Los Angeles / Austin

Across a trip to the US further reminders that the scale and capitalisation of “digital content” channels there has very few comparators to the UK market, and that the traditional channel and studios are rapidly entering the space in order to remain relevant.

In a series of meetings I appeared to cover the full spectrum as digital businesses scale and traditional media players adapt:

  • A major studio now looking at a more open innovation approach to strategy for new platforms and audience engagement
  • A digital first platform business now with major channel investment and looking to reverse brand IP into a mixed TV/digital play
  • A content production business grown entirely on the internet, now leveraging a massive fan base to extend a dialogue with its audience across diverse programming, live, merchandising, TV etc

A long conversation with a viral production company on authenticity and the particular visual language of social / online highlighted a particular dichotomy. Whilst by definition online content is visible anywhere many of these businesses were very US-centric – able to build audiences in the 10 > 100 million+ range and drive significant commercial value whilst remaining culturally relevant within one (home) market.

Visiting Rooster Teeth in Austin was a particular highlight. With studios spread through a series of old hangars at a disused airport on the outskirts of Austin it produces multiple shows focused on technology and gaming (distributed via YouTube and its own platform), all united by a strong sense of brand personality developed since 2003.

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