Like everyone in the small-screen world, the Monte Carlo TV Festival is grappling with galloping changes in the medium itself.
TV Everywhere, VOD, over-the-top streaming, cord-cutting and Sling have been changing television down to its core. So rather than simply focusing on the content on the screen, the Monte Carlo fest is launching an initiative: the ConTech Academy.

Festival CEO Laurent Puons calls the addition “a channel to highlight how the festival is embracing digital innovation and new trends in content creation.” The event’s inaugural edition offers keynotes, panels and workshops. And while there’s a track for industry professionals, aimed at the kind of international TV execs who might always have been a key demographic for Monte Carlo, there are also tracks for Young Creators and a public one for fans. (Its logo is #OMG.)

“I would like to see the ConTech Academy five years on from now established as a key international event,” Puons says. “Many of the emerging technological and creative innovations revolutionizing the industry will play an integral role in the festival’s program by that time.”

Speakers reflect the growing diversity of the industry. Traditional TV is represented by Graham Benson, Vance Van Petten, Dick Wolf and actors from his shows “Chicago Med” and “Chicago Fire.” Also on the program are transmedia producer-storyteller Annika Gustafson and YouTubers Natoo & Kemar.

The three days of events cover a range of hot topics. One example: the increasing number of original YouTube/Multi-Channel Networks’ shows now broadcast on TV. Recent crossover hits include Italian gameshow “#socialface,” from Sky Uno, and Brazilian magazine “A Semana,” on Gazeta channel.

“Cross-fertilization projects involving YouTube content on TV allow it to generate more revenue, attract a younger audience
and augment viewer loyalty,” says Sahar Baghery at Eurodata TV Worldwide, who will be a keynote speaker at the confab.

A workshop on digital storytelling will be led by Storycentral CEO Alison Norrington. “The web and social media are hugely impacting the narrative of high-profile international TV dramas,” she says. “You only need to look at audience behavior, user-generated content around shows such as ‘The Walking Dead’ and ‘Game of Thrones’ to see examples of fan-created show Wikis and social sharing of storylines.”

Also speaking is John Heinsen, VP, new media at the Producers Guild of America. Heinsen warns that multi-platform creation still faces huge challenges. “The industry is in silos,” says Heinsen. “There is a new generation of producers and executives who want to break free from traditional models, be silo busters.”