Power to The Pixel – Voyage of discovery?

08 November 2008

I thought I would write a report on my taking part in the Power to the Pixel ‘Adventures in Mobile Distribution’ panel discussion. I was invited as a ‘expert’ independent filmmaker who exports via mobile (obviously Sliced Bread Animation do others too). My understanding of the discussion was that the audience wanted to know how to get their work ‘out -there’ via mobile. Richard Morris from Player X was there along with Andre Burgess from Crucible Media, both well respected people in their field. Upon introducing ourselves, we discussed our various approaches, Richard Morris was first up and his company offer a very commercial exploitation of intellectual property by distributing via the network operators ‘deck’. For well known ‘brand’ branded content this a great way for the content creator to get their content out there and selling. Aardman is one of their clients, with Angry Kid proving to be one of their most successful properties. The limitation with this approach is the creator has little or no control and unless your content has a wide audience, it is unlikely to be found.

Andre is Managing Director of Crucible Media. and has experience in helping content owners and Media companies move into new digital platforms. During my introduction I mentioned the process that got us where we are to date, the minefields we have been through, how its is for an independent filmmaker and what tools there are around to help.

I believe the platform we currently use gives the best flexibility for a creator to test their product, its a direct to market route, its very simple to use and also gives us the maximum revenue share. Plus it can handle all the billing and we are also able to upload our own files and galleries in an instant. With Player X, creators are restricted because they have no control of the position on the portal and the route to end user is managed by them (see below – click to enlarge).

The platform we use is a direct to consumer (audience) route, we can even set the selling price. For example, with Commonwealth War Graves Commission’s Glory Days site we have set it a the lowest possible rate (25p) but it can go up to £3.50. Its very much dependant on the objectives of the project but fundamentally its a very quick way to get you content out there giving the full control of the route to market and look at sales progress (see below – click to enlarge).

We then moved over to a Q&A session and the main subject appeared to be the functionality of the app we use, rather than what I hope would be a discussion about the benefits to an independent filmmaker. One question which I think really sums the main point of using the application we use – is how do you get people to know about your content? Which then moved me onto my next point ,where collaboration between brands, your fanbase, online publishers and digital PR agencies is a  must. At Sliced Bread Animation we will be working with all of these in the near future.

The testing aspect is quite key, nobody can give a direct answer as too what exactly works well on mobile. Adult content is fairly obvious and I understand gags/ jokes (like Angry Kid) also sell well too, but if this isn’t your area then you are unlikely to be successful. The platform really gives you a chance to try and reach another side of your audience, test them and see what they think, because its more than likely to be very different from how they view it (or want to view it) normally.

Distributors have tendency to only market ‘big ticket’ content, so smaller bespoke or unknown content seems to go lower down the ‘deck’ to the extent where potentially its never seen. If we take the image above (click to enlarge) then by the filmmaker forging relationships with these key partners, they ultimately  get their work seen. Speaking with Richard at the end of the session he pretty much concurred with me, and I would hope that when one of our properties becomes ‘big’, we will have the opportunity to work together with Player X as a partner.

In conclusion I had hoped that the Power To The Pixel would instigate some discussion into how to get your content ‘out there’ and reaching your audience, not a discussion about platforms, but maybe that’s for another day. I’m going to leave with a very interesting video from TED featuring Seth Godin, talking about how to spread the idea for some further thought.

Seth Godin: Sliced bread and other marketing delights

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