What is it about the letter C?
A few weeks ago I discovered that the letter “C” seemed to have a strange significance for DAB. And now I find the same for paid content!
Talking to a friend who has the unenviable task of doubling (non-subscription) content revenues for a large media owner, we got to thinking about how media owners would be able to charge for content in the future.
Paid content – the holy grail of online media owners!
And for run of the mill (i.e. non-specialist) media owners like consumer magazines and newspapers, it’s an elusive goal.
Just look at The Times. Last month Beehive City reported that The Times received fewer than 1.5 million uniques in August.
And while this is a good deal better than some people predicted, initial paid subscription rates were reported to be low, despite a 30 day trial for only £1.
So what are the key issues for media owners to address when delivering their paid for content services?
That’s where the letter “C” comes in!
Collation – collecting content that is right for the target, which is I suppose pretty self evident.
Curation – organising, maintaining and controlling the quality of content; a harder one, this. The task of maintaining (including keeping content up to date) is potentially a big task, while organising content needs more than a good search algorithm, especially if media owners want to increase satisfaction through the serendiptous discovery of content people are not searching for.
Contextualisation – giving relevance to content and making sense of it is also important. A story like Rooney’s reported spat with Man U could make for much more entertaining reading if some of the surrounding issues concerning the long term success and viability of the club are made available.
Culling – it’s important to get rid of apparently related but in fact irrelevant content that gets in the way of a good story.
Customisation – making it right for the individual reading the story. NOthing new about that as a concept of course.
Connection – enabling the user to interact with the content in imaginative ways that go beyond opinion surveys: a key differentiator and a way of engaging them and developing their loyalty.
Collaboration – enabling users to contribute to and comment on stories won’t be the future of media, but it is (and has been for a long time) an important part of most media experiences. After all The Times letters page is one of the more popular parts of the newspaper.
Communication – enabling the user to share with others, in a way that people increasingly expect based on their use of social media sites.
Convergence – ensuring the journey works across different devices; and that doesn’t mean delivering the same content in a way that is merely usable on different devices; it means delivering an experience that is appropriate for different devices – perhaps with more location based information added to mobile delivery and more interactive content added to content for PC basd delivery.
Credibility – ensuring the source is trusted, and the brand isn’t damaged by the loosening of editorial control that some of the Cs may imply.
That’s a lot of Cs! It won’t be easy…