SXSW 2014: Thinking in Ecosystems And The Lifecycle of Content

As we attended panels from various media companies, one theme became clear: now that consumers have more options as to when, where, and what type of content they view, media producers must become more savvy about planning the lifecycle of their content. Perhaps counter-intuitively, the shorter the consumer’s attention span, the more important the content’s potential for longevity.

For instance, short-form video YouTube clips would appear to be the most disposable: quick to watch and easy to forget. However, multichannel network Maker Studios has capitalized on it by promoting high-quality YouTube talent and guiding viewers towards similar content based on their interests. In fact, many television and movie stars are coming to them for help with this new format, and Disney may even be considering acquiring the studio.

Sports are another type of entertainment that are best consumed live, and would therefore have a seemingly short lifespan. As we mentioned in an earlier post (LINK to Paula’s post on Social/Sports), though careful programming around marquee events can create content that keeps people coming back and sharing with friends.

But what if the content you want to promote has already been created? It’s not too late: some properties can maintain and even grow their fanbase over time. For instance, many of Fathom Entertainment’s events are actually re-releases of old material; some of it thirty or forty years old, like Beatles and Rolling Stone concerts. Behind-the-scenes content and interviews created specifically for the event help keep it fresh and promote the material, but ultimately, fans return for the chance to participate in a communal experience with other fans.

Regardless of the type of content or initial platform, therefore, it’s essential to strategize the best way to keep content relevant. Whether it starts as a clip or an event, creators have multiple opportunities to keep viewers engaged over time.