Festival of Media adds new digi-focused awards

Valencia event will highlight best work from around the world, and give high marks to the work that worked.

After two years in Venice, The Festival of Media is moving to a new city to host its own international media awards. ‘It’s continued recognition of the integral role that media is playing in communications,’ says Lauren Richards, CEO Starcom MediaVest Group, who adds that she will be helping SMG’s network with submissions for the awards, and will attend the event held in Valencia, Spain from April 19 to 21.

In previous years The Venice Festival of Media was a conference and network opportunity – more than 850 delegates attended in 2008. While media innovation awards were announced last year in a one-off publication titled Cream of Venice, this year marks the inaugural Festival of Media Awards, which organizers say are designed to reflect the changes taking place in the communications business. The submissions site opens Jan. 7 and will remain open until the Feb. 7 deadline.

‘They have very different categories and setups than I’ve seen in previous media awards,’ says Richards. ‘[There's] a huge focus on digital.’ The Festival of Media Awards has also upped the weight of results-driven marks in judging, says Richards. ‘Usually it’s in the neighbourhood of 5% to 15% of the total value of the case – there’s usually more focus on what the idea is. In this particular awards show, 25% to 40% of the marks are based on the actual results of the initiative.’

Katharina Pesch, operations director of London, UK-based C Squared, which is producing the event, lists three awards she thinks best reflect upcoming changes in the global media industry: best consumer benefit/advertising as a service award; best consumer-driven community campaign; and commuications future award.

‘These awards are great examples of how the industry is using new technology and advertising models and harnessing the power of the consumer,’ writes Pesch in an email interview.

Festival organizers hope Valencia’s celebrated conference venues, lower travel costs (about 36% cheaper than Venice) and reputation as a cool destination will bring in more delegates than visited in previous years.

‘Canadian agencies have always been at the forefront of the idea of being creative with the media budget,’ says Pesch. ‘Canada is one of the countries where we hope to see a large number of entries.’