TechCrunch Disrupt NYC day two. Advertising in the age of ad blockers and The UBER economy

Hackathon6.jpgMartin Beecroft, Head of Digital and Innovation at Meerkats, is at TechCrunch Disrupt New York, which is being held on the Cruise Terminal Wharfs in Brooklyn. Here's his diary of Day Two.

Looking at this mornings line up of speakers I was really keen to hear from Sridhar Ramaswamy from Google. The topic? 'The Last word on Ads".

Having spent the last few months hearing all about the rise of adblocking and the fact that the growth of users blocking advertising is 30 to 40% annually. It's a very hot topic and one that has far reaching impacts for media companies, agencies and brands.

In a nutshell - Google, it seems, are to build workarounds. This pissed me off to be honest to hear Google are working with the IAB and publishers to try and create a universal solution to the problem of ad blockers. Being fair to Sridhar he didn't go into what this solution might look like. He was also very clear that this would not be a Google solution but one that's adopted and created by a number of connected partners.
Hackathon7.jpgHackathon9.jpgI wonder if this is because the solution will not be welcomed by those of us that are actively trying not to see any ads. The question is will the solution put brands in a favorable position?

It's a battleground and there's definitely a war raging. With revenues from advertising the oil of the online world, it's one that is increasingly pitching consumers against those trying to sell.

In a few words Sridhar did give us a nugget of hope.

"There are tons of ways to monetize and that's what we need to work on".

He used the example of a user who is logged in/connected who might be happy to pay 1 cent every time they read a page or see a piece of branded content, suggesting that monetising our online experiences in micro increments, like apple has done with music, might work. For those who are creating content and publishing it might, but it's not going to solve the advertising issue. It seems for now we're all stuck with native ads.

What else stood out on day two?

Chris Milk from Vrse, one of the worlds best known VR directors, discussed how we're a long way from VR becoming mainstream entertainment. He likened his VR movies to dream states where we are visually emerged but not in the real world. He hit the nail on the head when he explained the massive amounts of data and technology required to capture fully immersive and interactive environments.

Explaining that at the moment VR is like 'we can buy a new TV but there's only a weeks worth of stuff to watch'.  There are huge amounts of money being spent on hardware but really you could watch all the VR content in the world in a week.

Hackathon11.jpgDavid Plouffe from UBER (Obama's ex campaign manager) gave a lot of insight into the ride sharing economy and how it's changing the world. Did you know that 60% of drivers drive around 10 hours a week only? The ride share economy is keeping people afloat in the global economy, supplementing their normal income. Providing extra college funds, or just putting food on the table. Not only that, statists show that in the city's that have adopted ride sharing the DUI rate has dropped by over 30%.

What's next? UBER pooling where you can share your ride with other UBER users is growing at an incredible rate. In San Francisco for example 50% of all UBER rides are shared. Finally somebody has managed to look at the age-old problem of transport and found a way to possibly reduce the number of cars with just one person in it.

Last but by no means least, let me leave you with YouNow. the live streaming video chat. Possibly the future of social media It's like a live social/entertainment network with followers who can interact with you live.

What they say about their product;

"YouNow is the best way to discover talented broadcasters, watch live streams and video chat live with people from around the world".

It's attracting and creating singers, dancers, comedians, talk shows and some of these have been signed to major record labels like Hailey Knox. Hailey interacted with us live and even sang happy birthday to Bob in the audience while 83 other people watched online.

Ok, off to go and see if I can UBER Pool back over the bridge.

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