggest one is that compared to two years ago when people asked, Is this a good idea? We don’t even get asked that question now, because of the iPhone, as well as other phones from LG and others. The device size is no longer a problem, no longer an issue. The networks are much better, so you now can transmit content in that way.

There are ways of monetizing it. Look at the iPhone. You can actually make money off of content. It’s still developing; iPhone is the tip of the iceberg. People are much more aware of mobile also: there are 4 billion mobile phones in the world. It’s not just about content-either. If you can do something people want to share virally, like games or content, people are actually using it. So a lot has changed in two years.

Initially everyone thought mobile content had to be snack-sized in terms of length. Is that still true? Or do you see long-form gaining traction?

I think if you look at what Corey McAbee is doing with Stingray Sam, you can see he’s created content of 10 minutes in length, episodes, and that’s a format that’s becoming more popular. There has been some research done by Nokia to show the average viewing length for mobile TV, which is basically broadcast TV, is about 22 minutes. That’s the length of a 30-minute TV serial. You also have to bear in mind how it’s being paid for. It’s very similar to broadcast TV. There are advertisements, brought-to-you-by sponsorship preroll. It’s different than buying content on iTunes. But the technology and viewing shows that people will watch a reasonable length. People also side-load movies, but that’s probably a step too far for the market around the world.

What was it about English as a Second Language that made it a winner in the comedy category?

We had a review panel made up of the community, the people who create from around the world, so it wasn’t just English- speaking. We had people from Brazil and China. I think a couple of things about this entry really worked: it’s shot very well for mobile, it’s close-up, and it’s a topic–men and women interacting–that you can relate to . Oh, and it’s funny. I was slightly surprised, because I thought animation might win since it has less spoken dialog, and we had animation with no dialog at all. Overall, English as a Second Language won pretty narrowly over the animation genre because it wa a funny, well written script.

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Mobile Excellence Awards

The Mobile Excellence Awards took place Dec. 8 at the Sofitel Hotel in Los Angeles. Generated out of Mobile Monday Los Angeles, the event was planned and executed by MoMo LA’s Sarah Miller, owner of Axis PR and Allison Dollar, CEO of the ITV Alliance. Over 150 members of the wireless and entertainment community mingled with drinks and hors d’oeuvres before an awards ceremony that included live music.

One highlight of the event was the presence of Jari Tammisto, CEO/President of MobileMonday, who flew in from Finland from the event and spoke to the assembled guests. Also present was Lars Cosh-Ishii, founder of Mobile Monday Tokyo, the second chapter of the grassroots group.

Another highlight of the evening was a presentation by filmmaker L.M. Kit Carson of his “Africa Diaries,” short documentaries that he shot in Mozambique with his Nokia N-93 phone’s camera and edited in iMovie. The three-part Mozambique doc was bought by the Sundance Channel which plans a release on the cable channel, Internet and cell phone.

The awards ceremony honored excellence in five separate categories: Mobile Business, Mobile Technology, Mobile Marketing, Mobile Entertainment and a special Star Award category which recognizes the fastest growing Mobile company based on accelerated growth, impact and industry achievements overall.

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iPhone in 3D: Coming in February

Last week I went to an interesting two-day conference on 3D film/TV, and the conversation unexpectedly turned to…3D mobile phones. If you recall, I have posted on that topic in the past. During a panel discussion about advertising in 3D (both in theaters and for home TVs), one panelist–James Stewart of Geneva Film Co., pulled out his iPhone, declaring it “the world’s first 3D iPhone,” enhanced with a prototype app from Spatial View. Stewart said it will be launched in February 2009 as a 99 cent app.

How this relates to a conversation of big screen–as big as IMAX–movie screens is simple: we’re already in a multi-screen world and, as we all know, mobile is just another screen in the panoply. Movie marketers in Hollywood are already creating advertising content for the Internet and mobile, and other advertisers are sure to follow. Especially if Spatial View’s app becomes a popular download, bringing the penetration of 3D mobile phones from zero to…let’s see how that plays out.

Meanwhile, panelists at the 3D Summit were bullish, calling 3D the new HD, and 2009 is the year of 3D and the year of 3D advertising.


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CTIA 2008: The Walls Are Crumbling…

In fairytales, things usually happen in threes. At CTIA 2008, I espied three trends that promise, if not a fairy tale ending, at least a major game change in the future of mobile usage in the U.S. The evidence was everywhere that the garden walls surrounding the carriers’ pick of content for mobile users is still there, but crumbling. Hastening the inevitable, broadband mobile Internet made a strong showing at CTIA, proving its inevitability. Lastly, the number of companies pitching easy ways for Internet content creators to “mobilize” their content was amazing. Since I’ve been a big proponent of all three of these directions for the mobile content market, I had a happy time at the show.

