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Recap: Internet Week New York 2014

June 2, 2014

New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers opening remarks.
New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio delivers opening remarks.

The seventh annual Internet Week New York took place on May 19-25 in Manhattan, themed “Where Technology, Business and Culture Meet.” Tactics was on hand for the first day of events at the conference, held at The Altman Building headquarters. Here are some highlights from sessions with Aereo, Netflix, Hearst, Mozilla, Yahoo and more:

Welcome Address from Mayor Bill de Blasio

Internet Week New York 2014 kicked off with opening remarks by New York City Mayor Bill de Blasio. He said that there is “great synergy in NYC” and that the “tech sector is growing and vibrant.” De Blasio noted that New York is the second largest tech sector in the United States, with 291,000 jobs in the tech ecosystem, and Brooklyn is the fastest growing tech community outside of Silicon Valley.

The mayor said that it’s important that we have universal, affordable broadband access. “We need to be agents of change to serve people better. Disruption in the tech community is key,” he said. “We’re moving into a knowledge economy — we need to foster innovative thinkers to help tech growth. It starts with education.”

Fireside Chat with Chet Kanojia, Founder and CEO of Aereo

USA Today media columnist Michael Wolff spoke with Chet Kanojia, founder and CEO of Aereo, a platform for video content. The company sells antennas for $8 per month to broadcast HD-quality TV, via live streaming through the cloud for modern viewers, said Kanojia.

He said that 80 of the top 100 shows are broadcast TV, so Aereo is changing the way that TV and media are consumed. “If a regular antenna is OK, then a remote one should be,” Kanojia said, adding that 90 percent of the money from broadcast TV comes from advertising. “It’s an issue of private versus public and the end consumer.”

Regarding retransmission rights, he disagreed with Wolff, saying that Aereo is not like Napster. Kanojia said that he started the company to “force change” and notes, “we’re playing and optimizing to win.” He said that even if Aereo loses it’s battle with the Supreme Court, then “we will still have better TV in 20-30 years.”

The Future of Television

Neil Hunt, chief product officer of Netflix, spoke on the future of TV and big data. He said, “Internet TV is personalized TV” and that Netflix delivered 6.5 billion streams in the first quarter of 2014.

“Linear TV is ripe for replacement,” he said during the event’s first keynote presentation. “It’s about personalized Internet TV. Internet TV is on demand and on the go.”

It aggregates the audience in time and space, Hunt said. It’s unbundled, has different channels, many show options, no advertising and is low cost.

Netflix has 48 million subscribers. It takes one-tenth of the bandwidth you pay for when streaming, Hunt said, as he discussed the recent net neutrality debate.

“The future of TV will be outside the home with rich storytelling and will be leading quality, on demand, personalized and democratizing entertainment,” he said.

What Is Technology’s Role in Growing Media?

Thomson Reuters correspondent Jennifer Saba interviewed Hearst’s Chief Tech Officer Phil Wiser on tech’s growing role in media, embracing the evolution of digital and why we need to deliver content fast.

“Editorial perspective is objective,” he said. “Hearst identifies products and people who can move fast and deliver.”

It’s not audience based; it’s performance based, he added, on how technology is changing business. The challenge with data is analyzing it.

“We need agility. The key is connectivity,” he said. “We need to be both a media company and a tech company — it’s a culture. Real-time content is now less stylistic and more substance.”
Down the road, Wiser also believes that some form of “heads-up display is inevitable” so people don’t always have to look down at mobile screens “like zombies.”

“The word ‘download’ is so 2003,” he said. And it’s not about replicating print magazines but about adding a digital experience too. “Innovate faster than everyone else, be social, connect, listen to your customers and deliver.”

Mozilla, Rebooted: What’s Next for Everyone’s Favorite Indie Web Browser

Michael Learmonth, chief content officer of Internet Week, interviewed Darren Herman, vice president of content services of Mozilla, on what’s next for “everyone’s favorite indie Web browser.”

Herman said that Mozilla is a nonprofit that supports an open, free, opportunistic Web and net neutrality. And Firefox accounts for 20 percent of browser usage share worldwide (43 percent in Germany) and has 450 million users globally.

Mozilla has been critical of online ad tracking and is planning to experiment with adding content, and advertisements, to the platform. It has a new operating system for mobile, and very active collaborative fans, said Herman. “It’s part browser, aggregator and content provider.”

Mozilla wants to empower the user — not the corporation — to make a great impact on the world, even as a nonprofit. “It also wants to provide same access to Internet for all people, no matter what,” said Herman.

The company is rallying in support of net neutrality as it sees “the browser bringing service back to you,” he said, and wants to fulfill its mission to promote openness, innovation and opportunity on the Web.

The Rise of Creativity in Digital Storytelling

Ned Brody, senior vice president and head of the Americas, Yahoo, spoke on the rise of creativity in digital storytelling and new opportunities for brands.

“Technology, plus creative, drive real engagement,” he said, adding that this has transformed how people consume and share information.

“Smartphone users look at their device 150 times per day,” said Brody. “There is no universal measurement across solutions.”

Yahoo has premium, audio, video, native and search, “which is the only unified digital ad solution,” he said. “Maximize your marketing effectiveness across performance and brand advertising.”

This brings online and real-life data together.

“Take content and have it live online in an environment to make it come alive,” Brody said.

He also announced that Yahoo will be running branded content for free and that you only pay when someone clicks on it. The content ultimately elevates brand, he said, so remember to tell meaningful stories and be creative to inspire and engage your audience.

“Ads should be as attractive and interesting as the content,” he said. “Marketing will evolve to the marriage of content marketing and advertising.”

Examining Media Habits of Millennials

The Millennial generation includes some of the most active consumers of media — both traditional and digital. This group is active on emerging platforms and advertisers can learn from these trends and consumption patterns. Here are a few highlights from the afternoon panel discussion:

  • Not every Millennial has ready access to the Web. The media demand will change up big time once that divide opens up. Twitter is my news homepage, said moderator Derek Thompson, senior editor, The Atlantic.
  • Look for an experience that enhances what the audience wants — it’s video snacking. Millennials look for quality and content democratization, said Alvin Bowles, CEO, Grab Media.
  • Connect passionate people with passionate products via niche video. They dig deeply and we see video completion results of 90 percent, said Geoff Schiller, chief revenue officer, Evolve Media.
  • Young people are looking for authenticity online and people who are just like them — and Millennials often identify by subject, said Alison Hillhouse, vice president of insight innovation, MTV.
  • Millennials identify with emotional content and crave the beauty of rich media. Brands should utilize the interactivity of digital, said Bonnie Fuller, editor-in-chief,
Amy Jacques

Amy Jacques is the managing editor of publications for PRSA. A native of Greenville, S.C., she holds a master’s degree in arts journalism from Syracuse University’s S.I. Newhouse School. She also holds a bachelor’s degree in advertising from the University of Georgia’s Grady College and a certificate in magazine and website publishing from New York University.


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