Reporting now from the future: Nov. 16-17 conference examines entertainment


A producer of the megahit computer game, "The Sims," an MIT-alumnus-turned-social-media-guru at Yahoo! and a folklorist who specializes in Harry Potter fan-fiction will join industry and academic leaders in a two-day conference, Futures of Entertainment 2, to be held Nov. 16-17 at the MIT Media Lab's Bartos Theater.

Futures of Entertainment 2 (FoE2) will "get right to the nuts and bolts of developments in the media space," said Joshua Green, research manager of the Convergence Culture Consortium (C3), organizer and host of the event.

Henry Jenkins, director of the Comparative Media Studies Program and the Peter de Florez Professor of Humanities, will open FoE2 with an overview of media convergence. Jenkins' books on media and popular culture include "From Barbie to Mortal Kombat: Gender and Computer Games" and "Fans, Bloggers and Gamers: Exploring Participatory Culture."

Jonathan Gray, author of "Watching the Simpsons," C. Lee Harrington, co-author of "Soap Fans," and Jason Mittell, author of "Genre and Television," will open the Nov. 17 session.

FoE2 will offer five in-depth panels during the two-day event. The panel on Cult Media includes Danny Bilson, co-producer of "The Sims" for Electronic Arts, and Jesse Alexander, of "Heroes" (NBC), who will discuss how to stay true to the few while building properties attractive to the many and the role of fans in mainstreaming cult media.

Advertising and Convergence Culture is a discussion of the implications of breaking down the distinction between content and advertising. Tina Wells, CEO of Buzz Marketing group and winner of AOL's Black Female Entrepreneur's Award, Mike Rubenstein, art director at the Barbarian Group, and Faris Yakob, senior strategist and digital ninja at Naked Communications, among others, will lead.

What kinds of revenue sharing should or could exist when companies turn a profit based on the unpaid labor of their consumers? Fan Labor panelists discussing the future of compensation for invisible labor include Mark Deuze, author of "Media Work" (2007); Catherine Tosenberger, specialist in Harry Potter online fanfiction and contributor to NPR's "Recess!" and Raph Koster, president of Areae and author of "A Theory of Fun for Game Design."

Beyond the launch of shiny new devices, the mobile market has been dominated by data services and reformatted content, and mobile's "killer app" has yet to materialize. Mobile Media panelists on the future of mobile services will include Marc Davis (Ph.D. 1995), Social Media Guru at Yahoo! Inc., and Alice Kim, Senior Vice President of Digital Distribution and Partner Relations for MTV Networks.

Media companies are developing new ways to measure audiences. The panel on Metrics and Measurement will discuss how these new models account for the impact of DVRs, video-on-demand and online video.

A version of this article appeared in MIT Tech Talk on November 14, 2007 (download PDF).


Topics: Humanities, Literature, languages and writing, Media Lab, Special events and guest speakers

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