Why People Won't Pay For Content

from the so-many-reasons dept

Here’s a column looking at why most people won’t pay for content. It’s quite simple: most content has little to no value to the customer. There’s no reason to pay for it. Either it’s simply not worth anything to them in their daily lives, or there’s other, competitive, content that’s just as good that is free. Stock news (Wall Street Journal) and porn can sometimes make money because that information or entertainment has a lot of value to a number of different customers. However, most other content hasn’t done a very good job explaining what the value proposition is to their customers. To make money off of content, you need to make sure that someone values it enough to make it worthwhile to produce it – or figure out some other business model to use the content to generate revenues elsewhere. At Techdirt, we try to do this by offering free content here, which helps to promote Techdirt Corporate Intelligence, which provides content that companies value enough to pay for.

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Comments on “Why People Won't Pay For Content”

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Lee says:

I agree

A web site had better have something I can not get free somewhere else if they expect me to pay for access.

Price is a factor. With a hard copy magazine I pay on the average about $19.00 a year for a subscription. Print and distribution costs are a lot of that, so don’t expect me to pay the same for an “e-zine” that has the same adverts.

studious says:


I finally broke down and subscribed to
the Brittanica Online, after they started
charging for full access. $50 per year.
Very useful having a good encyclopedia at
my fingertips, using a dialup and a laptop,
without having all the heavy
books that I wouldn’t be able to lug to
work everyday in any case. And it’s always
the latest version.
I would do the same for some professional journals,
but the price is usually prohibitive,
i.e. a lot more than $50.

Terry Donaghe says:

Paying for content

I think most of us would be willing to pay for content, but are unable to, because most sites don’t allow micro-payments.

In the coming entertainment conversion, I’d be happy to pay upwards of $125 a month for access to just about everything… the audio selection of prescrewed Napster, the video selection of a well stocked Blockbuster, all the TV I can stand, all the internet access I can stomach, and all the video games/interactive entertainment I can play. I think lots of middle to upper-middle class families may be willing to pay this much for this much entertainment.

The thing that we will all balk at is having our choices limited or paying for things which we really don’t get (like the music industry trying to get us to pay for music which we can only play on one device or only for a limited time).

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