Thursday, 2 April 2009

BarCamp London 6

Last weekend was fully dedicated to geekiness.

I adventured myself into another BarCamp, this time, at The Guardian Headquarters, near Kings Cross station.

Nice view from inside the Guardian/Observer building

For those of you who don’t know, a BarCamp is defined as an unconference, in other words, you apply for tickets, then you show up, you host one of the sessions (if you feel like doing so), and then you hang around, meet nice people, learn a lot, eat good food, get some freebies, play games, go home and spread the word.

It was not my first BarCamp, as I presented a session on TV III Branding at the SocialMediaCamp 2008, organised by Vero Pepperrell , which was also fantastic.

BarCamp London 6 was organised by Emma Persky and friends, and it was the closest to what the ideal barcamp should be.

Our group (Euston) making the letter R

The crew innovated in many moments, such as calling the rooms by tube station names, or starting the first day with a collective Lego session. Our badges displayed a sticker in the back displaying one of the tube stations names. At the end of the introductory session we were told to meet in the room with the same station name shown in our badges. Once in the room (Euston), we were instructed to build a letter R with loads of Lego stored in a bucket, and at the same time, of course, socialise with other fellow participants. When all the groups submitted their collective master pieces we could see that all letters together spelled the word BARCAMP. Very ingenious. But the pinnacle of innovation, I’m afraid I have to say, was in the pies. Lovely Square Pies. That was surely a hit.

Our quasi-constructed R

BarCamp made of Legos (photo by Ade Oshineye)

This time, I noticed many more techie sessions then in other BarCamps I’ve been to. Anyway, you can always learn something new. But I’m particularly more interested in sessions covering market changes, user behaviour and new business breakthroughs. Perhaps for this reason, I enjoyed the Sunday sessions better.

On Saturday, one of the highlights was The Guardian’s Open API session, sharing with us an overview of the new Guardian’s API. This will certainly shake the structure of the British newspaper business. However, my favourite (probably because of its relevance to my area) was the session on URIPlay, by Chris Jackson. An open media metadata aggregator which seems to be the answer for some of the challenges I’ve being facing to accomplish my world domination plans. Not to mention Chris’ presentation was made with Unfortunately Prezi won’t give me a membership :( Bad for them, I’m an efficient bee.

One of the sessions on Saturday

I don’t remember the exact order, but these are the sessions I attended on Sunday:

1. How We the Internet Generation Are Changing the World by Ben Reyes
I really enjoyed myself watching a clash of generations in this open discussion about how the Y generation is so different (or not) from us (I passed the borderline, I suppose). It made me wonder why everybody in most of barcamps look 30ish, or at least around 25. Where are all the kids? Perhaps they are immerse in the new digital world, but are they really conscious of it? You know, like how fishes acknowledge water. Here are some books and a suggestions that came out of this session:

2. Lateral Thinking Innovation, BarCamps & Hats, by David Sharrock

Interesting session based on DeBono’s theories of Lateral Thinking and the method of The Six Thinking Hats.

3. More Profit in Less Time, by @proactivepaul

Paul is in accounting and gave us some of his insights on the improvement of business performance by keeping focus on getting cash, the system and on people. He also recalled some of Michael Gerber’s (author of E-myth) strategies about how to develop a system, delegate functions and replicate the model. Lastly he emphasises the motto “Keep on keeping on”, establishing perseverance as a crucial asset. Some reading he suggested:
4. How to Organise a BarCamp, by Emma Persky

I have plans to organise a BarCamp in Brazil, if I ever go back. So I decided to attend to this one where Emma answered all participants questions which basically revolved around attention to detail, time spent, money issues, nature of sessions and ticketing strategies. It seems to be a lot of work! But it definitely pays off (in satisfaction, not cash, apparently).

5. Gestalt Principles Using Knowledge from Cognitive Psychology into Design, by Daphne Haltas

Last session of the day. Daphne is a user experience researcher for Yahoo! The session was quite academic, but it raised so many questions and discussion that eventually we ran out of time. A nice lecture on Gestalt.

Who wants BarCampLondon 7 next week?

BarCamps are always a great experience. I’m looking forward to the SocialMediaCamp 2009, in the end of the month. I’ve already got my tickets (these too sold out in seconds) I’m planning to do a session, but it is quite unlikely I’ll get everything done by then. Fingers crossed.

For more info on barcamps:

More BCL6 in these Blogs:

I love Kittens
Tobias Huber
Sylwia Presley
The Hodge
Travel Innovation
Mirona Iliescu
Adam Cohen-Rose

Here is the Saturday Grid. (photo by Ade Oshineye)
And the Sunday Grid. (photo by Ade Oshineye)

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Monday, 12 January 2009

Top 3 Pitfalls of Cross-Platform Placement for TV Content (Brand Equity through Cross-Platform placement)

First post of the year. I’m back from a two week boiling hot-liday in Brazil, and I never thought I could actually miss the London weather. I just wasn’t expecting to come back to a near -10ºC.

