Is it really over? AlwaysOn OnMedia NYC event concluded last Wednesday, but I think I’m still feeling it. Horn Group worked hard (very hard!) on this conference. Almost the entire PR team in the New York office was in attendance for at least part of it. I was actually there from the very start to the final minute, which was a blast because I got to meet a lot of cool people: journalists, the AlwaysOn team in California and passionate executives – including several of Horn Group’s clients!
OnMedia was held at the Ritz-Carlton this year, conveniently only a few blocks from our office. The location was interesting for a few reasons.
- Through the huge windows at the Ritz, you could see the spot where Flight 1549 finally “landed” after its Hudson River layover.
- It’s at the absolute tip of Manhattan. With the snow storm on Tuesday, all the conference attendees were such troopers for trekking out.
- We were a few blocks away from the New York Stock Exchange where the reception took place on Tuesday night.
It was a bit strange that while President Obama, Congress and the folks at the NYSE worried over the economic stimulus package, the tone at OnMedia was overwhelmingly optimistic. CEOs introduced new ways to monetize everything from social media to computer games, for anyone, ad networks to SMBs. OnMedia attendees seemed altogether confident that the ideas and projects in discussion would create fruitful opportunities in the upcoming year.
Mobile was an especially big theme this year, with executives excitedly talking about the possibilities in targeting and consumer data collection. Not included on our guest list, but in heavy attendance at the conference, was the iPhone which every other attendee seemed to be holding or discussing. Mark Walsh of MediaPost noted that Marco Argenti, VP for media at Nokia, saw the silver lining on the iPhone cloud: "All the buzz about the App Store demonstrates that there's a very huge demand for everyone that has an advanced phone, to do more with it."
[Before feeling sorry for Nokia, note what Jessica Tsai of CRM said in her article. "Despite the gadget's deafening buzz, the 4.4 million Apple iPhones sold last year—no matter how impressive!—paled in comparison to the world leader, Nokia (113 million mobile devices sold last year)."]
A poll conducted by KPMG and AlwaysOn found that mobile phones and the decline in ad spending were the top two “disruptive forces” in media today. But thankfully everyone’s willing to put their heads together at OnMedia and determine the best practices for 2009, keeping an open mind to all the different media that are available to advertisers whether it is mobile, online or something else. (Best quote from OnMedia: "That's $20 million bucks for a banner you cannot click on." See what David J. Moore of 24/7 Real Media was referring to on ClickZ’s site.)
Unfortunately I was unable to sit in and listen to more of the panels and CEO showcases since I was manning the press registration desk, but I can give you my highlights:
- I shook hands with Tim Westergren, founder of Pandora, as he was checking in. At OnMedia, Chris Snyder of Wired wrote that Tim said the Palm Pre is the next iPhone and that the company would put its resources in developing specifically for the Pre, rather than all the smartphones in the market.
- I saw Chris Hughes from Facebook walking around the halls. He spoke on Tuesday morning on a panel about what businesses can learn from President Obama’s social media campaign. Chris was a heavy hitter for the Obama campaign’s online social networking site, My.BarackObama.com.
- One of my clients, Amplify, did a CEO Showcase on Tuesday afternoon and headed out to the lobby to present their demo. One of their visitors noted that he had stopped by after having seen our Tweet: “Amplify is at Demo Station #5 by the second ballroom. Come say hi! :) #onmedia #openamplify”. Behold, the power of Twitter.
I’m already looking forward to helping out at the next event, VideoNuze's Broadband Video Leadership Evening, on March 17th. Yup, St. Pattie's Day. :)