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30 posts from May 2006

Shoreviews: Content Industry Outlook 2006

Shore is a research organization with a focus on content and technology. I discovered them at the SIIA conference and immediately signed up for their ContentBlogger feed. They also provide a variety of reports, including Content Industry Outlook 2006, which I read last night. This should be required reading for anyone in the content business, period. Here are some of the more interesting excerpts:

Content is defined as information and experiences created by individuals, institutions and technologies to benefit audiences in venues that they value.

…the audience considers themselves the experts as much as any central authority when trying to find the answers to pressing needs. These new authorities may stumble a bit more along the way to their broadening successes, but when they can afford to speak to the world for little more than the cost of a bit of electricity the individuals and institutions equipped with powerful and affordable publishing technologies are going to continue to speak more and more effectively to their audiences – with or without the help of professional publishers.

(Regarding media players who have lost revenue/share/value)…the losses had less to do with categories and more to do with the aggressiveness of companies in those categories to move to a mixture of business models that could capture effectively how people use and pay for content in online venues.

…the real question for book publishers was how to package content more effectively for users that have gravitated to online markets.

Even as a proliferation of user-generated media and open archives of books and other newly digitized materials challenges the value of content produced by mainstream publishers there will be a greater investment in 2006 in ways to accommodate both open access to content and value-add levels of content that require subscriptions or other premium access schemes.

As new services such as Google Base and Alexa Web Crawl make it easier than ever to repackage the world’s content into more usable forms the repurposing of existing content into new services will move beyond user-generated “mashups” into far more sophisticated amalgams and full-blown services.

While some niches of publishing such as journals and magazines targeted to high-end business and consumer audiences will do well with print products in 2006, most sectors of the content industry will find 2006 to be a year in which the need to have Web-first strategies for product development and marketing will be inescapable.

“What business are we in?” is the big fundamental question that takes a long time to answer. When the railroad industry answered “railroads” instead of “transportation” to the question, their days were numbered.

Pew Report: Content Creators are Almost 50 Million Strong

According to a recent report from the Pew Internet and American Life Project, “48 million Internet users have posted content.” Sure, some of this “content” is nothing more than a few photos of the family vacation, but it’s clear the web is rapidly evolving from what was primarily a read-only platform to much more of a read-write one. Other highlights from the report include:

Home broadband grew by 40% from March 2005 to March 2006, from 60 million to 84 million.

DSL is now the dominant broadband connection method, representing 50% of all home broadband connections vs. only 41% for cable. (I’ve got to dump this darned $100+/month cable habit…)

The average monthly service bill for DSL in December 2005 was $32 vs. $41 for cable. (Yet another reminder to dump cable…)

Despite all the hype, only 3% of online users say they use a VoIP service at home. The report shows awareness has gone through the roof, but it’s clear this one hasn’t “crossed the chasm” just yet. Maybe that’s why I haven’t seen so many Vonage commercials on TV in awhile…

More than half of those still using dial-up (60%) apparently are quite happy and have no intention of moving to broadband anytime soon.

New Media = Social Networks?

Here's a good, short article by Robert Young where he argues that social networks are the next generation of media.  I would say that the monetization question still has yet to be addressed...or, will the "new media" always represent a much smaller chunk of revene than "old media"?

While reading Joel Comm’s The AdSense Code this weekend (look for my review of the book shortly), I visited a site he recommends in a chapter on building content: I’m very impressed with the depth of content available on this site, and all of it is freely reusable on your own website/blog, provided you follow EzineArticle’s terms of service. I’m going to read some of the publishing-related articles and am likely re-post the better ones here on my blog in the future. Authors, you should visit this site too as it’s yet another vehicle you can use to broaden your platform, extend your reach, etc.

Hot Job Segment and E-Book Debate

This brief article on talks about the latest red-hot job: online ad sales rep. According to the article, six-figure salaries are the norm and competition for experienced candidates is fierce. As usual, Google appears to be one step ahead of the rest. They’re apparently hiring outside the industry, looking more in the finance and consulting arenas, rather than joining the bidding war for industry veterans. I got a chuckle from the quote attributed to Tim Armstrong, Google’s VP for Ad Sales: "There's a pool of people who are in the rotation plan within the industry, and we generally don't recruit those people proactively any more." Every industry certainly has its share of job-hoppers. I wonder how long it will take before this bubble bursts…

Last week I discovered Mark Glaser’s MediaShift blog (thanks Willem!). He recently started a dialog with a post entitled “Should books be reinvented in a digital format?” I weighed in along with several others. Mark then asked some follow-up questions and posted the results here.