What Content Do We Need?

I LOVE this. LOVE. LOVE. LOVE. I may wallpaper my office with it I love it so much.

These days a marketing campaign can no longer use the print, OOH, website, TV checklist. Long gone are the days where production on a campaign only meant taking care of 4 channels.

These days you must wrap your message inside content. Its like a subtle way of gaining entry into the mind of your potential audience. Unfortunately there is an inverse relationship here – you have to do the most work for less people – which are your actual consumers.  Think about it – this is the nature of CRM. This is the nature of what all brand marketing needs to adopt.

This grid should really help get some ideas going no matter what type of brand, product or idea you are trying to create awareness, purchase or adoption of….and makes fabulous wallpaper.

Long Live The Queen

curation is king

This article is on the money. Over the years working with brands and artists and copyright owners there is always the discussion of who is going to work with who and for what audience. Many times this is thought out, but often people are just concerned with “getting what everyone else has” – keeping up with the Joneses. If there is a hot band or artists, everyone wants to work with them because they still see the BIG numbers more often than the big picture.

No matter what your business is around content; advertising, retail, B2C, B2B, distribution and funding – having a content CURATION strategy is the most important thing you can do today.  People consume what is put in front of them more often if it is the RIGHT thing put in front of them.  In a global economy where you can buy the same jeans, music, sodas, movies, books – anything – in almost any part of the world – CURATION – choice is important.  And knowing your consumer is the first step.  Who are you talking to with your content choices? What are they looking for? Presenting everything overwhelms the senses and ultimately unless you are Wal-Mart or Target – difficult to succeed. And even these two gigantic brands choose what content they will be promoting or associating with  carefully.

We often also let our own personal preferences get in the way of our consumer – one of my favorite mantras is: “Repeat after me – I am not the demo”….it is important to know this when choosing what content to curate – keeping an unbiased data driven (and gut driven) approach to your consumers/viewers/users is key. This isn’t something everyone can do on their own; and certainly those of us having worked in content development and marketing for years know that it is a careful mix of selection, promotion and positioning that gets the consumer to relate to the content you have to offer – or at least some of it.

Content Is No Longer King: Curation Is King


Curation King


“Content is King” — no longer. Today, the world has changed. “Curation Is King.”

Ok, I hear all the content-makers sharpening their knives to take me on.

I’m ready.

First, why content is dead:

Content used to be the high quality media that came out of the very pointed end of the funnel. Articles in the New York Times. Movies from Miramax. Thursday night comedy from NBC. Books published by Simon and Schuster. Creative folks wrote pitches, treatments, sample chapters, pilots, but only the best of the best got published.

Then, the web came along and blew that up. Kaboom! Now content has gone from being scarce to being ubiquitous. Bloggers make content. Flickr photographers make content. Facebook posts are content. Tumblr publishers make content. Content isn’t King because it isn’t scarce. It’s everywhere, it’s overwhelming, and it’s gone from quality to noise.

Which isn’t to say that this is a bad thing — it’s actually very very good. It’s freedom. It’s public discourse. It’s new communities that were previously silenced by their inability to access broadcast distribution outlets now getting to have their chance in the spotlight.

As someone said to me a few weeks back: “Andy Warhol was wrong. We’re not going to be famous for 15 minutes. We’re each going to be famous for 15 People.” Indeed.

So let’s look at the relative explosion in content and why this trend is only going to continue to grow massively:

Devices: Everything makes media now. Cell phones, laptops, digital cameras, iPads, web cams, as well as location aware software like Foursquare, Gowalla, Yelp and a zillion others. The combination of where we are, what we like, what we’re doing and what we’re saying all creates micro-media. Content is being exuded out of our digital pores.

Bandwidth: 3G is here, 4G is around the corner. Wifi is slowly but surely being pushed out and shared, though it’s currently strangled by passwords and firewalls. But just watching the ‘check in’ phenomena of Foursquare is a clue about how quickly content creation is becoming an everyday part of what we do.

Sociology: People like sharing. They like sharing bite size info about what they’re doing, where they are, who they’re with, what they’re buying. They massive influx of consumer created crowd content shifts content from scarcity to abundance, and then to an overwhelming fire-hose of undifferentiated data.

