Why capturing, maintaining audience’s attention is key to sustainability 




“Are creative technologies disruptive or revolutionary? Obviously, both”, so says Anthony Lilley OBE, a Professor of Creative Industries at Ulster University in Northern Ireland and the Director of Magic Lantern Productions. Lilley was speaking about how society uses technology to tell stories and make our cultures at the 5th edition of the Digital Dialogue – #DigitalDialogue2018 – a thought-leadership platform established in 2012 and facilitated by MultiChoice to address various issues facing the video entertainment industry on the continent and share industry best-practice.

Drawing from his experience as a media producer, businessman and technology expert who has worked on many of the cutting-edge developments in television, live events and broader business. Lilley shared insights on the effects of technology on a range of industries which he has witnessed first-hand, and has been involved in shaping many of them, saying, “The human experience has always been connected to technology. Whether you’re telling a story at the fireside or via digital media – those are the technology advances of the time.”

(TOP: Prof Anthony Lilley talks on the evolution of the entertainment industry during the #DigitalDialogue2018).

“Digital is more about how we human beings and society connect with each other. But how do you grab attention, create meaning and tell stories? How do we engage with people’s passions and what does it all mean for our culture? The answers to these questions can be answered by three major factors affecting content businesses of today: video on-demand, personal/mobile and that we are inundated with data and intelligence which can do new things,” says Lilley.

Lilley contends that while people are at the centre of finding their way around the digital world the same way the GPS blue dot on a map relies on the user to navigate to a destination “there’s now more of it in terms of volume and variety of data that was previously not measurable and it’s all coming at us at an incredible velocity’. He believes this variety, volume and velocity of data has created value in ‘human attention’ in what he calls the ‘Attention Economy’. “We only have so much time to capture people’s attention and those who can capture it, can sell it to someone else. You can’t force to give you their attention anymore when there’s content everywhere and businesses that understand the value of attention and can capture it, can sell it to someone else. That has always been the way TV companies sell advertisement space – because there’s a captive audience that is paying attention.”

Lilley also delved into the creation of ‘fandoms’ in the ‘human experience as it results in self-identification, social cohesion and way of reaching out to others. “Being a fan is not only emotionally valuable to the individual but also commercially valuable to a brand. That affinity to your brand creates trust and loyalty – human values that lead to a brand or business’ sustainability. Our job is to explore those opportunities that can create fans and put them in front of people,” he concluded.




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