by Todd Longwell
Call it foresight, luck or a combination both.
Earlier this year, when Jay Baage secured Jonathan Murtaugh, Facebook’s U.S. head of industry for film and television, to be a keynote speaker at the [a]list Mobile + Social Video Summit, scheduled for Aug. 19 at the W Hollywood Hotel, it was already clear that the social network was shaping up to be a serious challenger to YouTube as the dominant online video platform.
But Baage – executive director of the Ayzenberg Group, the ad agency behind the summit and the insider news and insights web site [a]listdaily – couldn’t have anticipated that the buzz surrounding Facebook’s video moves would be building to a crescendo on the eve of the event, with mid-roll ads ramping up,celebrity live-streams debuting and VidCon co-founder Hank Green stoking the fires of controversy with a blog post claiming that Facebook’s skyrocketing stats (including a self-reported 4 billion daily video views) are “based on cheating, lies, and theft.”
The controversy will likely inspire some tough, uncomfortable questions for Murtaugh, who also works with Facebook-owned Instagram. But, for the [a]list summit, it’s all good.
“What I really try to make happen at these events is to have different opinions and topics to talk about, so you’re not just going down the line on a panel and everyone is going, ‘Yeah, I agree on that,’” Baage told VideoInk. “When we have some hot topics to talk about, it makes for an interesting discussion, and it also creates a good position for [a]list Daily, where we’re trying to help marketers by guiding them through what’s happening in the space.”
Immersed in Immersive Video
The [a]list summit will also be hitting the industry’s other hottest of hot button topics, virtual reality and augmented reality (where virtual reality elements superimposed upon the real world), with a keynote interview with Oscar-winning director Morgan Neville (“20 Feet from Stardom”), who is currently working with Ayzenberg on a documentary series on Microsoft HoloLens.
Baage said that VR and AR are “a big topic we could have a whole conference on. Before it was more a prototype. Now you see some of the biggest tech players in the world making moves in this area, with Microsoft and HoloLens, Facebook and Oculus, and Google and Glass, which I guess is still alive and they’re going to launch a new version of it.”