A Wake Up Call From Big Blue

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by: Josh Hawkins

In a new report released by IBM's Institute for Business Value, the technology giant urges commercial media owners pursue distribution strategies that engage with communities driven by user-generated content.

But this means much more than simply advertising on YouTube or paying film students to make commercials. IBM is recommending media owners loosen their iron grip over commercial media assets, "give control to get share." 

Not a revolutionary idea, but notable given that it comes from one of the most conservative and brand conscious organizations in the world. The report also brings into full view what savvy marketers have been saying for years now about the false threat of social media for commercial content businesses. The cultural trends afoot are allies not enemies.

For example, it's undeniable that one of the fastest growing trends in digital media today involves consumers remixing and mashing up content to post on social media destinations and share across social networks. Earlier this week TechCrunch posted a great roundup of online video editing tools – a category that didn't really exist a year ago and is now experiencing explosive growth. These tools are getting cheaper, more powerful, and integrated into social media destinations everyday. Commercial media owners have an opportunity, a business imperative in my opinion, to participate in the remixes, mashups – the broader conversations which are already taking place in the market today – and in many cases with ripped version of their content already. By relinquishing control… scratch that… by actively distributing high-quality commercial content for remixing and mashups, media owners can tap remix culture as an avenue for the promotion of their programming and brands.

All that said, the onus once again falls on the media owner to let their guard down, develop a thicker skin for the nicks and tarnish which will inevitably form on their brand assets along the way, and participate in the conversation instead of figuring out a way to protect themselves behind closed doors.

IBM's report will not fall on deaf ears. Yesterday, the New York Times announced that it will enable readers to submit video clips which will be repackaged and distributed across their weddings and celebrations pages – a precursor to future mashups of newspaper and reader-submitted content. And earlier this week, Adobe – owners of the ubiquitous Flash technology – announced a video remixing tool with Photobucket that will provide an opportunity to quickly ramp mashup behavior for a fast-growing market segment of consumers who want to express themselves through multi-media on the Web, but haven't had the tools. 

Original Post: http://splinteredchannels.blogs.com/weblog/2007/02/ibm_to_media_co.html