It’s time for the media business to leverage free content

One of the big challenges for media in the 21st century is the abundance of free content that the internet throws up. It smashes apart the previously subscription driven models, forcing publishers to rethink how they create value outside of providing content for their audiences.

For many, this has involved expanding on their core offerings to provide multi-channels solutions. Take, for instance, one of my favorite companies: ShortList Media[1]. ShortList provides EDMs, web, tablet and print content to an upwardly mobile audience.

But as the value of content diminishes, so to must media companies recognize this. One of the best examples I have seen is Australian company ‘The Roar’[2]. The Roar focuses on providing sports opinion, rather than news, and boasts around 500,000 viewers each month.

The best part about the model, though, is their content model. The Roar has recognized that some of the best submissions come from fans, and as such, fan edited content is an essential part of their model. Fans are happy to provide content as it gives them an official platform for their voice to be heard on. This gives them the legitimacy to have their opinion heard, which is something they place a value on (and hence are happy to donate their time towards).

More importantly, the costs for The Roar of content are virtually nothing. Editing, sure, and subbing. But the journalist cost? Virtually nil.

The Roar recognizes, as any good publisher, that this cannot exist in absentia of any legitimized content from ‘expert’ columnists, and still go down this path. But by embracing the UGC [user generated content] model, they smash apart some of their content costs associated with the journalism model.

For big media, this is a great way to ensure your content is relevant whilst diminishing your cost of publishing. It creates a strong, two- way conversation with your readers that you know remains relevant. As a model, it provides one of the best ways for media businesses to leverage the diminishing value of content in the digital age.

Any good media business is going to have content-curation as a core part of its business. The Roar is showing the way in how media can increasingly embrace new content production models to fuel growth and reduce costs, all whilst keeping their great content relevant.



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