Who’s the new King – Content? Distribution? Aggregation? Context? Packaging? Context Aggregation?
There’s a great post over on PaidContent.org today about a recent Bear Stearns report by Spencer Wang – Why Aggregation & Context and Not (Necessarily) Content are King in Entertainment.
The actual report is here if you want to check it out.
In his report, Spencer concludes that in the future, aggregation and context, not content will be king. He goes on to conclude that the sweet spot may be in Content Packaging. See figure below from his report.
While I agree with his conclusion about aggregation and context as the new king replacing content and distribution, I get there from a totally different perspective – context aggregation. In addition, I don’t think Google, Yahoo, AOL, MySpace, Apple are anywhere near the sweet spot yet because it’s still way too early in the game. Those guys still aggregate content and control distribution just like the media moguls of the past did with TV, Radio and Print. The companies in this new 3.0 sweet spot are still early stage mostly under the radar startups.
Incidentally, Brad Feld had an interesting post about how he hates the name Web 3.0 and 2.0 and suggests a new term – Intelligence Amplification as his theme for this type of investment.
If you’ve been reading this blog then you’ve heard me talk about what I call the New Fundamentals of Media 2.0. (sorry Brad)
-Content is abundant
-Distribution is open and free
-User Attention is Saturated and Scarce
-Therefore, the user is in control!
-But lacks the tools to take control – until now
So I look at the supply chain from a user Attention perspective. The user’s attention is scarce. The user’s choices are limitless on multiple dimensions – content, social, services, etc. Packaging up content (personalized or not) on siloed content aggregators is not the new king. Web 3.0, the semantic web, Intelligence Amplification, Return on Attention, the wisdom of your crowd, context aggregators, whatever you want to call it is the new king! And the new king works on behalf of the user not the content creator or distributor! And the new king will use ALL meta data, implicit and explicit, about users interactions (attention and intentions) with people, services and content (created and consumed), not just metadata around siloed content to supply the value. That’s a mouthful.
The User Attention Supply Chain
This is the new frontier! Unfortunately, it’s going to a while before public equity investors can play. Brad’s got a very good start with companies like Me.dium, and Lijit, There are others like Vaults and AdaptiveBlue that are doing some very interesting things. Some of these these things are popping up in my browser and working for me already, but there is still a long long way to go.
So I’m thinking Web 2.0 was just the dress rehearsal and now the real fun begins! Well, maybe not for everyone. The short term question is are we long or short on the content packagers? Or maybe we need to think context aggregators.