FUSE Technology Summit’s Maiden Voyage: A Successful Beginning to A Burgeoning Media Tech Community
Last week Publishing Executive hosted the maiden run of FUSE: The Convergence of Technology & Media in hometown Philadelphia. The summit was attended by 60 digital technology executives from leading media and publishing companies, as well as the 28 technology providers that sponsored the event.
Publishing Executive analyzed some of the best sessions from the summit and published key takeaways in a special report, "How Publishers Are Using Technology to Propel Their Businesses Forward." Download that report here.
Response to the summit was tremendously positive, with attendees and sponsors alike applauding the depth and quality of conversations, the collaborative atmosphere, and the balance of business development with peer networking opportunities.
“FUSE really was a great conference and we were quite impressed with how organized it was for the first event. Better yet, you had the right people that created the right energy,” -- Carlo Palomino, Director of Sales, Parse.ly
“The Wochit team met interesting new people and leads, and our overall experience was very positive. This conference is truly unique and we are very happy we chose to be part of it.” -- Chen Barnea, Marketing Manager, Wochit
“I found the whole experience to be very thought provoking. Various members of my team will be having follow up conversations with several sponsors.” -- Chris Ferrell, CEO, SouthComm, Inc.
We created FUSE with this specific objective in mind: to foster a community of publishing and media technologists and best-in-class technology solutions in order to facilitate collaboration, knowledge-sharing, networking and business development. It was great to see the community finally come together and start to form bonds among one another. And the level of engagement and deep-dive discussions taking place across the 2½ days armed FUSE’s attendees with a wealth of ideas from their peers and introductions to potential vendor partners they wouldn’t have met elsewhere.
Expert Insight & Publisher Spotlights: In order to begin to solve some of the complex technology and business problems facing the industry, FUSE employed a three-pronged approach: high-level general sessions, interactive boardroom cases studies from leading tech providers, and one-to-one meetings. Each component provided a different vantage point of challenges and opportunities that technological disruption present publishers.
FUSE kicked off with a thought provoking keynote from FUSE conference chair and Robb Report interim COO Jeffrey Litvack. In his talk, From Here to 2010, Litvack identified the 10 trends publishers can’t ignore and the technology and business implications of each.
Litvack then turned to the FUSE keynote panel, featuring Cory Munchbach, VP of marketing at BlueConic, Per Caroe, global marketing evangelist at IBM Marketing, and Sachin Kamdar, CEO and co-founder of Parse.ly. The panelists discussed the implications of everything from data, evolving media consumption habits, and distributed content. One point the panelists returned to is that publishers’ content gives them a competitive advantage. Kamdar noted that although Google and Facebook excel at attracting audience and selling impressions, publishers have the expertise in content creation, and ultimately great content is what consumers are looking for.
In the following two days, FUSE attendees heard from a series of expert speakers, such as Google director of news and publishing partnerships Andrew Madden and director of Syracuse University’s New Media Management Graduate Program Stephen Masiclat. Masiclat challenged the audience to think about how emerging technology like virtual reality, artificial intelligence, blockchain technology, and augmented reality will affect the media business. Meanwhile, Madden shared results from Google’s AMP project and insight on why speed is so crucial to mobile publishing.
During a series of Publisher Spotlights, FUSE attendees presented short and sweet case studies based around the three technology themes at FUSE — Content, Marketing & Data, and Ad Tech. Presenters from The Economist, Forbes, Time Inc., Daily Racing Form, and more shared some of the successes they’ve achieved at their organizations. For example, Erik Moreno discussed how Time Inc.’s acquisition will meet the appetite marketers have for consumer data while Daily Racing Form’s CMO & CDO shared the company’s strategy for incorporating data and video into a paid content model. (Look for follow up coverage of each Publisher Spotlight in the weeks to come. Follow the coverage here.)
Startup Derby: FUSE also hosted its first annual Startup Derby, which pitted 7 emerging media tech startups against each other to determine who offers the most value and opportunity to media enterprises. The FUSE audience crowned data-driven publishing platform Quintype the derby champion.
FUSE Awards: Quintype was only one of the award winners at FUSE. Attendees voted on the best boardroom case studies in the categories of content, adtech, and data & marketing and selected the sponsor they believed was the top technology company to watch. Attendees also voted on the speaker that provided the most enlightening Publisher Spotlight during the event. Additionally, our advisory board awarded one FUSE attendee for his engagement and willingness to take advantage of everything the summit had to offer. Look for an announcement with the complete list of winners tomorrow.
Small Group Discussions: Attendees also took part in a series of boardroom case studies. The case studies invited attendees and sponsors to engage in candid discussions about the sponsors’ solution and the biggest issues media companies face today. These sessions featured some of the most passionate discussions of the event and introduced attendees to solutions they had not before considered for their organization. Attendees and sponsors were not afraid to challenge one another and the sessions spurred a slew of thoughtful side conversations about the future of technology in media throughout the 2 ½-day summit.
Face-to-Face: FUSE featured hundreds of pre-scheduled one-on-one meetings between attendees and sponsors and gave both buyers and sellers the opportunity to have constructive, deep dive discussions about how a specific technology platform or solution might be a fit for their media company. A number of attendees remarked that they met potential technology partners they’d otherwise been unaware of; likewise, sponsors had meaningful conversations with qualified executives possessing a real interest or need for their tech.
The aim of FUSE was to bring order to the complex technology problems facing the industry. From listening to the buzz during cocktail receptions, dinners, and boardroom discussion, it sounds like many attendees left with a better sense of what digital business strategies have a good chance to succeed and what technology tools can propel their business forward.
We look forward to creating additional opportunities in the future and for expanding the FUSE community. Though FUSE is an invite-only affair, the entire Publishing Executive community will benefit from the knowledge gleaned and ideas shared at the summit. Look for ongoing analysis and key takeaways for FUSE, including video coverage, commentary, and publisher case studies. To make sure you receive this information, sign up for Publishing Executive Insight.
To learn more about sponsoring FUSE in the future, contact Matt Steinmetz (email@example.com).
Denis Wilson is editor-in-chief of Book Business and Publishing Executive. In this role, he analyzes and reports on the fundamental changes affecting the publishing industry and aims to serve content-driven businesses with practical and strategic insight. As a writer, Denis’ work has been published by Fast Company, Rolling Stone, Fortune, and The New York Times.