hivio Conference Today In San Diego
June 4, 2014 at 4:25 PM (PT)
HIVIO, the second annual event bring together radio people and leaders in new media and disruptive technology, takes place TODAY in SAN DIEGO.
'Go Big Or Go Home'
MARK RAMSEY opened the event by discussing the common elements of radio, streaming, and podcasting, demonstrating the blurring of lines by using DAVE RAMSEY's show -- radio, live streaming, video streaming -- as an example, as well as director KEVIN SMITH's podcasts, iTUNES RADIO, satellite radio, "WELCOME TO NIGHT VALE," "THIS AMERICAN LIFE" and others, showing how they are impossible to define as just radio or podcasts ("What do you call that?," he asked). "They are all audio, but they are more than audio, because they CAN be ... you don't fall in love with distribution channels, you fall in love with content."
RAMSEY stressed the importance of content over distribution methods, noting how THE CW deliberately ignores its website and concentrates on social media, where its target audience lives. He also noted that fans can now be "media" as well, with the barriers to entry eliminated by things like YouTube; discussing the need for media to stress brands, RAMSEY suggested that "big, unique, meaningful star-filled things" are necessary for success ("go big or go home"), like MARVEL/DISNEY, ESPN, NETFLIX, HBO, and COMCAST NBCUNIVERSAL's content initiatives. But he warned that the "long tail" concept of aggregating small audiences from more choices has paradoxically made the value of blockbusters -- the "short head" -- greater, citing HARVARD professor ANITA ELBERSE's research and noting that the vast majority of digital music downloads sell less than 100 copies. 0.001% of tracks generate 15% of all sales, he said, demonstrating why the large entertainment companies are chasing the biggest hits ("winner takes all").
And he also noted that radio's "shut up and play the hits" attitude ignores the fact that the hits are not exclusive to any station, increasing the need for exclusives. He closed his presentation with a visit from DARTH VADER, accompanied by storm troopers and other STAR WARS characters from the SAN DIEGO STAR WARS SOCIETY.
The Talent Conundrum
Wine merchant-turned-YOUTUBE star and marketing guru GARY VAYNERCHUK appeared in a video presentation created specially for HIVIO, followed by radio programmer and consultant TRACY JOHNSON discussing the increasing restrictions on radio talent ("they're beaten down"), driving creative talent to other media. JOHNSON said he believes that the problem is programming "to NIELSEN's sample size," and RAMSEY added that doing so creates a situation that has everyone in radio doing the same thing and thus never trying "big" ideas. But JOHNSON pointed out that broadcasters, in looking at podcasters for talent, tend to look only for talent that can manipulate the PPM rather than for creative talent with loyal followings.
He imagined a new model for a station to program a format curated by talent with strong followings, interrupted by very few commercials but with a strong social media presence, suggesting that such a format might be tried by a station with nothing to lose. And JOHNSON advised talent to develop their own brands and followings, effectively developing to the point where the show does not necessarily have to broadcast on the radio to be successful.
JERRY ROCCO of SAN DIEGO-based 22SOCIAL discussed how his company built its business on Facebook without an active website, offering an app to help other companies market via Facebook and also using hangouts; RIC MILITI of "anti-agency" INNOVISION discussed advertising and marketing strategies and the place of PANDORA and other media in the buying and marketing mix; SOUTHERN CROSS AUSTEREO Head of Content CRAIG BRUCE offered a look at the radio market in AUSTRALIA, noting that the biggest media brand in his country is HAMISH AND ANDY, a radio show, and discussing the development of talent and the "sexiness" of the radio medium; and another Australian, "5 Minute Business" author and REMINISCE EVENTS founder MARK MIDDO, explaining his application of the theory of "growth hacking" to gain information from users through social media and landing pages, then reaching them using email marketing (stressing mobile, local (defined as common interest group, not by geography), and social elements), taking advantage of sharing by users.
Former PIXAR story artist EMMA COATS opened the post-lunch session to discuss the importance of storytelling whether in a fictional world or relating information about a brand. She offered some rules for stories from her "22 #storybasics I’ve picked up in my time at PIXAR" Tumblr post, including the audience preferring seeing characters try, fail, and try again rather than succeed out of the gate, and challenging characters by throwing at them the "polar opposite" of what they're good at. COATS was followed by ROBERT ROSE of CONTENT MARKETING INSTITUTE, explaining the concept of marketing by creating valuable and desirable content. He noted that THE WALL STREET JOURNAL has opened a studio to create such content for clients, and cited KRAFT, RED BULL, and COCA-COLA as examples of companies who have been especially successful in content marketing.
PANDORA's DOUG STERNE discussed his service's competition with radio and the opportunities for companies to do branded audio streams as content marketing; L&L BROADCASTING VP of Programming PHIL BECKER and Internet video star ANDREA RUSSETT, who BECKER hired for a weekend show when he was GM at OASIS RADIO GROUP Top 40/Mainstream WJFX (HOT 107.9)/FORT WAYNE, explained the genesis of her popularity and how and why she decided to add doing radio to her activities. BECKER noted that Internet video celebrities draw crowds sometimes larger than more familiar (to older audiences) celebrities and can be hired to appear at a radio promotion cheaper than alternative bookings.
AGOGO's JD HEILPRIN offered a presentation on his app that aggregates audio content into a unified listening experience, with customizable "personal channels" and contextual services and merchandising. He described his app as a "tuner" for listening to content, with the content remaining untouched.
And Finally, Honey Badger Don't Care
PODCASTONE's EVP/CTO ROB GREENLEE discussed the popularity of podcasts and the challenges of marketing and selling them, including the lack of unified download data.and the need for "live spots." He said that in the future, talent will grow and then over into radio, rather than the converse. GREENLEE and RAMSEY were joined by PODCASTONE host RANDALL (the "honey badger" guy) for the panel, the final of the day