Tuesday, June 18, 2013

ETIA: Creating content for the Internet

This morning's Creating Content session featured three different perspectives on options for the future of Internet-delivered entertainment content. Ann Greenberg, CEO of startup Sceneplay, is focused on the radical notion of users adding substantial value to entertainment products interactively. She is working not just to allow audiences to help direct the action of an experience, but contribute major original pieces. This "democratization" of cinema has been a vision of Ann since she was young, and clearly she is excited that the combination of the internet as a delivery system and metadata embedded in content to make it more intelligent are making it a reality.
ETIA Panel on Creating Content for the Internet
Photo by David Cardinal
 Carl Rosendahl, animation pioneer, has also left the traditional cinema business, and is focused on working with his CMU students to help them create radical new entertainment products. Peter Hirshberg, as befitting a veteran of the computer industry, is focused on how the "Internet of Things" can change the future of entertainment. He cited statistics that 25% of all tweets are about television, and that apparently 95% of discussion of TV is on Twitter. The result is first that social media is amplifying traditional media, rather than displacing it. It has also meant that the social media component of major entertainment franchises have become as important as their "on-air" communication.

Often of course, viewers are participating in both at once. As many as 77% of TV audiences have a second screen in use while they are watching. Hirschberg's vision is to harness these same technologies to create immersive experiences, instead of continuing to view the world through screens. His vision of the city of the future places the Internet and audiences front and center in creating their own entertainment.  He provided examples of large-scale interactive "entertainment" experiments, like large displays driven by city-wide energy use, or other "audience participation" real time art projects.

Panelists agreed that the Internet allowed content to focus on storylines, freeing entertainment up from being limited to a specific location like the theater or a specific technology like video. More dramatically, it clearly opens up new opportunities for audiences to not only interact with their entertainment, but to help shape and even create it.  -- David Cardinal

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