Thursday, May 3, 2012

Content's Long Tail Gets Longer And Longer

New content is competing for consumer attention thanks to the rise of the web.  As broadband speeds get faster, content creators have found they can bypass the broadcast and cable distribution model to get their content viewed.  Many have entered the fray already, from NextNewNetworks, which was acquired by Google to My Damn Channel. Hulu and Netflix has announced new original shows exclusive to their platform.  And You Tube has been churning out more original content as well and now Amazon has announced plans to create new content.  "Starting now, Amazon is accepting ideas for TV shows from anybody who has a pilot script, an idea for five or six episodes, and an Internet connection. Amazon says that it wil be selecting one idea per month to put into development."

But with all this clutter of content, a two-fold challenge remains for viewers, how to find out about shows (recommendations and marketing) and where to find them (which distribution aggregator or unique website). Like our TV line-ups, we will have to surf or find guides to help us learn what is on and where it is located.  The audience to watch all these programs will only get more and more fragmented.  The likely winners should continue to be cable networks, provided they expand their linear and on demand viewing to a TV Everywhere, multi-platform  approach.  But they will see lower ratings as the fringe viewership is swayed to the growing pile of programming now being created for web consumption.  Hence a longer and longer tail of content choices.

The web has clearly lowered the barrier to entry for distribution of content.  It has led to cord cutting and new ways to watch content.  Like broadcast changed  the radio model, and cable changed the broadcast model, so too will web programming change the cable model.  History ultimately repeats itself.

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