I’m writing from Vegas, where the original intention of this post was to bring to light some tangible and interesting insights and data-points from the opening day of the National Association of Broadcasters Show and the Connected TV Marketing Association’s experiences. I had planned to discuss Connected TV, the shifting world of broadcasting, and how content and advertising is rapidly changing. The truth is that I didn’t even step onto the conference floor today. I gracefully managed to lose my wallet the prior night, containing within it my personal identification, credit cards and all cash to my name. If you have ever tried to gain access to needed resources in these sorts of situations, I can tell you, that not having I.D in Vegas when trying to withdrawal emergency money from a bank, is no easy task and something I feel most of the town has heard all too many times in differing circumstances. This element is compounded when trying to figure out any sort of transportation to say… get to a conference.

So what does my story have to do with Content? Advertising? Connected TV? Plenty.
(Beware: Philosophical and off the cuff article below- I’m working with what I’ve got.)

 Entertainment: Personalized and Interactive.

I spent a lot of time today walking the strip in order to take care of the situation detailed above. Taxis weren’t possible up until I could get the financial situation all sorted. Walking the strip is an exceptional study into how we consume entertainment. You pass by everything from street performers, costumed personas, pirate shows, hawkers selling theater tickets, hawkers selling adult entertainment, offerings for bottle service at clubs, poets, singers, fat Elvis- you get the point. As diverse groups walk around all and I mean ALL of these entertainment options receive an audience. Some watch the street performers, while others walk straight past them. Some buy a $3 poetry book, some buy $250 tickets to shows, while some watch the free Bellagio fountain, but there is a market for all of it. There is a wide consumer base for each of these differing formats to act as entertainment. Short form, long form, free or vastly expensive. This is an incredibly intriguing concept for those creating the future of TV.  As the connected TV landscape grows and new forms of content become possible, there will be an audience. It would even appear to not matter what the content is, or how it is monetized, there will be an audience.

I believe that we will start to see more and more content offerings based on this simple fact. Create it and they will come. Create it and there is a way to monetize it. This is highlighted for premium content, but based on the microcosm of sin city and the “Vegas effect” even content with far less robust production can be considered engaging entertainment. As TV is suddenly able to deliver the same sort of diversity, and the same sort of “watch what we want, when we want, how we want” we suddenly find ourselves in an age, where choice allows for hyper-personalized content to flourish. When demand flourishes, so will new creators of content further changing the entire landscape and business models that fall behind it.

b. This should be common sense, but it bears mentioning. The entertainment options on the street that provided audience interaction, in whatever way, maintained the largest crowds and those that lasted longest. It didn’t matter what it was, but if the performer sought out audience interaction, rather than simple presenting, their audience stayed. We can talk about the lean back nature of TV as much as we would like. We can talk about relaxation and escape, but the fact of the matter is that the more direct two-way interaction we create with audiences, the more engaged they are across mediums. Consumers want to interact. It doesn’t matter if they are walking down the street in Vegas or sitting in front of their couch. If we can come up with new creative forms of interactive engagement that involve our audience, they will participate. Advertisers, mark this down. Your thirty second push is nowhere near as relevant nor powerful as a push that needs involvement. Your new role should be in providing exceptionally engaging experiences that demand robust interaction.

c. Vegas is a entertainment town. Sure, people come for the gambling, but in my opinion they equally come to be entertained in other ways, especially live and in person entertainment. Live shows. Theater. Night Clubs that involve socialization. Street performers. People will travel thousands of miles and spend thousands of dollars to be highly entertained for even a weekend. The emphasis here is on live entertainment. I want to highlight this a selling point to the TV industry. If we can start to mix live entertainment with that of Television and digital experiences to come up with a blendable reality we empower all sides of the spectrum. We can conceptualize experiences that draw crowds from far and wide who are above all else, seeking to be entertained in new and novel ways and are willing to pay for it.

Lastly, I wanted to say a quick Thank You to Tracy Swedlow and the TV of Tomorrow show. I was finally able to prove my identity today, by directing a teller to my website speaker profile at the TVOT Show. It had my name and my photo I.D. available (found here) http://thetvoftomorrowshow.com/SF_2012_speakers and thusly proved my identity. For those of you wondering about the benefits of speaking at conferences, Digital identity should now be included on the list.