Man bites dogma – Round Two

The comment added by BSkyB’s David Wheeldon to the ‘Man bites dogma’ Pay Per View (PPV) post sparked something of a surge to the blog yesterday.

David’s comments draw attention to the dilemma facing publishing and content producers: How an earth do we monetize and protect the distribution of content when free access has become ubiquitous with the advance of the web?

In many respects the debate isn’t about monetization of content but of its distribution. That’s because technology has turned traditional distribution models inside out and, ironically, media brands have been an active participant in this revolution. The net effect (no pun intended) is the distinct prospect that it is the owners of distribution technology, and not the providers of the content, that will seize the lions share of the ‘value chain’.

Today’s media owners will become disintermediated themselves; they will lose the power to monetize content distribution and be subject to distribution by new participants with new models of distribution – like Google.

The Guardian’s Media Talk podcasts in both the UK and US have served up some interesting debates in recent weeks.This link to Media Talk UK discusses the potential introduction of a ‘paywall’ at Sunday Times, while its US cousin Media Talk US digs into the issue of a potential content cartel in the US.

Today, you can link and listen free of charge. In future, you may not. And that’s why this debate is going to roll and roll…

2 thoughts on “Man bites dogma – Round Two

  1. You probably saw this when it first hit the web, but I think Clay Shirky’s appraisal of the challenges facing content creators is a definitive assessment of the challenges ahead.

    He believes order is followed by chaos, not a new order. It makes for stunning reading.
    http://www.shirky.com/weblog/2009/03/newspapers-and-thinking-the-unthinkable/

    Interestingly I was at a marketing conference this morning where Richard Eyre (head of the Internet Advertising Bureau) made a compelling case for how the internet needs advertising. It should be on YouTube tomorrow. It defended the rich content of the web and made the case that actually only advertising is likely to produce anything like the revenue required to sustain it.

    The Times and the Guardian digitised their archive last year. All of their pre-web content is now digital. Search for it – you won’t find a word of it in search because its behind a pay-wall. Either search would need to change (certainly possible) or the wealth of information we have at our disposal will reduce if advertising doesn’t succeed as the main business of the web.

    It certainly casts those Ad Blocker plug-ins in a slightly more pernicious light.

    Like

  2. Free access might be ubiquitous now… but as a friend who worked at NASA succinctly put it “Anything will fly given enough thrust”. Things that can’t go on for ever will stop.

    Not sure why distribution is that important — would like to hear why you believe that. Any distributor (I assume you mean ISP, in the case of the Internet) dumb enough to try restricting access damages the value of their service. If I want media containing only the content the distributor chooses to supply, then I can watch TV. I certainly won’t be paying for TV and Internet in that case.

    Mathew

    Like

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