Oh So Not Cross-Media Week

On June 14, 2006 by Christy

Well, I’ve been excited about the upcoming Crossmedia Week (now Picnic ’06) being held in Amsterdam in September this year. I’ve been hanging out to find out what was going to be put on. Well, they’re just released the program and….it isn’t cross-media. It is interesting, has a great lineup of just about every angle a person working in entertainment should look at, but hardly any cross-media. I cannot tell you how disappointed I am. It just shows how way off many in the industry are, and how way off they will continue to be. I mean, it is inevitable that they will be talking about cross-media/convergent/transmedia strategies, and there won’t be hardly any people versed in it to provide some real and helpful insights. Don’t get me wrong, the line-up is amazing, but they don’t have any of the cross-media creators there. It is obvious they are saying: Find out About All the Platforms, Formats and Business Cases Around Week, not Find Out How You Can Combine All the Platforms and Formats and Business Cases Around Week. And I must say they have one of the best line-ups for providing this that I’ve seen: new media arts people, top Hollywood people, new marketing people (go Joseph!). But, have I made myself clear, they are not talking about cross-media!! Geez. It doesn’t matter what term you use — cross-media, convergent, multi-platform, 360 content, integrated entertainment, transmedia entertainment — it isn’t being directly addressed at this event. 🙁

Here is a bit of their latest blurb:

PICNIC ’06 will focus on showcasing content delivered to consumers via TV, the Internet, mobile phones, gaming, virtual reality and music. From online and mobile games to interactive TV show formats, from multi-format brands to consumer-generated content, PICNIC ’06 will inspire you to explore the world of cross media.

Yeah, it will inspire them, but not show them how to do it well! I’ve searched deep, and here are some sessions that will provide some guidance for producers wanting to delve into this area:

Thursday: 11:00 – 11:30 New Formats, New Business
What does it take to be a serial creative genius? John de Mol, Co-Founder of Endemol, Founder of Talpa and one of the founding fathers of reality TV, will provide insight on how to build a super-successful global content production business while pioneering new formats and encouraging the creative process. John will also provide a sneak preview of some of the new programming that Talpa, his new company, is producing.

Speaker:
• John de Mol, Founder of Talpa, Co-Founder of Endemol, Reality TV Pioneer (The Netherlands)

Joseph is the only one who will authentically be holding up the cross-media flag, since he thinks that way.

Friday: Track #2: Life after the 30-Second Spot

9:00 – 10:00 Keynote Presentation: Life After the 30-Second Spot
According to Joseph Jaffe, “traditional advertising, led by its poster child, the 30-second television spot, is dead, dying, or in dire need of a shot in the arm”. Interactive session about alternative marketing practices such as on-demand viewing, viral marketing, gaming, branded entertainment, and experiential marketing, which offer fresh approaches to engaging consumers and developing new advertising solutions.

Speaker:
• Joseph Jaffe, Author of “Life after the 30-Second Spot”, marketing guru, blogger (United States)

10:00 – 11:00 Cross Media Transformations

10:00 – 10:20 Cross Media Transformation 1 – Yellow Pages
Previously known primarily for its Yellow Pages directories business, World Directories is transforming itself from a print to a cross media powerhouse. Andrew will discuss how changes in consumer communications habits are driving companies like his to enter new channels with innovative content and services.

Speaker:
• Andrew Day, CEO, World Directories (Belgium)

10:20 – 10:40 Cross Media Transformations 2 – Heineken
Beer brand Heineken has always been a major advertiser but these days Heineken also runs its own television network in clubs, organises games and contests, hosts major music events and supports hip hop artists. A view on the move from push to pull and the new media roles an advertiser like Heineken can play.

Speaker:
• Peter van Campen, Global Marketing Director, Heineken (the Netherlands)

10:40 – 11:00 Cross Media Transformations 3 – to be confirmed

11:00 – 11:30 Coffee break

11:30 – 12:30 The Art of the Pitch
During this workshop, ad agencies will repeat cross media pitches they’ve made to real-life advertisers. The audience will listen to a series of short pitches, ask questions and evaluate each pitch with input from the audience. Get valuable tips on how to sell cross media formats to potential advertisers and clients.

Speaker:
• Brian Elliot, Creative Director, StrawberryFrog (The Netherlands)

Okay, and here are some mono-media sessions that will be interesting:

14:30 – 15:45 Virtual Worlds, Real Lives
We no longer talk of ‘cyberspace: the connected world intermingles with everyday reality. From virtual reality to permanent games, from identity switches to visual and geographic information overlays, this
PICNIC ’06 session explores the social realities, business models and creativity of virtual worlds.

My Second Life
Second Life is a subscription-based, hugely-popular persistent 3D virtual world that emphasises social interaction. Second Life gives its users (referred to as “residents”) tools to enhance and edit its world and participate in its economy. The majority of content in Second Life world is resident-created. Linden Lab, the company behind Second Life, actively promotes the concept that residents retain the intellectual property rights to objects they create. Find out who the thousands of Second Life residents are and why they’re there.

