SXSW is much more than a music festival. Every year, SXSW offers an opportunity for brands and media companies to connect with the latest technology and innovation from VR to AI and Deep Learning. This year, video is poised to be the hottest topic emerging from the event. What should you be paying attention to when it comes to video at SXSW? A definitive guide for navigating the deep waters of the video industry events at SXSW lies below.

Context is key

Video is the future, and content and curation are the keys to unlocking its power. For brands and marketers, the question is not whether their audience is online, but rather how to find them. ZEFR knows that reaching an audience when they’re most interested in a particular topic, delivering an ad that is contextually aligned with whatever they’re watching, is the best way to enhance the experience for viewers – and the ROI for advertisers. SXSW has programmed around the topics of content and curation – here are a few sessions that best demonstrate this:

  • TV and Digital Video in an Immediate World: Digital video or TV? It’s not a question of either or: we know from data that they can complement each other. How do you balance TV and Digital Video content in an immediate world?
  • Social Video and the Future of Consumption: Dive into how video adapted so quickly, how the format has changed consumption habits and if it has all been for the better.
  • You’re On: Marketing Into the Live Video Stream: After years of pushing on demand time-shifting, digital media mavens are pushing live video across all social platforms. But going live and real-time has not always been a safe or even scalable environment for marketers. So who has done it well already, and what can we learn from them about the new shape of a brand’s video strategy?

Streaming Services, OTT & New Video Trends

Here are some cold hard facts courtesy of a Consumer Technology Association study and Nielsen: Over 1 billion hours of video are watched on YouTube each day. Video viewership has increased 30% over the past five years, with Nielsen’s analysis revealing that in 2016 there is a positive connection between YouTube views, uploaded TV content on YouTube and TV reach. Audiences haven’t lost interest in TV content, but content consumption habits and their desire for video entertainment on their own terms. With the explosion of streaming services, skinny bundles and OTT delivery platforms by content owners, the future of TV is red hot in 2017. Be sure to check out speakers and representatives from, streaming services, new players in digital content production and technology at SXSW.

  • OTT and the Complete Streaming Ecosystem: The OTT industry is expanding to include a flourishing world of interest-based streaming channels, much like the transition from broadcast to cable television. How can you monetize online video without relying solely on advertising?
  • Cord Cutting – is it worth it?:Cord cutting is no longer a fad, it’s a fact. What bundles are streaming services offering to make leaving cable less painful/scary? Just how economic is dumping cable for streaming services?
  • It’s Not Facebook, It’s Live TV: Discuss the ways that brands, content owners, and audiences alike can benefit from new engagement technologies.

Water Cooler Moments

The performances, events and stunts at SX lend themselves to social chatter. These “water cooler moments” will not only be discussed, they’ll be broadcast – through social video. Distribution of video is what drives viewership. When shared by fans and distributed to the point of virality, these water cooler moments offer an opportunity for brands to align their message against trending content. Here are the moments we predict will lend themselves to viral video water cooler moments:

  • Joe Biden – The Former Vice President of the US will be delivering a talk on the progress made with the White House Cancer Moonshot under his leadership during the Obama administration as well as unveil plans for a Biden cancer initiative, “calling on attendees at SXSW to join him in taking on the disease”
  • Cecile Richards – President of Planned Parenthood Federation of America, Ms. Richards is a frequent speaker and commentator on issues related to women’s rights, reproductive health, and sex education.
  • Wu Tang Clan – Legendary hip-hop collective featuring street poetics, kung fu mythology, ingenious production and entrepreneurial savvy.

Digital video influencers

Influencers are the new celebrities, and they’ve found success because of the opportunities of embracing video as a central form of storytelling. From short form clip artists to vloggers and those who are making a living sharing every aspect of their lives on social platforms, influencers, as celebs and brand ambassadors, cannot be discounted. The SX schedule is packed with rising video influencers – if you can’t be at the festival, follow these who can show you what you’re missing.