Jan 9, 2009

What will happen in 2009: WEB & CONTENT

This is based (copied) on a great article by Steve Rosenbaum (press here for link to original) about what WILL happen in 2009 in the content markets

1.  The Growth of the Curation Economy

As the cost of the creation of content continues to come down,  more content creators will come online.  This will create a huge influx of unfiltered material,  and create a significant demand for filters and editors who can find/sort/select and recommend contextual quality content within verticals.  
This "Curation" function has the potential to give media enterprises whose current business models are under tremendous pressure a new and important role in the web media world.
What makes the Curation Economy so powerful,  and so disruptive,  is that the core resource required to building a high-quality curated experience is not capital, but knowledge
This will drive an emerging class of content entrepreneurs - people who are able to turn their trusted personal brands into high-quality filtered content destinations.  
As the number of publishers grows dramatically,  content consumers will hunger for new trusted sources.  These many creators and consumers on the move will fuel whole new businesses and categories.

2. The Emergence of targeted Cost Per Action (CPA) and Cost Per Click (CPC) as Contextual Content Revenues

The assumption has always been that as more and more users shifted their media consumption habits from print and TV to the web,  big brand advertisers would come along and bring their wallets with them.  
Well,  so far that hasn't been the case. 
As Bob Garfield wrote in his prescient "Chaos Scenario"  ,   mainstream cash just hasn't signed on to this whole 'new media' thingy.  The result has web sites scrambling to invent new revenue sources,  subscription fees,  or simply close their doors.   
Consumers ARE spending money on the web.  
They're arriving with intent,  finding what they want,  and swiping a credit card.  
This means there is revenue - just not for big broad unfocused ads.  
So,  watch 2009 as the year that Cost Per Action (CPA) and Cost Per Click (CPC)  advertising starts to generate real revenues for content sites.   And - don't count out pre-roll video either.  

3. The Merging of eCommerce and Content

It used to be that video content (what was then called 'Television')  was little more than material used to fill in the space around the ads and attract viewers.
While this Holiday Season was the worse ever for retail,  Amazon posted the best sales in their history.  
So,  how did that happen?  
Well it seems folks who knew what they wanted went to Amazon and searched, and then compaired prices,  and purchased.  
This idea of intent driving commerce,  rather than advertising creating a 'demand' for a particular brand or product,  is turning Madision Avenue on its head.   
But,  at the same time - there is some evidence that ecommerce and content are about to switch roles.  
Sites like Thwoop.com have created children's destinations with free content,  and given themselves a first crack at any purchases that the visitors might want to make.  
The idea is that watching content is expressing 'intent'  .  
My grandson likes Ben10,  so he could watch it on Thwoop.com,  and then - well,  he asks us about buying him a Ben10 watch, lunchbox,  or shirt,  or dvd, or something.  
Content drives Commerce.  
 Expect to see AmazonTV,  EBayTV,  LLBeanTV and tons more content channels from ecommerce biggies in 2009. 

4.  Digital Goods - Consumers begin to pay for content

Digital Goods is a broad concept for anything delivered in code.  Music,  eBooks,  iPhone apps,  photos - the list goes on and on. 
2009 will be the year that Digital Goods will take off. 
Already the numbers from the iTunes store sales are dramatic - almost a million dollars a day in sale of iPhone Apps.    Apple has created a safe,  trusted micro-payment economy around iTunes and the fact that only software that is tested gets into their iTunes systems is evidence that the Curation Economy is at play here too.
But in 2009 you'll see more video series,  ebooks,  photo collections,  memberships,  and subscriptions gain a foothold.  There's some real world reasons for this - web based digital goods are a better value than their real world counterparts in many cases.  
Middlemen who don't add value should beware,  Digital Goods delivery doesn't require both a wholesale and a retail seller.

5.  Cottage Media Takes Off

Media is a good word. It gets confused with journalism and other more narrow words - but used properly it's a big tent that includes digital content in all its forms.  
Historically, Cottage Industries have been small mom and pop operations that run out of someone's home office.  And already we can see the emergence of a number of new voices and sources that are essentially 'Cottage'  operations.   
More of the brand name content creators we know and enjoy reading/watching are building their own brands while they remain employed by their big media publishers. The idea of trusted content brands moving to self-publishing is likely to cause quite a stir.  
Just as MP3s turned the music industry on its ear,  and Craigs List turned newspapers upside-down,  the emergence of personal publishing and new forms of both trusted and Community Curation will have an immediate and long-lasting impact on media,  commerce,  community and politics.  

2009 will be a year of change.  And change is, by its nature, full of surprises.
What's being constructed is a global knowledge eco-system that has world changing implications... for the better.

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