Friday, May 04, 2007

Google helps value shift to B2B media

The Voelspriet site (and Dutch language alert service) pointed me to a wonderful presentation by Hans Rosling, co-founder of Swedish Gapminder (from the 'Mind the Gap' phrase). It is titled 'Debunking third-world myths with the best stats you’ve ever seen' and is definitely worth the 20 minute view.

The content is compelling as it is, but the reason for being linked to on this site is the second half of the above title. Google bought Gapminder in March (this VentureBeat story also links to the Rosling performance) and the presentation highlights its Trendalyzer capabilities of visualising movements in time (e.g.) of (public) data.

I can see an intriguing, if somewhat vague, implication for Google. Once more this company undermines the value that B2B publishers extract from public data by making them more accessible. It builds upon the open access movement advocated by people like Stevan Harnad and Peter Suber. Imagine combining the technology with things like Google Book Search, Google Scholar, Google Health.

Last minute addition: Reuters has received a takeover approach. Reuters (!) mentions Thomson Corp and News Corp as possible suitors. So much for the undermining of the value of B2B content!
I am surprised Reed Elsevier isn't mentioned. They are selling Harcourt, reducing the company to a 3-trick pony. Thomson could be interested in the news business (avoiding FCC/FTC scrutiny, which would almost certainly result from combining Reuters and Thomson Financial). Thomson recently stated they want to expand their own news service. In short, Reed and Thomson could carve up Reuters.
News Corp being mentioned, after their Dow Jones approach, seems a bit silly, but I do think it points to a trend. Piracy, sharing and UGC undermine the value of B2C content. Hence, B2C companies seem to take interest in more valuable B2B content (apart from public data, or research funded by government bodies, or even stock prices that used to fuel Reuters' profit).

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