Product & Startup Builder

Attention Landscape: Syndicated Value

Added on by Chris Saad.
Over the last few days and weeks I have been working on updating our Business Plan so that our partners and investors can get a detailed picture of our plans. As part of this document I am creating a series of articles that explain the changing media and technology landscape to those who might not follow it as closley as I do.

I will publish some of these over the next few days to see if anyone has any comments - I'd love to hear what you think!

I will call this series of posts 'Attention Landscape'.

Syndicated Value
Shifting value propositions in a changing media landscape

For publishers, the value of syndication is clear. Reach. The ability to reach users on their own terms and push (in perception terms, not technical terms) content into their preferred formats.

The value proposition for readers/listeners/viewers (for the sake of discussion lets just call them consumers), however, is far more subtle, complex and rewarding.

When content is syndicated it is necessarily placed in a structured format. Structured formats mean computers are able to better index, classify and search the information in order to help consumers discover the information that exactly matches their interests.

What’s more interesting, though, is that while consumers may choose to subscribe to a source they know and trust (i.e. CNN, TechCrunch or John Doe’s blog) they may also choose to discover individual posts that interest them from across a broad spectrum of sources without ever subscribing to any one of them.

In the past, consumption was limited to a single platform on a time limited basis. TV shows were on a specific channel, at a specific time. Missed it? Too bad (except for the re-runs of course). With syndicated content the consumption model changes dramatically.

Individual, self contained works exist free from publisher limitations and are now controlled by the consumer. They choose the packaging (the user interface), the timing (now, later, over and over) and the device (TV, PC, iPod, Mobile Phone – in a browser, full screen feed reader, alerting platform etc).

With the consumer controlling the discovery and consumption style of their media, the publisher has lost all power on publishing and distribution. The consumer, on the other hand, has gained the ability to get only the best of what they care about in a time and place of their choosing.

Remix and Share
Now that the consumer is discovering individual pieces of media they care about in a format they choose (separate from the original source and container) they have the power to remix and redistribute that content in any way they see fit. They can create their own stream of syndicated information mixed in with their own voice and delivered to friends, family and a growing fan base. The consumer has become a publisher. More accurately – they have become a participant.

The examples above (and others) show that Content Syndication actually tips the scales of power in favor of consumers turning us all into active participants in the media and publishing landscape. And the scales deserve to be tipped.

We each have a voice and a worthy story to tell. Our latest storytelling device is Syndication.

Marketplace Opportunities
The resulting marketplace opportunity in this shift is for the aggregators. Those that can effectively empower users to discover, consume, remix and share their media across publishers and platforms. Google got the ball rolling by allow us all to search across sites in a way that returned valuable and accurate results.

In the next wave of internet based innovation new platforms will need to focus on consumption and sharing.