Digital media: A living Reality

Panel: Maximising impact across all media

The workshop on maximising impact of the brand across all platforms was moderated by Cartoon Network Enterprises (US) SVP John Friend and amongst many things discussed the need to include new media strategy and planning early on in the content development cycle. Panelists included Walt disney Internet Group (UK) MD Attila Gazdag, Nickelodeon and Viacom International consumer products VP Tanya Haider and Youa Entertainment GmbH &Co Managing Partner Jens Bley.

Times were different five years ago when all the broadcasters and content players were hurrying up their new media plans so as to not be left out.

Things have changed and today digital media is no longer a promise of the future but a living reality, experienced and consumed by ever growing numbers.

However the emergence of new media in no way undermines the importance of traditional media like TV, print and publishing. The idea is to create a package across all platforms to maximise imapct.

360 presence has many functionalities including that of forming a connect with viewers who prefer media other than TV, Innovation in content offering, Soft or test Launching properties and increasing the overall consumption potential of content.

Nickelodeon's Tanya Haider Pic courtesy: Mipcom 2005

“Simultaneous launching of a TV series and consumer products built around it is not a good idea. The strategy is to launch a show, let the emotional connect build up with the audience and then probably in 12 to 18 months time launch the products” remarked Nickelodeon’s Haider.

“This is applicable only to certain markets like the US though. Having a window in Asia would kill the business due to piracy which would eat all the cake” she added.

Giving a good example of cross pollination, Youa Entertainment’s Jens Bley shared,”Secondary language is quite a serious issue in the Europian union. We were creating a show which meant to encourage German kids to take up English. It was a strategic tie up between us and NGC as we needed a network that parents would approve kids watching, and at the same time NGC was launching an English kids magazine in Germany”

“We have created a digitally animated rat which is the main character and the environment is that of story telling. The show also includes re edited clips from the NGC library. We control the character and NGC controls their content. The property is very popular across TV, Print and also as CD Roms”

Cartoon Net's John Friend Pic courtesy: Mipcom 2005

Cartoon Network’s John Friend stated that,”Five years ago we launched a Toonami show which was anime and targeted at boys aged 9to14. We did a stunt and the first week of telecast we additionally offered unique content on Broadband. One of our learnings then was that kids access multiple media at the same time. Currently Adult Swim doesn’t air on Fridays, but we have a Friday night fix on”

The phenomenon of age compression is increasingly affecting the way Licensing plans are being laid out, these have to be very region specific though. In the US, Kids above eight no longer play with dolls and toys and are totally enamoured by electronic media, while the same cannot be said of neighbouring Mexico where age compression rates are much lower.

Disney Internet (UK) Head Attila Gadzag shared,” We are developing a lot of original content for the web and mobile as well as migrating our traditional properties into the non traditional formats. Digital media will form a good part of licensing strategies in the future”

Are we increasingly in the risk of living in clutter?
“Kids are great at multi tasking and besides a good brands always have a way of reaching the top regardless of the clutter” retorted Tanya. “Nickelodeon is very globaly focused and I belive that there is a lot that we in US need to learn from the Asian countries particularly countries like Japan and Korea” she added.

The conclusion : Digital media was not hype but was already there and companies were not merely investing in it but strategising around it. The challenge was to do creatives across platforms while retaining essence of the story.

The online home of Nick Australia's Podcast Pic courtesy:

Early on in the morning session on Kids Programming outlook for 2010, the panel comprising of Decode Entertainment Inc Partner/Executive Producer Neil Court, ZDF Commissioning Editor Nicole KEEB and Nickelodeon (Australia) Vice President & General Manager Katrina Southon had discussed the same topic of multi platform content.

“Today’s kids are born multi taskers and use multiple media in a very sophisticated way. Looking forward the mantra is relevant content for relevant platforms” remarked Nick’s Southon

” Nickelodeon in its various offering the world over has succesfully included emerging media platforms in its strategy. While Nick Germany has content on Mobile, Nick US has a broadband offering. Nick Australia has an audio podacast service in the afternoons which we have branded as Bus Stop. Nickelodeon’s Spongebob is live on Mobile in Japan” she added.

Currently new digital media contributes to 3-4% of the total and even as it is gaining importance, a volumes driven revenue model around it seeks to be created.