Panels: Latch on to interactivity


Digital innovations are transforming the very nature of media consumption, according to the voices heard Thursday during the Digital Entertainment Media & Marketing Excellence conference at the Hyatt Regency Century Plaza in Century City.

"We can have the coolest content or technology, but changing human behavior is hard," said Mitch Feinman, senior vp at Fox Mobile Entertainment. "But if you give people a reason to participate, they will."

Feinman backed up his comments with a reference to Fox's success with "American Idol" and its push for viewers to determine the show's winner each season through text-messaged votes.

"In Season 1, we had 12,000 text messages, compared to 65 million in the most recent season," he said. "I think that gives you a sense of the trajectory of this medium."

Feinman further espoused the power of the mobile platform for ad integration in mobisodes, which Fox has created to accompany and complement shows like its primetime series "Bones."

Eric Bader, senior vp and director of digital connections at MediaVest Worldwide, also emphasized tapping into the interactive nature of mobile during his panel examining video-on-demand.

"Too much of what we're seeing is for branding and awareness -- it's the easy model to graft onto digital," he said. "But what we're looking for from digital media is levels of interaction."

He noted seeing a doubling and tripling of digital budgets from his clients but stressed the importance of using the digital spectrum differently.

"For us, it's a lot less about finding ways to use mobile but the ubiquity of the phone to allow you to participate in a campaign," Bader said. "That it's interactive is more compelling to us."

Capitalizing on the niche market of the urban genre and hip-hop culture in particular was the focus of a panel featuring Quincy Jones III, chairman, CEO and chief creative officer of QD3, and Paul Campbell, QD3's president and chief operating officer. QD3 integrates a library of music-related content with TV, video and the Internet.

Campbell said the key to keeping their company successful is to stay innovative with online advertising, play to the strengths of each digital platform and encourage its interactive nature.

"We want our content to move freely about and to create an environment where all the tools are there, where it's easy to have a good experience," Campbell said.