CES 2016, “You want to be part of that conversation”
In one of the first panels of the 2016 Consumer Electronics Show (CES), StyleHaul CEO Stephanie Horbaczewski spoke about multi-channel network (MCN) business and underlined the importance of talent, premium content and driving conversation.
Each year, thousands of experts from numerous industries gather in Las Vegas, Nevada, for CES, the internationally renowned electronics and technology trade show attracting major companies and industry professionals from around the world. CES is both a trade fair showcasing the latest trends and a conference. The CES conference kicked off on Tuesday morning with the panel ‘MCNS Become MPNS: The YouTube Phenomenon’, part of the Digital Hollywood track.
To start the conversation, BDMI Managing Director Urs Cete was asked how Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments selects its targets. His answer was: “Essentially, we look at two kinds of companies: we like companies that are leaders in one domain and could move into other markets, but we also like companies that have proved their business model works on different platforms”.
In the ensuing conversation, panelists agreed with Stephanie Horbaczewski, Co-Founder and CEO of StyleHaul, that the description ‘multichannel network’ never really fits to any of those companies since they all serve a wide range of platforms: “What’s the biggest differentiator for us? Content. With StyleHaul we already serve multiple platforms, but the key is finding the right platform for the right content”. Ultimately, this notion will become the leading driver of conversation.
Stephanie Horbaczewski: “Conversation is important to our clients: we talk with brands and recommend who they should work with, like who’s talking about them or who’s talking about the topics they want to be involved in”. Adrian Sexton, Interim President and COO of Endemol Beyond USA, added: “And this is what makes MCNs unique: if you find 100,000 young girls discovering lipstick for the first time, as a lipstick brand you want to be part of that conversation”.
The basis for this conversation is of course whoever creates the content, namely the talent in front of the camera. Ovation CEO Charles Segars said: “MCNs are fundamentally in the talent business. You need talent with a solid follower base in order to create branded content that can also be published off YouTube – and that’s where the money is coming in. Stephanie has done this better than anybody else”.
Sanjay Sharma, the CEO of All Def Digital, explained: “Ultimately, everything we are talking about is not too different from the traditional model: we have the ability to create premium content, and with it we build audiences, build a brand, generate intellectual property and then work with the traditional model to sell advertising or rights”. Stephanie Horbaczewski added: “I think we will see a head-on collision between traditional TV and MCNs, but in a good way. There will be more and more collaboration instead of working against each other. New ways of funding are emerging and we’re just getting started”.