Is your business model ready for content convergence?
When the FCC debates are over and we figure out
how to fund universal access to broadband, and it
becomes as common as phone access, the demand for
digital content will increase exponentially. There
will be more media being consumed on more devices
than we have now (or can yet imagine).
In the ad agency world content convergence means
more ad content will be re-purposed. Imagery that
would only have only appeared in a magazine in
last year’s campaign (and licensed for that
limited usage), might now appear as part of this
year’s online interactive gaming experience-or
within an app on a new media player (iPad, etc.)
Content convergence necessitates collaboration
with more creative staffers as well as more content
suppliers. Production meetings have to occur far
earlier on the ad production calendar to
effectively plan for assets displaying on
platforms that weren’t even around last year.
Digital design departments, print production,
broadcast, and interactive gaming strategists are
all now sitting around the same conference room
table when planning a campaign execution.
Historically, when there was a huge TV
production-especially if there was a celebrity
with limited availability- a still photographer
was brought on to shoot for the print campaign
during the same TV spot production. The business
model of “double dipping” to save production
dollars has been around for a while-but with two
separate crews shooting.Now “double-dipping” has to extend to multiple
platforms-not just TV and print. Art directors who understand the tech
nuances of all media are the ones whose jobs are
So, too, are the smart photographers who embrace
multiple platforms; they’ll be in the best
position to work with those new-era art directors
during this image-making evolution.
As technology gets better and cheaper, only those
with the best command of the dual-purpose
equipment will be on the agency’s preferred
vendors list. It makes no economic sense to a
client not to use one resource to tell their brand
story if it’s economically and creatively
feasible. If there’s an image-maker (or team) who
can deliver the media assets that will reproduce
well in both print and multimedia.. why wouldn’t
they prefer them?
Right now, at major ad agencies it’s still the
broadcast production departments that control
motion projects. Art buyers and creative directors
with extensive print experience, source their
favorite photographer when there’s a print
component that needs to be covered during a big
film production. They look for someone who can
play well with others and not get in the way of
the bigger-dollar film shoot.
On smaller projects, such as web projects, the
print department is not currently in the position
to tell broadcast to use a photographer for those
elements of the ad campaign; broadcast currently
pulls those assets from the TV shoot to give to
interactive department. It’s more of a courtesy
for the production company to provide those
But as technology gets faster and cheaper and the
economy remains anemic, economic forces will cause
new departments and job responsibilities within ad
agencies to form. At some major agencies art
buyers are already called producers.
A production undertaking that now seems impossible
to produce (due to the high cost of equipment and
necessary technical know-how), will eventually be
able to be feasibly produced by thousands of
suppliers. Consider what happened to
retouching…anyone reading this remember SciTex?
When that time comes, it will only be the depth
and breadth of your creative solutions; the
strength of your business relationships; and your
ability to collaborate, that will get you on the
agency short list of image makers called on to
produce their client’s brand story.