The Disintermediation of Content

Written by Sam Vaknin

Are content brokers - publishers, distributors, and record companies - a thing ofrepparttar past?

In one word: disintermediation

The gradual removal of layers of content brokering and intermediation - mainly in manufacturing marketing - isrepparttar 108510 continuation of a long term trend. Consider music for instance. Streaming audio onrepparttar 108511 internet ("soft radio"), or downloadable MP3 files may renderrepparttar 108512 CD obsolete - but they were preceded by radio music broadcasts. Butrepparttar 108513 novelty is thatrepparttar 108514 Internet provides a venue forrepparttar 108515 marketing of niche products and reducesrepparttar 108516 barriers to entry previously imposed byrepparttar 108517 need to invest in costly "branding" campaigns and manufacturing and distribution activities.

This trend is also likely to restorerepparttar 108518 balance between artists andrepparttar 108519 commercial exploiters of their products. The very definition of "artist" will expand to encompass all creative people. One will seek to distinguish oneself, to "brand" oneself and to auction one's services, ideas, products, designs, experience, physique, or biography, etc. directly to end-users and consumers. This is a return to pre-industrial times when artisans ruledrepparttar 108520 economic scene. Work stability will suffer and work mobility will increase in a landscape of shifting allegiances, head hunting, remote collaboration, and similar labour market trends.

But distributors, publishers, and record companies are not going to vanish. They are going to metamorphose. This is because they fulfil a few functions and provide a few services whose importance is only enhanced byrepparttar 108521 "free for all" Internet culture.

Content intermediaries grade content and separaterepparttar 108522 qualitative fromrepparttar 108523 ephemeral andrepparttar 108524 atrocious. The deluge of self-published and vanity published e-books, music tracks and art works has generated few masterpieces and a lot of trash. The absence of judicious filtering has unjustly given a bad name to whole segments ofrepparttar 108525 industry (e.g., small, or web-based publishers). Consumers - inundated, disappointed and exhausted - will pay a premium for content rating services. Though driven by crass commercial considerations, most publishers and record companies do apply certain quality standards routinely and thus are positioned to provide these rating services reliably.

Content brokers are relationship managers. Consider distributors: they provide instant access to centralized, continuously updated, "addressbooks" of clients (stores, consumers, media, etc.). This reducesrepparttar 108526 time to market and increases efficiency. It alters revenue models very substantially. Content creators can thus concentrate on what they do best: content creation, and reduce their overhead by outsourcingrepparttar 108527 functions of distribution and relationships management. The existence of central "relationship ledgers" yields synergies which can be applied to allrepparttar 108528 clients ofrepparttar 108529 distributor. The distributor provides a single address that content re-sellers converge on and feed off. Distributors, publishers and record companies also provide logistical support: warehousing, consolidated sales reporting and transaction auditing, and a single, periodic payment.

Jamaican Overdrive - LDC's and LCD's

Written by Sam Vaknin

OverDrive - an e-commerce, software conversion and e-publishing applications leader - has just expanded an e-book technology centre by adding 200 e-book editors. This happened in Montego Bay, Jamaica - one ofrepparttar less privileged spots on earth. The centre now provides a vertical e-publishing service - from manuscript editing to conversion to Quark (for POD), Adobe, and MS Reader ebook formats. Thus, it is not confined torepparttar 108509 classic sweatshop cum production centre so common in Less Developed Countries (LDC's). It is a full fledged operation with access to cutting edge technology.

The Jamaican OverDrive isrepparttar 108510 harbinger of things to come andrepparttar 108511 outcome of a confluence of a few trends.

First, there isrepparttar 108512 insatiable appetite big publishers (such as McGraw-Hill, Random House, and Harper Collins) have developed to converting their hitherto inertial backlists into e-books. Gone arerepparttar 108513 days when e-books were perceived as merely a novel form of packaging. Publishers understoodrepparttar 108514 cash potential this new distribution channel offers andrepparttar 108515 value added to stale print tomes inrepparttar 108516 conversion process. This epiphany is especially manifest in education and textbook publishing.

Then there isrepparttar 108517 maturation of industry standards, readers and audiences. Bothrepparttar 108518 supply side (title lists) andrepparttar 108519 demand side (readership) have increased. Giants like Microsoft have successfully enteredrepparttar 108520 fray with new e-book reader applications, clearer fonts, and massive marketing. Retailers - such as Barnes and Noble - opened their gates to e-books. A host of independent publishers make good use ofrepparttar 108521 negligible-cost distribution channel thatrepparttar 108522 Internet is. Competition and positioning are already fierce - a good sign.

The Internet used to be an English, affluent middle-class, white collar, male phenomenon. It has long lost these attributes. The digital divides that opened up withrepparttar 108523 early adoption ofrepparttar 108524 Net by academe and business - are narrowing. Already there are more women than men users and English isrepparttar 108525 language of less than half of all web sites. The wireless Net will grant developing countriesrepparttar 108526 chance to catch up.

Astute entrepreneurs are bound to take advantage ofrepparttar 108527 business-friendly profile ofrepparttar 108528 manpower and investment-hungry governments of some developing countries. It is not uncommon to find a mastery of English, a college degree inrepparttar 108529 sciences, readiness to work outlandish hours at a fraction of wages in Germany orrepparttar 108530 USA - all combined in one employee in these deprived countries. India has sprouted a whole industry based on these competitive endowments.

Here is how Steve Potash, OverDrive's CEO, explains his daring move in OverDrive's press release dated May 22, 2001:

"Everyone we are partnering with inrepparttar 108531 US and worldwide has been very excited and delighted byrepparttar 108532 tremendous success and quality of eBook production from OverDrive Jamaica. Jamaica has tremendous untapped talent in its young people. Jamaica isrepparttar 108533 largest English-speaking nation inrepparttar 108534 Caribbean and their educational and technical programs provide us with a wealth of quality candidates for careers in electronic publishing. We could not have had this success withoutrepparttar 108535 support and responsiveness ofrepparttar 108536 Jamaican government and its agencies. At every stagerepparttar 108537 agencies assisted us in opening our technology centre and staffing it with trained and competent eBook professionals. OverDrive Jamaica will be pioneering many ofrepparttar 108538 advances for extending books, reference materials, textbooks, literature and journals into new digital channels - and will shortly becomerepparttar 108539 foremost centre for eBook automation serving both US and international markets".

Cont'd on page 2 ==> © 2005
Terms of Use