MLB Advanced Media is a quietly powerful force in digital media. Like, really powerful. With some projecting revenue of $500 million in 2012 and clients like NCAA March Madness and even Glen Beck's online venture GBTV, Advanced Media's technology is the gold standard for live Internet broadcasting. President and CEO of MLB Advanced, Bob Bowman discussed the company's strategy for the future and offered his own wisdom about the shifting digital industry today at IAB's Innovation Days event.
Create Great Content and Get it On Every Available Platform
"As important as the ads are, they will never be as important as the content," Bowman told the audience. Bowman mentioned that there are 108 devices and operating system permutations on Apple's platform alone, and another 2,100 for Android. That's means a lot of customization for publishers. But Bowman believes media companies need to innovate at a breakneck pace or risk total irrelevance. "If you are a brand you want to be in front of people you have to go from Web to wireless, to social and then to the newest frontier: gaming," he said.
MLB Advanced Media Announces A 'Huge Gaming Business This Summer'
Almost on cue, Bowman told the crowd that MLB Advanced Media is delving into the gaming world to get their technology in front of a younger, more engaged demographic. Bowman announced only that the foray into gaming would be "huge" but said nothing more of it. Details should be emerging sooner than later, though.
We Don't Know How To Measure This Stuff
Bowman called attention to the difficulty of uniformly measuring audiences online. "The way we measure engagement and audience over all of these screens, some of which are on at the same time, is a real mess," Bowman noted.
Cordcutting And The Future
"The new generation will not cut the cord, they will never even plug it in," Bowman teased near the end of the talk. Yet, he doesn't see a future as a barren place for cable companies as there is great overlap between internet providers and cable companies. He noted that the transition though away from cable will have to take time and have the right processes in place. "Going straight from cable to an a la carte system would be problematic," he said.
In a follow-up conversation via phone, Bowman spoke to Adweek to further address the issue of the future and cable's role. He told Adweek "We believe that cable is a valuable partner, especially for baseball and we and many other ventures and have interests in becoming partners in large supply," he said. With respect to cable's role, Bowman continued to explain that he sees any a la carte system of programming as a difficult sell, especially right now. "consumers like the current bundles," Bowman said. "There is no evidence right now that consumers want an all a la carte system."