TheGrill 2016: Innovators Discuss How Mobile Platforms Changed the Game

“If 60 percent of your audience is coming from mobile, it gets your attention,” Shareability CEO Tim Staples says

Last Updated: September 28, 2016 @ 3:41 PM

That mobile technology was crucial to the success of “Pokemon Go” is a no-brainer, but the rise of the smartphone has been a game-changer for other Hollywood innovators as well.

“Without it, we definitely wouldn’t exist,” “Pokemon Go” inventor Niantic’s CEO and CTO Phil Keslin said Tuesday at TheGrill conference at the Montage Beverly Hills.

Keslin was one of 11 figures named to TheWrap’s Innovators List of people and companies disrupting Hollywood and the digital media landscape.

Keslin told TheWrap CEO Sharon Waxman that the smartphone and GPS technology made it possible for “Pokemon Go,” and its predecessor, “Ingress,” to become a reality. “Mobile mapping is the basis of what we do,” he said.

“We use public artworks as a foundation for pretty much everything we do, and without mobile platforms to take pictures of that, to provide to us for the game, it would have been impossible.”

Augmented-reality games that require smartphones, but consumers are increasingly accessing all sorts of media on their phones.

Tim Staples, CEO of viral content creating company Shareability, revealed numbers that are undeniable to people trying to attract eyeballs.

“We have these big hit videos, probably 25 of them, and 50 to 60 percent of views come from mobile,” he said. “The mobile side is going through the roof. If 60 percent of your audience is coming from mobile, it gets your attention real quick. It also provides a real-time element, where every time something goes out, it explodes it even further, people grabbing it in real time and sharing with their friends. So it’s kind of the spark that went boom for us.”

Mirriad CEO Mark Popkiewicz, whose company provides product placement and brand integration into existing video content, agreed. “There’s massive adoption of the mobile device for video,” he said. “In China, the video market there is going to grow four times,  and it’s largely on mobile. There needs to be a better way of monetizing that experience if we’re going to continue to create content to feed that appetite.

“The way we do what we do works very well on mobile devices,” he said. “All the research is very positive. In music videos, it’s twice as effective as having pre-roll, and most music videos are consumed on mobile.”

YouTube creator and Instagram star Chantel Jeffries noted, “You have to be immersed in what’s going on around you.”

Her advice, based on amassing 6 million followers across various social media platforms: “In a sense, stay young. See what the younger generation is doing, and to be able to adapt to that… You have to be constantly changing.”

“Timing is so key,” Staples agreed. “There’s a lot of people that tried to do what we’re doing now but they tried to do it 10 years ago. Honestly, they could have been a lot smarter than we are, but all the market dynamics need to add up. In my space, brands are just now ready to change for the first time, and it’s because they have to.”

For some, being an innovator is about having the kind of personality geared towards taking leaps of faith.

“It’s part stupidity, part ego, maybe less a fear of failure than your average person,” said Rob Goldberg, CEO and founder of Fresno Inc., whose digital video company is bridging the gap between Silicon Valley and Hollywood.

“I started a company when I was 22, literally had no idea what I was doing, and then I spent two years running the business into the ground, lived with my parents, paid off the debt and then started again,” he said.