We live in a physical world and most of what we consume does for the most part come in physical state. However, the move to virtual communities has necessitated the adaptation of services to meet the new demand. The concept of the long tail, moves opportunity away from a list, chart and headline driven market which is what has dominated the ecosystems in various industries, to a state where niche is seen as the next big opportunity in content creation, delivery, consumption and monetization.The news industry for example is one that is best positioned to fully leverage technology to increase value to its readers – current and potential and at the same time improve on its bottom line without much additional capital investment. News as currently produced is headline based; with sales pegged on what is considered hot and having mass appeal. Your favorite daily is also the preferred choice of many advertisers seeking to capture mindshare, but not everyone can get a booking due to limited inventory, and worse still not everyone wants a national market place which the dailies place a high premium on.
There are three factors that favor the news industry in this regard. The first is that content collection happens on the regular and it is the simple constraints of physical space on print and limited time on air that prevent this content from being consumed. If this content could be made available instead of being archived, the long tail dictates that it will find interested consumers. The same content can be served in hyper personalized forms that customizes the news experience. The second is the increase in smart enough phones that leverage mobile data, meaning content distribution is now a breeze. Third is the ability to microbill for content ; while the model for doing this is not optimum, it would still generate revenue from what has this far been “dead” inventory.
The major publishers will then be better positioned to offer improved targeting to a growing advertiser base whose bulk is composed of small to medium size enterprises. Overall, we will see enhanced value across the entire chain making it sustainable in the long run. While the content pay wall model is yet to be seen as successful in other markets, the unique mix of demand, content availability, access channels and monetization models may see this differentiated thinking take off in a market such as Kenya.