Rented Media: Completing the ‘Paid-Owned-Earned’ family!!

Some of the social platforms, which brands think they own, are actually calling the shot without changing the ownership of platforms. If you are related in any way to digital marketing/digital media, I am sure you would have come across this trinity of media classification: Paid, Owned & Earned. Some of us practically live by this classification every day. But the way media is evolving, I think, the classification needs a relook. Some of the social platforms, which brands think they own, are actually calling the shot without changing the ownership of platforms. As a consequence, brands authority has inconspicuously been moved from being owner to a lessee. Hence, the media also needs to reflect this change, and the apt word for this change is ‘Rented’ media.

So what is Rented Media?

Media, over which brands have a partial control, would fall under Rented Media classification. What differentiates Rented Media from owned media is the degree of control which brands enjoy over the platform. If a brand has an unconditional control over the media platform, it is classified as Owned Media. A brand website/wap site etc is an example of owned media.

If brand a using a platform where they don’t have to pay to be on the platform but the platform is constrained by the terms & conditions of the platform itself, it should be classified under Rented Media. Hence, Facebook would be classified under Rented Media rather than Owned Media, as being classified today. Here are few reasons why I would call it a Rented Media:

1. Organically, posts of a page reach on an average only 16% of the users according to FB. To reach out to more users, brands need to use Sponsored Page post. If the platform was completely owned by a brand, it should organically reach out to people. If people have chosen to like a page, why limit put a limit. First brands pay for people to like their page, and then you have to pay again to make them see your post. It’s like using paid media to promote rented media. Sounds like you are living in a rented space than an owing one.

2. FB has issued guidelines for cover pictures of brand pages. If you own the page, use it the way you want. Why should FB define the rules of what is to be put and what is not to be put. Compare this to your website, a really owned medium. You get the difference, don’t you!

These are just few points to illustrate why FB pages should be classified under Rented Media than as owned media. Classification of Paid, Owned, Rented and Earned is based on degree of control as well along with ownership. Here is a table which captures the essence of this article.

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