About a week back, I was spending time on the official web site of TV show. First, I had to register to be able to comment on the TV show blog. Then once I searched deep for any area of community around the content, I found a walled off forums area for TV show discussions. To be able to join the conversation in the forums area of the TV show site, I had to register again -- I could not use my earlier blog registration. The thought of having so many separate technology providers on a single site echoes my colleague Scott Brown’s earlier blog post about the cost complexity of media owned web sites. It must be costly to cobble all these different technologies to offer various discrete features like blogs, comments, forums, user profiles, etc. At the time of using this TV show web site, I got frustrated and tweeted about my experience. My friend Steve Jang tweeted back, noted in response above, ‘Frankensteins’! Oh yes, I have heard that term before -- in our Cisco Media Solutions Group product videos demonstrating Cisco Eos. In one of the video, Jack, a Chief Digital Officer at a media company, calls his sites ‘frankensteins’ and he makes the switch to Cisco Eos to bring these social features under a unified platform.
It was not the last time during the week I heard the word ‘frankenstein’ in reference to media owned web sites, or heard about the huge cost of social entertainment experiences. Cisco Media Solutions Group sponsored and attended the Digital Music Forum West conference in Los Angeles and there was plenty of further discussion.
Claudia Ceniceros, our Senior Director of Media and Entertainment Partnerships at Cisco spoke on a panel at the Digital Music Forum West on October 7th, 2009. The Digital Music Forum West brings together some of the music industry’s brightest minds -- discussion topics range from internet radio, to the evolution of music blogs, with speakers like the CEO of popular music service Pandora, the advisor to Warner Music leading the Choruss effort, and the president of MySpace Music. On the panel, ‘DIGITAL MUSIC INNOVATION: What’s Next?’, Claudia Ceniceros shared the stage with executives from the Scratch Academy, event marketing site Eventful, artist content syndication enabler ArtistData, and a former EVP of the RIAA.
The first question asked of the panel -- what are the defining characteristics of digital music products and services that are attracting loyal fans and users?
Claudia answered thoughtfully, and hit on many points in the following video. She also hits onthe point that I started the blog with -- “if a site is too complex and heavy with too many features, it can actually turn off users”.
As Claudia says at the end of the clip, what Cisco Eos platform is trying to do “is to take the costs out, so that technology is not an impediment to having a really robust, rich, data driven experience on the web”.
Ted Mico, Head of Digital at Universal Music Group’s Interscope / Geffen / A&M labels, spoke on a panel earlier in the day about fan data and the value it has to the record label in a digital age. However, Mico clearly points out that Universal Music group is an entertainment company, and not a technology company. Yet at the same time he mentions he needs more engineers to even be able to figure out what fan data to sort through.
Really interesting points from Universal Music Group’s Ted Mico on how analyzing fan data informs their marketing spend. From listening to Ted, I believe technology costs could be an issue for Universal Music Group, as they want to build out more data reporting tools to be able to analyze an artist fan base -- Mico did say “they are on the roadmap”.
There is plenty more conversation about digital music and social entertainment that comes from the Digital Music Forum West. Another interesting panel was called ‘Social on the Sunset Strip’ -- appropriate since the conference was held in Hollywood, on Sunset Blvd. I’ll post up video from that conversation soon -- especially interesting points from entertainment venues in Hollywood (The Roxy, The Viper Room) use social oriented content to build community around music events.