Rights-holders are starting to think seriously about how the internet helps people to create content, as well as consume it.
Digital content has become more malleable as well as more accessible, enabling fans of different artists and genres to stamp their own mark on somebody else’s work, from remixing songs, pictures and video to subtitling films and TV shows.
“The internet has opened up a creative process, in which both artists and consumers build on the inventiveness of past or present creators in their own artistic pursuits,” notes a new report, ‘The Business of Creativity: Seeking Value in the Digital Content Ecosystem’, published this month by the World Economic Forum.
“The internet has multiplied the opportunities to build upon the culture around us, and democratized the ability to draw upon this culture,” the authors add.
This trend is especially apparent in growth markets. Attitudes to exchanging and remixing content online are notably different in Indonesia for example (see graphic below), reflecting how the country’s traditional culture of sharing has manifested itself online.
“Indonesians go online primarily to share and connect with others, less so to access content or for self-expression,” the report notes.
More open owners
All this poses a dilemma to rights-holders. Strict oversight acts as an important safeguard against inappropriate use of content. On the other hand, a looser approach can leverage passionate fan-bases, an increasingly potent driver of brand and distribution in a digital age.
Attribution also becomes more complex, as more people play a part in the creative process.
Nonetheless, companies such as Disney are engaging more closely with amateur creators, by buying YouTube networks or MCNs for example, to test new ways they can work with consumers to create value.
“The spirit of remixing… is not uniquely created by the internet,” the report states.
“However, the internet does propel it by expanding opportunities for content discovery, tinkering and audience reach.”