Is our marketplace under siege or underdeveloped?

 Is there too much content or too little of the right content?

 Is our content trapped or is it now business without boundaries?

These are three of the questions that we will explore during my Keynote Address at the Discoverability Summit, hosted by The CRTC and the National Film Board on December 1, 2015, in Vancouver.

Forces of change are rendering a new marketplace. Traditional broadcasters and brands are starving for cash, creators, producers and new distributors for an opportunity, and many of the old players are being dis-intermediated.

Almost anyone, anywhere, can create and publish, and that is driving an explosive growth in the abundance of content. Supply far outstrips demand; audiences have shattered, media continues to fragment and the new Titans; Google, Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Instagram, Huffington Post, BuzzFeed, etc., are trying to bring calm, control, and curation to this chaos.

The consumer is no longer a pawn, they are fully in charge. Armed with increasingly smarter and more intuitive devices, they have their content and community, they desire, within arms reach. No longer tethered to broadcasters who once dictated choice, time, and boundary they have moved with force from sedentary viewing to streaming, from linear to multi-screen and gamification, and their palette is shifting from ‘mass to my’ content.

The ‘Command and Control’ Gatekeepers with their fixed schedules and budgets have surrendered their keys. In their place are monetization models including subscription, pay for view, ad and brand sponsored, and crowd-funded. Business to business platforms is caving under the weight of direct to consumer. Social media is replacing the need for an instant hit. Around the corner is a world of hyper-connectivity, where 20 billion ‘machines’ will be connected all with the goal of enabling lives and livelihood.

For Canadian content producers and distributors, it is our time to realize our destiny, to capitalize on the opportunity. To create content that is worth discovering.

News, sports, and water cooler discussion shows will continue to create a market for appointment viewing. Big budget, professionally produced content will continue to draw big audiences. Curated user generated content, world’s worst home videos, first dances; cute puppies will have their 15 Megs of Fame. Just in time content that enhances the human’s experiences with their machines and platforms or simply entertains as they live, work, play and even shunted around in their driverless cars. Niche markets that serve culture, ethnicity, curiosity, behaviour or deep dives into long tail passions are all valid and worth serving.

In this new world order, trust and talent, not timetables will matter most. The content that best feeds the viewer’s appetite for funny, scary, love, fear, knowledge, purpose, first to know, self-actualization, tribal, etc. will win. Why? Emotion and need fires engagement and engagement will always be the oxygen of our industry.

This industry will be no ‘skip pin the park’. Demand will never match supply as the barriers to creating content continue to collapse. Technology will do more for less, and the digital natives of Generation Y and Z will create, collaborate and mash as second nature.

Subsidization will decrease resulting in discoverability becoming the lifeblood of our respective enterprises. The creators and distributors that harness the power and potential of data to shape their stories and distribution paths will hold a trump card of immense value. Quality Algorithms that values engagement over eyeballs will emerge. Big data and powerful technology will map out each viewer’s journey and offer monetization opportunities at every touch point. Did the content inspire and motivate the viewer to consume more? Did it motivate the use of a second screen to explore or discover more, to dive deeper, to invite, share, contribute or even fund the content? Did it add to the building of a passionate community? Did the viewing experience trigger adjacent purchases?

This is our time, Canada’s time, to re-imagine, re-invent and re-act to Content in the Age of Abundance. Join in the conversation at the CRTC’s and NFB’s Discoverability Summit. Watch it live at on December 1st and use #discoverability on social media during the event.

Re-Act with me @TonyChapman and

As a child, I learned about new films and television series in the schoolyard. Back then, discoverability often depended on word of mouth. However, that method was not very efficient, since by the time you heard about it, the film or first episode had already been broadcast…

A few years later, word of mouth became more efficient, as sometimes a schoolmate would have the brilliant idea of recording the first episode on a VHS tape. As well, I could rent films at the video store.

Then the Internet changed everything…

I never again missed a first episode because I can now watch it at any time. However, 400 hours of content are uploaded every minute, and that’s only to YouTube. Now, according to Statistics Canada, I still have another 44 years to live. I can’t watch and listen to everything; so what do I do?

My friends and favourite columnists continue to suggest their favourites, but they too face an overabundance of content. I can count on the trailers, but after seeing so many of them, I sometimes lose interest in watching the program or film. I can follow the recommendations of online content providers, but I think their algorithms have trouble categorizing my tastes, since I like too many genres. In any case, is it really healthy to always stick to the same genre? Don’t our tastes change over time? To know what we like, don’t we also have to know what we don’t like? To discover new territory, don’t we need to get off the beaten path? I again put the question to you: what to do?