Saturday, November 13, 2004

It's the content itself

Tom Curley (CEO of Associated Press) talked at the Online News Association Conference about online news:
    New technologies allow news consumers to get the information they wish when they wish in the forms they wish. "Content will be more important than its container in this next phase," Curley said. "The franchise is not the newspaper; it's not the broadcast; it's not even the Web site. The franchise is the content itself."

    He imagined a hypothetical "My Personalized News" of the future, which might include: the latest headlines and photos delivered, delivered to his computer by the AP; video news and ESPN highlights delivered to his set-top box; a list of upcoming earnings reports delivered by The Wall Street Journal to his PDA; and a BusinessWeek analysis delivered as a PDF to his printer. The challenge is therefore, he said, to first "get comfortable with this ice-cold shower of 'disintermediation'" and then for companies to begin "tagging our news for delivery in discrete pieces" while keeping control of their intellectual property and earning money to support their businesses.

    "We believe that world needs AP's primary content more than ever," Curley said, "that authoritative voice that we -- and you -- provide, precisely because there are so many new voices and free-flowing content 'atoms' out there."
Content is king. News sources need to take advantage of new, decentralized distribution mechanisms such as RSS and news aggregators, exploiting it to reach a wider audience.

Update: The full text of Tom Curley's keynote is available. I particularly liked this part:
    Discrete pieces of content -- stories, photos and video clips -- all categorized and branded, will be disassembled from whatever presentation you create and magically reassembled ... That's the fundamental behind personalization. The content comes to you; you don't have to come to the content.

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