Silicon Beach Fest: Social Media, Big Data & Ellen Selfie

Photo Jun 23, 4 14 54 PMLast week at Silicon Beach Fest I was on the Social Media & Big Data panel with Josh SpectorMarc KarzenDan LevittHannah Stiefel, and Salvador Aceves where we discussed how to engage social audiences by knowing your audience via big data and then using this data to build a relationship with them that serves them as much as it serves brands.

Much ground was covered and discussed, though the highlight was to hear Josh Spector discuss the evolution of social media around the Oscars and, in particular, the infamous, branded, Ellen selfie that went far and wide. This selfie was a genius moment that served all involved by giving something of value to the audience while simultaneously capturing a large number of eyeballs for both Samsung’s Galaxy and the Oscars. A win-win for everyone – audience & brands. What a great successful 21st century content and social marketing moment.

Overall, it was a great panel discussion which added to the larger, inspiring conference that was rich with insights and people passionate about innovation and business.

Cross-Platform Storytellers = Audience Architect + Story Architect

Information-TechnologyitTo create successful cross-platform story experiences, it’s important to understand there are two sides to the transmedia coin. Transmedia only begins at creating story across platforms; the other half is building a cohesive cross-platform audience experience. The two go hand in hand when building engaging, moving story experiences.

Several years ago, understanding that storytelling was evolving in a new media age, the visionary Lance Weiler made a shift in how he identified as a storyteller and he moved away from identifying as a filmmaker to that of a story architect.

images“At one point I considered myself a film-maker but those days are long gone. I now consider myself something akin to a story architect, in the sense that the stories I tell encompass design, delivery and technology.” – Lance Weiler, 2009

As we build story experiences in this connected digital age, one side of creating story experiences is building story architecture and the other is building audience architecture. Continue reading

Joss Whedon: Reinventing Hollywood by Giving Away Apple TVs

This month’s Story Entrepreneur award goes to Joss Whedon.Unknown-2

And here’s why …

Last month, while Joss Whedon was on set filming The Avengers, his film In Your Eyes debuted at the Tribeca Film Festival where he then announced that the film would be available to rent immediately via the film’s site, powered by Vimeo, for only $5. Not only is that a fabulous digital distribution plan with direct monetization, but what happens next makes this film strategy ground breaking.

Basically, he had an audience strategy!

Screen Shot 2014-06-05 at 1.49.12 PMOnce audiences started renting the movie, Joss and team started sending out thank you gifts! Yes, they sent gifts thanking their audience for watching. And they were not small gifts, they sent Apple TVs, Xbox Ones, Weber grills and cacti! And they sent them to audiences around the world in Germany, Australia and the UK!

This distribution model and reverse crowdsourcing is brilliant, on so many levels! Here’s a few … Continue reading

7 Critical Strategies Hollywood Must Learn from the NY Times Innovation Report

Screen Shot 2014-05-30 at 9.46.54 AMThe New York Times innovation report that was leaked earlier this month, is a must read for anyone who works in media. It is indeed one of the key media documents of this age with a lot to teach a struggling Hollywood. The challenges facing the newspaper industry are very similar to those facing Hollywood. Both content creators are struggling to evolve in a changing media landscape and Hollywood would be wise to use the problems and solutions the NY Times innovation report illuminates to guide Hollywood in its evolution into Hollywood 2.0.

If you don’t have time to read the 97 page innovation report, here are the top 7 take aways for Hollywood to know … and start implementing!

images1) Shift Industry Goals, thus Efforts

NY Times: They need less thinking and resources (time and talents) put towards the “front page”, more thinking and resources put towards developing and reaching an online audience. (p. 90)

Hollywood: Less thinking and resources needs to be put towards first weekends, broadcast eyeballs or four quadrants, and more thinking about creating cross-platform, monetizable story experiences for audiences. Basically, by focusing on old goals Hollywood is misusing time and money and missing out on revenue opportunities, thus leaving money on the table. Continue reading

21st Century Story Development: Know Your Audience

Hollywood no longer needs to work so hard to lead audiences to story …

…. Because today audiences can lead Hollywood to future success stories!

k48byeHere in the 21st century, storytellers don’t need to wait for audience testing to see how audiences respond and react to their story. Audiences are connected, vocal and living in digital spaces allowing for storytellers to get to know their audience early and to use this information to help guide the development of story and cross-platform story experiences that resonate and move audiences.

