How to monetize digital content by pushing pleasure buttons

Innovation guru Alexander Manu told the Playback Summit that content producers need to encourage play in behavior spaces, much as Facebook, YouTube and Twitter already have.

You know who your competition is today: Facebook, YouTube and Twitter.

Who would have thought so much money could be made by pushing an audience’s play and pleasure buttons?

But that’s exactly the winning strategy to survive in today’s digital world that was prescribed by Alexander Manu, senior partner and chief imaginator at InnoSpa International, who delivered the keynote address at this week’s Playback Summit in Toronto.

Manu argued pushing product or services in today’s unfolding digital world is a fool’s errand.

To monetize content, producers instead need to design and grow behavior spaces in which audiences find pleasure and can play.

“Content happens in every single place where humans are connected,” Manu said as he launched the Toronto conference Wednesday.

Technology, he said, is only an extension of behavior, of what audiences want to do and which engages and rewards them.

So content creators now have to target consumers where they are connected in the digital space.

“Everybody is now creating content. So we have to move from the optimization of content for the Internet to where the audiences are in the digital world, to where audiences are connected and engaged,” Manu added.

Facebook, he argued, is a behavior space, as is the iPhone, however much it feels like a smartphone device in your hand.

The way Manu told it, Facebook and the iPhone are business-model disruptors that allow a new behavior space to emerge, and which can be monetized at some point.

Blockbuster didn’t respond in time to industry disruption from Netflix, nor has Blackberry maker RIM fully addressed the competitive threat from the Android and iPhone devices.

Manu warned that, as the creative space in which screen-creators work to deliver content is disrupted by new behavior spaces, you may not notice the change, or the loss of your competitiveness.

“You don’t feel it, as you’re still selling stuff,” he argued.

The solution is to look to encourage play in a behavior space, or what Manu deemed play value to engage an audience of consumers.

“Value comes from different streams of interest among the audience,” he told the audience.
And emerging digital platforms like YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and iPads have found a way to sustain and grow that audience interest through play and pleasure.

“Expand and enhance the experience of every-day place. That’s how you make money,” Manu told Summit delegates.