By Vaibhav Modi
The last two decades have been a cusp of new media exploding and old media managing to show double-digit growth. How, one may ask, has that been possible? The answer lies in increasing consumption. We consume communication like a product today. We get our dopamine fixes from social media and cheer for its glory. And at the same time, Clubhouse witnessed an 80% drop in downloads year-on-year (YoY) in 2022.
We fail to notice that the birth of new media largely overshadows a parallel media evolution; the convergence or the coming together of multiple media platforms to form a linked ecosystem. How does this impact the kind of content that needs to be created?
Content and platform relationship
Content and platform relationship has changed from ‘specific’ to ‘adaptable’ given the interconnectivity. Where a platform was at the centre of the content creation journey, content is at the core presently. This is where the term ‘platform agnostic’ comes into the picture.
‘Platform agnostic content’ is a misnomer. It gives the impression that content does not give significance to the medium. On the contrary, ‘platform-inclusive’ content is a better fit. It points to the need for content to be inclusive of every medium’s nuances. Let’s imagine content as a superhighway that connects various media. The consumer gets an immersive experience while seamlessly moving through various platforms via the superhighway.
If content today is built for a particular platform only, it may have limited scope to perform. Creators need to build an idea or content piece by taking into account multiple distribution channels to be able to see a higher chance of success. For eg., a video show adapted into a podcast and vice versa or audiobooks shared as a series of articles. By doing so, a content creator is not only able to tap into newer audience sets but also maximise the content’s chance of performing well.
The pandemic push
If we thought the past 15 years saw a fast-paced change, the pandemic changed our minds on the meaning of ‘fast-paced’. It redefined consumer engagement. The consumer who did 101 tasks in a day, was now confined, consuming content more than ever before and hence saturated. How were we supposed to talk to this consumer? This is when businesses pushed limited thoughts and concepts which were discussed greatly pre-pandemic but rarely put into action. More and more content creators worked to merge mainstream entertainment with peripheral spaces like events and activation. Digital events became popular, and global fashion showcases and music concerts entered living rooms. Even when restrictions were lifted, consumers changed forever. Today it is not a choice between physical or digital but more demand for hybrid content formats.
Content consumer takes centerstage
We now have consumers questioning the expansive potential of content. Questions like ‘why can interacting with friends not be in the form of a story? are popping up frequently, pushing content creators to find answers. Trying to treat consumers as homogenised sets of audiences does not help. The answer lies in creating varied styles of storytelling or ‘something for everyone. It involves taking into account demands from various sets of audiences which are a part of bigger communities. In addition to nuances of platforms, unique audience needs will have to be considered to create platform-agnostic (inclusive) content.
As we try to navigate and figure out Web 3.0 and the metaverse, there are some questions we need to ask. What are the mediums still on the fringes? Which other mediums are being born? How can they be connected? The answers will help content creators stay ahead of the curve as we prepare for a larger convergence looming on the horizon.
The authors is the founder and director at Victor Tango Entertainment