“WYTH offers a unique user experience where people can naturally meet and interact, adding the missing factor of the human connection”
Industry Report: Film Festival Trends
Samuele Franzini • CEO, WYTH
The WYTH cloud suite recently powered When East Meets West’s Digital World, and we took the opportunity to find out more about it, as well as the future of hybrid events in general
The WYTH cloud suite was officially introduced to the film industry during the last When East Meets West (WEMW) and was used to create the event’s Digital World (see the news). After the successful launch, the Lugano, Switzerland-based company is ready to branch out to new events and markets. Samuele Franzini, WYTH’s CEO, offered us a better understanding of what they do, the advantages of the platform and the future of hybrid events from a tech point of view.
Cineuropa: Could you offer us an overview of what WYTH is, exactly?
Samuele Franzini: WYTH is a cloud solution to create customised community platforms for live happenings and on-demand content. It was built thinking about the human connection, with a convergence-model approach in order to merge the physical and the digital experience. Its auto-scaling architecture can host from one to more than one million users. Our aim is to bring people together, even when they are not together, engaging them in a continuous networking experience (thanks to a combination of two proprietary match-making algorithms), yet in a very simple and useable (cross-device) interface. Anyone can use WYTH to attend an event, meet other people, do business and have fun, too.
What are your advantages over similar solutions?
We believe there is nothing similar to WYTH out there, and we have some clear advantages. The platform can be customised graphically up to 95%, so each brand can adjust it to reinforce its communication management. Also, the agenda management is intuitive, easy to use and up to date, while the community is based on the networking activities undertaken during each event. We offer unlimited live streaming – up to 4K quality and in up to seven languages – that can also be made available on demand. The custom pages can also be unlimited, and there is no restriction on meeting rooms, including private ones and round-tables with multiple participants. In the case of film markets, we set up a form of integration with Eventival that allows both systems to communicate and therefore to make content updating easier on both sides: the organisers and the participants.
Should a potential partner use everything that you offer?
Basically, the purchaser buys the suite on a prepaid per-use model. If some components are not needed, they are not implemented, and therefore the buyer won’t be charged for them. I think this is a formula that will be appreciated by all types of events and will be appropriate for all wallets. WYTH can also be used for those audiovisual markets that want to involve international audiences in their happening or ensure some close connections across the world without paying for their guests’ expensive plane tickets. They can make their contribution via the internet, via a platform that can maximise a person’s intervention and presence – even if it is digital.
How was your experience at WEMW?
Starting with WEMW was an excellent kick-off. Working with the team in Trieste was great because they explained to us exactly what a producer, a distributor and, in general terms, a participant in an audiovisual market is looking for while attending it, along with the synergies and interactions that normally take place (from a physical point of view). My team and I brainstormed to translate those into a digital format in order to ensure an excellent user experience with a natural approach for the target audience.
Do you have any figures from the event?
The analytics are impressive. In five days, more than 600 professionals spent 580 hours video-chatting both in the WEMW Café, which was the networking point, and the one-to-one meeting rooms. Also, 21 rooms – like private, virtual booths – were created in order for participants to meet their partners. Furthermore, over 30 hours of hi-res video were streamed in three days, with the possibility of a re-run the following day via our on-demand system.
What are your next steps now?
WEMW acted as a springboard, and we have other markets that we are negotiating deals for. We can announce that Visions du Réel has chosen WYTH, and EAVE is also on board for its upcoming e-learning events, which is incredibly significant for us, as we believe that private communities will play a key role in the future. Apart from the film industry, we have partners that include private brands, multinational corporations, universities and fairs.
Do you think that the need for digital environments will fizzle out when we get back to a “new normal”?
I firmly believe that once things have returned to the “new normal”, it is likely that event organisers will still be interested in hybrid happenings. Having the chance to join an event in its digital format is extremely valuable, especially if the hosting platform is interactive and allows a participant to connect with others in a simple and proficient way. WYTH offers a unique user experience where people can naturally meet and interact, adding the missing factor of the human connection, and WEMW demonstrated that an audiovisual market can run via its digital (or hybrid) extension without losing any effectiveness. In general terms, I would say that not limiting an event to a single format, whether that’s virtual or in-person, allows organisers to capitalise on the strengths of each and to unlock an entire audience of potential attendees who now have the option of going to events virtually. I strongly believe that the investment in hybrid events will increase dramatically for all types of happenings in the near future.
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