So, what institutions does this ‘Content Tsunami’ put under pressure?

Publishing: In a world where everyone makes content, publishing is no longer able to lay claim to being the ‘best’ maker of quality content in their field. In fact, content creation is costly and painful though this may be, may not result in measurably better content than content curation. Mixing creation and curation is essential for survival. Check out Huffington Post for a mix of created, curated, and crowd-sourced content.

Experts: It used to be that there were a handful of folks who where thought of as experts in their field. So the folks who owned the publishing platforms got to determine who was an ‘expert’ and build their brand. Now, that’s upside-down. Social media superstars are able to create visibility though leadership and personal brand value with ubiquity of voice. The new Expert is the leader with the most twitter followers, not the person on the speed-dial from CNN.

Advertising: We’re standing at the end of an era. “Mass Media”, the ability to reach large segments of the population with a single message is essentially over. For advertisers, the need to find content in context, and to have that context be appropriate for their message and their brand is critical. So, Curation replaces Creation as the coin of the realm for advertiser-safe environments. No longer can advertisers simply default to big destination sites. The audience is too diffuse and the need to filter and organize quality crowd-created content is too critical.

Search: Search was a critical solution to bringing audience to the web. But today the vectors that you can “search” on don’t reflect what audiences need to know to find what matters to them. Search provides the name, date, and other algorithmically chosen variables. But what makes an article right for Huffington Post, but wrong for News Max? The voice of the content and the context, which require human curation and crowd collaboration.

We’ve arrived in a world where everyone is a content creator. And quality content is determined by context. Finding, Sorting, Endorsing, Sharing – it’s the beginning of a new chapter. And not since Gutenberg have we seen such a significant change in who’s able to use the tools of content creation to engage in a public dialog.

The emergence of a new King — a Curation King, reflects the rise of the new Aggregation Economy. It is an exciting time to be in content, and the best is yet to come.

Steve Rosenbaum is founder and CEO of Magnify.net, a NYC-based Web video startup. He has been building and growing consumer-content businesses since 1992. He was the creator and Executive Producer of MTV UNfiltered, a series that was the first commercial application of user-generated video in commercial TV.

Read more: http://www.businessinsider.com/content-is-no-longer-king-curation-is-king-2010-6#ixzz0raQENkFi

Perhaps the concept of Copyright Needs to be Rebranded? Creativeright?


This article is one of the best discussions on copyright i’ve read in a while.  It talks about the true purpose of copyright….to ensure the creation of content – specificaly in “science and the useful arts”. It would seem that at this point we have too MUCH in the “useful arts category” what with all the TONS of UGC out there….but this article is a great reminder of why we need SOME sort of system.

Thanks to Nate Anderson at ars technica.

Contextualizing the copyright debate: reward vs. creativity

In a post on the declining revenues of the record business, progressive blogger Matt Yglesias wrote last week, “It is, of course, possible that at some point the digital music situation will start imperiling the ability of consumers to enjoy music. The purpose of intellectual property law is to prevent that from happening, and if it does come to pass we’ll need to think seriously about rejiggering things.”Is that the purpose of copyright law? Sonny Bunch at America’s Future Foundation didn’t think so, but his debate with Yglesias turned out to be much more than one of the numerous daily spats that make up life in the blogosphere. Instead, it went to very nature of a crucial institution like copyright—and it asks whether that institution exists to help the creators or society at large.

It’s worth thinking about the answers.

It’s my God-given right… or is it?

When you title a post “Piracy. Is. Stealing.” and then devote a mere five paragraphs to the topic, no reader who has fought for even a day on the battlefields of the Copyright Wars is going to expect much… and Bunch’s post delivers on those low expectations.

Bunch has little patience for Yglesias’s view of copyright and insists instead that “the purpose of intellectual property law is to protect the intellectual property created by artists so they are rewarded for their efforts. The purpose of intellectual property law is to punish people who steal that which isn’t theirs.”

