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Tuesday, January 25, 2011

How today's companies are getting paid for their digital content

While few of us would steal even an apple('tangible good'), there is little shame attached to stealing digital goods like information, music, software('intangible'). Actually, even 'stealing' is a misnomer because using copies without paying deprives the owner of his dues but does not reduce the content available to others(long run effects apart). Anyway, this post is not a rant for/against piracy but as the title suggests gives examples of how media companies are monetizing their content online
  1. Give space to sponsors:- Taking a cue from the in-film product placements done by cinema chains, book publishers(www.bookboon.com) and broadcasters(NDTV 18 clips/ Hulu.com) are embedding advertisements in their books/video clips respectively. And as it is difficult to ignore these commercials, the pay per view may even be more here.
  2. Have a sponsor who will subsidize the content:- The Economist is currently free on the Ipad, and the Wall Street Journal Future Leadership program(under which they give a daily pdf of WSJ Asia) is free to students of top Bschools. Both are courtesy sponsors who get brand recognition
I'll add to this list as I encounter more examples on the internet but the bottomline is that 'Content need not be free even in the era of near-zero 'marginal cost to the creator'

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