Once again, we had the pleasure of hosting the international industry conference this. in Aarhus, together with Filmby Aarhus.
this.2020 featured a great line-up of industry people within digital media, branding, communication, gaming, series, tv, film, and innovative business, all sharing their perspectives, experiences, and ideas. This article will take you through some of the highlights from this.2020.
The Expected Big Theme: COVID-19
An unavoidably big topic at this.2020 was, of course, Corona. How is Corona affecting our workplaces, and are broadcasters, creatives, and advertisers going to incorporate this new reality in their work?
Corona in series
This year Series had a track of its own at this.2020 – called Aarhus Series, and we got to hear Nordic Broadcasters' and Series Experts' perspectives on Corona.
Although we may be sick and tired of seeing face masks in our daily life, Media Executive and Series Expert Keld Reinicke argues that there's no getting around Corona in the fictional world. He mentions "Greys Anatomy" as an example of a show that has decided to implement Corona in their storytelling. Because, as Keld points out, the most popular doctor series in the world cannot pretend that Corona doesn't exist.
Christian Rank, Head of Drama at DR, says DR will not use Corona as a base for storytelling in their drama series. At the same time, he clarifies that DR presents unique Danish stories and that Corona may play a part in some of these.
Linda Etgar, Head of Local Production at Xee, agrees with Christian Rank. She says, "We are not going to look for Corona-series, but Corona is a part of our lives now, and we cannot avoid it."
Head of Fiction at TV2, Katrine Vogelsang, states: "The most important thing for TV2 is to be relevant in our time". However, she does not clarify whether or not this means incorporating Corona. But something suggests that Corona will find its ways into the fictional world – whether we want it or not.
Corona and our workplace
Corona has made its entry into our workplaces, and we are not going to shake it off just right away. Ida Jeng from World Economic Forum sees the Corona Pandemic as a historical crossroad. We can either choose to go back to how it all was before Corona or use the current situation to create a new and better world. Because, after a global crisis, there is a possibility to make things better.
One of the positive things that Corona has brought is the acceptance of working from home. Companies – like Facebook, Twitter, and Microsoft, have already given their employees the option to work from home permanently. Ida Jeng points out that for some, working from home has provided a much more flexible schedule. And for some who experienced workplace discrimination, remote working can be a life-changer.
Keld Reinicke also talked about how film production has changed due to Corona. With live streaming, it is possible to follow a film production from afar. At M2 Film, we have used this approach in some of our film productions, especially with foreign clients. Via a live streaming of the monitor, the client can follow every aspect of the production line. A method that not only speeds up the production but is also environmentally sound due to less travel. Like many others, we at M2 have realized the advantages of fully utilizing the technology. In the future, we will see even better solutions for working remotely, Ida Jeng states.
The future is looking… different
The corona crisis has brought a lot of layoffs, leaving millions without a job. Even though it all looks bleak right now, this will change within the next five years, Ida Jeng claims. A new report from the World Economic Forum has some interesting predictions. Now, hold on tight!:
Within the next five years, machines and algorithms may replace 85 million jobs worldwide. But, 97 million people will gain new roles that are more suited to new tasks. This means that 1 in 2 workers will need reskilling. Those remaining in their current positions will need to update 40 percent of their skillset to adapt to the changing labor market. Imagine – within five years, 40 percent of your work may have changed radically.
So, there is hope for the future – if we are willing to adapt. "With purposeful leadership and collaboration, we can turn this global crisis into a unique opportunity to transition into a future of jobs that are inclusive, fair, and sustainable", Ida states.
Think big – think like the Super Bowl!
Another big theme at this.2020 was, of course, marketing. In marketing, the competition for consumer attention is unusually stiff, and consumers are flooded with ads everywhere they go. The result is a 60 percent dislike of commercials. Think about it… You are watching tv, and a commercial comes on screen - what do you do? If you are like most people, you go to the toilet, make coffee or look at your phone. However, according to Co-Founder at Mano, Jakob Stigler, there is one show every year where we actually stay for the commercial break – and that is the Super Bowl.
