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March 09, 2007

Coming Together

Sometimes, when you’re dealing with issues as broad and complex as the media and content landscape, there is a tendency to want to break the issues up into little pieces, and deal with each of them separately. It’s easier to get your head around it that way. With media, for example, it’s tempting to think of advertising, user-generated content, piracy, and mobility as four distinct topics that need to be addressed.

But that is almost always a mistake. Because when it comes to sweeping subjects like the creation and consumption of content, everything, and I mean everything, is interrelated.

For example, we spent a considerable amount of time in Tuesday’s deep dive in New York bemoaning the sorry state of piracy in the world, and worrying about what we could do to stem the bleeding of copyrighted material. We also fussed over the advertising market, and the difficulty that companies are encountering in their efforts to get their message heard.

But few people put the problems together. When you do, an intriguing solution emerges. Like one deep dive participant, who suggested that entertainment companies could give digital music and movies away for free, but attach brief advertisements to each digital file that play for a few seconds before the actual content plays. You say people will never go for it? They will if artists, songs, or movies are actually sponsored by a particular brand. Justin Timberlake, sponsored by Banana Republic. Or Jay-Z, brought to you by the Cadillac Escalade. The ad is part of the file. It’s all one package. You can’t get one without the other.

For you purists out there, it’s really nothing we haven’t seen before. Remember the Colgate Comedy Hour? Mutual of Omaha’s Wild Kingdom? We put up with advertising interrupting our TV, our sports arenas, our newspapers, and just about everything else in this world. Why not music and movies?

Another area that had many scratching their heads in our deep dives was what to do about user-generated content. There was a lot of talk about user-generated content being a fad, or something a company could monetize. In addition, there was tremendous uncertainty about how mobility would affect the creating and consumption of content. But according to this piece in the Wall Street Journal, some companies are already starting to make money off of user-generated content. And they’re doing it by looking at multiple trends in the content landscape, and tying them together.

Cell phone providers in the U.K. and Asia are allowing customers to post user-generated content to a gallery. Other users can then download the material to their phones for a small fee. And this combination of two of the biggest trends affecting the media and content space has actually managed to solve another big problem: how to compensate users for contributing revenue-generating content. European cellphone provider 3, a division of Hutchison Whampoa, pays contributors 10 percent of the revenue generated from their clips. They pay it right into a PayPal account.

Will it work? Who knows. But it’s interesting to think of what can happen when you apply creative problem solving to the entirety of an industry, not just one part. And that’s what the GIO is all about.

March 9, 2007 in Media and Content | Permalink


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The Texaco Star Theater with "Uncle Milty" all the way through today's Dimitri Martin Comedy Special sponsored solely by Microsoft Vista.

Posted by: Eric Hansen | Mar 10, 2007 8:25:22 AM

I am on SWG jStart team; spoke with 7 banking customers about Web 2.0. Recommend to you: wesabe.com. Discussed with these IBM customers that Wesabe + Amazon or +eBay could change banking the way that iTunes + iPod changed music. Offer to discuss our 18 months of Web 2.0 customer discussions if relevant to your project. Regards, CP

Posted by: chris perrien | Mar 12, 2007 1:27:51 PM

Undefined Namespace.

A small technical comment, at the end of this post after "... And that's what the GIO is all about." you have the following tags:

o:p and /o:p

These break some feedreaders as the o: namespace is not defined.

Posted by: Glenn Druce | Mar 12, 2007 8:56:09 PM

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