The Changing Ecosystem of Content

Hand Drawing Content Flow ChartMy name is Casey Archer, and as part of the Omnicom Residency program I’ve been lucky enough to have the opportunity to spend three months within the strategy department of Ketchum’s New York office. Recently I attended Omnicom’s EMERGE Summit, which focused on the changes that are taking place in the rapidly evolving world of digital video content.

There’s a dramatic shift happening in the world of video content creation and distribution, a liberation of sorts from the confines of the traditional model that has endured for years. For almost all of us this isn’t a new revelation, we’ve seen the ongoing evolution and incremental steps towards a new model for years. For those of us on the marketing side, the shifting dynamics in the years to come will be distinctly advantageous to us.

The traditional major television networks are no longer the largest channels of content distribution to consumers. YouTube and other online content providers are the champions of the new open source distribution and have become home to self-selected and devoted fans. The audiences for YouTube channels are more concentrated, leading to a better ROI. In an almost Darwinian natural selection, these channels grow and evolve directly in response to their demand, otherwise they flounder and die. This open source model has led to the diversification of the marketplace and the rise of smaller, more niche audiences that wouldn’t have been sustainable under the traditional model driven by major networks, who appeal to a mass audience.

The diversification of video content has empowered marketers to release creative concepts outside the traditional confines of the :15 and :30 formats. Some of the most successful campaigns of the last year were long format productions such as Pepsi Max’s “Uncle Drew” and Dove’s “Real Beauty Sketches” campaigns. On the opposite end of the spectrum, there are also increasing opportunities for short format content, usually in the form of Vine and Instagram videos. These platforms have provided brands with relatively cheap and responsive means to create and deliver relevant content directly to consumers.

With the democratization of the content ecosystem, there’s an increasingly greater need to produce worthwhile content that leverages storytelling to truly engage the consumer and maximize visibility. The open network model changes the dynamics of video and enables anyone to produce content, which will cause other brands to increase content creation and vie for the same space on the consumers’ screens. It is essential to ensure that our content always tells a cohesive and compelling story where the consumer is the hero and main focus, and our brand acts as a catalyst to enable the consumer to reach their goals.

With the sheer volume of content that’s being put out on these platforms, sometimes leveraging storytelling still isn’t enough. The likelihood of a single piece of content being put into the world and taking off solely on organic growth is exceedingly small. To ensure that any work we introduce to the world will reach its maximum exposure and potential, it is more important than ever to incorporate seeding and promotional activity across a variety of platforms. Only then can we truly capitalize on the shifts that are occurring and the opportunity that is presented to us.

As we move into this new era of content creation and distribution, the dynamics will continue to shift and evolve, but the opportunity is larger than ever for our creative concepts to embrace innovative forms and flourish in this new ecosystem.

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