BlogWorld Expo: Can Rick Calvert Bring Traditional & New Media Together?
On Thursday, Nov. 3, BlogWorld & New Media Expo, the world's largest new media and social media event has its Hollywood premiere. It's the goal of CEO and co-founder Rick Calvert -- click here to follow him on Twitter -- to bring reach across the Los Angeles-San Francisco divide and bring the worlds of traditional and new media together.
Leaving Las Vegas behind for the downtown Los Angeles Convention Center, BlogWorld runs through Saturday, Nov. 5, bringing together bloggers, podcasters, content creators, technical wizards and software developers in businesses ranging from education to healthcare to automobiles to entertainment.
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Calvert hopes, in particular, that a more than a few entertainment-industry types will come by to see what all the excitement is about.
"We intentionally moved to L.A.," says Calvert, "because it is the center of entertainment media. Part of our mission is to help traditional media and new media converge. We see that as being inevitable.
"Every year, you see more people, like Kevin Pollak and Adam Carolla cross over into the new-media space. We see people like Felicia Day cross over into the traditional-media space. We think there's an opportunity to help foster that and make it happen a little bit faster.
"We're in L.A. for a reason."
The entertainment industry has been wrestling with the digital revolution for a while now, navigating complex contractual agreements, logistics, emerging revenue streams and copyright laws, trying to figure out how to fit the worlds of stage, screen and sound into bits and bytes.
Too often, though, the high-tech hipsters of San Francisco and Silicon Valley and the high-rise executives of Los Angeles don't see eye to eye on how it should be done.
"There's no one set formula," says Calvert. "It's important to mention, too, somebody told me about another event the other day, which was supposed to be a new-media event, but everybody attending it was from the traditional media industry. Every speaker, every attendee, they were all traditional media people telling each other how to be new-media people.
"So that's exactly my point about out event. All of the new-media people come to our show, and we always get a few traditional media people come to our show. We've seen a few of those people in the past when we were in Vegas, but now that we're in L.A. and so much closer, we expect to get more of those people."
Calvert hopes the two worlds can realize how much they have to offer each other -- with consumers leading the way.
"The standards that they have in traditional media," he says, "those are some of the good things that can translate back to new media. Obviously, consumers want to get their content now in the new-media way. They want it on any device at any time. That's what consumers expect now. Until that happens, they are not going to be happy.
"So, how do you translate that gigantic infrastructure of traditional media, that's built to create great professional content, and be able to monetize it on the Internet or on a mobile phone or a tablet? The person who figures out that question is going to be really, really rich."
There's an inherent anarchic element to the Web, a stubborn insistence on the part of many of its creators and users that, once they've paid for their Internet access, the rest should be free (this had hit the newspaper industry particularly hard).
But producing content is expensive, and professional-quality artists and content creators expect to be -- and indeed, need to be -- paid for their work. This problem is the Gordian Knot at the heart of where the entertainment world and the digital world meet, and cutting through that knot is going to require a little effort from both sides.
Hollywood needs to comprehend a model that isn't run from the top down, but grows instead from the bottom up.
"Traditional media wants to control everything," says Calvert. "But the day is coming when every actor on a show is on Twitter; the director's on Twitter; the producer's on Facebook or Google Plus, and they're all talking to their collective group of fans at the same time.
"Hollywood has a hard time embracing it."
New media and consumers have to learn there's no such thing as a free lunch.
"You have this fundamental ignorance," says Calvert, "on the consumers' part, or sometimes on the new-media/content-creator's part, of understanding what copyright laws are. Obviously, there are some people in the San Francisco crew who are openly hostile to copyright laws and think content should be free -- who are idiots, in my opinion, by the way.
"But those are two fundamentally different philosophies."
Click here to learn about attending this year's BlogWorld Expo.