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Digital content RTD perspectives - after the dot.com fall - El.pub Analytic No. 8

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  Contents
  Introduction | Digital content themes | Value chain aspects | Content sectors | Technology
  Business models | To be continued | Comment on this issue of Analytic

Digital content themes

Digital content has two main axes, the value chain and content sectors. Cutting across these are technologies and business models. New technology affects specific parts of the value chain such as distribution (e.g. CD-ROM, DVD and Internet), and specific content sectors (e.g. introduction and rise of computer games). Technology is not generally sufficient in itself to change business models. The business model needs to exploit some added utility or cost saving enabled by the technology before it is viable.

In the last Analytic we argued that a major effect of digital technology on publishing has been to improve internal productivity and to enable a convergence between different media, that is manifested as the merging of different large media companies into content management enterprises. The range of published content now extends from financial and other business information, through news and educational text and images, to entertainment in the form of film, music and interactive games.

In all parts of the value chain there is a focus on the rationalisation and extension of the use of digitisation. Digital content is the future. Whether paper disappears in the near or more distant part of that future is immaterial. The majority of information and entertainment is being created and stored as bits, and however it is presented, its distribution will be primarily in digital form whether it is TV, film, text, image or music.

Business sector digital content focus is on knowledge management and how to leverage the use of information into the bottom line. KM concerns also leak over into scientific, technical and medical information and education. In the rest of the sectors one could argue that the single most important problem at present is IPR and attempts to protect existing business models. As with the oil industry at the beginning of the last century, governments are starting by doing everything to protect their national companies against the interests of foreign competition and consumers. No doubt they will soon have to turn their attention to curbing the monopoly power and its abuse that will result from such one sided action.

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