DEW2014: Into the Dork Forest
by Screenmancer Staff
LOS ANGELES, CA: You'd think Digital Entertainment World, the launch  
event from Feb. 18-20 in Century City, was all about Zen. Meaning,  
Engagement, Engagement in the Moment, and Being in the Moment for the  
purposes of monetization were the flash buzzwords. What is the moment?  
 From EA Games COO Peter Moore, their Conversion Funnel is the  
top-down model of AEM High: Acquire, Engage, Monetize, with an  
inverted funnel. The most important thing they learned was from the  
music industry, from the Napster era, "don't sue your consumer." "It  
took Steve Jobs to come in and clean up that mess," Moore said,  
alluding to iTunes
Ninja Metrics won the start-up competition, in a close race with  
Social Rewards and WeBrand, followed by dealflicks, Daterz, Meograph,  
Borne Digital, Flipps, IROCKE, ChannelMeter, Affinity Influencing  
Systems, and Krush Mobile, which was reportedly DQ-ed because they  
raised $6 M USD according to Crunchbase. A top takeaway from the  
$74,000 (hosting and cash) prize contest is: Metrics, Metrics, Metrics.
Box CEO Aaron Levie put the metrics issue in play with "how about this  
for a pitch?" Levie, whose company successfully 'hid' Beyonce's album  
in the cloud and other neat tricks, offered the metric angle as a  
valuator in a comparison of Netflix versus HBO. Both have big dollars,  
both have original content, HBO is a perennial awards contender, but.  
To assess value he added the weight of their big data. Netflix has a  
metadata Fort Knox that the NSA would admire; whereas HBO has workaday  
big data collection. Levie suggested that total worth in a media  
company now must include the gleam of metadata.
Levie also vouched obliquely for the security of the cloud with the  
unnamed artist (Beyonce) hush-hush album drop. The Secure Cloud mantra  
resounded from ABC to Amazon to Anvato CEO Alper Turgut to Ring  
Digital CEO Brain Ring to Ben Huang, Mediaroom Division of Ericsson.
Call it the Bitcoinization of Analytics, that information gathering  
known as metrics is basically an alternative currency. Metadata is  
money; money is metadata.
VEVO CEO Rio Caraeff, the stylish bright minded c-level disrupter,  
offered this succinct definition of metadata in actionable big data  
terms. Metadata is "the exhaust coming off all quantified human  
interactions." In simpler terms, UGD (User Generated Data) is  
questionable, whereas Metadata does not lie - if you spent 9 hours  
going to 15 sites, logged in, watched a movie, clicked a widget, your  
engagement in all of those "moments" is not only exactly quantifiable,  
but actionable as a marketing tool.
But it is not called Marketing anymore. It is Community Management.  
And a legion of "Community Managers" become the consumer contact  
points for further collection of the luscious Big Data.
Ads can now be "baked in server-side in the cloud." Imagine these 7  
Dwarf Steps from Disney/ABC: 1) Authorize Users (login). 2) Geolocate;  
3) Identify Multicatalog Ingest (i.e.; did you come from ESPN or other  
site); 4) Check Clearances (do they have talent, music  
broadband/mobile usage OK's); 5) Neilsen Ratings stats kick in; 6)  
Streams Transcoded; 7) Detection of Ad Placement. All these  
mini-adjustments happen in a jiffy and pop on your mobile device.
Flash news? Tablets will be included in the Neilsen mix of ratings  
metrics by the end of 2014. Get ready to be spammed in any position:  
lean-in or lean-out devices.
So, Platform Heels, sexy platforms, equal Platform Deals. "Nail the  
transition" was EA's catchphrase last year for staying with the pace  
of change to mobile, and digital transactions vs other types of  
purchases. Mobile is where IT is at, so to speak.
Next time you ask who put the App in the App store, consider the deal  
announced at DEW when Facebook's Mark Zuckerberg bought WhatsApp for  
either $16 or $19 BN USD according to hearsay or Reuters. The New York  
Times wildly projects the service, which circumvents Telcos on  
messaging and telephony, will be worth "50 Times" that amount, more  
than the GPD of many developed countries. Apps are rainmakers in the  
internet space. Read: Mobile Apps.
UTA's co-Founder Jeremy Zimmer flew the flag for Hollywood in the  
digital mix with "Can Originality and Innovation Save Hollywood?" as a  
keynote conversation. Zimmer blithely detailed a few failures he has  
had in the space to spice things up, most notably 60 Frames. 60 Frames  
is the frame-rate in animation versus 20 frames per second in film. At  
the same time deftly deflecting a wanton pitch from an audience member  
in the form of a question, Zimmer offered only this gem: "there's not  
that much original talent out there." Original talent is the implied  
moneyshot from all of those home-made videos uploaded on YouTube. An  
unnamed internet "star" has been born with 25 M views in a matter of  
months, talent that UTA now represents. Animators, CGI artists,  
creatives in digital can also now be repped with upped rates and all  
the trappings saved for actors/directors. In other words, Below the  
Line is the new Above the Line in Hollywood.
Rumble Box's Gee Yeung gave a comic relief Z Brush demo on rapid  
prototyping for character generation to a friendly crowd, those maxed  
out on acronyms, buzzblurbs, and metric mantras. Yeung's focus was  
"creating iconic characters" (think Angry Bird) for cash and content  
branding. His 2-3 day modeling of a prototype Orc to the client  
sign-off is unheard of speed. Yet the final modeling for use on games  
and other applications still requires cloth, hair, water artists as  
with traditional animation. Regardless, Rumble Box was a moment of  
tactile from-ink indulgence.
In sum, hashtag DEW2014, included some fine speakers, from charismatic  
Jordan Berliant (Partner/Head of Music Management, The Collective) to  
the founder of Gumgum to Zane Valle (CEO Watchwith) to Jennifer Price,  
Head of Media and Entertainment from Twitter - even with the gouache  
of buzzwords.
For pros and insiders, the line in the silicon was clearly drawn  
between Creatives and Metric-mania. How SEO can you go? To the point  
of diminishing creative returns until the "authentic voice" is watered  
down like a hotel cocktail.
For consumers, it is time to rope off of your PII (Personally  
Important Information) and build your metric avatar accordingly. Big  
business is watching and weighing your bit part in the Big Data.
For the curious, download Z Brush's sister app Sculptress for free,  
and visit the Lego store to view the 3D viewer that allows imaging in  
virtual space from an icon on the box, and get ready for the 4K world  
of transcoded streams heading at your from that plasma screen, or  
"second screen" of choice, coming at you in 2014.
FULL DISCLOSURE: was comped in as attendee outside the  
StartUp Competition, so Thanks DEW very much.
(Please use our content, as we advocate Freemium, just attribute  
SCREENMANCER is a gathering place for people who make movies (and technology)
[Or think of us as Second Screen-mancer... in keeping with the Ron  
Burgundy-esque world of tech jargon.]
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