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Moving Premium Content to the Edge

May 15, 2008


I had a drink last night with a senior exec for one of the very large Internet companies who made an observation that put into words something that has been reverberating around alot of conversations I’ve taken part in the last 3-6 months: that we need to figure how how to better distribute premium content to the right audiences around the edges of the web.

If you look at what is happening on the web right now, you see hyper-activity around the edges made up by blogs and social networks.  The growth is viral and the engagement is real.  But so far alot of the content (primarily the non-textual content) is pretty thin. We need to figure out how to get the right high quality content to the right viewers out there.

So far the answers I’ve seen have been pretty much focused on distribution — whether it be something like Hulu, or more of a widget distribution angle.  The core proposition is for the owners of premium content to take away the walls and let the content be distributed out in the wild of the web. All these are fine, but strike me as a precursor to a longer term and more effective solution, which would center more on the process for creating content on the edges than it would be about distributing content to the edges.

Imagine it being super easy for bloggers to incorporate high quality relevant videos in their posts. Imagine entertainment apps on the social networks moving from food fights and flower gifts to games that are social but that incorporate real gameplay and game design.  Imagine the social network experience not just being asynchronous exchanges, or chat, but shared consumption of multimedia content. Imagine every day webizens easily creating flash widgets (or sprouts, ahem..) that are both highly interactive and rich with quality multimedia content.

I could be way off, but this is how I see premium content intersecting with the web’s movement to the edge.

And, yes, I am putting my money where my mouth is…


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  1. May 15, 2008

    Google has a product called AdSense Video Units which focuses on what you describe – taking short-form monetizable clips from YouTube content partners and distributing via AdSense sites in a three-way rev share. The participating partner group includes both niche and premium content. I have lots of stories about the opportunity and challenges here but you have to take me to dinner again to hear them… 🙂

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