iMA Conference: Opportunities for Action

The National Center for Media Engagement is on the ground March 10-12 in Austin, Tex. at the Integrated Media Conferences (iMA) Conference. Colleagues from public media and organizations outside the system are gathering to stimulate innovation and receive tips, tools, and resources that offer immediate opportunities for action.

Participating in the iMA conference too? Let us know. It’d be great to connect.

If you’re not in Austin but would like to keep up with the action, follow our session blogging (below).

5 to 6:15 p.m. – Thursday, March 10

Innovation Anxiety – How to Understand and Leverage the Opportunities of Networks

Presenters: Joaquin Alvarado, Senior Vice President for Digital innovation, American Public Media and Mark Ramsey, President of Mark Ramsey Media

  • Joaquin and Mark began by discussing the value of failure. True innovation produces both wins and losses. If your organization punishes failed experiments, is it also stifling innovation? (the conversation reminded this blogger of a recent post from NCME’s Jess Main).
  • We also discussed the emergence of the term “public service media,” and distinguished it from regular “public media.” Joaquin describes public service media as “…seek[ing] to identify needs and engage with communities to solve problems.” His definition aligns nicely with how we at NCME define community engagement.
  • Venture capitalists are devoting 100% of their budgets to innovation. How can public media innovate with dwindling resources? Harnessing human capital is key. Also, it’s about shifting expectations and perspectives. Minnesota Public Radio’s Jon Gordon remarked, “We need to be willing to risk instead of waiting for new money.”
  • Joaquin argued that meeting the needs of our increasingly diverse nation should be a key goal for public media. Mark also offered that reaching new audiences (e.g. non-college educated) should be a priority for all stations… “…what does their public service media look like?”

What does your public service media look like and how are you pushing the risk and innovation equation?

7:30  to 9 a.m. – Friday, March 11

PBS & NPR Local / National Strategies

Presenters: Kinsey Wilson, Senior Vice President and General Manager for Digital Media at NPR and Jason Seiken, President of Interactive at PBS.

  • Kinsey kicked off the conversation discussing how NPR’s strength is its news gathering capabilities and ability to have “boots on the ground” in communities across the nation. The recent re-imagination of Public Interactive as NPR Digital Services helps supports this key capacity by offering stations digital tools that can augment their work.
  • Jason Seiken discussed the history of PBS Interactive. Before 2007, the goal was to grow Since then, it’s been to grow to benefit member stations.

Some recent stats:

  • 24M monthly users of PBS sites;
  • PBS was the 18th most popular website for video in January, with more than 105 million video streams;
  • attracts a younger, more diverse audience;
  • The majority of COVE video content is locally produced.

What’s next from PBS Interactive? (a) COVE API coming soon; (b)  redesigned video experience; (c) improved administrative interface; (d) better performance and an ability to monetize national content for stations.

Next steps for mobile? (a) Local video to appear in mobile applications; (b) mobile version of COVE; (c) Mobile toolkits for stations.

1:30  to 2:30 p.m. – Friday, March 11

Top 10 Teach Trends that Matter to Public Media

Presenter: Amy Webb, CEO of Webb Media Group

Technologist Amy Webb offered 10 Tech Trends that public media to pay attention to in the months ahead. View this nifty webpage Amy created that summarizes her remarks.

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