Content is nothing without technology (and vice versa)
Your author speaks at the Society of Editors conference 2006.
I began by alluding to a video, shown the previous year and then showed an update to it. The collection of vox pops recorded from across the country suggested that people were completely comfortable with constantly moving between different media.
The uncertainly a newspaper may feel about the supply of news and information is also being felt in the television and telecoms industries. Every telecoms company is gearing up to provide multimedia services and they are turning information delivery into an always-on utility.
But, BT and Sky and NTL and all the rest will need content to go down that pipe. And I don’t think there’s enough of the right sort of material around. There is going to be a content vacuum very soon and we have a great opportunity to fill it.
The ISPs are possibly the biggest threat, because they already have the technology in place, and in their world the audience is already filling the content vacuum itself. But newspapers have a huge advantage in that they have that audience now and that audience trusts you and it expects you to continue to take a lead in its conversations.
We need some realistic thought about how to get newspaper content and your brand onto the growing number of platforms which the public are taking in their stride. It is an order of magnitude more complicated than what you’re doing now.
Carolyn McCall said a couple of weeks ago say that software developers are now just as important as journalists. And it’s true. If you’re in the content business, you are now in the technology business.
James Murdoch was asked earlier this year if he thought BSkyB’s business was primarily based on content, or technology. He said that the two are more and more intertwined. Your content cannot be successful if you don’t take an active interest in the technology.
I think a lot of the solutions are shared. No one wants to build multimedia content production systems, provision and manage broadband contribution networks and invest in a continual cycle of product development in isolation.
I think that what we gain from gatherings like the Society of Editors can make a huge difference, because the future is about partnerships. Managing the complexity of our medium has become too expensive for one organisation to be able to do everything but between us we can build a new foundation for the future of content in Britain.
Here’s some of the other blogs covering the event: