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The IBM 2012 CEO Study unveiled at C2-MTL



Opening day at C2-MTL featured the unveiling of the IBM 2012 CEO Study. This biennial initiative surveys corporate leaders around the world to gauge the latest business management trends. This year, more than 1,700 chief executive officers took part in interviews. Marc Chapman, Managing Partner with IBM Global Business Services, presented the results of the study to an enthusiastic audience at the New City Gas building in Montreal.

The findings centre around three key strategic orientations that the individuals surveyed say will be critical to the growth of their companies in the coming years.

  1. Empowering employees through values. The CEOs believe that as a first step, a portion of control must be entrusted to employees by encouraging them to adopt the company’s values. This thinking was prompted by the increasing need to decentralize. The phenomenon, fuelled by social media, encourages employees to embody and share their employer’s mission and vision.
  2. Engaging customers as individuals. The IBM 2012 CEO Study also recommends that to foster a stronger bond with consumers, brands would be well advised to view them as individuals rather than as an indistinct mass. Moreover, the study reveals that the CEOs interviewed predict a 256% increase in the use of social media as a means to interact with consumers and say it will come at the expense of the more “traditional” communication channels.
  3. Amplifying innovation with partnerships. The study suggests that innovation must be approached in a more open manner and should target multiple partnerships that reach beyond the organization itself, including competitors. According to Chapman and his team, this “co-opetition” is particularly important during the phases leading up to exploration, research and development. Only 4% of the CEOs believe their organizations are capable of running operations by using internal resources alone. This recommendation is no doubt more difficult for corporate leaders to introduce. The highly competitive business market has spent years protecting patents, copyrights, and other industrial secrets. However, the information gathered by IBM indicates that companies actually have everything to gain from becoming more open and seeking collaborations previously viewed as unusual.

The three orientations presented in the IBM 2012 CEO Study share one common denominator: placing people at the centre of a company’s potential success. The trend is now shifting towards a philosophy where employees live-out the company’s values; individuals adopt brands and products, which in turn, ideally are personalized. Human relations are forged through collaboration and co-creation.

—Gabrielle Madé, CMF Watch Squad

CRTC hearings on Vertical Integration

Trendscape is also a window on CMF’s employees. Through much of their hardwork and expertise, they contribute in creating a better understanding on the challenges and issues faced by the broadcasting system.    The following entry is authored by Neal McDougall, Policy Analyst at the Canada Media Fund.  Neal  has researched and shaped the policies and programs of the funding agency, as well as its predecessor, the Canadian Television Fund, since 2005. A lawyer by training, Neal received his LL.B. from Osgoode Hall Law School in 2003. Previously, he worked in the film and television industry in a variety of writing and production roles. He holds a BFA in Film & Video Production from York University.

Vertical Integration- photo copyright Le Chantier blogpost

The hearing phase of the CRTC public proceeding on vertical integration concluded recently after six days of discussion and debate.  Intervenors have now submitted final written comments to close out the public participation phase.
The CMF has been following the proceeding with interest as the trend towards greater vertical integration in broadcasting will have impacts across the sector.  Several of the CMF’s own policies turn on whether or not a broadcaster is part of a larger corporate group, in particular policies around the use of a broadcaster’s Performance Envelope—for example, the transfer and exchange of Performance Envelope amounts.
One of the main issues discussed in the proceeding was platform rights exclusivity: the potential ability of a broadcaster to make rights to one or more of its TV shows exclusively available on, for example, a VOD service owned by a corporate cousin.  Debate ensued on whether this would be appropriate, and some intervenors such as the WGC have suggested that such a practice should be prohibited where public funds are involved.  The WGC, “proposes limiting exclusivity to content that has not been funded directly or indirectly by public monies. Both linear and original digital content which have been funded through CMF, tax credits, independent funds, for example, should be accessible to all Canadians.”    
Another issue was whether the CRTC’s tangible benefits policy, eliminated in 1996 in the case of transfers of ownership or changes in control of distribution undertakings, should be reinstated for those entities.  Several BDUs, in opposing this idea, noted their current contributions to funding bodies such as the CMF as evidence of their ongoing commitment to the Canadian broadcasting system. The CMF will follow this and other CRTC proceedings as the media industry continues to grapple with the issues facing the sector.

Netflix in Canada: friend or foe?

One thing has been clear since the beginning of this year’s festival: the arrival of Netflix in Canada is a major concern for many Canadian producers and broadcasters.

