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Monetizing Content in a Social World, Part 1

Last week the Cisco Media Solutions Group facilitated a conversation on stage at the IBC 2010 conference about how media  owners are leveraging social media (blogs, syndicatable video players, Facebook, Twitter, etc) to monetize their branded content.  We had an exciting line-up of speakers from various entertainment genres including:

The speakers engaged in several interesting conversations about how their organizations are incorporating social technologies into their business, the organizational challenges this created, and ultimately how they are looking to turn a social entertainment experience (premium content + social interactions) into a differentiated audience experience that could be monetized.

We’d love to share a video of the entire two hour session with you, but oddly enough videotaping was not allowed (seems a bit odd for a broadcasters’ conference, but whatever.)  Instead, I’ve tried to summarize a few of the themes that I found most interesting:

1)      “Social” = just another channel — There was general agreement that the digital or new media teams are doing themselves a disservice by continuing to confuse the business with technical jargon and trying to convince the organization that “social” is completely different than anything the organization has ever done doing.  While social is a different beast in many ways, the general consensus was: it’s time media companies evolve our thinking to include “social” as yet another distribution channel — and become more rigorous about how, why and where we’ll monetize content in that channel versus others.   

2)      There shouldn’t be a “digital strategy,” only a business strategy – Alex and Claude clearly articulated that since media companies are in the business of entertainment (or making money from content), the focus should really be on how “social” helps them build a sustainable, profitable business.  Separating the “digital strategy” from the overall business strategy just provides more opportunities for misalignment between the two.


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Professional Content Drives Web Traffic

Dan Scheinman Tweet

Dan Scheinman, our Cisco Media Solutions Group GM and SVP, above, tweeted about how powerful social networks need professional content.

During last year’s television season – from the Fall of 2009 to the Spring close of 2010 – I noticed a trend that supports this belief. It seems the more web content a TV network produces around their broadcast TV programs, the more traffic their sites generate. I also discovered TV ratings of the 4 major TV networks do not correlate to which network TV web sites (,, and are the most popular. In fact, when it comes to ranking the traffic to TV web sites of the major networks, it seems the volume of online content matters more than the TV ratings. 

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IBC 2010: Cisco Highlights Technology Using Social Media

IBC Amsterdam

POST BY: Scott Brown – who is on the road at IBC – – in Amsterdam. 

Every September over 45,000 visitors visit IBC (International Broadcasting Convention), the premier annual exhibition and conference where new technologies and products are unveiled in the electronic media industry.

At the IBC Conference this Thursday, Sept 9th we’ll be exploring how media companies are incorporating social technologies into not only their promotional activities, but into the business of monetizing their branded content.  We’ve got a great line up of speakers, including Alex Balfour, head of new media for the London Organising Committee for the Olympic and Paralympic Games (LOCOG), who will be outlining how LOCOG plans to engage Olympic audiences and extend the experience beyond the actual games.

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Want to see Cisco Eos at SXSW?


GUEST POST; Alison Flato, CMSG marketing intern


Chuck Fishman recently posted about the rapid growth of media and entertainment sites powered by Cisco Eos. This is exciting progress, but what’s even more exciting is that since Chuck’s post customers have launched 16 more sites so that as of today there are 66 sites powered by Eos.  As Chuck says Eos has come a long way since launching with 2 live, and – at CES in January 2009.

As a marketing intern I’ve not only had the opportunity to learn about how far Eos has come, but I’ve also experienced the excitement surrounding what comes next. This genuine excitement stems from the shift in conversation we’ve seen surrounding social technologies and branded content. What once was solely viewed as a challenge is now being discussed as both a challenge and an opportunity.

When Eos launched in 2009 the early conversations we had focused on why Cisco and Hollywood was a partnership that made sense and that Cisco was serious about its investment in the Media & Entertainment industry.  One thing I’ve learned in my time at Cisco this summer is that the company has a rich history of partnering with companies and adding value to industries going through significant changes. Technology was changing and is continuing to change the structure of the Media & Entertainment industry.  Cisco has assets (network infrastructure capabilities and powerful, efficient data centers are just a few) that are complementary to those of media companies. This makes Cisco an ideal partner to help content owners companies create new experiences for fans amidst these technological changes.

While we were having these conversations, audiences were gravitating more and more rapidly toward “social” interactions online, but early “social networking” experiences were built around connecting an individual to friends, not necessarily connecting people to the branded content they love. Hesitant to give up control over their media assets, media companies that have been embracing social media have been using it solely as another content distribution channel, not as an experience to deliver a more direct and positive relationship with fans.

Gradually, we’ve seen a shift in the dialogue around social technologies. Today, media companies are having authentic conversations about ways to leverage technology and the rise of the empowered consumer to create a new entertainment experience for fans while at the same time generating new revenue streams. As we’ve said before, consumers want to interact with and around content that they love, and media companies are now exploring real, tangible solutions to meet these changing consumer needs.

We think this is shift in how companies and individuals are thinking about the digital revolution is exciting and we’re always interested in learning more about the conversations happening around this topic. Every year, SXSW is great way to participate in these conversations and to learn from others asking themselves some of the same questions we’re asking. Last year the Eos team members that attended SXSW gained some valuable insight about the next generation digital media experiences and this year we’re excited to participate again.

SXSW launched their 2011 PanelPicker on August 11th and after reviewing the Interactive, Music, and Film submissions we can hardly wait for next March. CMSG has submitted 4 panels to be voted on for next year’s conference:

·         Music: Can Labels Give Fans a Better Online Experience?


While you’re browsing the panel submission take a look at Cisco’s other submission Screen Chronicles: TV Turbulence and Transformation.

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A Legend Celebrates the Past, Embraces the Future

Bob Dylan…The Cars…Queen…Joni Mitchell…The Stooges…The Cure…Bjork…Gipsy Kings…What do all of these artists and bands have in common? Certainly they’re not in the same era, or even the same musical genre. However, they were all on Elektra Records.

Elektra Records, founded by the visionary Jac Holzman in 1950, is celebrating their 60th anniversary this year. If you look into Elektra’s past roster of artists, you’ll find it crosses vast terrains of the musical landscape, from folk to New Wave, from electronic to punk and everything in between. From decade to decade, Elektra often pushed the boundaries, both in terms of their artistic roster and technological pursuits, such as early adoption of the compact disc.

Given this spirit of innovation, it’s not surprising that Elektra looked for a platform that would help them create unique and interactive websites for music fans. They found a match in Cisco Eos®, which is enabling the site, the site, as well as current Elektra artists such as Bruno Mars, Cee Lo Green and Laza Morgan.

At, you can find a timeline where you can walk through the rich history of the label from 1950 through today…from facts to images, music, videos and more. There is so much great content, that the team at Elektra are constantly adding new stuff to the site, so be sure to check back regularly.

For more information on Elektra’s 60th anniversary, check out the press release.


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