Indian Broadcasting sector is staring at a technological challenge that could help bridge the gap between monetizing content and having a credible currency – the currency that shall determine the value of media and its content vehicles. The vicious circle of ratings and numbers driving content and the trending quotient fueling platforms being pushed to curate, what sells has to be broken. The dire need is to add one more dimension to monetization process – credibility.
There is an underlying challenge within the broadcast medium, especially in journalism or non-fiction television industry, as it does not have a robust business model. Media outlets have a singular strategy for monetization that is heavily dependent on rating-linked-advertisements. Content per se has no takers. The key question to ask is: who would like to pay for a credible service? Indian subcontinent is still coping with the free media syndrome. Hence, rating-driven logic most of the times acts contrary to the need for credibility. With a year-long election fever dominating the news coverage, news is largely clouded by fake news, misinformation, disinformation, and propaganda in overt and covert forms. It is indeed a serious problem and it goes without saying that public perception of the media is at an all-time low.
Apart from trying to fight fake news at its source, there has to be accountability pinned down on creators and disseminators of current affairs content, buyers included. Why should media buyers rely upon frenzy or mere propaganda that is only laced with business bias? It is a tough situation to be in. The transition phase is crucial. How can one restore confidence in quality journalism and mitigate the influence of bad actors?
Technology companies are trying to push for block chain-based content management systems. Is there a solution in that? Yes, indeed, there could be a very credible solution that begins the dialogue and demands credibility. Publishers will have the option of publishing content in block chain transaction comments, thereby rendering the content immutable and tamper-evident.
A block chain can serve the purpose, if it has metadata feature and integration with the Open Index Protocol. A solution that provides a standard for uploading content to a block chain is waiting to be implemented. The source will have the article’s content, the time and date of submission, and the name of the creator and much more.
The term that a particular content is trending or is viral amidst the social media sharing and forwarding community has to have its accountability. Who shares what and why? Who creates it and disseminates using which platform or a tool cannot remain anonymous anymore. Free media is absolutely fine but the sense of self-regulation and responsibility shall be a crucial factor.
It is about time the block chain transaction comments become more standardized in an effort to build a global database of articles that can be easily indexed, searched, and distributed. Time-stamping digital content, using block chain technology, is going to be equivalent of peer-to-peer electronic cash system like the crypto currency. Evolving block chain media protocols promote a participatory mode of news production and consumption.
How can the content be valued in terms of monetization? The quality of content shall depend on many factors and the primary currency quotient shall be credibility. The cryptographic-equivalent solution to credible sourcing and distributing content could push the news organizations and distribution platforms to vie for credibility ratings instead of just ramping up their eyeballs, based on frenzy and so-called trending content. It is this technological solution and awareness for need of credibility that will provide a fresh outlook to monetization tools of non-fiction content.
Are we ready for subscription-based business models in our industry, or is it too early? The answer lies in the need to ask such a question. The need is growing every minute and time is ticking. Content creators, disseminators, and consumers feel the need to harp on credibility. So shall the buyers recognize the need of the hour? All of us want it. Then let us go for it.