GenuineVC David Beisel's Perspective on Digital Change

March 6, 2006

By definition, the unique quality of temporal content (i.e. content that takes time to consume, like audio/video, either streamed or downloaded, either user-generated or “produced”) is that it cannot be easily scanned to quickly assess its value (like written content can). Rather, the consumer is required to listen/watch to the content in its entirety to fully appreciate the value contained within.

This fact leads to many consequences, but an interesting one is how it affects the need to set expectations about the content before it’s consumed, especially if it is ad-supported. Ads in temporal content (especially those which cannot be skipped) provide one more hurdle, one additional point of friction, which must be overcome to entice the user to consume it.

So in a future where media is microchunked, freed, syndicated, and monetized, the role of setting expectations about what is contained within temporal content becomes even more important. Accordingly, meta-data attached to that that content, whether is community-generated meta-data or producer generated, should increase in value. In other words, perhaps the more free temporal content is able to roam, the more we want to know about where it came from, who has consumed it, and what they thought of it. We want to know what to expect.

Just a thought…

  • fred

    totally agree with this observation

    thus the importance of meta data, especially user generated meta data

    if a video was tagged “funny” in delicious at least 10 times in the past week, for example, i’d be lot more likely to watch it

    also, i think ads in downloadable content will likely be 5-10 seconds long at most so as to reduce the amount of time the user has to wait to see the content and to reduce the liklihood that the user will fast forward through the ad

  • Ben Casnocha

    Awesome post. Until more content producers follow your suggestion about setting better expectations about what the media actually is, I will still listen to few podcasts and not watch many videos.

  • Scott Beatty

    ……what if there was a platform that allowed you to ‘sample’ temporal content before making the time commitment to engage the rich media, would you use it? what if is was vetted and recommended to you based on sources you deemed valuable and based on your own 3rd order metadata and dynamically appeared in your playlist. Very Cool.

    3 types of metadata drive this – a platform where original content creators are provided tools and encouraged to add additional metadata – 2nd order structure for listener/viewer contributed rank and value attributes – and the most valuable of all, playback of 3rd order user generated metadata as they wash through the platform and engage in the content. utilize the metrics to help enhance discovery and vet quality to recommend temporal content. provide value and a solution to the user, a way to sample……

  • Zach Coelius

    The only problem with most of the meta data out there today is that there is a pretty significant disconnect between the quality of data provided (i.e. a few tags like “funny”) and the quality of data needed to efficiently consume in this environment of unlimited data (especially if we are looking for things more complicated then humor clips). Unless we are going to aimlessly look at videos that a couple people on delicious slapped “funny” on there simply needs to be a hundred times more meta data then is out there now. Add the fact that the meta data itself has issues related to our ability to trust its veracity and this is a little tougher then tossing a few tags on things.

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