The combination of fog, a rescheduled flight and tiredness to drive five hours colluded to prevent my participation on a panel about the ‘content economy’ at Jaipur Bookmark this year. So when one of my colleagues suggested I write about what I might have said, I thought why not.
In no particular order, these are the thoughts that crossed my mind:
We are using the two words – ‘content’ and ‘economy’ – together because technology has enabled content to be viewed not passively but interactively. This has made the relationship between both content and reader, and content and advertiser, much richer than before. From there emerges new business models and an ‘economy’ that is not just defined by volume but also by new content experiences.
This has in turn set off an almost virtuous cycle – better digital products created smarter users who in turn demanded even more from digital products. So the products invested more and worked harder. That led to better writers who did more on a certain product or branched out on their own to build their own audiences. Audiences began an exploration of the content aided by social platforms and their communities, and went to many corners of the internet. In the middle of all this, brands figured out they needed to dig deep and actually communicate what they stand for by getting closer to content and audiences. And native content grew up.
We benefitted and learnt from all of this at Firstpost. We created a brand that spoke to a digital native with candour and flair. And advertisers supported us with branded content.
Now at Juggernaut, we are experimenting yet again, because we think this smart user, who has become used to smart content, will pay for intellectual and social pursuit. We think technology can enable us to make better books for the smart user, who will then demand new formats and more interaction. Because with books, like in TV, plots can be as complicated as ever, and people will engage more with the content. Technology will evolve fiendishly to enable this, and this needn’t be a lonesome pursuit – we plan to make it as social as possible.
Here is where building a vertical commerce channel is critical. In this world of infinite digital options, vertical products think about solving user problems more carefully and passionately than horizontal platforms. Vertical products also provide a much richer opportunity to build brands that can become daily-use apps. Within the deep and wide world of books Juggernaut hopes to pay kind and passionate attention to user problems and take risks in an industry that so far hasn’t.
Today, when you see someone on her phone a lot, you call it an addiction. We’d like to call it devouring. On Juggernaut.