a thought-provoking post about microchunking and media businesses. It follows on from Umair Haque's post, in which Umair said that "unbundling" media (e.g. Disney releasing tv shows for free online) is only half the equation. The other half - the real value - is in "rebundling". By which he means individual users doing their own aggregation and filtering of media. Oftentimes Umair is hard to grok, but I think he nails it with this precise statement: "rebundling will be the future of connected consumption". If you consider what's happening with tv for example, you're starting to see the more adventurous vendors (like Tivo and BBC) give users the tools to personalize and organize their tv-watching experience.John Hagel has
Back to John Hagel's post, which nicely extends Umair's points. John notes:
"The most powerful brands in the media business will be held by successful intermediaries that help to consistently improve return on attention for audiences. In the process, the nature of the brand promise will change in a profound way. It will be a massive opportunity for media companies that understand the shift in economic and competitive dynamics and that focus on the rebundling plays required to build these brands."
What this says to me is that there are opportunities here for "intermediaries" to aggregate and filter all the media (pro and amateur) coming at us nowadays, a lot of it directly via the Web. Some of those intermediaries will provide users with the tools to aggregate and filter - e.g. Tivo, Rojo, Google, Last.fm. Other intermediaries will directly do filtering themselves, for easier 'consumption' (yes I dislike that word) by users - e.g. what PaidContent does for its users and indeed what NY Times does for its readers. Of course there'll be a lot of intermediaries who mix n' match - e.g. Yahoo provides both aggregation/filtering tools for its users, but also has a strong human editorial process (take a look at the podcasts homepage for one example).
John goes on to make a distinction between product businesses and audience relationship businesses:
"HereÄôs the test: how open is the media company to providing access to third party content on behalf of their audiences? If the answer is not very open, the company is primarily a product business. If the answer is very open, then the company is primarily an audience relationship business."
He's suggesting here that being in the audience relationship business is the way to go for media companies - i.e. don't try and control the content. Google has in fact already proved how successful this strategy is, because the raison d'etre of the Google homepage is to send users away to external content.
I'm exploring more on all these themes in my Microcontent Design series. Incidentally, I sometimes wonder where to place myself when I'm writing media posts. John Hagel comes from a management/strategy background, Umair is the Economics whizz, my pals at Rights Marketing are marketing folks, Fred Wilson is VC, Jeff Jarvis and Scott Karp are real media. As for me, I've discovered my focus is on the products - specifically the web technology. It's what I do as my day job too - analysis/research/product dev. So that's my beat. Anywho, this last paragraph is more for my benefit than yours :-) Everyone likes to have their place in the world.