The Distribution Democracy and the Future of Media

10 thoughts on “The Distribution Democracy and the Future of Media”

  1. Om, interesting observations. If we include commercial offers and messages (e.g., ads), the firehose is indeed a torrent. Consider the rapid growth of Groupon and other “daily deal” providers (and resulting user fatigue), as well as services such as LocalResponse (using NLP to infer your location, allows merchants/advertisers to Tweet “contextually relevant” messages and offers to consumers based on their current location, where they plan to go). As the volume and, at least for a subset, relevance grow, more demands are being placed on our attention, making it more and more difficult for individuals to absorb, much less process and act on information. As I noted in my Location Innovation report last year (http://bit.ly/c6VQDb), “the dramatic increase in location-specific (and contextually relevant) information intensifies the need and creates significant new opportunities for solutions that help individuals filter, find, access and leverage… content.”

  2. Om, I completely agree with the observations. In the race for grabbing the attention and thus the advertising dollars, companies have completely forgotten the basics as to why they are into business. I am from India and even here, the news channels on TV and to an extent even the print media sensationalize the trivial bits and pieces of information. Information that should not even exists in the first place has found a medium to enter into the living rooms.

    IMO, the media companies need to identify themselves with the type and quality of news that they want to be associated with. Segmenting the market (which I believe has already started) will at least help the consumer to identify himself with what he wants to read/view and understand.

  3. Om, interesting thoughts. Respected media brands may have an ongoing role in filtering and selecting from the deluge; offering up a timely view that should in some sense be quality assured, whether they created the content or not.

    Rory Cellan-Jones is technology correspondent for the BBC here in the UK. At the end of a recent interview with Tim Berners-Lee, the tables were turned and Berners-Lee interviewed Cellan-Jones. He asked a series of questions that are relevant to this discussion, beginning to explore the relationship between the organisation (the BBC), the journalist (Cellan-Jones), the intertwined brands of both, and the content one produces for the other. You may find the short video of interest… assuming the BBC lets you see it from the U.S… http://www.bbc.co.uk/news/technology-13128741

  4. Hey Om, I absolutely agree with you that media needs to be rethought and re-imagined. With an organization like CNN is passing off a story that is neither news or newsworthy, I wonder if it is a sign that it will ultimately fail (or is already seriously vulnerable). Do you think it will be displaced by multiple media sources that are better curators of meaningful (perhaps niche) content, or does its size allow it to continue to bumble along indefinitely?

  5. You’re on the right track, Om but the difference goes way beyond this. News publishers, like music companies, need to realize that they are not selling products, but the service of making sense of the world. I don’t read Google News or this blog because they supply great content but because they do the best job of making sense of the content that’s out there (thanks, btw. 🙂 Huffington was one of the few that understood this. Murdoch still doesn’t get it.

    Once a publisher realuses that, they stop worrying about owning/controlling the content, they allow twitter et al to break some news and they focus on helping their readers to make sense of what’s known. They do this by filtering it and also contextualising it – including by linking to their sources. They value-add to the relationship by supplying expertise and access to privileged sources like the President, who bloggers and ‘citizen journalists’ are unlikely to be able to reach because of the source’s finite attention.

    Publishers who do a good job of this need not worry about controlling their content because they can be sure readers will come back for more …

  6. You’re on the right track, Om but the difference goes way beyond this. News publishers, like music companies, need to realize that they are not selling products, but the service of making sense of the world. I don’t read Google News or this blog because they supply great content but because they do the best job of making sense of the content that’s out there (thanks, btw. 🙂 Huffington was one of the few that understood this. Murdoch still doesn’t get it.

    Once a publisher realuses that, they stop worrying about owning/controlling the content, they allow twitter et al to break some news and they focus on helping their readers to make sense of what’s known. They do this by filtering it and also contextualising it – including by linking to their sources. They value-add to the relationship by supplying expertise and access to privileged sources like the President, who bloggers and ‘citizen journalists’ are unlikely to be able to reach because of the source’s finite attention.

    Publishers who do a good job of this need not worry about controlling their content because they can be sure readers will come back for more …

  7. but the democraticization of media doesnt necessarily means that CNN has to opt for the trivial. Clearly there is too much info coming at us from every direction. Solid news reporting should be a clear differentiator.

  8. Thanks for writing up your thoughts. It’s great to hear from someone with so much experience in media.

    If media is content and distribution, and distribution is democratized, then we are going to see a resurgence in content. We are already seeing how niche content is outperforming and how new kinds of content are emerging. I think traditional media still have what it takes to pull if they can double-down and focus on content.

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