Content has to find its way to us, not rely on us to find our way to it. That’s the new way of the world.

It’s no secret that news isn’t dying. Traditional news business models are. As I’ve pointed out before, this matters for two reasons: first, a lot of people care about the independence and integrity of news and information; and second, even more people make their living by producing content. They don’t really care about the big-picture business model stuff: they care about making a living, having a career and doing work that they can feel good about.

In the debate about “information wants to be free,” the emotional crux isn’t whether traditional institutions will continue to survive the revolution of information proliferation. It is whether people who love to create the information that gets consumed will be able to get paid.

Steve Shuler at Compete turned to the analytics to get derive some insight into what the changing pattern of information consumption looks like.

I know that I’m exposed to more information because of social news services. For example, as political debates rage in Washington this fall, I’m often learning about events from my Facebook News Feed. I have a very liberal friend and a very conservative friend that post articles, with dueling points of view, from sources like Forbes or the New Yorker that I never visit on my own.

As people like me migrate to online news sources, what are the trends worth noting? Compete.com has a set of news categories that can help us examine this question.

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So, are newspapers really dying? No doubt media companies must address social factors, like American’s busier lifestyles, and improve their business plans, but the audience for news is not evaporating; we are simply finding other methods to get the same information. The stories are even written by traditional sources, but the delivery methods suit our changing needs bette

The shift is in the way information is moving around, with individuals sharing and commenting in a real-time soup. Does this ultimately benefit an information hegemony or cripple it?

Jeff Jarvis took a break from his Google ruminations to write a very good summary of how “the web site” is a anachronistic concept, and that true media distribution will be a constant stream referencing an archival foundation.

(As an aside, this post is a reminder of how solid and perceptive a thinker Jarvis is.)

If a page (and a site) become anything, it will be a repository, an archive, a collecting pool in which to gather permalinks and Googlejuice: an article plus links plus streams of comments and updates and tweets and collaboration via tools like Wave. Content will insinuate itself into streams and streams will insinuate themselves back into content. The great Mandala…

..So imagine this future without pages and sites, this future that’s all built on process over product. If you’re what used to be a content-creation – if you’re Stephen Fry, post-media – you’re all about insinuating yourself into that stream. If you’re about content curation – formerly known as editing – then you’re all about prioritizing streams for people; that’s how you add value now.

This is a future that we can embrace: a media universe that rewards focus, engagement and expertise. Content flows from multiple sources, through human and machine filters that sift and prioritize in terms of relevance, quality and timeliness. The filtering process enriches the content, creating annotations and enhancements by virtue of the intelligence and perspective of each gating event. Brands can be anchoring elements in this ecosphere, aggregating the financial wherewithal to reward the content creators and curators.

There will be one of three payments made: a payment by a marketer to incorporate their selling message into the media stream; a payment by a consumer to consume parts of the media stream; or a payment by a consumer for applications that facilitate the delivery or organization of the media stream.

As in the old media world, the economic future of the stream will rely on support and investment of marketers.

Just as we’re beginning to conceive of content creators, curators and consumers in the media stream, we’ll need to envision the opportunities for marketers to participate in a way that drives their financial returns.

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