Thursday, March 02, 2006

Lloyd's epiphany

Is this an admission of defeat or an epiphany for Yahoo? Story here. Lloyd Braun's 'acceptance' of user-generated media over TV-style studio production for Yahoo! has some clear connotations. TV-based content is essentially defined by its medium. TV shows have little to no interactivity with its audience and a show's success is set by its reactive popularity. Because there's limited bandwidth to expose new shows on TV (as set by a time schedule), the initial investment required (to set up a pilot, hire actors, etc) is high. Production studios are like down-on-their-luck gambling addicts. Hit it big on one show and they have enough money to make a bunch of lousy pilots until the next hit.

Obviously the Internet and new social-based applications (with tagging, relevancy, feedback, etc) provide an immediate, real-time interactivity with content. The popularity of startups like YouTube are proof that there's high demand for this new medium. In addition, what's great about long-tail marketing (letting any user put up their own content of choice) is that all content becomes user specific. If I'm interested in Icelandic Goat herding, it's out there for me to watch, read, hear (in return I get to see ads for Icelandic Goats on eBay). Studios don't dictate what content you're going to watch anymore and there's massive bandwidth for putting things out there to see what gets 'picked up'. It's a complementary channel to TV (which I don't think is ever 'going away' - lots of folks like passive entertainment as well - I know I do ;)) and can provide some great grist for the TV mill in terms of tracking trends or picking winners.

Lloyd's decision to embrace the 'social media' movement whole-hog is absolutely the right one. If I want veg on the coach, I'm not going to go onto Yahoo! and watch some studio-produced show there. I'll turn on my Samsung flat-panel and pick from 700 channels of dictated/passive goodness. Interacting with my PC requires exactly that - interaction. Crafting content that fits that mold... Eureka! (Jeffrey - want a powerpoint of this? :))


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