Mobile World Congress 2016
Day One has closed on the Mobile World Congress in Barcelona, the largest conference in the world dedicated to the art and science of mobile technology. It’s a gathering of the greats who believe passionately in unlocking mobile’s untapped potential.
Mobile video was a headline theme of the day and the topic of a colorful debate in the “Mobile Video Explosion” panel discussion. It was an all-star line-up of the industry’s best mobile players – from Facebook to YouTube to Viacom to Netflix – each sharing their unique points of view.
Facebook’s Head of Global Tech & Telco Strategy, Jane Schachtel shared her views on how video is pushing the boundaries of innovation by creating immersive experiences for people and businesses. Facebook is seeing numerous brands seizing upon this opportunity and firmly believes that video is, “the” global medium that transcends language barriers and sparks great creativity.
“We’re building a canvas for businesses,” said Schachtel. “If the content is relevant, people will create it and continue to discover it. The richness and relevance on your newsfeed is what’s helped drive such explosive video growth at Facebook.”
Alex Wellen, CNN’s chief product officer, explained how the app, CNNgo, is tracking every story in real time, each minute of the year, annotating real frames with every piece of live content that augments the story.
But there are challenges at the 24 hour news network. CNN “needs to be a technology and storytelling company at the same time, and it’s really tough to be famous for both,” mused Wellen.
There’s good news, though: “People are now binging on [Anthony] Bordain, when no one had consumed news programming like this in the past.”
David Benson, Director, Brand Strategy EMEA for YouTube, agreed about binge watching mobile video content, which he said is driving deep change in the market. Benson added that 400 hours of content are uploaded via YouTube every minute.
“The way in which we consume and connect has been rewritten by mobile,” Benson added. He posited there’s no more water cooler chatter and comparing notes about, “what you watched last night.” In its place, we have become a culture of spoiler alerts and binge-watching.
“We’re having less sex as a result,” said Benson, who cordially invited us to chat with him after the panel for more info on the “sex” stat.
The consensus among all the panelists: Mobile is exploding and there’s an obligation to continue to make great content — via stellar storytelling — so that people will to want to engage.
In his day-one closing keynote, the one-and-only Mark Zuckerberg took the video discussion to the next level saying that video will have to get increasingly better for virtual reality; in particular, resolution will have to be very high.
Zuckerberg closed with something important to consider, “Video is just as big in 2016 as mobile was in 2012. Bandwidth opens up desire to make and consume videos, which makes the developers want more, which ultimately perpetuates demand.”
A great finish to a great opening day.
I am looking forward to a week of seeing and hearing about the technology and creativity that is going to reshape our world.
More soon. #MWC16 #MWCVID
Favorite Brand Activation: Tie between Amex and Chevy
Why? Both provided true value to even the most grizzled SXSW veterans. In Chevy’s case, its “Catch a Chevy” program gave those of us with barking dogs and a waning patience for expensive shuttle service a comfy ride to off-campus panels. Amex’s promotion showed us that simply having an Amex and a willingness to Tweet on behalf of brands spells big rewards for cardholders – like exclusive tickets to a Jay-Z show. While two lucky DGC-ers were in line to see Jay in a 2,000-person venue, we heard more than one person say, “I’m so glad I have an Amex.” Now that’s brand loyalty.
With Pinterest’s skyrocketing popularity, it’s not surprising that curation was one of the week’s “buzziest” terms. In the publishing world, the debate was about how to give credit where it’s due, to both authors and the curators themselves. For brands, the question is how to either become curators, or integrate seamlessly into a user’s curating experience. It will be interesting to see how that plays out in the future.
Also big this year was talk of how advertising should embrace a tech start-up culture – the Mark Zuckerberg “move fast and break things” philosophy. This means less and less of “the big idea” and many more small, nimble ideas. As ad exec Tim Leake put it: advertising in these times is no longer about telling a story, but inspiring one, listening to the conversation about your brands and saying – to borrow terms from Leake’s improv background – “yes…and” to that idea.
With all the foot traffic in downtown Austin, the restaurants were almost as hard to get into as the packed early morning marketing sessions (and they were packed this year – most had a one-in, one-out policy). Branded Today Show trucks were serving up delicious breakfast from renowned chef Danny Meyer throughout the day and night. And Whole Foods was in the right place, at the right time, with the right vegan chickpea sandwich when one DGC-er almost had a hunger meltdown.
NewMediaMetrics co-founder Gary Reisman had an unusual start to his moderating duties at the Digital Hollywood Media Summit on March 8 in New York. Just as he introduced the panelists to a packed room concerned with the issues around Advertising Accountability: Metrics and Analytics around Video, Social Media, Broadband and Mobile, an attendee wandered in talking loudly on his mobile phone, completely oblivious to proceedings. After a few moments of stunned silence during which the phone conversation was the only sound in the room, the caller looked around sheepishly, apologized and exited. Hilarity ensued among the panelists followed by what turned out to be a lively, sometimes combative, hour-long debate: Eugene Becker, VP, Analytics, Xaxis; Bob Ivins, VP of Data & Research, Comcast Spotlight; Scott McKinley, EVP Advertising Effectiveness, Nielsen; Debbie Solomon, Managing Director, Business Planning, MindShare; Mark Pascarella, CEO, uberVU; Jeff Plaisted, Senior Director, U.S. Sales and Strategy, Mobile & Skype Advertising, Microsoft; and Dr. Raymond Pettit, VP of Market Research, PRN. Click the video to get Reisman’s take on one of the more compelling insights.