Relevant content, fresh opportunities at CASBAA 2012

Louise Duffy | 01-11-2012

A strong push towards investment in relevant local content and newly emerging markets took centre stage on the first day of the CASBAA Convention 2012 in Hong Kong. Featuring global and Asian industry leaders, regulators, media personalities and technologists the conference line-up pinpointed key trends facing the industry today.

“Creating relevant content is a huge focus,” said Gerhard Zeiler, president of Turner Broadcasting System International at the Talking TV session. Emmy and Golden Globe winner and counder & chairman of Electus, Ben Silverman, highlighted key innovations around local content production that are already occurring, while Ross Martin, EVP, Scratch/Viacom Media Networks, noted that social media is being used to continue and further improve engagement. However, the first day speakers all agreed that content providers should not lose sight of the audience as “they are the bosses.”

A concentration on local content for millennials is also creating opportunities in emerging South East Asian markets such as Myanmar, where the median age of the population is under 30-years-old, said Ye Htut, Myanmar’s Deputy Minister of Information. He said the Myanmar broadcast industry is opening up and would welcome foreign investment in pay-TV when a new regulatory framework is completed. He added that with over 100 ethnic minorities, his government is looking to the interests of diverse groups represented through local content.

Diego Reck of FOX International Channels in Latin America, highlighted the integration of a newly engaged audience commentary during live sports events, while Gautam Anand, Director, Content Partnerships, Asia-Pacific at Google pointed to massive increases in the use of social media. Meanwhile, Kenneth Lee, Director of Media Networks Technology, The Walt Disney Company, highlighted his company’s explorative efforts to insert advertising into the Watch Disney app.

Monetising social media efforts spurred debate. Jonathan Ellis, CEO of TMS in Hong Kong, argued that “you should not drive people from a broadcast media into a social platform without understanding why. You need to own the social data that is being created and use it. That’s where the value lies,” he said.

Participants also explored the opportunities surrounding OTT. Sam Blackman, CEO, Elemental observed that OTT is now being used to enter markets where there is no other presence. However, Dennis Rose, VP, Asia-Pacific, Brightcove cautioned that complexity is not going to go away. Even so, all panellists agreed that OTT is a tool that can unleash enormous market potential, and if it not seized, will be left to enterprising pirates.

Whether it is traditional media or social media, piracy was a key concern for all attendees. Andrew Wajs, CTO, Irdeto pointed out that tracking and monitoring is vital for combating hackers, who are becoming ever more creative. He added that for content in mobile devices, securing the device with secure software is crucial. “‘The idea is to make it as uncomfortable and inconvenient to view pirated content and drive viewers to legitimate sources.”