Forget Multiplatform; Think Unplatform

Jeff Jarvis reads over yesterday’s post on Tom Freston’s remarks at Communacopia and the emphsasis on multiplatform, then makes the case for the unplatform: “”I’ll take it one step further: You don’t want to be multiplatform. You want to be unplatform. … this is about giving up the notion that your business is about controlling distribution deals or content creation — all very restrictive relationships that keep you from doing things because the other party wants control, too.”
He also picks up on Bob Cauthorn”s “screed” on newspapers. Cauthorn argues that the notion of platform shift is comfort to media execs because it suggests that people still want the product, only in different forms — and that it’s nonsense. “Platform shift is the argument for the status quo: We don’t have to do anything different. We don’t have to change. We just take our super-wonderful content and shove it down a different pipe and everyone can retire happy. … So what if … newspapers were to become product focused rather than brand focused? The old modes of thinking will crumble. The print problem and the digital opportunity will be viewed as separate, but entwined, issues. Digital media will be recognized for exactly what it is: a full medium in its own right, with its own internal logic, unique advantages, specific shortcomings and opportunities.”
This made me think of AP CEO Tom Curley’s Web 2.0 speech at ONA last fall: “Content will be more important than its container in this next phase. … You have to let the content flow where the users want to go.” Then I thought about the number of posts we have in any given week about companies across the media and entertainment industry trying to control the content in their containers. It’s like living in a parallel universe. One eensy positive sign — of late, some of those companies are emphasizing the need to balance their control issues with consumer needs for flexibility and portability.
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Related: Goldman Sachs Communacopia: Tom Freston, co-COO, Viacom