For our March issue cover story, we convened a Folio: Roundtable to deliberate on the current state and future of content. It’s a topic that can easily get overlooked while we get distracted by the various technologies and platforms that enable its production and distribution. Content is not the same old product we’ve been producing anymore. In no particular order, here’s why:
1. New Access Dynamics
Where our content gets delivered to and consumed from has not only enabled greater access, it has changed the way it’s produced, demanding a new skill set from its creators. We don’t simply pour identical content from one platform to another.
2. Social Media
More than just a content marketing vehicle, social media, and the audience feedback it fosters, directly influences the kind of content we emphasize and the kind we dial back.
3. Audience Data
The more platforms our content appears on, the more data that gets kicked back that influences the subject matter, frequency, length and any number of characteristics. We’re incredibly more informed about audience likes, dislikes and preferences.
4. Content Creators
You’ve heard it a million times—everyone’s a publisher. Your audience and your advertisers are becoming a larger and larger part of the content supply chain. Both have a valuable position in the creation phase and both can contribute to the economics of content.
5. The Role of the Editor
The curatorial power of the editor has diminished. That’s not as bad as it sounds and because of the way we’ve allowed our audiences into the process to drive deeper engagement, it’s inevitable. Editors certainly still drive what gets created, but the other 5 factors presented here have profoundly altered their role.
Paid versus free only scratches the surface. Cost pressures, cross-platform pricing configurations, bundling, a growing array of media platforms and audience data are all keeping the revenue formula in flux.