If you ask Jakob Stigler, some of the most common problems your campaigns are probably having right now are:
1) Reluctance to invest in creativity,
2) Poor integration between agency partners and internal stakeholders, and
3) Not accounting for the competition beyond your category.
These are precisely the non-problems the Super Bowl campaigns are having! The solution to making these problems your non-problems too begins with courage.
Gaining the attention of today's' consumer requires creative content that stands out. Many of us are afraid of creativity because it is associated with the new and unknown – but only by overcoming this fear can you beat the competitors.
Another classic marketing problem is, "Too many chefs spoil the broth." Jakob Stigler's advice here is: "Deciding one thing makes it easier to do one thing." You need to have a shared idea of what winning looks like, and everyone on the team should all be driven by one very clear KPI. You also have to look beyond your category to win. Most companies look for competitors in similar brands. But according to Jakob Stigler, every brand that taps into the same conversation as you are your competitors. If you want to stand out, creativity is the key to making yourself notable.
Changing your brand perception
A man who knows what winning looks like is Michael Gade, Marketing Director at JYSK. With a 2 billion DKK marketing budget, Michael Gade and his team have changed JYSK's quality perception to index 2625 and subsequently increased sales by 29 percent. Pretty good, right?
At this.2020, Michael Gade shared his experiences on building brand perception while simultaneously succeeding with a tactical price-oriented strategy. According to Michael Gade, these two communication tracks – general branding and tactical communication – should always be carried out simultaneously.
To change people's perception of JYSK's quality, JYSK launched a hero content track full of inspirational and editorial content. To mention one example, JYSK decorated an apartment and three hotel rooms only with JYSK interior and asked influencers to stay in and review the rooms. The purpose of JYSK's simultaneous price-oriented communication tactics was to reach a broader audience rather than only targeting a specific group of people.
As a result of using both hero content and price-oriented content at the same time, JYSK's brand perception has rocketed, and JYSK has doubled its brand preference – causing an increase in customer visits to the stores and in sales. Of course, not all of us have a marketing budget of 2 billion DKK… Nevertheless, it is clear – strategy is everything.
Keld Reinicke, Media Executive and Series Expert hosted this. 2020's series track Aarhus Series, and gave a quick tour of the world of streaming. Since last year, audio streaming – better known as podcasts – have increased by 200 percent. Since discovering that a lot of people are listening to shows without watching, Netflix has begun working on transforming some of their series into audiobooks. We will also witness new kinds of streaming in the gaming industry. Within the last year, the Music Industry has created stream-worthy music videos and virtual music concerts in games like Fortnite – attracting new audiences.
According to Keld Reinicke, the sociality in streaming is changing too. Instead of going to the movies, we arrange "watch parties" at home, coordinating what to see. After binge-watching, Keld Reinicke claims this is the brand-new thing, and streaming is slowly killing movies and cinemas.
When it came to the discussion about movies versus series, the Nordic Drama Bosses' panel at Aarhus Series didn't see eye to eye. Anna Croneman, Head of Drama at SVT, found that movies are the new black. Movies mean less commitment for the viewer – and the broadcaster. Contrary to Anna Croneman, Katrine Vogelsang, Head of Fiction at TV2, found that series continue to be the new black. But, instead of the mass production we see at Netflix, consumers are going to choose quality.
One thing we know for sure: Young people's media habits are transforming the world of streaming – and right now, a part of this transformation means co-creating with young people.
Co-Creating Content with Young People
There used to be a time when national fiction was the natural choice of content for children and young audiences. In the television landscape of the 2020s, this is no longer the case, and all Nordic broadcasters are trying to find the best ways to attract and sustain young viewers. One way of doing this is to incorporate young people in the production, Eva Novrup Redvall, Associate Professor at the University of Copenhagen, says.
