SXSW and the Video Myths

video

Mentioning that I go to SXSW usually generates one of two responses. The first is a desire to go and the second is “what for?”. On my first visit, five years ago, I thought I would discover the ‘next big thing’. Last year, for example, Meerkat launched. I imagined bringing the news to a wide-eyed audience back in Blighty, but given the nature of communications everyone was aware at the same time I was (who knew social media was instant and global?). Not only that, but the launch of Periscope shortly afterwards eclipsed Meerkat’s moment in  the Texas sun.

So why do I go? Well it’s fun, interesting and sunny in March. There’s free food and drink to be had and great live music. What’s not to like?

The real value though is in the depth of insight. You can go from panel session to keynote speech on to a meetup and learn little, but then a nugget will emerge from a session that you went to just to bridge a gap in the day. So what did I take away from SXSW 2016? The current gold rush in communications and technology this year is largely around video and like many hype cycles there is a lot of bluff and bluster. Here are a few myths that were busted for me in Austin.

#Myth 1 – It’s about the view count

OK, the view count matters but we need to be careful about what that means.  Views are not the same for different platforms. View counts on YouTube, Facebook and Snapchat are all calculated differently. No-one knows for sure, but YouTube counts a view after about video for 30 seconds. and Facebook after just three seconds. In three seconds you could see several videos on Snapchat. So when a major annual UK tennis event says it had more than 600 million video views on Snapchat that could equal to 55,000 views for a full three hour match on another platform.

#Myth 2 – It’s all about 360 VR 

With the consumer roll out of 360 VR headsets this year there’s a lot invested in telling us that it’s the next big thing. That might be right but for now there’s very little compelling content and a small amount of very boring content.  A far more immersive experience was available in an 8K 3D cinema with 22.2 surround sound from Japanese broadcaster NHK.  Not a headset in sight.

#Myth 3 – It’s all about Snapchat

The user stats are incredible, the video view are mind boggling (if you ignore Myth 1) and big media brands are piling in.  Snapchat is huge but it’s not the future for brands or broadcasters. People make their own content and then share it with their own audience. That’s the point. It’s also for a young demographic, people in the main grow out of wearing virtual bunny ears.

We all want to know what the next big thing is, but a step towards that goal is discovering what’s not.

Biz Stone Awarded CIPR President’s Medal

IMG_0323 crop

The agency’s Managing Partner and CIPR President 2016, Rob Brown, was delighted to present entrepreneur, Biz Stone, with the CIPR President’s Medal at the SXSW Music, Film, and Interactive Festival in Austin, Texas, this week.

The presentation was made on behalf of Stephen Waddington CIPR President 2014, who awarded the founder and CEO of Super.Me, co-founder of Twitter and contributor to Jelly, Medium, The Obvious Corporation, and Odeo the coveted title.

Biz received the CIPR’s most prestigious accolade for his leadership as an entrepreneur at the forefront of developing new forms of media, networks and applications, modernising the business of public relations by enabling genuine two-way engagement between organisations and their publics.

Commenting on receiving the award, Biz Stone said: “We built Twitter to be readable and writable on every mobile phone on the planet because SMS is ubiquitous. Our goal was to provide the infrastructure to support the creativity and engagement that emerged. That ambition has meant that it has become a platform for public engagement and is part of the changing nature of communication between individuals and organizations.”

Speaking at the festival, Rob said: “Biz Stone is a true innovator who has played a fundamental role in how communications has changed, something that in turn has altered the way we practise PR, he’s also a very down to earth guy.”