Let me just draw attention to a handful of the companies I met with and a few of the items that caught my attention. First, one of the stars of the show was RIM’s new clam-shell Blackberry Pearl 8220.

new Blackberry Pearl

new Blackberry Pearl 8220

I’m perfectly happy with my Blackberry 8830 World Edition, but if a clam-shell Blackberry rocks your world, more power to you. And the new Blackberry does have quad-band support so it’s a world edition too.

I also had a fun time in the Yahoo booth where I got their new voice search application downloaded to my Blackbery. It’s a lot of fun to play around with, although it can’t always make sense of what I say (and that’s probably not the application’s fault), I can easily correct what appears in the browser. For the free download, go here.

QuickPlay Media is all about trying to make the mobile internet experience successful, says vp of marketing Mark Hyland. “Our CEO Wayne Purboo’s vision was that networking speeds were going to get faster and that broadband wireless would be big,” he says. “We believe that you can’t take a PC web browsing experience and cram it on to a mobile device. Mobile is very location and context specific. It makes a difference where you’re using it.”

At CTIA 2008, the company began beta-testing a brand new service for media and entertainment customers to cheaply, quickly and easily publish video to the iPhone. “And ultimately to all video-enabled devices, but we’re focusing on iPhone first because of the interest,” says Hyland. “In 5 minutes you can take existing videos in any format and create a full video site for iPhone.” This new product is expected to be released by Q4 2008; the price is not yet set.

I checked in with Nokia‘s Kamar Shah with regard to Ovi, the company’s entertainment and media sharing service, as well as the company’s future plans in the entertainment space.Once again, the mobile Internet came to the fore. “From my perspective, in the area I work in, I want to show relevance of Nokia within this market in the Internet world,” he says. “I would justify that two-fold: we’re not taking the Internet and putting it on the mobile device. We’re redefining and evolving the Internet experience. That is based on what the consumer wants. Social networking makes up 20 percent of user time – after search and mail. It’s a phenomenon. We want to take that further and make it relevant to the consumer. We also have to make the advertising relevant, we have to get it right. There’s a very low tolerance for spam on the mobile phone.”

Referring to filmmaker L.M. Kit Carson’s “Africa Diary,” which he is shooting with his N95 camera, Shah also noted that this year Nokia partnered with MTV to supply N95s to the network’s journalists for Super Tuesday; content was streamed to MTV sites. Stay tuned to MobilizedTV for more news about Nokia and the entertainment world.

UIEvolution is an answer to the cacophony of mobile’s competing operating systems, devices and networks.”Mobile phones are so fragmented in terms of operating systems,” saysKeith O’Neill, vp, business development. “The thin client technology puts a layer of frosting that gives a seamless system so you can develop on top of that without worrying that it won’t work. We can work with PCs, STBs, consumer electronics devices , and automotive audio systems.”

UIEvolution's Keith O'Neill

UIEvolution's Keith O'Neill

Fragmentation prohibits growth and innovation because it becomes cost prohibitive for content creators without deep pockets, says O’Neill, and to that end, UIEvolution is rolling out Blender, a new web developer tool and service that takes web content–text, graphics and video–and mobilizes it. The business model is based on a revenue-sharing model. The web content creator pays a set-up fee, and then splits revenue with UIEvolution, the percentage of the split depending on volume. “For all that, we host and cover all the on-going device support.”

DeviceAnywhere was another interesting destination. Any content developer worried about making the video playable on the hundreds of devices out there can do so…remotely. DeviceAnywhere is an online service that provides access to hundreds of real handsets, on live worldwide networks, remotely over the Internet for developing, testing and porting. Once again, a great solution for web creatives who want to mobilize their content without becoming computer/wireless geeks.

Thumbplay launched Thumbplay Open, says president/CEO Are Traasdahl. “It gives the ability for any content creator to sell their content to 250 million wireless users across every carrier, operating system and handset,” he says. “It’s been hard for anyone creating content to get distribution because it’s beeen very carrier controlled. “The wall is down. Now it is one big happy garden.” The challenge has bee to build a platform that works not just across handsets and operating systems but across all billing systems and video codecs. “Our system is built so it automatically detects what handsest is trying to access the content and it converts on the fly to whatever the handset requires. Our system will convert to 2,500 different handsets and it’s all seamless.”

