Thursday, April 16, 2015

Content Was Never King

Content was never king, and it is certainly isn't today.  Distribution was and is the most important ingredient for a content based media company to succeed.   Cable networks programmed epically awful content in their early days, but were allowed years to find their voice and audience on the back of TV distribution oligopolies.  The content eventually got good (great in some instances) and many cable nets became multi-billion dollar global media brands.  But it was all about the distribution.  It always was and always will be.  Ben Franklin demonstrated as much when he launched the country's first magazine and used his role as postmaster general to ensure it ended up in everyone's home.

Today's media distribution currency isn't channels controlled by cable companies, but streams controlled by social media companies.  Danny Sullivan in a recent Marketing Land Post, describes an emerging "Stream Revolution" empowering media brands like BuzzFeed to insert themselves into a "constant parade of content that is pushed at viewers" on platforms like Facebook, Instagram, Twitter and YouTube.

And last week a senior ad sales exec at Google penned a piece in the Wall Street Journal describing "micro moments" - new opportunities for advertisers to "micro-target" in the stream.
Our research has uncovered a fundamental change in the way people consume media: the old days of predictable, periodic media sessions have been replaced by numerous short bursts of digital activity throughout the day. The old model was a four-course meal in the same restaurant. Today’s is a series of constant bite sized snacks all over town.

This is a pretty seismic change for advertisers. There are no longer just a few sporadic “a-ha!” moments of truth; now there are countless moments that matter.
The challenge for content companies, new and old, and the advertisers who are the real King in all this, is that the stream is flowing faster and faster, and playing in it requires enormous effort and time.