East vs. West, Content vs. Tech, f8 vs. NewFronts

cary-tildsBy guest columnist Cary Tilds, chief innovation officer at GroupM

Facebook decided to hold its f8 conference in San Francisco the same week as the Digital Content NewFronts in New York.

Odd – or maybe not.

The Digital Content NewFronts were created to showcase content innovation happening within the digital media companies as a way to get in front of – and combat – the TV upfronts.

The f8 conference for Facebook typically has been geared toward showcasing technology innovation throughout the developer community.

Both are invitation-only events. In the past, if you focused on development, you attended f8; if you focused on media, you attended the NewFronts. In a world where technology and content are converging more and more, it may be difficult to choose which event to attend.

F8 will showcase learnings directly from the leadership at Facebook, Parse (mobile app platform), and Instagram (a leader in photo-sharing), including what has worked and what hasn’t worked and about the tools they open source for future business growth. So, Facebook is going to showcase social, mobile, and content. Who knows, they may even talk about video a bit, too.

At both the NewFronts and f8 there’s always excitement around big announcements. For the NewFronts, those announcements are almost always big content opportunities or strategic partnerships. Sometimes announcements are made to showcase product changes, like at this year’s events, where almost every company will showcase their ability to scale in video, mobile, and social.

Surrounding f8 there are rumors about a Facebook mobile app network, a content play in its own right. Recall Facebook purchased Atlas recently, and perhaps they are building on that asset to help advertisers connect to consumers in more meaningful ways on and off Facebook.

No one knows for sure whether a mobile ad network will be announced or not. We will see on the day of f8 if these rumors come true. In a post-IPO world, the stakes are high for Facebook to shine and not disappoint.

We do know that Facebook will show attendees how to increase the number of people using apps and how to use mobile and social strategies to keep and attract the right people. Sounds a bit like media strategy to you, right? Facebook is going to highlight many of the same themes as the other players on the opposite coast at the NewFronts. Our worlds are colliding and certainly the lines are getting blurrier.

Certainly, people who attend f8 will get a heavy dose of development, some insight to media strategy with Facebook, and perhaps an understanding of how Facebook is going to live within and outside its walls.

Choose one coast and not the other? Not a worry about missing the NewFronts parties if you attend f8. Facebook has lined up DJ and producer Diplo as well as Indie rockers El Ten Eleven.

Where will I be the week of the NewFronts or f8? I chose to be on the West Coast rather than the East Coast that week, and it’s not just because of the band.

As chief innovation officer for GroupM, Cary Tilds is responsible for leading the company’s efforts in the indentification, evaluation, and development of new and emerging digital platform technologies. 

Image via Shutterstock.

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