Last week saw the return of the annual Media 2010 conference in Sydney, hosted by XMediaLab and Fairfax. As in the past two years Media 2010 featured a variety of speakers from across the international media and advertising industries.
Highlights amongst the presentations included the chief executive officer from Associated Northcliffe Digital (Daily Mail and General Trust), Richard Titus, who talked about the new realities of audience and media relationships. His key messages was that attention is now the new scarce commodity in media, not access.
Also fascinating to listen two was Moeed Ahmad, Al Jazeera’s head of new media. Al Jazeera is a broadcaster that has embraced online as a primary media format, in part to enable it to go beyond standard broadcast formats, and also to allow it to enter markets where broadcast channels are unavailable.
Quite interesting to watch was the presentation by Suzanne Stanafac from the American Film Institute. As the custodians of much of America’s film and television heritage, Stefanac and her colleagues are constantly exploring the boundaries of visual entertainment and documentary formats.
Stefanac talked about a number of AFI projects, such as the Purchase Brother’s Escape from City 17 and Laurent Touil Tartour’s Urban Wolf, and amongst the quotes in her presentation, these two stood out: “we can make story at the heart of everything we do … because the technology has matured” and “the single biggest problem in new media today is discovery” (thanks to @xmedialab).
“We are in an era of perpetual beta – you dive in take advantage of whatever opportunities are on your horizon,” Stefanac said.
It was also interesting to hear from Marc Frons, chief technology officer for digital at The New York Times. That organisation made headlines recently with the announcement that it would begin charging for content in 2011. The model that NYT has adopted is one that will see its content be made available free of charge for a limited number of viewings, before the paywall comes down for non-subscribers.
Possibly more thought provoking however was his discussion about what the NYT is planning on doing with the Apple iPad as a distribution channel. That new distribution channel will make use of the HTML 5 standard to deliver multimedia. While the iPad is still in its infancy as a media platform, it presents interesting opportunities to bridge the gap between online and offline media formats for a newspaper. Frons says however that the business model is far from nailed down.
And for anyone that has ever wondered why Australia has not become home to a localised version of the US-born online television service Hulu, its director of international development, Simon Gallagher, indicated a variety of factors including broadband charges and caps and the unwillingness of Australian broadcasters to work together are currently working against it. He did indicate however that discussions are continuing.