Thursday, May 26, 2005
What I Would Do If I Was Martin Nisenholtz
Got a nice email asking me since I'm picking on the NYTDigital so much, what would I do differently. It's a good question.
In my model, value creation flows from openness, which creates huge amount of complementarity...etc. Scroll down for more, if you're interested.
OK. Since a huge proportion of what's discussed on the blogosphere is NYT links, I would recognize that I have a significant opportunity to create and capture new value.
I would do the opposite of what Nisenholtz is doing. Instead of building barriers to complementarity, I would help lubricate the blogosphere's and the emerging micromediasphere's access to the NYT.
How would I do this? First, by creating new, lightweight, open trackbackesque standards that facilitate discussion across micromedia. I would centralize control of this standard so the most heavily-trafficked discussions which depend on my content are under my control.
A specialized feedreader for NYT micromediasphere discussions, if you will. This maximizes value creation, by reducing the costs of creating complements to my content. I would also make sure it was extensible across all micromedia.
But because I had control over not only my own content, but also over complements - others' contributions, comments, links, tags, etc - I could serve up very tightly focused profile-based ads. This maximizes value capture.
Second, I would co-opt key bloggers, having them produce content for me, or sponsoring their blogs, and eventually building an open-access system which they could control and regulate. My point would be to gain a share of their future value.
Third, I would create and expose efficient info sharing (and storage) mechanisms for peer production of content. I would create an incentive for prosumers to use this by ensuring that their content had a better chance of benefiting them on my peer production site than on their own blogs (vlogs, etc). You know the score - an OhMy News type of peer production portal for news, editorial, weather, traffic, etc.
The point of the first two initiatives would be to engineer increasing returns to adoption of my content - to snowball value by making sure that the more it's read, the more it's read. This would increase the length of my currently short and inefficient content lifecycle, as well as create winner-take-all dynamics that work in my favor.
The point of the third is to internalize the value created by ultraspecialized microproducers for whom the incentive to maintain their own micromedia is weak.
Now, all this rests on the assumption thatt the rise of micromedia is a structural shift in the media industry - that it's about much more than a motley bunch of bloggers; it's about blogs, podcasts, vlogs, zines, laptop audio, etc. That fundamentally, it's about the shift of media from goods to services, because now media is hypercommoditized - it's plastic and cheap. This is industry revolution in the most classic sense.
So my expectation would be that building a successful long-term strategy in a revolutionized industry has short-term costs. I wouldn't expect my investments to pay off in the short term - I would expect to consolidate my position in terms of key relative micromedia share metrics in the short term.
Needless to say, all these depend on me not charging for access.
Going through your three suggestions for capturing Media 2.0 value, it hit me that Apple is doing somethings right with iTunes. How would Apple measure up to your suggestions?
Suggestion 1: create new, lightweight, open trackbackesque standards that facilitate discussion across micromedia.
Not much there from Apple. Apple's iMixes and recommendations are a weak form of this. Also, Apple could extend it to movies and podcasts, which they are going to host.
Suggestion 2: co-opt key bloggers and eventually building an open-access system which they could control and regulate.
Apple has the best prosumer media creation tools (not everything is as straightfoward to produce as prose). Apple would have to improve upon their deal with CDBaby. But I don't see comment equivalents.
Suggestion 3: create and expose efficient info sharing (and storage) mechanisms for peer production of content. I would create an incentive for prosumers to use this by ensuring that their content had a better chance of benefiting them on my peer production site than on their own blogs
Apple almost nailed this one by incorporating and hosting podcasts within iTunes. Unfortunately, they will presumably select whose content they host. Steve doesn't like Wayne's World type content. Big mistake? Also no comments section.