The Rerun Interview:
In the first edition of our Rerun Interviews series, Claire McHugh sits down with Stephen McCormack, TV producer and co-founder of MediaCon to find out more about Dublin’s latest TV tech event and where he thinks the future of TV is heading.
What inspired you to launch MediaCon? Why now?
‘It is a time of tremendous change for the television and entertainment industries. On the one hand, TV shows are as popular and important to culture as ever ( from Breaking Bad to The Kardashians to Love/Hate ) and on the other hand the business model as we know it is about to change beyond recognition. With the rise of new platforms, YouTube creators, OTT and content technology — everything we know about how we make and consume video entertainment is set to evolve rapidly. This presents huge opportunity but also massive uncertainty for existing companies such as broadcasters, advertisers, producers, distributors and talent.
We founded MediaCon as an international gathering of decision makers to tackle these issues and find real clarity about the future. We felt Dublin, with its great mix of TV and technology companies was a great place to base the conference.’
So who’s speaking ? Who should attend and why?
‘We have a great spread of speakers from broadcasters to producers to distributors and creatives. From BBC, ITV Studios, RTE, NRK, to Shine Endemol to new Platforms like AOL, Yahoo — we have all bases covered. If your career or business anyway intersects with television or the broad internet entertainment content business, or are in marketing or advertising , content related technology or talent / creator — this conference is for you.’
What do you think are the main challenges facing the TV industry today?
‘The way we make, finance, consume, interact with and discover video content are all changing and the rate of change is speeding up. With everything from new platforms such as Netflix, Aol ,Yahoo and Amazon willing to outbid linear networks for shows and talent, to Youtube stars garnering audience numbers which are staggering compared to any linear TV shows and the ad dollars beginning to flow in that direction — to the myriad number of new ways to watch, the challenges for the traditional business are clear. What we see at MediaCon is that the business will ultimately merge new platforms and old and it will become all about the content — but this will create clear winners and losers. MediaCon is about not being on the losing team.
What’s your favourite way to watch TV?
‘Chromecast plugged into Flatscreen and streamed from whatever device/platform I want’
What’s on your TV playlist right now ?
‘I was sad to see the end of Mad Men and Breaking Bad — two favourites. I’m looking forward to the new reworked Top Gear-esque on Amazon with Messrs Clarkson, May and Hammond. Silicon Valley on HBO is a current favourite, as is House of Cards on Netflix, HIGH MAINTENANCE on Vimeo and Steve Buscemi’s Park Bench on AOL.’
What do you think is the biggest area for innovation / disruption in today’s TV industry?
‘I think, along with new models of financing shows — Discovery will be the number one area of innovation and disruption and I think Apple may have a secret up their sleeve here as well as Facebook. Watch this space…’
Tell us something no one else knows about MediaCon
MediaCon will have a special cocktail made for the MediaCon party!
And finally, Star Trek or Star Wars?