SXSW Live Blog: Hard Questions, Late Drinks, Still Going

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An SXSW attendee demonstrates a levitation device using a projector manufactured by Ray Corp.
An SXSW attendee demonstrates a levitation device using a projector manufactured by Ray Corp. Credit: David Paul Morris/Bloomberg

We're covering miles and miles of festival in Austin, visiting HBO's "Westworld" recreation, interviewing Axios cofounder Mike Allen on a (fake) boat and putting executives on the spot, asking whether Facebook should pay publishers for premium content. Read below for more details and keep checking in here throughout the day for more SXSW updates.

Tuesday, 5 p.m.
Google Assistant takes a little too long to play "Guess Who"
At the Fairmont Austin, where the bulk of the conference's brand and marketing programming is happening, Google set up an area where visitors can check out different uses for Google Assistant. I entered one little room, where the assistant tried to guess which person I was thinking of. It took over three minutes—Is that any way to treat Oprah?

—Megan Graham

Tuesday, 4:47 p.m.
Waiting room

There's a bunch of cool stuff in the HP & Intel Digital Artistry House, sure. (You can get a digital caricature, if you're into that.) But spot checks with people in the line suggested that this crowd was waiting for bracelets to get into a party later on. Bishop Briggs is playing. — George Slefo

Tuesday, 4 p.m.
HP gets creative
HP set up shop at its Digital Artistry House today on Rainey Street with a little more than the requisite panels and alcohol (though it did have those too). Visitors could have their photo taken and altered with AI, or receive a digital sketch by an artist. We hear the house had 10,000 RSVP's.

—Megan Graham

Tuesday, 3:45 p.m.
Overheard (and, to be fair, out-of-context): "Entrepreneur is hard to spell."
—Megan Graham

Tuesday, 2:10 p.m.
Starting to think about the night ahead
Reddit plans to hand these out at their party later tonight at the iconic Belmont in Austin, where live music will be on hand. They say it's a "hangover cure." — George Slefo

Tuesday, 1:05 p.m.
The official app cashes in
The festivals' official app will send you arguably helpful push alerts, but when you swipe to open one you're greeted with a full-screen inducement to try "Showtime free for 30 days." The real pain happens when the ad disappears and the app doesn't take you to whatever it alerted you to in the first place.

Oh, and the Showtime ad shows up every single time you open the app. — George Slefo

Tuesday, 10 a.m.
Brands, what makes you different?
Execs from Huge, The New York Times, Timehop and Google gathered for a panel on building their communities. A few nuggets from that talk:

— Megan Graham

Monday, 9 p.m.
Ad Age party patrol
Once the sun goes down in Austin during SXSW, adland rolls up its sleeves, grabs its badges and hits the parties. Last night, we got a taste of how real Austinites party at GSD&M, which hosted a sizeable concert-slash-hoedown in its own backyard—complete with food trucks and Deep Eddy cocktails. Then we wandered over to Huge's setup at Midnight Cowboy, where drinks were flowing until the early hours. Thank goodness for greasy breakfast tacos. — Megan Graham

Monday, 3:30 p.m.
Bloomberg sounds off on Facebook
A panel on Monday called "Building the post cable-television network" took a look at the current climate of media as well as what the future landscape will look like. When the floor opened for questions, Ad Age took the opportunity to ask whether Facebook, fresh from being burned so badly by fake news, should pay publishers to carry their content.

"Yes, whether it's a carriage fee or royalty or tax, I don't care what it is," said Scott Havens, Bloomberg Media's global head of digital. "The money made on Google and Facebook in particular is around premium content, not on shared video views on these platforms or anything like that. If we want to fundamentally protect journalism and encourage innovation, I think the economic pie would be better served split differently … Should The New York Times, Wall Street Journal, Bloomberg, CBS be compensated for the value they bring to these platforms? One hundred percent."

Kay M. Madati, VP and global head of content partnerships at Twitter, avoided the question and provided no comment; Christy Tanner, exec VP and general manager of CBS News Digital, responded but neither said yes or no, but added, "Our content cost a lot to create, and we need to monetize."

Chris Batty, founder of digital creative agency VMG and former Gawker sales exec, said the social platform should not pay publishers. — George Slefo

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