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Highlights from the AOP Summit 2009

At the AOP Summit, where the digital publishing community came together to discuss collective challenges and opportunities facing the industry, Emap CEO David Gilbertson gave a timely keynote speech about ‘intelligent content’, and the difference between content that is chargeable, and “just ‘quite interesting’”.

David GilbertsonGilbertson: "Quite interesting is not enough."As long as consumers think they can find everything online, he explained, “no-one can build a volume game…If all we have is volume, we must attract audience quality to survive.”

The way to do this, said Gilbertson, is via sustainable unique content. “Quite interesting is not enough,” it is “decision-ready information” that is key to success in B2B markets – “intelligence prompts and enables a decision.”

“Gone are passive audiences”

Chris Cramer, Head of Global Multimedia, Reuters gave an alternative view of future media business models, as based on practised, demonstrable editorial integrity, twinned with content curation and the link economy – media as guide rather than oracle.

Chris CramerCramer: "Not oracles, but guides"Source checking is ever more important in this environment, said Cramer – if TMZ, the blog that broke the story of Michael Jackson’s death had it got the facts wrong, it would have been ‘lights out’ time for the site, by its founder’s own admission.

Loyalty beyond reason

With yet another view on building success online, Saatchi & Saatchi EMEA Chief Executive Simon Francis explained how his agencies seeks “loyalty beyond reason”, so that customers buy, and buy again, without thinking.

Giving valid insight into agencies’ demands for simplicity and reach, he explained that the average Chief Marketing Officer will have 6 months in that role, and must prove ROI as well as return on return on time invested in that time.

In this environment, proven solutions, and upfront evidence of successful approaches are vital – “give them something big, branded, fast and simple to execute.”

For Francis, publishers’ aims aren’t entirely different: we should be investing in developing “content which can change behaviour”, and he called for greater collaboration between ad creatives and editorial teams and creatives within publishing.

Disruption all about the Product

With more ideas on where publishers should be looking to innovate, the afternoon’s Digital Disruptors panel advised on where next to look for the greatest change and growth online.

Disruptor PanelCridge: "Look where no-one even knows where to start."Demand Media’s Co-Founder Shawn Colo emphasised the importance of product to success -

Yahoo failed to innovate from a product perspective, he said, while Demand foresaw a disruptive production model with Pluck, in that ultimately “every site would have a social network on it.”

The key to success in innovation (and perhaps even in charging for content) is user interface, said Co-Founder Brent Hoberman, “as Spotify shows.”

Mark Cridge, Founder of glue London, had some alternative advice: “Find an area no-one knows about, where no-one even knows where to start.”

Watch videos from the event and access presentations.

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