Farewell to Free Content?

Is the free lunch over for content? Maybe.

Time Inc. has seen advertising revenue drop 6% in the first half of 2012; things are tough all over.

This article reports on Time Inc.’s CEO, Laura Lang, Time Inc. CEO Promises New Ads, Less Free Content:

“On the circulation side, Lang is intent on delivering content ‘whenever and wherever the consumer wants.’ At the same time, she wrote, ‘we will stop giving away so much of our content for free … we will reinvent what it means to be a subscriber.’”

It’s all very well for companies large and small to turn themselves into “publishers” and give content away in the content marketing frenzy. Companies for which content is their raison d’être can’t be anywhere near as cavalier.

Content costs money. “Free” content isn’t free, and if advertising won’t support it, consumers are the next in line.

Media companies can make money from content. Google of course, makes the most money. :-)

It does my writer’s heart good to read this; I’m all aglow.

Consumers have always been willing to pay for the content they want. As an example, consider JK Rowling’s new book.

As this article, J K Rowling’s New eBook Looks Like $18 of Crap on the Nook and Kindle, points out:

Publishers like to justify their ridiculous ebook prices by claiming to offer great value for the price. I’m sure that’s what Hachette was thinking when they set the ebook price for Casual Vacancy, J K Rowling’s new book, at $18.

There you go — $18 for a Kindle ebook. No dead trees. But $18? I’m not against it. If I wanted to read the book badly enough, I’d cough it up. I paid that amount for Hilary Mantel’s Bring Up The Bodies when it was first released. (And then I was disappointed; Wolf Hall was better.)

So consumers will pay for the content they want. The trick of course is developing the content for which they’ll pay. We live in interesting times.

Author: Angela Booth

Copywriter Angela Booth's clients tell her she performs "word magic." Whether she's writing advertising materials, Web content, or ghostwriting for her clients, she's committed to helping them to achieve results, fast. Author of one of the first books about online business, Making The Internet Work For Your Business, Angela's written many business books which have been published by major publishers. She's an enthusiastic self-publisher and writing teacher.