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The Distributed Media Model

As the ancient Greek philosopher, Heraclitus, once said “Change is the only constant in life.” It was true in 500 B.C.E and it is even more true today. Our modern media landscape is constantly evolving. It wasn’t long ago that the only way to consume media was to physically set the dial to the desired channel. The desktop computer combined with the internet changed all of that, giving us more choice and more platforms to consume media. With the introduction of smart phones and the resulting explosion of social media, people are consuming far more media than ever before. However, they are less likely to visit an owned and operated website to do it, than over their social channels.

This is where the Distributed Media Model comes in. The term refers to any content created by a publisher to live on an external platform, such as Facebook, YouTube, Twitter, Amazon Prime, ect., without directing the user back to the publishers owned and operated platform.

By taking advantage of social platforms and their strong targeting capabilities, brands can use the Distributed Media Model as a cost-efficient and engaging method to reach their audience. One company that has been taking full advantage of this model is Group Nine, a holding company founded in 2016 that houses The Dodo, NowThis and Seeker. At a recent DigiDay podcast recording, Group Nine president Christa Carone said the strategy has paid off.

“We have a high double digital earnings growth across all our platforms. If I wasn’t happy with it, we’d be building out a bunch of [owned and operated platforms] and trying to drive you into other destinations,” said Carone. “Group Nine is distributing content across 20 platforms. Facebook is big for The Dodo. But it’s also huge on YouTube. The Dodo and NowThis were the top earning brands on Twitter last quarter. Thrillist is on Amazon Prime. When a platform sneezes, we’re not catching a cold. We’re focused on premium content and bringing it to places where people are watching.” Carone also spoke about the scale that is now attainable.

“We can do bigger deals with advertisers because you can buy audience against the scale that we’re able to deliver. Bigger is better in this situation if you’ve been responsible in the way you’ve managed your business. Because we’re the number one storyteller on mobile, are platform agnostic and play very nice in the sandbox with the platforms, we have an advantage with each platform.

Social media has permanently altered the way people consume online, and it is more unlikely than ever that these methods will move back to the initial days of the web. For example, one of the brands under Group Nine, NowThis, boasts over one billion views monthly across all platforms. Those are no small numbers. The distributed Media Model is here, at very least in part, for good.

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