As I’ve relatively procrastinated the explanation of the remaining elements in my TV III Branding Schematics in behalf of fresh comments on current digital affairs, I’ve decided it’s time to get back to focus.

The TV III Branding Schematics

From all the three TV III Branding constituents, I fully covered the first one (aggregation), and explained the first attribute of the second constituent (placement). So here I continue, now writing about brand equity through placement in TV III, more specifically about cross-platform strategy.

Attributes that have been covered in this blog are in yellow

So now that you are situated, let’s move forward.

All new american TV series have a website, most of them have a mobile presence, the edgy ones have an ARG to burst its launch and loyalty, of course, they have a soundtrack available on iTunes for download (now DRM-free and with variable price), popular ones have a book with big pictures and little text at Borders, perhaps a board game, or even characters available for interaction on twitter. This is the era of transmedia. Content crosses all platforms, be everywhere, the more the merrier. Well, not really. You’ve got to know how to do it. Properly.

Cross-platform placement is a natural necessity in times when the competition for audience attention extravasates the TV domain and viewers become users, sometimes players, diverging their eyeballs to social networks, video games and whatever media that attempts to rival the supremacy of the old rectangular screen.

1. Cross-platform is not a reduced version of the same thing

Having content spread in several platforms means new entry-points to the narrative of your show and to your channel brand. However, it shouldn’t be beneficial only to new audiences, it also must function as a retaining element for your current viewers. This is why content, when placed across platforms, shouldn’t be a mere reduction of the original programme, a simple version of the same thing. Prospective viewers should be lured to sample bits in a secondary platform and then converge to the main show (and to the main sponsors). For them, a minor version of the programme would probably work, but your retained audience needs something new, something else, something to put them in a circular motion so every time they feel inclined to leave they come across something fresh in the next platform, which adds new facts to what they already know, and sends them back to the main screening, and so forth and so on.

2. Cross-platform can damage your brand identity

The brand identity of your programme goes beyond its lettering, title, casting, characters or storyline. Brand identity resides in an overall aesthetic perception the audience has of your show. Aesthetic elements translate into shaky handheld cameras, dreamy foggy backgrounds, gradient illumination from dark to light areas, fast on screen movement in action scenes, open wide establishing shots, and any other recursive visual and style aid that sets the mood and the personality of a TV show. Not so coincidentally, the elements I’ve just cited couldn’t be more prohibitive when adapted to the small screen of other platforms, some due to digital compression issues, others because of the human limitations of our eyesight. A conversion nightmare.

The bottom line is: if you take a show with the elements I mentioned before, and adapt it to the mobile screen, it will look like rubbish. You’ll be able to notice compression squares in the image and won’t have a clue of what those tiny little actors were doing in that wide shot scene.

On the other hand, if you shoot a mobile version by eliminating the shaky cameras, the fog, the gradient light, the action scenes, and turn everything into a big close up, I’m sorry to inform you, but you’ve got yourself now a complete different show. You’ve lost many of aesthetic elements that constitute your brand identity in the mind of viewers. They might even not be able to articulate what made them to disliked it, but deep inside, unconsciously, they’ve noticed it. And if it’s not appealing, you break the circular motion. You lose your viewer.

It sounds like some sort of an impasse, I know. And this is why cross-platform placement should be planned ahead during production. My suggestion is, when possible, always choose redaction over reduction. It’s best to create new material of an existing content than to adapt it and risk to get your brand identity “lost in conversion”.

3. Cross-platform is not tossing content:

Grandmas often say: A place for everything and everything in its place.

You might be part of an incredibly vertically integrated media conglomerate. Even then, hold your urge to place content everywhere. Shelly Palmer presents a very simple categorisation of TV content according to each type of viewing and distribution life span on his book
Television Disrupted. I’ve contributed a bit with the list down here.

Emergent Content:
  • News, sports and live events.
  • Short shelf life.
  • Better for linear viewing.
  • Some might be suitable for reduction.

Evergreen Content:
  • Sitcoms, Movies, Dramatic Hours and Documentaries.
  • Long shelf life.
  • Perfect for on-demand.
  • Better redaction then reduction.

Disposable Content:
  • Talk-shows, service shows, infomercials.
  • Medium shelf life.
  • It is in the mid range of linear and on-demand.
  • Some are suitable for redaction, others for reduction. Common sense doesn’t exist, but the ones who have it are truly blessed.

In the following posts I’ll discuss other placement attributes such as intra-textual, intra-brand and extra-brand placement. The more we advance, the more these concepts overlap. Quite interesting.

Any other cross-platform pitfalls come to your mind?

Have you ever been driven to a TV show by a secondary media platform?

Do you consume extended content in other platforms?

Have a good week.

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