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Media Transformative

Media Transformative

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Published by David Cushman
The power of the network changes the traditional media model through two key disruptions.
First it disrupts how, and by whom, content is created.
Second it disrupts how, and by whom content is distributed.
Together these offer an opportunity for the traditional chasm between advertising and content to close. This document (and accompanying powerpoint) consider how 'media' companies can reform themselves to change both what they do and the way they go about it to deliver products and services which are a better fit with the inhabitants of the networked world.
The power of the network changes the traditional media model through two key disruptions.
First it disrupts how, and by whom, content is created.
Second it disrupts how, and by whom content is distributed.
Together these offer an opportunity for the traditional chasm between advertising and content to close. This document (and accompanying powerpoint) consider how 'media' companies can reform themselves to change both what they do and the way they go about it to deliver products and services which are a better fit with the inhabitants of the networked world.

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Published by: David Cushman on Jun 23, 2008
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09/08/2010

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Media Transformative
David Cushman http://fasterfuture.blogspot.com
The following is the presentation I gave at WidgetWebExpo(http://widgetwebexpo.com) in New York on June 16, 2008.
The relevant slide deck is available here
:http://www.slideshare.net/davidcushman/media-transformative-how-widgets-close-the-gap-between-ad-and-content?src=embedIt forms the basis of a similar presentation “We’re all publishers now” which I am giving atDigital Asset Management in London on June 25, 2008.http://www.damusers.com/events/conference-program.php?eventid=2The power of the network changes the traditional media model through two key disruptions.First it disrupts how, and by whom, content is created.Second it disrupts how, and by whom content is distributed. Together these offer anopportunity for the traditional chasm between advertising and content to close. This sessionwill consider how 'media' companies can reform themselves to change both what they do andthe way they go about it to deliver products and services which are a better fit with theinhabitants of the networked world.
Slide 2
One of the few images we have of William Shakespeare comes to us not because the artistcharged with making the image was selected as the finest of his day, nor because this wasthe image chosen by Will’s adoring audience as the most accurate or representative (SMSvoting of the American Idol variety hadn’t quite hit London in the early 1600s).William Shakespeare was the most important play-write of his day – and this was a day whenthe play was THE primary form of entertainment. He was a big deal.And yet the picture we have of him is… well it’s a bit rubbish really.The creator was a young man named Martin Droeshout. And while he may not have beenpossessed of a huge artistic talent, he did possess something more fundamental to his abilityto form the rare and enduring image we have of Shakespeare. He owned the brass-plateprinting gear required to print Will’s mugshot on the famous first folio.He who had control of the means of production got to control the information – even if thatinformation wasn’t particularly great.The information, in this particular case was packaged up in books by the media business anddistributed by the media business.
Slide 3
And this remained the case as media revolutions swept through the 20th century – print wasfollowed by audio recordings, radio, cinema, TV.And the model remained the same, the same rules applied.Media controlled the production of content. Media controlled the distribution of content.This was true right up until the arrival of the internet. Even while the internet remained in its1.0-pre broadband incarnation it was still essentially true – while publishing remainedrelatively complex and expensive.
Slide 4
But with the arrival of web2.0, with its really low technical barriers and promise of the ubiquityof tools for creating and sharing, the grip on control has been shaken, loosened… broken.There are new ways for people to gather.Now we can all sit on the global hotdesk, forming into adhoc communities of shared purpose,sharing and learning in real time on a global scale.As Stowe Boyd puts it: “I am made greater by the sum of my connections, so are myconnections.
 