UnknownIn the past, a story was written and produced then handed over to marketing executives to sell the story to audiences. Then they would test the story to find out what audiences are and are not liking, tailor the marketing campaign to highlight what a particular audience will like in hopes of gaining their attention when the story premieres on TV, in theaters, etc.

Today, stories can emerge in development based on knowing the types of stories audiences are already attracted to. Audiences are living digital lives that make their story choices, behaviors and opinions accessible to help guide producers in developing successful stories. There is no reason to wait until after production dollars have been spent because you can check in with audiences early, in development.

What does this mean?

It means that in development, identify the audience you want to reach, get to know them via an audience discovery process that analyzes hard data, psychometrics and social metrics. The insights gleaned from this stage then becomes the compass that guides story development and audience engagement that results in the creation of successful story properties.

It’s working for Netflix. Their original show House of Cards emerged from data that showed Netflix’ customers liked the UK’s House of Cards, Kevin Spacey and binge viewing. Poof! Instant success, achieved in development by using data that showed them who their audience was, how they consume story and what stories they liked.

Another indication that in 21st century storytelling the audience matters and listening to them is critical for success!

 

21st Century Entertainment Strategies: Re-thinking The Biz

Unknown-3The entertainment industry was built on a media system that no longer exists. The media system that has emerged is embodied with new innovations, multiple platforms for exploring the art of storytelling and opportunities for audiences to participate and engage with story like never before.

Every time a new innovation hits the marketplace, it upsets the existing system meaning that the media system will be ever-evolving (see Disruptive Storytelling). The days of a media system that remains the same for 100 years have come to an end. This means that in the entertainment industry, change is the new normal and constant evolution a necessity.

Despite this evolutionary shift, the struggling industry continues to rely on entertainment strategies built on a system of the past that has changed and will continue to change. It’s time for new, evolved strategies to lead the way toward transforming the art and business of storytelling back into a robust industry.

What are the key principles of 21st century entertainment strategies?

  • Creating meaningful, engaging story experiences.
  • Using new technology to innovate the art of storytelling.
  • Collaboration between storytellers and marketers.
  • Innovative budgeting and distribution models.
  • Inviting audiences to actively participant in story.

It’s a tall order, indeed. Though those story visionaries (see Story Entrepreneurs) who are willing to take risks, evolve and embrace new strategies, will be the ones that lead this industry into a new age of brilliance.

Story + Identity = Meaning = SUPER Success

UnknownStories help make meaning of life. It’s through stories that we come to understand social and cultural life, and who we are.  We are attracted to stories of celebrities and public figures, stories about our favorite TV characters or stories of our friends, because every narrative moment is a reflection of people and life that helps us further understand, craft and tell our own stories. This process of self and meaning making drives our passions and brings purpose to our lives.

superman-record2

Large group of people dressed as Superman.

Understanding the powerful role of identity and culture formation in the consumption of story is crucial to creating successful story and story experiences in the 21st century. “Selling” story is no longer about making first weekends, it’s about telling meaningful stories and creating engaging story experiences that resonate (click here to see what happened to the film Bruno.)

Stories will thrive if the narrative experience is rich with meaning that moves audiences. When we move audiences we create further engagement and growth of an IP (intellectual property). To grow, story properties must be relatable and provide audiences with a reflection of their own selves, or at least a reflection to stoke their current understanding of self. It is here that story engagement, evangelism and commitment thrives, and thus your story IP.

The most successful stories today and in the future will be those that engage audiences at the level of human, inspiring them to embrace, resonate and celebrate their humanity, thus allowing them to find deeper meaning as they craft their own stories.