Media companies for ages have debated and argued about the importance of distribution over content and vice versa. Now as the line between content creation and consumption has blurred, the debate has trickled down to the crowd. It all started with the new forms of distribution coming in picture giving way to new forms of content creation and consumption.
Distribution evolves over time. Evolution started with the printing press publishing books, magazines, newspaper. Went on to radio for transmitting information followed by television to listen and watch the content. Then came along cable television, Internet, satellite radio, mobile and social media to take distribution to new levels. Every evolution in distribution has led to the evolution of content in the way it is curated and consumed.
Of all the forms of distribution, the one that arguably had the biggest impact is social media. Social media has redefined distribution. For years content development had gatekeepers. The few people who controlled the channels of mass distribution of content had the power on which content was worth distributing and which was not. Internet came along to lift this control on distribution to a large extent. But the real freedom of distribution (at least in most parts of the world) came along with the social media. Blogs made every individual with a point of view an author. Digg, delicious and other bookmarking sites gave the power to the crowds to bubble up what’s worth reading and what can be ignored. YouTube came along to take video broadcasting to a new level and twitter gave everyone with the skill and guts to write a 140 meaningful characters the power to change governments and embrace or kill brands.
This new form of distribution has led to a big change in content creation. It’s a world of intense focus. You can no longer produce content for everyone. You have a much better chance of getting attention of a select few than getting the eyeballs of everyone. Success has embraced the Justin Biebers and Lady Gagas of the world who understand their audience, engage with them and intensely focus on delivering content for them.
There’s a big change in content consumption. Packages no longer work in social media. It’s a world of a la carte. You read that article on The Economist when the title appeals to you in your twitter field, you watch that Saturday Night Live skit that focuses on what you care about and you download that song that you want to listen again and again.
Still there’s no arguing that content is super important. I believe it is more important than ever before. The new channels of distribution has given everyone the options that never existed before. The attention span of your consumers is less than ever before. You got to be on the top of the game when it comes to creating content. But what’s more important for any kind of content creator and attention seeker is to make sure you leverage the new forms of distribution, reach to the right audience and engage them to make you content bubble up and get your share of three minutes of glory. Because at the end of the day, content may be the king, but distribution is god!