Is there a single word or phrase that includes a product or service for sale, but excludes content? In this context, content is defined as something like media--as in the content of a book or the content of a video. So if a web page offers an article as content, but a subscription to that web page would be a product or service.

I've looked at responses to Single word for "product or service", but nothing there really narrows the definition. "Output", "goods", "offering" and "solution" doesn't quite seem to get it.

A phrase like "tangible product" seems close but not quite clear enough.

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    It could be a matter for kind of 'company policy' -- "content" could be (offered as) a product, could also be (offered as) a service -- is it possible to define 'product' or 'service' excluding content? No way I can see that.
    – Kris
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:15
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    In your hypothetical scenario, if I pay you cold hard cash to be a subscriber, what am I getting in return? If the answer is "the content" (whether that article or many articles), then it does indeed seem like the content is your product, because that's what I'm paying for. If you're talking about a business model where the site is the platform that has captured an audience, and third parties (not the site itself) contribute content, then I would go directly for platform, as SE is a platform, or MS Windows, or Wikipedia, or the Apple Store, or a record label, etc.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:29
  • @Kris ... what if I rephrased this to "How does one distinguish between the content of a book, and the physical book itself." So is there a phrase to distinguish if one says "This book is excellent" into "This book is in excellent condition" versus "This is an excellently written book with a compelling story".
    – jimm101
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:30
  • @DanBron ... Thanks. I could your subscription entitles you to articles, but a well written article refers to the "content" and a well-formatted article refers to the way the content is presented. We could both read the same article with different formatting and consider this as the same "content". Is there some way to distinguish between the physical thing and the abstract, created thing, where the created thing is referred to as "content"?
    – jimm101
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:34
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    @jimm101, It might be more productive you describe your actual, specific, use-case. What the background of the question is, what's motivating it, and critically give us the specific context the word will be used in.
    – Dan Bron
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:38

4 Answers 4


While it may not cover all the aspects you want, consider access

The right or opportunity to use or benefit from something:

do you have access to a computer?

awards to help people gain access to training

Oxford Dictionaries Online

Tangible goods are most often sought for the ability to access their functionality. I want the hammer so that I can use the hammer to bang nails. Ownership is usually secondary, and usually is more a method of controlling access by others. If I buy the hammer because it is functional and looks good, the good looks borders on content.

As you point out, even ownership of tangible goods that are sought out because of their content can be broken up into the physical thing as a means of access separate from the content accessed. The book is the means of access to the words or images that are within. The computer is the means of accessing the sounds and images it can deliver.

And for pure services, you are buying pure access.


You might also consider deliverable, used as a noun

(usually deliverables) Back to top
A thing able to be provided, especially as a product of a development process.

Oxford Dictionaries Online

It is not limited to intangibles, such as software, but can include things

something that can be provided as the product of development; "under this contract the deliverables include both software and hardware"


This does not necessarily refer to content. For example, software deliverables are often provided for use, but not ownership of the underlying software code.


If you're referring to the name that differentiates your product or service from another, without defining the actual product or service, it is called a brand.

  • No, it's referring to specific products and services. A hammer and a picture of a hammer--the hammer is a product, the picture's content is the hammer, but the picture's content is NOT a product. The picture or some medium expression can be a product, but not the picture's content.
    – jimm101
    Feb 2, 2015 at 15:58
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    Sorry, you've lost me.
    – Oldbag
    Feb 2, 2015 at 16:11

My answers are inspired by informatics and Cloud Computing.

First possibility: an infrastructure.

Second possibility: a platform.

Both words are used in informatics, as in IaaS and PaaS, to describe a set of Cloud Computing services which are offered without the applications running on them.


Most enterprise databases use a supertype of Product.

A Product is either a Good or a Service.

Don't think products and services. Think Goods and Services collectively being products.

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