Pop quiz, What do each of the below have in common?
“Come on out to the picture show.”
“Same Bat time, same Bat channel.”
“I want my MTV.”
Each is a former powerful lever in the media game.
Ever since I fell into the media/entertainment industry in the mid-1990s the winning combination for corporations was a mix of market demand, variety within a niche (think ESPN), and access.
The underlying business driver has always been that we (the public) want the content we desire in an appropriate form and fashion… oh, and did I mention timeliness. We love to learn, explore, and escape and video has been a terrific medium. Which is why everything from the top-notch production value of blockbuster films to the basic homemade quality of how-to content has a potential home.
That covers variety and demand, but what about the third point, access?
From a consumer point a view access has always been a classic distribution dynamic conundrum which revolved around two elements – convenience and availability. And, the easy money maker over the last 100 years or so for those servicing this need has been managing availability.
Sit back, we’ve got it…
In any delivery system, either physical or virtual, there are constraints and those who have a valued solution reap the lion’s share of the compensation. In the heydays of motion pictures it was the studio bosses with their “green lighting powers”, during the 1970’s it was the TV Network exec, and during the 1990’s it was the cable operators turn. Each of which earned defacto gatekeeper status because of their ability to shutdown availability. Yet, none of them truly concerned themselves with convenience.
In my humble opinion the 2010’s will be the first time the components (creators, distributors, and consumers) of the video content ecosystem will be on somewhat equal footing. And it’s all because convenience is now the scare resource being chased.
We’re digital now
Thanks to the exponential slide in technology costs and the hyperbolic increase in computational capability the world is digital. This radical landscape shift means that no longer will a solitary gatekeeper be able to block the availability pass between two unassailable mountains. We now have a series of trails between foothills. Each trail has those who pose as gatekeepers but in reality their status is confined to certain access points with none able to completely block final access.
What this ultimately means is that everyone will have to learn how to play together, power will be shared, and hopefully we will all be better from the experience.
All that is left to do now is burry this post in a virtual time capsule until 2020. The only saving grace is that at least here and now I have 90% confidence in the above.