I was reading a post on Lost Remote today about Demand Media and the fact that they don’t like being called a content mill. Richard Rosenblatt, Demand Media’s CEO, argued that what they are doing is measuring and meeting demand rather than trying to anticipate it. (see his manifesto at D:All Things Digital)
The media has always been partly about telling us what we ought to know and mostly telling us what we want to know. As the choices for media have expanded we increasingly expect to find what we want to know. While other media sites try and anticipate and/or guess at that, Demand Media has figured out a way to measure it and deliver on it.
Like other fields, we now have not just real time media, but just-in-time media. I think it’s safe to say that more people will be taking this kind of approach in the future. Is this the best thing? I don’t know and it’s probably too early for anyone to know, but like it or not, the “consumer is king” and meeting that need will always be good business if not good journalism.