There are many different types of content available online. These include academic articles, music, films, scientific research and content for websites and apps. One of the main reasons for the debate if whether content producers should make their materials free or not, is due to digitisation and the evolution of the Internet.
“Media is not scarce any more – attention is the scarce resource.” – Pete Cashmore
Content producers are people who write for websites while ensuring that corporate strategy is properly implemented. (Source: Deeson) Alike traditional print companies, online media websites need funds to run. Subscriptions alone are not enough to fund a magazine company’s online activities. With every “free thing” comes two dimensions – agenda and quality. The Internet is dominated by free web services that depend on advertising revenues and powerful marketing tools to support their business models (Source) If readers do not pay the website to view content, they will have to deal with the multitude of advertisements available there. Profits are generated through these advertisements, but disrupts the reading experience.
Additionally, many media companies like The Straits Times use “Freemium” subscriptions. Non-subscribers can only read 50 articles per month and have to pay more to gain more access.
An article written by the Ed Techie describes the advantages of openness in education. A few of these advantages are applicable to openness in media as well. As seen from the picture above, openness in media allows publications to increase audience viewership, increase reputation through networking their journalists as well as increased revenue. Free content can build goodwill with readers and drive them to buy offline products.
In contrast, if there is too much openness in media and the content available online is all free, duplication is inevitable. It is now becoming increasingly difficult to track who is plagiarising content and abusing copyrights. If the content you produce is taken so freely from you, how are you going to get paid? Advertising revenue might be of a solution, but for new and inexperienced content producers, scoring these sponsorships might not be easy as it is based on stats . However, site is full of advertisements and posts on sponsored products, this may not reflect well too.
Even though you may have just started producing your own content in the digital world, you should never short-change your readers by writing the bare minimum and posting frequently just to get views. If your website starts from the bottom with creative and attention worthy content, the revenue will follow. As seen from Internet Marketing Ninjas, in a world bombarded by information content producers should establish expertise to elevate their brand and distinguish themselves from the rest.
P. Cashmore (2005): Why Online Media Should be Free (And Why We Should Embrace the Splogosphere), Available: http://mashable.com/2005/12/31/why-online-media-should-be-free-and-why-we-should-embrace-the-splogophere/#lwfcrB3PYOqJ (Accessed: 11/11/15)
G. Halbrooks (n.d.): Premium, Free or Freemium Web Content, Available: http://media.about.com/od/onlinemedia/a/Paid-Content-Vs-Free.htm, (Accessed: 11/11/15)
H. Schuinanii, F. Wangenheim, & N. Groene, (2014): Targeted Online Advertising: Using Reciprocity Appeals to Increase Acceptance Among Users of Free Web Services, Available: http://eds.b.ebscohost.com/eds/pdfviewer/pdfviewer?vid=3&sid=9f9447f9-81ca-49ba-afce-7b826675d6ca%40sessionmgr111&hid=113 (Accessed: 11/11/15)