iMix Conference, Hollywood CA
by Elaine Morris Palmer August, 2003
This was the question that opened remarks by Steve Billinger, President/COO Extend Media Ltd., keynote speaker at iMIX’s first of its kind (v1.0) conference last week in Hollywood.
Take two parts aggregated viewership plus one part operating system middleware
sitting between the content producer and the viewer, add the X-factor — personal information databases — spend three days sorting out ways to respect, protect and create a two-way value proposition between provider and consumer/user and you have I-MIX. The interactive media information exchange whose mission and purpose for this conference was knowledge aggregation and distribution. Not to the consumer, but first, to the industry players themselves.
“This industry is looking for Elvis right now. After all he is the killer app. and this industry is still looking for its killer app.” quips Mark Miller, conference chair. The nascent Interactive Television industry is who he is referring to.
Believing that the “human network” is the weakest link, Miller assembled the current (and likely future) new media decision-makers for what some feared to be a kind of new age digital encounter group. “There’s a new business landscape with new constituents. This is not TV production,” states Miller. The premise put forth here is that in a rapidly changing technology environment, all elements in the value chain are inter-dependent and they, as a whole, drive the process forward.
In this highly functional, structured and “safe” environment, unfettered by sales pitches, (anyone who sold during “open mike” sessions risked being thrown in the pool) these community leaders and innovators formed work groups to educate each other on the basic principles and motivations of what each brings to the bargaining table. “This was a communication environment and communication takes the friction out of doing business,” adds Miller. “If we didn’t contribute directly to the bottom line of everyone involved, then we failed.”
Among the pressing issues addressed were: defining Interactive TV, how ITV changes the television production process, are existing tools enough and what more is needed, what are the legal ramifications of making ITV, and how are we going to pay for this?
A closer look at impediments to adoption of new entertainment technology reveals consumers’ fears. The burden of the interactive television industry is to create a credible value proposition to address three issues: complexity,
obsolescence and compatibility. All the players differentiate in price, quality and scale. Then, these fears are aggravated by the skirmish for prevailing mindshare — channel, network, show or brand? Miller makes the case, “at an industry level, if everyone doesn’t win then everybody loses.”
Illustrating the commitment of major content developers, open standards, proliferation of broadband, set-top boxes at the right price for mass consumer deployment, third party development tools, and real business models, presenters at this conference served to challenge the industry as a whole to effectively communicate the elevated value proposition inspired by Interactive Television.
Miller plans for going forward are to continue to build the “human network” by providing the communication infrastructure required to aid the Interactive Television industry in finding it’s Elvis. Hey, “It’s only rock and roll, but I like it.”
contact Elaine Palmer @ firstname.lastname@example.org