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Thursday, April 9, 2015

Predicting the Future for Content Providers

The old ways are young again

So much time is spent arguing about the next big thing. The next big thing isn't as revolutionary as movies and books (or futurists) would have us believe.

In the 1950's, If you had a telephone service in your home, you rented the phone from your service provider. People didn't own their own phones and worse had to call someone to their house to fix the broken ones.

Fast forward to the 1980's Cable TV service was rolling out quickly. The familiar rotary selector was still on the cable set top box, however you rented the box from the Cable company service provider.

The idea that rented pieces needed for a service persist today. If you don't believe me, cancel your subscription to Netflix and the content you have had for five plus years is gone. You are no longer renting it. Stop paying for your Cell service and see what kind of bill you get for your subsidized phone. (Hint: They are basically rent to own with planned obsolescence) 

We will continue to make the change back and forth between being a consumer society and a service society until long after I am dead.

What changed each of these things? ( I despise the words 'Paradigm Shift' from years in corporate hellholes) Innovation and fear of losing money.

Companies created the first personally owned phones, VCR's, Tivo's, and so many more devices to give us the chance to choose how and when we used services. Long storage batteries will do the same for electricity use. Imagine storing off peak electricity to use when it is 110 degrees outside to run your air conditioner. What will the next thing be? Metered internet for all, since it is being classified as a utility now. We will see more free use of the internet. The cable companies will fight back for a time to maximize profits in their ever closing windows of uncontrolled billing for speeds that are barely able to provide 1080p in peak times. The 4k video and the ultra wide screen movement will begin making these dinosaurs look for the next hunting ground.

Microsoft 365, Adobe Creative Cloud, Subsidized CellPhones and contracts, and cloud storage systems will one day belong to the consumers again instead of the providers. So when you place your bets (whether it is in the form of money or your future) in a new product or service. Check and make sure it isn't part of the current cycle of offered goods and services.

How does this relate to authors and creative designers? How many Twitter arguments have you heard about which service is better to jump on to reach your audience. You are a content provider, be sure you aren't putting all of your eggs in the wrong part of history.

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