The 2008 Millennials Canada Conference, co-produced by Digital Media Wire and Canadian Music Week, is taking place today as an integral part of the Canadian Music Week. The youth focused one-day event brings together leading international entertainment, media and technology executives and consumer marketers to focus on how to connect with the much sought after Millennial Generation (those born between 1982 and 2000), which will outnumber both Baby Boomers and Gen-Xers by 2010 to become the most significant consumer sector for the media and entertainment industries. Here are some early take-aways from the conference:
With a lot of international record label executives in the audience, a theme of the morning sessions of the event was naturally on how to market and sell music to a digital generation that is not interested in buying physical CDs or (legally) downloading full-length albums.
One of the take-aways were that Millennials have a very sensitive BS-meter and they know when something is worth paying for. Hence, if you want to sell them on a music service, paid or advertising-supported, it has to be a good service that provides something that they can’t easily find for free on the Internet.
"The labels need to focus on providing good music services instead of products", said Jodie Ferneyhough, Manging Director, Universal Music Publishing Canada.
"A topic of conversation every day is â€˜where is the sell-out line?’", said David Kines, SVP, Music and Youth Services, CTV.
One of the features that Millennials value is the ability to take their media "on-the-go". Nokia now produce 1 million mobile devices A DAY. Selling ring-tones to mobile phones have already proved to be big business, the next step is of course to sell full length tracks and subscription services.
"We have changed our foucus to services as well as devices, so we see a huge opportunity for Nokia in entertainment services", said Trevor Madigan, Nokia’s Head of Entertainment and Communities, N. A.
There were also many insightful comments made on the broader media and entertainment preferences of the Millennial generation. For example, many of the speakers praised the genius of the video game Guitar Hero.
"A lot of young people wants to be rock stars and along comes this game, it’s a no-brainer", said Daniel Ewing, Manager, Music Partnerships, Rogers Wireless.
"If you want to do advertising in games, you need to do it well, you can’t just put a Burger King in World of Warcraft. It has to be relevant to game, it’s all about creating a positive brand experience", said Erik Hauser, Founder and Executive Creative Director, Swivel Media.
One example of music marketing in game is that the Virtual World Habbo Hotel Canada is working to break Tokio Hotel over here and they have created a lounge that will go live later this month.
"Habbo is actually pretty well known for saying no to advertisers. If the advertiser doesn’t add some value to the virtual world, they don’t belong there. We can’t make a brand cool, the brand has to be relevant and acceptable to the community already. That is why you don’t have Bank of America in Habbo, says Teemu Huuhtanen, President, N. A. Habbo Business for Sulake.
Finally, Geoff Stevens, COO, Championship Gaming Series, also made a claim that you can choose to believe or not:
"Gaming is virtually a recession proof business."
After seeing what has happened to the music industry, perhaps the more relevant question is – is it piracy proof?
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