Archive for the ‘Content’ category

‘Better than free’

February 4, 2008

Read this from Kevin Kelly.

It’s a great dynamic – just as your main product goes digital and ubiquitous what you need to add value is more physical world product (concerts, merchandise) and exclusivity/personalisation (getting things first or more inside track).

Now let’s see the future please…

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China bends online audio/video market in it’s favour

January 18, 2008

This article on Yahoo! News reports that the Chinese are struggling to deal with the huge increase in online piracy, purportedly having twice as many cases in 2007 than in 2005 and 2006 together.

It is notable that a senior official said that harsher punishments are required, but on reading on I noticed this which I must have missed last month: 

Last month, the government said that in a bid to curb pornography and politically sensitive online subjects, only state-owned firms would be allowed to apply for licenses to share videos and audio online.

Surely this is exactly the kind of behaviour that is contained in the WTO complaints made last year by the US. Under the guise of requiring censorship of inappropriate material it makes it hard for international firms to break into the domestic market. 

Tel père, tel fils

August 14, 2007

Ars Technica report on a new EC sponsored Eurobarometer survey, with the great headline ‘Papa pirates, so I do, too’.  The survey of 29 countries, which suggests Euroteens online behaviours are converging, is interesting partly because the audience surveyed is so young – 9-10 and 12-14 years old.

Predictably downloading music/film/video/games is more widespread among the older age group, and boys in particular. Excuses are rife since it appears to the kids surveyed that everyone is doing it, even their parents.

A comment I have heard previously, that reappears in this survey, is that if something is illegal it would not be on the internet. It’s worrying that kids might have a trust of the medium that is this deep.

Their biggest fear, on the other hand,  appears to be getting a PC virus!

 The report itself is here – p. 54 for the sectoin on illegal downloading.

Bouleversement in the value of content . . ?

June 15, 2007

Remember some years ago (well actually about ten!) David Bowie launched Bowienet, with paid for membership (and the tantilising possiblity of talking with him in the forums)? Well, it looks like more artists are catching on. Genesis recently announced a tour and subsequently made the forums section on their web site paid access only .

Content which was previously free became paid access. Not only that but forums are User Generated Content. There is a strange dynamic at work here where we see the labour of love that the artist works on declining in price and perceived (monetary) value, but a new form of artist-related product (not traditional merchandise) gaining traction as having value. Will the recorded music become the low price lever to get people into higher priced ‘services’?

My take is that this only works for big artists right now but as a model could become more and more prevalent, although The Police web site adopts a halfway position with registration required for forum access and a premium membership of $100 available. Real money. How many albums would you get for $100?

But wait you say, isn’t that model quite old fashioned? Commercial television for example, relies on not paid-for content…the content is merely the attractor to get people to watch ads.  The difference here is no ads and trying to move consumers from one product with declining price to a service with repeat payments over time. What else does the artist/label get from this? Email address, opportunities for dialogue, greater revenue and opportunities to cross-sell. For many fans killer content will include the work on the way to the finished product (see the success of outtakes, film directors’ commentaries and behind the scenes footage of recording studio). Artists brave enough to let some of that material out, especially live as it happens, could find themselves with fans online for hours running their own Big Brother-alike (ok, I may have taken that one too far but who knows what Babyshambles in the studio streaming live to the web might be like – actually I can guess).The last word come from an article from nine years ago:

“BowieNet starts with David Bowie and leads utlimately to an entirely new experience with music and art in general,” said Bob Goodale, co-founder of UltraStar and a pioneering Web music producer.  

Lofty aims  and these models are not proven but finally it looks like more experimentation with monetising the models are on their way.