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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.


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