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The Golden Age of Content

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Suddenly, someone -- that being Ad Age columnist and ad seer, Bob Garfield -- is referring to the possibility that the world is entering a Golden Age of Content. This is something of a revelation after years of worrying instead that content was being destroyed by -- as Garfield quips in reference to his book on the subject -- media chaos. Writes Garfield in his column at Ad Age:

While certain authors promulgate chaos scenarios that bemoan the doom facing professionally created content, such as Hollywood movies, we have to consider the possibility of a golden age for content.

It is only two short years ago that Eric Schmidt, CEO of Google, referred to the internet as a "cesspool". He was courting the members of the Magazine Publishers Association (MPA) at the time and obviously tossing them bits of raw meat. "Narrative sustains the [media] business," CNET reported he said at the time, "...but the future of high-quality journalism is a huge problem. A reasonable prediction is that there will be fewer voices. More money is needed to fund high-quality work."

Fewer voices? Google better hope not, or its business model is in trouble. But it can relax. In the two years since Mr. Schmidt went courting magazine publishers the world has been working assiduously to create order out of chaos, a version of which is increasingly known as content curation. On the way is a new book titled, Curation Nation, by Steven Rosenbaum that has Garfield believing in the power of the people. Says Garfield:

We all know about the proverbial million monkeys at a million typewriters eventually reproducing the complete works of Shakespeare. Well, those monkeys are hard at work -- only there are billions of them -- and they are as a group exponentially more ingenious and productive than even the most elite of the Old Guard. Every second they produce brilliance which you could never hope to find. In the Curation Nation, the genius will surface. And we'll all forget why we watched NBC in the first place.

Actually, people probably forgot why they watched NBC a long time ago, hence the virtues of new media that they perceived and embraced at the very beginning. Now, what about the advertisers? eMarketer reports the trend in 2011 will continue to be towards real-time bidding for remnant publisher inventory and that the contest will persist between audience and inventory:

On one side is classic ad targeting based on a site's content, or the characteristics of its visitors, and on the other side is the idea that audiences matter but sites don't, that marketers should follow their target audience wherever they go.

Funny enough, if one were to imagine the highest standards of media planning stewardship, one might expect "classic ad targeting based on a site's content" to have its culmination in a Golden Age of Content. It follows that one might then imagine the remainder (remnant?) consigned to ages past.