Although media industries have always been driven by technological development, it’s interesting to see how digital tech companies are making their marks at #BVE19.
This year’s BVE focused on machine learning, AI, OTT and platforms. Content making these days is tighten with online platform delivery. AI has been applied in many aspects of media content production: sorting out content, organising metadata, making business plan. Despite promises and possibilities of machine learning and AI to transform content production and operations, it seems that most media workers are sceptical and resistent of the implementation of AI and machine learning. Not only because of job loss, but also the not-so-perfect jobs done by machines.
Audience is another keyword that kept being mentioned in the talks. Having access to cutting-edge technologies has advanced content production, but how to successfully target and communicate with audiences remains a big issue. Commissioners from MTV International, BBC Three, and Channel Four discussed their thoughts on what’s next for 16-34s. Each channel has its own focus and remits (in BBC and Channel Four’s case). For example, BBC Three’s ‘Abused by my girlfriend‘, and MTV’s ‘True Love or True Lies‘ are considered quite popular amongst young audience. But Channel Four’s ‘Shipwrecked‘ appeared to be a disaster due to content targeted for different generations of audiences mixed together.
And, data is at the heart of everything people do. To understand audience behaviours, BBC requires users to log into iPlayer so that they can monitor them. YouTube/Google is partnering with BT Sport to explore how subscriptions (data) can be turned into revenues (new ways of monetising models through targeted advertising).
But I have to say that the talk that I enjoyed the most at #BVE19 was the lecture ‘The grammar of film directing’ delivered by Patrick Tucker, an internationally acclaimed Stage and Screen Director. I am not a director and has no interest in directing a film. However, the participatory and theatrical approaches he used in delivering his lecture made it so engaging and animating. As an educator, I learned a lot from watching him teaching others. Of course, I learned one or two grammars in relation to film directing, too, such as ‘Don’t cross the line unless there’s a conflict’, and ‘how to resolve “unmotivated zoom”‘.
Yesterday when I walked into the exhibition hall at London Excel, I did not sense the usual buzzing at BVE. The damaging effect of Brexit has started to show. A big theatre for keynotes and a central stage normally occupied by a shiny new motor and cutting-edge industry-standard cameras were absent. No Sony (probably expected because of this. Instead, I observed a gazebo dome tent being used as a theatre venue, and unusual sponsorship from Skype, Dropbox, Barclays.
But perhaps the Brexit is the red herring here. Perhaps it’s to do with the changing nature of media industry marketing and publicity. For example, Sony’s PlayStation decided to pull from this year’s E3 event, ‘moving away from benchmark physical events designed to attract traditional press coverage and toward dedicated fan events or online broadcasts, aimed directly at consumers and YouTube influencers’.
I do hope that there is going to be a BVE2020 as this event is a great place to network, and to learn the state of art in media industries. It may not be as big as the IBC Show in Amsterdam, but it is significant and symbolic in the UK context.