It’s All About Content

VoicenData Bureau
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The "information age" is seeing the emergence

of knowledge as the new source of power. The "infopower" will help reduce

disparities by making information available to all—Internet being the powerful

medium. To spread knowledge, content creation is the need of the hour.

The arrival of information

age—coinciding with that of the new millennium—is a consequence of the

convergence of communications, computers, and the content. The industrial age brought

prosperity but did not bridge economic disparities. Access to knowledge or information is

now considered the tool for removing disparities—not only between nations but also

individuals. Knowledge or information would thus be truly the new source of power in the

information age.

Internet has already established

itself as the single most important medium for information. The service

providers—whether telecom operators or broadcasters—have to identify the

subscriber’s information needs and ensure delivery of this content—through

fixed, mobile, or Internet—in a user-friendly format.


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Besides E-mail, the main web

applications world-wide are accessing information, entertainment, education, and research.

Each of these requires development of specialized content. At least around 20 percent

surfers world-wide use web for news and information. An ISP can collaborate with a Content

Service Provider (CSP) to deliver news and information in user-friendly formats in the

subscriber’s mail box. By customized selection of headlines, personalized news

service is created and delivered. However, any content needs to be culturally and socially



CNN Leads the Way COLOR="#000000">

Some of the players have

initiated revolutionary work in content creation. One of the foremost being CNN. Its web

sites including,,,, and are

getting consistently ranked as #1 Internet news sources. They generate more traffic and

attract more unduplicated Internet users than any other general news and information web

sites. "@plan’s" spring/summer 1998 data reports a monthly 11,793,042

unduplicated Internet users in the United States for the CNN web sites.

The CNN web sites served a record

34 million page impressions on 11 September, the day when the Starr Report was released

on-line. The CNN web sites including three other CNN niche news sites—CNN Custom

News,, and Svenska CNN—averaged more than 105 million page

impressions per week during December 1998. In 1998, the sites served 4.4 billion page

impressions, double the sites’ traffic in 1997. PC World awarded CNN Interactive with

the 1998 World Class Award for Best News and Information Web Site.


Power of Brand COLOR="#000000">


plays an important role in speedy acceptance of new technologies. Role of branded content

in the success of TV and cable TV is well known—it should be used similarly by

emerging ISPs. Likewise, it fuels content acceptance. Leading brands like CNN and
face="Times New Roman" size="2">Times are capitalizing on their brand equity for

web sites to maintain leadership. TV has the limitation of time and hence, program

creation. Although it has the advantage of reach, user has a limited control on access.

Ultimately, the broadcast media

like TV may provide only a glimpse—more to promote—and help in brand

building, while the real content will be accessed through Internet which provides the user

control on the content. For ISPs, brand can help differentiate. CNN provides an ideal

benchmark for content creation.


Operators have to ensure delivery

of the content and in turn maximize usage. Authorities have to provide the policy

framework so that economic benefits reach the masses and disparities are reduced. To

maximize usage, operators need to educate customers about contents and benefits of


The Indian Effort COLOR="#000000">

In India, the face="Times New Roman" size="2">Times of India Group has started

with 10 web sites catering to various types of news. There are others too. While the print

media limited by space can carry short interviews, the web can provide far more details.

Putting the control in user’s hands. And that is what it is all about.