We don’t need more platforms. We don’t need new aggregators.

News platforms are a dime a dozen. There is always someone new who comes along and claims that their new product is going to "solve" news or change the way we consume it. For the most part, these services and platforms aggregate the information that is being produced and turn it into a more easily consumable format.

Apple News. Google News. Nuzzle. About a hundred others you haven't even heard of yet, and a thousand more who've gone bankrupt. The last AWS roadshow I was at in Sydney, I met three entrepreneurs working on the same news aggregate platform. You could do a shot every time someone pitches a Blockchain-based news platform and die of alcohol poisoning in a matter of hours. Everyone wants to be the one who builds the platform that replaces the way we traditionally consume media. But nobody wants to produce the news. 

The same is happening for all other content. Music. Movies. TV. Books. Netflix, Spotify and every other platform that comes tossing along with the bold promise of "changing how we consume whatever." It's happening for video games, too. People want to build a platform that puts them between the content creators and the content consumers.


Well, it's simple. There's an enormous amount of money to be made by being the winning platform that captures the majority of traffic share and becomes the dominant way to consume media. There's a clear benefit there for whoever builds that. 

But here's the problem. The content-based businesses — media publications, record companies, and film production companies — are running out of cash because every consecutive platform is taking a bigger and bigger cut of quickly diminishing profits. 

Here's where we get to the problem. The more we introduce platforms and channels meant to replace the original content creators as distributors and turn them solely into production houses, the more we dilute their income. And when that income is cut, there are four primary effects:

  1. Content creators take fewer risks and produce more generally appealing content of a lower quality to appeal to a broader audience.

  2. Content creators cut their losses and produce less content overall.

  3. Major content creators leave the business as their revenue streams cease to support their infrastructure and size.

  4. Entrepreneurs, watching financial gains plummet, refrain from founding new content-creation houses, meaning fewer companies appear to replace the ones that die.

All of this is one big fucking problem for the aggregators, the platforms, and the services that began the dilution in the first place. They will be faced with less and less quality content from fewer and fewer quality creators.

The option that appeals to the Platforms the most is to turn to the broader public as content-creating individuals rather than go through organisations. There's a great deal of content out there being produced by individuals, and much of it is quite good. 

There's enough user-generated content out there that the platforms will survive. They might thrive, for a time, with less money being paid to organisations and a fraction of those costs going to individuals instead. But the overall quality of the news, the media, and content will drop — because the organisations we have relied on to curate, cultivate, and develop content won't exist. 

Sooner or later, users will ask why they should pay to access platforms where they create all the content. This is quite a reasonable question, all things considered. 

Eventually, all the thousands of competing content platforms are going to have to do one of three things:

  1. Produce their own content. This is expensive, time-consuming and difficult. See: Netflix's massive content spend and the growing backlash from users who are frustrated with both the quality and longevity of the content produced. 

  2. Rely on AI to produce content. This is controversial, and many industry unions are pushing against it while consumers are increasingly being turned off. See: Disney using even a few small AI contributions in their Disney+ show Loki. 

  3. Pay for good content and stop pursuing endless growth at the cost of creativity. (Fucking revolutionary, I know. Where do I come up with these novel concepts?)

The truth is we need quality content. We need original stories, thought-provoking journalism, captivating films, and innovative games. Content fuels culture.

Platforms provide easier access and distribution, but they don't actually create anything. As aggregators and distributors squeeze content creators for higher margins, they risk killing the goose that laid the golden egg.

If we want a future with vibrant, diverse, and engaging content, platforms need to find a sustainable balance where content creators are adequately compensated. Otherwise, we will end up with a hollow shell of homogenised, AI-generated content tailored to the broadest demographics.

The platforms seeking to dominate the content landscape should consider their role in keeping creators solvent and empowered. There is an opportunity here to elevate the entire ecosystem. But progress requires platforms to prioritise sustainability over endless growth and people over profits. A healthy content ecosystem benefits everyone - creators, distributors and consumers alike.

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