SXSW Day 1 and 2: Trent Thomas visits Prime, Paramount & Audible


Plus AI in newsrooms and Dell Technologies

Mediaweek kicks off a big week of coverage from SXSW in Austin, Texas. Visiting the 2023 conference and festival are Mediaweek editor Trent Thomas and contributing editor Greg Graham (aka Sparrow).

Here Trent Thomas spends the day visiting a number of installations around the city. 

SXSW Prime Texas

Prime Video took over the San Jose Hotel to host the integrated event/faux city, Prime Texas, which saw the streamer highlighting nine original titles. The small city pop-up showcasing elements that celebrate titles Daisy Jones & The Six, The Boys, Swarm, The Summer I Turned Pretty, The Power, Academy of Country Music Awards, I’m A Virgo, Harlem, and Carnival Row.

Included in the installation was a three-part experience celebrating Daisy Jones & The Six with guests immersing themselves into the show’s soundscape in the Sound City control booth, exploring various isolated music stems from the series’ soundtrack album Aurora.

Mediaweek’s touring party checks in on Day 1 of SXSW

Another room offered guests a chance to be part of The Six, where they could take pictures in the Sound City studio with the sounds of the Six radiating throughout the room.

Additionally, Free People were on site with an influencer styling suite bringing outfits from their collection inspired by Daisy Jones & The Six. Additionally, essie provided manicures and nail art using its new gel couture fashion freedom collection.

Prime Texas also featured its very own semi-permanent tattoo parlour with the help of Inkbox, where attendees could get made-to-fade tattoos featuring icons of their favourite Prime Video titles, hand-drawn by local Austin tattoo artists.

Guests could also celebrate the supes from The Boys with curated cocktails in the risqué XXXclusive Bar w. The Academy of Country Music Awards Tavern Bar also served themed beverages with southern hospitality flair, featuring a photo op celebrating country music’s “party of the year”.

Supplied by local Austin bakery Tiny Pies, guests could also indulge themselves with pies themed to their favourite characters from The Summer I Turned Pretty at Cousin’s Beach Pie Stand.


The Lodge

Paramount’s The Lodge took over Rainey St.’s The Clive Bar (609 Davis Street, Austin) with a vibrant slope-side hub of celebratory experiences themed to Paramount+ originals and franchises including 1923, Star Trek, Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Rabbit Hole, School Spirits, Fatal Attraction and more.

The Lodge is the next iteration of the Mountain of Entertainment campaign, delivering the ultimate “mountain lodge” atmosphere for fans.

Guests could immerse themselves in the Mountain of Entertainment with this three-story pop-up, where they could enjoy custom cocktails at the 1923 Speakeasy Bar, spacey speakeasy Star Trek 10 Forward Bar and Ice Cave sports bar celebrating Paramount+ Sports. Creative photo-ops themed to Grease: Rise of the Pink Ladies, Beavis and Butt-Head and much more were on display.

Mediaweek’s Beavis and Butt-head with the Paramount originals

Audible Sound Studio

Located in the Sunset Room, the Audible Sound Studio served as a hub for all things music storytelling.

There was a mural on the exterior of the venue from local Austin muralist Zuzu, inspired by each of Audible’s original music storytelling series – Origins, Words + Music, and Breakthrough.

The journey began with Origins, transporting audio enthusiasts inside the minds of Origins artists in a dream-like room. There was a photo booth that brought the Origins identity to life, while the Origins x Ephemeral Tattoo Studio allowed guests to select a made-to-fade tattoo.

The next space within the Audible Sound Studio highlighted Audible’s longstanding Words + Music series which was brought to life at SXSW through a vintage studio-inspired room featuring record store vibes, curated listening experiences, and photo moments. The space encouraged visitors to step inside a recording booth and have a SXSW memory live-pressed to a 7” vinyl record.

The final stop was Breakthrough, which celebrated the first-of-its kind audio-only music competition. The Breakthrough-themed space gave visitors a peek behind the curtain of the musician’s creative process, and a first sample of Breakthrough with the debut of the Audible Original’s new trailer.

Creating Happiness: The Art & Science of Disney Parks Storytelling

Disney Parks, Experiences & Products chairman Josh D’Amaro shared how Disney’s storytelling techniques built on its legacy of creativity, and spoke about the importance of experience.

D’Amaro revealed a cutting-edge, realistic light sabre as well as an animated AI Tinkerbell that could hold a conversation. The talk also saw Disney showcase the company’s breathtaking robotics technology as well as the quality of their new live action costume designs for The Hulk, who for some reason sounded like Donald Trump.

AI in Newsrooms: What’s the Impact on Journalism?

The panel featured Laura Ellis (BBC), Dalia Hashim (Partnership on AI), Aimee Rinehart (Associated Press), and David Smydra (Twitter) and talked mostly about the impact of AI on the experience of users when accessing websites, and the use of AI to curate content for users and how it impacted journalists. This made the title a little misleading, and when I asked for some guidance on the future, they were quite vague and even expressed surprise that newsrooms are already using different forms of AI in the newsroom to generate results.

The EXPERIENCE by Dell Technologies

Dell Technologies are hosting an activation that allows artists to leverage new technologies to redefine what’s possible. The session we attended showed the good work Dell has done in foreign countries including Ukraine.

See also: SXSW Day 1 Sparrow at the keynotes including Disney and AI insights

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