The idea that content is cheap and easy to produce is pervading our society, but this misguided mindset is sure to result in a major shakeout.
A recent report from Forrester Research says that people who use the Internet are reluctant to pay for content. However, a previous report by Forrester found that a majority of people thought that the quality of the content on the Internet was poor. People want quality content, but they don't want to pay for it. That situation is a circle that cannot be squared.
To understand content on the Internet, we need to recognize that there are two distinct types. First, there is content provided by traditional publishers whose very business model depends on generating revenue from this content. This they do through advertising revenue, subscription fees, or both.
The second type of content is that which supports an organization by helping to sell more products, enhancing the brand of the organization, or both. This is the most common type of content available online. The revenue that such content creates is indirect, and thus the publication of such content is not affected by an unwillingness of people to pay.
However, the pervasive "content should be free" attitude is undermining the very nature of content itself. Because content is constantly associated with being free, a sense of content being cheap to publish -- and therefore of little real value -- is growing within business and society.
The whole Napster saga was a good illustration of how the idea of content having value is being undermined. People who illegally swapped music files quickly claimed that it was their right. They claimed that the music industry was corrupt and therefore it was OK for them to steal. Music groups who tried to prevent the stealing of their music were branded as greedy and anti-fan. Suddenly, music was meant to be free.
As anyone who has ever been involved with content knows, creating quality content is a very expensive and time-consuming process. Content is never free to create and publish. The reasons why so much content has been free on the Internet up until now are as follows:
A product or service is only worth what someone is willing to pay for it. Right now, people are fixed on the idea that Internet content should be free. We are thus caught in a vicious circle. As long as people are not willing to pay, there will be a continuous decline in the overall quality of content found on the Internet.
At some point, perhaps two years from now, a bottom will be found. More and more quality content resources will have either closed down or gone to a subscription model. Enough people will become willing to pay, after they get sick of wasting time clicking their way through oceans of free, mainly poor quality content.
It has to happen. Quality is quality, and quality costs.
Join the Industry's Leading eCommerce & Direct Marketing Experts in Chicago
ClickZ Live Chicago (Nov 3-6) will deliver over 50 sessions across 4 days and 10 individual tracks, including Data-Driven Marketing, Social, Mobile, Display, Search and Email. Check out the full agenda and register by Friday, August 29 to take advantage of Super Saver Rates!
IBM Social Analytics: The Science Behind Social Media Marketing
80% of internet users say they prefer to connect with brands via Facebook. 65% of social media users say they use it to learn more about brands, products and services. Learn about how to find more about customers' attitudes, preferences and buying habits from what they say on social media channels.
The Multiplier Effect of Integrating Search & Social Advertising
Latest research reveals 68% higher revenue per conversion for marketers who integrate their search & social advertising. In addition to the research results, this whitepaper also outlines 5 strategies and 15 tactics you can use to better integrate your search and social campaigns.
September 17, 2014
September 23, 2014
September 30, 2014
1:00pm ET/10:00am PT