Rapid-Fire M.E.T. Talks Will Address Tomorrow’s Top Trends

Dan Bigman

Imagine spokes in a wheel, today’s digital convergence is best understood as a constantly rotating circle linked by all the pieces of the media marketplace.

This year NAB Show has embraced this circle by calling it The M.E.T Effect: an awareness of how the media, entertainment and technology industries are interconnected and deeply dependent on each other.

Because today, nothing in the media and entertainment marketplace stands alone.

“The convergence of media, entertainment and technology has been happening for quite some time — but it feels like 2017 has taken it to an entirely different level,” said Shira Lazar, who is serving as digital evangelist for the show’s M.E.T. program.

“Let’s face it. You can’t really have one without the other,” she said. “It’s possible to create a YouTube channel with great content on it, but how can it be promoted without social media? Facebook is good, but what if the goal is to reach certain demographics and audiences? Instagram skews more towards photography and curated lifestyle, while Snapchat is all about ‘real-time.’

“By highlighting these connections, we can better understand where the industry as an entire ecosystem is headed, and how content owners and audiences alike can harness it to suit whatever their goals or needs are,” she said.

Today at 9 a.m., attendees can see this phenomenon at work in a set of rapid-fire mini sessions known as M.E.T. Talks, a series of 15- to 20-minute keynote addresses that will weave together stories from three separate storytellers.

One of those storytellers is Dan Bigman, a journalist and editor whose digital leadership roles at The New York Times and Forbes led him to a publishing role at Verse, the online platform that allows users to create what Bigman calls “engaging interactive video experiences.”

Verse’s simple premise — creating a more engaged video experience — is helping revolutionize online video, he said. And it’s due in part to the legacy of snackable content.

“Snackable content is coming to dominate everything,” Bigman said. “Consumers spend less and less time engaged with a traditional online video segment because of video’s inherent shortcomings: You push ‘Play.’ ‘Pause.’ And ‘Stop.’ Viewers become disengaged because of the lack of interactivity and control. And this in turn creates a problem for businesses and news outlets;,- because most stories are so much more complex than what you can tell in a 20-second clip,” he said.

In his 15-minute M.E.T. Talk, Bigman will discuss Verge’s take on content management technology, which allows users to create varied interactive video experiences such as a slideshow, a 360-degree video, an interactive Q&A or more traditional linear video — all of which keeps viewers entertained and engaged.

The technology gives users more engagement and autonomy in the way that they consume content, he said. Though his talk itself will be a snackable 10-minute lightning- round session, what Bigman hopes attendees glean from the M.E.T. Talk is that there’s a new way forward when it comes to engaging with consumers online.

Each of the M.E.T. Talks is expected to touch on the consumer, and how technology must work intuitively for that audience.

“It used to be universally agreed upon that technology needed constant tinkering — the consumer had to make it work for them,” Lazar said. Now, the opposite is true.

“Technology needs to blend in and work with us seamlessly for both creatives and audiences,” she said. “The technology fades into the background, and the experience is all that matters.”