Slides 5-6Who gets to control production of content now?
 Anyone and everyone. Good and bad. It’s all relevant to someone.Social networks are made of small groups of purpose. Groups of people looking at each other  – not at you! This is not an audience.So congratulations on the scale of the gathering - but you have to understand these are anaggregation of small groups sharing separate purposes.
Slides 7-8Who gets to distribute content now?
Anyone and everyone.Shared with who they choose, chosen by who wants to share.Widgets lower the technical barrier of this and make the disruption explicit.Those twin disruptions are serious for every media business model. Not just for contentproducers either, but for anyone employed in the business of being the middle layer, themediator, the middle man.We now have a way around you!
Slides 9-10Who gets to control the user experience?
With a print publication we produce the content, we control the distribution, and through our editorial selection, our choice of what to include and how to present it, we control the user experience.Same applies to broadcast media. The programme maker decides.But in the digital space that control is lost. Building intuitive user journeys remains a wiseinvestment of time, but we cannot rely on users following our breadcrumbs. In fact, expectingthem to is a bit patronising – as if we think they are too stupid to work out where they want togo.The digital world is formed of discreet units each of which can be accessed from any other and in what ever order the user chooses. The user controls their own A-Z journey. Actually it’sA-Anywhere now.The old model was based on building destinations and harvesting eyeballs. In the digitalnetworked world we continue to try to build destinationsThe new world is a very different place…
Slide 11
If you want to evolve to survive in this world then your first step has to be to live in itsenvironment.So write a blog and you’ll understand how easy it is to be a publisher, how easy it is to createand share content, how easy it is to form groups of shared purpose in networks of trust, howeasy it is to find relevant content and for relevant people to find you.
Build a widget
and the process will illustrate that
we are all distributors now
. You have to start by trying to guess who might choose to share your widget or be enthused or impressed enough to pass it on.And that reveals something of the new challenges and opportunities for media.
Slide 12
Think about this in the context of traditional advertising (and by association we'll realise weface the same issues with content, because as we discover over and over again, in this worldthey are heading towards becoming the same thing).My first thought, on discovering that I could build my own basic widget through the likes of Sprout Builder (say hello to Carnet Williams ceo who was here) (I don't code) and publish it,
 
and all for free, is to consider ways the media company I work for can take advantage of thisfor low-risk experiments in widget making.A quick easy option: RSS feeds gathered into an easy-grab widget that users can placewhere they choose.In other words, offer a simple way for users to choose to disaggregate our content and makeit portable. RSS enables this itself, of course, but grab-this-widget functionality and sharingthrough the likes of facebook make this a possibility for those who find the technical barrier of RSS still a little high – and I don’t underestimate how many people that still includes.This extends our reach and (if we limit the RSS character count) it calls those interested inparticular content back to our sites where they could be fed in-context related ads. All good.
Slide 13
But what about revenue models integrated with the widget itself?When I choose to distribute a widget that's been made on Sprout Builder every iterationcarries a link back to Sprout. Want to make your own? Click here? Every YouTube videofunctions in a similar way. And if you have Google Adsense enabled on your site then it willdisplay related advertising, too.But these models still treat the ad and the content as separate entities. The distribution of thead message relies on users choosing to view and to participate in the distribution of aseparate ‘editorial’ content.The ads piggy-back on the content that the user actually wants. Perhaps this is a bitparasitical, a little like sneaking in the back door?
Slide 14
What if the advert was the content the user chose to distribute? That makes life interesting,doesn't it?If ads and content are coming together, and everyone is a content producer now… doesn’tthat make everyone an advertiser now?With that in mind,would anyone choose to place 95% of 30-second slot TV, banner ads andthe usual 'creative' solutions on their own (user-generated) content? Would they choose tograb it from where they see it and share it with others?
Slide 15
Take my simple widget (please!); it is an editorialised version of how widgets should be. First – I've decided the content. I have edited your choice, I've been the filter on the way in.And that's hardly enabling a personalised outcome.I would have preferred to make it a 'my favourite fasterfuture post chooser' in which you couldmake up your personal outcome from the full selection of my outpourings. Maybe those poststhat get chosen most often would rise to the top of the list the community of users is thenoffered? You get the general idea.The widget should allow the user to make the choice: That which we create we embrace. If we participate in the process we're more likely to share the outcome and to actively promoteit.This is obviously true of the marketing, too. I am more likely to choose to display the results of my personal choice of content and my personalised version of that content (or advertisingmessage).Because that which we create, we embrace (Alan Moore, et al).

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