The 'building a business' scrapbook.

Monday, January 26, 2004  

Content - access versus ownership [from TheFeature]

Douglas Rushkoff churns out thought provoking essays like no other journalist in the mobile media sphere that I know of. In this TheFeature article he extends his 'contact not content' theory with an examination of the trend, among younger people in particular, away from the desire to own and hoard media towards merely

Central to his hypothesis is the idea that the more we accumulate and store digital goods the more of a chore it is for us to organize and access them. As long as we have ubiquitous access we shouldn't need to hoard.

So what does this mean for the wireless industry? A lot. It means that the next shift in content delivery and marketing may be as extreme as Steve Jobs' recent innovations in music distribution for Apple's iTunes (now imitated or soon-to-be imitated by the entire music industry).

It's a gamble, for sure, but the best place to invest in the future of content may be to focus on temporary delivery and always-on libraries. Kids are coming to believe that the person who takes responsibility for storing and maintaining the data is the one who deserves to be paid. And they're smart enough, at any rate, to realize that it's a job they don't necessarily want to be charged with, themselves.

Ruskoff also quotes from a Joi Ito piece that illuminates the relevance of these trends to the mobile industry even further -

"Attention is moving from commercially produced content to dynamic or contextual content. An example of this is the shift of Japanese youth spending from CD purchasing to karaoke to cell phone messaging. CDs let you passively consume content produced by companies. Karaoke is more interactive - you are part of the content. With Cell phone messaging, the customer creates the content."

I can back up these ideas with evidence from my own experiences. I used to accumulate browser bookmarks but now just use Google. Google has become my access gateway to the internet. As long as I have a map I want I don't need to store signposts. Neither will I buy CDs any more when iTunes and Napster come to Europe. I have no desire for the liner notes, jewel case or artwork, I just want the vibrations in my ear. As for movies, I use Netflix like DVDRentals.ie, no longer buying DVDs because convenient access to a large library of movies is so much better. Neither do I buy magazines any more, preferring instead to digest the vast sea of quality journalism (like Rushkoff's articles) available on the internet.

posted by James | 7:58 PM