Monday, January 19, 2009

Content vs. Channel

Too many companies out there have not understood that they are content delivery companies, and instead become fixed on the idea that they are solely about delivering that content over one (or primarily one) type of channel.

The music industry... Even though they had seen transformations from vinyl to CD, they also had cassette and 8-track in the mix, but lately they became obsessed with CDs and only CDs. If they had understood that they were a content company, and needed to deliver their content over a variety of channels (like the Internet), they would have managed the transition much better.

The movie industry, despite Jack Valenti's famous Boston Strangler comment, seemed to deal with VCRs, DVDs, rental stores, and now online delivery a little better.

Newspapers still haven't figured it out, and have been struggling with and against digital distribution networks for about 30 years. Yes they're online now, and I think the NYT is slowly figuring it out (multimedia, photo essays, and I especially like some of the blogs there), but they think they are newspaper companies. No no, newspaper companies [sic], that's your channel. You're a content company. You have content. Your business plan is to deliver it in the best way(s) possible. If newspaper is not the best channel, then find the best channel(s). Maybe papers, the web, and TV. Yes I just said TV. How about a (satellite?) radio channel? Yes, there is value in the newspaper distribution network, but the primary value is the information.