SXSW 2015: Preview
The annual South By Southwest (SXSW) festival in Austin, Texas has a reputation for launching start-ups into the mainstream. Back in 2007, Twitter used the event as a launchpad, and two years later, Foursquare was on every attendee’s smartphone. Such crossover success is rarely guaranteed, but it seems a safe bet that live-streaming app Meerkat will garner some attention at this year’s event.
One to Watch: Meerkat
Meerkat enables users to shoot and broadcast video in real time from their phones. Our Born on the Web Industry Trend discusses how live streaming is becoming ever more important as a way to engage with Gen Z consumers, as evidenced by the incredible popularity of spectator gaming platform Twitch. Meerkat is one to watch.
Eamonn Carey, head of digital at UK digital communications firm MHP Communications, agrees. “In terms of trends coming out of this year's festival, I think we'll see a ton of people streaming their experiences on Meerkat,” he told us. “There's something quite compelling about live video – particularly given that phones, networks and wi-fi speeds can now handle live/recorded content with relative ease.”
He also believes that “the launch of the Apple Watch will mean there will be a bunch of interesting stuff around notifications – so apps and experiences like Yo”. We touch on this theme in our current State of Mobile report.
- Exploring Storytelling in the Digital Age: Andrew Cochrane, digital director at transmedia studio Mirada (founded by Mexican film director Guillermo del Toro), explores storytelling across multiple digital platforms. Stylus spoke to Mirada’s Andy Merkin in our Future of Transmedia report.
- Everything Eric Ries Has Learned Since 2011: Eric Ries is the author of The Lean Startup, which promotes the idea that agile thinking and entrepreneurial mindsets are a must for businesses in the digital age. These are ideas we explore in our reports Start-Up Thinking and How Legacy Brands Innovate.
- Back To The Future of Media: Ben Lerer, chief executive of digital men’s company Thrillist, tackles the impact of convergence, as the lines between entertainment, publishing, gaming, apps and social media blur. For more on this subject, see our Born on the Web Industry Trend.
- Suspension of Disbelief in Virtual Reality: Augmented and virtual reality is a big theme at this year’s SXSW, and firms including Jaunt, Seebright and Sixense will be demoing their tech at the event. In this panel, creatives from top VR agencies discuss the merging of the real and the virtual – a theme explored in depth in our Post-Digital Macro Trend.
- No Underdogs Here: Changing the Female Narrative: The founders of female-focused media agency We Are The XX offer their insights into how media brands can reach 21st-century women. See Women’s World and our Future Female Industry Trend for our take on this vital subject.
- SXstyle Unstitched: Michelle Phan: Vietnamese-American fashion vlogger Michelle Phan describes her rise from millennial YouTuber to multimillion-dollar business owner. Phan is emblematic of a new breed of Gen Y and Z media producers – a demographic we examine in our report The New Mainstream.
- The Third Age of Gaming: Exploring New Horizons: Games companies are diversifying into television, wearable tech and virtual reality. This session brings together creatives from companies including Ubisoft and Facebook to discuss the implications. See our report The Gaming Revolution for more.
- A Curious Mind: Inspiration for a Creative Life: Film and TV producer Brian Grazer – the man behind Apollo 13, Arrested Development, A Beautiful Mind and many more – offers insights into his creative process. Check out the latest in cinematic innovation in our Sundance 2015: Key Trends report.
- Decoded Fashion: Sister company of Stylus and partner of SXstyle, Decoded Fashion will host a series of special events, networking and mentoring opportunities, as well as an exhibit of the most fashion-ready wearables on Saturday March 14. For more on creating an emotional connections between wearables and the wearer see your GlazedCon 2014 report.
- Last but not least, I will be representing Stylus at this year’s SXSW, delivering a presentation entitled A Day in the Life of a Future Fashion Fan at 5pm on Sunday March 15. I’ll be exploring the innovative trends in virtual reality, body mapping and apps that are reshaping fashion, beauty and retail.
Stylus will be blogging (and possibly Meerkatting, too) from Austin from Friday March 13. Look out for our full SXSW round-up in the coming weeks.