How is digital changing the entertainment marketing industry – and what are the next big disruptors? Steve Kazanjian, president and CEO of PromaxBDA, the global association whose mission is to foster community, aid in professional development and celebrate achievement via awards shows, offers his insights.
Cynopsis: How has digital changed the business?
Kazanjian: There’s this massive bifurcation going on in our industry right now. Every single facet of the industry is changing. It’s changed us, it’s changed our thinking. I’m not talking about we analyze data, and how we do programmatic buys, but how we think about how we monetize, how we promote, how we market, how we create.
Cynopsis: How is the fast-evolving landscape affecting the mission of PromaxBDA?
Steve Kazanjian: When an industry is going under upheaval and transformation and growth, the association is more relevant than ever before – the lighthouse in the tempest of this industry. This year community is underscored – we’re here to figure out what this new world is. A lot of the value becomes the proverbial hallway discussions that are fostered at a conference. The speakers won’t provide you with your solution, but they will be provocative enough to get you to think differently and foster discussion.
Cynopsis: What was the highlight of the 2018 conference in June?
Kazanjian: It’s really difficult to say. We anchored the end of day 1 with Laura Dern and Tarana Burke, co-founder of the #MeToo movement. That was extraordinary because we have an obligation to break stereotype threats, we have an obligation to change discourse, we have an obligation to pave the way for future generations – what’s acceptable, what’s not acceptable, so that to me was a very powerful discussion. And we opened the conference with the host of HQ, Scott Rogowsky, and that was great. We’re in this zeitgeist moment – HQ is straddling one of the oldest forms of television, a trivia game show, with one of the newest, a live app. Who would ever have thought that would happen?
Cynopsis: What do you think will be the next big disruption?
Kazanjian: For the last 5-8 years, we have been about user generated content. It started out with YouTube stars, and trickled down to crowd-sourced curators. There’s been no watershed moment yet, but the next evolution we’re seeing is user generated marketing. I think the industry will shift significantly from the space of people developing content, to people aligning themselves with the brands they love by promoting them authentically, credibly and personally. One step further from someone tweeting about a show they just liked, you’re seeing it in the post-9/11 generation – you have 10-year-olds cutting promos of Disney shows that they like and putting them on their feed. I think we’re going start seeing not just the next generation of YouTube stars, but the next generation of these promoters and marketers that every studio is going to want to align themselves to.
We’re at an extraordinary point right now. The other evolution in the industry is we’re seeing a tighter and tighter symbiosis of the relationship between one-to-one peer marketing and consumer products. Hasbro and some of the other players call it content to commerce. Who those next networks will be or who the next storytellers will be may not be from traditional places, they may be from completely different areas, completely different verticals. And that opens up a world of possibilities.
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