Content Buying – Content Aggregation or Disaggregation: A Report by Valerie Ryder
The popular topic of “Content Buying: Content Aggregation or Disaggregation” was debated at the Monday June 13th session sponsored by the Leadership and Management Division, Content Buying Section at the SLA 2011 Conference. A panel of publishers and content buyers looked at the future of content aggregation, trends in disaggregation and how these issues affect purchasing decisions and usability of information.
For purposes of discussion, the terms were defined as Aggregated Content being available on multiple vendors and Disaggregated Content being available only on one vendor platform.
Some industry trends were presented as an initial starting point for the discussion:
- Pendulum has swung towards exclusivity in recent years.
- 400 titles have moved into some degree of exclusivity in the past 5 years; 50% of those have moved to a single vendor situation.
- In 90% of the past 25 deals, it was the publisher that sought out the exclusive deal.
Publishers expressed the following reasons for seeking exclusivity for their content:
- # 1 Reason: only way to continue publishing that content was to go exclusive
- # 2 Reason: publisher wanted additional features for content and to accomplish that functionality they needed to be exclusive or semi-exclusive.
- Costs of digitizing content have not been recouped as quickly as anticipated, so they needed to increase revenue
- Wanting to “own the last mile” in the delivery chain to the end-user
Content buyers expressed the following issues with the move to exclusivity:
- Price increases that result from exclusive source for content
- Content that is only offered as part of a bundle
- More licenses to read and to determine what are the terms and restrictions on use of content
- Lack of notification when content is removed or moved to a new provider
- Some content is used in conjunction with other content from another provider so users want multiple content sources to be available on the same platform.
The discussion was congenial and respectful despite the strong feelings on both sides of the question. This open dialogue resulted in a better understanding of the motivations for and impact resulting from the decision to move to disaggregated content.
Valerie Ryder, Director of Information Strategy
Wolper Subscription Services