The Experts vs. the Amateurs: A Tug of War over the Future of Media
A tug of war over the future of media may be brewing between so-called user-generated content -- including amateurs who produce blogs, video and audio for public consumption -- and professional journalists, movie makers and record labels, along with the deep-pocketed companies that back them. The ultimate outcome, suggest experts at Wharton, will be a hybrid approach that features entirely new business models.
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Joel Waldfogel is Wharton business and public policy professor, and Kendall Whitehouse is senior director of IT at Wharton,
Whitehouse distinguishes professional content on the basis of its editorial process. "Carefully checked sources and consistent editorial guidelines are key differences between most professional and amateur content," he suggests, while noting that, "Both bring value. The latter brings quickness and a personal viewpoint and the former provides analysis and consistent quality. The world I want to live in includes healthy doses of both categories."
Waldfogel notes that even amateurs will face business model challenges as their content evolves. "What are the real economics of putting out something that's worth watching?" asks Waldfogel. "Producing a blog that anybody wants to read is hard. To get content that people want to see requires investment."
Whitehouse agrees, and sees a hybrid approach emerging that embraces both professional and amateur content.