Repurposable and Revisitable 

Day 98 Week 14 Q2 Saturday, April 8, 2023

In January 1996, Bill Gates wrote an essay titled “Content is King,” “Content is where I expect much of the real money will be made on the Internet, just as it was in broadcasting.” Content creators have thought what they were doing mattered and would make them rich for years. The ones who learned to make content that could be repurposed did better than the ones who did not. Thirty years ago, in 1993, I founded a sound-centric multimedia company called ESCAtech, whose business model required content reuse to be profitable.  We discovered that writing original music to accompany corporate and educational videos could be reused.

For years movie broadcast rights have been resold multiple times to various video outlets at first quite a time after the fact and more recently almost in tandem. Author’s books can show up in print, on electronic devices and in recorded audio versions. Music is licensed for everything from commercials to video soundtracks and on CDs, vinyl and streaming.

In addition to content being able to be repurposed, some of it is also created to be revisited. Video games are an example, where they can be played repeatedly and more times than watching the same video. People also revisit books as their meaning can change depending on context. Listening to the same music for years is another example of revisiting content.

There can be other kinds of revisitable content whereby books can be extensible and connect to the web. Nonlinear content is now available due to random access. We can peruse digital in whatever order we want, as easily as tung pages in a book, not in the default order they are presented.

Audiences now expect more control over the media they consume, not just in stating and stopping and making it louder and softer. The more revisited content is expected to be, the more control needs to be provided. Changing contexts also can change the trajectory a listener, viewer or reader may choose to explore. We are no longer expecting to read from beginning to end. In fact, many no longer read complete books but browse and skim.

The more we stream content, the more we can mess with the delivery.  Want captions? Speeded-up playback? Downloaded for later? Linked to other content? We have many choices. 

As AI enters creation and navigation processes, things will become even more nonlinear, repurposable and, yes, more revisitable. A high percentage of creative outliers find themselves creating content at least some of the time. We need to be more mindful of just how malleable content needs to be in order to have the flexibility to be repurposed, reused and revisited if we are to be profitable. 

This will become a competitive requirement as those who consider these content creation and deployment aspects will be more profitable and hence more sustainable than those who do not.

If you want to create compelling content, spend some time thinking about how it will be deployed, for it is likely to be in multiple ways. This may also be a critical competitive differentiator in multiple ways.