Digital entrepreneur and academic - one of the UK's most influential Media executives. Founder of television production company Ten Alps, which he left earlier this year, and boss of a new TV formats and Apps business Pretend, based at Media City in Salford. He's also a visiting fellow at the Reuters Institute for Journalism at Oxford University.
Creative, Online, Global: your career
What will a career in the media be like for people just starting out now - over the next 40 years ?
It's a big question but Pretend TV founder Alex Connock, who came to speak to students the university in September 2011, has some clear ideas.
You can see his powerpoint at the bottom of this page. You can see some videos of him giving the speech. And you can read his article in full here .
Here are the highlights of Alex's speech
Just three words really matter: creative, online, global.
1. Creative - "We're only as good as the stories we tell." That's what David Zaslav, CEO of Discovery, said at the Cambridge Royal Television Society (RTS) festival.
He emphasised the need to just keep creating great shows like Deadliest Catch; the truth almost universally acknowledged that any media company that fails to tell compelling stories will die amid ruthless competition - whatever tech platform or efficiencies it claims.
And it's not all about artistic creativity either.
What struck me at Stream , Sir Martin Sorrell's groovy, invitation-only digital 'un-conference' in Greece, was the corporate blue-sky thinking of the biggest internet players.
WPP, a big global advertising agency, invites people from Facebook, Googleweb agencies like 24/7, and big brands like Coca-Cola for four days. They stick up an empty white board and let everyone figure out their own topics to discuss.
Some of the other ideas and talks on the board included:
80 million Digital Brazilians you may meet
Let's chat about Google+
Because the people doing this chatting about Google+ actually are the guys who built Google this is stuff you want to take notes on.
Google's chairman Eric Schmidt referred in his speech at the Edinburgh TV Festival to the vital educational combination of artists and scientists that Britain had in the 19th century, and lost in the late 20th.
Getting Britain back into that sort of science-meets-art creativity online has become the priority for everyone.
2. Online - "We are 1% done," said Facebook in Athens, which is a little scary for everyone else. One thing on the remaining 99% list is clearly interactive TV. For Facebook, the pressing challenge is just how to get the production costs of a necessarily multi-outcome video down sufficiently low to make it viable for their advertisers, who seriously want to go into social video.
Unilever is getting as many views of the making-of videos around their hair commercials as the commercials themselves. They get big spikes on search for their products during 30-second TV ad spots, even when they don't put the web address on. That's because young women systematically watch TV with their mobile in their hand, and that's why the second screen is the real estate TV producers and broadcasters need to own.
As someone said at RTS Cambridge: "It's physically closer to your head than the TV, so it looms larger."
Richard Halton, CEO of YouView, said: "Sixteen to 24-year-olds are consuming 9.5 hours of media per day - in just six hours."
Smash-hit music site Spotify got more registrations in the US on the back of a single tweet by Justin Bieber than generated by the first 10 days of their entire paid marketing campaign. Now they're looking at video.
3. Global - "If a young person came to you today and said, `What should I do?' Would you tell them to stay in the UK? Or France? You'd tell them to travel. You'd tell them: go to China, go to India, find a job." So said Sir Martin Sorrell.
But actually, his company WPP, and British TV Inc, are doing a pretty good job of bringing the global business back here.
TV production from the UK last year generated £560 million in revenues from programmes and format sales, not counting DVD, co-productions and foreign commissions. That was £440 million in finished product sales and £120 million of format sales.
"Broadcasters around the world have outsourced the risk of formats to the UK," said Tony Cohen, British-based boss of global TV producer FremantleMedia. Of the top 12 formats over the past four years, six are from the UK. We have 40% of the entire global format market, and 75% of those are from the indie sector. That's amazing.
Why is it? Because we have a system that gives producers rights and broadcasters who dare to dream.
And the conclusion is...Be creative, online, global.
About Alex Connock
Alex Connock is Visiting Professor of Digital Media. He is also Director of New Business for TV group Shine UK, which includes production businesses Dragonfly, Kudos, Princess Productions and Shine TV. He previously co-founded TV group Ten Alps, which includes production companies Brook Lapping, Blakeway and Films of Record. He is also Chairman of the Royal Television Society in the North West and has visiting fellow roles at Oxford University and Manchester Business School.
Director of New Business
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