Day 1 Recap

As the Rules Change, Content Still Rules - Day 1 Recap

Talent. Creativity. Salesmanship. These elements fuel the dynamic interactive advertising industry and took center stage as Randall Rothenberg, IAB President and Chief Executive Officer, kicked off Innovation Days @ Internet Week on June 8, 2010. This first-ever IAB event during the annual, week-long celebration of  the ingenuity of our industry and its impact on New York City, focused the attention of a sold-out room of marketers, agencies and  media executives on content brands and branding content. A groundbreaking two days of news, information, insights, unveiling and more await.

June 8: The Future of TV & Online Video
June 9: All About Content Brands/Branded Content

The goal: To help marketers reach consumers with great content—and get an inside look at which industry pioneers are leading the way, driving change by selecting and implementing effective and efficient business models that will catapult their success over the next 12 to 24 months.

Lloyd Braun, BermanBraun was first to captured the interest of the packed-house as he dissected the schism between Hollywood and the digital world with help from Wenda Harris Millard, President and Chief Operating Officer, MediaLink. “At the end of the day,” he said, “a click or page view doesn’t move the needle in a network’s mind or a creative’s mind.” And if something isn’t directly applicable to the key metric—ratings—executives don’t want spend much time on it. BermanBraun, a 50 person television company with a 40 person digital arm, is working to fill that gap.

Tolman Geffs, Co-President, The Jordan, Edmiston Group, Inc., entertained as he offered some good news when he confirmed the growth of online advertising in the U.S. as the market shifts to selling audiences, not sites, and interactive M&A rebounds. View his “Wizard of Oz” themed presentation here.

*****DEMO: To showcase new content delivery methods, technologies and devices that are evolving across the industry, a series of short-burst demos were interspersed throughout the course of the event. Exhibiting recently possible technologies that are defining the futuristic new reality that is taking shape, Innovid, kicked-off the series with a quick, engaging look at how its work treats video players as a browser by giving users opportunities to engage with brands without leaving the original content they came to view.

Consumers demand content on-demand—that’s no surprise in today’s media world. And nowhere will it be more visible than across the ESPN network throughout their upcoming World Cup soccer coverage. Content conversion and place-shifting is all about the fan, the content and the technology, according to Lisa Valentino, Vice Present, Digital and Mobile Ad Sales, ESPN. For them, it means coming to the table to meet screen-neutral video buyers who want to respond to the needs of the advertiser by meeting the needs of the fan—without mistaking technology for creativity. She showed off examples of how partner, FreeWheel, helps ESPN leverage every available screen to create new content, custom content integrations and product integration rather than just expanding the standard tv coverage.

Next, Joe Mandese, well-known Editor-in-Chief, MediaPost, drove a conversation on the never-ending measurement conundrum—to GRP or not to GRP. Dean Donaldson, Director, Digital Experience, Eyeblaster; David Smith, Chief Executive Officer and Founder, Mediasmith; Beth Uyenco, Global Research Director, Microsoft Advertising; Matt Wasserlauf, Chief Executive Officer, BBE, debated the benefits and downsides of 1) Using the same “language” of traditional marketers, to help them understand the possibilities and 2) Focusing on the enhanced metrics that best represent the opportunities of digital. Is it a way to get everyone into the conversation or will GRP stunt the growth of the industry? The debate lives on.

*****DEMO: Starling.tv “interrupted" the conversation with a sneak peek at an upcoming Fall release of what is best described as “foursquare tv,” allowing users to interact with the friend networks in various ways as they engage with favorite tv programming. Stayed tuned for more at http://starling.tv.

Heated debate continued as Adam Kasper, Senior Vice President, Managing Director, Digital Innovation, Havas Digital, moderatedone of the most anticipated sessions on the day, Wither the :30?! Long Live the :30!? David Payne, Chief Executive Officer and Co-Founder, ShortTail Media, admittedly a convert back to the :30 for digital, pressed for a continued use of the format because of its ability to clear the “clutter” from the surrounding page and track currency across a campaign. He also surprised the audience by saying format decisions shouldn’t really be “about the consumer,” they should be about what makes money. Sometimes those things are one in the same—and sometimes they aren’t. Suzie Reider, Head of Ad Sales, YouTube & Google Display, rebutted with strong feelings for a variety of ad lengths, citing specific examples of success on YouTube. Benjamin Palmer, Co-Founder and Chief Executive Officer, The Barbarian Group, called out the :30 as an excuse for lazy marketers.

*****DEMO: The final short-burst demo of the day came from Clicker.tv, showcasing how its technology brings web functionality to a television screen near you to enhance your user experience.

 Closing the first day, Joanne Bradford, now the Chief Revenue Officer at Demand Media, returned once again to the IAB stage to introduced colleague, Steven Kydd, Executive Vice Presdent, Studio, Demand Media. He showcased how the company’s business model harnesses the power of a “crowd” by developing a huge amount of high-quality content with the help of freelances and experts across the country. “We don't create news. We create content that helps people do things, save money, lead a better life,” he said. Company growth of 59% year-over-year suggests this idea of using the Internet as the world’s largest market research platform is catching on for brands who are taking the time to sit back, listen and learn. Steven also announced the inclusion on a network of experts on the platform.

The full day of intense learning, hot product demos in the main room and throughout the Digital Playground, matched with the marketplace’s best networking demanded some relief as cocktails were served and attendees absorbed what they’d seen and prepared for day two. Game on.