It is consequently unsurprising that the session In conversation with Ted Sarandos: The Netflix Effect in Canada, was one of the most popular – there was actually a line up in front of the Van Horne room where the session was to be held!

The interviewer Scott Cuthbertson started off with the question that is on many lips here in Banff:  “Are you guys really the devil incarnate?”

Ted Sarandos, Chief of Content for Netflix, smiled:  “We know our arrival has scared a lot of people in the Canadian industry… But the truth is, we are not spinning when we say that we are complimentary to traditional media.  In the US, paid subscriptions to cable have actually increased since our arrival on the market!  So if we are the most threatening cable-cutting device, cable companies should be rejoicing right now…

Asked about the limit of their catalogue, Sarandos explained that many people are unaware of Netflix’s window: “Our window is 4 to 6 months after DVD – we are more in the pay TV space.  People who are release-centric will look for another experience. Maybe it’s not the newest movies, but people discover amazing less-known stuff.

Surprisingly enough, television series account for over 60% of viewed content on Netflix.  “The ‘cinematization’ of television has changed how audiences watch series, and we provide instant access to a ton of great TV programming people can watch ‘marathon-style’.”

When asked point blank why Netflix shouldn’t contribute to the industry and/or be regulated as a broadcaster, Ted Sarandos was ready: “Three reasons:  first, we DO make a significant contribution to the industry by licensing content.  Secondly, broadcasters who use OTT services in Canada aren’t regulated either; and finally, we don’t enjoy any of the protection the broadcasters do.”

Later that same day, Sarandos accepted the Award of Excellence in Innovation at the Interactive Rockies.  On stage, he thanked the Festival and shared what he considered to be Netflix’s biggest victory in the last few years:  “We now account for the largest percentage of traffic on the net… beating for the first time our main competitor, BitTorrent.  People tend to forget that we all have a common foe, which is piracy.

And that’s something no one will argue with.

Ted Sarandos at the Interactive Rockies. (All Rights Reserved, Achilles Media)

Mobile Apps: Advice from the Pros

In Banff, there are good sessions, there are great sessions and then, there are amazing sessions.  Building and Marketing Mobile Apps was definitely one of the latter.    The Banff Festival’s delegates who showed up for this session had the privilege to hear a panel of outstanding experts share – with enthusiasm and transparency –  their extensive experience on building and marketing mobile apps.  Gary Yentin (App-Promo!) moderated this exceptional moment with Steve Masur (MasurLaw), Natalie Farsi (Warner Bros), Pete Watson (RIM) and David Jones (Shazam Entertainment).

Here are some of the valuable insights heard during the conference:

What you should think about before building a mobile app:

–       Be sure you have the rights for ALL the components of your mobile app (including logos, pictures, video excerpts);

–       App stores (especially the iTunes store) has a strict DRM (Digital Rights Management) policy for their Apps Store – rest assured your project will be carefully monitored before being ingested to the Apps Store;

–       Stay apprised of all new development in the industry, especially in video.

–       Sign good contracts with your developers and be sure to request their credentials – find out how much they really know about the Apps stores procedures and policies;

–       Do a lot of testing on your app before you release it on an App Store.  You don’t want to kick off with a bunch of bad reviews;

–       Know what could be frightening to your partners (brand, TV network, app store) and address those issues before they come up;

–       When pitching a mobile app idea to a partner (be it a co-producer, a TV network or a brand), “bring the horse to the water” and explain clearly how the app can leverage the show or the brand.

You’ve done your homework? You’ve built a great mobile app and are ready to market it?

–       Be sure to choose a business model (paid app, freemium, affiliated monetization, in-app purchase model, etc) adapted to your type of content;

–       Promote your app: many tools are available within the App store.  For instance, Apple has developed i-Ad and other promotional strategies that you can use within their platform;

–       Leverage social media (Facebook, Twitter);

–       Track performance – be sure you choose App stores or retail vendors that are able to report back on the performance of your app, both in terms of transactions and usage;

Other things you might want to remember about the Mobile Apps universe:

–       To leverage your development costs, plan from the start your production on a variety of platforms (online, smartphones, e-tablets);

–       Today, there are numerous technical challenges when integrating live video streaming on mobile (through an app), amongst which DRM and network capabilities;

–       Just like the rest of the online environment, the mobile app market has become highly competitive.  “Entering an app store is just like entering a Wal-Mart warehouse.”

