A few weeks ago I found myself on a flight to Las Vegas as one of a handful of folks around the country who received a scholarship from the very kind folks at PBS Digital to attend the annual PBS TechCon.
As lead-tweeter and chief Instagram-poster here at TPT, there could be an understandable disconnect in my attending TechCon, but I left with a much better understanding as to why it’s imperative that digital and marketing professionals add this one to their calendar from here on out.
It’s worth noting that although I studied broadcasting in college (Go Marquette!), I haven’t touched a switcher or a teleprompter in five years. The industry has evolved just fine without my involvement, and my excitement now derives from talking about our ever-changing programming and our initiatives in the community.
It was clear from the opening session with President & CEO Paula Kerger from PBS and NPR’s new CEO Jarl Mohn that this conference has evolved a lot in the last few years. There is now a clear emphasis on digital marketing and fundraising, social media, and preparing for the future of online interaction with audience and members, whether through Twitter, PBS.org, or mobile and OTT apps.
What I’m excited for:
- The PBS.org update – it’s so clean! And smooth! I’m eager to see how it will impact local stations and social media, both are featured much more prominently.
- The Roku app update and Android app. As an owner of both two Rokus and two Android devices, I can’t wait to stream and interact with COVE content from anywhere like the rest of you iPeople. I’m pretty happy with the PBS experience on Roku, but am anticipating some changes in search and display.
- MVOD (!) This is going to be big, exciting and very, very interesting to see how it’s received by the general public.
- It’s very heartwarming to see the strong growth in social media for PBS and the member stations and programs. It’s an exciting space to be a part of.
What I learned:
- Although not always easy, it’s important to invest in the digital technology and staffing to manage your online content and presence.
- For many, it’s important to let the general goals of the station(s) direct your digital strategy, not the other way around.
- Within a station, departments really need to talk more, especially between Membership, Digital and Marketing.
- Live-streaming is still not as easy as we wish it was, but we’re all getting there and learning more in the age of mobile viewing.
- Through LearningMedia, teachers are some of the most engaged consumers of PBS content.
- Though many of us may not touch it, v6 is pretty darn incredible and important.
- I’ll need a new wardrobe next year to even come close to Tim Olson’s shirt collection.
What I’m wondering:
- What does digital fundraising look like in the next five years?
- Editorially speaking, what will the PMP mean for those of us with no news outlet in-house?
There we go. I didn’t say “satellite" once!
Leif Brostrom | Social Media & Web Specialist | Twin Cities Public Television