The following are my chaotic notes from the Web Monday Zurich 2012 #3 at the SRF, the Swiss Radio and TV company. The topic was online media, how things are converging, and what to expect for the future. The presenters were SRF, Joiz, and Paper.li. The following notes are recountings from my head, not necessarily exactly what happened or what was said, it’s a bit Gonzo, and if that disturbs you then the Back Button is at your disposal.
Schweizer Radio und Fernsehen (SRF) is the Swiss radio and television company (www.srf.ch), they create the content on things like Swiss TV. The talk at Web Monday was all about broadcast and convergence. Broadcasters have an increasing problem: How to find an audience. No, that’s crap, we want to talk about the power of choice. Broadcasters have to look at different distribution methods now (as opposed to controlling the TV airways). This adds complexity for the broadcasters, but is great for consumers. Smart TV is where mobile was a few years ago, for content it’s great, for broadcast it’s a maze. A broadcaster is now just one amongst many competitors – the monopoly on distribution to the consumer is long gone, the question is: how can they differentiate? Here are the main components to the maze: Journalism, Content (broad range), Distribution (assured), Audience (given). The user (or viewer) used to exist in a closed system, but no more. Before you had a TV with a set number of channels and people watched whatever the broadcasters decided to send into their homes. That game is dead, now what comes next?
Power of choice
Now we’re going towards this model: Consumer (interests), #Nuggets (chunks of content), Distribution (gate keepers and 3rd parties), Social activity (engaging the audience)
Technology issues block some distribution (3rd party distribution). Instead of being passive, broadcasters now have to chase the audience in a meaningful way. ZITE is a good example, the intelligent magazine, the more you use it the more specialized content you get. The discovery mode allows you to find stuff, but how can the broadcaster stand out? Icanhascheezburger.com is a great example, silly cast that commands millions of dollars, but the owner just wants to do this: “make people happy for 5 minutes a day”
One model looks like this:
1 SRF (nugget producer), 2 Access (HibbTV, Zattoo, Teleboy), 3 Consumer (Engagement, UX), 4 Content (less is more, money more of an issue, emotions count)
Here is the main challenge a broadcaster like SRF faces: They must engage the user much more than they used to. What should they do? This means fewer but more high quality shows…or what? They need the money to get content, but it’s not just content anymore, how can they emotionally engage the audience, because if they can’t do that, they’ve lost.
As far as content, they can produce top quality stuff, but journalists must be trained in cross media and multi-tool storytelling in order to do this. Now this brings up an important question, does the audience still care? Yes, but only if they are offered emotional engagement (I think this has to do with consumers getting smarter and having choices in life).
The answer is to empower the audience, they can be part of the content creation. Will producers be more curators in the future? Well, why not (after all we already have citizen journalists on CNN – http://ireport.cnn.com/ – my view). In my view, the quality of the citizen journalism can rival that of the professional crew. Why? In my view it’s because a citizen journalist has a reason for doing a story, a strong bias for report on a certain story that has meaning for them – emotional engagement. This however is where you start crossing the line of journalistic integrity. The journalist is supposed to be an impartial observer, and not a participant (or a main character like Hunter S. Thompson) in a story they are reporting. As this line blurs more and more with user generated content the profession of journalism will need to find a way to differentiate.
SRF is looking at nuggets, people grazing in fragmented ways, which works against the traditional ad revenue model, they need to innovate in this area, keep innovating and find the right fit. The SRF relaunch coming soon, by the end of the year, the last stretch. I’m keenly looking forward to it.
Evernote in Zurich
Integrate with Evernote API in an app 100,000 in prizes, looking for developers…
So, out of nowhere is seems like Evernote now has an office in Zurich. Why? Well, a few years ago I attended a UX Chuchi and learned about a then new Swiss startup called Memonic, and one of their main competitors at the time was…Evernote. Seems like Evernote considers Memonic to be a serious threat to their operations and have opened an office to pull away users and potential developers (my view at least). That’s really quite a complement to Memonic, they have a good product and are in the cross-hairs of a Silicon Valley heavily financed colleague. Reminds me of the time that Amazee (Swiss startup) got sued by Amazon over their name.