–      Take a look at W3C’s Mobile Apps Best Practices Guide.

What’s your story?

We would love to hear from your experience and get your advice on how to successfully build and market a mobile app… leave a comment!

CMF Town Hall

Valerie Creighton (All Rights Reserved, Achilles Media)

Ce billet sera bientôt disponible en français.

Over a hundred people joined our team on Monday at the CMF’s first Town Hall event, an opportunity to look back at the Fund’s first year of operation and exchange with Banff Festival delegates.  You weren’t there?  No worries – you can download our presentation here.

Our President and CEO Valerie Creighton kicked off the session with a review of the year’s most important events. Of course, one of the best news of the year followed the latest Budget, in which the government announced that the CMF will receive funding support on an on-going basis.  The Fund will consequently be able to count on 100 million dollars annually from Canadian Heritage.

During the course of the last 12 months, the CMF has kept in tone with the industry, securing 20 partnerships, participating in 23 events and visiting 29 cities in six weeks during its public consultation.

And what came out of this first year of operation?  An increase of 89% in applications, 486 productions funded and a grand total of 337 million dollars invested in the industry.  This funding envelope triggered over 44 million dollars in production volume in the Experimental Stream and over a billion in the Convergent Stream.

Sandra Collins, our VP Finance and Administration, took the time to thank Telefilm for their help during this crucial transition year: “Roxane Girard and her team did a wonderful job administrating our programs, and we are truly thankful for all their hard work.”

Sandra Collins (All Rights Reserved, Achilles Media)

This first year exceeded expectations in many ways: “We had a 50% objective for projects with rich and substantial interactive content, explained Sandra.  We actually reached 65%!

Productions supported by the CMF dazzled audiences here and worldwide, as reported Stéphane Cardin, VP Industry and Public Affairs: “CMF Productions garnered 36 Geminis and 22 Gémeaux this year.  International sales have also boomed as numerous series have been sold worldwide, and many formats were bought by international networks.”

Stéphane Cardin (All Rights Reserved, Achilles Media)

For us, this first Town Hall was the opportunity to present this year’s achievements and look to the future.  In 2011, our envelope will reach 371 million dollars, and we will continue to work hand in hand with all stakeholders to adapt and shape the Fund as our industry evolves.

« We are pretty confident the Fund was successfully launched… Not everbody is happy, it’s not perfect, but we are ever evolving. » concluded Valerie Creighton.

OTT in Canada: the flip side of the coin

The panel OTT Services: The Future of Television also allowed us to hear how these newcomers see their role in the Canadian landscape. David Hyman from Netflix, Donagh O’Malley from GoogleTV and Avner Ronen from Boxee all had things to say about how they see their contribution to the industry.

« We are NOT a cord-cutting device, insisted Donagh O’Malley from Google TV.  And we are NOT a content provider.  Our objective is to bring the power of the Android operating system to your living room.  Our vision is to do for TV what Android has done for smartphones. »

Arven Ronen also underlined that Boxee’s main objective was simply to bring “cool internet content” to television. “Right now, half our customers use Boxee in conjunction with their cable service.  As for bringing Canadian content to Canadian audiences…. We are just getting started!”

As for Netflix, David Hyman brought an interesting point to the table: “We were actually embraced by producers and distributors who were happy to have another window.  We think we are creating new opportunities for Canadian content. »

In fact, an intervention from an Alliance representative in the audience supported this perspective by stating that Netflix actually pays more for Canadian movies and series than traditionnal broadcasters.  « So where is the problem? », did he ask.

Of course, for Norm Bolen, the problem is that this “contribution” only concerns productions from older catalogues, and doesn’t help the production of new, innovating Canadian content…

Needless to say, none of these players see any benefit to additional regulations and few of them seem to understand the need to protect our culture in the face of our proximity with the US.

« We were not thinking about that when launching our service, explained Arven Ronen from Boxee.  There was cool stuff on the web, be it Israeli or Canadian, and we wanted to help people have access to it. I am very optimistic about the future of content, and Canada should benefit from it.  I am always concerned about governments putting its hand in that.  We need to find a basis for what’s moral and let the industry play it out. »

Will it be sufficient?  How do we balance our need to protect our culture and support a vibrant competitive industry with our desire to continue as trailblazers in providing Canadians with the most cutting-edge digital distribution technologies?