A Pain in the Inverted Pyramid

People pay for music downloads. Will they pay for video, news and information content? No, says a Media Post article quoting venture capitalist Dennis Miller at the Software & Information Industry Association’s 2006 summit in New York last week.

“It’s going to be very, very tough to get people to pay for things that are already available free,” said … Miller (citing) illegal file-sharing and the early, easy availability of free news and entertainment content as creating a culture where netizens have from the beginning expected content for free.”

Miller appears focused on video. But what about news, especially the written variety.

During dinner Friday, blogger Tom ( SiliconValleyWatcher) Foremski offered me the best reason why news writers can’t easily charge for content — because they lload the essence of every story into the headline and first paragraph. Journalism is skewered by its inverted pyramid.

This fact could frustrate efforts by news publishers who are wondering whether they are due and, if so, how to collect compensation from search engines or other sites that deliver the essence of the news — with no payment to the gatherers.

Time is money, not. Apropos of this, the Center for Media Research sites survey data suggesting that, by a three-to-one margin, “consumers would prefer to get free on-demand TV programs and endure commercials rather than pay $1.99 for programs without commercials.” Apparently time is not precisely equivalent to money, at least in $2 increments per TV-experience.

Brain freeze: Poynter commentator Alan Abbey shared a snippet from a 17th century poem that may describe the blogosphere:

“What frenzy has of late posssess’d the brain
Though few can write, yet fewer can refrain.”

Tom Abate
‘Cause if you ain’t Mass Media, you’re Mini Media