Everyone is thinking about the shift in the economics of content in terms of paying for content, but what publishers are really facing is a shift in the economics of distribution. We’re still paying for a bundle of information to be delivered to our homes — it’s just that now that bundle is traveling via fiber optic cable rather than newsprint.
Sunday, September 23, 2007
Publishing 2.0's Scott Karp has a brilliant analysis of the concept of "free" content that stands most of the conventional wisdom on its ear. His argument--and I'd have to say that it's ringing pretty true with me--is that of course content isn't free: we pay for internet access, we pay for computers, etc. The problem is that by and large we won't pay twice, once for distribution and once for content. You only pay once to have a magazine brought to your door, not a second time to open it--why would we expect something different from the Internet? Of course in the digital age, you're paying someone else for distribution. And therein lies the problem.