Social Cinema Week 2010 was made up of three panel discussions, two of which I was able to attend. The first one I went to was on Wednesday (4/28) titled “Enjoying Movies and TVs in the Living Room and Beyond”. Speakers at the event were:

Definition 6

Advertising has most definitely moved out of the living room and online as seen by the example of a Coca Cola commercial produced by Definition 6. Although not getting as large of an audience of as a broadcast television spot, since published in January 2010, this video still has over 2.2 million views.

Yet, the question was that even thought the above video has that many views, why are some of the user-generate videos of dubious value getting many more views than this professionally produced spot?


The second part of the panel was a demo of Watchitoo a Web-based based community player where multiple video streams can be included into one. Watchitoo provides a way for a live streamed events to include a moderator, audience, and guest, all in one place. This is organized real time through a drag and drop interface. At this time, the application can handle 2 additional pictures in one main window. This constraint is due to the bandwidth limits only and not the application. The idea for this product came to the founder Brian August when he wanted a way to video conference multiple family members in one window.

Currently Watchitoo is offered, on what was described as a “very affordable” subscription based price. Another licensed-based option is also sold. is a communications firm that specializes in augmented reality applications which for now is being used as an advertising gimmick. Augmented reality is a video where an external object through a Web cam controls some part of the video .

Examples of applications that have worked on include video for Carl’s Jr. that interacted with Kim Kardashian.

Another was a game created for Cisco where an IT person needed to be freed from a server room. Between the game options Cisco product benefits were shown.

Another example of media interaction is through the use of a QR marker. The marker when show to a camera brings up a particular Web site on the user’s computer or phone. Most applications for this are used in mobile phones, where a user can access a site by a QR marker on an out-of-home billboard.

Augmented reality is being touted by the advertising and marketing industries as a way to fulfill consumers’ need for instant gratification. Some companies feel that this is better than submitting a request via an email or text, and then waiting for a response.


Bill Hartnett talked about how NBC is embracing NBC Anywhere after realizing that television is being watched much differently than it was ten years ago. There are hundreds of NBC web sites.

Ratings and viewership are being looked at with both Web and broadcast numbers combined. Broadcast viewing is definitely on the decline, possibly the reason for the combined audience calculations. The $1 billion dollar broadcast center built for the Vancouver Olympics was described as a a learning experience or a way for NBC to experiment with broadcasting live events on multiple platforms.

Bill felt that WAP sites are a transition to mobile apps. WAP on the phone cannot perform as well or do as much as an iPhone application.


Mike Berkley at Comcast looks at the convergence of online and broadcast media as a product problem. How do you build a cohesive product that incorporates your franchise on the television, computerm and phone? Each of these media formats has different options and benefits. Yet the product or title itself should converge together as a combined entertainment experience.

Media is beginning to be thought of as 3 screens if not more, the television, phone and tablet PC. Media is so pervasive that we can see the same media brands in the grocery store checkout lines, taxi cabs, and even at the gas pumps.

Comcast has a lab where they monitor the viewing behavior of viewers interacting with media. The company uses the information gained from this lab to guide product development. Do people want to watch a television screen with text on it or do they want an iPad that will interact with the screen? Most feel that viewers do not want to see text on the “big screen”. The number of people who are “multi-viewing” has increased by 35% this year. Nielsen is trying to figure out a way to combine all of these viewing activities into one rating system.

Another point made was that video viewing is becoming a solitary activity where even though there may be more than one person may be in the room, each one is watching their own personal screen. This screen could be television, computer and/or phone.

Today Show

Ryan Osborn knows a great deal about social media. Yet one of his concerns, given the demographics of the Today Show, is not to out-innovate his audience. Just because you can do something technically does not mean it makes sense. The panelists on the Thursday session, Social Cinema: Use of Social Media to Market TV and Film, From Indie to Blockbuster, agreed that even though the tools for interactivity are there, companies need to wait and see which ones are desired and used by the audience.

Final Thoughts

It seemed as if many media companies are struggling to determine what is going to happen next. Large media companies have a difficult time adapting their cultures. The electronics companies do not seem to have an idea of what will work. The previous 2 CES shows featured new product televisions with widgets and now 3D. Both advances do not have a large uptake to date. Whatever changes to occur with media in the future, it needs to be simple and wanted by the users. Something too complex, such as the universal TV remote controller, never seems to quite take off. It is my belief that the media companies fear the start-up, like Boxee, that usurps their role for paid or advertising supported television content.

I feel that an upstart will become a major media company knocking at least a few of the bigger companies out of business or to a merger. What actually is going to happen, is still anyone’s guess. Conversations on the #socinnyc hash tag seemed to think the best idea is to create a community around your story or franchise that will go anywhere with you. It all comes down to the content.


Filmmakers Get Social

April 18, 2010

Being a film buff I couldn’t pass up the Filmmakers Get Social event hosted by Nailing Jello Productions last Wednesday at the Roger Smith Hotel. Although the screenings were great, the conversational focus of the night concentrated on how independent film companies are using social media to help raise awareness and money for their flicks. […]

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