Moderator Thomas Crampton kicked off this panel by asking each of the guests for a rant: Reha Alev (Ford’s in-house Content Manager) called brand newsrooms ‘an overblown fad’; Alex Light (VICE Australia’s Head of Content) called traditional advertising ‘annoying’ and said ‘there is no place for it in the world today’; Fergus Hay ([email protected] leader in APAC) took aim at the industry’s use of ‘content’ as an ill-defined buzzword; Maria Rondon (Associated Press) lamented that there was simply too much of the stuff, now that everyone with a phone (which is basically everyone) is now a content producer.
Which is interesting, because each of the panelists appeared to be arguing against their own jobs. They moved quickly (and at Crampton’s urging) to arguing amongst themselves, showing that the lines between brands, audiences and journalists are not so much blurred, as they are falling-down drunk.
Light maintained that the separation of (editorial) church and state (sales) was key to maintaining the publisher’s credibility and authenticity. Hay put forth the argument that brands are too fixed on their own story to be truly engaging (he aslo said that agencies are too fixed on their own in-house talent pool to respond quickly enough to a changing audience landscape). Rondon positioned AP as a ‘content shop’, with stories and topics available for purchase by agencies and brands to re-purpose as they see fit.
The disagree-athon came to a screeching halt , however, when a member of the audience asked where the audience (yes, it got a bit meta) sits in these different content-creation models. The answer, to a man (and a woman) was: the audience comes first.