Okay, it’s official. Medium.com has won. With FB most recent changes, it will be considerably harder to push out “easy-to-consume” entertainment. However, we still will want to consume media, and now I’m 51% sure that we will do it on medium.com.
First, I think there’s a strong argument to be made that media/content is better consumed within a platform. I don’t want to get into it trying to convince you of this fact, but just look at where people watch videos on the internet: YouTube, Facebook, and other platforms. I will confidently say that no publisher (or publisher platform) found the secret in getting people to consume videos on their website (as opposed to on the platforms mentioned above). Sure BuzzFeed may have billions of video views per month, but how many of those occur on their website? There is a myriad of reasons why, but I don’t want to get into that here.
I think that the only reason why we consume articles off of platforms is that a good platform for written content
doesn’t didn’t exist. We like to consume a variety of content (and not just “Australia’s Scariest Spiders”) so going to NYT, WSJ, or WP won’t do. BuzzFeed tried to give us a greater variety and while some of BuzzFeed news has some pretty solid reporting, it still lacks in depth and breadth. On top of that, which platform-publication has everything we need? Our technical articles (and how-to guides)? Our celebrity gossip? Our ‘listicles’? No single publisher can do this.
Even if BuzzFeed offered us everything, the chances are we would visit other publishers. No single publisher can get away from editorial bias, at least in principle. BuzzFeed will always be associated with the left. It’s hard to build a brand and not to get caught up in a niche. Only a platform can remain independent (at least to a much, much greater extent).
In comes medium.
I knew Medium was going to be a powerhouse when they brought on NYT, Forbes, and WSJ onto their platform.
I now know that Medium will own the future because they provide a way for writers and publishers to make a buck on the platform. The two-tier system of paid content and free content is going to change how we look at publishing. It will lower the role and influence of advertising for media companies.
And yes, you as a reader might have to pay for some quality content! Shudder at the thought.
If you have read Jared Lanier’s wonderful and prophetic book, “Who Owns the Future,” you might begin to think that paying for content is not such a bad idea. I do. Remember, if something is free, it just means that you are the product.
Ultimately, paying for content will make our world a better place. It will put you into the driver’s seat–the consumer is meant to be the customer, not the product.