In Search of….the Audience
July 10, 2008 9:46 AM
Lately, I’ve got people on my mind. Millions of them. I’ve been wondering where they are and what they’re doing because it seems they may be the sneaky culprit in the great caper of the missing audience that’s been hoodwinking entertainment.
Viewership is down, the market’s facing looming fragmentation and revenue models are starting to get slippery. I’m not going to lie, to be on the case is a little like being a storm chaser heading at a mighty twister. I saw this monster coming and believe me, I’ve been waiting for the moment to try to outwit it for years. The forecast might be grim for entertainment business, but I believe it’s possible that companies can do things now to better endure a hit.
That points to two big issues: audience/traffic and fragmentation, at least, fragmentation as I understand it. I know there’s a lot of talk about models, but I think that’s somewhat symptomatic. I believe the bigger issue lies in a need to rethink audience development, and then the overall streamlining of the Web experience for users.
Imagine if you turned on your television tonight and suddenly, there was no order to it -- you have to haphazardly hunt down the content without any sort of structure or guide in your search.
That’s the case with content on the Web. It’s no surprise that generating traffic and making money has been so difficult.
Plenty of signs point to users trending towards this anyway, but with a structure in place, the migration could happen quicker. With audience, it’s been more than 40 years since television industry has had to truly marry users to a brand new platform as executives today must with the Web.
I know everybody wants to believe that “choice” for users means the whole shebang, but it really lies in when and how these days. What and where, luckily, can stay in companies’ hands if they let it. The key is to stop focusing on pushing content out and to start pulling people in.
Easier said than done? Maybe not. Facebook and MySpace are two big examples. Hint: it’s not on the Web.