Tuesday, 24 January 2012

Digital Content Monetisation Conference, London

Digital Content Monetisation Conference, London

Last week I attended the DCM conference as moderator for an afternoon session on “Monetising through effective DAM and DRM”. It was a great conference and I’d like to thank the organisers for having me and allowing two of our MA DAM students to attend as conference helpers. The tickets were ~£1,400 each so allowing us to attend at no fee was very generous! This blog provides a summary of thoughts provoked by this event.

My session on Digital Asset Management and then Digital Rights Management had the following speakers who were all fabulous and very open about their areas of considerable expertise:
  • Maria Ingold,  Head of Technology at FilmFlex Movies
  • John O' Donovan, Director, Technical Architecture and Development, Press Association
  • Tim Gulson, Strategic Business Development at PayPal
  • Paul Gathercole, Director Technology / Anti Piracy, Universal Music
  • Trevor Albery, VP EMEA, Head of Anti Piracy Operations, Warner Bros
  • Christopher Schouten, Senior Marketing Director, Irdeto
Maria's presentation carried the following message about what consumers want from media content providers:
  • The latest premium content
  • Now, no waiting
  • Ease of payment
  • on their own TV
  • on other devices in the home at the same time
  • on mobile devices they can take away with them
Sounds easy doesn't it? But in actuality most of the providers at the conference seemed to be struggling with the best methods to provide such seamless service opportunities.

Every speaker emphasised the money making and value adding potential of great metadata - this may come as a surprise to hear commercial folk so heavily engaged with the benefits of metadata. But as Maria said - "if it is worth selling, it is worth managing" and John summed up that if it's saleable content it has to also be findable content.

At the end of the DRM session, I asked the panellists what were the best and worst things about DRM in a twitter style. The responses were interesting:
  • Paul at Universal - Best: new business models; Worst: clumsy implementation in early days leaving bad taste in consumers mouth.
  • Trevor at Warner Bros - Best: when it's invisible; Worst: when it is visible.
  • Christopher at  Irdeto - it can be hacked, just like any technology, so we have to work hard to stay ahead.
I also broached SOPA - you can imagine that wasn't the most fun subject for our panellists but there seemd to be general agreement that the key to resolving copyright breaches expressed by filesharing piracy was to make it much easier to get the content people want when they want it at a price they find acceptable. Basically, reduce the friction in doing the lawful thing.

Friction - is a new phrase I met with at the conference. It relates to how much effort a consumer has to put into gaining the thing they wish to consume, whether through paywalls, payment systems or just resource discovery. The mantra is thus: how do we reduce friction, how do we make it as easy as possible for the consumer to consume. So friction is my word in a new context fave of the conference.

My opinions of things I learned at this conference:
  1. Social gaming isn't making money – I saw at least 6 presentations at this conference and whilst they were all showing healthy user rates and growth, none of them were monetising enough of their audience to be long term sustainable or financially impressive in my opinion.
  2. Advertising revenues still rule. The talk about differing models was exciting, but in the end advertising revenue was still the top of the heap of monetising strategies however cleverly it was packaged to the consumer.
  3. Micropayment is close to being the Big Thing of the Year but didn't quite make it at DCM as a model with wings. I saw some great products like boxPAY that enable it but still the payments aren't micro enough for my taste. I predict it will have a big year in 2012 and be 2013's Big Thing.
  4. Marketing through social media is now a mature art that is really generating brand recognition benefits for these major players. I cite the Women’s Tennis Association with a collective Facebook growth from 3m to 29m followers in two years. Now when  a sponsor is talking to a female tennis player the first question asked is not “what is your ranking?” but “how many Facebook followers do you have?”. As such sponsorships are worth (in someone like Sharapova’s case with Nike) about $20million per year, these are significant changes in measurement of success and value for tennis players.

Other tips and stuff I heard at the conference:
  • Treat Facebook as a separate territory or just like another country that has its own traditions and culture.
  • Denis Parkinson from Yahoo! – theme of the conference  is “any device, any place, any time”
  • 40% of Facebook traffic & 50% of Twitter traffic from mobile
  • Uploaded every day: 300 million Tweets, 250 million Facebook photo's & 8 person years worth of content on Youtube!
  • Ultraviolet DRM system has strong industry backing from the likes of Warner Bros.
  • News International to introduce link sharing but no Facebook apps for Times & Sunday Times.
  • Blippar the augmented reality interactive product experience blowed my mind  at DCM. I fear they will just get bought by someone huge in next 18 months though. But try the app and view the videos, they are fab.
  • Awesomeness from balcony.tv: "One band, one song, one balcony".
  • ESPN UK digital revenue due to double this year, its vendor Ooyala claims. Running more online ads than on TV.
  • 6.8 milion Android devices activated on Xmas day. 242m android apps downloaded on Xmas day.

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