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Marc  Scarpa

Marc Scarpa

Veteran Director & Executive Producer of Live Participatory Media

Marc Scarpa

Veteran Director & Executive Producer of Live Participatory Media


Simplynew founder and executive producer/director Marc Scarpa combines 20 years in the digital space and live broadcasting, with an understanding of consumer interests and popular culture. Scarpa’s experience gives him insights which would elude less experienced or integrated competitors.

His most recent credits include Time Warner Cable SportsNet’s Second Screen App for the Los Angeles Lakers, Covered CA’s 6-hour ‘Tell A Friend Get Covered’ live broadcast, livestream coverage of Imagine Dragons at the 2014 Allstate Fan Fest Show, The X-Factor’s Pepsi Digital Pre-Show and Second Screen Experience, Incubus HQ Live, GRAMMY LIVE!, Earth Day Network’s Earth Day Live from the National Mall (2008-2012) and MySpace LIVE!. Personally, he is a partner with Lifebeat – The Music Industry Fights AIDS, a member of the Global Advisory Committee for Earth Day Networks and a member of the Gate Leadership Council.

Scarpa has directed Grammy Award-winning artist John Legend, 50 Cent, Alicia Keys, Beastie Boys, Elton John, Moby, Steve Aoki and many others. Additionally, he produced and directed several pioneering “firsts” for the live participatory programming genre, including Townhall with President Clinton, Woodstock ’99, The Tibetan Freedom Festivals and HSX/Excite Rocks the Oscars featuring Beck. His productions have been recognized by the Webby Awards, Social TV Awards and the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity. Scarpa is a national board member and founding New York committee chair for the Producers Guild of America New Media Council and is a voting member of The Recording Academy.

Marc Scarpa is a firm advocate that the term “audience” is obsolete in the new world of participatory media and that “audience” or “viewer” should be renamed “participant.” As a Director, he views his role as providing context to the flow of contributions by the participants and to creatively connect online and onsite groups, ultimately stimulating conversation and engagement around a particular live event or program. 

Speaker Videos

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Speech Topics

Participatory Concerts for Social Good: From Free Tibet to the Global Festival

Social Good comes in many shapes and forms. One of those compelling forms is live participatory music festivals. These events that feature musical performances and celebrity guests help lead the way for many just causes.


Organized by the Beastie Boys and the Milarepa Fund, the Free Tibet Concerts were created to support the cause of Tibetan independence. The initial concert on June 15 and 16, 1996 featured the Beastie Boys, Beck, Sonic Youth, Bjork, Foo Fighters, De La Soul, The Fugees, No Doubt, Red Hot Chili Peppers and The Smashing Pumpkins. It was for the first large scale live stream participatory broadcast in history from its location in San Francisco’s Golden Gate Park. The concert as attended by 100,000 people and had 36,000 online participants worldwide. It proved the viability of the Internet as a two-way broadcast platform.


The unification of online and on-site communities has been a continued theme in Scarpa’s work. In collaboration with the same event partners, Scarpa produced subsequent broadcasts for the 1997 and 1998 festivals respectively. Fast forward to Central Park in 2012, the Global Poverty Project unveils the Global Festival in an effort to raise awareness and end extreme poverty by 2030. In doing so, artists Neil Young, The Foo Fighters, Stevie Wonder, Alicia Keys, John Mayer, The Black Keys, Band of Horses, K Naan, Kings of Leon among world leaders such as the Secretary General of the United Nations gathered to incite participation along with 3.3 billion media impressions.


In this session, Marc will provide his first-hand experience of working with these social change organizations and how he helped guide them to a strategy that garnered real participation from activists all over the world.

Live Second Screen Participation

With two-thirds of mobile device and tablet owners interacting with a second screen while viewing TV, networks are focusing more resources on developing standalone apps for individual shows and events. Sports fans are the most active second screen users, and it was only a matter of time before regional sports networks began creating companion apps for fans to use while watching a team’s game. Lakers fans will be among the first beneficiaries of such an app. Time Warner Cable SportsNet has recently launched an update version of “TWC SportsNet.” The app will provide viewers with exclusive, real-time content during live Lakers games and will include both the pregame and postgame shows on the network.


Fan engagement and participation are at the core of successful second screen initiatives. In this session, Scarpa will explore programming formats, brand integration, marketing strategies, content segments and technology features that make for a successful experience.



The Participatory Experience

The participatory experience has evolved and is continuing to evolve. Marc Scarpa, a pioneer in participatory media, will explore how participation within campaigns has become a powerful force both socially and fiscally. Marc will explore how digital experiences are now giving power directly to audience members and activists, which then in turn gives people the ability to influence what they are participating in real time. Starting with the early history of Participatory media as a tool to communicate amongst tribal leaders in remote indigenous villages to early crowd source music videos to modern day branded entertainment campaigns and social good initiatives to forward thinking projects using this powerful form of storytelling, this session will cover the history of the genre as well as an overview of various applications in all media.

Participatory TV

Television has been consumed in the same way for the past 60 years. The process has been a repetitive, linear process, until now. With the development of new technology, directors and producers are taking advantage of the many new ways in which television can be and should be consumed in the new millennium. In 2011, Marc Scarpa teamed up with Sony Music Entertainment, SYCO tv and Fremantle Media North America to take traditional TV and distribute it amongst multiple media platforms to simulate a complete participatory experience. In a television industry first, The X Factor Season One digital experience was realized.


The depth and breadth of the participatory experience minimized the gap between The X Factor’s live TV broadcast and the audience at home, making the audience participants in the program as opposed to passive viewers. Fox Networks levered The X Factor’s extensive online presence into the highest rated social media response for any broadcast series in 2011, with over 350,000 app downloads, 64 million views of thexfactor.com, 160 million YouTube plays, 260 million Facebook impressions, 1.6 billion Twitter impressions and 2.87 billion engagements over the course of 15 weeks.


In this talk, Marc Scarpa will run through the strategy that was implemented into this re-invention of TV to produce staggering results that not only attracted more viewers, but also enhanced the overall experience of watching television.