Attention: the future of media

At Innovation Bay recently I hosted a dinner on the future of media. Our special guest for the evening was David Kirk, former captain of the All Blacks, Oxford scholar and CEO of Fairfax, a global media company operating from Sydney. While the discussion there is not disclosable (our sessions are always closed door), it did set in train some interesting thoughts.

Key of which is that the future of media lies in attention. Think about why Newscorp bought Myspace – to elicit the attention of a certain demographic. Exactly how and for how long one’s attention is captured is key to so much in the media area – the GYM (Google, Yahoo and MSN) purport to have this figured out and make money out of it by doing stuff like selling adwords.

It can be argued that our “attentionstream” is private data and that we should feel affronted if others exploit it…well, not sure I buy into that completely, but some folks have: enter the AttentionTrust. Seth Goldstein and co. have created this non profit based on the premise that:

“When you pay attention to something (and when you ignore something), data is created. This “attention data” is a valuable resource that reflects your interests, your activities and your values, and it serves as a proxy for your attention.”

Last evening I attended a function hosted by Ross Dawson, Chairman of the newly minted Future Exploration Network, to launch a Future of Media Summit they are putting on in Sydney and Silicon Valley simultaneously on the 18/19 July. Should be a fun event. As part of the launch Ross shared with us a Future of Media Strategic Framework, which is a great mindmap for visualizing the entire media space. I’d make one change though — at its very center I’d place a rather large target-shaped content box and fill it with one word, yip you guessed it: ATTENTION.

3 responses to “Attention: the future of media

  1. Hi Randal,
    I’m the Executive Director of AttentionTrust. Thought-provoking post, and thanks for pointing to us. I have some further thoughts in response at the AttentionTrust blog:

    I look forward to hearing more.

    Ed Batista

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