The following is a guest post from Magnet Media founder and CEO Megan Cunningham. You can follow Magnet Media on Twitter @MagnetMediaInc.
I started my career working in independent film and television, where we would work for years on one film that would eventually (years later) air on PBS or HBO. Certain films would premiere as big hits on the festival circuit and also be distributed and promoted properly. As a result, critics and audiences would discover and praise them. Other times, however, a film would not be distributed and promoted effectively (despite being very well made), and would die a sudden, obscure cinematic death. No one could tell you why one was an Oscar-nominated hit and the other a total flop. Success was a complete mystery.
After cutting my teeth in Hollywood, I wound up working in tech. I saw firsthand how technology was impacting traditional media and entertainment (my company created Woody Allen's first digital editing room and MTV's multi-floor facility). I would become obsessed with the technological changes that were impacting the media industry. So when I went back into production in 2000, I wanted to leverage the knowledge I had developed around innovation, and the business advantages that technology provided to media and entertainment companies.
Over the past decade, digital media has become more and more an integral part of our culture. Consumption and creation patterns have changed radically, and social media is now integrated into every activity. We expect to find information and make decisions on everything we do through social channels. On an enterprise level, social media has seeped into the fabric of almost every organization. It's been an exhilarating past few years, and we have witnessed a rapid increase in the need for quality content solutions, especially for video.
The key for us is to embrace the best of what traditional media has to offer — in terms of traditional storytelling values — while thinking through the added dimension of how video consumption works today: Why would someone watch this? What will make them share it? Will they be watching on a laptop, desktop, or (more likely) a tablet? What about smartphones and social TV? All of these environments impact the audience's experience, so they must drive our creative approach.
Perhaps the greatest benefit of new technology is that we now have the data to know what is and what isn’t working. In traditional media, production departments operate in seclusion from distribution and marketing. The data is often an afterthought, and viewed as you might view the "extras" on a DVD. It does not occur naturally to creatives that using the insights from the data could actually optimize the performance of their content publishing.
When we're producing a video series and trying to garner viewership, it's a huge advantage for us to rely on the insights we gain from online video metrics and analytics. It might not be glamorous to talk to our Hollywood clients about finding patterns in the data, but the fact is that those metrics reports really do tell a story, and they can guide your creative process in a powerful way.
It's incredibly exciting. In what other period in history can you truly take control over your own success? I see the opportunity to gain insights into what's working with your content as a huge privilege. Success is no longer a mystery.
Magnet Media believes that brands need to focus on telling their story in a way that is both readily available (and sharable) by technology, and connects with an audience on an emotional level. There is no better way to achieve that than with web and mobile video.
So as it becomes increasingly more difficult to grab someone's attention, storytelling has to cross platforms and devices so that you take full advantage of the chance to connect with your audience. If you want to have an impact, you need to think through the entire process, and be agile: from story development, to social distribution, to analysis, and then back to improving the development of your story. For us, that's the only way to be successful when communicating with video in a socially connected world.