GSB hosts Future of Media conference

March 6, 2014, 2:56 a.m.

NEW.030614.futuremediaThe Stanford Graduate School of Business’ Arts, Media and Entertainment Club, along with the Graduate School of Business, hosted their annual Future of the Media Conference at the Knight Management Center yesterday, where two keynote speakers and several panels discussed the multi-platform nature of media world.

The conference is centered on a different theme each year, with this year’s event focusing on the ‘re-reinvention’ of the media, explained Mike Hoffman MBA ’14, co-president of the GSB Arts, Media and Entertainment Club and co-chair of the conference.

“[The conference] was actually started by one of our keynote speakers last year, Hunter Walk, who was formerly director of product at YouTube and now heads a seed-stage venture capitalist fund called Homebrew,” said Jonathan Sherman-Presser MBA ’14, conference co-chair and co-president of the Arts, Media and Entertainment Club. “He founded [the conference] when he was at the GSB, with some of his classmates.”

When selecting the panelists, the conference chairs focused on bringing in speakers who were relevant to the digital age of media.

“We were looking for people who were on the cutting edge,” Hoffman said. “When it came to finding panelists, a lot of them were at the forefront of mobile or platforms.”

The six chosen panels centered on topics related to the changing face of the news business, ranging from those about the future of television to those about media in a “mobile-first world.”

In one of these panels, “Publishing Platforms in a Post-Blog World,” Josh Quittner, editorial director at Flipboard, talked about the popularity of publication models that allowed writers to go directly to their readers.

“For every good story that is written, there are a million people that want to read it,” he said, explaining that the harder part of delivering news was accurately surfacing good content.

In the same panel, Edward Lichty, head of corporate development and strategy at Medium, talked about new revenue models for “new media” platforms, discussing methods such as brand participation, which he argued was more effective than blatant advertising.

The event also featured an opening and closing keynote by Chas Edwards, co-founder of California Sunday, Inc., and Todd Yellin, vice president of product innovation at Netflix, respectively.

The conference is one of the GSB’s flagship events, and it is the largest event hosted by the Arts, Media, and Entertainment Club, although Hoffman admitted that the event was smaller than those of previous years — part of his goal to move the conference to a smaller format.

Sherman-Presser addressed the absence of speakers from traditional media houses at the media-related event.

“I don’t necessarily think it’s a bias or trying to make a particular point or anything,” he said. “I think of it more in terms of what’s going on that is really exciting right now. It happens that there is a lot of stuff going on in technology media platforms, and so there is a lot of thought about what was going to happen with these things in the future.”

Contact Nitish Kulkarni at nitishk2 ‘at’ stanford ‘dot’ edu.

Nitish Kulkarni '16 is a senior majoring in Mechanical Engineering. He writes about technology and breaking news, and runs online content sections. Email him at nitishk2 'at'

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