Editorial: Everyone is a producer

It is becoming a world where everyone is a producer. And the media sector is leading the way, judging by last week’s Bertelsmann Digital Media Investments (BDMI) media summit in New York City.

A host of BDMI’s portfolio companies (or indirect ones, such as Wibbitz, which BDMI backs through third party venture capital funds, such as Lool) presented their visions of the continuing transformation changes in the sector.

Peter Csathy, CEO of business accelerator and development firm Manatt Digital Media, where he also serves as a corporate venturer, gave a nice summary of the video pitches (click here), while others were focused on advertising and publishing, news and television programming, and commerce.

Bing Chen, co-founder of Victorious, a mobile-device platform for video creators and communities, argued that fan-to-fan content creation was increasingly important.

Add in influencer marketing, hidden advertising - two of the fastest-growing media segments, and the coming virtual reality “metaverse” and you can see why a survey of chief marketing officers showed 78% felt content was the future, according to Jay Freedman, chief revenue officer at Nativo, a native, or hidden, advertising platform for publishers.

Bror Salmelin, adviser on innovation systems at the directorate-general for communications networks, content and technology at the European Commission (EC), in a phone interview after the BDMI summit agreed that, “everyone is a producer”.

He said this was a good example of the open innovation trend sweeping society and the economy. The question for governments is how to support or regulate this media landscape where people could browse but trigger micropayments if the content is used.

Salmelin said the EC was reviewing copyright laws, telecoms systems to encourage broadband internet and help form a digital single market. The idea of open innovation was to add the users, or citizens, to the process of creation alongside corporations, universities and governments. This quadruple helix, as Salmelin termed it, encouraged ideas and then someone to capture it for commercialisation.

It is an ambitious goal and part of the challenge requires education so people can act together.

In his article for the EC’s Open Innovation Yearbook 2015, Salmelin said: “The ecosystem is a commons, shared by diverse parties, and in the commons certain rules prevail….

“A key danger of the new commons is that people do not know that they are actually part of an ecosystem. They do not understand that their actions and interventions affect all others in the system, just as the actions of others affect them. This lack of awareness is a blind spot that is every bit as dangerous to the healthy functioning of ecosystems as complacency, egocentricity, or unbridled desire to maximise profit.”

Given these human characteristics of ignorance, complacency, egotism and greed are likely to remain part of our nature then the EC and other governments will have their work cut out to support the ecosystem but their job will be made easier by the general rule that while everyone can become a producer only about 20% of them will be the significant actors responsible for 80% of the value in a growing market sector.

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