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I had a conversation this week with a colleague who felt that, in the near future, marketing will fund content creation across the board. The future of content will be to remain/become free for consumers and, if I’m following her thinking correctly, that content will be presented with limited commercial interruption.
Good news for everyone who hates commercials, but I’m not sure I agree.
It seems more likely that there will be multiple models, as there are right now in TV.
• Basic Cable
• Premium Cable
Even radio now has terrestrial and satellite, though there’s really only one major player on the satellite side. The two models are different — advertising supported vs. subscription paid by consumers.
And while it’s easy to see that a marketing-supported content creation engine could work for the largest markets, the same isn’t true for smaller or more fragmented markets, or for topics that aren’t naturally related to a particular market.
For example, you can produce content about weight loss, erectile dysfunction or any number of other health/well-being topics and use it as marketing for products or services you sell in those areas. Companies are already doing this and having great success at attracting audiences and converting a high enough percentage of them to not only to pay for the content creation, but to be profitable for their business overall.
On the other hand, you probably can’t create a market around, say, the “intellectual” content of publications like The New Yorker, The Atlantic or Harpers Magazine. (Marketing-funded material of an intellectual nature is usually called propaganda, no?)
The Future of Content
Advertising will support content in some cases.
Marketing will pay for content creation in others.
And consumers will continue to pay for content in still other markets.
All this will require shifts in thinking on the part of content creators. Musicians, for example, have already begun to adjust to the reality that what used to be their product — recordings in the form of CDs, LPs, cassettes and even 8-track tapes — is now their marketing. Their marketing content (in the form of streaming music) helps stoke interest in their live performances, and those performances pay the costs of creating the marketing content. And, if all goes well, their rent.
Even though I don’t agree with my colleague’s idea about all content being paid for by marketing, I do think there are still a lot of changes in the offing for content creators. Clearly some kinds of content creators will lose their ability to earn a living as they had. Others will find themselves with opportunities that never existed before. (I’ve wondered why there isn’t a TV channel that broadcasts live music every night from around the country? Seems like a win for the bands, for the fans, and for the broadcaster — and it’s certainly a brand new revenue stream for the band.)
I’d love to hear your thoughts about how content will be created in the future, how that affects marketers, and most of all, whether there is a live music TV channel that I just don’t know about.
Learn even more about the convergence of technology and branded content at the FUSE Enterprise summit. Artificial intelligence and personalization will be featured among many other techniques and technologies.