Is Content Really King?

The word ‘content’ gets tossed around a lot, especially in new media. And, like anything that gets tossed around, it gets beat up.

Which is why I began to wonder – who said ‘content is king’ and is it true? If it’s true, what does it mean to your business? If it’s not true, where should you put your focus?

Everywhere you look or listen, there seems to be more content than you can ever consume. There are over 50,000 new books a year published in English. In January 2008, 79 million users made 3 billion video views on YouTube and 10 hours of video are added every minute.

There are over 10 million blogs in the US alone – even if most of them hardly get read. Cable TV has thousands of programs that often get tiny audiences.

It seems like there is no shortage of content. So, who’s really king?

Some people might say it’s distribution – which is why cable companies are so strong – they distribute programs on TV and they distribute the internet over their cable.

But, tell that to Time Magazine or any company that has distribution and is drowning in the rapidly expanding sea of content.

After thinking about it, I’m pretty sure that ‘format’ is really king.

Format is the way in which something is arranged or laid out. YouTube is a format – it’s a mathematical formula that ‘formats’ video hosting. Facebook is a format – and a better one than MySpace based on its adoption by the trendiest and the hippest. Webkinz is a very cunning format. The iPod is a format. Twitter is a format. Even pre-washed salad is a format.

Even the greatest content works best within a format.  Would SpongeBob SquarePants have been such a big hit if Nickelodeon hadn’t provided the format for it?  I don’t think so.

In other words, even most of the big ‘winners’ wouldn’t be winners on content alone.  Without the right format, they might have died on the vine.  We all have stories about ‘can’t miss’ content that never cut through – in many cases because it wasn’t formatted effectively or didn’t find the right format.

Nope, content isn’t king. It’s just the raw material for formatting.

You might want to brainstorm how to format your ‘content’. What are the best formats for your business and your customers? Think about formats that connect with the customer – Experientially. Practically. Technically. Chronologically. Promotionally. Conveniently.


6 Responses

  1. […] bookmarks tagged webkinz Is Content Really King? saved by 1 others     Sana12 bookmarked on 07/04/08 | […]

  2. I agree that distribution isn’t king and that formatting is closer to the truth. That said, ‘context is king’ strikes me as a more accurate statement. I may be able to enjoy Hell’s Kitchen – or Led Zeppelin – or Obamagirl online or on my iPod. But it’s not the format that hooks me. The key is engagement and how it sparks my passion.

  3. Thanks Beau. I think formats deliver the content in accessible form and that context helps create the emotional connection.

  4. I guess what you’re both actually saying is context is king!

  5. So much content and so little time.
    I say variety is king.
    I think UTUBE and MY SPACE is all about buzz and variety .
    We are also attracted to reality. Reality is anything and everything we see, do, expereince or feel. The content we remember has the emotional connection. Connecting the head to the heart. The variety of content and emotional experiences will keep us coming back for more. Variety of content is king.

  6. JP,

    Off on a new adventure that I’m very passionate about..

    Gen3 Media was created by my close friend Meyrick Adams who I’ve worked with for many years. The time is right to leverage what he’s done and take it to the next level.

    Check out our webstie (

    Our business strategy is to focus on the net and SMS with our gCAST platform.

    We help clients, SME’s and Corporate’s supercharge their marketing campaigns with laser targeting. The variety of businesses and challenge of focusing campaigns is something we love at Gen3. And, we are getting good results and excellent word of mouth/

    Hope you are well. Love to the family.


    Mr. C

    New email (

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