The Science and Emotion of Content@Scale

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picture alliance/ Kai-Uwe Wärner

In the morning of the second day of DLD15, Jeff Jarvis took to the stage once more, this time to speak with Samir Arora. The American entrepreneur, inventor and investor, Arora, is probably still best known as a veteran of Apple Computer, Inc., where he was in the 1980s. But just over a decade ago, in 2004, Arora founded Mode Media (formerly Glam) and has been its CEO since 2006. Under his leadership, Mode has become the largest private company in reach in the US and the #7 Media Property in the Top 100 over 400 million consumers a month.

“When we first began in 2005, we were twelve creators who were creating content,” Arora said. Coming from Apple Arora and his colleagues were more product than content producers. So they began to wonder how to become a platform company. “That’s when we saw a phenomenon, which to us meant there was a transformation going on in media.” Traditionally, publishing houses held a virtual monopoly over distribution. But thanks to new technology, those who were creating content were also publishing it.

In the US, there are 113 thousand journalists and writers. The average salary within the profession in $37 thousand a year. Top earning journalists make around $58 thousand a year. By comparison, Mode has paid its content producers $250 million in the last five years.

“It’s time to but one of those new media myths,” Arora said. “People say you need cats to go viral. You don’t. Nor do you need cute babies or funny dogs. The truth is that content is spread by influentials.”

Introducing a model Arora and CUNY professor and author Jarvis have been working on together, there are five types of company: 1. Companies that don’t pay for content or traffic, e.g. Facebook 2. Companies that don’t pay for traffic only pay for content that monetizeable with rev share 3. Companies that pay for content by employees/partners whether viewed or not, and do not pay for traffic (YouTube) 4. Companies that pay for content and traffic e.g. Conde Nast 5. Companies that provide technology to run ads not sold directly by publishers or exchange for trading (Google ads)

Arora also broke down the science of content, which goes through the successive steps of creation; curation; distribution; discovery; amplification; and multiplication. In fact, content can be spread in a single viral loop or a double viral loop. A single viral loop is if you have content, and you tell it to someone to spread it. This is the normal way content is spread. Double viral loops are very rare. This is when, like Facebook for instance, you have content, you tell it to someone to spread, and they invite all influentials to spread that content. This has a massive effect.

Ending the talk Jarvis summed up its message by saying: “Media is people.”

Mentioned in this live blog

Jeff jarvis quadr
Jeff Jarvis
CUNY Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
Professor & Director
CUNY Center for Entrepreneurial Journalism
Basking Ridge, NJ
Samirarora carre web
Samir Arora
Mode Media
CEO & Founder
Mode Media

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