Wednesday, February 27, 2008

The implications of free content

Thanks to Steve Borris for this lead,Chris Anderson's new book may well be of interest for journalists struggling to come to terms with the fact that people want their output for nothing.

Nat Ives ,interviewing Chris on Advertising age tries to explore the concept further.He describes a media model where

the product is free because it's subsidized by the advertiser. That's called a three-party market -- the publisher, the advertiser and the consumer who gets everything for free.

He goes on to describe the cover price of a magazine as

a psychological fee that shows that you want it -- which allows us to charge advertisers more. A single penny does it. We charge $10 because we don't want to devalue the product, because that would be sending the wrong message. But from our perspective it's essentially free.

Chris whose previous book "the Long Tail" described the potential of the digital media in finding niche markets and declining mass media, puts that concept into practice

The Long Tail is all about infinite choice. If you can give people infinite choice, you can discover the latent demand for products of niche appeal. Infinite free shelf space was essentially the enabling factor. It was simply by being able to be indiscriminately, profligately wasteful that we are able to discover the demand for niche content.

For Steve Borris the implications for journalists are clear

1.Some news outlets will survive by giving news facts away for free, but adding something of value like opinion or creative style to attract subscription and advertising fees. 2.

Some outlets will survive by doing a superior job aggregating news for specific audiences for targeted exposure by advertisers.

3. some will survive by spreading news without compensation, relying on other financial sources to pay their bills

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