Will we ever pay for content again?

Anyone following the conversation around ‘pay for content’ understands it’s murky ground. It’s the Holy Grail of anyone with content to offer in a world in which it seems that free is the trend and the world as we know it is going to change forever. The music, video, book, newspaper, and magazine industries are reeling in pain as revenues drop and people move swiftly to content that’s free.

New business models are popping up everywhere as the ‘traditionalists’ attempt to hold onto revenue to support the business model that made them what they were yesterday. Just today I came up against one of these new models.

Last week I spoke at one of the Methodist Church of South Africa regional synods in Durban. I was asked to contribute some thoughts around communicating to younger generations in a Church context. Which I did. I discovered via Twitter that some (or all) of my contribution had been included in an article in a local Durban paper, The Mercury. I went online to find the article (which I quite easily did) only to discover that it had been included in their ‘Premium Content’ section and that I had to subscribe to the paper in order to access it. I don’t want a subscription to The Mercury. I just wanted access to my article. I have enough access to news via the internet and the papers that service Johannesburg. I’m stuck. I’d pay to access my article but I don’t want to pay to access all that The Mercury has to offer. My solution is to use my network to scan the article and mail it to me. A lose-lose for both parties.

I don’t think The Mercury has the right model at this stage. I think they’re going to have to go back ‘in’ and re-design their model.

Via Twitter (@sidneyeve) I got a link to an interesting 3 min video from James McQuivey (an analyst at Forrester Research) who does a great job describing the future of ‘paid for’ access to content. I think what he has to say is the model that The Mercury needs to be looking at (I dont’ want access to all their content, but I do want access to my content)

The interview from the article is summed up by:

It’s the most common question I get in my travels: Will people ever pay for content again?


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