Netflix and the new rules of event engagement

Innovation / 

Creatives are encouraged to start with a blank page, but increasingly events start with a 16:9 rectangle, says Studio Giggle’s CEO Jonathan Brigden.

We’re obsessed with the evolution of technology and consumer behaviour, because understanding this is key to predicting the future evolution of our medium: events.

The Netflix-age has seen traditional storytelling genres – film, television, documentaries, etc - blur under the much-loathed umbrella term ‘content’. At the same time, events are increasingly being streamed as standard, and therefore occupy the same (laptop, tablet, smartphone) screens that we use to watch Netflix.

Hybrid events will become the standard, as they allow you to reach far larger international audiences, and, in the event of cancellation, allow attendees to instead log in from home. This is a powerful, future-proofed way to approach events, but it is also relevant in today’s world where much of Asia and the world is still in lockdown.

This ‘re-framing’ of what we do as an industry has an impact on our creative planning, informing everything from choosing venues, to content formats and narrative considerations. A tall venue, for example, calls for different camera and lighting setups to a wide venue. Meanwhile, whether your event is being streamed live, or designed for offline consumption, should inform everything from its Q&A format, to its interactive elements.

Other conceptual considerations inform the goings-on within your event’s 16:9 rectangle. Event messaging that revolves around ‘tough economic times’ or a product delay often calls for more ‘sober’ lighting, production and furniture choices, with a narrative focus on priming for future success. You should also consider how your on-screen language and presentation will be received globally, and how you can best play to the presenter’s strengths.

Meanwhile, with the gaming sector overtaking Hollywood’s revenue, the gamification of events is surely a mainstay. Indeed, even Netflix shows like the ‘choose your own adventure’ epic Bandersnatch have foreshadowed a more interactive approach to consuming content. Market movements, like Sony’s recent $1bn investment in Epic Games, and the evolution of Zuckerberg’s Meta further point in this direction.

Because of these ever-changing market trends, we opt not to store an excessive amount of AV kit in-house so that we stay light on our feet to meet the evolving creative needs of the corporate world. However, we have made recent investments in volumetric capture and broadcast technology to prepare us for increased demand for attendee interactivity on screen.

Certainly, a command of contemporary streaming software is a powerful skillset, and we recommend choosing platforms that interact seamlessly with each other so your stream isn’t affected on the night.

As an industry, we need to be ready for what the Netflix generation is demanding, and having a
creativity-first mindset and the right techies onboard will put you in good stead.

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