Content Throws Off Covers, Stands Awkwardly

The CBC announced yesterday that it intends to reimagine itself as a content provider. Richard Stursburg, VP of English Programming, said “the CBC will have to transition from being a radio or television company to a content company, because contentwhether it be TV, radio, or online contentis increasingly untethered from its originating platform.”

It’s strange that they felt the need to make this announcement, since I was already thinking of the CBC as a content-driven company. I subscribe to several CBC Twitter and RSS feeds and listen to CBC Radio on the way to and from work. There’s a heavy overlap in content across delivery platforms, which seems to be the drawback to this type of user-content relationshipit just feels repetitive after a while. In any case, if even the old CBC is heading in this direction, the change everyone is talking about must really be happening.

But digital news content is one matter; the intellectual property previously known as the book is another. As publishers increasingly see the information between the pages as content, business models feel the push to change to accommodate the new possibilities of delivery. The pricing debate, though the talk was about format, inherently had content at its core. So what happens when content unleashed from the printed page? Rights management is undergoing changes; even poets I know are getting e-book clauses in their contracts. What DRM will look like in Apple’s iBook storewill it follow the iTunes model?is still a matter of speculation. These are just a few of the questions surrounding new ideas about content, and there aren’t really any easy answers.

Never fear, content managers! Help is on the way. Deanna McFadden, Marketing Manager for Online Content and Strategy at HarperCollins Canada, will lead a session at our 2010 Tech Forum called Has Content Outgrown Its Covers? that will tackle just these questions. Given her experience as an Executive Producer for Alliance Atlantis combined with her role at HarperCollins, I think she will have some useful insight that will help us transition as The Book becomes The Content.