If brand-conscious Martians landed on planet earth and wanted to market themselves, and we offeredthem the following two choices, which do you think they would choose?- Option #1: A large heterogeneous audience that may or may not be paying attention, measured withanalog tools that take some time to report.- Option #2: A large homogeneous audience that is demonstrably paying attention, measured withprecision, in real time.The obvious answer for most would be #2. And eventually, traditional
media companies won’t survive if
they assume that advertisers will continue to prefer #1.
But it’s not playing out that way in the market right now. And unfortunately, instead of talking about howand why #2 isn’t being chosen by more advertisers, our ind
ustry is talking more about how to createhigher-performing digital content. List after list about content strategy, form factor, device utility, contentlength, key word search and a host of others. The content needs to be more snackable, morebuzzworthy, etc.
However, content isn’t the variable here. The same kinds of stories and ideas still make you laugh, cry, or
switch to another program (or video). Length, discovery and form-factor have always been variables,
because content doesn’t often conform to
rules, it conforms to consumption behaviors. Twenty-minutepieces of sheet music to two-minute doo-wop to back to eleven-minute Phish jams. The real variableshere are
. Instead of focusing on “new” rules of content that are useless o
r wrong (arecent
piece comes to mind), we need to look at the way that technology and data inform thecreation process, delivery, and consumption of content.
Technology is creating new and easier ways for stories to be consumed. Netflix’s resurrection of “Arrested
” will be one storyline told from various points of view.
While rare, this idea isn’t new.
linear capabilities of Netflix mean that any individual’s experience of the content will be affected
by the order in which the story is consumed. The content itself is not changing, but the combination of consumer behaviors (binging, participation) and new streaming technology and UX are what created thisopportunity.Other examples of how technology gives content creators new ways of telling stories abound. Arcade
Fire’s music video for “We Used to Wait” dynamically incorporates the viewer’s personal images via
Google Street Maps. The Johnny Cash Project lets artists re-interpret frames of videos. We partneredwith Taco Bell to produce a crowd-sourced documentary at SXSW.Mark Suster refers to participatory production (as opposed to mass consumption) as Torso TV.
middle ground between long-tail and traditional
where, in my opinion, the innovation comes, driven bytechnology and data, and n
ot by “rules.”
article I criticized earlier contained an interesting insight in data. Producers
have always collected information about what people like, but CBS’ David Poltrack points out