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PBS Annual Meeting - Innovation Hotspot with Jason Seiken & David Pogue


The following is a summary of the Innovation Hotspot Keynote held at the PBS Annual Meeting on Wednesday, May 18th at 2:33pm. We're highlighting the PBS Interactive sessions on this blog. A complete run-down of sessions from the Annual Meeting is available in the Conferences Blog on PBS Connect under Attend | Learn >> Conference Blog.

The General Session opened with Jason Seiken, Senior Vice President, PBS Interactive, Product Development & Innovation sharing what PBS Interactive has up its sleeve to serve stations in the coming year.

Seiken emphasized the fact that everything PBS Interactive does has to serve stations, and he considers PBS Interactive’s Board of Directors to be the station General Managers.

PBS Interactive's top priorities will be:

1. Driving down station costs - For station leaders tired of paying for the development and design of local web sites, PBS Interactive will be launching Bento, a set of resources designed to take the burden of doing the set-up work for building a local web site off stations so you can focus on local content development. Similar to COVE, Bento will include several options:
  • Bento Complete – Website templates and a content management system that will allow stations to easily create a complete local web presence.
  • Bento+ – Goodies that can be used with or without Bento Basic to enhance or easily expand a station’s existing site.
  • Open Bento – Access to COVE and Merlin APIs that will allow more experienced station web developers to create their own tools and applications that can be shared back to the larger station community.
  • Incubation Lab – Station web developers are already starting to collaborate on projects leveraging Merlin and COVE.

2. PROSPER – PBS Interactive's plan to target the millions of pbs.org visitors, and get their names to stations so they can be cultivated into paying members. Beyond prospecting, PBS Interactive is envisioning a phase 2 of the project that will begin to make exclusive digital benefits available for members, such as access to a larger catalogue of PBS video on the web, HD video on your station site, or early access to programs on the iPad.

3. Local Video in Mobile Apps – Starting this summer, COVE Pro stations will be able to add their video content to the PBS iPhone and iPad apps simply by checking a box in the COVE admin tool. Local content will automatically surface to individuals using the apps in your broadcast area, and users will have the option to filter out national content, and just view local. Links to each station's local web site, Facebook page, Twitter feed, and donate page will also be easily accessible.

(Stay tuned to the PBS Interactive Station Products & Innovation Blog for more information and updates on these priorities over the coming year!)

Next it was time for the dynamic and funny David Pogue, host of NOVA’s Making Stuff, to take the stage.

David walked through the key forces he sees as playing an important role in technology and culture today:

1. The Rise of Simplicity – iPads are computers that your grandmother can use.
2. Kids Become Adults – ...and they demand content that is real time & on-demand. Teenagers don’t use email, or take the time to listen to voicemail.
3. New Business Models – He gave the example of Groupon, a company that tried something new to explosive success. They grew from $0 to $1.5 Billion in sales in 11 months.
4. Audience = Content Creators

David Pogue brought the session to a roaring end by singing a parody of today’s on-demand culture to the tunes of several pop classics while playing the grand piano on station. The performance reached its crescendo with a rip on the Recording Industry Association of America’s effort to clamp down on online music pirating to the tune of “YMCA” - “I Just Got Sued By The R-I-A-A….” The session ended to cheers and applause.

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