If Content Is King…

September 15th, 2006 · No Comments
by Booksquare

We’re going to do something dangerous. We’re going to make an assumption (yes, yes, we know): we’re going to assume that a few of you are old enough to remember the olden days. Those halcyon moments of yore, when watching television meant taking what they wanted to show you, when listening to the radio meant suffering through someone else’s idea of good music, and when reading the book you wanted was dependent on your local bookstore’s decision to stock it.
Times have changed. We have downloadable television. We have satellite radio and iPods and MP3 players in our cars. We have Amazon and e-books. We have choice. According to recent scientific studies, choice is the one thing guaranteed to force humans to weigh their options.

So, of course, if you’re the owner of content, you want to get yourself into the choice stream. You want your programming to be found, your sounds to be heard, and your books to be read (also, articles, short stories, and ranting, raving opinion pieces). You own content…now you need to get it to those lovely consumers. It’s the best way to ensure that they’ll gush over your brilliance.
Now that distribution doesn’t require pesky trucks (nobody’s stopping your from using them…we’re fairly certain that a big rig was involved in the shipping and delivery of our wonderful new boxed set of seasons one and two of The Office — we got the severance package), companies are wrestling with all manner of issues. One, however, should be a no-brainer: getting your content where the consumers are. For example, if most people are in California, it does practically no good to market your product in Palau.
Or, if you will, tying up your content on your corporate website without starting a page on MySpace.
Don’t believe us? Then believe Jon Fine. He’s paid to consider these things:

In late 2006, owning content isn’t enough if you’re still pushing it through printing presses, cable systems, even standard-issue Web sites. What works for a media company’s stock price right now is the whizbang pairing of content with some kind of next-generation distribution. Think News Corp. (NWS ) and MySpace.com: A Web site that links users’ pages and is visited by more than 49 million people in a month is a network, and thus a means of distribution. Think Disney (DIS ) moving first to sell its TV shows, and now 75 of its movies, on iTunes. These are practically the only big-media stocks that have risen in the past year. (Another is Viacom’s sibling CBS Corp., which streamed the NCAA basketball tournament online in March and is launching the broadband channel Innertube.)

Publishers are pursuing mobile content — something that, frankly, confuses the heck out of most consumers. They get texting; they don’t get why they want to pay to read on their cell phones. This isn’t a problem for publishers alone. Mobile content has limited application given the U.S.’s cellular system. Online content, properly distributed, is, to quote Beck, where it’s at.
Let us give an example of proper distribution. Despite last week’s follies, Random House is doing interesting things to promote their new title Glass Books of the Dream Eaters. However, we cannot find a MySpace page for this book. To date, the only promotion we’ve seen for the Glass Books games is via a publisher newsletter. Distribution matters.
As an aside, we are particularly amused by those who keep their precious content locked up. Limited releases and selective distribution, they think, that will keep us in the black. Uh huh. Consumers are a fickle species and we are way over the idea of scarcity. So last century. So pre-digital. It’s time to stop hoarding content — start distributing instead.

[tags]myspace, glass books of the dream eaters, content, distribution, publishing[/tags]

File Under: Marketing For Introverts · The Future of Publishing