AOP: The evolving content model

Torin Douglas of the BBC moderated this panel. The panel:

  • Rod Henwood, head of new business Channel 4
  • Zach Leonard, digital media publisher, Times MediaTim Weller, chief executive, Incisive Media
  • Jim Scheinman, VP of business development and sales, Bebo
  • Rod Henwood, 600 channels on Sky’s basic pack. Our business model is under threat in a multi-channel world and with the disruptive force of broadband. He says what will save their bacon is brand (We worship our brand, he says), exclusive content, cross-promotional capability, corporate focus and adaptability. The biggest challenge is not so much what to do but what not to do. They have embraced video on demand. It is a possible threat, but they see it as an opportunity. They are looking for platform ubiquity.

    I’m glad that VOD is coming. Even with 30 channels of choice on Freeview, too often it’s 30 channels and nothing on, and I go back to DIY video on demand.

    Zach Leonard and the Times are gunning for the Guardian. The last six months he said that they are bringing in deals that before were only familiar in a print market. The story telling process of journalism has changed forever. He made a plea for developers to come see him. “I am sure that we can make you an attractive offer,” he said.

    Good to hear that. At least someone is hiring.

    Integrated newsrooms and common platforms are just the beginning. They are also looking at user-generated content and community. They recently posted the video of the 9/11 hijackers in 2000 that was just discovered. Their traffic doubled and trebled. And their podcasting is ‘dominating iTunes’.

    Tim Weller, founder and CEO of Incisive. One of 40% that didn’t know what a blog is. He was the target of bloggers in the States for their search engine strategy. He founded the company 12 years ago. They turn a quarter of billion in revenue. They connect people who want to buy products with people who want to sell. They are platform agnostic. Key challenge is that the call for ROI (return on investment) is getting stronger. Buyers want real-time market intelligence.

    Work with search engines or block them out from paid content? I think it’s a fabulous marketing tool. Develop more community-based content with user-generated content. MySpace and Bebo, peer-to-peer markets are great at breaking down barriers to people communicating with each other.

    Jim Scheinman, of Bebo, was a no show. Bummer. I wanted to hear from him.

    Rod of C4 said the word: Convergence. I’ve heard about convergence for years, and for C4, it’s all about VOD right now.

    Torrin said that at C4 and the BBC, they have public money coming in, but how does the Times finance these changes. Zach says that they have a range of titles from the Times, the Sun to the Times Literary Supplement. On the Sun, they can play more with community.

    There was an interesting discussion happening about how to innovate. Rod said that there was the integrationist and the internal incubator model. They are two extremes, but he said that a balance must be struck between speeding up innovation but also getting this to the core of the business model.

    After listening to this, the absence of the voice of Bebo was noticeable. People are talking very peripherally about community, but you can tell it’s not core to their business models right now.