Curation is not a word (so I’ve been told by my grammarian spouse), but you wouldn’t know it by its prevalent use in the media world. Powerful concepts won’t wait for cataloging by reference librarians, and curation is no exception. It seems a logical extension: curators curate, therefore the process is curation (right?). And why is curation critical for successful business models in media? There are three primary drivers, all of them long established trends:
- Ubiquity – the persistent growth in the volume of content online
- Promiscuity – the availability of content across multiple platforms
- Time – the increased speed/limited duration in which to locate content
As concepts, these drivers – when lodged far to one scale or the other – result in direct challenges for consumers:
- Inability to locate content
- Difficulty in accessing content
- Increase in time spent acquiring content
These trends simply amplify noise, but a dangerous byproduct is also in play as a result of heightened noise for the consumer: loss of market education. For consumers media licensing, the ability to navigate an evolving content landscape with efficacy, accuracy and confidence demands that the consumer has a firm grasp on issues such as copyright, licensing terms and usage. They must understand the risks in non-vetted sources, and are more reliant upon crowd or peer vetted sources than ever before.
As the landscape extends and territory morphs, consumers become more reliant upon those who have domain expertise – those who curate and can identify with accuracy – the desired content. Curation can effectively dial down the noise related to the effects of ubiquity, promiscuity and (save) time, but also can provide additional lasting value in training the marketplace.