So far, the system is launched for visual artists and musicians, but will expand to video. Click here to try it yourself.

Once the content is uploaded into Thumbplay’s system, the content creator can distribute and sell the content (the system only accepts uncopyrighted material). The system allows you to create a widget which you post to your MySpace, Facebook pages. Or you can get your own URL and sell your content from that site. “You pay nothing to put your images or music up there, although we are evaluating if there should be a fee,” says Traasdahl. “You have to pay to consume the content, either per download, which costs $1 – 3, out of which the artist gets $.50. Or you join the Thumbplay service which is $9.99 a month. Any time someone signs up for the service through the artist’s page, that artist gets $5 to 8.” (Tay Zonday of Chocolate Rain fame made $10,000 in three months but, says Traasdahl, “he’s a very smart marketer.”)

Also new from Thumbplay was the announcement of a partnership with Comcast to provide the cable MSO with mobile entertainment services include ringtones, games, video, and music.

Last but not least, I met with David Danon of SonicBoom Media, a company that launched “Name That Tune,” a mobile music game in 2003 (which has a great back-story too long for this report). The company, says Danon, is now a leader in creating “the bridge between Web 2.0 and mobile.”

“We reach out to people in their social networks, so they feel comfortable upgrading their web experience to the phone,” he says. “It’s more profound to share an experience on the mobile that your friend has sent you from the web.”

Danon is also a big believer in the future of user-generated video content on the mobile platform: and he isn’t just talking about YouTube. Speaking to that belief is the company’s product Videomaker, due out the end of the year, which allows the user to make long-form movies from 15- to 20-second clips taken with the mobile phone’s video camera. The clips are arranged along a timeline and then connected via transition effects. The result can be sent to a mobile phone as an MMS or to a website as Flash. Also on SonicBoom Media’s agenda is the Hot America mobile beauty pageant completely on cell phones. Each state will have a competition and send its winner to the national contest. This launches in late November and the first winners will be declared in Summer 2009

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Tune In Today at 6:30 pm PDT

I will be interviewed about mobile technology and content on an Internet radio show, Digital Production Buzz. The live radio program is hosted by Larry Jordan, a consultant and Apple-Certified trainer in digital media with over 25 years experience as a television producer, director and editor with national broadcast and corporate credits and Mike Horton, founder and Head Cutter of Los Angeles Final Cut Pro User Group, the worlds largest user group.

The audience for the radio show is editors, cinematographers, producers and directors and I’ll be the first emissary from the mobile world on the show. I hope to discuss why anyone in production and post ought to pay attention to what’s going on in mobile. Listeners will have a chance to live chat or send in questions before the event.

You will also be able to listen to the interview after the fact via podcast.

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Blogging from Beijing: Not

As most of you know, I went to Beijing on August 8th, for four days on the ground, with access to behind-the-scenes at NBC. While there, I hoped to blog live about what I was seeing and experiencing there, particularly with regard to mobile content.

China Mobile booth babes

China Mobile booth babes

There was one problem: Blogging is a suspect activity in China. No matter that MobilizedTV isn’t about Tibet or human rights, it was impossible for me to access the blog from the Internet in my Holiday Inn hotel room in downtown Beijing or from my laptop inside NBC’s broadcast center. My NBC contact told me he isn’t able to access Facebook. And on a tour of the Olympic Green (the area that encompasses Bird’s Nest, Water Cube, the International Broadcasting Center and other areas), he pointed out the skyscraper that houses the Chinese government’s IT division, responsible apparently for tracking down keywords and stomping out blogs.

But I did take notes–and photos, and will share some impressions with you all about the mobile scene in Beijing, specific to the Olympics. China Mobile is one of the Olympic sponsors and, as such, has gone all out to promote its offerings not just to the Chinese public but especially to visitors. My hotel room didn’t have a Gideon’s bible but it did have a pamphlet from China Mobile outlining the short codes for information about events.

China Mobile also had a pavilion in the Olympic Green, the inner sanctum of this year’s Olympics and Beijing’s most modern Forbidden City. Much has been written about the fact that NBC broadcasts show a lot of empty seats–puzzling since much was written about the scarcity of tickets.

All I know is that getting into the Olympic Green without a permanent pass (I received a temporary pass each day I was there, in exchange for my passport) was dicey business. A ring of police circle the green at major traffic intersections and nobody gets through who isn’t vetted by police, who seem to be the only people in China who don’t speak at least some English. Every day I went through the same pantomime–that I would get my credential (mime a necklace) at the Olympic IBC (hand waving). It was never an easy wave-through, although I was never turned back. The taxi drivers who ran the gauntlet became obviously stressed at the interactions.