In the Danish media industry, there is a growing focus on involving and listening to the young audience when creating content for young people. According to Eva Redvall, the point is to create advantages for both the young participants – by giving them co-ownership and influence – and for the organization, by giving them insight into the audience and new ideas.
Someone who has succeeded in co-creating with young people is Jonas Risvig, Director & Photographer of the web-series "Centrum."
In "Centrum," Jonas Risvig has captured the feel and emotion of a young generation in historical times during the Corona lock-down. The series is written by young people from all over Denmark via social media from week to week. Jonas Risvig also uses young editors and actors on set. According to Jonas Risvig, 90 percent of the content is created by the audience.
When the creators stop, young people continue to create
Something else that can really engage the young audience is gaming. Video gaming has outgrown both the TV, movie, and music industry within the last 30 years. According to Nikolaj Nyholm, Founder and Chairman at Astralis Group, players have become so immersed in their games that they have taken over where the creators stopped. They want more!
They are creating entire cities from series like Game of Thrones, a complete model of the Star Wars Death Star, and videos for other gamers, sharing their creations and streaming themselves while gaming on media platforms such as Twitch. Lately, big e-sport tournaments have started competing with sports on broadcast TV too. Keld Reinicke pointed out that the Music Industry utilizes young people's gaming-media habits by creating music videos and concerts in games like Fortnite.
Gaming is growing because of the young people, who keep pushing gaming beyond its limits, and according to Nikolaj Nyholm, gaming platforms are young people's new media.
Most of us would agree that we live in changeable – and sometimes challenging – times right now. Corona requires us to adapt and change our lifestyles to stay safe. On the other hand, technology is developing radically, and if we listen to the World Economic Forum, we all need to change 40 percent of our skillset within the next five years due to technological changes. So, we need to adapt.
David Goodhart – Anywheres & Somewheres
Our ability to adapt depends on who we are. According to David Goodhart, there are roughly two kinds of people: The "Anywheres" and the "Somewheres."
"Anywheres" are global citizens that live in the bigger international cities. They are widely traveled, well-educated, and often multi-lingual. "Somewheres" often live in the provinces and have their affiliation in their local society. They are the typical working-class and have larger families than "Anywheres". In the UK, David Goodhart estimated, 25 percent of the population are "Anywheres" and about 50 percent are "Somewheres". The last 25 percent are "Inbetweeners". Even though "Somewheres" have the majority, it is the "Anywheres" that dominate British culture and society, and "Somewheres" often feel ignored by "Anywheres". When it comes to changes, "Anywheres" are the best at adapting to change.
Someone, who without a doubt, is categorized as an "Anywhere" – or maybe should have a category of his own – is Neil Harbisson.
Neil Harbisson is a cyborg – yes, you read it right. As the first human being on the planet, Neil had an antenna implanted in his skull in 2004. At this.2020, Neil talked about becoming technology instead of using or wearing technology. This opens up the possibility of having additional organs and senses beyond the ones naturally assigned to our species. Neil is born color blind, but his antenna allows him to perceive visible and invisible colors via audible vibrations, including infrared and ultraviolet colors. Also, Neil has a chip implanted in his knee, which allows him to know which way is North, and a light in his teeth, allowing him to see in the dark.
Both Neil's infrared sense, his direction sense, and "night vision" are inspired by animal senses. By allowing ourselves to change and find inspiration in the animal kingdom, we can help the planet, Neil Harbisson claims. Imagine if we all had night vision – light at night would not be necessary. Or if we could all regulate our body temperature, we would not need to regulate the temperature around us. "The more we change ourselves, the less we have to change the planet," Neil Harbisson states.
It's clear to everyone that the world is changing radically right now – in the industries, our work, and ourselves. We have to be willing to adapt and move on and hope that something better lies ahead.
Something great that we know lies ahead is this.2021!
Save the date now: October 27 – 31, 2021.