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There are big discussions these days about whether or not media properties will continue to offer their products for free over the internet.  Will newspapers begin charging for daily news? Will magazines require subscriptions for articles and analysis? Will TV programming sites like Hulu submit to a fee structure?  There’s no question in my mind they will, so enjoy the free ride while it lasts.

 Citizen journalism will continue to grow and be free. It will be localized, time sensitive and a very vibrant source of news.  #carcrashamityville will turn up a story beating the local newspaper filings by hours. Blogger journalism and analysis will continue to be free but subsidized by book sales and speaking engagements. (When music piracy became a thing and musicians could make a living selling CDs, they acknowledged da monies was in concerts and merchandise sales.) Back in the day, valuable analyses and insight was sold in the form of paid newsletters, but that’s another business that has been drained.

Professional journalism and media production (audio and video) will have to be paid. Why?  Because it will come with a branded, marketing infrastructure that requires upkeep. And though ad revenue will help, it can’t cover all the expenses. Peace!

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YouTube 2.0?

Google is making beau coup bucks because the search algorithm is done and it doesn’t take a lot of overhead to serve up a page with search results on it. These pages are richly monetized with advertising.   YouTube, a Google property, is not profitable (according to Credit Suisse it will lose $470M this year) because servers, bandwidth and other software required to serve the world’s videos are stiflingly expensive. 


The New York Times reports today “YouTube would continue to embrace content created users, even if it was not easy to earn revenue from it, because that content was essential to the popularity of the site.” Said Eric Schmidt, Google CEO, “Usage drives revenue opportunities. Usage always comes first at Google.”


Google is trying to monetize YouTube but floundering.  I don’t have a good feeling about YouTube adding TV programs and movies to compete with Hulu and earn some jing. If they do go that route, which will be even more expensive than serving user-generated 2 minute videos, they should go the brand extension route or, better yet, come up with a new and unique pay-for brand. Peace!  



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Facebook had a big announcement yesterday about Connect, a service that will make it easier for groups of Facebook friends to leave Facebook, go to other sites to "do stuff,” the result of which will be a revenue share of ad dollars back to Facebook.  For instance, Facebook friends will be able to visit Hulu, watch a program together and share comments on Wall-to-Wall and it will monetize back to Facebook. Freakin’ goofy.

But here’s what’s even goofier. Facebook, who capitalized to the tune of $235 million last year, is now actually looking for more money.  Can you imagine? They need the money so they can figure out how to actually make money. It’s an internet property people! It is machines, smart software and people to grow and manage them.  And by the way, the smarter the software, the less people needed. More money isn’t going to solve the monetization issue.

Here’s a new title for you: Chief Monetization Officer. Facebook needs one and but quick. 

Tags: , , , , , ,, a joint venture between NBC Universal and Fox, begins limited online service today in the hopes of knocking Google’s YouTube down a few pegs. It is a video service allowing users to watch certain TV shows and films for free, where and when they want.   Hulu shows will be monetize through advertising.
It would be my recommendation to sell and schedule the advertising much they way it is done on TV, in pods. Watchers are already used to it this way, and it won’t create incentive for people to watch their favorite shows on computer rather than TV.
Were you able to watch The Office online with three rather than 16 TV commercials, it might be an easier decision. But with all ad being equal, the big screen is more convenient and provides a better viewing experience. Hulu wants to build incremental viewers for its TV shows and films, it doesn’t want to siphon off viewership from one vehicle to another, further eroding TV ad revenue.

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