China Mobile pavilion in the Olympic Green

China Mobile pavilion in the Olympic Green

The China Mobile pavilion–on a same Olympics Green street as pavilions for Coca Cola, Volkswagen and other partners–aimed to show visitors just how cool and hip they are. That included a DJ spinning the equivalent of Chinese trance music and some funny ha-ha and funny-strange interactive displays (one of them had me dial a number, say my wish, and then my wish was broadcast loud–and I mean loud–while a fairy-like sprite cavorted on the big screen in front of me). And, of course, there were the obligatory booth babes (see above).

Beijing breakdancer in China Mobile pavilion

Beijing breakdancer in China Mobile pavilion

I don’t know if China Mobile needs much more publicity among Chinese: Everyone appears to have one, and they’re all texting like mad. My taxi was going too fast, but I did pass someone on a moped in the middle of Beijing traffic who was steering with one hand and texting with another. You’ll have to take my word for it.

How fast have these changes been? My NBC contact said that in the month prior to the Olympics that he’d been there, he’d seen streets, overnight, be transformed with trees, bushes, flowers and Olympic flags waving from flagpoles.

DJ spins tunes for China Mobile pavilion

DJ spins tunes for China Mobile pavilion

I’m sure mobile–and China Mobile–have been around for awhile. Nonetheless, Beijing was dotted, every block, with the familiar standard bearer of more traditional telephony: the phone booth.

More later on Beijing and the Olympics.

Remember this?

Remember this?

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Deadline approaches for Mobile Excellence Awards

Just a reminder that July 31 is the first deadline to apply to the Mobile Excellence Awards. The categories include multiple awards in mobile business, mobile technology, mobile marketing, and mobile entertainment. MobilizedTV is a media partner for the event, which will be held on October 30 at the Academy of TV Arts & Sciences in North Hollywood.

Mobile Monday Los Angeles is the key presenter, and a must-join organization for mobile cognoscenti in the Los Angeles area.

On another note, MobilizedTV has been a tad quiet over the last week, but there are some great stories cooking including one on WheelsTV, a partnership between Azuki’s MashMedia platform and WheelsTV, which provides premium auto-related content.

We’re also hot on the trail of an inside scoop of Filmaka series “Starlet,” with Internet filmmaker Noah Harald.

And, lastly, MobilizedTV is going to Beijing on August 8 to cover the Olympics.

So stay tuned for some great stories and our first international coverage.

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Grushow Talks Filmaka: Blogging live from Digital Media Summit

Today, Pervasive Media president Bill Sanders moderated a panel on “Hollywood’s Online Video Gambit,” with panelists York Baur, executive vp of development at Zango; Ken Wirt, vp of consumer marketing at Cisco; and Sandy Grushow, president of Filmaka and former chief of Fox TV.

Since the panel is about how Hollywood is taking online video seriously, began Sanders, he described how he recently asked his writer friends, when they went out on strike, whether they were doing this to throw down the gauntlet and make a stand…or whether they thought the studios are making a fortune on new media and keeping the money for themselves.”If it’s the latter,” he said. “Think again.” Sanders also noted that if the Holy Grail is advertising support, his question is, if every startup thinks it’ll be supported by sponsorship and advertising, there’ll have to be a thousands times the current advertising dollars.

The questions he has for the panelists began with what they will say to Wall Street about how they’re going to make money, and how will they get the consumer to keep coming back? Sandy Grushow began, referencing the strike and how most writers have gone back to business as usual. “There is a big opportunity in creating high quality content for advertisers desperate to follow the eyeballs that have left television and gone to the web,” he said. He divided content into three buckets: “There is the user-generated folks; those used to making $3 million a year from Fox TV; and those interested in creating high quality programming for the web.” “We’ve demonstrated there are a lot of enormously talented people who haven’t found their way into the Hollywood tent,” he said. “What we’re doing is systematically creating an opportunity for those people to gain access to that world.”

The problem of the “top down” model, from TV to the web doesn’t work he said. “It’s impossible to cut through the clutter,” he said. “The phone never rings.” Thus his “bottoms up” process where Filmaka challenges creative people around the world, through various competitions, with the promise of real access to the Hollywood system that otherwise they’d have a hard time touching. “But everyone is chasing the same ad dollars,” he admitted. “I hate the idea of just being a digital studio, making series and hoping advertisers will come on board. We’ve created a process to engage advertisers in an interesting way.” He said he had a lot of advertisers on deck that he isn’t able to talk about. But he did talk about Miller, with the tagline “Life is what you pour in it.” Filmmakers from 117 different countries were invited to make something of that line. “You can’t replicate that through an agency,” said Grushow. “We’ve turned competitions into a business. People are logging in every day – they’re winning cash prizes, and increasing their odds of having their work seen.”

