Should content entertain or help people make decisions?
Jackson writes, “The entertainment business is tough, because there’s tremendous growth in supply of video, photos, music, text and games for desktop and mobile users. It’s hard to charge for content when lots is freely available, and ads have low engagement when the user is there for entertainment.
“There’s an alternative for content providers: to be in the business of helping people make decisions. For example, our goal at Seeking Alpha is to help you make better investment decisions. When you’re helping users to make important decisions, they’re more willing to pay. And if an advertiser can suggest a compelling solution for what the user is trying to do, that’s valuable.
“Some people think they’re not in the entertainment business, but in fact they are. Newspapers and news websites often fall into this category. They’re largely event-driven, often focus on personal experiences, and slip into simplistic narratives and memes — because those things create an engaging and familiar story-line for readers. They’re in the ‘infotainment’ business.
“If they were in the ‘we help you to make decisions’ business, they’d operate very differently. They’d be more focused on data, provide more context around events, spend less time on personal experiences and anecdotes, and increase their coverage of societal changes rather than events.”
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