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To IP, or not to IP
Is Content King again?
Is Content King again?
In my last post I discussed how emerging game companies could benefit from embracing a “Games as a Service” business model, which is a shift from simply developing products to developing live, evolving businesses which requires integration of functions that were historically the domain of publishers. However, there’s a more widespread change happening to “original IP” that affects all types of media—not just games.
Netflix is transforming from a content delivery service into a media company: it has been noted for the success of its original programming—House of Cards has been both a critical and commercial success. They are not alone: Amazon is now creating original content such as Alpha House for Amazon Prime subscribers and recently purchased a game studio. GameStop, the largest specialty retailer of video games in the world, has acquired—and continued to grow—acquisitions such as Kongregate, where it is now entering the game publishing business.
The technology companies are working hard to develop good content and the smart content companies are embracing innovative technologies.
—Jeremy Zimmer, head of United Talent Agency
What Zimmer says above is true, but what’s taking place is a lot more than a resurgence of “Content is King.” It isn’t just about technology companies and distribution channels realizing the value of content, while content companies also become better exploiters of technology. It’s about the ongoing transformation of content of all kinds—whether TV, films, games or others—into communities. This is happening because the social web is closely entangled with digital content, and technology makes it easier to nurture and enhance sharing social participation. And in the evolving world of online media, community and brand are becoming harder to distinguish.
Brand and community development (which support the pragmatic business goal of accelerating subscriber growth) are a big advantage that companies like Amazon, Netflix and Gamestop will gain by building and funding content; these companies already have significant communities and investments in social, analytic and crowdsourcing technology that they can leverage. The transformation from content to community also explains the growth of technologies such as second screen and social TV or the increasing integration of broadcast media with social game content, such as we’ve done with the episodes of Game of Thrones at Disruptor Beam.
It dawns on me that I was a bit too limiting in scope when I wrote about Games as a Service. Perhaps we should all be thinking about “Content as a Service,” which will lead us to think beyond distribution and into the world of community, social engagement and building brands that are true reflections of our customers.
What’s on the horizon? I think that content companies need to think beyond social platforms as simply a sharing mechanism. The real breakthroughs are going to occur because content is intertwined with novel social experiences that change how we relate to each other online. Games are leading the way, but there’s still a long way to go.