What happened?

I started this blog last May, almost a year after the Chicago meeting of newspaper publishers discussing the common need for paid content models, because nothing seemed to happen and I wanted to keep an eye on things. Blogging forces me to keep up my research and check out the best sources and thinkers on a more regular basis than I used to do. And it is, I must confess, lots of fun and very satisfying to write and post. Thanks to Peter Bogaards for telling me to just do it!

I gave my view on the necessity to pay creators of original content several times. The reason for my point of view is very simple and old fashioned. If people have a talent and devote a lot of time, love and energy to create something, it should be rewarding from a financial point of view as well.  At least the creators should have the possibility to make some money. It should not be common practice to be not paid or be ripped of. The creators are doing all the hard work. If creators want producers to handle it for them, OK, that’s their decision. If creators want to give away their creations for free, it’s up to them as well. Fashionable terms like ‘ information economy, knowledge economy and creative industries’ quite simply can not function properly without the basic notions, concepts and laws of economics. The same applies for people who have experience and knowledge. As a self employed consultant I all too often must experience the expectation of potential clients that I will tell them what’s happening and what the future might bring for free. Like I could buy a pair of jeans, without paying.

Of course I like the concept of sharing, the open source movement and the basic notion that information wants to be free. But that’s up to the creator(s). Not to the (mis) users.

In my blogs I shared my belief that the iPad would turn out to become a catalyst and a turning point in the road to the acceptance of paid content. Just like the iPod was for music. I am sure it will take more time than with music and that we need more compelling forms of content in the long and bumpy road to paid content, but I take my hat off for Steve Jobs and his fellow workers. Again and again!

What happened since May?

  • The iPad became an overnight success.
  • Lots of other tablets have been announced and the first competitors will be launched before the end of this month.
  • A new breed of startups became operational and pretty well funded.
  • Some of these tablets, applications and companies are stunning!
  • The first well established newspapers announced they will put up paywalls, move to tablets and eventually stop using paper.
  • The first experiments with new forms of interactive content became available. Most were boring copies of websites and paper issues, some however were very inspiring, new and fresh forms of rich, enhanced content.
  • All the big players are moving forward aggressively on this new frontier.
  • The search for new business models continues.
  • Paid content made a few baby steps. 

At least in the US and UK. In my own country the mantra seems to be: wait and see. But we all read English anyway;-)

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