We live in a world of media convergence, where all forms of content are becoming one.

It’s a world where print periodicals also create audiovisual content. It’s a world where radio and television stations expect their talent to create written content via blogging. That’s not surprising to any of us any more.

This, however, might surprise you: content is now a two-way street. You’ve always been able to watch television or movies.  You’re used to listening to the radio or to prerecorded music. Most of us still read the “paper”, even if the newspaper we read is delivered to us electronically, instead of on paper.

Now, while you’re busy consuming content, your content is busy consuming you.

What happens when your e-reader can read you? Aside from the obvious privacy issues, you start learning. A lot. This passage says it all: “The longer a mystery novel is, the more likely readers are to jump to the end to see who done it. People are more likely to finish biographies than business titles, but a chapter of a yoga book is all they need. They speed through romances faster than religious titles, and erotica fastest of all.”

Observations about this New York Times piece on electronic publishers tracking reader usage habits:

  1. What would you do if you knew exactly how your audience consumed your creative product? Well, now that you can do that precisely, how will you find out what people are doing with your creative works and what will you do about?
  2. If your work is available on an All-You-Can-Read service like Scribd, you’d better pay close attention to the part of your contract that specifies what percentage of your work a user needs to read before you get paid.
  3. If your only reaction to this is, “Hmm…look at those user habits!  I should start publishing erotica,” you’ve been working in Rock Radio for far too long.

It isn’t particularly challenging to adapt similar questions and observations to audiovisual and audio-only content distribution.

If your reaction to this isn’t, “Hmm…I should learn how my consumers are using my content,” it’s time to check your reactions.

Oh, and if you’re a content creator making a deal with a distributor, you might want to make sure your contract guarantees you access to that information.

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