Jul 302009

Running the Australian Laboratory for Advanced Media production I often have to provide a broad contextual background (as well as detailed insights!) to many of our seminars and labs. Over the past few months I have presented across a range of topics suggested in the blog title and lucky for some these have been captured in video form! So the player below contains (for now) seven separate presentations, a mix of free informal evening ones through to more formal full day workshop intros. The video production value is variable so I add the audio only versions at the bottom too and there are links to the other many great speakers at each session, detailed below the video box. These are unedited and contain the usual umms, arrs, errors, coughs & pregnant pauses, oh and I hope some great content. All are 16by9 apart from the serious games in 4by3, Enjoy

  1. SOCIALIZED TV 2.0 – 17m © Gary Hayes Director LAMP @ AFTRS and CCO of MUVEDesign (slideshares here)
  2. GAMES: SERIOUSLY – 35m © Gary Hayes (slideshares here)
  3. VIRTUAL STORY: THE ART AND CRAFT OF MACHINIMA – 42m © Gary Hayes (slideshares here)
  4. (Seminar Intro) THE RISE AND RISE OF SOCIAL MEDIA – 13m (slideshares here) © Gary Hayes
  5. FREE AND EASY (seminar intro) – 10m © Gary Hayes
  6. IPTV FUTURES – 20m © William Cooper Head of Informitv (live Skype video interview with Gary Hayes)
  7. MULTIPLATFORM INNOVATIONS – 22m © Giancarlo A. Mori Senior Vice President, ANIMALLOGIC Interactive. (live Skype video intro interview with Gary Hayes)

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Apr 082006

Not quite open doors, more a slightly ajar gate, the BBC was acting out of character in openly having ideas pitched from indies, in this very public forum. I was reminiscing with Ferhan Cook who organises Milia how interactivity across TV and the internet (this pre-dates mobiles), was relegated to a small stand less than 6 years ago when myself and Scott Gronmark manned the BBC presence on a tiny Ferhan organised stand called the interactive pavilion. Now the TV anywhere, rich interactivity bell is being rung in all Palais De Festival corridors – and the BBC folk are happily ringing it louder than most with its 360 Content initiative. 360 content, or commissioning has been used in the BBC since 1998 or so, yet it seemed a pretty new term for many at the event. Still, it is a term that will stick now.

Ashley Highfield -Gary HayesWhat struck me as surprising from the pitches at several of the 360 content sessions I attended at Milia 2006 was the number of World Firsts that people trip out during their intros. Very little is truly ‘first’. This habit is almost as bad as those who say oh we did that years ago, often to an audience of 20 at some new media arts show in the dark corner of an art gallery. Anyway there was something refreshing about the BBC’s (and Canadian Arts Board and Korean Broadcasting) initiative to solicit pitches from all and sundry across some key progressive media areas.

The content 360 digital pitching competition was really given context by Ashley Highfield’s keynote on Wednesday evening. He talked about the changes ahead and some of the learning from the Integrated Media Player trial that will mean a very likely on-demand future, at least in the UK. My old BBC cohort William Cooper who I sat next to a few times, had a good take on this in his informitv report. It wasn’t clear in Ashley’s presentation what has radically changed in what the BBC delivers in the 2 plus years since I left – beyond more BBC TV delivered over the web, the same iTV engines and a few internet games. Even so he has firmed up some ideas that were deemed as out of scope when I was leading TV-Anytime for the BBC, namely personalization of BBC TV for the great British audience. I asked him in the q&a session at the end of the keynote whether he really thought the BBC would go down this road and adopt personalization engines, collaborative filtering, recommendation agents in an on-demand TV world (a bit leading of course ;-). (from my audio notes…)

“Personally I think it is going to be huge. You can’t watch a programme in the on-demand space by having watched the previous programme, there’s no such thing. You cant be there at 8 o’clock to watch eastenders then be hammered into a worthy programme like panorama afterwards. How do you find a programme? An EPG starts to become an impossible thing to navigate across the thousands of hours of content, and a search engine is a really blunt instrument. The recommendation agent we have built into the IMP trial is very primitive and as we start to expand on that we will really start to understand, this is why I think the relationship with the audience is very important we have got to understand what you are looking for and what your consumption is. If I can build in the overnights, if I knew your type of demographic and what you were looking for and start recommending you content that rated really well in the schedule for people like you well, that’s much more powerful than any other kind of way of presenting programming. It might even become the primary way. I mean build me my channel tonight based on the things I like, schedule me the perfect evenings viewing. I want the live football match at 9 o’clock, build something around it, that you’ll know I will enjoy – and make it easy to reject ones that I don’t like, no not that, not that, and build me a channel. Now wouldn’t that be great”

Mint Digital �Gary HayesThankyou Ashley, now hopefully the BBC will read the DTI report I did with SG Associates a couple of months ago and really begin to adopt the TV-Anytime, MPEG7 standard in this area (oh and the rest of this blog!). The search and personalisation BBC theme was continued in the 360 content session on Long Tail content. Four teams pitched in with ideas for navigating the BBC archive – or as it was ill defined a couple of times, the long tail. The projects were basically random play ambient, a book marking tool, a search engine which looked for text in the closed captions and the eventual deserved winner called “Buried Alive” which was in fact the best project from all the pitch sessions as it really combined user generated, community, rich media and potentially mobile.