Is Filmaka a destination in and of itself, or a service? asked Sanders. “We don’t view ourselves as a destination,” answered Grushow who said he was interested in distributing media as widely as possible, working with legacy media and directly with advertisers desperate to figure out the web. “Who better to speak to than voracious consumers of media as opposed to the ad guy who drives behind tinted windows and works in an office? What we get are young people who are really talented with ideas that wouldn’t get born in a Hollywood suit – they’d get killed at the outset.” Grushow, who also noted that Filmaka has a relationship with William Morris Agency, spoke about a contest that Filmaka had when it was in beta: to make the jury laugh, with the topic of extracurricular activity in the office. Two young people from the U.K. submitted a 3-minute piece; he gave them $10,000 to make five more. An agent at William Morris jumped out of his chair when he saw it, saying his client, who was quite picky, would love it. Inside of an hour, a meeting was set up with this Emmy-Award winning comedian who loved the ideas and is now having meetings with the two, very surprised young guys in the U.K. “If that ain’t a paradigm shift, I don’t know what is,” said Grushow. “And the development costs were $10,000.”

Cisco’s Wirt talked about the rapid growth of digital media usage in the HDTV/broadband home, which uses 1.5 terabytes. Future projections go into the exabytes. It all represents an enormous growth of video traffic on the Internet. “What we see really driving this is a combination of social networking combined with video, which we call visual networking,” said Wirt. Eighty-four million people saw “The Evolution of Dance” on YouTube, he noted. How did so many people get to it? Social networking, he said, and that’s the phenomenon driving the consumption of video. People tell you about a video, it’s been rated and ranked.

Sanders asked what gets people to come back to the same destination again and again? Wirt said people come back to a place because of the quality of the video, the quality of the product. Does the guy who produced “The Evolution of Dance” have one more in him? If he doesn’t, people won’t come back. But he has awareness, and the opportunity is come back. Grushow added: It’s a series, not that different from normal television. “It’s just harder because there’s so much bloody choice, but someone will come up with “Seinfeld” on the web and that’ll be the game changer.”

Baur said that his company isn’t about generating content but exclusively about monetizing it, for the last nine years – “Successfully,” he added. Baur then proceeded to dump several buckets of cold water on the conversation that went before. “Video is not about quality – all that matters is the popularity,” he said. “In my view, and it’s easy for me to say, you want to ultimately want to be the platform on which everyone else can create. The world will vote. You can’t create popularity. ” He said his company spends a lot in online marketing to become one of the top sites for online gaming. “I would also tell you casual gaming is much bigger than video on the Internet,” he said. “And games are considerably more profitable. Games are addictive and video is not. Video is by definition a transitory experience.” To the ad side, Baur said the reality of online advertising, 42 percent of the total ad dollars spent in the U.S. were spent on search. “What does this tell you?” he said. “Search works really well and all the other stuff [doesn’t]. If you can make advertising appear as content, you’ll do really well.” He also doused the idea of the subscription model, asking the audience to raise their hands if they subscribed to video online, outside of subscriptions related to work. Out of the audience of 100+ people, only two raised their hands. “That’s kind of the way it is,” he said. “We trained a generation of people who want it for free.” [For the record, both Sanders and Wirt came up with examples of subscriptions that are financially successful.]

Grushow, who joked that he didn’t want to argue with someone with a successful business, nonetheless told Baur that he thought his view of the web was static. “This is the bet that those are making in the content creation business,” he said. “High quality means having a narrative, and if you can create that for small amounts of money, I believe it is a model that will start to work on the web with advertisers as partners.” Baur agreed, saying that building content around advertising does work, so it doesn’t feel like an ad anymore. “The interesting thing is that if your Ford Explorer, you’re spending a lot of money on search,” he said. “If you had an episodic site that people come back to, how much would you spend, especially when you’re having so much success with Google and other search engines?”

“It’s all about distribution,” added Grushow. “Content generators need to get in bed with distribution platforms. That’s when brands are going to become interested, because they can show how many people they can deliver. There are all sorts of interesting deals that are going to be made, and advertisers will be able to spend money in a meaningful way.”

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