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Sunday, April 08, 2007

Content Is King

Why is user-generated content so popular? It’s not the demand side that is driving its ubiquity. In fact, something like 99% of blogs out there are read by only one person, the creator. Most user-generated content is drivel, with the exception of the occasional clever clip on YouTube or great blogentary. The reason why there is so much user-generated content is because, well, it’s free, and free is good. So far, new media is about distribution, not creation. Blogger and Google Search are great ways to share and access information, and the benefit for Google is that this content has no acquisition cost. Google’s $150 billion valuation is based on the idea that content should be free, and will continue to be free in the future.

Sam Zell (yes, that is what he really looks like) sees it another way. In a speech delivered to Stanford Law School last week, Zell asked, “If all of the newspapers in America did not allow Google to steal their content, how profitable would Google be?” I grudgingly agree that Zell has one thing right. Distribution is a commodity and Content is King. YouTube’s dramatic rise is based off stealing others’ intellectual property, and as demonstrated by Viacom’s cease and desist order. Content developers won’t allow this perpetually. User-generated content has a place, but is not a substitute for high-quality material. Yahoo is aware of this problem and is partnering with content developers rather than obliterating them. Netflix is aware of the issue too as they battle to tie up content to win customers in the race for more Netflix logins. Google seems to take a more arrogant stance, but the question remains, once Google runs old media out of business, where will they get content?

3 comments:

1Green Thumb said...

Interesting post... The demand for content will not stop and people will continue to find a way to post copyrighted videos, books, pictures whether it be through google, youtube, yahoo or anyone else.

The publishers need to realize this and adapt. Take NBC for example they are starting to put more and more clips on Youtube, this way people can actually go back to the video on youtube and bam it there is a link to NBC.com instead of one just posted by someone that had a recording of the clip.

Anonymous said...

The ability to put content in context is what the internet lacks.

Anonymous said...

content in context? what is that supposed to mean? I go to WSJ for business news, techcrunch for tech rumors, and NYT for general news. These are all in context and i manage them using RSS though netvibes. Please elaborate on "context"