LJNDawson.com, Consulting to the Book Publishing Industry
Book Publishing Industry Consultant

Funding Online Content

As fast as the online content industry is changing, there is One Great Unsolved Issue that I've noticed over the last 10 years. How do you fund it?

AOL has just announced that it's making its
content available for free. This is huge, given that proprietary content was one of their biggest (and some, myself included, might say their only) selling points.

Content is cost-heavy, that's for sure. You can't create it with a cute piece of software, and retain any sort of market differentiation, because your competitors will have that same piece of software in a heartbeat and up the ante - online content with any value requires human labor. SMART human labor. Human labor with something to say...and a need to get paid for saying it.

And then there's the consumer, who has no intention of paying for it. Companies try hard to get around this, but it's an inevitability. AOL's been losing customers, the New York Times is
routinely mocked for charging for some of its online content (though I've come to accept that I am apparently the only person on the planet who's peeved that you have to pay to do the crossword puzzle online), and one of the great lessons of the dot-com bust is that content, far from being king, is more like the aging relative who stubbornly just won't kick the bucket - everybody comes to see her, but supporting her is...a drain.

Meanwhile libraries bemoan their lack of relevance. (Yes, I'm actually going somewhere with this.)

When was the last time you went to your library? Me, either.

But I access it online all the time. The Brooklyn Public Library has all these databases - Gale, Wilson, Ebsco, et al - where I can look up old articles, get biographies and encyclopedia entries - FOR FREE. I just enter in my library card number and I'm off to the races.

As content ventures flounder for a revenue model, they might consider partnering with libraries - licensing their content to library servers, who would then make it available through their online portals. The budgets for online content at libraries are skyrocketing - the budgets for actually BOOKS are plummeting.

This way, the content creators get paid, the libraries get to offer relevant and amazing resources, and we're all happy.
Bookmark this post: Add this post to del.icio.us Digg it! Add this post to Furl StumbleUpon it! Add this post to Technorati Add this post to Google Bookmarks Add this post to Windows Live Add this post to Netscape Add this post to BlinkList Add this post to Newsvine Add this post to ma.gnolia Add this post to Tailrank
Site design: thesuperheavy.com   Site engineering: Hamidof.com   Powered by: PHPBlogManager.com