Content atomisation and in-feed monetisation

Last week I wrote about the Separation of revenue and value, and I predicted that content bundles will continue to disappear and that we will have to get used to paying for each unit of content as consumer – either via putting up with advertising, or via micropayments.

Fred Wilson says the same sort of thing, but takes it further with his four rules for the future of media:

1 – Microchunk it – Reduce the content to its simplest form. Thanks Umair.
2 – Free it – Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it. Thanks Stewart.
3 – Syndicate it – Let anyone take it and run with it. Thanks Dave.
4 – Monetize it – Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk. Thanks Feedburner.

Fred posted this back in November 2005 – very visionary back then, and not necessarily obvious to everyone today, although the success of RSS has made this view of the world seem much more sensible.

Now I think about it, this circles back to my themes in Internet re-organising around people where I argued that atomisation of content will allow people to build their own internet featuring just the components they want.

Writing all this in the same post I’m struck by the beauty of a solution which both gets over the separation-of-revenue-from-value problem and gives us consumers a personalised web experience. That vision of the future is micro-chunked content consumed via some kind of personalised home page or widget platform service. Critically, monetisation will be in the content stream, not in the platform.

Right now, here in mid-2007, there is enough good quality free content on the web that this sort of monetisation seems a bit far fetched. At some point, though, media companies (and their VC investors) will get tired of subsidising content for us – and my prediction is that this vision of future will emerge out of the shake-up.

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