Saturday, January 20, 2007

Repost: A gold toothed howling wolf or why conglomeration sites are not all bad.

Monday, January 15, 2007
I wanted to clarify something that was mistakenly implied in my TV post.

Conglomeration and Aggregation sites are not bad. They can really help you find something that you wouldn't have found on your own. They will be around for ever. And sometimes society will be very "into" them (like we are right now with mySpace and YouTube). And sometimes society won't be very interested (like the fact that we are not embracing newspapers/news sites right now, or how about the fact that even AOL isn't exclusive any longer.) Some times they will be done very badly (iTunes, but that's a different post) and sometimes, sometimes they will be spectacular:

Yes, that is a wolf's head with a gold tooth. And the wolf is howling. And from what I can tell (especially going by the price) it is very well done.

There would be a very small number of people on my gift lists for which I would consider a gold toothed wolf's head. But I'm sure for some people that list would be very long indeed. Finding the stores that services these people by searching on Google is almost impossible. How can you search for something you can't really name? Right now, try to think of a way to find something like this without using the words "gold toothed wolf's head."

Enter: . They are a virtual mall. They sell the gold toothed wolf's head. They also sell high end clothes/shoes/etc. for the sort of people that would like the gold toothed wolf's head.

You click around a "real" looking mall to visit the different retailers who have joined into this conglomeration. Oh, they have done a few improvements over the information board found in any mall, but not a lot. The success of their site is based upon their knowledge of the people that would like a gold toothed wolf's head and servicing them with the right products (other than more wolf's heads, because realistically, how many of those does any girl need?? Price would normally play a role in this equation also, but I'm not sure that the gold toothed wolf's head crowd is too big on price pressure.)

In 5 years, can you imagine Refinery 29 adding a theater? They could bring together the right kind of content for their wolf's head clients. Maybe it's just a video that plays around the clock that will turn wall TV's into art. I'm sure they could generate 20 ideas on what kind of video content their clients would pay for.

So in 5 years some of the big guys will probably be almost gone. Most content business do not understand how they really bring value to the end users. Many of them have never actually had to bring value because their business was about distribution, so producers and customers have had little choice (TV Channels). Something that happened with the PC industry was that "men in suits" didn't believe the "kids in t-shirts" could pull it off. This is exactly where we are with content. The "men in suits" are standing around buying into the "bigger is better" motto, while the artists and viewers are dreaming about real entertainment.

Yes, there are worlds to change, profits to reap and exciting new business opportunities on both sides of this conundrum, but the press releases where I see the largest mistakes being made are the ones that read something like "Conglomerations rock 4-eva".

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