Tal Shachar Quotes
Total quotes (11)
Total quotes (11)
The most successful curators will even begin commissioning content themselves. In many ways, the programmer-to-curator shift will appear to come full-circle. But the distinction is critical.
Traditional creatives (though talented) gained cultural influence through their connection to insiders and access to capital. Today’s curators are influential because they have relationships with audiences. They’re hired by fans because of their taste, not hired by executives to satiate the appetites of fans. This, when combined with frictionless commerce and fan engagement channels, can also make these influencers far more wide-reaching and multi-vertical than even the Oprahs and Martha Stewarts of the past.
[T]he common review mechanisms found across the web mathematically soften taste out to the average. This works a lot of the time, but we tend to have very particular tastes in certain categories – and there is a certain staleness created by narrowing these averages down using look-a-like groups and other algorithmic techniques. Not to mention the fact, that such an approach often lacks the element of serendipity and surprise from discovering something you loved but didn’t expect (especially if you would otherwise have avoided it). As a result, curators both solve a media painpoint and enrich consumption.
The scale feeds of tomorrow will be far more powerful than the dominant video feed owners of today. Not only will they be bigger and more influential, they’ll also be more rare – which means life as a content producer will inevitably become less profitable and stable than it is today. Without feed ownership, independent content companies are relegated to an input – and a highly modularized one at that. Knockout television series (such as Game of Thrones) will remain extremely valuable, of course, but virtually all other content will become a commodity.
While the media business benefited from many of these changes, the consequences have been fundamentally destabilizing. The television industry has experienced such a surge in original content that annual cancellation rates have quintupled over the past 15 years (twice as many original scripted series were cancelled last year than even aired in 2000). Since 1985, the indie film industry has seen a nearly twentyfold increase in the number of theatrical releases even though ticket sales have remained flat (in 2014, the Head of SXSW’s film festival decried that ‘the impulse to make a film had far outrun the impulse to go out and watch one’). Plummeting music sales and unprecedented competition have made launching a new artist so expensive that catalogue sales now make up more than 200% of major label profits (in 2014, David Goldberg privately encouraged Sony Entertainment CEO Michael Lynton to essentially halt A&R efforts, as well as investments in actually making new music). With the democratization of media creation, it’s easier than ever to make content but harder than ever to make a hit.
Distributing through any feed you don’t own, means modularizing your content, releasing control over the viewer experience, and giving up ownership of the audience. As a result, anyone pursuing the first two options will need to accept that revenues will be low, cannibalization significant, and payback long. While this strategy should be straightforward (the plan is to make the ‘real money’ elsewhere, after all) – most media companies will struggle with the commoditization of their ‘premium content’, the mismatch of high production costs with low CPMs, and the urge to quick-win license any IP that starts to get traction.
But contrary to popular thinking the real challenge here isn’t the monetization model, it’s leverage. What makes Facebook so powerful when it comes to content distribution is that it fundamentally doesn’t care. It doesn’t care which videos a user watches or likes, when and how they watch it, or really, whether they watch video at all. Facebook just cares that its users are on Facebook. The watercooler matters far more than the content. And as one might expect, this will create a serious challenge for any content owner looking to achieve an economic profit through social feed distribution.
Fundamentally, the media industry has never had to distribute content through a platform that didn’t actually need that content to succeed. The power of Facebook and Snapchat comes from the eyeballs they already own and the social utility they already provide. Their embrace of video distribution comes from the at-hand financial opportunity, not a structural need. If this situation seems dire now, imagine a world where Facebook not only owns its social feed, but through Oculus, the distribution infrastructure as well.
Few [of Big Media] will want to acknowledge the competitiveness of ‘less valuable’ content (this claim has been at the core of pitches to marketers and ad agencies, after all), let alone subject themselves to risk of unmanaged content adjacency (‘what if the next recommendation doesn’t align with our brand?!’). As a result, most content creators will initially resist influencer-based distribution, though its growing importance as a channel will make this retreat only temporary. If Mindy Kaling ‘owns’ your target audience, you’ve few options other than to distribute through and with her.