Evolve Or Die: The Future Of Music, TV, Games And Publishing

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TechCrunch Disrupt kicked off this morning, with interviews with Kleiner Perkins’ John Doerr and DST’s Yuri Milner. Next up, we’re discussing the future of music, TV, games and publishing. Michael Wolf, Founder and Managing Director, Activate is leading the discussion with Sarah Chubb, President, Conde Nast Digital; Fred Davis, Founding Partner, CODE Advisors; John Hagel, Co-Chairman, Center for the Edge, Deloitte; and Avner Ronen, CEO, Boxee.

Wolf highlighted the newly announced Google TV as being disruptive to the media space. Ronen’s Boxee, which also streams media from your computer to a TV, says that he thinks the Android-based platform could be complimentary to his application.

The iPad is also a disruptive application for media, but companies are quick to show that they are evolving their content with the new device and seeing positive results Epicurious is seeing 75 percent of users on the iPad, with a million downloads of the new iPad app, says Chubbs. “We see the iPad as an additive experience,” she says, adding that GQ and Vanity Fair have also seen considerable traffic on their apps. Media and entertainment generally is moving towards “an access model vs. an ownership model.”

Wolf also addressed the issue of music and the evolution of the way music is being consumed on the web. Davis expressed his strong concern for piracy on the web, including music and movies. See our paraphrased notes of the conversation below:

Wolf: Media and technology is reshaping content, from the iPad to Google TV to Avatar.
Ronen:Wolf: Does Google TV change Boxee’s outlook or enhance it?
Ronen: We’re not sure yet. Bottom line if Android finds its way into the living room, that’s great. It could be complimentary but it could be dangerous if they start to do what we do. In most cases, the TV screen is not a great browsing device. Also, the TV is a social space, you watch it with friends and family Browsing is more of a personal action.
Wolf: Sarah, what do you see is happening with user engagement?
Chubb: With the ipad, what we’re seeing is incredibly exciting. Epicurious is on the iPad and we’re seeing browsing of the site, which gets 7 million women a month, is seeing 75 percent of users on the iPad. A million downloads of the iPad app.
Chubb: We think the iPad is an additive experience. On GQ we’ve had 250,000 sessions since iPad launched. 65 percent were coming from the iPad And Vanity Fair, we’ve seen 10,000 sessions, 90 percent on the iPad.
Wolf: Fred, you’ve represented digital companies and artists, What do entertainment companies think in terms of the role of these services?
Davis: Music is not about owning, it’s about accessing. Spotify seems to have unlocked a key to accessing music. Artists and Labels and entertainment companies need to migrate, similar to Netflix with DVDs and movies.
Wolf: John, how do you look at this?
Hagel: Companies have assets to deploy in terms of relationships and creative talent. Changes are so fundamental, its about basic assumptions about what is required for success. Key transitions for media companies is that they have to move from product business mindsets. Who has the power-the creatives or the business people in an organization? How do measure profitability, via product or audience? Most media companies still measure via audience. That’s the shift that makes this essential.
Davis: A lot of media companies never had a training to engage with third party developers.
Wolf: When you think about social conversations, a lot of them are taking place on Facebook and Twitter. How do media companies take advantage of this?
Ronen: It gives them free traffic. I think that the transition towards apps, may be harmful. It may cause the conversation to stay on the app versus going to the content owners.
Chubb: Moving from a product centric point of view to a customer centric is important. We are in the audience business. Social is critical to that-the conversation that is going on is more important than your point of view.
Davis: A movie comes out, now everyone is Tweeting about it. Its changing marketing and ad campaigns.
Ronen: the same goes for TV shows.
Hagel: There is a concern about who is the orchestrator of the social relationships,
Chubb: Who owns the conversation on social media within a conversation, is it pr marketing? if you try to control the conversation, it may backfire.
Wolf: Where do you see the crossover in terms of profitability?
Hagel: There are three different type of businesses-product, infrastructure and customer. The world is more fragmented. Its a challenge, how do you cope with this?
Chubb: You have profitable businesses trying to make that transition, as a large media company, we have to be ruthless about past feelings. We have to be much faster, we’ve learned so much from Wired, Epicurious, Reddit. You’ll see more things from us that are faster turnaround.

Davis: Piracy needs to be part of the conversation. Why it’s not okay to go steal a DVD off of a shelf at Walmart but it is OK to download a movie off the internet. The cultural mindset has changed about paying for content.
Ronen: The psychology of consumers is different now.
Davis: The ease of stealing shouldn’t make a difference.
Ronen: I don’t know if there is a full solution to this – I think there will be some people who always will steal.
Hagel: Part of the answer is to expand content beyond the platform, like virtual goods in gaming
Wolf: Do you believe the existence of pirated content help the entertainment sector?
Davis: I’m not sure piracy helps. I think it helps the conversation.

Wolf: How will media companies profit from this?
Chubb: People are willing to pay for things in mobile-the trick is making it an attractive offering.
Davis: Portability makes content more valuable.
Wolf: How will media business change with gaming?
Ronen: I think the intro of game mechanics and interactions around content will change the way the content is formed and engagement. The merging of content with games is exciting. I think most valuable franchises will be built on combination of games and content.
Davis: Music-oriented games have huge potential.
Wolf: What will happen with the editorial point of view vs. the wisdom of crowds?
Chubb: There’s a need for big media companies to embrace other kinds of talent and thinking, such as Reddit. It’s a different way
Wolf: What kind of deals are going to be taking place? Are these going to be big companies buying small ones or big companies getting together.

Davis: There will be two strategies. How do we monetize content in new ways?
Wolf: This conversation will be an important part of media. I want to thank the panelists.

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