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About Merlyn on Media

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County. Merlyn’s blog focuses on all-things media, with an emphasis on how community-based media can make our county a better place to live, work and play.... Read more

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Content is No Longer King

This past weekend, I was driving around with my five-year-old son and we got to talking about a tune playing on the radio.

Making conversation, I asked, “Alexander, what’s your favorite song?”

I wasn’t sure a five-year-old would even have an answer, but after a few seconds he said “Radioactive” by Imagine Dragons (and no, I didn’t know who sang that without looking it up).

Alexander then quickly demanded “Put it on, daddy.”

Of course, the few presets in my car radio weren’t playing the song at the time, and my fumbling around with my cell phone’s Pandora app (between stoplights, if the Montgomery County Sheriff’s office is reading this) couldn’t readily pull up the tune.

It struck me that our children are growing up in an amazing on-demand world. Sure, kids have always been spoiled and expect things NOW. But technology can now deliver on that demand with any song, movie, or random piece of information being literally at our fingertips.

Fifteen years ago, I remember sitting in a presentation when an executive from AOL made the statement that “Content is king”. Today, content is still vital to attract the consumer to your TV channel, website or mobile platform. But content is so vast and generated in such massive quantities that it’s becoming commoditized. There are more online videos, blogs and web pages than you could possibly consume in a lifetime. On YouTube alone, 100 hours of new video is uploaded EVERY SECOND.

The fact is, content is no longer king. Convenience is.

When I was driving with my son, I would have loved to have simply commanded the car’s onboard computer “Play Radioactive” and it would have searched an online database and found & played the song. These voice activation systems are making great strides, as evidenced in a recent TV ad for Buick:

Jason Seiken, former head technologist for PBS, called this struggle between content and convenience “the battle for your living room”. But it’s more than just a war on your couch. The battle being fought by the likes of NBCUniversal, Google and others encompasses every facet of our lives. Already, mobile devices are overtaking desktops and static platform by content consumers. Here at MCM, nearly 40 percent of our own website visitors come to us via mobile. And on weekends when people are out & about searching for information about their community, that percentage shoots past 50.

People want what they want, when & where they want it.

If you’re running a business, you need to develop a friction-free environment for the public to find you. And as consumers, we all need to ensure that information via cable, broadband and other mobile networks is available from ALL sources, not just the big cable operators and legacy entertainment providers that have the deep pockets to buy their way into the game… at the expense of other content creators who don’t.

Whether it’s your living room, car or just walking down the street, you as a consumer have a right to access content from every source. And if you have a favorite piece of technology that gives you content access, share it below…

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Merlyn Reineke

About Merlyn Reineke

Merlyn Reineke is Executive Director of Montgomery Community Media, which provides media training and community-based content by-and-for the residents of Montgomery County.


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