Nicholas Carr: Convergence of Media & Software

With the widespread adoption of Software-as-a-Service delivery and licensing models, software companies are increasingly experimenting with content creation and delivery. Similarly, the digitization of content has driven media companies to venture into territory that was traditionally the domain of software providers – developing interfaces and functionality that make it easy for consumers to manage, manipulate and share content.

Watch as Carr discusses these two converging trends and the increased demands they will place on cloud infrastructure through the need for vast amounts of online storage and greater processing power.

  1. Innovation – Beyond the Infrastructure (3:30)
  2. Democratization of Computing Power (1:55)
  3. The Explosion of Apps (2:08)
  4. The Convergence of Media & Entertainment and Software (3:08)
  5. Big Data vs. Right Data (2:19)

One of the most interesting changes that we’ve seen recently is that the media and entertainment business, and the software business, are becoming one business. This is radically different from the way it used to be. If you think about consumer software even a few years ago, it used to run like a consumer packaged-good type business. A customer would go to a store and they would buy a software package on a disc and stick it in your desktop computer, or your laptop, and you’d install it. That way of supplying software is now changing. Instead of people going out and buying software as a packaged good, they’re buying it, in effect, as a media service.

Today, you tap into an online application. Maybe you get it for free, but in return you watch ads, which has always been the media model on TV and elsewhere, or maybe you subscribe to a piece of software, to an app over time, and it changes every month, as we’ve seen with magazines in the past. Just as the software business is beginning to look more and more like the media business, the media business is starting to take on the characteristics of the software business. It used to be if you were in the media, you’re main focus, and sometimes your only focus, was providing content; text content stories in newspapers and magazines, video on TV, movies in cinema, and so forth. Now as all of those things move online, you’re not only supplying the content but you’re supplying a set of software functions that allow people to use the content, view the content, listen to the content, in different ways, and filter the content, and so forth. If you look at online newspapers or magazines, online video, it’s not just the content anymore, it’s all sorts of software capabilities for sharing, for tailoring the experience to your own needs. As that happens, as software and media start to look the same as businesses, we’re also seeing a lot of competition begin to cross those boundaries. You see software companies beginning to get into content development, and you see media companies begin to supply software. I think we’re going to continue to see the blurring of lines between the software and media business, until they’re essentially a single consumer service business. Again, this is another trend that’s going to put more demands on cloud infrastructure, cloud data centers. Because to supply all that content and software capability and to supply it at the speed people want, requires enormous amounts of online storage and processing capabilities.