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Friction is Fiction - The Future of Content, Media & Business (Gerd Leonhard)

Friction is Fiction - The Future of Content, Media & Business (Gerd Leonhard)

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Futurist Gerd Leonhard (www.mediafuturist.com) shares his thoughts on the Future of Content, Media and Business. 'Friction is Fiction' presents a constantly updated compilation of Gerd's best essays, writings and most popular blog posts. The central meme is that the Internet has completely disrupted the traditional notion of generating higher income by simply taking advantage of possible friction points and hurdles within transactions or business processes, i.e. by controlling the 'people formerly known as consumers'. The Future is all about winning the trust, and turning attention into revenues.

Futurist Gerd Leonhard (www.mediafuturist.com) shares his thoughts on the Future of Content, Media and Business. 'Friction is Fiction' presents a constantly updated compilation of Gerd's best essays, writings and most popular blog posts. The central meme is that the Internet has completely disrupted the traditional notion of generating higher income by simply taking advantage of possible friction points and hurdles within transactions or business processes, i.e. by controlling the 'people formerly known as consumers'. The Future is all about winning the trust, and turning attention into revenues.

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Published by: Futurist Gerd Leonhard on Dec 27, 2012
Copyright:Attribution Non-commercial

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09/17/2013

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Friction is Fiction
Futurist Gerd Leonhard’s best Essays, Writings & Blog PostsMay 2010 Black & White Edition 3.0(constantly updated since January 2008) 
www.mediafuturist.comgleonhard@pobox.comTwitter.com/gleonhardwww.gerdtube.net (videos)www.thefuturesagency.com
Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution License: Gerd LeonhardMediafuturist.com1
 
The Future of Content: Protection is in the Business Model not inTechnology
If I received a dollar every time I get a question along the lines of "how can thecontent industries compete with FREE?" -- I would be traveling first class every-where I go. Underneath this question I often find my favorite toxic assumption:"less control over distribution means less money."This belief is as tired as it is poisonous: en-forcing control (when trust is really what'sneeded) will yield instant disengagement,which swiftly and surely will translate intodwindling revenues -- as the music industrykeeps proving again and again. If you believein control rather than value and trust, the con-tent business of the future is not a good hunt-ing ground for you. Take eBooks: despiteclear and present proof that DRM has provendisastrous in selling digital music (and now ispretty much history), technical protection measures are still being looked at to'secure distribution'. When will they ever learn?The thinking that the digital distribution of content must be controlled to achieveanykind of reasonable payment is fundamentally flawed because of this not-so-futuristic realization: in our open, mobile, social and digitally networked economy,content publishers need to offer their goods in a way that no longer centers onthe distribution of units (digital or physical) as the key revenue factor. The idea of  just selling copies is toast - selling (i.e. offering) access is where the money is.Kevin Kelly said it years ago:we must sell what can't be copied, what's scarce,not what is ubiquitous.The irrefutable trend is that the window of opportunity of 'selling copies' (be itiTunes, eMusic, the Kindle or the iPad) is rapidly closing. The real opportunity,the TeleMedia Future, is in selling access and presenting a constant stream of up-sells (i.e. added values and offering content-related
experiences
). Remember,as Mark McLaughlin so righly pointed out in the HuffingtonPost recently, con-sumers have never 
really 
paid for content - they paid for distribution! And now,distribution means Attention and Access.Imagine when buying access to eBooks, you wouldn't just pay for the authorizedenjoyment of the authors' words, but you would also gain instant access to highlycurated and socially-networked commentary, a fire-hose of meta-content pro-vided by your most important peers and friends that may also be reading thesebooks, and their ratings, explanations, slide-shows, images, links, videos, cross-references -- and maybe even some direct connections with the author or thepublisher. In an access-based, bundled and cloud-centric content ecology, beinga legitimate and authorized user enables engagement, conversation, relevance,personalization, meaning... i.e. it unlocks really valuable benefits for the user.Connect with Fans + Reasons to Buy (as has been mentioned on this blog a fewtimes, before, I believe) - that's where the money is.In music, streaming-on-demand will without a doubt be available 'for free' (i.e.bundled and packaged by 3rd parties) or advertising supported, while manyaddedvalues
above and beyond the mere reproduction of music 
will not - no
 
matter whether WMG's CEO Edgar Bronfman thinks it'sa good idea'for the in-dustry' or not.Just imagine where an access-to-the-cloud model could go next: if I want a high-definition version of my favorite opera or that Blue Note Jazz Club concert fromlast night I could buy a premium package that provides it. If I want to share mypersonal play-lists, ratings and comments with my Facebook friends, and get ac-cess to their content, as well, I can add the 'social network option' to my package.If the price is right (micro-transactions, anyone...?), I'll buy - because I am al-ready hooked on the music.The music industry needs to ask itself this question: if a permanent, unprotecteddownload of a song would cost only $0.10, or if an ad-supported version of a on-demand, all-you-can-eat music service would be seamlessly bundled into your mobile phone subscription - would anyone still bother to scour the web to findbadly ripped, virus-laced tracks for free? Would we need 3-Strikes or HADOPI or Digital Economy Bills?Yes, I know, that price point sounds ridiculous for those record label CEOs thatused to sell CDs for 15-25 Euros a piece, but hang on a second: if they can get95% of the users to
buy access
at a much lower price (and almost zero cost of duplication and distribution!), and in that process really engage with them, thefans would also do the marketing for them - i.e. share the links. Sounds like agreat model to me. But of course: selling access at a much lower (or feels-like-free) price to quite literally everyone only makes sense if it actually connects di-rectly and smoothly to a multitude of up-selling possibilities, such as interactiveversions of eBooks, high-definition versions of online radio shows, albums or concerts, in-depth analysis and audio/video commentary for news, etc.Now, content storage is starting to move from my own computer or my hard-drives into the cloud - and I think this is very good news for content creators, pub-lishers and rights-holders because it makes it even easier to engage and up-sell to those new generatives. Crucially, the answer to the constant quest of moneti-zation is also in the cloud: I believe most people will soon stop sharing the actualmedia files (since they are getting increasingly larger and larger, and thereforemore unwieldy) and will share only the links, the bookmarks, the metadata or thetags, and that should be a boon for the content industries.The perfect test bed for 'Media as a Service' (MaaS) may unfold soon, with Ap-ple's new iPad or Google's Tablet (hopefully). Extending the concepts mentionedabove, rather than blocking my wife or my kids from sharing an eBook with me itwould be much more logical if I could easily read her book, as well; but beyondthe 'copy of the words' all else would not be available without a micro-transactionon my part, i.e. I would not have instant access to the cool video clips, the up-dated links, the footnotes, the ratings, etc; i.e. all that valuable context that willmake eBooks so much more powerful would be out of my reach until I validatemy own access.The bottom line: content sharing isn't the real problem: high price points, out-moded, pre-web toll-booth concepts, broken relationships and processes, lowvalues for high prices, bad technology and service, and utter lack of conversationand engagement are.
Creative Commons Non-Commercial Attribution License: Gerd LeonhardMediafuturist.com3

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