Following the trends in today’s marketplace for where corporations are directing their acquisitions, leads one to conclude that there has been a gradual but steady paradigm shift towards user-generated content and social networking. Over the past few years, some major acquisitions have taken place: Google acquired YouTube and News Corp. acquired MySpace at tremendous valuations reminiscent of the late 1990s.
But the numbers don’t lie, and many social networks have built tremendous user bases with countless amounts of content such as pictures, video, blogs, etc. to share with the public. It’s debatable as to what is the best method for how content get’s consumed, should it be free based on an advertising model, or should it be charged through a subscription model. All that is highly debatable, but one thing is for sure, the user ultimately is in control.
User-generated content and social networking on the Web also have other implications; the old method of content distribution has changed forever. For example, the music industry no longer has the control it once had over artists and retail. They are scrambling how to figure out how to best sell content now that digital distribution is growing and physical distribution through retail has basically shrunk to only a few outlets. Plus, peer-to-peer file sharing is as strong as ever. Who would have thought the mighty Tower Records would close their flagship store in NYC? The fastest growing segment of the music business is the independent community. But this is only a snapshot of what is happening in other digital content marketplaces such as publishing and television.
People are clearly interested in user-generated content and old distribution models are changing fast, so how can companies that have digital content best address the online marketplace and monetize their assets?
I am admittedly biased, but perhaps it’s best to utilize a platform such as SharedBook's that enables on-demand distribution, allows the user to select the content that is important to them and provides a certain level of customization and personalization. The faster organizations address the changing content distribution marketplace and invest or partner with companies that can enable them to engage their customers, the sooner they will see returns.