(Check out the kickass Xerox Parc video from 1991 at the beginning of the 1st video below. As William Gibson said, "the future is already here, it's just unevenly distributed.")
Jerry Wang (an awesome new contributor to my blog) and I attended APPNATION today. Drew Ianni (@appnationconf) created and organized the event to showcase the high velocity growth of mobile apps. Here are three big takeaways from listening in on the keynotes:
Big Media Companies Now Technology Companies
Digital initiatives leaders from major corporations chimed in on the affects of the growing apps ecosystem.
Both ABC-Disney EVP Albert Chang WSJ Digital Network President Gordon McLeod admitted the media companies they work at are really now technology companies. The focus is now also on distribution, sending out content to any screen that may have a consumer's attention at the time.
Big Corporations Thinking Small
In being technology companies, they all recognize the need to find innovation and think small. The digital leaders talked about the app development process for them as distilling consumer experiences to its finest. Many identified offering what Steve Jobs referred to as clarity and simplicity is key but they also want innovations to engage and grab users' attention amongst all the information overload.
Still Experimenting With Revenue Models, Freemium Best Option So Far
With the app ecosystem still relatively young, many businesses still have the luxury of experimenting with ways to make money. The argument is whether a paid model or a freemium model would work.
ESPN SVP of New Media John Kosner points out that his company has worked with both models side to side and sees freemium as the obvious choice. It's still very hard to convince people to pull out their wallets and enter in credit card numbers.
The rest of the day will be spent exploring various startups and companies demoing their products on the expo floor.
Here is the keynote video. Check out the AMAZING video from Xerox Parc from the early 1990's. Don't those look a lot like iPads they're holding?!
Here are Jerry's Notes for Keynote Executive Roundtable: Big Media in the age of applications
Mod: Drew Ianni, Chairman, AppNation
Martin Tannerfors, Director, Mobile Innovator, Samsung
John Cantarella, President of Digital, News, Business Sports Groups, Time, Inc.
John Kosner, SVP & GM, New Media, ESPN
- What's top of mind?
ESPN thinks combination of social media and super smart phones makes a revolution. Explosion of checkin services impacts a lot.
Time thinks everything changes quick. Thinks business operation is important. How to differentiate, we're now news gathering and news commenting. People are disrupting businesses.
Thinks mobile development is too slow. 15 years ago just wap pages, no SMS, now it's going crazy. Now we're connecting TVs and apps and mobile phones.
ESPN spends $15k on apps.
Samsung debuting WebTV and apps. Look at the market then look at what you need.
ESPN doesn't think there's a big paid model, thinks freemium is a better option. ESPN's data says penetration of paid model is tiny compared to freemium.
Time thinks they can upsell content, using magazine as the push. Experimenting a lot with business model.
Samsung wants to be anywhere to enable new technology and apps.
ESPN wants to create scarcity, wants to create premium experience.
Here are Jerry's Notes for Opening Keynote Roundtable: The Titans of the App Economy:
- Big corporations thinking small like startups with mobile apps (focused consumer experience)
- Corporate culture and structure changing, old media companies now technology companies
Sept 13, 10am
Mod: Mark Kvamme, Partner, Sequoia Capital
Albert Chang, EVP, Digital Media, ABC-Disney Television
Jessica Steel, SVP, Biz Dev, Pandora
Gordon McLeod, President, WSJ Digital Network
- Connectivity is important. Moderator is on all three major brands' data mobile broadband.
- How do you guys look at all this media delivery vehicles?
WSJ not a media company but a technology company, need strategy and deliver content. Kept finding where customers are and tried to get there too.
Pandora is personalizing radio, looking to reach out to audience, started with websites, then mobile applications, then home electronic devices.
ABC no longer a broadcast company but a multi-platform, multi-technology company. On every single screen but opting for best consumer experience.
- How to justify use of content?
WSJ has different content on different devices, striving for WSJ content everywhere and every format.
Grew 3% on subscription rates for WSJ.
ABC pays license fees for digital content, pay studios, etc. Fees calculated as "windows", anything beyond that has additional fees and third party deals in place. LOST drove traffic and ABC made profit for online distribution.
6%-10% online consumption for ABC, edge case viewers that wouldn't have tuned in anyways.
- How does bandwidth affect business?
Pandora wants more bandwidth for a better user experience.
ABC wants to grow online viewership but not cannibalize their main lunch.
- How to distribute and challenges?
ABC looks at device and looks at use cases. Birth of apps ecosystem is about distill functionality into the maximized user experience. Predict what users want and be there. Content is data, just rendered differently.
Pandora was complicated but they made it simple because radio is a passive activity. Their entrance into the car is via mobile devices, users taking in their phones into cars.
WSJ thinks app world is a chance to re-think business.
WSJ, lets audience dictate. Went for Blackberry first then iPhone. Going into Android.
Audience 25% going for iOS dev next 12-24 mo, 33% for Android, no one doing blackberry, 1 doing windows dev, 4 interested in WebOS
Pandora investing in multiple advertising products.
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