So—the basic purpose is “protection” in order to “reward” creators. Bunch does hand-wave vaguely in the direction of the Constitution by adding, “Yes, copyright was created in part because there were concerns that authors wouldn’t bother creating new work if they were consistently stolen from.” But this is immediately undercut with the next sentence, which says, “More importantly, copyright law evolved because we think that artists, writers, musicians, and others have a right to profit from their labors.”

Bunch asserts a basic right to profit from creative work; think of this as a “strong property rights” approach to copyright. It sounds good, but the Constitution knows nothing of this theory. Bunch is correct that the secondary purpose of copyright is to reward creators for their work, but only insofar as to encourage the primary purpose of copyright, the continued creation of new work.

In the US Constitution, Congress may use copyright to “promote the Progress of Science and useful Arts.” Note that nothing about author’s rights appears here; if Congress decided that such promotion could in fact be achieved with a copyright term of a single day, it would be free to do so—and creators could not complain on the grounds that they have a property right in those works. “Progress” is the only criterion allowed.

“Monopoly is an evil”

This wasn’t a radical new idea, but one that emerged from English copyright law. The Statute of Anne (1709) was one of the world’s first real copyright laws, and it provided protection to authors “for the Encouragement of Learning,” not because authors had a full property right in their work.

In 1841, Thomas Macaulay gave one of the world’s most famous speeches about copyright, and he explained the principle in more detail. He told his fellow members of the House of Commons, “It is good that authors should be remunerated; and the least exceptionable way of remunerating them is by a monopoly. Yet monopoly is an evil. For the sake of the good we must submit to the evil; but the evil ought not to last a day longer than is necessary for the purpose of securing the good.”

But why should authors be paid—was it because they had the inalienable right to control their own work in perpetuity? No. “It is desirable that we should have a supply of good books; we cannot have such a supply unless men of letters are liberally remunerated; and the least objectionable way of remunerating them is by means of copyright.”

Again, the goal is society-wide progress, but copyright should not last “a day longer than is necessary” to secure it.

One does not have to like this. As an author, there are many times when I don’t like this. That’s because, taking this policy to its limit, copyright law only needs to help creators earn a single penny more than the smallest amount of money they need to keep creating. That sounds like a pretty miserable existence, one in which creators might never make much of a living even as they keep a culture vibrant and entertained.

Not that Congress has any intention of doing this, though; in fact, it seems as if legislatures around the world can move copyright in only one direction, toward longer terms—and this despite the tremendous outpouring of worldwide creativity we continue to see. The process is even more bizarre when applied retroactively, since the incentive to create was already enough to produce the works being given additional protection.

Still, this is how US law works (or is supposed to work). Copyright exists for society, and only secondarily for the creator. Complaining about that is one thing; denying that it’s the point of the law is another.

Bunch’s post inspired the obvious retort from Yglesias: “The point of intellectual property law is to benefit consumers, not producers.” And he called in his defense Tim Lee and Julian Sanchez, both frequent contributors to Ars over the last few years.

Pricing songs

One quibble with Yglesias comes in his original post, when he claims that “under conditions of perfect competition, the price of a song ought to be equal to the marginal cost of distributing a new copy of a song. Which is to say that the marginal cost ought to be $0. That’s not a question of habit, you can look it up in all the leading textbooks.”

This is clearly not true; the price of a good in a perfect world would be some fraction of its upfront cost plus its marginal cost. If I write a novel, and it takes me a year of full-time work, but it can be distributed digitally at a marginal cost of $0, that hardly implies that I should price it at $0. I may price it that way, especially if I make money in other ways—through speaking fees, perhaps, or other paper editions of the book. But a year of my time is a fixed cost that needs to be considered when setting the price.

In any event, what’s almost more interesting than the debate itself is what it says about copyright. That is, even once-arcane battles over the meaning of copyright now appear on hugely popular political blogs. People can argue about this stuff with passion and interest, drawing in history, philosophy, law, and economics.

The public fascination with copyright looks like a terrific development, one that forces unrepentant file-sharers to think through the ethical and legal implications of their position but also prevents corporate copyright counsel from simply rewriting the law in a back room with a few Congressmen. One suspects that, if the Mickey Mouse Protection Act were put up in Congress in this climate, it couldn’t pass.