We’re all mostly familar with the term “fast-moving consumer goods” — per the Wikipedia entry:
Fast-moving consumer goods (FMCG), also known as consumer packaged goods (CPG), are products that are sold quickly and at a relatively low cost. Examples include non-durable household goods such as packaged foods, beverages, toiletries, candies, cosmetics, over-the-counter drugs, dry goods, and other consumables.
FMCG companies cover small-to-medium businesses to industry titans, offering an ever-growing selection of products for all types of customer segments. The ideal spot for these products is usually a good price point, a good product and great distribution, while hopefully hitting the “impulse buy” button like ice creams on a hot day. The range of products are offered at multiple price points and endless variations, making sure there is something for everyone.
In the old days of physical products being the only way for creative works to be distributed, the same principle held true, despite not being called fast-moving consumer media back then. It was those cassettes or single CDs, which would form the bulk of income of the recording company. In some markets, the album prices would even be the same, the differentiator being the content and its promotion! And naturally, purchasing a recorded music product is as much as an emotional decision rather than fulfilling a rational need. This also applied to cheap paperbacks and video rentals. Alas, the emergence of the internet as a digital distribution network in the late 1990s to early 2000s has disrupted these industries until today. But the internet’s disruption was just an effect — the cause was lack of price diversification and a lower perceived value of the content itself.
But today, fast-moving consumer media is back.
On your commutes you see it on the phone next to you, someone flicking their TikTok FYP or Instagram Reels feed. Someone else reading the most recent chapter to a webtoon or online novel they like. And arguably, most of what we see on social media is, well, fast-moving consumer media. It has gone past the time where social media is just personal updates and ramblings, and is treated by its users for what it is — a medium to express personal branding.
The value of fast-moving consumer media for the user increases if the content is fresh and/or delivered in a timely manner, with the extreme being live streaming content. The immediacy and the exclusivity of content brings back the interest, and in cases like KaryaKarsa, the purchase intent. Why? Good content, good price, and good distribution.
On KaryaKarsa, serialised stories sold per chapter taps into consumers who would otherwise think twice about buying books 10 times the price of a chapter or buying a movie ticket. We validate great IP at a small scale which then would be viable for adaptation into other IP products up the value chain — extending, enhancing and strengthening the IP value chain, not supplanting it.
As entertainment increasingly becomes more personal, something that began with the Sony Walkman many years ago, the chance for creators of good content to monetise also increases. SME-level creators can compete alongside industry stalwarts. Content pricing and distribution models can adapt to consumer preferences (and not just go the route of “subscription everything”). And with a fast-moving consumer media approach, where there are price points and products designed for every type of consumer, I believe that the content and IP industry can be as lucrative, expansive and diverse as its FMCG counterpart.