The Content Dilemma

Given the momentous nature of the day, I could not avoid connecting the subject matter with this historic event. About 18 months ago I wrote a post entitled “Will YouTube choose the presidency?”. My point was in recognizing how the protected walls of the traditional media powers no longer controlled what was broadcast to the consumer. In the race for the presidency, candidates no longer had to pander to, nor did they have to spend the media dollars required in the past in order to reach their supporters. (How many of you saw Bill and Hillary’s spoof of the Sopranos on YouTube?). The paradigm shifts that played a major part in the election reveal opportunities for us as digital marketers and content creators.

Big Media no longer has the luxury of being an appointment based medium, requiring FCC licensing. Non linear, what you want, whenever you want it, however you want it, digital delivery will become the order of the day and big media will be forced to deliver revenue models against this. Hulu is probably the closest view into what traditional TV may look like in the future and evidence that all professionally produced content will be accessible digitally via the web, mobile or otherwise. The challenge will be in the fact that all digital video will be accessible in this way creating even greater competition for the major networks. Browsers do not discriminate and anyone can now compete at marginal cost. Watch for the next big content hit coming from an unknown talent or – gasp – a brand. The big advantage the networks have are the dollars to market their own properties and the power to buy the ones that challenge their own.

UGC will evolve. It has to. As we experiment with a new medium, we will gain the skills to become better storytellers ourselves. The consumer will ultimately be empowered by the fact that they can and will compete directly with professionally produced content. The best of us will challenge the networks by forging new creative paths and creating new business models. Look for brands to compete with the networks for access to the best undiscovered talent.

Branded Content must seek to tell stories beyond the brand. Brands must find the places that they are passionate about, create value and give the consumer a voice. Anything resembling a chest-thumping, commercial excercise will be skipped, deleted or passed over. Brands need to create transparency by embracing the issues facing their industries and by being open to being challenged in the open.

Search will evolve beyond words and links. We watch more than we read and contextual video will force the search engines such as Google to deliver media rich results. I was greatly inspired by the article below in the NYTimes this past weekend that pointed to the fact that video search via YouTube was becoming a reference tool for kids. If that is not an opportunity for creating value, I’m not sure what else is.

No matter what part of the content ecosystem we participate in, change is here and embrace it we must.

At First, Funny Videos. Now, a Reference Tool.

All Digital Eyes on Obama
Article highlighting the potential role the new administration may play in regulating the marketing services industry and how we as an industry are looking to self regulate.

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