Value chain of content business in the Web 2.0
Since I sabotaged this blog a month ago by transfering it to a new platform that totally destroyed all the permalinks and with that my already rather pathetic Google PageRank, I figured this might be a good time to look at changing my editorial policy a bit. Until now, I've sort of avoided talking about work-related matters, which kind of limits the field since practically everything I might want to write about could be construed to be related. So, I figure - why not comment on things? I'm commenting on these things in a more official capacity in more closed circles anyway.
A couple of weeks ago I was trying to introduce a group of IT directors to Web 2.0, which is a fairly thankless task to do in 45 minutes, given that the buzz seems to have no clear boundaries at all, so basically anything whatsoever could be claimed to lay under that moniker. In fact, one definition of Web 2.0 seems to be "whatever the speaker thinks to be cool today". I hope someone in the audience got something out of that.
Anyway - one of the more relevant points in that presentation to myself was that the value of content in this world of syndication, aggregation, user-created content and mashups might not be in the actual content itself, but in the way services are able to provide relevant views into the ocean of it based on the reader's context and preferences. It seems that I'm not alone thinking this - Bear Sterns Media Research has just published an analysis claiming the value being precisely in the packaging of content. An illustration perhaps explains:
The presentation is a useful read if you're interested in the subject, but repeats quite a few basic ideas for anyone who already is familiar with concepts such as the Long Tail etc. Essentially, the analyst (Spencer Wang) is making the prediction that the popularity of user-generated content (or other content coming from outside the traditional Big Media supplies) is going to increase, making it a much more significant fraction, if not the majority of total media consumption. This idea should not be too strange to anyone reading blogs in the first place. Furthermore, because this increases the supply sources dramatically, it's going to be increasingly valuable to consumers to find relevant content, which leads to the success of aggregators and packagers. Once again, much along the lines I'm thinking on as well, although not necessarily with the particular companies he chooses to name in that illustration above.