The New York Television Festival always brings together a unique mix of creators and executives to discuss the evolution of the medium in the digital age. And delightfully, this Friday the entire Digital Day line-up of panels was live-streamed and archived online.
It’s four hours long, though, which is quite a few hours! There’s some good discussion overall, with folks from AOL, College Humor, YouTube, Blip, MySpace and MSN, but here are the Cliff’s Notes — some of the smarter insights and comments from the day’s panels.
- Research matters — apparently, people are pitching content to the CW Digital department without actually knowing what the CW is. Don’t be that person. “Nothing is more frustrating than when someone comes in who haven’t been to our website, don’t know who our audience is, but know they have the perfect show for us. Not gonna happen,” CW Digital EVP of marketing and digital programs Rick Haskins said during the Development: Building a Foundation panel.
- The great content creators, according to everyone on the Development panel, understand more than just making content — specifically, how to market that content on a social media level.
- Celebrities don’t always click on the web, according to Ran Harnevo, AOL Senior Vice President of Video, but casting someone with, say, four million Twitter followers will be significantly more meaningful than a celebrity who has less of a following. And web celebrities like Ian and Anthony of Smosh may have a lot more draw online.
- “A lot of well-known stars want to do it for the money — they don’t give a rat’s ass about digital, and to me that goes nowhere. You want to find people who understand digital and are passionate about it,” Haskins said.
- My Damn Channel CEO Rob Barnett urged people to avoid exclusivity initially, but then focus on finding a company the best deal as your development grows — especially when it comes to promotion, not just money. “You gotta look for promotion — the sea we’re all swimming in gets more and more crowded every day,” he said. “If you’re just upload to one of those huge places, the odds are getting the push that you need are getting scarier by the minute — you’ve got to be as judgmental of a home as we are of your content.”
- Barnett also recommended people check out the YouTube Creator Handbook: “90 percent of it is awesome — 10 percent, I don’t like, but we’re using 90 percent of it and our videos are getting more views.”
- During the Talent Debate panel, Innovative Artists head of digital David Tochterman revealed that breakout web series Lizzie Bennet Diaries has partnered with DECA — big news for the homegrown web series from Hank Green and Bernie Su.
- Also revealed during the Talent Debate panel: Mark Malkoff’s life is now much more difficult since Facebook removed email addresses from user profiles, as he now has to work much harder to book celebrities for his Celebrity Sleepovers series.
- Going back to the web celebs point: Despite Celebrity Sleepovers‘s impressive roster of names (including Camryn Manheim, Steven Weber, Ed Begley Jr. and Rob Corddry), Malkoff said that the iJustine episode was by far the most viewed of the series.
- Blip CEO Kelly Day laid out the company’s shift in approach over the last six months — specifically, a shift from its previous “Blip vs. YouTube” mentality, and a new focus on helping creators distribute their content through a variety of means, including YouTube as well as other partners. “I don’t think it’s a binary conversation. YouTube can be a great way to build your audience, but it’s not the only way to build your audience,” she said.
- Lee urged creators to “play the whole field” when it comes to putting content out there. “Go out and experiment and see what you get out of it.”
- MySpace Entertainment president Roger Mincheff stepped up big time to discuss MySpace’s recent relaunch, and defended keeping the MySpace name despite the brand’s rocky recent years, especially given the comedians and musicians who attribute MySpace to their success — making MySpace the ultimate farm system. MySpace nostalgia? That’s apparently a real thing.
This is just some of the interesting stuff discussed over the course of the day: It’s a fun mix of folks discussing how creators can use the current state of entertainment to thrust their content into the world, and the challenges they might face in the process. Go watch it yourself if you have a minute to spare.