10/09

“Being There” is Overrated

From Seth Godin:

Ubiquitous distribution is overrated

Some industries (like book publishers and analgesic makers) believe that they best serve their audience when the product is available everywhere. It’s pretty rare to find a book that’s only available in one chain of bookstores, or a pain reliever that’s only in one sort of drugstore.

The thing is, scarcity creates value. You can’t get a Pepsi at McDonald’s. You can’t buy Hermes at Target. By limiting choice, you can create value. Exclusivity is often underrated.

The significance of this for an audience of broadcasters can’t be overstated.

We assume that new – especially digital – channels of distribution exist in order for us to “be there, too.”

Everyone has a mobile phone?  We need to “be there, too.”

People want to stream audio online?  We need to “be there, too.”

While “being there” is indeed important, it’s what we do there that’s really critical.

And the mistake is to imagine that it’s the same thing we’re doing here – over the air – where we are right now.

Since scarcity does indeed create value, what’s “scarce” about what you’re doing there in that new platform or channel of distribution?

Creating content and experiences marked by their scarcity means creating ones primed with value.  On the other hand, repurposing what we have simply because it’s “what we have” in a desperate effort to “be there, too” is like joining the right game with the wrong ball.

What, there’s no FM receiver on mobile phones?  We need to “be there, too.”

Why?  To provide the same thing offered on the 575 million radios in the U.S. by more than 10 thousand radio stations?

Or to provide something that stands out from a crowded field of options that have no seat at today’s radio table and, frankly, aren’t looking for one?

Something scarce.  Something fantastic.  Something worth waiting for, worth looking for, worth telling others about, worth loving.

That’s not just about creating radio, folks.  It’s about creating great entertainment.

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