Tuesday, May 16, 2006

The Big Picture

Mike Davidson, CEO of Newsvine, suggested that he wants to keep his RSS feeds pure — no ads, no content other than headlines — so that the feed is just an update mechanism to drive content back to his site. That’s the third time today someone’s suggested that the publisher can decide the consumption dynamics around their content… maybe I’m too close to it (and too invested in seeing feeds succeed as a viable content delivery mechanism), but this just rings wrong to me.

I responded during the Q&A period saying that feed subscriptions are up over 100% over the last 4 months for our publishers… that growth far eclipses the corresponding growth in site traffic over the same period of time for those publishers. Mike’s right when he says that the audience size for feeds is smaller than sites — but we’re already at a point where some sites have more feed subscribers than they have daily unique visitors. Publishers are not in control of where their audience consumes the content, though they can certainly measure the consumption itself, and then act on where it’s happening. To think that you can dictate when and where consumers get your content — well, I think that presumes a level of control that publishers don’t have today, if they ever did.

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