On the Web, value is not created primarily by either content or distribution. Users create value out of content through the use of tools that enable them to do something with the content, whether it’s to move it, share it, reformat it, store it, discover it, mash it up or embed it. What the media companies most sorely lack is not sufficient content or adequate distribution but a workable mechanism for capturing a fair share of the value users are creating for themselves. Ultimately, media companies need to become not distributors or content owners but enablers.
At Work at Play, we often have this conversation with media clients — both large and small. It is always interesting to propose a scenario to them in which neither the content nor the distribution have significant value and to see where the conversation meanders. When we present our model of Audience Engagement Value, most clients are initially quite surprised. (I know this sounds like B-School/Corporate-speak, but bear with me ;-) ) What this all boils down to is the fact that today’s audiences (however you define “audiences”) want to do something with content — theirs, yours, it doesn’t really matter.
So, the real questions on the table are: What is that “something” you’re going to let them do?! And, is there perceived value to them in doing that?!