Monday, October 05, 2009

The Medium and the Message

Paul Graham grasps the fact that the publishing business model is not about charging for content. Most publishing income comes from two main sources: people willing to pay for the medium (you pay for the paper) and people trying to make money off of the information (e.g., businesses trying to reach you).

There's a third way to make money of off media: ancillary income from experiential goods (you buy a ticket to a concert, plus a t-shirt and a beer while you're there).

Everything else is just fighting with your customers, who are quite happy to go somewhere else.

It's interesting to note that this strategy for the media industry revolves around two maxims: better embodiment makes for more valuble content (so concentrate on upgrading user experience) and Don't Be Evil. The alternative strategy is to make cheaper stuff and try to grab all of the user surplus for the producers. Which do you think will get tried first? Which do you think will ultimately win?

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