Learning From the Two Kinds of People Who Are Making Money in the New Economy
We are seeing a proliferation of content curators that create a profile of what they think you would like and then give you other offerings.
Jonathan Taplin is a Professor at the Annenberg School for Communication at the University of Southern California and Director of the USC Annenberg Innovation Lab. Taplin’s areas of specialization are in international communication management and the field of digital media entertainment. Taplin began his entertainment career in 1969 as Tour Manager for Bob Dylan and The Band. In 1973 he produced Martin Scorsese’s first feature film, Mean Streets which was selected for the Cannes Film Festival. Between 1974 and 1996, Taplin produced 26 hours of television documentaries (including The Prize and Cadillac Desert for PBS) and 12 feature films including The Last Waltz, Until The End of the World, Under Fire and To Die For. His films were nominated for Oscar and Golden Globe awards and chosen for The Cannes Film Festival five times.
In 1984 Taplin acted as the investment advisor to the Bass Brothers in their successful attempt to save Walt Disney Studios from a corporate raid. This experience brought him to Merrill Lynch, where he served as vice president of media mergers and acquisitions. In this role, he helped re-engineer the media landscape on transactions such as the leveraged buyout of Viacom. Taplin was a founder of Intertainer and has served as its Chairman and CEO since June 1996. Intertainer was the pioneer video-on-demand company for both cable and broadband Internet markets. Taplin holds two patents for video on demand technologies. Professor Taplin has provided consulting services on Broadband technology to the President of Portugal and the Parliament of the Spanish state of Catalonia and the Government of Singapore.
Mr. Taplin graduated from Princeton University. He is a member of the Academy Of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and sits on the International Advisory Board of the Singapore Media Authority and is a fellow at the Center for Public Diplomacy. Mr. Taplin was appointed by Governor Arnold Schwarzenegger to the California Broadband Task Force in January of 2007. He was named one of the 50 most social media savvy professors in America by Online College and one of the 100 American Digerati by Deloitte’s Edge Institute.
There are two kinds of people who are making money in the new economy. One example is a very popular set of sites on YouTube called Machinima. Machinima is a bunch of fairly young people who are videogame fanatics. And they review games, they mash-up games, they basically give you a guide into the game world. And surprisingly there are seven or eight people who are "personalities" on Machinima who are making more than $100,000 a month in net income.
That's pretty interesting. That's one business, and you can call them curators because in some sense they're saying this is the best video game or this is how you play this game.
So that's one level. I think the other place where obviously a huge amount of money will be made is in the aggregation game. That is what Amazon or Netflix are doing in the online download streaming business. They're saying "if you like this, you might like this." So in a sense what they're doing is creating a profile of you and your tastes and what you like and trying to offer up to you at the exact right moment on whatever device you want to get it on, the content that might delight you.
Those are services that will be increasingly popular, and there's going to be a lot more of them. Intel is getting in the game, Target is getting into the game, Microsoft, PlayStation Network - all of these services are doing essentially the same thing. They are saying "I'm going to create a set of profiles around my users and I'm going to try to offer them up exactly the right content or the right business."
Obviously, Amazon has been very good at this business for a long time, and Netflix is getting better and better with their algorithms. That to me will be an interesting play. My advice to the content owners is treat them all as storefronts. They all should have everything. You wouldn't sell your books just to Amazon and not Barnes & Noble. You wouldn't sell your DVDs only at Target and not at Walmart.
So the old notion of exclusive deals with somebody has really gone out the window. And you've got this proliferation of content aggregators, curators - call them that word, that's probably a good word - that are saying this is a profile of what I think you would like and here's some offerings.
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