Attention is the new Currency (and Data is the new Oil)

I wrote the first part (about attention) in my blog-book "The End of Control" in 2007 – and it's becoming even more true, today, so I figured I would collate some of my 2007 writings on this, below. The 2nd part (Data is the new Oil) is more recent but the 2 statements seem to make a perfect blend. Enjoy.

Attention is indeed the new currency

"Attention is the New Currency: Forget the Idea of “Controlling Distribution”. Let’s face it: In our increasingly networked world, the vast
majority of media content simply cannot be kept away from its audience….in our world of Googles, Facebooks, YouTubes, and iPhones, all
content is just zeros and ones, and trying to prevent its “leakage” is
simply futile. There are countless potential points of leakage in the
pipeline of production, packaging, distribution, marketing, and
promotion – now, Friction is Fiction, indeed!
Today, distribution (legal or not) is simply a given, and it is
attention that is getting scarce. Today, the good old, safe and simple old way of charging by the unit
(be it CDs, DVDs, a la carte downloads, or premium TV channels) feels
seriously “illiquid.” To prosper in this new digital media economy, we must support a new
ecosystem built on giving the users easy, cheap, and unfettered access
to content. We need to woo the users, not barge in pitching pieces of
fancy plastic or copy-protected media files. These Digital Natives are
much more likely to first opt-in to a comprehensive digital service
(yes, including wireless), and only then buy a physical product.
Furthermore, packaged media isn’t off the table; it’s just not the
first course anymore. If you don’t offer some free — or rather, feels
like free — starters, they’ll eat elsewhere.

End of ControlImage by gleonhard via Flickr

Therefore, we must create media ecosystems that will simply give the
“people formerly known as consumers” (i.e. those that no longer just
consume but also interact and create, themselves) the official green
light to do what they would do anyway — serve themselves from this
wealth of content whenever they want, wherever they are, and in
whatever manner suits them. Once they have paid attention in this way
(note the word “paid”), a content creator or media provider can harvest
a myriad of opportunities. The tollbooth has moved up the road a bit
but this is now a trusted and reliable road that will inevitably lead
to the monetization point. Put the tollbooth too early and 95% of
digital travelers will turn around and look for other ways to get there!The rise of the Attention Economy in media does not just bring about
The End of Control, it also brings light to what I like to call the
twilight zone of content: those very large catalogs of music, films, TV
shows, and books that have been out of distribution or out of print for
a long time, and that languish in the archives as if they’d never been
created in the first place. What better revival of their work can any
content creator hope for? Soon, they will finally be able to harvest
substantial and recurring revenues via these flat-fee subscriptions (be
they voluntary or built-in via public levies), in addition to the
revenues flowing from integrated, intelligent, and highly customized
advertising formats…"

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Futurist Gerd Leonhard


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