- WEB STARTUPS
- WEB JOBS
- ALL TOPICS
In my best Rock voice…finally the free live feed has come back to DEMO. A year ago I wrote about how infomercial conferences (including DEMO) should always be streamed live. For the fall 2010 DEMO conference, a stream was offered for $250. Other competing conferences (TC50, Disrupt and now Launch), which don’t charge a presentation fee, have always offered a free livestream.
The key with an infomercial conference is to keep the buzz high for the entire event and get potential customers excited about the products and services. This is the reason I push so hard for a free live stream. The DEMO companies are paying $20k (money which could easily be spent elsewhere) and should expect that attendees and livestream viewers can chat and comment about their products and services. The ability to watch and immediately comment on the social media services provides a compounding effect for the on-stage companies. It will be interesting to see if this class of companies sees a stronger media return than the last two classes at DEMO.
Side note, I have received several emails, smses, skypes, facebooks, twitters, etc. wondering if I had anything to do with getting the free live feed going at DEMO. One thing you learn quick growing up in Brooklyn is to not talk about what one does or does not do. But if you have a problem and no one else can help and if you could locate me, you could hire the A-Team.
In all seriousness, good luck to all of the presenting companies – get some good rest tonight, eat your Wheaties and remember to make your presentation memorable.
It’s been interesting to watch the DEMO conference evolve since Techcrunch50 began. First there were the wars of words between the two conferences, then it got quiet, this year Techcrunch50 has been replaced by two individual conferences while DEMO continues on in the same format as before the Techcrunch50 conference began operations.
During the spring version of DEMO, I wrote a column that infomercial conferences (those where companies pay to present) should always be streamed live. In today’s search market, it’s critical that companies can gain the bonus exposure of a potential trending topic on the different social networks or on Google’s new realtime search. By posting the videos a day later, that buzz will have already evaporated.
It also makes it hard when people at the conference share how excited they are about one of the companies because those on the receiving end of the message, can’t easily jump into the presentation to watch for themselves.
This season DEMO has moved the event to San Francisco. Over 60 companies will present their products and services. It appears DEMO generates their revenue several ways:
- They charge each company that presents on stage $18,500
- They charge “alpha” companies that want to present their idea for 90 seconds a fee of $5,000
- Attendees pay $3,000 to attend
- They have a large list of sponsors (somewhere around 50)
- This season of DEMO, you can now watch the live stream for $299 ($250 if you register before the conference) for both days.
For reference, Techcrunch50 never charged companies a fee to present. Their revenue came from ticket sales and from corporate sponsors.
I received an email this afternoon from Fora.tv who are apparently handling the online ticketing and viewing for the DEMO conference. I can’t tell from the email whether you will be able to watch the company demos the next day as in the past or if you will be required to pay to watch the demos at all. It does appear that the panel discussions (those with the CEOs of companies including Twitter and Groupon) will only be available if you pay.
I will attempt to contact DEMO to further clarify how the live streaming will work although their contact page is not working currently.
My hope is that the DEMO organizers will read this post and reconsider charging a fee to watch the event live. Or at a minimum, allow the demos to be broadcast live and cut the video when the panel discussions are on stage. It’s one thing to charge a PPV fee to watch a wrestling event or a Katy Perry concert, it’s another thing to charge a substantial fee to watch a conference where the participants are paying for exposure.
Lastly, if you are one of the companies presenting, good luck, come out and kick major butt and remember to make sure your presentation is memorable.
Yesterday I wrote about the need for live video streaming at “infomercial conferences“. On my content ideas pad I wrote, “spend $20k” — this is the amount that it costs to present on stage at the DEMO conference which was held earlier this week.
Francine Hardaway wrote a column yesterday on Fast Company asking if a big launch event (like DEMO) is worth it for a small company. The column is a must read as Francine goes over the list of pros and cons for spending $20k (more like $30k all-in) for 6 minutes on stage at DEMO. The net comes down to something I very much agree with – if your product or service is in the social media space, it’s not the place to be. I would add that if your p/s needs early adopters, it’s also not the place to launch. If your product or service is enterprise-related or is a gadget, it might be worth looking at DEMO as part of a launch package.
