A recent Pew research study shows that for the first time, the internet has overtaken newspapers as people’s primary source for news. In a blog post about the study, Mitch Joel expresses his concern that the shift from print to digital media has happened so fast, the development of new commercial models for funding that content hasn’t been able to keep up. “Who is going to pay for all this content that we are now consuming online?” Mitch asks.
I wonder if there’s simply an education process that needs to happen. Perhaps most digital natives have never quite understood that excellent content has a price tag. (Isn’t this the same generation that thinks wearing designer labels is a God given birth right?) Someone’s got to pay for the content and/or the distribution system that delivers it, whether that be online or off. In the past, commercial sponsors have picked up the tab. Sorry kids, there’s a deal here. You want great content? Well, someone needs to pay for it.
It seems like the digital content providers of the world just keep trying this or that advertising format and see if their users accept it. If one format doesn’t fly, they try another. Maybe they need to start actively communicating to their communities the benefits for content quality when that content and its distribution are supported via commercial sponsorship.
“There’s no such thing as a free lunch.” Has anyone ever told that to this new generation of digital natives?