The audience as boss


“The audience is taking the power. If we want to do real connected TV, we have to let them be the boss,’ said Gary Carter, Chief Operating Officer and Chief Creative Officer, FMX FremantleMedia at a conference session at MIPTV, the international content market that came to a close on 7 April in Cannes, France.

Carter advised producers not to forget that viewers are making relationships between themselves before, during and after they watch shows. And that doesn’t just mean audiences voting contestants off their favourite talent show, or a peak of 189,000 people using Facebook to play along to Endemol’s The Million Dollar Drop in the UK. It also involves a huge UK online fan community advising Skins participants (Channel 4) what they should or should not be doing as the series progresses.

Laurine Garaude, Television Division Director at MIPTV organiser Reed MIDEM noted that the development of television, PCs, tablets and mobile technology is changing the relationship between content providers and audiences. “If companies can harness the multi-platform audience engagement they will be well positioned to reach audiences.’ 

The new generation of entertainment content consumers, willing and able to watch television while surfing the web, tweeting to their friends and giving their live feedback about shows to the shows themselves, is driving change within the entertainment industry.

That was the message in Cannes this week as some 11,500 executives (including 4,000 buyers) from 4,000 companies and 100 countries gathered to take stock of the new world of connected television. The audience, rather than the programmer, is increasingly calling the shots.

MIPTV 2011 launched the augural Connected Creativity forum – a combination of conference discussions, start-up presentations, pitching sessions to venture capitalists and a futuristic Experience Hub.

“We launched Connected Creativity this year because the industry faces an interesting learning curve, so we wanted to bring together television and entertainment content creators, technology experts and mobile device specialists,’ added Laurine Garaude.

“Connected Creativity is a bit like a start-up. We wanted to bring people together and to support up-and-coming entertainment entrepreneurs, which is why we set up CC Ventures* for start-ups to pitch their projects to a panel of venture capitalists,’ reported Anne de Kerckhove, Reed MIDEM’s Entertainment Division Director. “With some 500 registered Connected Creativity participants, it has been an encouraging debut and we will build on the concept in the future.’


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