There’s a reason why David Verklin, former CEO of Carat North America and Co-Founder & CEO of Canoe Ventures and Operating Partner of Calera Capital, has a loud, rocky voice – he has to be heard. The 35 year advertising veteran was given 15 minutes to open sfBIG’s first ginormous event, “2013: What’s In Store for Digital Marketing” and – one hour later – predicted the entire future of the digital marketing and services sector. If you’re not heading up an agency, Verklin shook, get together with your peers around the table at this event and start one.

Verklin’s lively debate – ahem, panel - also featured Cotton Delo, San Francisco Bureau Chief at Advertising Age and Tim Peterson, Staff Writer at AdWeek. So what’s to come this year for brands, marketers and agencies? Turn down the volume as we share three big changes, according to Verklin and insight from the media stars.

ONE – TV is now an experience, no longer a device. Pay attention to VIDEO (Warning: The word VIDEO may be repeated several times throughout this blog post). Its “tiny more interesting than commerce, social and search,” Verklin coughed. Think about it. Ask an 11 year old what they’re doing on the iPad in your house – and they’ll tell you that they’re watching TV. Ha!

Tilt head, open eyes wide. Ok, come back.

Yes, digital devices are a platform of delivery, an experience regardless of the platform, Verklin continued. What he called “borderless viewing,” a TV experience being delivered on a device of your choice – in your house, not outside your home. The revolution will take place within the home of the consumer, first.

TWO – Look at what Comcast’s Xfinity is doing. The Comcast Xfinity 2 set-top box was demoed as CES in the corner of the Intel booth – yet will be the next new revolutionary VIDEO delivery system. It looks like an Xbox, plugs into the coaxial and boom – you get Internet to every device in your house.


Wait, don’t clap yet. There’s more! First get to know the players. Who’s responsible for bringing this into the home of consumers? Steve Reynolds, the #2 guy at Comcast, behind Tony Warner together will “define the vision of the American in-home digital experience,” forecasts Verklin. Comcast and NBCU are also companies we have to pay attention to, he said. As a matter of fact, write this down:

Pay attention to these four companies: Comcast, DirecTV, Comcast and DISH.

Pay attention to their bosses, Brian Roberts and Steve Berk who runs NBCU. They will affect high speed TV, HDTV and the digital TV experience – what you want, when you want, on the platform what you want inside your home. “It” will not happen outside your home in 2013, Verklin predicts, but will do so inside your home in 2013.

In home is where we need to be paying attention. 3D TV? Don’t pay attention to it. “It’s a dog that doesn’t want to hunt,” says Verklin. 3D TV will revolutionize the gaming experience. First person shooters in 3D is an unbelievable experience. Pay a lot of attention to 3D in gaming. Ultra HD TV was demoed at CES, next evolution of HD TV, 2X pixels going laterally and vertically, twice the clarity on TV of HDTV.


Here’ a couple of ideas. Let’s just called them Verklin-isms. Yeah, and you can do better?

1) There will be no native Ultra HD content 36 months into the future.

2) Ultra HD doesn’t make a difference on a screen size less than 60 inches. The human eye can’t notice the change. However, it will make a difference on a 90-100 inch screen.

Why is that relevant?

Ultra HD TV now costs $20,000. But, Ultra HD is on its way and will affect TV sales in 4th quarter of 2013. According to the Association of Builders and Contractors, there will be a decrease in home theater installation because of the larger screens like Ultra HD coming out, added Verklin.

THREE – “Infrastructure drives the experience – bandwidth,” nods Verklin. Ultra HD TV is a bandwidth hog. Internet TV is not going to happen without Comcast and Time Warner being a participant. There isn’t enough bandwidth to deliver a high quality Internet signal. Finally, pay attention to the TV homepage. Panasonic is demoing a TV with a small camera at the top of the screen. The TV has facial recognition software and can recognize who turns on the TV and shows a homepage for that particular viewer.


What are the next battlegrounds for digital marketing services and media? Verklin predicted cars with apps and mobile health and health services – say buh-bye to leaving your home to visit the doc.

At the close of the hour, most attendees were still hanging off of their seats. Verklin sat down and sfBIG host Cory Treffiletti flipped through his notes ping ponging points from Verklin to the other panelists. Short on time and big on curiosity, Treffiletti asked the panel to give the audience thoughts on future trends - in rapid fire fashion:

Cotton – “Obsessing about data, covering it, tough to report about it because the cooler the project the more the interviewee can’t talk about it.”

Tim – “TV everywhere was interesting. Manufacturing take on it. TV is a dumb device. Would rather put content on my device than my TV. Like to have my device right in front of me, not so far away from me.”

David – “Video, call it ‘TV,’ is my focus. Start in the modern environment. To see ‘borderless viewing’ you have to pay attention to the infrastructure side – bandwidth and devices – need a business to allow you to watch TV where you want it, when you want it. It’s a business model and tech transition. Start at the bottom up from manufacturer and Internet distributor.” Not the other way around anymore…


Cotton – “MSOs have a huge role to play on how and where we’ll be seeing things.”

Tim – “I look at MSO’s as digital companies now. AT&T Adworks just specializes in cross channel ad management. Not sure if social companies are bringing content to digital devices, but Google is.”

Cotton – “We’ll see when Facebook rolls out video ads this year, if people like them and want to buy them.”

David – “Pay attention to video, it’s the thread on how Facebook will deliver video and Apple TV. Mobile device is the preeminent device, but what it’s becoming is a controller for your TV.”

Oh yeah, and what’s new and exciting for the agency business? All three had one word: