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Free Web Content a "Myth," Claims Barry Diller

Soulskill posted more than 5 years ago | from the news-to-us dept.

The Internet 294

BotScout writes "Following in the footsteps of other traditional media executives who just don't get it, Barry Diller, chairman and chief executive officer of IAC/InterActiveCorp, said web users will have to pay for what they watch and use, and that's that. The media and technology executive said it's 'mythology' to view the Internet as a system of free communications. 'It is not free, and is not going to be,' Diller said yesterday at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Pasadena, California. Companies from Disney to New York Times Co. are seeking ways to extract revenue from the Internet. The latter recently said that it's considering a $5 monthly fee for access to its namesake newspaper's web site."

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Why? (3, Insightful)

sopssa (1498795) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818025)

As open source site slashdot it, I'd like to ask the question that why is it such a big deal if some companies like to charge for users to access their content? This is same everywhere else, from movies to games and music. What makes content on internet different?

You pay for what you get. If you dont like to pay for it, you go elsewhere and dont get their content. Anyone who thinks its important or good enough can pay the low price for it.

This is why I pay for services like spotify and fileplanet. I think they give me good return on the (low amount) I pay them. Hell, people pay for slashdot to see articles before everyone else because it gives them some return they like. Its exactly the same thing here.

They aren't trying to get paid for *internet access*. They're trying to get paid from people reading their own made content. There's no problem in that.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818051)

How often is content actually original and why shouldn't users go to where they're getting the best deal? Most of the news you find on the web are AP articles regurgitated to fill the day's edition or post quota. You can take this a step further and read an aggregator like Slashdot, where they (sometimes) extract the useful parts of the article into a summary.

Everything about the internet seems to fall back to one rule: the more effort you put into content production, the more popular it will be. There was a time when website owners thought putting up an empty forum would draw users, advertising money and content. Instead the users posed where content was being created on blogs, youtube and other mediums.

The final deathblow to out of touch assholes like Diller is the sheer lack of understanding of their target market. The internet crowd are a fickle bunch and their likes and dislikes wax and wane quickly. Shallow, crass, money-soaked attempts to steal their attention rarely work. Users can smell the money getting involved and abandon sites as they commercialise only to start their own successful reproductions of what made the first site good. The money just can't win this one.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818171)

Actually he's right in one respect... The internet ISN'T free. Someone IS going to pay for it. It just wont be me.

People will only pay for something they can't otherwise get for free within a reasonable amount of time or with a reasonable amount of effort.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

morgan_greywolf (835522) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818207)

Agreed. Greywolf's Corollary to the Streisand Effect: As long as someone else has the same content available for free, users will go there instead of to your site, given the choice.

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818219)

$5/month is too much to have multiple accounts and one source of content is never enough. Make it $5/year and I won't have to bee so choosy as to which sites I actually care about. Or give me free online access with my paper/magazine subscription. Most content is crap and what do you do about the social/user generated content? Charge me for that too? Are you going to pay me for comments? Refund my overpriced monthly subscription fee?

Re:Why? (3, Interesting)

dkf (304284) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818363)

Are you going to pay me for comments? Refund my overpriced monthly subscription fee?

Sure, but there will be an administration fee (say... $10k/y) to cover first. As soon as you have generated enough content in a year to pay the fee, I'm sure Big Media will be very happy to let you have your reduction in subscription costs. After all, we know how excellently they handle the equivalent with musicians...

Re:Why? (1)

FlyingBishop (1293238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818673)

It's a given that you'll get free access with your paper subscription. This is just formalizing a somewhat reduced fee for everyone else.

Honestly, the Times is worth it. I'd pay 5 bucks a month. The Economist charges about $100 a year for less content. (And the quality is only marginally better.)

Re:Why? (1)

Lord Bitman (95493) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818233)

hamster dance.

Re:Why? (1)

TerranFury (726743) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818353)

Users can smell the money getting involved and abandon sites as they commercialise

...with the notable exception of Facebook... :-(

Re:Why? (1)

Evil Shabazz (937088) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818637)

Users can smell the money getting involved and abandon sites as they commercialise

...with the notable exception of Facebook... :-(

I don't know... Isn't Facebook just the current MySpace? Four years ago, MySpace was all the rage and no one even used Facebook. Twitter didn't even exist. How likely is it that the social crowd will still be using Facebook in 2014?

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818387)

Are a lot of local newspapers going out of business because the Internet has destroyed the model of simply reprinting the AP feed in order to sell classified ads? Absolutely. You can get the AP feed from tons of web sites, and classified ads have been taken over by Craigslist.

Maybe AP content will continue to be free on the web, if enough web sites see a traffic boost from it worth the cost of subscribing, then the cost of generating AP content can be kept low by spreading it across many web sites, and end users won't have to bear it.

But Diller is absolutely right that premium content will be paid for one way or another. There is simply no model right now that supports the free distribution of movies that cost $140 million to make and would additional require huge amounts of bandwidth to distribute. There is no model that will support free access to quality content like the Christian Science Monitor, The Atlantic Monthly, New Yorker, or Wall Street Journal.

Music may be an exception to this. Bands may make enough money from touring to view albums as free advertising. And music production has come down so much in cost that there may be enough people creating music that the supply essentially prevents anyone from charging for it.

Nevertheless, I think Diller is absolutely right that we are moving away from the free model for many types of content. The free content to generate advertising model has been tried twice now, and it's failed miserably both times.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818647)

While it's true that some content may come at a fee, people have the choice to not use that content and not pay. They can use the internet the same way it always was before all of the "big content" discovered the internet.

I practically stopped watching TV when I started using the internet, and I wasn't watching TV on the internet.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818393)

You can take this a step further and read an aggregator like Slashdot, where they (sometimes) extract the useful parts of the article into a summary.

Exactly. No need to RTFA ...

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818437)

(this post is not about TFA, but a direct response to the parent)

I'm so tired of hearing this argument "because everybody leeches off of AP". Guess what - the AP is bleeding money too. Followed by Reuters, AFP, Getty, etc. and pretty soon there will be no one to leech off from. The other side of the coin is that the news organization claims there's not enough cashflow to justify long-term in depth investigative journalism. That to me, is just the same cop-out. Editors, reporters, photographers only make up 15-25% of the operational budget; the rest of the cost is in the inefficient PRINTING and DELIVERY of printed rag. But that's another story.

I've noticed that the majority of good folks working for GPL software and sourceforge already have a day job, and tinker on these free projects on their spare time. Most journalists can't, and the ones that do publish a book - and they *charge* money for it too after the grueling process of pitching the book face-to-face (wouldn't it be great to just start a forum with Simon & Schuster editors?). Is it greedy of them to recover the cost, or earn extra profit? Besides, there's something called a public library to leech off from. Also unlike programmers, a regular journalists of 5-10 years in the field *not* working for a national rag like NYT or USA Today may be earning $15-24K a year. "Special projects time" is consumed by a second or third job freelancing for another publications under a Pen Name - despite the fact we all signed a non-compete clause. I'm confident to guess that an entry-level programmer has a higher starting salary. But that is the natural flow of supply & demand. To expect journalists to work for nothing is implausible; however, publishers not capitalizing on online advertising are equally irresponsible. I know of a local newspaper that charges an arm and leg for print ad, but online ads are a fraction of the cost. It is beyond me why they think online infrastructure is "cheaper" than print.

I'm all for freedom of information as in, we should be able to attain information without censorship. Charging people a reasonable amount ($1) for information is not censorship; or going to the library the next day is not censorship, just inconvenient. The county clerk asking me for $5 to process a FOIA request is not censorship, or paying $35 in court fees at a small claims court.

Should the current newspaper model die? Sure, if that's what the market demands. I don't support a govt bailout of the 4th Estate because of conflict of interest. But if the populous demand news on Brangelina, and be willing to pay a pretty penny for it, then so be it. The "elitist" editors of yesteryear have been replaced by the content democracy of Digg/ Twitter users of today. While the internet bunch are proficient in the online sphere and all things related to technology, I find it apprehensible they can assume the job of a news editor; art curator; creative director - professionals who make decisions on content. Sometimes they get it wrong, but most of the time they get it right, but it's better than the day when the NYT headlines will write "FIRST POST". A regular Joe may be specialized in their field and start a blog respectively, but most will be just noise of the nth-regurgitation of someone else's initial fact-finding, reporting, or original research. And it's those people in the frontline that are getting fucked.

And if the formula of make-good-content-and-revenue-will-follow is so easy, well, why aren't more bloggers quitting their dayjobs and doing it? If it were easy, why aren't more people doing it? Companies? Or even small companies which often lack the bureaucratic barriers?

Perhaps we should follow the BBC model and provide more funding for PBS. I've always enjoyed watching NOVA and Frontline when PBS *bought the license* to show them on tv with public funds.

Re:Why? (4, Insightful)

NotBornYesterday (1093817) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818607)

He seems to be making the fundamental error of forgetting what internet content supply and demand look like. There is a near infinite (for practical purposes, anyway) number of content providers - original artists and authors, megacorporations, aggregators, bloggers, "pirates", amateur-gone-semi-pro porn stars, etc., because the internet enables us all to be publishers in some way. Also, each content provider has the ability to cross traditional geographical market boundaries easily, and serve a huge number of customers. The result is that although the signal-to-noise ratio may suck sometimes, there is such a broad amount of content and distribution is so trivial, that the supply side of the graph is completely out of whack - it approaches $0 for infinite content. Which oddly enough, is where most of us like it.

Traditional supply and demand only work in a market where there is a relatively limited number of players who control the product, and supply is limited by traditional manufacturing and distribution.

I am sure that in his position he sees clearly the cost of producing content that others consume essentially for free, but it does not automatically follow from that that many consumers in the market are willing to pay what he wants. Bitch-slapping your customers with rhetoric like his doesn't help either.

Re:Why? (1)

nametaken (610866) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818071)

Of course there's nothing wrong with it.

Besides, have you SEEN what it costs to advertise on /.? It ain't cheap... and without ads this site wouldn't exist. It's not free.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818183)

Uhhh, what ads? I don't see any ads.

Re:Why? (5, Insightful)

ItsColdOverHere (928704) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818081)

People paying for content is not the issue here. Execs thinking that a for-pay service in a world of for-free services will be viable is. There will always be a free alternative and that is where people will go.
People like Mr. Diller believe that if everybody gets together and starts charging for content then consumers will have no choice but to pay up.
The fact is there will always be a free alternative. I'm not saying there isn't or won't be a market for premium content.
Just that there will always be free. Free-as-in-beer and hopefully free-as-in-speech.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818257)

Execs thinking that a for-pay service in a world of for-free services will be viable is.

Well it can be viable. I wouldn't pay for the New York Times content because I just don't see anything special about it. I expect to continue to be able to get similar or better quality of information for free from elsewhere. However, I do pay for the Economist, because I find the articles interesting and thought provoking to a standard that I don't get for free elsewhere. It's all about personal tastes and quality of material.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818299)

This is, in part why piracy sprung up. People decide what they want to pay for. Whilst there are many people who are simply "leeches", there are as many people who don't agree with people charging for certain things so they get it themselves (albeit illegally) for free.

Where i think he is wrong is when he assumes that people will *want* and pay for the content regardless of price. That simply isn't true, the beauty of the internet is that there are often free (and in most cases better) alternatives to paid for options. It is this level of collaboration that encourages innovation and change. Making everything locked down and subscription based isn't the way forward. Imagine if the Wikimedia Foundation's sites were a pay-for service, it wouldn't nearly have the same size user base as it does now, neither would YouTube.

People will pay when it's worth paying for, but blindly saying "web content isn't free" is a naive statement. We pay for our content via advertising and ISP fees, some people - SHOCK HORROR - aren't in it for profit.

- Josh (whiternoise)

Re:Why? (1)

parallel_prankster (1455313) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818681)

exactly, what the internet has done and what these assholes like Diller dont understand is that it has made delivering content to the public easy. Therefore, a lot more people can get involved in things like news, videos etc. For example earlier we used to get out news via select newspapers. Now I not only have access to many more online news sites but also blogs articles etc. Stuff are free on the internet because there are multiple versions of the same thing present everywhere. I say let them start charging. I remember at some point Yahoo had similar ideas and that did not go down too well with people. Also, even if they can somehow gather everyone together and try to go for subscription style services, this process is particularly hard on the companies who start first because people will definitely switch towards free sites in the beginning until they realize everything is pay only.

Re:Why? (5, Interesting)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818093)

I can't wait for them to start making massive donations to the Wikimedia Foundation for everything journalists just lift from Wikipedia.

Re:Why? (3, Insightful)

fuzzyfuzzyfungus (1223518) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818225)

They aren't lifting, they're legitimizing...

You new media kids just don't get it. A story doesn't exist until we publish it. We're doing you a favor...

*shakes head condescendingly*

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818319)

When Wikipedia's policies are followed, all of its facts are 'lifted' from elsewhere too. Are you suggesting that WMF should be making massive "donations" to all the sources? No, let me gess, everything should be free to you, everyone else should pay^Wdonate.

Re:Why? (1)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818477)

We do this so everyone can share in it. When others, like AP and Diller, claim they should be paid, looking at their sources and asking why they don't pay them is apposite.

Re:Why? (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818163)

Because it could start a bad trend where most sites are pay per play when traditionally you recoup fees via ads instead of direct extortion of your viewers. So its relevant discussion here.

Re:Why? (0, Redundant)

Plunky (929104) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818205)

Because it could start a bad trend where most sites are pay per play when traditionally you recoup fees via ads instead of direct extortion of your viewers.

s/instead of/aswell as/

Puh-lease! (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818385)

Don't be such a naïve (OTOH, I can't believe you're actually smart should you believe you're fooling us).

I pay for content, too. Specifically to get access to online dictionaries of my native language (I'm forced to do it, because there's no gratis alternative).

But they try to justify their existence by having a lot of other exclusive content on their portal; to me this is an impossible proposition: why would I pay for their content, if I know I'll die without being able to read/see all free content on the internet?

Do you honestly believe this is only about charging for one's own content?

Well, if that's the case, I'll show it's not:

1) They want to charge you for their content, but they don't want you to get others' content -- be it free or paid. The minute knowledge can be sold, you can welcome trade barriers to be added to the currently existing political ones. You'll be dumber in order for some people to get more power.

2) They'll want to sell their content, but they will also want it to be "pirated" (i.e., illegally copied), lest other undesirable competitors would be "pirated" otherwise -- which would undermine their market penetration. Haven't you heard about this happening on the software industry for the last 30~40 years? So much for your "they just want to be paid" theory...

3) Even more than that, they'll do paid forced distribution, much like what already happens in the music industry. Just like you hear what they want you to hear, you'll know just what they want you to know (because that's what they have to sell you). "I can always compare things to free content on the internet"... are you thinking that? Because they are and they won't leave this untouched... be prepared for a flat tax to make them get your money even when you access free content.

---

Ever thought about what content is?

A] If it's a new song, or a movie or some fashion news, why shouldn't they be able to charge for it? It's just reasonable, as you said.

B] But what about a technology to save lives on poor countries? How will they pay? Or knowledge that can warrant peace if it's freely distributed? Or knowledge which could help stop environmental damage, which a country does and harms another? These things will be charged and amoral people will do it, making the world a worse place to live.

We need laws to perfectly distinguish [A] from [B].

If we allow these guys who want to charge for content the freedom to do so, we will be paying not just with our money but also with our own hard-earned freedom.

Re:Why? (1)

geekprime (969454) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818577)

Newspapers don't "make content" they just regurgitate what they have seen or re-regurgitate the things that AP or other papers have seen.

Arguably, investigative reporting COULD be making content, but I haven't seen any newspapers or even news programs do that for many YEARS.

Slashdot dosen't even "make" content. it's community makes the content, Slashdot is merely the "building" we meet in to do it.

Re:Why? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818703)

You kidding? This is slashdot. Here is only maxim that applies is:

Other people should create art, music, games, films, news and entertainment for me as a favor and fund it out of their own pocket.
I will not compensate anyone else for their effort.
Fuck 'em.

Diller is full of it (3, Insightful)

Antidamage (1506489) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818027)

This asshole can't see the forest for the trees. For every 'paid' content producer out there, there's a thousand people putting out far more content for nothing. Even more significant: paying for content doesn't seem to improve its quality or availability.

He knows it, we know it and the average guy knows it too. So why is he spouting this diatribe? Is there some sort of club for jackoffs who like to talk fucking lies, with the score keeper counting how many similar jackoffs rally to the call? He's a shill and nothing more. It should come as no surprise that he helped found Fox, an organisation that specialises in feeding subtle disinformation.

Re:Diller is full of it (0, Troll)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818109)

So why is he spouting this diatribe?

When Diller is fucking his super-hot trophy wife on a mattress stuffed with hundred dollar bills, do you think he's worrying about ethics? He's a cunt. He got rich being a cunt. He'll continue to be a cunt.

Re:Diller is full of it (5, Funny)

michaelhood (667393) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818305)

Is there some sort of club for jackoffs who like to talk fucking lies, with the score keeper counting how many similar jackoffs rally to the call?

Congress.

Re:Diller is full of it (2, Interesting)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818445)

"Paying for content doesn't seem to improve its quality or availability."

Really? Certainly there is a lot of good free content out there, and shit for-pay content. However in general for-pay content has to reach at least a certain minimum standard or the financiers will pull the plug on the production, whereas any twat can film their friend skateboarding into a wall and post it on Youtube. Most of the good free content also tends to be shorter works - there is only a small supply of genuinely good free content of substantial size (feature length films, novels etc).

Generating content takes time, and people's time costs money unless working on the content is very exciting and it can be done completely in people's evenings and weekends. Some content can't be done this way (films with non-negligible budgets, newspapers), and if a funding model can't be developed then it will disappear. There is no guaranteed right for "This asshole" as you call him to make profit, but there is also no guarantee that newspapers or journalism as a whole will continue to be a profession. (If all of the newspapers go bankrupt the newswires such as AP will lose most of their their paying customers and will also disappear.)

User-generated content is good for some things - "Look at this shaky footage of a train crash", or "Here is an angry rant about how the train crash is the fault of liberals/conservatives/meat-eaters/atheists etc". It's less good at patiently sifting through documents and interviews to put together a rational explanation of why the train crash might have happened because most people can't quit their day jobs to have time for a proper investigation.

I don't believe that most of the proposals I've heard for how to start making money from newspapers will work. So I guess that newspapers (whatever technology they use) will end, or will degenerate to the level of the local freesheet.

Re:Diller is full of it (4, Insightful)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818469)

Do me a favor and call me when someone posts a home-made movie on YouTube that is, I dunno, let's say 10% as well-made, written, and acted as Star Trek.

People are willfully misrepresenting what Diller is saying. Diller is a media executive. He's not talking about Slashdot or your blog. Believe me, Diller doesn't give a shit if you keep posting reviews of local restaurants or Linux tips on your own web site, just like media executives 20 years ago wouldn't give a shit about a local church newsletter.

What Diller is talking about are things that are not so easily produced by "a thousand people putting out far more content for nothing." And the truth is, 1,000 people putting out content for nothing are still not going to produce Up!, or put out a daily newspaper with world-wide investigative reporting.

His point is that there are too many of those "premium content" services chasing too few advertising dollars to be free. Just like cable or print newspapers, we're going to need to move to a mixed advertising and fee-for-service model.

Re:Diller is full of it (1)

Fred_A (10934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818615)

Do me a favor and call me when someone posts a home-made movie on YouTube that is, I dunno, let's say 10% as well-made, written, and acted as Star Trek.

Hmm, let's see, there was that Badger thing that wasn't too bad...

Let them do it (5, Insightful)

LordKaT (619540) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818065)

I say let the big companies lock out their content. It just helps smaller content producers find their niche and make some money through sponsorships and advertisements.

Re:Let them do it (5, Insightful)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818115)

If the "big ones" do this, the "small ones" wont have to deal with just a niche market, and wont be small for much longer.

The free Internet is over! Over! (5, Funny)

David Gerard (12369) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818087)

Barry Diller stated today that "the Internet free access model is clearly malfunctioning [today.com] , as I don't make enough money from it. We have to educate people that free doesn't work, particularly for us."

Publishers hold that it is natural for readers to pay what advertisers once did, just as cows have to make up the difference out of their own pockets when the price of milk falls. "Without content companies, there would be nothing on the internet! Just as without pimps, sex would never have been invented."

Media commentators fear for the future of investigative journalism. "How can we hold governments' feet to the fire without money to pay our great reporters? Where would you get your recycled wire feeds, your Garfield cartoons?" Newspapers have suffered badly since the collapse of their previous business model of selling readers to advertisers on a local monopoly basis. The replacement models appear to involve phlogiston, caloric and luminiferous aether.

Publishers have also explored the notion of getting Google to pay its "fair share" for so parasitically leading people to newspapers' websites. The Wikimedia Foundation promptly started billing journalists for their reprints from Wikipedia. "We feel this is completely unfair," said Tom Curley of the Associated Press, "as real news stories spring forth from the heads of accredited reporters in an immaculate creation from nothingness. My preciousss." Maurice Jarre was unavailable for comment.

Re:The free Internet is over! Over! (1)

Bob9113 (14996) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818735)

Bravo! Bravo! Author! Author!

Very well played, Mr. Gerard. Thank you for starting my day with a belly-laugh. :)

You'll never get my money! (3, Insightful)

Xpendable (1605485) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818101)

Here's what I have to say to those who want to charge $5 to read their "online" newspaper. Good luck with that. I'll be over here where the news is still "free".

Re:You'll never get my money! (4, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818133)

No kidding. People barely tolerate having to register at the NYT website and that's free. If they actually expect that people are going to be willing to pay money to read it, they're going to be in for quite a shock.

It is not free, and is not going to be. (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818111)

Well, perhaps not *your* content, but i guarantee the content down the street will be.

Guess where ill be taking my business? ( thinking ad revenue here as business )

It's not free, but it's a helluva lot cheaper (1)

Trip6 (1184883) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818113)

What we are debating is the cost-per-eyeball to deliver content to readers. The web is way cheaper than any other network ever set up. One nice website serves millions, or billions. Compare to the cost of a TV broadcast network.

Duh, Mr Diller forgets... (5, Insightful)

argStyopa (232550) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818117)

Barry misunderstands the BASIC transaction basis of currently-free media (like TV): the ADVERTISERS are his customers, the VIEWERS EYES AND ATTENTION is what he's selling and the 'content' is merely bait to attract and hold the viewers for as long as possible.

So in a sense, he's stating categorically that fish are going to need to pay to enjoy the worms hanging on those hooks.

It's quite possibly the stupidest thing I've ever heard.

And, for what it's worth? "Disney, the world's biggest media company, is developing a subscription-based product for the Internet, Iger said..." Disney: really good content producer, really BAD at predicting how they can exploit the viewers. I recall them saying categorically that Disney movies would NEVER be released in DVD format (for fear of piracy) and then they did release in a dvd format...DIVX. Everyone remember what a huge success that was?

No, if Disney's working on a 'subscription' internet, I'm going to bet strongly that they'll be wrong.

Re:Duh, Mr Diller forgets... (3, Funny)

Anne Thwacks (531696) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818321)

fish are going to need to pay to enjoy the worms hanging on those hooks.

That, sir is The American Dream

- dream on...

Re:Duh, Mr Diller forgets... (1)

hairyfeet (841228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818705)

I think one of our great philosophers, the late George Carlin, said it best: "It is called the American Dream because you have to be asleep to believe in it"

Re:Duh, Mr Diller forgets... (3, Interesting)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818559)

It's amazing that the same people who say that the advertisers should pay for the whole system are also the ones trying to cut advertising out of their feed - who use AdBlock, who listen to XM because they can't stand constant advertisements, who use DVRs to skip past ads, and who get movies on NetFlix because watching them on TV have too many ads. And the same people who also think that the prices of media content - like DVDs - are way too high and need to come down.

Well, guess what. Free content and no ads means no content. Free content and ads means a LOT of advertising. You want the next movie you see to be interrupted by an ad every 2 minutes?

A lot of people on Slashdot want to eat their cake and have it too. Content should be free and supported by ads - but we should get to block/skip ads!

They'll lose more than half of their users (3, Insightful)

PenisLands (930247) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818121)

I imagine that if these sites start trying to charge their users for access, most people will just lose interest and look for a site that doesn't suck. For example, I like to browse slashdot and youtube, but if they started charging for basic access I'd forget about both in a heartbeat.

But i already pay (1)

nurb432 (527695) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818127)

Ya, i pay access fee each month, to a company that is either part of or in bed with major media giants that are working hard to limit my access in general. And you want to raise my rates even more in effect? Well, f-you sir.

"Free" (2, Insightful)

The Cisco Kid (31490) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818129)

Any person or business can charge for access to their site if they want to. Others may choose to give information away free. Still others might give information away free, but include ads from sponsors on their sites. Some individuals might choose to directly exchange information, either for free or in exchange for value.

Regardless, no one is forced to use any particular website - if one chooses, and another provides the same information free, you can choose either one. If the one charging has unique information that no one else offers, you can decide whether to pay and get it, or not. If you have information you'd like to charge for, but there are a dozen other sites offering it free, you probably aren't going to do well. It would be wrong for you to try to get laws or regulations to block the ones giving it away for free.

This essay is a bit dated with some of its references, but the underlying concepts still apply:

http://www.worldofends.com/ [worldofends.com]

Then it will wither and die (1)

Culture20 (968837) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818135)

The only reason it grew was because it was (is still) free.

Who believes the New York Times anyway? (2, Insightful)

xjlm (1073928) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818141)

I registered there years ago, but it's been years since I've logged in. First off, the stories are mostly knock-off crap for the 'unwashed masses', secondly how do you know their columnists aren't just poorly-paid liars like that clown Jason Blair? You can read better elsewhere, and if they do publish something factual you'd want to verify it anyway.

Barry Diller is a dipshit (1)

DragonTHC (208439) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818145)

Free content means free for the consumer.

Even the Guild, which is free to the consumer, is supported by a corporate sponsor who wants to draw in those who like it.

so, Barry Diller is a dipshit. He might as well wipe his ass with his MBA, since he can't figure anything else out.

A cartel? (1)

TrollHammer (1604811) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818149)

I do not have a problem with his company trying to charge money for content. I have a problem, though, when he tries to create a cartel [wikipedia.org] of companies so every newspaper publisher moves to a subscription-based model.
I have a problem with that because it is not legal in USA or the UE, not because it is going to work. On the contrary, it is not going to work. At all.

He just figured out how things work on the web? (1)

LaurelBoa (742577) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818155)

Nothing new here - "Diller predicted there will be three revenue streams: advertising, subscriptions and transactions."

Here's another Myth... (5, Insightful)

s0litaire (1205168) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818177)

...Multi-Millionaire CEO's of International corps know EXACTLY what the little guy scraping by on minimum wage actually wants and needs...

Re:Here's another Myth... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818675)

...Multi-Millionaire CEO's of International corps know EXACTLY what the little guy scraping by on minimum wage actually wants and needs...

It's also a myth that he needs to know. After all, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, and he's the multi-millionaire.

I would gladly pay $5 for the NYT online (2, Informative)

Wrath0fb0b (302444) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818193)

I used to have a delivery subscription for ~$5/wk but I canceled it a while ago because it was nothing but extra clutter. When I canceled, I told the rep that I still greatly value the paper's content and would not mind continuing to pay some small amount to keep it going but, alas, they were incapable of taking my money without sending paper to my doorstep.

$5/month seems eminently reasonable, I hope they do something like that.

Re:I would gladly pay $5 for the NYT online (1)

Seth Kriticos (1227934) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818349)

It's what I think too. If the price is reasonable and the content appropriate, then a small fee is ok and people will also pay for it.

Problem is that these people either try to overprice it from the beginning or screw up with the content or do something else that irritates the heck out of people.

Would just take a little common sense, maybe a trial subscription and adequate content in the right form (not too restricted) and they could have a business model. They still manage to screw up most of the time.

Re:I would gladly pay $5 for the NYT online (2, Interesting)

caseih (160668) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818371)

The NY Times essentially tried this. They sold subscriptions for their "premium" content. It didn't work. People either were satisfied with the nonpremium content, or went elsewhere. The problem was that the premium content really wasn't so premium and the other interesting content was available elsewhere. There was no added value. I used to regularly read Friedman's oped column in the NY Times. I thought he was very insightful. But then when they tried the premium content stuff, his articles were pay only. About that time I realized that his opinions on anything other than the middle east were irrelevant, so I just gave up entirely. Now that the nytimes has stopped premium content, I still haven't gone back.

Actually I think I stopped reading Friedman about the time I tried to read his book "The World is Flat." I about choked when he was quoting Balmer about how Microsoft had revolutionized the world with the internet. The entire book seemed to state the obvious about globalization, but he apparently thought he had discovered something amazing that none of the rest of us knew. Wasn't insightful at all, unlike his fantastic book "From Beirut to Jerusalem." Hence he should stick to what he knows: the Middle East.

Re:I would gladly pay $5 for the NYT online (1)

belmolis (702863) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818403)

Of course, there is a small problem in no longer subscribing to a paper newspaper: what do you use to absorb the grease when you make greasy food like french fries or bacon? Paper towels seem like such a waste.

Re:I would gladly pay $5 for the NYT online (1)

macshit (157376) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818453)

I probably would too -- but the NYT website is very good, probably the best site out there that's roughly in the mold of a traditional newspaper.

I think the NYT might be one of the rare sites that could succeed with such relatively high subscription costs (lower than their normal subscription mind you), but very few other websites could get away with it, so it's not a good general solution.

No Free Content? (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818199)

My Bittorrent client says otherwise.

We all want to get paid (1)

dgun (1056422) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818211)

But if you want to get paid for online content, create content that is worth paying for. And keep in mind that you're competing for an audience that is easily amused by home videos of dad's getting hit in the family jewels by wiffle bat wielding young'uns.

Re:We all want to get paid (1)

justinlee37 (993373) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818303)

You summed up the internet in a sentence.

Re:We all want to get paid (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818507)

Yea...the sad reality is that people would rather have (and even pay) for entertainment than information. And hence, news organizations have become a bastardization of Jerry Springer.

Hooray! Best news EVAR! (1)

zmollusc (763634) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818213)

I, for one, welcome the end of 'free' internet traffic, as I am sick of those spongers getting something for nothing. I look forward to getting paid for storing cookies, looking at adverts, filling in forms etc.

Old news is not true news (1)

Rog7 (182880) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818217)

Didn't we already hear this about 15 years ago or so?

Maybe if they concentrate really hard for another 15 years then wishful thinking might pop open an alternate reality or something.

Tap your heels together and make yourself less relevant.

I'd rather pay a small fee.. (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818221)

Than to be getting all my news through Google and the likes who need to fill the page with advertising and do all sorts of data-mining to make their venture worthwhile. If paying a small amount would replace all advertisement and data-mining I'd be happy with that.

There is a certain limit to how much content can be supported by advertising, after that advertising becomes increasingly pervasive in order to keep up the same revenue stream and after that advertising alone won't bring in enough revenue to keep some businesses afloat. These businesses might be the ones that spend a lot on procuring high-quality content and will either be forced to join the sea of other copy-cat news sites that re-write other articles and use twitter as a primary source.

The way I see it there is a trend towards ad-based stuff and then back to subscription before the ad-based services pick up again. There is only so much money being spent on web-based advertising and it has to be split among all the people who provide ad-based services, so as soon as the revenue drops to the required amount to keep these people in business a lot of them will fold, increasing the revenue for those who made it through the bubble so the cycle can start all over again

Re:I'd rather pay a small fee.. (1)

Baron_Yam (643147) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818255)

You'll pay the small fee AND they'll put advertising all over it and datamine the hell out of you.

It's not an either/or situation.

Re:I'd rather pay a small fee.. (1)

botik32 (90185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818697)

Exactly. The problem of the news industry is twofold: greed and sloth.

Since greed is promoted as a virtue in capitalism, I will leave that alone.

However, when the industry becomes so complacent that most of the professional journalism is full of mindless parroting of press releases, the problem is aggravated.

Nobody will pay for the current shoddy journalism. Press releases can be had for free elsewhere. Until the industry learns to provide a compelling, insightful analysis, people will not buy this mindless stuff.

And when you fail, please do not go crying to daddy 'the govt' saying the world is going to miss your public service if you die. We won't miss you.

Re:I'd rather pay a small fee.. (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818315)

Another consideration is who does the content delivery. Hobbyists can be satisfied with just enough revenue to keep the site afloat. Small businesses may be fine with reaching the point of keeping the staff employed, the lights on, and the material flowing.

Once you get up to the public corporations, though, you're pretty much guaranteed that at the end of the day you'll have an overpriced ad-ridden lame Internet experience, because not only are they looking for enough to keep the business afloat, they've got to keep the investors happy. That means leaving no revenue stream untapped in order to achieve growth, then increases in the rate of growth year over year if they can manage it.

Having seen what they've done for radio and for newspapers, I'm not looking forward to them working over the Internet. Things will start to get interesting if they prevail against net neutrality.

Re:I'd rather pay a small fee.. (1)

botik32 (90185) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818529)

There is a certain limit to how much content can be supported by subscription fees, after that subscription fees become increasingly unattractive in order to keep up the same revenue stream and after that subscription fees alone won't bring in enough revenue to keep some businesses afloat.

There. Something to think about.

Re:I'd rather pay a small fee.. (1)

ickleberry (864871) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818731)

True, it works both ways - as one revenue source dries up the other starts looking more attractive that's why it's like a continuous sine wave. subscriptions will go up in price and people will get "sick of this shit" and go to sites with minimal advertising.

Right now advertising-based is on the way up still, but not too far away from its peak. of course those totally against subscription services or cant pay will be stuck with the horrible, ad ridden internet experience for a while until things start to go in their favour again

Barry Diller's view of reality is a myth (1)

m509272 (1286764) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818253)

Barry Diller's view of reality is a myth. People already pay for internet access they generally will not pay more to hit websites. Some will remain free and those will thrive and the losers will either go out of business or they will return to free, possibly too late to survive.

Re:Barry Diller's view of reality is a myth (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818365)

I pay for cable TV and still pay more for DVDs. I think many small companies will not be able to find an audience by putting up pay-walls, but I don't think NBC, ABC, CBS, etc., are worried about charging for their shows. iTunes already successfully charges to download these shows, so I have a feeling many would be willing to pay a little more for access to premium content. In that sense, he is only mostly incorrect. His theories only really apply to big companies with premium content.

Re:Barry Diller's view of reality is a myth (1)

maxwell demon (590494) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818591)

The main obstacle may not even be paying. The main obstacle may be obligatory registering. I don't have an user account at any newspaper, and if I need one to read the newspaper, even if it's free, I'll just go elsewhere. I won't even of use Bugmenot. A site with mandatory registration just for access of content basically is equivalent to a nonexisting site for me. The same is true for other sites, even if I eventually end up with an user account. I definitely wouldn't be on Slashdot today if I had needed an user account just to read the site. The fact that Slashdot accounts are free doesn't change this.

I agree that ... it's not free (1)

debrain (29228) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818271)

... because these companies have our attention for whatever period of time we stare at the content they put onto their website.

They seem to be under the misapprehension that our attention is free.

Companies are moving AWAY from paid content (1)

judolphin (1158895) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818281)

Companies have already discovered that too many people are willing to provide information for free to charge for it online.

With very few exceptions (professional journals and professional necessities like Lexis Nexis), sites who force users to pay for their content condemn themselves to irrelevancy.

Two easy examples of "Paid vs. Free" web sites:

Encyclopedia Britannica vs. Wikipedia
Classmates vs. Facebook

Also, think about Experts Exchange. There were popular Firefox extensions created for the express purpose of blocking expertsexchange.com results in Google.

They now provide their answers on the bottom of every page. Good or bad, almost no one will pay for news stories online.

what a chump (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818291)

I've been building websites for all kinds of reasons for 13 years-- many of them personal, with the purpose of serving my music, art, etc. I decided recently that this website I've been cultivating lately will actually be MORE successful without any advertising-- and by successful, I mean I can use it to spread memes more effectively than with a website tainted with advertising content. you might as well use unfiltered tap water to cook a meal. Money becomes a proxy for real attachment. People think that because they paid for something that they can waste it-- so I no longer let anyone pay for my creativity. People like Barry Diller are just reinforcing a sick and broken system that cannot last.

Long live Big Fat Artifact 2112

I'm Going to be Blunt. (3, Interesting)

rel4x (783238) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818327)

Places like the New York Times have put no decent effort into getting their internet traffic to back out. Their whining is getting ridiculous.

The cost per click of advertising on sites like the New York Times is pretty high. But they put their CPC ads below the fold where users won't click on them. They take the easy branding dollars for the top placements on CPM media buys. The problem with this is that most media buys are cheaper than paying per click(since it requires a high initial $$$ commitment), and are capped at 1 view/person/12 hours. So by the 10th pageview for someone, you're really down the crap inventory.

This is 100% the lazy way out. They should be making a self serve platform (to eliminate the 30%+ cut Google and other PPC companies take), and they should be aggressively looking for advertisers. Start tagging articles, have people bid on the tags themselves(to break down the different topics better).

Move the ads into more aggressive slots, and start putting non intrusive text ads on their mailing list. Quantcast shows them getting 66.5-79.5 million US pageviews a month, and quantcast is pretty conservative. So let's say they put 3 PPC ads in a decent position, and take the high number(79.5 million).

It's not unreasonable to guesstimate the adblock as a whole would get around a 2-3% click through ratio with good targetting. Even at 2%,that would be 1.59 million clicks to the ads per month. The prices would vary so much based on keyword that guessing past that is pointless, but suffice it to say most would be paying $0.75 on the cheaper end, and much more expensive for things about insurance, etc. And that's just one adblock. They've got the resources to monetize this, they just aren't. They'd prefer to use safe but low revenue CPM buys, and to let Google take a big chunk of their PPC revenue. Idiots.

The other Diller (1)

xactuary (746078) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818343)

Phyllis Diller made more sense than this guy.

Diller uses many free web contents (1)

servitore (911830) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818347)

I think Diller uses many free softwares, icons, Wikipedia etc.

Unbelievably Clueless (3, Insightful)

anorlunda (311253) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818351)

It is hard to imagine how clueless an "executive" in this industry can be. Apparently, Diller is incapable of visualize himself in the shoes of others.

If most sites charged a subscription fee:

1) Personally, the only commercial site I visit frequently enough to be worth a fee is the NYT. There is no second place; not even close. If all papers charged a fee, I suspect that 80% of users would subscribe to NYT and nothing else.

Other than the NYT, I probably visit 1000 other sites per month seeking interesting reading. Diller would have me pay $5000 per month for that privilege.

2) Free ranging surfing would be discouraged because of all the fee-walls erected. Most users would never discover Diller's site in the first place.

3) As others have remarked, most users would be driven to the remaining subset of sites that don't charge a fee.

4) Given that we users like to change our minds frequently about favorite places to visit, if we did pay a $5 fee to subscribe, we would likely change our mind before getting value for the money.

If there must be a subscription fee, then the ONLY way it could work would be one $5 fee for all information sites to be allocated among providers in proportion to the actual visits they record. It would be almost the same business model as cable TV which shares subscriber fees with the providers.

Online gaming sites are a different story.

no, he really does get it (1)

buddyglass (925859) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818367)

There is no free lunch. When the NYT content was "free" online, it was in fact being subsidized by the Times' paying paper subscribers. And the Times' advertisers, which it had to charge more in order to generate the revenue needed to subsidize the online site. Or, if the online site was in fact funded by its own advertisements, then it was paid for by the users of whatever products were being advertised.

The "ad funded" web is just another opportunity for companies to inflate their ad budgets and pass that cost onto consumers.

Personally, I will welcome the day when individual net access gets a more sane pricing structure.

Re:no, he really does get it (1)

RJFerret (1279530) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818711)

Mod parent up! This is the first who realizes someone pays for content, "free" just means it's charge is distributed or displaced.

My parents would never use a gas station that charged the same price for cash and credit--since then the cash paying customers were being charged a portion of the percentage credit card companies charged for those services.

People often forget that companies don't have any money and most start in debt. They simply move money from their paying customers to their suppliers, financiers and labor.

That being said, all things being equal generally consumers will gravitate toward perceived "free", even bearing inconvenience and ironically, increased "cost" for it.

Perceived value (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818379)

âoeWe have ample evidence both in traditional and new media that people are willing to pay for quality, to pay for choice and to pay for convenience,â Iger said. âoeAnd they are willing to pay for what they perceive as value.â

For what they perceive as value.

Exactly. And as marketers, they can control that for a large part of the uncritical audience. I think there are other great points being made here, I just wanted to add that this quote jumped out at me.
They want to control those perceptions, and it starts with articles and quotes like the one referenced in this issue. Free content will always be available. People often believe that what they pay for
is superior, but I personally do not believe that this is the case.

Let them bleat.

Re:Perceived value (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818563)

Free content will always be available. People often believe that what they pay for
is superior, but I personally do not believe that this is the case.

Let them bleat.

Just a quick focus on that last couple sentences.
Premium free content will always be available. People no longer pay or don't pay much for what is superior.

        The movie/music industry is a sinking ship and the clueless, like Barry, are still on the quarterdeck in a lounge sipping Shirley Temples and trying to convince themselves they still run the show.
The music industry is dead, long live music.

Free web claims (2, Funny)

dingen (958134) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818389)

Barry Diller is a myth.

Profiteers are short-sighted (5, Insightful)

jcohen (131471) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818473)

Let's suppose, for the sake of argument, that all the websites out there started charging the eminently "reasonable" $5/month for access to content. In truth, it is likely that sites run by the likes of Barry Diller will charge decidedly more than this.

Before the economic collapse, I had a monthly books/CDs/entertainment budget of, say, $150. After the collapse, that budget is closer to $40. Assuming that I choose to spend 100% of my discretionary income on nothing but paid websites, and assuming that these will all be the cheapest, $5/month websites, that gets me eight websites, out of all the sites available on the Internet. I might as well shut down my browser and head to my library to peruse some dead trees.

I can't be the only person like this. Mark my words: the Internet will route around this damage.

The contrarian view... (1, Informative)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818491)

So I'm an anonymous coward and I'm going to disagree with nearly all the posts, so let me predict either -1 or nothing higher than a 2...

Firstly, the mistake everyone here is making is that they assume they know what the business model and therefore thee economics of Dilley's production is. I'll wager that he's crunched the numbers and the $5 he's put out there isn't just some random number.

Secondly, I'm pretty sure he's factored in less users once he starts a paid service. But maybe that's not such a bad idea. If you have a paid for service and you lose 80% of your users (random high number), so long as what the remaining 20% pay covers the bills and gives you a profit, what do you care for the other 80%? Fact of the matter is, the paid subscribers will probably see a better service because there is less load on the web infrastructure supporting the content, possibly allowing for further cost savings and profit driving.

Third, yes, there's a lot of free content out there, more each day. But how much of it is worthwhile? I was going to say probably 80% of the internet could disappear and nobody would notice, but then there would be no online porn industry ;) The point being that there's an awful lot of noise out there on the great big www. I'd be curious to see a distribution graph of the web sites with the most hits from google: do 20% get 80% of hits or is it flat?

Whilst slashdot serves its purpose, it is nothing but a vehicle for delivering access to other content, thus it has no reporters or journalists to pay. Buy a copy of the Wall Street Journal, read it from cover to cover. Or if you're in Europe, get a copy of the Financial Times (England) or similar.

So long as people with money continue to see value in purchasing something (be it news or otherwise), then people will continue to sell it. Whilst slashdot is free, that it is free is relevant becaues of the open source community that it serves first and foremonst. When someone comes up with a "free" NYT or WSJ or FT and it is first rate original content, then maybe I'll buy the "free will conquer all" story. But for now, free news on the internet is no more or less worthwhile than the free news you get with free to air television.

Where Do I Sign up? (1)

flyneye (84093) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818509)

You appearantly don't need any special smarts to be a man in his position, drawing the income he does.
Where do I sign up to be a chairman/CEO of a large moneylaundering company like that?
Unfortunately Barry doesn't realize that the music/movie industry is a sinking ship and he should pack up his desk and swim for his life.
Oh well Barry, don't worry, the world needs ditchdiggers too.

What's he got that anyone will pay for? (1)

John Hasler (414242) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818513)

> "We have ample evidence both in traditional and new media that people are willing to pay
> for quality, to pay for choice and to pay for convenience," Iger said. "And they are
> willing to pay for what they perceive as value."

Yes, but what does Mr. Diller have that anyone is willing to pay for?

Beeatch (1)

bazorg (911295) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818527)

Shut up beeatch. you'll do exactly how the advertisers tell you to do.

Charity doesn't exist. Love doesn't exist. (2, Insightful)

erroneus (253617) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818545)

Some people actually do things because they enjoy it or want others to enjoy it. There are people who do charitable acts without want of tax advantages or recognition. As someone from the BSD camps have pointed out, some people just want to make their affect on the world and would like to see their work out in the world being useful. Free web content isn't so different and all those things released out there in the creative commons and the like are evidence of people simply wishing to express themselves and to share it with others.

Re:Charity doesn't exist. Love doesn't exist. (1)

jgalun (8930) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818599)

If I said that all content must be charged for regardless of type or quality, I'd be a nut. Yet on Slashdot we regularly have people saying that no content should be charged for, which is just as crazy.

The Internet has changed the game. There are many types of content which you used to be able to charge for that you no longer can. For example, there is almost no sports coverage you can charge for because there are 10 zillion sports fans will to provide almost as good coverage for free.

But there is plenty of content that "charity and love" have not and will not ever produced. Open source projects have produced amazing operating systems, servers, etc. - but have not yet produced a single World of Warcraft or Wii Sports. We've seen a lot of funny YouTube videos, but no one is producing the next Batman movie for free and posting it to YouTube.

But the internet isn't free anyway... (0)

Anonymous Coward | more than 5 years ago | (#28818633)

I still have to pay my ISP!

Dutch government had an idea to tax for papers (1)

woutersimons_com (1602459) | more than 5 years ago | (#28818739)

The idea has been voiced in holland to start taxing internet connection to pay newspapers for being able to survive. This is along the same lines of thinking. The free content supposedly makes it impossible for newspapers to survive. To keep on the staff of reporters and overhead costs. Nonsense, obviously. A new generation of media companies will just have to find new ways to fund their activities. Advertising is a big one, but other models may work too. If you are going to charge 5$ to access your content I am sure you will lose your readers rather quickly. The idea sounds shortsighted to me.
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