Content Creation, Aggregation, Distribution No Longer are Separate Roles

Once upon a time, there was a clear distinction between content creation; content aggregation and content distribution. Today, the roles are blurring.

In the past, there were laws prohibiting film studies from owning movie theaters, for example. Today, the rules are less stringent, but there are clear limitations on the amount of ownership allowed across the value chain.

The major broadcast networks who assemble content are limited in terms of the number of local TV outlets they can own, for example.

The “old media” thinking was that walls had to be erected between content packagers and content distributors. As a corollary, there were rules about mandatory licensing of content to distributors (“must carry” rules for cable TV, for example).

“New media” breaks all those old rules about separating content creation; content aggregation and content distribution.

That is not to imply or suggest that “more regulation” of the new leaders is needed. Business and industry models are changing, and that evolution is not finished. The point is simply that digital models are quite different than analog models, and that the roles are very hard, perhaps impossible, to separate clearly.

Consider Facebook, Google, Netflix and other firms whose business models increasingly have content components.

Ignore for the moment that modern content distributors do not need to build or own networks, as did “analog era” distributors (TV stations, radio stations, satellite video providers, cable TV distributors, movie theaters, video rental stores).

Look only that the new “identity” or “unity” of content creation and content distribution.

Facebook, Google and others are both content “creators” or “aggregators” as well as content distributors, on a global scale. That is one reason scale suddenly has become an imperative in the content aggregation and content distribution segments of the internet value chain.

The point is that “distribution” and “content creation and aggregation” now are parts of a single process, parts of the operations of firms. Netflix now directly funds content creation; assembles packages of content and delivers that content.

It has direct relationships with content creators, content aggregators (networks) and with end user customers who consume that content. It is studio, network and distributor, all in one. The same can be said of Amazon Prime, Facebook or Google.

The key change is the fusion of the content creation, aggregation and distribution roles.


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