The Art of Storytelling in the Digital Space December 12, 2011 by Sirpa Aggarwal Arktan, Arktan SocialStreams, DWTS, Second Screen, Social TV, Storytelling, The X Factor USA The recent Variety Entertainment Apps Conference in Los Angeles has been getting a lot of buzz in the social media. We were proud to have Arktan CEO & Co-Founder, Rahul Aggarwal, among the conference panelists. Other panelists represented leading movie studios, application development companies, and TV networks, including NBC.com, a customer of Arktan. The panel discussions centered on opportunities and challenges facing TV networks, movie studios and other brands in the new digital media landscape. An important part of this landscape is the ever-increasing influence of social networks. Increased user engagement, and sharing of user experiences across social networks are providing brands new avenues for monetization. At the same time, TV networks and movie studios must think of new ways to keep the ancient art of storytelling alive in the new digital landscape. That means that they need to keep producing engaging characters that add value to their brands, and value for users engaging with their brands. The afternoon “App Franchise” panel discussion focused on the interplay between digital applications and traditional TV networks and movie franchises. Panelists were Rick Sorkin, VP, Talent & Strategy, WhoSay; Chris Hewish, Head of Global Interactive, DreamWorks Animation; Ted Hong, CMO, Fandango; Stac Jolna, CMO & Co-Founder, ConnecTV; and Rahul Aggarwal, CEO & Co-Founder, Arktan. Andrew Wallenstein, TV Editor, from Variety, moderated the panel. During the discussion, Chris Hewish from DreamWorks Animation described a partnership that produced the Fruit Ninja mobile-device game, and the challenge of ensuring meaningful user-experiences: “We wouldn’t just do something that would cheapen both brands,” Mr. Hewish explained. “We really want to make sure that they could create something that was an incremental improvement and additive to their game.” Rahul Aggarwal meanwhile emphasized the need for brands to focus on digital experiences across all platforms, and not just on mobile applications. He also described the value that Arktan products are bringing to TV networks. Many of the leading ones have already implemented Social TV applications, including ABC, NBC, and USA Network, all of them Arktan customers. Rahul described Arktan Real-Time Social Streams on ‘Dancing With the Stars’ and ‘The X Factor USA’ television shows as examples of how TV networks are enhancing their traditional franchises with intelligent second screen experiences during their shows. Second screen experiences engage viewers by giving them the ability to post comments about the shows in real-time, and to share them with their preferred social networks. These federated comments across social networks, and on brands’ websites and mobile applications, increase the footprint of the brands’ franchises, resulting in the creation of more interactive and successful brands. Movie studios are also starting to incorporate real-time social streams in their websites and mobile applications. It will be exciting to see how this trend continues to develop in the coming months.