It’s hard to believe it has already been two weeks since I attended 2014 Digital Hollywood Spring at the Ritz Carlton Marina del Rey. Hundreds of Hollywood industry professionals came together to network and discuss the “digital revolution” happening in Hollywood. I even had the privilege to speak at one of the panels titled, “Intersection of Social and TV: The 2nd Screen Experience – From Social Viewing and Communication to Data Visualization”.
The general consensus that I got from the event was that digital entertainment, especially on YouTube, Netflix, Hulu and other major online video platforms, is increasingly becoming an integral part of content strategy for Hollywood. Advertisers are spending more of their advertising dollars on bite-sized digital content which is mainly geared toward the millennials. And this trend is driving content creators to create premium content for these online video platforms, which in the past would have been more suited for networks, cables and big screens. But most of the attendees also agreed that the digital slice of the entire media pie is still small, and the proper monetization is still elusive.
One of the things that interested me the most was the conversation about bringing interactivity to TV. In the midst of the “transmedia proliferation”, most attendees agreed that the TV platform is here to stay, at least for some time to come. With that said, the question was how to bring interactivity that’s usually found on laptops and other mobile media devices to living rooms. It was interesting that the boundary of interactivity they discussed remained within the usual suspects, namely the second screen experience and social media integration. So, when I mentioned Web robotics and social robotics for interactivity on my panel, the audience was obviously pleasantly surprised. My idea of interactivity involved controlling machines and robots over the Internet in real-time, in addition to video streaming, to better engage the viewers with the content.
Digital Hollywood was indeed all about digital, yet the conversations in general were limited to where we are now with digital entertainment and not much about where we are going with it. In a way, it’s understandable since digital entertainment is changing so rapidly, and it’s almost impossible to predict what the future holds. But one thing is clear – more interactivity will come our way, ever more immersing the viewers into what they are watching, so that it’s no longer about simply watching, but interacting and participating in whatever it is in front of them.