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Guest blog: the future of TV is not truly platform agnostic


Joshua Daniel, who among other things is a media ambassador for Digital Media Wire, guest-blogged the Future of Television Summit that DMW hosted in New York. Here’s his take on the Nov. 15 panel discussion, “Unbundling – Creating Original Video Content for Multiple Platforms.”



The discussion of unbundling (or “unbungling” as the panelists wryly reworded it) in creating original video content for multiple platforms was moderated by Paul Kontonis, chairman of the International Academy of Web Television and featured: Barry Blumberg, executive vice president, Alloy Digital / president, Smosh; Sean Atkins, senior vice president, Digital Media, Discovery Communications; Mike Seamons, executive producer, Microsoft Studios, Microsoft Corp.; Andrew Goletka, vice president, Corporate Development, Watchitoo; and Megan Cunningham, CEO, Magnet Media.

Atkins and Seamons started out saying that the TV is still the king of the living room and all other devices are secondary, but Atkins argued there would be more and more screens in the future. Cunningham said the kind of experience you make depends on your audience, and the others agreed that you have to also factor in elements chosen according to which input device the audience uses.

Kontonis asked how much content was being brought over from other media and how much was made specifically for that type of media. Seamons brought up Kinect Nat Geo and Sesame Street Kinect, both of which were experiences made for Microsoft’s Kinect system.

Atkins brought up that you have to tailor the experience to whatever device the user is most likely to use. Blumberg continued the point saying there were many sites and apps with very different uses such as Pinterest, Facebook and Instagram.

Atkins talked about how we are moving towards a consumer products terminology, with many different channels and choices for smaller more niche audiences. Seamons brought up how audiences grow up and change, and so do the devices they use.

Kontonis proposed the question: is the future of television platform agnostic or platform committed? Blumberg answered that it would be platform agnostic but that content is not one-size-fits-all. He continued saying that for some platforms, content has to be unique. Cunningham interjected that it would perhaps be platform orthodox, and warned that there were a million different ways you could mess up your brand.

Kontonis observed there would be a thousand new series next year. Goletka explained that for a platform like YouTube, the cost of entry and production is so low that you see a lot of experimentation. Of course, with so much content, only the strongest will survive, and the end result will be fantastic content. Blumberg lamented that there’s a lot of great stuff out there and it’s hard to get through it all.

The panel ended with Atkins talking about how the world was changing, how in the old model a content creator would just have to worry about making great content, whereas now half of the time is spent on marketing. They have to have a sense beforehand of how they’re going to produce distribute and market their product. Blumberg agreed saying it’s not the money that moves the project anymore, it’s the online community. He gave an example: “Everyone is watching Homeland because everyone is talking about Homeland.”