Content Businesses

Have I mentioned that, so far, the enterprises of my VT KnowledgeWorks member company, Handshake Media, Incorporated, are content businesses?

From 10 Lessons from a Failed Start-Up by Mark Goldensen writing for the New York Times:

Content businesses s— (or: do it for love and expect to lose money). Producing quality content every day is a herculean task, especially live. The idea of creating both the content and technology for PlayCafe seemed achievable, but TV networks focus on distribution and studios on production for good reason: both are hard. Dev and I knew we were production novices but we thought live-filming a pretty girl delivering trivia with one camera guy was simple enough. We were wrong; the business was beyond our pay grade.

Watch American Idol, the country’s most popular show, and you’ll see how often they s— up despite massive resources: sound and video fail, hosts and contestants stammer, camera angles are wrong, stretches get boring, and it happens despite a reality format that is simpler than live sports or news. They also don’t have to deal with DOS attacks, server downtime, scalability, or customer support like we did.

I would advise any entrepreneur or investor considering content to think twice, as Howard Lindzon from Wallstrip warned us. Content is an order of magnitude harder than technology with an order less upside; no YouTube producer will earn within a hundredth of  $1.65 billion. This will only become more true as DVRs and media-sharing reduce revenues and pay-for-performance ads eliminate inefficient ad spend, of which there is a lot. The main and perhaps only reason to do content should be the love of creating it.

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"Content is an order of magnitude harder than technology…"

Not sure if I agree completely, but I sure appreciate the thought.

Have I mentioned that how I feel about content is beyond love?  O, it's passion.

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