What Happens to Content When Top-Tier Production Quality is Commoditized?

Thoughts on how content might improve when it's easy for it to look amazing

I think AI is about to massively improve the quality of our best content. But not for the reason you might expect.

Not because AI is making better content (which will also be true), but because the way people perceive content is heavily influenced by how it looks. I think it works something like this.

That perceived bit is key. Look at this production quality here for Sam Harris on the Modern Wisdom podcast.

I mean, that’s gorgeous. It’s like the best lighting available to humanity. It’s brilliant. And more importantly, it makes them look brilliant.

I can’t wait for AI to be able to do this for us. AI-augmented production quality will be an unbelievable boon for high-quality content like this. Why?

Because right now—generally speaking—only people making top 1% money can output top 1% production quality. That means most people creating content are at a severe disadvantage in our formula.

Content Quality * Presentation Quality
= Perceived Content Quality

So let’s say the conversation above with Sam Harris and Chris Williamson is like a 9 on Content Quality, and a 9 on Production Quality. That’s an 81 on Perceived Quality, which is what matters.

Now let’s take another show that’s almost as good, but produced in the creator’s bedroom. So the content is an 8, but the Production is only a 6. That’s a total Quality of 48. Huge difference.

Or let’s say it’s Sam Harris and Richard Feynman and Einstein somehow. Best show ever. 10/10. So now it’s a Content 10, but the production is only a 7.

That’s a 70 vs. an 81.

The production quality magnifies (and reduces) the content too much.

AI to the rescue

There are a number of things that signal production quality in a video.

For YouTube, there are tons of things (not counting great guests that are great looking or other human-based factors):

  • Chapter markers

  • Video description

  • Audio quality

  • Video quality

  • Setting

  • Lighting

  • Cinematography

  • Multiple cameras

  • Editing

  • Etc.

The difference between doing those well and not doing them, or doing those poorly, is monumental.

AI is going to democratize that. And when it does, everyone will have a production score of 9-10 (taking preferences out of the equation of course).

Then what will matter will be the content.

Can’t wait.