New Media Expo 2008 Deconstructed Part 3 – The Decision

The Decision

This Blog post is a work in progress, my thoughts and thinking so far. I actually changed my mind about a lot of things after dinner the last night of New Media Expo – and figure I’ll do it many times over the next couple of months. I wouldn’t suggest this is the “definitive” piece on the subject, but something to continue the conversation. I covet your comments below.

If you haven’t already yet, please read part 1 and part 2 before reading this onel.

So, in short, New Media Expo was great for those attended and made the most of it. However, sadly, not enough people attended and not enough people made the most of it.

This should be filed away as obvious, but if next year ends up like 2008 … the show is dead.

So, a decision needs to be made.

Is this a show about media?

Is this a show about the technology of media?

It can’t be a show about both.

It tried for 4 years to be a show about both.

It’s never worked the way we’d hoped it would.

That has to change.

Mom once told me, “try to be everything to everyone and you’re nothing to nobody.”

Mom was right.

Formula for a Media Show

The numbers for Podcasting continue to rise. Not only are downloads going up but the list of media entities with some kind of Podcast offering continue to go up as well. This is going nowhere but up.

The ‘stars’ in this space continue to be more and more recognized. To make things even more fascinating, we are starting to see some cross-over elements (Felicia Day, Ninja, Grammar Girl, etc.). You’ll be seeing a lot more of this as well.

Now, if every media player was there, you know who would show up: “Traditional Media” Players, Press, Technology Companies, Media Buyers, Investors, etc. – basically everyone you want at a show like this. In a year or two of that, companies will start “launching” their Podcasts at this event because the press will be there to cover it.

At that point, the show has reached the tipping point – and Tim retires a very rich man.

You want a media show and the superstars need to be there. All of them. How do you get the superstars there? You need a SXSW kinda event. It ain’t gonna be cheap or easy.

All of Podcasting needs to come together to pull this off – the stars of every major player need to attend and their companies need to pay to make it happen. We’re talking 10x the budget for everyone.

I would suggest you’ll be looking at 100x the payout if we spend it.

Now, you bring everyone together like this and the sessions also have to change, the look and feel for the event needs to change. Actually the SXSW model is probably the one to model the closest. Comicon is the show to emulate after that. In short, anything that you might hear at a Podcamp needs to go away.

And your buyers/vendors are very different at a media show.

Is this where we want to go?

And, of course, should we be a “media” show or a “Podcast media” show?

Finally, this isn’t an issue of what Tim needs to do with the show, this has to do with Tim producing the kinda of show that makes this approach possible. If you think the bickering re Vegas being “more expensive” was loud – to pull this off, you need massive budget commitments.

Formula for a Technology Show

If the superstars in this space are too expensive/complicated to bring into the game, the option is to become, simply, a massive technology show. Forget the star power and go for the numbers. There is money in numbers – if the numbers are high enough.

There are a ton of companies who want a piece of the Podcasting (and New Media) “pie.” You bring them enough cool people and they’ll pay through the nose to get to those people. But, those people who need to come are not measured in thousands, but tens of thousands. You pull that off and you’ll see project launches at the show, you’ll see buyers at the show, you’ll see what you want at the show.

Of course, there is some serious competition in this space. Serious competition in this space. Did I mention serious content in this space. Does NME want to compete with NAB, etc.?

And, of course, a technology show attracts a very different audience than a media show will.

And technology is, no matter what we like to think, a commodity.

Do we want to be in the commodity business?

Decision Time

So, it’s decision time.

I ask the following questions and covet your comments:

Which show would you rather attend and why?

Which show do you think we should be next year and why?

What does Tim do next?

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