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BRW Digital Media Leaders Forum – Part 2

April 3, 2007

And now for Part 2 of the BRW Digital Media Leaders Forum…..

After lunch Kate Carruthers of Westfield Shopping Centres spoke about how they are using the Internet to interact more with the customers coming to their centres. The interesting aspect of Westfield is their direct customers are the shop leasers and then indirectly the actual customers. Westfield created a new brand called “What’s What” to update customers to new information about their centres and stores, but also to add value by offering centre services such as,

  • The Virtual Fitting room – allows customers to see new styles from various shops and how they work together on a virtual model on the website
  • Ask a Stylist – send in questions to stylists and receive free assistance
  • Book a Stylist – organise your own personal stylist for a personalised shopping tour.

Abigail Thomas of the Australian Broadcasting Corporation (ABC) spoke on how they are exploring new worlds by building their very own virtual island on Second Life. It is very impressive to see a large media company like the ABC being on the leading edge by experimenting on such a large scale with Virtual worlds. I believe this is going to be something that will escalate explosively as more Second Life type services appear in the next year.

Thomas spoke on how the ABC sees this as an R&D project to,

      1.  learn about virtual worlds
      2. try 3D content presentation
      3. understand new ways of interacting
      4. build Aussie users on Second Life
      5. reach an international audience

I look forward to watching further how the ABC extends its reach into virtual economies, advertising and customer interaction. This is worth getting a Second Life account (free) setup to see their experiment in real time.

Ian Smith of Yahoo!7 was notably up-beat about the digital market, but then again he’s the new world order of old and new media companies meshing together in synchronised affinity.


Smith referred to the age of “Consumer 2.0” and that these “new” type of consumers are on average living a 43 hour day and their media consumption habits are constantly changing. His reference to describing Consumer 2.0 as doing “multi level meshing” had some bewildered looks.

Smith went gave some interesting details on a recent online event called “Trixi PS” ( that Yahoo!7 held with live events, radio, TV & print all converging on the online site with the story of a young girl looking for a missing sister. People could sign up to interact & find out from clues left in various forms to find the missing sister.

The end of the day saw a light hearted debate about “New Media will kill Traditional media” but unfortunately there was some confusion as to what to debate on both sides including a member of the negative side actually ending up debating for the positive with some of their comments. Of course the negative side had an ex-lawyer, Warren Lee CEO of APN News close the debate for  the negative so the positive team was left in tatters. The real debate extends beyond this conference though as the obvious moves by old world media to embrace, converge and in some instances to dominate the new media world continues.

The BRW Media Leaders Forum is a good example of conference organisers sticking to quality content versus quantity. The day was a good balance of hearing from the many facets of the media industry.


Posted by Shane Williamson.

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