The number of hours available to consume content maxes out at 16-24 hours a day.
By comparison, content creation is nearing infinity, exploding at 40-2000%. Machines already choose content (BuzzFeed) generate videos (Business Insider) and automate social media (Hootsuite). Thousands of articles are written by AI. There’s more TV than anyone can watch. Plus everything new must compete with the bloating archives of everything ever produced.
When the marginal cost of creation is zero, media enters a permanent (and exponential) point of diminishing returns – and must find new business models or shrink/die.
The next series of content innovations are filtering technologies that let users find quality. Right now, those mainly exist on Facebook, where Facebook chooses what’s most interesting or popular for you. Of course, it’s far from perfect, but it’s where the bulk of human attention is.
Eventually, filtering will leave many content polluters spitting in the wind, killing off their clickbait dreams. Until then, we will continue to see a massive wealth transfer from media companies to Facebook, Google and tech providers. They make money fooling big content creators into thinking they can save them from the electric share – with better targeting and algorithms. Facebook and Google, charge them a toll to access audiences that used to be theirs – and fragmented.
In reality, most content is not economical to advertise, except network TV and some high ad rate video. Media companies are working with the flawed assumption that if they get siphon off enough audience, they can once again own their customers. They can’t. Facebook’s algorithm won’t allow it. And Gmail vanquishes their emails into some bulk folder purgatory by default. That’s why it’s so hard to dislodge networks and gatekeepers.
But even Google and Facebook know their days are numbered. It’s why Facebook is consumed with acquiring every social and messaging platform to stay ahead of diminishing returns. And it’s why Google and others are investing in life-extension technologies and automated driving – to create time. So we can keep consuming like good little boys and girls. So back to your desk! Mach schnell!
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