Continuing to shine its spotlight on new directions for the global broadcast and content creation industries, MIPTV’s second day featured discussions centered on two hot topics – branded content and social media – and a keynote presentation from the forward thinking founder of Electus, Ben Silverman.
Social media is one of the most buzzed-about topics at this year’s MIPTV, with Twitter and Facebook execs among the panelists at the Palais. Thus, the session dubbed ‘Will Social Media Drive the Future of Mainstream Media?’ was predictably full. Panelists included Stephen Haines, UK commercial director for Facebook; Matt Locke, commissioning editor, education, for Channel 4; Philip O’Ferrall, senior vice president digital media, MTV Networks International and Kevin Slavin, co-founder and managing director of Area/Code and now co-founder of social TV platform developer Starling.
The panel examined the myriad ways that social media can impact programming, both externally (buzz generated through online conversation translating into eyeballs and using feedback) and internally (integrating the conversation into the programming itself and having it dictate or affect the program itself). MTV’s O’Ferrall said that his company uses feedback from social media – both positive and negative – to help arrive at programming decisions, such as if a character is worth retaining on a show, or even if the show has enough of a fanbase to keep on air. In terms of generating buzz, Channel 4′s Locke says the network is experimenting with a new commissioning model that encourages producers to build buzz through social media for their programs, ‘commissioning for scale as opposed to time.’
Social media also encourages a level of involvement in programming that can build what O’Ferall called the ‘superfan,’ who can then be rewarded for his or her participation with outtakes, first viewing of new episodes, or other incentives. Slavin, whose Starling platform enables fans to interact with each other and with programming in real-time, said the concept of having millions of people ‘doing something at the same time but doing it together is what TV will look like a year from now.’
‘Branded Content Across All Platforms’ boasted a discussion that rang true to its title, featuring Guy Duncan, director of creative excellence for Coca-Cola Europe; Bob Friedman, president of @radical.media’s entertainment division; Catherine Krokos-Leroy, head of branded entertainment for Banijay Entertainment; Kamel Ouadi, worldwide digital media director, Louis Vuitton, France and Doug Scott, president of Ogilvy Entertainment. Each panelist presented a case study of examples of multi-platform branded entertainment, ranging from @radical.media’s recent Summit on the Summit, coproduced by Procter & Gamble Productions and airing on MTV, to the online ‘Journey Awards’ from Louis Vuitton, to Coca-Cola’s online reality travel series Expedition206.com.
The day wrapped up with a ‘Media Mastermind’ keynote session, featuring Ben Silverman, founder and CEO of Electus. Considering his past – London-based division head for William Morris, founder of Reveille and former co-chairman of NBC Entertainment – Silverman is no stranger to the MIPTV audience, although even he admitted that he’s fielding constant inquiries about what the new venture is all about. Thus, during the session he described not only Electus’ mission – to be a ‘non-traditional studio of the digital age’ – but also discussed some of the programming on the way from Electus and its production partners, including Big Time Spender, a Chinese game show format that will have its American version coproduced with Mark Burnett Productions and Swedish company Bringiton, and the scripted series Pedro & Maria, produced by Ugly Betty star America Ferrera.
Indeed, Silverman said that in the new multi-platform age, collaboration is key; hence, Electus is working towards taking on a holding company model, in which relationships are formed with entrepreneurial prodcos such as Notional, for example, in order to become ‘best partner in class’.