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Digital Executives on Shifting Media Landscape: ‘By the Time We Figure It Out, It Will Change Again’ (Exclusive Video)

Power Women Breakfast San Francisco 2017: BrainTrust CEO Kendra Bracken-Ferguson discusses tech shifts with New Form’s Kathleen Grace and PopSugar’s Lisa Sugar

Not only are social networks here to stay — but some top media executives expect to see more of them in the future.

“I have a theory about social networks in terms of how they evolve: I think we’re going to see more pop up,” said BrainTrust CEO Kendra Bracken-Ferguson said Thursday in a panel discussion at TheWrap’s Power Women Breakfast in San Francisco. “We’re already seeing it. They’re not going to go away.”

Bracken-Ferguson added that social networks have changed in terms of their content to such an extent that they can rival our traditional news sources, especially because many people use these social networks as a search engine for news.

“I think they are media channels, I think they are hubs, and I think they are a wealth of information,” she said.

Lisa Sugar, co-founder of the beloved site PopSugar, agreed that the media landscape is ever-changing, but added that certain technology lasts longer than others. For example, the “hands-only” videos and the text-on-clips technologies aren’t going to go away anytime soon, she said.

“How reality TV will converge on Facebook or SnapChat and other places is still being figured out — but it’ll happen and we’ll experiment with it until we figure out the right formula and by the time we figure it out, it will change again,” she said.

Change was something New Form CEO Kathleen Grace witnessed firsthand in her own career. She started creating her own web series in 2005 (just as YouTube was launching), and before she knew it, she was suggesting YouTube build several studio spaces in cities including Los Angeles for people to create content for free. Fast forward three months, and she started running a company for Ron Howard and Brian Grazer. And she’s seen change in the content she produces as well.

“We are everything now,” she said. “We started out short-form, but the mobile buyers want 30-minute shows, TV buyers want things that look like internet — it’s all converging. It’s really fascinating, and the one thing that’s true is that storytelling wins. If you tell a great story and you have a great talent, people will listen to you … If it’s good, people will show up.”

Bracken-Ferguson noted that virtually anyone can be a social media influencer or a blogger because of the necessary technology is so readily available.

“At one point, you had your people who were designated influencers. Now, everyone in here is an influencer to a certain extent. Everyone can broadcast, everyone can get on social media and have their audience right now — it’s shifted and changed,” she said. “Influencers come in so many different forms.”

The Power Women Breakfast series brings together influential women of entertainment, media, technology and brands in key cities to network and connect. TheWrap has built a broad community of professional women who are decision makers and mothers, leaders and wives, innovators and activists. The franchise is now in four cities Los Angeles, New York, San Francisco and Washington, D.C.

San Francisco hosted its third Power Women Breakfast this year, with Olympic gold medalist and professional beach volleyball player Kerri Walsh Jennings and “black-ish” star Yara Shahidi on stage.

The event was sponsored by Dolby and Creative Future. A charity auction raised money for Bay Kids Studios, a non-profit that helps sick children make films.

Watch the panel discussion above.