Content is now and forever free

Jeff Jarvis wrote a very thoughtful analysis of the New York Times decision to close the subscription based service Times Select. Content is now and forever free. I think Jeff is right. Although Times Select had payed subscribers the revenues on an online subscription based model are meager compared to the revenues of the same content on an advertisers base.

…Thus they made the good college try to prove whether or not a pay news service could work without harming the ad revenue of the business. Even so, TimesSelect hurt the larger brand and its position in the marketplace, in the conversation, and in Google. It was a short-sighted strategy…

And this has all to do with time we can spend on content and the presence of content in general. When content was expensive to distribute and not within infinite reach we had more content than we had time to spend. We could read a newspaper and take an hour to finish it. Focus on content – and thus available time to spend on not directly relevant information – has diverged in the last ten years. That’s why online search is such a major market, we want relevance.

Right now your attention, or some of your valuable time is worth more for an advertiser than you would be willing to pay for the content itself. And I agree with Jarvis, I don’t think this will ever change again. Time is money, personal or business.

Listen to, Andy Rosenthal, the editorial page editor, and his colleagues discuss the end of TimesSelect. Hosted by David Shipley, deputy editorial page editor and Op-Ed editor.

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What are your ideas about this?

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