DMA: Where networking and workshopping intersect

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When Digital Media Asia opens tomorrow, who you meet will be almost as important as who you hear.

There's a stellar line-up of talent - including WaPo product vice president Shailesh Prakash and SCMP chief executive Gary Liu, both of whom will hopefully be around to answer questions - but today the focus has been on workshops.

And there was the feeling that the networking there, with delegates learning from each other, was also part of the value equation.

I spent time with international video journalism tutor Robb Montgomery, a DMA regular who has moved this year's focus to platforms, and ended up joining (Taiwan) United Daily News president George Shuang in a hypothetical 'shark tank' to judge participants' pitches.

Next door the husband-and-wife duo of Yusuf and Sumaiya Omar had a lively session going on publishing VJ content to Snapchat and Facebook Live, while elsewhere Steffen Damborg from WAN-Ifra's Global Advisory took delegates through business models for paid content.

Perhaps I should have been with Damborg, but it was interesting to revisit Montgomery and see how attention had moved on to platforms, and Shuang and I ended up assessing the - often very different - mobile video player ideas of 11 participants distributed across four tables.

Previously at a Hong Kong conference, Montgomery had taken for us across the road for a walk in the park to garner content and VJ skills, returning to learn how to use a range of free apps, but today we looked at the decisions and priorities inherent in developing a successful video site (whatever that means).

Content was another matter: Montgomery bemoaned lack of video literacy skills, but ventured that while there was no guaranteed formula, you might go viral if you strapped a GoPro to your head and jumped off a cliff... which he's done. Editing? Well he's got an app for that.

In the presentations, two groups focussed on content and even journalism, as much as on usability and design, often with simple ideas and small budgets working as well as complex ones. We 'sharks' noted that none of the more complex proposals could be costed, but it was good that Montgomery had already taken participants through the 'must', 'want' and 'nice-to-have' features and separated the priorities from one group's "wishful thinking" by the time of the final presentations.

One simple idea I picked up from the table I stopped on was a newsroom video in which reporters offered snippets of stories which were in that day's print edition. Later Montgomery reiterated the point that open newsroom presentations and interviews were a cheap and effective format for those with limited budgets.

The conference continues tomorrow and Thursday, with contributions from Liu and Prakash, all the workshop presenters, and others including Sachin Doshi of Scroll, Chris Janz from Fairfax Media, Gyan Gupta of DB Digital, Reuters' Sue Brooks, Marc Lourdes of CNN Digital Asia, Hiromi Ohnishi from Asahi Shimbun and SPH sales and strategy operations chief Su Lin Tan.

Pictured: Sumaiya and Yusuf Omar live-demo Snapchat during their workshop

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