Buried Alive was a ‘wisdom-of-the-crowds’ recommendation of the best stuff hidden through the years – viewers review, cross recommend, greenlight content from the massive BBC archive – no brainer really. Mint Digital (a nice company) actually had a simulated website which showed the power of viewers voting for parts of the archive that surface. I suggested at the session that these same viewers could be the ones adding rich metadata to the content, obvious to me, instead of relying on a hundred staffers who will no doubt be yawning through most of the process. Also I suddenly saw the connection here in viewers identifying short clips that could be pulled out and shared on mobile platforms to cross-promote the site. But this would have put the project in ALL categories.

David Gurney �Gary HayesSo that brings us to the strange ‘Zapping Show’ hosted by a irreverent Ray Cokes, the development prizes of 5000-15 000 euro were awarded to the various categories in a comedy awards show (nearly worked). I have queued up a few more blogs that cover these, that will be released while I am in the air over Asia somewhere on the long trip back to Australia. Which leads me nicely onto the fact that the only two teams from Australia, in fact Tasmania, both won in their category! One of the teams was Blue Rocket’s David Gurney, no less, one of our LAMP mentors. He seemed confident about winning at various stages I talked with him and it is a great, pushing the envelope project to boot – unlike quite a few of the other pitches. More later. Well done to David and well done also to Fiora Cutler of Big Structure Creative. Overall the quality and organization of the 360 pitching session needs quite a few tweaks. There needs to be something to push the envelope and have relevance – as many were not public service or particularly inventive. The other winners on this Milia PDF.

Still well done BBC for ‘coming out’, well done to Ashley for sticking in their and flying the flag, now BBC just get on with leading the world – it is catching up VERY FAST!

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006

Blogs queued include Emmys, Media Tidal Wave, Great TV Virus, Emperors Mobile Clothes, Rights, tell me what it is, Entertainment Everywhere

Apr 052006

Will try, against all the odds, to blog a little about Mip and Milia while I am on the ground in Cannes at the moment. I am already two days behind but I hope to give a feel of what is happening over here. (BTW: The pictures are grabs from my 3G mobile phone, even though I am carrying around a Digital SLR, convenience plays a big role in the confines of this conference)
cannes As is usual with effectively two conferences combined there are two types of people. We have the buyers and sellers of straightforward linear TV intermingled with the ‘enlightened’ emerging media crowd – just kidding TV folk. That said 90% of the conference/presentations are devoted to what I would call transmedia, content distribution across broadband tv/pc, mobile & lounge screens.

Further blogs will be specifically about highlights from some of the presentations and about the exhibition, although I seem to be spending 80% of my time in the conferences (TV reloaded) vs the stands – and asking a lot of questions to boot (one of my strategies to keep awake, not that I need too!). A little about the exhibition. Amongst the seemingly thousands of stands there is still a little sign of immaturity regarding emerging media in that there are sections on higher levels called 360, interactive zone, mobile village completely seperate from the linear main market on level 1. Roll-on the day when this is all integrated. For instance there are a few unique stands openly selling interactive formats, participation TV across mobile and broadband etc: yet in the main linear level there is nothing but the usual 26×30 mins brigade. OK the discussions on the stands are all about mobile and internet rights, sure, but that I believe in many of the minds of the traditional buyers and sellers is a ‘nest egg’ for the future, in terms of retaining rights to something most people do not know quite what it is! Bizarrely as you will see in further blogs the conference is all about the big internet TV and mobile TV changes coming up.
It has been a nice personal experience for me meeting up with many old BBC colleagues and several US contacts. Tom Williams (Creative Director, BBC Interactive) showed me a cool ‘Tardisode’ (yes a Dr. Who mobisode), had catch-up chats with Nic Cohen (Exec producer 24/7 digital services) and Marc Goodchild (Walking with Cavemen and the Emmy nominated “How to Sleep Better, iTV service”) – great to see that these folk are all involved in the 360 sessions beginning on Weds (today for me). Also that the BBC are looking now into a cross-media future in a major way, although there is some work internally to facilitate that.

Mark BurnettAlso caught up with several US folk from DirecTV, AFI (hi Nick!), other US labs. Also bumped into Ferhan Cook (at the Mark Burnett talk last night) who has been organising Milia events since my first conference in 1996. It is wonderful to see that her hard work (in the early days TV folk used to snigger at this internet thing) is now really reaching fruition and the quality of presentations and real business models have come of age in the emerging media space. William Cooper of informitv though, agreed with me that the there is still someway to go for before the integration of ip and mobile television into the normal business cycle is mature enough for presentations beyond, “this is the next big thing – but we are not quite sure what it is”. There are other folk I shall talk about later.
Overall as you will see in the next batch of blogs there is definitely a buzz about the 2nd and 3rd screens, the business models are starting to stack up, everyone is talking about cross-media entertainment, the power of user generated content and participatory services, the technology is finally taking a back-seat (a great sign) and personalization gets a mention at every presentation and is splattered over many of the mobile, ip tv stands. Many speakers are talking revolution not evolution and the producers are all about facilitating great ‘viewer’ contribution/participation programming. But as my old mate Brian Seth Hurst (from many milia’s ago) said as we were leaving the mobile TV content showcase, paraphrase “what we would give for truly ground breaking innovation, we are still waiting for really inspirational services”. We truly are coming out of the ‘linear’ woods into a bright new green field of ‘anything is possible media’ as content anywhere, anytime at high quality, two-way participation etc etc: soon to be available to all producers (especially users) – there is something really in the air here. Hope I can waft some of it to where you are.

Posted by Gary Hayes ©2006