Speaker:
• Philip Rosedale, Founder, Linden Lab/Second Life (United States)

Additional demos:

My Virtual Girlfriend
Artificial Life, a Hong Kong-based company, combines artificial intelligence software with virtual worlds and has launched services like My Virtual Girlfriend and V-Disco. [CD: V-girl is one of my favourite mobile applications!]
• Eberhard Schöneburg, CEO, Artificial Life (Hong Kong)

Our Virtual Baby
Eccky is the name of an MSN game in which two parents can make, name and raise a virtual child using the Web and mobile phones. Online chats are becoming a major entertainment and commercial platform. [CD: I reviewed Eccky last year]
• Yme Bosma, Business Manager Eccky, Media Republic (The Netherlands)

My Virtual Hotel
Habbo Hotel is a virtual community that combines the concept of both a chat room and an online game.
• Sampo Karjalainen, Chief Creative Officer, Sulake (Finland)

6 Responses to “Oh So Not Cross-Media Week”

  • Christy,

    I already warned Monique van Dusseldorp a couple of times of a missing concept for the program. Sure the number of speakers and the quality of speakers speak for themselfs. But what does the program want to say? There is no central theme, which has anything to do with crossmedia. Again, I think using the word crossmedia just as a marketing engine for events like this, devaluates the meaning of the word, which is already difficult enough.

    Peter Luit

  • Exactly, it does more harm than good to use such terms without following it through. The crime here isn’t that they don’t know what the term means, it is that they don’t know why a cross-media entertainment/convergent/transmedia approach is needed today. There are compelling reasons why producers HAVE to use cross-media: for one, there is such a range of media platforms that audiences can now choose what platform and format they want and when. But they don’t use one or the other, people are using more media than ever before. What does that mean? It means you don’t repeat the same information on every platform — that is a mono-media approach that presumes you need to start again in each platform. AND….oh geez I could go on for days…What I don’t get is that it is not like cross-media is a little known area, I mean there are labs all around the world, major entertainment events have sessions on the stuff. I’ve got to stop.

    I’m glad to hear you were in Monique van Dusseldorp’s ear. Monique De Haas was too. I hope, for the sake of the people paying to attend, and their own reputation, that they learn quickly. 🙂

  • hi Christy – thanks for your detailed review of the programme! I guess we just have a slightly different view of what is the most interesting at present in the ‘cross media’ industry – of course distribution of content over different channels and the way these channels interact is an important element. But for the programme of this event, we also whished to present quite different developments affecting the media industry, and have been looking into the future a bit more. The new social processes made possible by all these new channels for instance, new interfaces to interact with media coming from research and media labs, the way online worlds and real worlds are starting to interact, the experiments artists are carrying out with location based services and so on.

    But do by all means come to Amsterdam to discuss your point of view there! I am sure we will have many different views on cross media represented, which will be a guarantuee for a lively debate..

  • Updated: 21st June 

    Hello Monique. Thankyou for coming by, much appreciated. I agree with all the areas you’re looking at. The areas you’ve highlighted are indeed important areas, that I’ve been looking at myself for the past few years. I am aware of the importance of the areas you’re looking at, but also how important cross-media strategies are. I think the problem has been that I presumed the week would address how to manage all the choices we have now. It is one thing to know about them — and as I said in my post your collection is the best I’ve seen. Thank God you have new media arts in there. But I’m talking about a specific way of dealing with all the choices we have out there for platforms and formats. With respect Monique, I don’t think your programme addresses how to combine these well enough. Indeed, I don’t see it as distribution, I see cross-media as another format, indeed many new formats in itself. And anyway, how do you decide what format and platform to use with what platform? How do you manage the rollout of it? What combinations work? What order is best? I think there are some very high-level speakers that you could of/could get that would add to this knowledge. Some examples:

    • Xenophile Media and their multi-award winning extend-reality game that is in conjunction with a TV show: ReGenesis II;
    • The film-director Peter Greenaway and his multi-platform project: The Tulse Luper Project;
    • 42 Entertainment and their award-winning alternate reality games for Microsoft and Dreamworks;
    • Dv8 Films and their multi-platform project SMSSugarman, the first project to be filmed entirely on mobile phone and has unique narrative content on every platform;
    • The Blair Witch crew and their current work on the Audi-funded ARG The Art of the Heist and their webisodes: The Strand;
    • And as for academics who also work in industry. How about MIT Professor Henry Jenkins? He heads a research lab that works with industry to address cross-media (convergence) issues in entertainment. He also has an upcoming book on the subject.

    I could go on. I’m talking about practitioners who understand how to combine the platforms and formats to great effect. This is a wonderful, very exciting area with only a few experts emerging out of the noise. I don’t think I would of worried if the name of your week was different. But I guess that is the thing with terms eh? We all have our own associations. I encourage you to look at these and other practitioners in the area. I hope you take this message as it is intended: to fly the flag for an area I and many others are passionate about!

    Thankyou for the invite too, if I can I will come over. I’m sure it will be very interesting. Especially with this beginning! Hope there’ll be podcasts or something? 😉

  • I did an update on what I thought here.

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