Exchange Takes the Long View on Trends

John Clark addresses a crowd at the opening of the inaugural Digital Futures Exchange in 2016.

With one year under his belt, Pilot Executive Director John Clark is even more excited about the Digital Futures Exchange. He and his colleagues want to use the sessions to engage in discussions about how digital technologies will affect or already are changing local broadcasters.

Clark said he hopes that “anybody and everybody who runs, strategizes and works in the digital operation” for their media organization will add the DFX to their schedule. In his mind, you could be a vice president of visual strategy, a chief digital officer, digital manager of operations — “everyone who is working primarily in and is steeped in the digital side of their business.”

The Digital Futures Exchange is intended to take the long view of trends and technologies, to sift through fads and focus on trends that will continue to impact broadcasting down the road.

“What we want to do is to give local folks a chance to look at some of the larger trends, to start thinking about ‘what does that really mean for me in my local market?’” said Clark. “We really wanted to get into how these digital technologies are impacting at the local level — not only for news and process information, but also our business in general and the revenue behind it.”

The Digital Futures Exchange will be held Sunday, April 23, beginning at 10 a.m. with the final session concluding at 5 p.m.

After the initial welcome and keynote, a panel moderated by Kantar Media Vice President and General Manager Steve Passwaiter will discuss “Digital Political Spend- ing and the Winds of Change.” DSPolitical Chief Technology Officer Mark Jablonowski and Deep Root Analytics CEO Brent McGoldrick will give insights into the long-term strategies for how political campaigns will allocate their ad dollars and how these changes may affect local media in future elections.

Next, Newsonomics President and media analyst Ken Doctor will explore “Emerging Models for Local News.” He will explore which journalistic experiments appear to be working and what the future of newsrooms may look like.

Virtual and augmented reality may be coming to a newsroom near you. “The Outlook for 360/VR/AR in Local Markets” will help broadcasters understand these new technologies and their potential journalistic and revenue applications. Insights will be provided by producer and consultant Caitlin Burns; The VR Fund co-founder and General Partner Marco DeMiroz; Experius VR Head of Partnerships and Venture Partner Michael Orso; Chief Innovation Officer for Automated Insights Joe Procopio; and Google News Lab Training and Development Manager Nicholas Whitaker.

After everyone and their brother got an Amazon Alexa for Christmas, it behooves broadcasters to try to understand what the voice experience should look like. That’s why the DFX added a session titled “Amazon Alexa and Local Media.”

It’s impossible to talk about the future without bringing up artificial intelligence, and this conference track takes a look. Einstein Salesforce Senior Director of Product Management Simon Chan will tell attendees about “Artificial Intelligence and Bots” — what’s coming and what the media should do to take advantage of the technology.

The final session may take some by surprise, but Clark says it’s a perfect fit for the DFX. “Trust and the Media” will explore how trust is gained and lost, and why journalists aren’t the only part of the media that must work to maintain credibility, featuring Interactive Advertising Bureau SVP of Data & Ad Effectiveness Dennis Buchheim, Knight Foundation Journalism Program Officer Karen Rundlet and Shareablee Inc. Head of Marketing/GM of Media Gloria Stitt.

“I’m pretty excited about the variety of topics that we’re going to be discussing and then again, how we’re in the same land of digital media, particularly things at the local level,” Clark said.