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Bite sized business content

July 19, 2013

As part of exploring a visionary future in which people will access bite-sized pieces of content (any type of media) from a wide range of electronic publications, anywhere, anytime and will be willing to pay small sums for each transaction, we need to explore what the underlying business models might be that would support this.

The nirvana of access to bite-sized content is not new: but we believe that it is now timely to develop a business around this. The factors which convince us are:

• Technology is now in a state where it can change the user experience and hence the business model.

• The growth of mobile devices and social media has meant that increasingly consumers – whether in a business or private context – expect access immediately and instantaneously. People use apps or the web on the fly to orientate themselves, download music, touch base with friends, catch up on school or work projects. Trading through portals is accepted, from eBAY to The characteristics of new generation-short attention span, any device, content is free; the public does “get” self-publishing, but many authors are not yet using social media.

• In the academic world, digital has become the way of working, not just in subjects like astrophysics or social science, which have always been connected with computation, but in the traditional laboratory subjects such as chemistry and biology, now increasingly based on large data sets, and arts where scanned images mean analysis and synthesis power previously undreamt of. Librarians, with shining exceptions, have not kept pace with this, leaving a gap which academics have had to fill by adding to their skills.

• Meanwhile, in the EU, open access is being introduced, whereby content generated with public funds is rightly accessible to all, including researchers, without cost. At the same time, IP rights are increasingly being sought by the Universities rather than belonging to the individual.

• The nature of teaching and learning is changing – with the availability of MOOCs (Massive Open Online Courses), the emphasis moves from standard courses to tailoring the individual student’s needs and to team-based learning. And in the UK, FE Colleges are being orientated towards courses for specific employers, which might span, say, law, marketing, HR and network wiring.

• Finally, the pioneers in the 80’s and 90’s invested millions in building web sites before finding out that they had no market. The availability of components and IT platforms to experiment with users’ needs and wants is a key reason why now is timely – with such flux in the market, experimentation and adaptation of the user experience is the smart way to go.

We are holding a brainstorm on changing business models in the TMT world, on 24th July in central London. We are happy to invite readers with expertise in any area of TMT – music, film, publishing, radio, advertising etc – please email us at

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