Changing the Face of Media – Ze Frank, Philip Kaplan and Jeremy Allaire

  • Question: What constitutes a media company? Kaplan says
    the network model is being lost, that people don’t care about the
    package as much as the content and that, with the plethora of choices
    we make our own media. Ze Frank defines media as anything you can
    advertise against, meaning just about anything that’s created can be
    considered media. Allaire points out that the behavior around that
    media (tagging, linking, etc) is as important as the media itself.
  • Question: How do we (marketers) access that sort of chaos?
    Allaire says it’s difficult because the content can wind up just about
    anywhere and that the monetization of that "hyper-syndication" is still
    lagging. Frank points out that once you embrace the bottom-up,
    non-controlled space you will begin to see patterns and boundaries
    emerge and become clear. Kaplan says media buying is more interesting
    because scarcity of ad inventory doesn’t exist any longer.
  • Question: How do you take the traditional ad-buying model and put it in the bottom-up world?
    Kaplan makes the point that the authority and the trust readers put in
    the source (ie, ESPN vs. someone’s fan blog) is transferable to the ads
    that appear on that site. So as the audience is shifting their ad
    exposure is shifting, but influence is not necessarily being lost
    because of that.
  • Question: How do you overcome advertiser fear over ads on CGC?
    Kaplan says they use trust and transparency, trying to show where ads
    might appear and what their impact is going to be, even though metrics
    aren’t at the level some advertisers need to feel comfortable. Allaire
    reminds everyone that Flash and other online formats reduce the cost of
    creative execution and creation (Ed. note: That means you can try new
    things, fail, and then try something else without the huge impact a bad
    TV spot will have on your budget.)
  • Don’t overlook PR value of the advertising industry. Ze Frank
    says the internet is all about stories about stories, with buzz being
    generated by crazy stunts that are covered elsewhere. Think Second Life
    kiosks – no one knew what they would or really should cost until people
    started doing it.
  • The panel points out that the one thing to worry about with social media is having a bad product. After that it’s all gravy.
  • Allaire says it’s about being where the consumers are and not
    where you want them to be. That’s why people are emphasizing embed
    codes and other things to allow the easy transference of content from
    one place to another. But it’s also important to use the tools people
    are already using and not always try to reinvent the wheel – the
    magnifying glass is going to be more focused on you if you try to be
    "The next (fill in the blank)."
  • Ze Frank: "Brands actually create context." The media brand,
    wherever that brand’s content might appear, brings with it the context
    of the brand. So very, very true.

The whole discussion of ad inventory, honestly, I don’t think is being
put into context. If we’re talking about the low, low barrier to entry
to syndicate content, and if we’re saying that all brands are media
companies, then what role does advertising play? I’m not saying there
isn’t a role, but I think companies need to have the discussion when
ever they’re planning a campaign of what’s going to best fit the end
goals – Content creation in and of itself or paid advertising efforts?

When you get to the point where that conversation is happening then you’re in a good place.