Content’s Content: We’re Giving it Up For Free (and I think that’s super cool)

I began this post with the intention of talking about “House of Cards,” Netflix’s new project, but further research revealed something larger going on here that I’d like to comment on.

To preface, I’m sure you’ve heard by now that Netflix outbid HBO and AMC to win the rights to Kevin Spacey and David Fincher’s newest project – “House of Cards,” a TV show that will be distributed solely through Netflix.

I think this is totally awesome, but it raises a lot of questions. How will it be monetized? Isn’t it a huge risk? What are the content implications for Netflix?

This FastCompany article talks more about the whole risk thing, but look at what Steve Swasey, VP Corporate Communications says: “Netflix based part of its decision to license House of Cards on data from the company’s content-recommendation engine, which helped determine whether an audience for the show existed on Netflix. A lot of this comes from our algorithmically driven software recommendations…We know what our members like and watch.”

Interesting, albeit obvious.

Then I saw this from @djcap: “Facebook Test Mines Real-Time Conversations for Ad Targeting http://t.co/TfYLWYY

Facebook has been delivering targeted ads based on wall posts and status updates for some time, but never on a real-time basis. In general, users’ posts and updates are collected in an aggregate format, adding them to target audiences based on the data collected over time. Keywords are a small part of that equation, but Facebook says sometimes keywords aren’t even used. The company said delivering ads based on user conversations is a complex algorithm continuously perfected and changed. The real aim of this test is to figure out if those kinds of ads can be served at split-second speed, as soon as the user makes a statement that is a match for an ad in the system.

Of course they were doing this, but where could it go?

@DeronTriff pointed me to this article from Advertising Age where “Joe Tripodi, exec VP-chief marketing and commercial officer of Coca-Cola Co., repeated a view stated at the Association of National Advertisers conference last year that he’d like to do away with counting impressions in marketing in favor of counting “expressions” from consumers about brands.”

We’re living in a digital world (and have been, for some time), where content is created and delivered based on what we do.  Data that used to take months to gather is now being delivered instantaneously, on a silver platter by the consumer.

I feel like that should scare me (potential privacy concerns, and all), but I’m just excited. I mean, think of the possibilities: The ability for me to create and deliver entertainment/media that’s exactly what you want to experience RIGHT NOW – without having to think and search for it.

On-demand content obviously exists, but I’m focused more on the content itself and the future speed of delivery. Until now, producers create entertainment and advertising based on either what they want us to consume or what they *think* we want to consume, based on months-old data. But the three articles above point to a convergence of immediacy – content is going to be created and delivered based on what we actually want at that given moment. And it’s not just going to be ads on Facebook – it’s going to be TV shows, movies, games, and interactive modules. We as the consumer are taking the guesswork out of it for the producers. Obviously this is a ways off, but the idea is starting to take root.

Has this idea been totally obvious to everyone, and I’m just late to the party? Regardless, I am psyched to follow the development of this industry. It’s totally up my alley!

I would LOVE to hear your thoughts about this, leave me a comment and let’s get a discussion going! Or just tweet at me.

[Update 10:45am]

Ok, I just found this advertising campaign through Googles brand-spanking new magazine, Think Quarterly, and I have to add it to this post because it encapsulates everything I mentioned above. Watch and follow the directions.

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