Robert Scoble wrote one of his best posts this year yesterday where he asked, “where oh where did the great startup launch go?” Robert goes into detail about how Bug Labs launched their gadget versus using a large conference to launch a startup. Robert wonders if his readers can name one of the companies that launched this week at DEMO. I watched every single presentation (some live with a “press-only feed”) and I think I can only name a couple of them. I don’t fully agree with all of the steps Robert suggests, but overall his list is strong.
I’ve written before about “live” at conferences and why I prefer that speakers, panelists and attendees focus on the room and the learnings rather than spending time posting on social networks during a session.
There is one type of conference that should always be streamed live…the infomercial conference. This type of conference includes DEMO and Techcrunch50. What I mean by “infomercial conference” is that the event is setup for startups to present their products and services in an infomercial format.
Last year (and in previous years) both DEMO and Techcrunch50 were streamed live. I believe TC used Ustream and DEMO used Bitgravity for the streaming. If I remember, both streams worked very well and both acted as great promotions for the streaming providers. Yet this year at DEMO, there is no live streaming of the presentations. The presentations are available the following day — i.e. yesterday’s presentations are available now.
This morning we noted that DEMO was now offering some amount of money in advertising to the two winners at their startup-infomercial. As I noted in an update on that article, I am no longer sure if the total amount is $1 or $2 million.
TC50 founder Michael Arrington has doubled the amount of advertising. He says whatever DEMO offers, he will double it.
Arrington notes, “Our ads will be on our various TechCrunch networks sites and via our terrific sponsors, who are going to be adding their own inventory as well. We’ll give half to the top two winners, and half to everyone else who launches.”
It seems the silly wars appear to be on yet again this year.
I think it’s great that both DEMO and Techcrunch50 are offering bigger prizes – anything to help the startups that present past the initial buzz is a good thing. Let’s just hope Jason, Heather, Mike and Matt remember the end goal and don’t get back to last years “TC50: 1 – Demo: 1 – Startup: 0“.
Last month I discussed presenting at the DEMO and TC50 conferences later this year. In the comments, Techcrunch50 founder Jason Calacanis noted that one of the big differences between the two startup-infomercial conferences is that his Techcrunch50 offers $50,000 to the winner.
Now it appears DEMO has stepped up the prize pool bigtime by offering two $1 million dollar prizes. The prizes will be awarded to the best enterprise startup and the best consumer startup. The prizes are basically ad buys over the six month period following the conference.
Update 5:30PM: It appears that the total prize is $1 million, not two million as I previously noted. I am not sure if I got it wrong or if they changed it. I thought it read that two winners (one consumer, one enterprise) would each receive $1m.
Conference organizer Matt Marshall notes regarding the prize, “The campaign will include print advertisements, web banner placements, text link promotions, email newsletter promotions, and video ads. The package includes the development of creative content that is to be featured on IDG media properties – another huge value proposition to the winning companies.”
I assume the ads will be priced at the rack rate so the $1m is probably worth less had you bought the ads yourself and negotiated a better rate (probably 30% at best). No matter what, it’s good to see the winners get some publicity past the few posts they will get from the conference buzz.
How many of the companies that presented at either conference last year can you name? Can you name 10 of the 50 that presented at TC50? This huge ad buy should help two companies stay top of mind for at least six months and could give them a lift to build from.
The title of this column is a question I am asked a couple of times a week…”should I present/apply to the DEMO or TC50 conference?” Both conferences require applications to be turned in by June 30th so I thought this was a great time to share my thoughts and feedback I’ve received about the conferences.
Let’s get the logistics out of the way – DEMO will be held on September 21-23, 2009 and Techcrunch50 will be held on September 14-15, 2009. Depending on the date of registration, attendees pay $2,000-3,000 for DEMO and $1,500-3,000 for Techcrunch50. (as a side note, I’ve seen tc50 producer Jason Calacanis giving away bunches of free tickets on his podcast, so you might try that road to avoid the high costs).
Last year I was one of the few people who attended both pitch events. You can read all of my coverage and an in-person comparison between both events. Overall DEMO was a better run show logistics-wise.
My thoughts are based on web/Internet businesses. If you have a physical product or other IT-related service, DEMO is basically the only choice.
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