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Digital media and user behavior

What do declining CD sales, piracy of video content and the adoption of IP TV have in common? They are all affected by the changes in user behavior.

Today's press is full of coverage of the announcement of EMI to ship digital audio content without digital rights management so you might have missed an equally interesting article in today's New York Times about "Warner's Digital Watchdog…". The article covers Warner's efforts to track down and reduce digital piracy of their content. A key element of the article is commentary from Darcy Antonellis who oversees Warner's anti-piracy efforts.

After reading the article, one quote really summed it up:

"If we don't encompass the last piece in our thinking — how consumers want to use content — then we are going to miss it," said Miss Antonellis. "Just think how consumer behavior has evolved in the last two years."

User behavior has changed because the convergence of the Internet, Mobile and Information Technology has enabled users to consume content in an always-on, anywhere paradigm that enables content consumption how, when, and where it is convenient to the user. We are at a crossroads in content consumption – the current forms of content packaging and distribution are at odds with the needs and demands of the user.

Whether the content is news, books, music, video,… or the adoption of IP TV, the key to future business models is to deliver a compelling user experience. Rather than providing in-house knock-offs of YouTube etc., the content owners need to do what they do best – think outside the box and bring the user experience into the 21st century.

Only that way will they avoid another notable quote from Ms. Antonellis about her niece's fish Mortimer:

"Mortimer took the leap to freedom," she said. "He said, 'I'm free, but I'm dead,' " said Ms. Antonellis.


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