Dominik from Joiz
Joiz is about the power of choice. It began five years ago, after doing a documentary about startups, the to be founders were chilling out at a bar, and decided to do a startup (after 5-6 beers). It happened something like this, Alexander and Dominik from were from Swiss TV. They were all discussing about TV, which seemed like dinosaurs. The TV broadcasters were big…but doomed – and the executioner would be the internet. After a few beers more, they realized a vision, that out of the internet, mobile, social media, etc, something new could develop, all the platforms could melt and merge together, and that could be the business model. It would be a platform that could be used passively, but also interactive if desired.
The result is Joiz, a 24 hour interactive HD TV, web mobile, social media in real time, and now on air since March 28th 2011. Joiz targets 15-34 year old’s and focuses on viewer interaction, gamification, real time chat, local content, and responsibility. This means no ads for alcohol or ringtiones (I hate this about Swiss MTV) and no Mike Shiva (a sort of Swiss psychic on late night TV)! Joiz is about choice, you can watch it on cable, digital, analogue, web, etc. They’re everywhere and every show is on the net.
Music, lifestyle, socially relevant topics are the main program focuses. Users can be passive or active. you can chat on every show. you can add branded voting, and social interaction elements, online banners coordinate with shows, links to buy music during shows, etc. Gamification: You can get points and badges for all activity on the website. you can get s free gifts for points, like iTunes downloads, tickets, etc. this just for interacting with the content, like sharing content on Facebook, etc. Guys like badges more than points, while women focus more on getting points. Joiz is currently developing a thing called the red button, just click on it on the mobile app, one click participation, connected to user profile, in sync with program, to join things, you just hit the button. for promotion partners, if you push it at the right time you win stuff.
Here’s a nice example, of user interaction, Kool Savas Day: Joiz did a special day with him, 3.5 hours, and the highlight was an interactive concert, users could win tickets for the live show, voted on shoes for the sone, very last song was via voting. People were very engaged in the content they are being exposed to (my view). There’s also other examples like the Budget WG, a competition for apartment sharing with a battle of 5 flat sharing communities, sort of like an interactive Big Brother thing.
What is the result of all this? Joiz is now passing Swiss MTV in viewers.
Ed from Paper.li
Paper.li is based in ETH-Luasanne (EPFL) the start was complex. They started two other user cases; storyrivers 1 and 2, paper.li they did this because they wanted to facilitate content discovery. They believe there is a lot to be done in curation and content discovery. Think about, it, there is 1.7 ZB of data pushed out there. Content discovery isn’t the same as searching. it’s not about filtering, it’s about humanity, people at the center are important. People organize the discovery for others. For 200 years traditional news rooms were (and still are) doing this, curating content. But they only tap into the main topics, what about the longtail, the other stuff, what about organizing it, at paper.li – the idea is that there are people out there to curate content and are ready to do it, Paper.li wants to enable those people. Make it easy, make it shiny, turn anyone into a publishers, LeWeb 2010 winner. Twitter has micro blogging, Paper.li is micro publishing. Once created, you can embed it in your website, etc. Currently there are 450,000 daily newspapers. 15 million different articles each day via the platform.
Micorpublishers are everyone, and that’s the challenge. bloggers, teachers, businesses, scientists, activists, etc. They deal with feeds, not just a piece of content, you bring it and then the surface spots other content from the same sources, listening to different sources, and you have big data management.
Eric Hippeau, Guy Kawasaki are advisors, 3.5 million invested A series by end of 2012. Paper.li has started with a freemium business model, basic free, premium features monthly fee, and then a pro license. Adding ad reduction and extended customization. They are targeting 12 million users by end of 2012, and they are hiring in Switzerland and San Francisco.