Content discovery a growing arena

Afternoon panels at Variety confab underscore curation

The “second screen” and the opportunities in content discovery services were front and center in the afternoon sessions of Variety’s Entertainment Apps Conference on Thursday.

During the “Monetizing the Second Screen” panel, Ajay Shah, CEO and co-founder of TVplus, suggested that technological innovation needs to enhance, not distract, from the content experience.

“Technology, when done well, actually blends in the background, and you don’t notice it.” Shah said.

Issues of advertising and content drove the discussion, but other considerations were addressed. Mark Wenger, director of devices at PayPal, said that because apps often require users to submit personal data, the issue of trust factors significantly into apps.

PayPal’s brand is built on security, and “it’s the reason why consumers give us their financial information,” Wenger said. “There has to be a great user experience, but it also has to be a secure user experience as well.”

The “Getting Noticed: Apps and Content Discovery” panel turned to apps that redirect consumers to various movie and music services. Noting that effective entry points to apps and content are crucial, Jack Isquith, senior VP of strategic development at online radio service Slacker, observed, “Content is still king, but curation is at least queen.”

Curation is a growing need for busy consumers. Laura Tunberg, VP of entertainment at digital entertainment discovery service Fanhattan, discussed how her company was designed, in part, to address a specific need: By showing users where to find movies on Hulu Plus, Netflix and iTunes, the site allows audiences to enjoy content without having to check several sites and understand licensing windows.