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Streaming Media East: Relevancy is Key to the Future of Digital Entertainment

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"The Future of Digital Entertainment in a Multiscreen World" is a big topic to cover in an hour, but a panel made up of executives from across the digital entertainment spectrum gave it their all at Streaming Media East. And what the discussion boiled down to, in general, was the importance of relevancy.

Bonnie Pan, head of video programming for Yahoo, talked about how some of Yahoo's recent announcements lead toward creating more personalized, engaging experience for users. "We're moving into scripted programming," Pan said, reiterating what many people who follow digital entertainment already knew. Yahoo recently announce two original half-hour comedy shows. But the company is also moving toward driving demand through streaming daily live concerts with LiveNation.

On a related musical note, Alex Kisch, SVP of business affairs & business development at Vevo, spoke to a recently announced partnership with Myriad, a company that will allow Vevo to insert product placements into already produced videos. Kisch says this is "all done in close cooperation with the artist, record labels, and rights holders" and allows Vevo to monetize videos—by, for example, inserting a Levi's billboard in the background of a music video—but also allows them to change those ads as campaigns expire or become dated.

For the New York Giants' VP and executive producer Don Sperling, a multiscreen experience is truly important in terms of fan engagement. "Not a lot of people want to watch sports on a small screen, but they want a layer on top of it," Sperlings says. So the Giants put the emphasis on providing that second screen experience to help fans take a deeper dive into the game. This is an effort that lasts all week but culminates on game day.

"We provide access," Sperling says, something that no one else—not even the NFL—can do. And by providing behind the scenes access the Giants are able to drive further engagement with loyal fans.

Creating a great experience and in-demand content is part of the larger monetization strategy, but Chris Melissinos, director of corporate strategy for media & entertainment at Verizon, says, "People are not averse to advertising, they're averse to being abused by it." He relayed a familiar story: While trying to watch a show on-demand he was delivered the same ad at each break—sometimes twice in a row. Instead of winning a new consumer, the ad made him angry at the brand.

Melissinos says one of the keys to creating a better ad experience is to have empathy for your viewer, and he points toward Apple's "Misunderstood" commercial as a great example. "It said nothing about the product and everything about why you'd want to own one," he says.

But all of the speakers agreed on one thing you have, no doubt, already heard a million times. You have to know your viewer, and when you're talking about delivering on a mobile screen, there's no excuse not to know enough about your user to deliver a personalized, relevant experience. Perhaps Melissinos put it best: "We have an opportunity that these platforms provide that television can not. We have to get better at understanding who that consumer is at the end of the pipe."

Watch the full video below:


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