The Simultaneous Rise & Fall of Content


Content

“We are no longer in the media sales business; we are now in the enterprise technology sales business. My role model is no longer Yahoo’s or AOL’s sales organizations from 2004. It’s Oracle’s.”

– Meredith Levien, CRO at Forbes

—–

In the Age of Content – it is getting harder to sell it.

Because we are also living in the age of the amateur, an age where technology has democratized many of the special skills that used to belong exclusively to professional content creators.

Consider:

  • You can use an application on your iPhone to create stop-motion films – a tedious process that used to be the domain of professional animators
  • Instagram allows everyone to put filters on photographs that used to only be possible with expensive camera lens, custom film and darkroom developing skills of professional photographers
  • Blogging platforms like WordPress and Blogger allow anyone to create a near instant News gathering operation that used to be only available to newspaper and magazine publishers
  • Companies like Wix making DIY websites a snap. Why hire a web designer when you can click and drag one into existence in a few hours?
  • Amazon.com’s ebook services allows any writer to publish a book – with just a few clicks

The result of inexpensive and easy-to-use technology combined with the global distribution power of the Internet and social media are rapidly changing how we think about content and how we consume it. This sea-change is only at the beginning, but already we’re seeing the demise of traditional journalism and major disruptions in book publishing, music production and movie-making.

Combine this with the rise of content marketing where companies are pumping out content: videos, infographics, Facebook posts, tweets, ebooks, articles, etc. and you have an odd period of time where content is rising and falling at the same time.

For example:

CONTENT RISING

  • Everyone can publish: from big corporate brands to small businesses, from celebrities to college students. The barrier to entry is low to immediately have access to a global audience
  • Brands are sending more time thinking about content – how information can help, entertain and engage with their audiences
  • Once complicated skills – photography filters, stop-motion films, website design – can now be done by everyone

CONTENT FALLING

  • The glut of content is driving the cost of it to near zero. Some content can no longer even been sold or is at pennies to the dollar. This makes it difficult for content creators to make a living
  • The glut of content has been a boon for technology companies and aggregators, but has not been good for traditional distributors of content: newspapers, book publishers, music companies
  • The increase in content creators has made all content suspect on its reliability and trustworthiness as amateur content mixes with professional content

What are your thoughts on content? What is the good and bad of the current environment for content creators? For brands? For traditional publishers?

Links:

The Big, Fat Content Glut

Is Curating Content the Elegant Art of Theft?

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