A technology blog for The Economist Group IT team

Thursday, March 02, 2006

The two way pipe - facing the challenge of the new content creators. Tim Glocer, CEO, Reuters 

The consumer as editor has been recognised by media organisations, but consumers have moved on and are now increasingly the creators of content opened Tom. So what's the upside for media organistions? What MySpace gives NewsCorp is an invaluable early look at future trends through analysis of activity on the site. Tom said he has a page on MySpace (as do I) and surmised that soon all of us will be customers of Murdoch. I'm not so sure - pulling of some links has alienated some of the community and young people are extremely fickle with other sites such as Beob seeing huge rises in usage.

So what did Tom see as the role of the media company in the next decade?

1. Seeder of clouds - good original content which keeps consumers inside your tent
2. Provider of tools - non-protectionist
3. Filter and editor - deciding what is good to read

Tom highlighted the way in which the UK fanzine boom of the '90s led to their creators becoming editors of mainstream magazines and said that the equivalent is already happening with bloggers.

So why does Tom think traditional media organisations survive? Consumers don't like too much choice (like a blank menu in a restauraunt), our time is valuable and we need someone to select what we should be looking at. This last point was interesting because the collective intelligence touted in Web 2.0 has an effect without the interference of a big media brand.

Tom then suggested that traditional brands would retain the trust of consumers while newer ones like WikiPedia would lose it. I'm not convinced of this - consumers are pretty good at realising the limitations of Wikis and the accuracy of WikiPedia has been shown to be at least as good as Brittanica.

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