New Media Impact Examined

The shared experience is a thing of the past

(click thumbnail)Jim Cook, senior vice president of creative services at Clear Channel
The NAB2006 Super Session, "Earthquake Insurance--Are You Ready for the Tectonic Shift in New Media?" examined the impact of new delivery systems from the side of those who develop content, to advertisers and consumers.

The keynote was delivered by Jim Guerard, vice president of Web and video for Adobe Systems. He explained how new media outlets and technologies have changed the world of communication. The Web, for example, has become a boon to advertisers who now create multitiered campaigns, which inevitably have a video component.

"For broadcasters, new programming models deliver repurposed and new content to the Web and mobile devices, all of which provide new growth opportunities," Guerard said.

He backed up his assertion with comprehensive data. For example, Web sites with static content have 80 percent less click-through than those with motion images. Online advertising has increased 41 percent in 2005; and, in 2006, online advertising will surpass print and Yellow Pages.

Of course, the mobile media delivery industry is growing rapidly, backed up by 370 million camera phones being sold worldwide in 2005.

Guerard was joined by Jim Cook, senior vice president of creative services at Clear Channel; and Tim O'Hare, senior Flash developer for Scripps Networks.

The session moderator, Cynthia Wisehart, editorial director for Millimeter magazine, posed the key question, "What does the tectonic shift of new media mean?"

Cook framed his answer in a context that goes far beyond technology.

"Culturally, our society has changed in fundamental ways because of the Web and other factors," Cook said.

Cook said that 40 years ago, when people watched three TV channels, everyone in the culturehad a shared experience. The advent of cable and the Internet sliced our society into many smaller fragments.

"A common experience is harder to find, but it is still what people crave," Cook said. "Now people form tribes based on common interest. As society breaks apart and reforms, it creates new opportunities. If you're an artist or entertainer, you can find an audience that understands your art. We have groups of like-minded people."

As Wisehart summarized the point, "We have to rethink our engagement with the demographic."

Much of the discussion focused on new advertising models that integrate advertising messages into programs, or create an entire experience around an advertising message. The goal is to make advertising part of the enjoyed experience instead of one that intrudes upon it.

There are new challenges for creating new media as well. O'Hare pointed out that it is important for the creative team to work with the technology staff right from the start. When launching a new idea for Flash development, he brings people from all parts of the production process together in a kick-off session so that creative ideas do not clash with the technology that must implement them.

The tectonic shift in new media, the panel concluded, would require content developers to understand the lifestyles of the new consumers, integrate advertising in nonobtrusive ways, and learn to develop content in teams where the creative side communicates well with the technical side.

(c) NAB2006