Content is now the kingdom, so who is the king?
The world’s been busy. With the dramatically entertaining presidential election providing plenty of fodder to meme experts, activists and journalists alike, the content factory is at maximum capacity. As if all this activity wasn’t enough, telecom major AT&T just announced a buyout of the Time Warner Group.
For those unaware of the scale of this statement, if the deal goes through, AT&T will own Hollywood heavyweights Warner Brothers and HBO, along with CNN and countless other studios. This move seems to consolidate media outlets across almost every part of lifestyle, under one big corporate mogul. This leads me to quote the irreplaceable Kanye West, “No one man should have all that power”. Unfair, ominous and opposing democracy, against FairPlay, these are popular opinions floating around the web, however, this article focusses on the real discussion here, content. If you walk 3 blocks in Manhattan, you’re bound to see an influencer of something walking around with his/her own mini production unit, appealing to their some million followers on insta-twitter-snap-what-have-you. Or you enter any cool workspace in India and catch the likes of TVF shooting their next pop culture-infused miniseries.
Content is now everyone’s and anyone’s game.
Upside? You, the addicted consumer, gets spoilt for choice from free to $8 a month. Downside? Ask the cable networks who’ve been making millions at every TV ad second thus far. Once you got hooked to ad free, unfiltered content on your personal device, why would you even consider waiting 4 minutes in between to see a brand you may or may not (mostly not) use.
This ties into the mega (but uncertain) merger because when one of the world’s largest internet providers decides to buy a Hollywood mega studio, a global news channel and the TV powerhouse that produces Game Of Thrones, you gotta start thinking what’s up.
At the end of the day, it’s about the size of the audience you have. This opens up a range of promotional possibilities, from sponsored content to simple ad placements. Would you believe me if i told you a popular influencer gets paid around $300,000 to endorse some FMCG product in his/her 5 minute Youtube comedy sketch? No you wouldn’t, but that doesn’t matter, because, ‘they still earning that dough though.’
Fact of the matter is, content is taking all sorts of shapes, but it’s success is still determined by it’s quality. Whether it’s 5 second vines or 2 minute Snapchat stories, 20 minute web series or one hour of an episodic drama. If it’s good, you’ve got them for all the time you want, if it’s not, you’ve lost them in the first few seconds. AT&T believes it enough to shell out $85 billion. As for the deal, does it curb creativity? Doesn’t a corporate owning a News channel scream conflict of interest? These and many other questions are soon going to be answered on public forums by people on both sides of the argument. You can choose to watch it either on cable, or the news website/app of you’re choice.