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Time for the Digital Revolution: Engaged Media.

July 6, 2010

I am a terribly infrequent blogger who is mainly writing this because I’ve got days of rendering ahead of me waiting for my video’s to be converted for new website!

So a good excuse to write about the current media landscape. These are just some general observations from my recent experience.

1. No-one in digital media has any clue what they are doing (but some are making some great guesses). We are like a bunch of kids in diapers learning to walk.

2. No-one in TV has any clue what they are doing (the empire is crumbling and they don’t know how to stay afloat). There is however, a wealth of production knowledge to draw upon.

3. TV and digital peeps are in an uneasy dance looking for the dollar and at this stage no-one quite has the funky moves to make that dance the next ‘Thriller’.

4. I wonder when there will be MIPDigital? I attended MIPTV for the first time this year, and while a great event, it failed to bridge the divide between digital and TV. There was little discussion of how to take the great ideas and lessons that are being learnt in the digital realm and applying them to TV or vice versa. Once people get over the idea that TV is somehow sacrosanct and accept the fact it is just another screen, then we may enter a happy place where young mediamakers with exciting ideas and powerbrokers can meet and make real deals that connect with how audiences are consuming media today.

5. All media should now be truly transmedia – I’m tired of TV shows that then add an ad-hoc online component, or on the other side cheaply produced online episodic content, that lacks the production values and care needed to be truly effective. It is time that the old land of TV, with its depth of experience in production joins forces with the digital arena, with companies and people that understand and are part of the new digital landscape and start producing truly transmedia experiences. Actually scrap that. I hate the word transmedia. Let’s call it an engaged media experience. People want to connect. People want to find. People want to explore. Give them content that is professionally produced and written, that doesn’t require them to consume it at a specific hour, and that is delivered across multiple channels of discovery and you have the formula for an engaged audience. (Yes, non-professionally produced content sometimes gets fantastic audiences too, but that’s outside the scope of this limited discussion. Another blog perhaps…)

6. Digital has allowed for the first time in history for people to (relatively easily) showcase their talent to the world. It should thus be easier for those with money and or power (still currently TV networks) to provide a conduit for developing this talent. If the bottomline is money (which unfortunately for every business and most people it is) then it is imperative that TV, brands and investors start embracing the relatively low cost of digital to incubate talent and develop audiences. For in the end it is only an engaged audience that will spend a dollar. Most of us simply click away or don’t tune in.

7. I’m calling for the Digital Revolution: let’s embrace the lessons from the past, build upon the great foundations of TV and now take storytelling to the next level of connection. We need to allow audiences to find stories wherever they are, whenever they want to. It is up to us as mediamakers, to find ways to reach these audiences and stop being confined to traditional ways of thinking. We are not living in a traditional time, we are living in the digital revolution. Embrace it, or be tuned out. The choice is yours.

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