by Katrina Diamond
About Ben Silverman, Founder & Chairman
Ben Silverman announced a partnership with IAC, led by industry veteran Chairman & Senior Executive Barry Diller, in July 2009 to launch a new company, Electus, which will capitalize on the ever-evolving world of multimedia production and distribution. Prior to launching Electus, Silverman served as Co-Chairman of NBC Entertainment and Universal Media Studios from June 2007 to 2009.
As founder and former CEO of Reveille, Silverman is executive producer of the Emmy Award-winning NBC comedy The Office and the Golden Globe-winning comedy Ugly Betty, co-creator and executive producer of the hit NBC reality show The Biggest Loser as well as co-creator and executive producer of the critically acclaimed The Tudors for Showtime.
Sorry to disrupt your regularly scheduled day, but we have some must-read report & forecast for all our users in broadcast or advertising!
The Disruptive Media Conference at NAB, produced in partnership with Digital Media Wire, gathered ‘broader-casters’ who oversee the digital and interactive divisions within their companies to explore developments in online video, mobile and branded entertainment. he two half-day programs cover disruptive media as well as more traditional OTT technologies and how these are impacting business models for distribution and consumer engagement.
Kicking off the conference was none other than Ben Silverman, Founder & Chairman of Electus. (For those who don’t know, Electus is a next generation studio enabling premium content creators to engage with advertising and technology partners at the inception of the creative process and partner on the finished product across a global and multi-platform distribution model.)
The keynote questions were prompted by the savvy moderator, Julia Boorstin of CNBC.
THE CURRENT CONDITIONS
First on deck, what the heck is Disruptive Media? Ben calmly explained, for purposes of this lecture, it’s where social taps into broadcast.
TV is still the culture-maker it transcends from mothers to sons, bringing the family together to watch a program. However, there is nothing truly connecting broadcast with social media.
But it’s starting Electus is teaming with Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson on TV and social media competition series The Hero. The show will lead a search for the next great hero by setting ordinary people on a high-stakes global adventure. On this new reality program, casting is done 100 percent entirely online via social platforms.
Where do you, as a broadcaster, identify with the content? Fashion Star, airing on NBC now, features reps from Macy’s, Saks Fifth Avenue and H&M. In real-time, buyers can bid on design and the next day, consumers can actually buy the designer’s creations.
In this example, the broadcaster remains central to the project, acting as the essential lynchpin to the show; NBC drives the show and still approves all programming and relationships. And, NBC gets a piece of revenue from ALL of it. As innovation and opportunities increase, don’t fight over scraps or pieces of the pie.
The volume of content consumed via television, social and online is up.
Maybe it’s because so many unemployed, maybe we just getting better at multitasking, who knows? The point is, there is an infinite expansion in this field that is not hyper-competing (as originally thought) but instead hyper-intergrating.
So, who is getting killed in the fight for ad dollars? Silverman bluntly replies, the printed newspapers. In one year, there will either be a flood of quality, or older franchises will be hurt. HBO GO is an example of somebody who is ‘playing both sides’ at the moment. They are all streaming (Xbox deal), but may have to change based on what happens in next year or so.
Don’t just duck for cover and hope for the best. Revolutionize the way people watch and connect with television. We are not there yet, and we got to keep trying.
With Youtube channels and Google opening up content platforms, transparent content will drive future. In the future, it will be the digital companies backing you if you want to go to Sundance. This is a 10-year proposition, not in a few months. Being the only good platform will be opportunistic.
Multi-platform viewing means more touch points for consumers in more places. Unless we can go back in time and erase Tivo from existence, sophisticated marketers will be required to reach specific markets where they will be buying [product] and it needs to be intelligently interwoven in the content. This will require time transparency is key here. There needs to be a clear correlation between content and advertising. In short: make everyone a partner.
[Elecutus] just launched first of three channels on YouTube. The platform is all original, episodic shows it looks like mini TV, on demand, all the time. In regards to branding, how do we make it a destination for you to get relevant advertisers?
Two of the three channels are already sold out. Why? Because they are very niche. Celebrate niches like a gluten-free cooking show it may not sustain on the major networks, but it could thrive online in an incredibly targeted, intimate community that is highly valuable for appropriate advertisers. Why wouldn’t you go to where your customers are going?
As this happens, writers will get excited. They can use more creativity since they will have more freedom. (Instead of the current model, where they are forced to squeeze in so much promotion that sometimes they want to shout, you did it then, mister development exec!)
Here are some other quick tips & tricks on how to make your own opportunities in this rapidly changing marketplace (à la Silverman):
*Raised CPM is the biggest driver to jump into this world. Episodic rhythms will expand, and ad dollars will increase. It will be interesting to see how this plays out in 18 mos., when Google reports numbers.
*‘Eventize’ something live, where somebody actually gains something.
*A huge opportunity right now is with the Hispanic explosion in the U.S. Currently, the programming for Hispanics is internationally based, not targeting U.S. Hispanics. There is a lot of money on the table for the people who figure this out.
Silverman suggests for your current content: shoot for aspirational, but still fun and ‘real.’
Bottom line: If content is king, consumer is God.