Audiences Don’t Pay for Content

March 23, 2010 § Leave a comment

[Note: This is a response (below) to Mark McLaughlin's post at The Huffington Post, "Audiences Don't Pay for Content." He echoes the argument of Michael Kinsley back in 2001 that, at most, audiences pay for distribution.

The Internet hasn't done anything to change the paying dynamic around content, as McLaughlin goes on to say. But, that may start to change, as per the post in this space yesterday.

All that is free about content on the Internet may spur media companies to re-evaluate all that is free about content, generally. In the process, they may decide on the wisdom of aiming at smaller, more dedicated audiences willing to pay for what they most desire - which should strike us as bringing them in-line with New Media's central value proposition.]

* * * * *

Mark:

Michael Kinsley made this observation at Slate.com. In 2001 he wrote:

“…let’s look again at this notion that in every medium except the Internet people pay for the content they consume. It’s not really true.

“…A few weeks ago a producer from Nightline contacted Slate while researching a possible show on the crisis of content on the Internet. He wanted to know how on earth we could ever be a going business if we gave away our content for free. I asked how many people pay to watch Nightline. Answer: none. People pay for their cable or satellite hookup, and they pay for content on HBO, but Nightline and other broadcast programs thrive without a penny directly from viewers.”

But, I’m not sure what you mean by saying in your piece, “We need solutions that improve the relevance of content for individual consumers without expecting individual consumers to be able to predict exactly what they want.”

It strikes me that the Internet IS the solution for relevant content when consumers know what they want and need. What do you believe needs to be different or improved about the Internet to make it more relevant?

Regardless, I agree: “Advertising works. In the digital era, the consumer finds it very easy to ignore irrelevant advertising but they are quicker to engage with relevant advertising than ever before because the Internet makes engagement easy.”

The relevance of Internet content represents the advantage to consumers and advertisers.
Read the Article at HuffingtonPost

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