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South by Southwest more about ads than tech: Tumblr exec

Sign at 2014 South by Southwest, Austin, Texas
Cadie Thompson | CNBC
Sign at 2014 South by Southwest, Austin, Texas

Don't expect any big tech start-up to steal the headlines at South by Southwest Interactive this year. Instead, the attention is mostly on the advertising industry, one Tumblr executive told CNBC.

Austin's big tech event has morphed into an advertising conference, said Lee Brown, Tumblr's global head of brand partnerships.

"It seems there are a lot more advertisers and a lot more marketers here at this event, it's becoming more of an advertising event than maybe a technology event that it was born out of the last five or six years," Brown said.



SXSWi used to be a place where there was usually one breakout app, like Foursquare and Twitter, but the last few years there haven't been any big hits launched at the conference, he said.

Besides more attention given to advertisers, Brown said that another big topic at the conference this year has been data privacy.

"The big topic on everybody's mind is around data and privacy and that seems to be what a lot of conversations are around this year," he said.

(Read more: Even for hot start-ups, billion dollar paydays are rare)

By CNBC's Cadie Thompson. Follow her on Twitter @CadieThompson.

Contact SXSW

  • Julia Boorstin

    Working from Los Angeles, Boorstin is CNBC's media and entertainment reporter and editor of CNBC.com's Media Money section.

  • Ari Levy

    Ari Levy is CNBC.com's senior technology reporter in San Francisco.

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