Notes from the NYMIEG Breakfast – DeMystifying Media & Entertainment Investment Opportunities

The writing below is basically my notes – or ‘live blogging’ of this event. May be a bit difficult to follow, but there’s a few good points and a wrap at the end. I’m really publishing this for myself to recall the event and for future discussion.

Michael Kelley: PWC – Enter, Media and Comm and Tech sector – Getting a lot of calls from CPGs (Consumer Product Groups) – regarding online entertainment and content creation.

Also noting growth rates for China, India, etc. During depression, only entertainment industry grew – historically it still grows in down times.
Stat: DVD households, sub tv and broadband households- will double in next 5 years.
Mobile devices will increase from 2.2B to 3.3B over next 5 years. Growth for many like Apple, RIM, GOogle
AT&T – bought company that has 700 and 800MHZ bandwidth to facilitate Video delivery.  Open collaboration between AT&T and top 25 Advertisers  – speaking about their next gen advertising capabilities. Change in Ad market will be significant in ’08. Times Lifestyle section from Sunday – chart of major advertisers – measured vs non measured media (but notes that many of the ‘non-measured’ are more measurable than traditional media).
Video Game growth – 9.1% growth compound yearly.

Focus groups w/ 18-34 year olds. 18-25 year olds don’t say “privacy” in focus groups. They want to be connected to content, entertainment and even advertising they’re interested in. They hate being interrupted in their viewing.
50% of You Tube video viewers will skip a full video if there’s a pre-roll. They don’t like pop ups or interstitials.
Advertisers are responding – They’re spending more time, and also spending more money in the new media world. Impression > Engagement > transaction > Relationships is the path that advertisers see.

18-25 year olds –ask them to list their favorite brands. 250-300 brands are what comes up.

“OPEN COLLABORATION” is the motto of this generation.
HooLoo – (NBC/News Corp collab) is an example.

Lydia Loizides, VP New Media at Paradigm – Largest talent agency you’ve never heard of.  They package Rescue Me, Desp. Housewives, High School Musical – Terry Hatcher, etc.

Represent stars – brands move to their client base that they wish to have them develop special media for brands. How does a brand escape branded entertainment and create content that appears online, on Network tv, radio, etc that are ground breaking packages. Hollywood realizes that if done well, you can make money pairing a brand with a writer, producer, star, etc.

They try to match the brands with talent, and with advertisers, that meet the ‘jugular’? A strategy that helps brand achieve goals. Note she’s only speaking of 18-24, 18-35 type demographic, as opposed to a real psychographic or different segement.

Bruce Maggin – EVP HAM Media

This is a continuum – from 3 tv networks to cable, to digital. There’s nothing new. The speed of change has occurred – he was in Croatia – the bellboy spoke English – he watches American TV, and he needs it to work there. The world has caught up to us. In Urakine – tv networks coming up. In much of the Eastern European world – 6% broadband penetration – but its’ going to grow rapidly.
New platforms create need for new content, which creates new distribution, which creates new platforms.
There’s an opportunity to create measurable, unlimited content.

Peter Foley – Sr Managing Directors – GE Commercial Finance, Media Comm and Entertainment.
Media is fracturing, but investors are willing to pay significant multiples. They have connection/sister company in NBCU. They’ve set up a joint venture in the Peacock Fund looking for new tech and new business plans – where NBC can add value to the company. Mobile is a huge trend.

Mike – Japan – 2D barcodes – take pic with mobile phone, you get a text message with info for an offer. Coming to the US soon.

Bruce – Online environment – creates a difficult climate – branded opportunities online in areas to make money are ones where you can control your existence. Needs protection of brands, like “outdoor.”

Lydia – somewhat agrees, mostly disagrees – engineer side of her wants to control the environment, but researcher in her understands that de-siloing will happen, and you’ll lose control. As an advertiser – you can’t create a property and own it in one media. NBC – Heroes – there’s TV, Comic Books, Blogs, the official site, the unofficial official sites, etc. A wagon wheel where there are multiple opportunites to engage customers.

Michael Kelley – People are more ‘cruising’ content, online while they’re engaged into other activities.
Where’s the money – are people still investing in traditional media?
Peter – Yes in many platforms, traditional media gets lion’s share of finance. But new platforms are starting to get investments as well.

Bruce – Marriage of traditional and online is very ‘synergistic’ – they get great traffic, but they don’t have the tools to monetize the traffic. My comment: Why not? What have they been doing for 10 years?  (He was being specific to outside of US).

Ad skippers – 20% of Ads skipping via DVR – Mike cops to being an “ad skipper”

Lydia – wouldn’t go to a brand with a pitch for a show that didn’t also involve something offline as well – DVR proof, such as merchandise or event something else.
Lydia: “I so want to be Madonna’s agent” – thinking about the deal with Live Nation.

A whole 360 degree involvement with a brand (which, note, Madison Ave never asked for permission for that). But now, with proper permission, you can create such.

Peter – You have to know the right people to deal with. Again touts the NBC-U group he works with.

Bruce – Slate financing (primarily for big block busters) is off, because many big movies are not bringing money in, and many ind films are doing very well.
Adv is a major portion of movie biz now (which I note: No one likes ads at the movies).

Bill Sobel: Most popular topic of blog – SPAC (SPecial Purpose Acquisition Corp) companies – blank check companies – IPO raised in trust which is for the purpose of finding a company to purchase, operate and grow.
Bruce: When he left CapCities he started a global investment company – a SPAC – and now he’s inundated with opportunities.

Steve Jacobs: What is PWC finding about 18-35 advertising?
Mike: The “Surrounded” viewing model – like an ‘l-bar’ you’d see in a DVD player on a computer. Example – watching biggest loser and show me tips about fitness or health.

Lydia – You have to be able to say no to the money when deals don’t fit for a brand or a star/celeb/property.
40 years ago, a consumer watching a P&G soap opera didn’t understand their own value to a company – now 18-35 year olds completely get this.

Q: Yesterday – Scripps broke up company, Madonna and Radio head deals – in future are we going to have Brands fighting for your attention all the time in many media?
Lydia – that happens now in the supermarket. By giving Apple space in a store and increasing traffic and square footage value – you understand value of brands.
Her 5 year old hates when she skips commercials – he likes the music and the ads. She’s seen ads in “ranger rick” books.

Lydia – Cable used to be a dumb pipe, now they’re data providers, voice providers, etc.

Mike: In a year you’ll be boarding a plane using your mobile like they do in the UK.
The retailers are all built for CRM – you can execute offers in your mobile phones.
There will be revenue shares and measurability.
Newspapers will be free – he no longer reads paper papers.

At the end of the panel, I asked Lydia about her comment that the Cable companies are now integrated and I posited that, as Greg Elin said the other day, the Phone companies didn’t bring us Skype and the TV Networks didn’t bring us You Tube – the cable cos have little incentive to allow us to use the pipes for innovation.
Lydia countered that Skype isn’t making Ebay money and Google hasn’t been able to monetize YouTube, and basically gave a lesson about making money in businesses and figuring out the money first.
I agree, businesses must make money. However, Skype and VOIP have changed the way cable and phone companies think about their businesses. YouTube may not be making Google money, but if there’s no model, how come NBCU and News Corp are doing a JV to compete with it. And, will your cable company allow that content to be carried? What about indie content? Walled gardens aren’t long term sustainable – this is a little around what’s been called “Net Neutrality” but there’s more to it – more like Bob Frankston’s argument regarding broadband as a utility.
More thoughts on this another time.

Thanks to Bill Sobel and NYMIEG for a great event.

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