For many years we had been told that content was king. Quality content was the thing that online businesses must create to keep the attention and develop the loyalty of users. Then in 2006 Chris Anderson chimed in and let us know that content was no longer king; context was. The quote is from Rob Reid of Listen.com and his point is that in a world of infinite choices with people peers acting as filters, the context that content is shown in is more important than the content itself. This has been one of the key ingredients in thinking about personalized marketing and the recommendation economy.
I’ve been talking with clients about this for the last two years and have been thinking about the transition of the Internet to the primary form of all entertainment, communication and information. I have also been thinking about how people collect and process all three and have come to believe that not only is context king, content is as well.
The important distinction here for content is between what the content is and how the content is transfered. Every time I look at Wikipedia, I can’t help but think that this content would be much better if it were in a video format. Not sure how feasible this would be but it would be much better for my learning style. Can’t remember where I read it, but video is the number 2 thing people do online behind casual gaming (e.g. solitaire) and above social networking. I really don’t think this is the last vestige of a TV era. Online video is very different from television content and it continues to change into something else. With respect to Wikipedia , HowCast is a great example of educational (instructional in this case) video.
For years I have been having my how conversation. I use Star Wars as my example of why how is more important that the what of something. Star Wars is the oldest story in the world and yet its success if because of how the story was told and not what the story itself.
As we begin to expect to receive entertainment, information and communication via the medium of our choice (mobile video, text on PC, audio GPS instructions to the mobile) specific to context; content is again getting its own thrown.