What the hell is a Bliki? Revenue for multi-platform media

One of the biggest problems for traditional media adapting to a changing landscape is the pressing need to take their properties to multi-platform audiences. The strangely named but useful “Bliki” session, held this afternoon at nextMedia Banff, aims to solve this problem by pairing new media experts with participants who are currently developing a multi-platform property. The idea is to create content that’s more “exploitable.” Omnifilm producer Leigh Badgley acted as the mentoree, and showed off a documentary series about arctic pilots called “Ice Pilots NWT”.

After a brief description of the show, Badgley showed the work being done on creating an online presence for the show, explaining each element of the show’s website to the panel. In addition to standard information and video from the show, Omnifilm is also preparing web-specific video, and the son of one of the pilots featured on the show shoots his own footage and twitters. One of the showcase elements of the site is a “story map” built from Google Maps with a rich media overlay, which allows people to check out the various locations and view information via the map. In effect, they want to create a “people’s history of the North”, so in addition to their own content they enable user generated content so others can add to the info already on site. Another site, iflewthenorth.com, is a venue where people can upload their own aviation stories about the North, while also building a fan base for the show.

J. Milward of Secret Location advised to think of the show as a brand. The site can’t be designed in a vacuum, so all the elements from the television show such as graphics and titles match up on the web and on TV. He also said before leaping into partnerships with every social network, companies should be very careful to see if particular social networks match their own brand.

One thing to be aware of, barrister and solicitor Mary Barroll said, is to make sure the show isn’t liable thanks to behaviour or content submitted or tweeted by participants for the user-generated content section of the site.

Andrew Lane of nitch* explained that your main site is the hub of a wheel, and everything else (including talking on this very panel) should be, by design, able to drive content back to the main “hub”.

In terms of monetizing the content, Kate Hanley, the president of Digital Theory Media Consulting, it pays to not only have assets onsite but also offsite. Offer free “pods” of video not to video sharing sites, but sites that match the audience of the show. And find sponsors that also match the audience before you shoot, so you can possibly integrate their products into the show.

Will Travis of Dentsu said many big advertisers are looking for branded entertainment, and the challenge is getting to the agencies who are gatekeepers to the brands. Get your elevator pitch ready and do your research by studying your competitors (and the opportunities they missed), brands that match the show, and provable numbers that show what kind of eyeballs can come to their brand.

The overall motto of the session, coined by moderator Rita Carbone-Fleury of the Bell Broadcast and New Media Fund, is “think aherad or you’re dead” and the panel agreed Badgley and Omnifilm had in fact done just that.