The Three Pillars of Great Content

This Content Of A Thing is a series on… well… the content business. The Three Pillars of Great Content is episode 1 or 2 depending on whether you consider the first article an episode or an intro.

I think that the first pillar of great content is that it’s delivered in a non-linear manner. That basically means that it’s delivered on-demand; whenever I want it. It’s basically a shift from “catching XXX show at 8.00 pm” to getting the content whenever I want and any number of times I want after it has premiered.

This isn’t that much of a mind-shift as people may assume. Think about video clubs or all the people selling pirated DVDs. They make content accessible on-demand. No, you didn’t “catch” 24 on Fox when it premiered, but you can watch every episode at your convenience and as many times as you like on DVD or from someone’s hard drive.

Perhaps one of Nollywood’s greatest strengths was that it has been distributed primarily as an on-demand platform (via DVDs). Of course, today IrokoTV and its gazillion clones have taken the medium to its logical conclusion – on-demand delivery on the internet.

Another thing I think is important for content is mobility and portability. Mobility & portability are not the same thing. Mobility is really a function of devices and that’s not really a content distribution issue. Portability is more important – it simply means access that I can access wherever I am.

Portability is an accepted concept with music. While the Walkman provided mobility, tapes provided some measure of portability, allowing the owners of the tapes access their content anywhere there was a terminal (tape player). Today, portability is executed more elegantly with user accounts. My Deezer account is linked to my Facebook account. Once I get to any terminal (PC/mobile) that is compatible with Deezer (has the Deezer app or can access the Deezer website), logging in with my account should allow me access my music, playlists etc.

I suspect that in the near future, we’d be able to carry our Spotify/Deezer playlists into planes, replacing that horrid entertainment system with our own selections.

Of course, all this is quite pointless if the content is pure unadulterated crap. Or even mediocre crap. Music & video creation tools have become cheaper, allowing a plethora of content to be released on the world. However, most of it is distressingly bad, amateurish stuff that can’t possibly yield a cent of profit for the owners or distributors. The truth is that we all jones for quality content. It is the reason some movies get viewed more often. It is part of the reason that Game of Thrones is the most pirated show of all time. So yes, the third ‘pillar’ is that content has to be good.

Why is this important? Well, if you’re going to be the preferred video or audio provider of the future, you’ve got to check all these boxes. And that’s why the next post is about DSTV, Iroko TV, HBO and Netflix.

Seyi Taylor has worked in medicine. Now he works in design, and technology (and sometimes medicine). Follow him on Twitter here.

Content designed by Cengiz SARI from The Noun Project.


  • In the US, we have a real problem with portability. What if I can’t do iTunes (linux)? What if I don’t have an internet connection available (planes, airports, grandmas house, etc), or it is not fast enough?

    Back in the 80’s there was a band called the Dead Milkmen who released their album on tape with one side blank. The blank side said “Mix-tapes are killing the recording industry. We left this side blank so you could help”. They made plenty of money.

    Fast forward to now, and you have Michael Lombardo (HBO’s programming chief), that his bigger concern “wasn’t the people who were downloading, but that by downloading they’d get an inferior product”. They also made plenty of money.

    Now there was another great article here at TC talking about how people need to learn to pay for things again. Though I agree, that needs to be tempered by making it easy for them to pay as well as access that for which they have paid.

    Like you said, if you can check all three boxes you win 🙂

    • Seyi Taylor says:

      Great comment Alex. I think portability is a problem all over the world really. DSTV (our local cable provider) is trying to solve this with a device called the Drifta that theoretically will allow you to watch TV on any computer or terminal as long as you’re where they have signal. Which (theoretically) means that I could carry my Drifta to my grandparents’, pop open my laptop and keep watching cable.

      Alright, time to finish up post III

  • malign says:

    Well written.

  • The idea of portability as access is a tad ahead of its time in Nigeria…just a tad though. Because of one thing. Always on broadband. All this talk of Spotify and Deezer and logging in to your content seamlessly wherever doesn’t make sense without it.

    Till high school students can afford an always on internet connection, boys will be stuffing their phones with music via memory sticks and walking around with external hard disks. And roadside installer/downloader business in Ikeja will keep thriving.

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