As Ireland is becoming a major player in the Tech Industry, tech conferences are now a part of the Irish tech scene. The Web Summit is now a global phenomenon and earlier this year, MojoCon, the first international mobile journalism conference and the brain child of RTE’s Glen Mulcahy took place and it will run again next year. We also had Phocuswright a travel and tech conference, which ran for the first time in Europe and will be back again next year. Earlier this week a new conference, MediaCon which was devised by Lesley O’Connor the former Web Summit executive producer and Steve McCormack, took place in the round room of the Mansion House.
MediaCon is Ireland’s first TV and technology summit and during the conference it was mentioned that cinema is not what it used be and that great quality TV programs is where the future is. One of the delegates who is a director and producer told me how easier and cheaper it is to make TV shows these days. She mentioned that she can edit her movies on her Apple Mac, and that the only equipment she needs is her Mac and a camera. This was something that she could not do twenty years ago and as technology becomes more advanced and cheaper, everyone can have the ability to edit and record on the fly.
A great example of this is the video for Vintage Trouble’s song Nancy Lee, which was recorded in HD on 5 iPhone 4’s 5 years ago and edited on a Mac.
One of the talks that really impressed me was “BBC’s Annemarie Tomchak explores from Periscope to Facebook the Toolbox of the Digital Producer”. Annemarie showed us a demo of Facebook’s latest product Facebook Live, which allows verified users broadcast live via their Facebook account on their smartphone. Verified users are celebrities, journalists and sports men and women who can interact with their fans. Facebook Live uses the same premise as Periscope in that it allows anyone viewing to ask you questions, and these questions can be viewed by anyone watching too.
Another highlight for me was Tom Lyons the business editor of The Sunday Business Post having a fireside chat with Dermot McCormack. Dermot who is also called Digital Dermot from Dublin by Bono was recently appointed the president of Aol Video and Studios and he discussed Aol’s content plans as Amazon and HBO challenge Netflix to become top dog in on-demand video. According to Dermot there will be five Netflix’s in a few years and he wants Aol Studios to be one of them and on the future of video content he stated “Ultimately it is about telling a story.”
The most entertaining talk was by Rune Moklebust from NRK about Slow TV which is reinventing reality TV. Slow TV is reality TV filmed in real time and NRK have made headlines around the world with their TV series in this genre. Shows mentioned by Rune included an eight-hour knitting epic, a six-day ferry journey through the fjords and a train journey, from Bergen to Oslo.
The final discussion entitled “Creativity INC: Making Ireland the Centre for Global Television” – Glen Killane of RTE, Emmy Award-winning director Gary Benz, James Hickey CEO of the Irish Film Board, Alon Dolev of TV Format Fund and Morgan O’Sullivan, Managing Director of World 2000 discussed how Ireland can take on and become the main hub for digital television for the world. James stated “We need to make drama that resonates with local audiences as well as international.”.Morgan mentioned “Development is everything. If Ireland does that networks will follow.” Glen noted “We need more writers for TV drama.”
During the conference, NewsAccess who is Ireland’s leading media monitoring & evaluation provider were providing details of the top 10 influencers using Twitter at MediaCon. The number one influencer was never in doubt but there was a closely fought battle for number two and number three.
As more and more high quality TV shows such as Penny Dreadful and The Vikings are being made in Ireland and Ireland is becoming the Silicon Valley of Europe, TV and tech will have a much closer relationship. If we can provide the writers and world class content, Ireland will become the Hollywood of digital TV. All of this won’t happen overnight but we will have better idea when MediaCon returns next year.