A digital fairytale

Once upon a time, there was a king that owned lots and lots of content. Now this king, let’s just call him King M, controlled how the people got his content. They had to pay him a content tax or sit through commercials. Either way, the people all had to pay him and he was very very happy. And very very rich.

But then one day, the Internet threatened his kingdom because people could get content lots of ways and did not have to pay King M his due.

He was very very unhappy.

So to fight the evil Internet and it’s main warrier, Google, King M tried to make all his pages seem invisible to Google. King M hoped that the content would be safe behind his gated sites.

Alas, King M underestimated how determined people would be to get his content. And while this tactic may work for a bit – this strategy can not win the war. Content, like water, will ooze through the cracks on the Internet, and find its way out.

King M would do better to understand that content simply attracts – yes better content attracts better – but that’s all content can do in the digital world – attract audiences. No longer would people will be willing to pay for content – no matter how much King M raged.  The people will pay for interesting, new ways to engage with the content – like in rich community places or new ways to access the content. People will pay for new ways to consume the content.

But King M did not see the wisdom of this tactic. Unfortunately for the people living in King M’s kingdom, they will have to bear the brunt of King M foolish battle strategy. Hopefully, King M will learn his lesson before too much digital blood is shed.

One can only hope.

Judy Shapiro


3 Responses

  1. […] on 11/17/2009 Reply Judy Shapiro gave a nice presentation @ the IgniteNYC tonight called a Digital Fairytale. About how all was good in the land of King Content until the big bad Internet and Google came […]

  2. Judy, in tweaking Rupert Murdoch for his attempt to gain control (and value) over his content, you claim that “content, like water, will ooze through the cracks on the Internet and find its way out.” But you also state that “people will pay for new ways to consume the content” and that better content “attracts better.”

    I’m not sure what point you are making. Are you for experimenting with pay models, or do you feel that the legacy of free content online is too strong of a tide to turn? Or is it simply Murdoch’s fight with search that you feel is ill-advised?

    Publishers earn far less for their online offerings versus offline (Hulu, NY Times, etc.), so I’d like to get more of your thoughts regarding what consumers will pay for, and how publishers can avoid falling into the digital void. Thanks.

  3. Hi Bob —

    The key here is online content as the key conversion engine is inadequate. Content in the online world is hard to gate … so incapable on its own to drive revenue.

    New models are being developed that:
    1) offer alternate technology ways to access the info (e.g. ereaders, paid podcasts)
    2) tie revenue to enhanced user experiences with the content
    3) focus on relevancy rather than SEO algorithms

    I wrote an article that gives a few examples of what I mean. Hope to have it out soon.


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