As social media platforms move deeper into the content creation space, there is a lot of noise and opinions about how creators should go about producing content that connects with audiences.
During “The Surge of Social Entertainment”, an opening day (June 5) panel at Realscreen West ’18 in Santa Monica, leading social video platform players and producers weighed in on both the creative and business side of content creation.
Those sharing their insights with moderator Gavin McGarry, president of Jumpwire Media, were Camila Jimenez Villa, CEO of FMG Studios; Jake Avnet, COO of Indigenous Media; Melanie Moreau, head of premium content of Complex Networks; and Nate Hayden, SVP originals of Jukin Media.
What follows below are five key takeaways from the session:
Character is key – no matter the platform
When asked by moderator McGarry how producers are creating stories in the digital space, Jimenez Villa of FMG Studios – Fusion Media Group’s (FMG) premium original content division – said no matter the platform, it always starts with character, as it’s at the very heart of the connection with the audience.
“Being able to capture an audience with that piece, and the evolution of the character that you, as an audience, can identify with quickly is always the core starting point,” she said.
Think about the role of narrative in attracting viewership
In a discussion about how narrative structure has changed due to social media, Avnet of Los Angeles-based studio Indigenous Media weighed in, saying that platforms are fighting for attention. Creators have to think about the narrative structure which will lend itself to engaging audiences.
Structurally, he said it’s a click-bait mentally; you want to capture someone’s attention and then, once you have them, you must tell a story that will keep them entertained.
Incorporate audience values into story
Complex Networks’ Melanie Moreau explained to the room of Realscreen West delegates that the New York-based media platform is geared towards males aged 18 to 34 – millennials and Gen Z – who have a desire to see their values and opinions reflected in the story arcs of the content they produce and the way stories are told.
“They want authenticity,” she said.
“At Complex, we haven’t focused so much on what platform is it going to be on, but what is the content that makes sense to extend the brand on these platforms, that stays true to the brand without diluting it,” Moreau stated.
The importance of interactivity will grow
With creators trying to find new areas that are open for growth in the video space, Jukin Media’s Nate Hayden said he has been thinking more about the importance of the element of interactivity from digital platforms. He used the example of Facebook Watch’s series Help Us Get Married from digital studio Thumb Candy Media, which polls audience members about wedding day decisions from venue to the wedding dress, and then acts upon them.
Hayden said the series has a simple concept, “but there is a production model you have to crack.”
Social media platforms are at “the tip of the iceberg” in content investment
Weighing in on the business aspect of content creation, Indigenous Media’s Avnet noted that at this moment in time, the social media platforms that are investing in original premium content are just “the tip of the iceberg”.
He said political drama House of Cards put global streaming behemoth Netflix on the map as an original content player, so it’s only a matter of time before a platform – perhaps Facebook – has a hit that will surpass all others due to the sheer amount of people on the social platform.