Barry Diller Is A Myth

from the as-much-as-free-content,-at-least dept

Barry Diller has apparently declared that “free content is a myth.” Good thing you can read about it — for free — online. A little suggestion: it helps not to declare something a myth when it’s already a fact and already widespread. But, just to see how it works, I’m calling Barry Diller a myth. That’s about as accurate as calling free content a myth — but if he can get away with it, I should be able to also, right?

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Comments on “Barry Diller Is A Myth”

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JMG says:

Deja Vu all over again

From the linked article:

Disney, the world’s biggest media company, is developing a subscription-based product for the Internet, Iger said on July 22 at the conference.

Hi Disney, 1996 called: they want their ideas back. Maybe you should do a quick search of a company called “AOL”. Could be helpful in this case.

The Cenobyte (profile) says:

no such thing as a free lunch

Mr. Diller is right, even if he doesn’t put it into words very well, As nothing he is saying isn’t already the truth. Remember people, there is no such thing as a free lunch. Even techdirt which Mike calls free gets money from advertisors over on the side there, and lets just say someone does it for fun or to further a cause they are into, well that’s the form of payment right there.

To Mr Diller and the like, they are just saying that stuff that is ‘free’ to the end user right now, some of that will become more user funded, more ads, more infomation, subscriptions, transactions. While I don’t agree that we will end up with more subscriptions, I do see more transactions in our future.

Honestly the more I read this blog the more I think people just hate media companies to hate media companies and anything they say is wrong because they said it. Don’t get me wrong I hate them too, but I can list specific things they are doing I don’t like, but I can also see where they are coming from and even except when they do something right. To me you guys sound like Apple fan boys, bashing on MS.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: no such thing as a free lunch

“joining the refrain of media moguls who say an era of free Internet content is ending.”

“who are challenging the accepted model that consumers pay for Internet access and then content is free.”

No, there really was no misinterpretation here, unless it was on the reporter’s end (which could be likely). The entire article was about how currently free content would soon be paid content.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: no such thing as a free lunch

Most of the bullshit on this blog is exactly that… a guy who blogs full time and consults by contract (although he won’t admit he’s a consultant).

While he is a free content hippy, I do agree with him on all the newspaper issues. Even WSJ’s niche services are dying off. They closed off their law section after [free] law blogs were simply destroying them. And science blogs that regularly cover journal publications are pretty big too. You just have to search around and then you’re gravy.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: no such thing as a free lunch

Diller is right in some things but the lines he draws to his conclusions are down right wacko.

Most of these assumptions is that operating costs will continually increase. As technology improves operating costs go down. Right now it’s stupidly cheap to run a network, the issue is that huge down payment at the get go which is far less of an issue to large mega corps of today since they have all the infrastructure in place already.

I disagree with more ads, I would say smarter ads are the future. With Google and others to pick stuff up our browsing will be completely recorded and we will be continuously bombarded with advertisements tailored after our behavior.

Hell I bet in a few years websites like techdirt will start advertising for food places near my current location when it gets close to lunch time.

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Sweeping changes, thanks to Barry:

“Barry Diller has apparently declared that “free content is a myth.””

Aw, dammit, this is gonna change EVERYTHING.

Now announcing a special on Clorox Bleach at Walgreens: Buy one get one MYTH.

Lynrd Skynrd’s iconic song is now called MYTHbird.

America: Land of the brave, home of the MYTH (actually I kinda like that one)

Remember, the truth shall set you MYTH.

How history would have been different if the rallying cry had only been “MYTH Nelson Mandella! Set him MYTH!”

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sweeping changes, thanks to Barry:

Business website hopefully in the works, see past comments for details, particularly if you’re in a major city and want to collarborate.

But if you meant a blog, then you’re crazy. What would that blog be, other than the rantings and ravings of a mid-20’s lunatic on a severe coffee trip? It’d be like Lewis Black on crack, 24/7.

Wait a minute….that just might work…

Dark Helmet (profile) says:

Re: Re: Sweeping changes, thanks to Barry:

No, Freebusters on Myth is NOT Myth, unless you’re going to the bathroom during the commercials.

But really, if you have that much Mythtime, maybe you should join the armed services. That way you can fight for our Mythdom instead of watching FreeBusters. You could help make Earth a terrorist-Myth world, where the idea that terrorism gained any traction as Mythdom-fighters in our time would be but a Free.

Aquinas spoke of the Freedyical city on the hills. The time when we are all Myth is coming shortly…

Ben says:

ummm...he's not really off the mark

When reading the article I was struck by Miller’s quoted statement regarding how it would’nt be free. In fact, most of his quoted statements fall inline with things I’ve seen in previously in techdirt postings. Some ofthe statements are:

It is not free, and is not going to be

He’s right: the internet isnt’ free. Users pay for access in one form or another. The only way it would be “free” is if the government had total control ofver providing access to consumers. With all the complaints about health care reform being socialist, I don’t see this happening.

We have ample evidence both in traditional and new media that people are willing to pay for quality, to pay for choice and to pay for convenience,” Iger said. And they are willing to pay for what they perceive as value.

Again, he’s right, and techdirt has backed up at least two of those reasons before: convenience and choice. And people will always pay for perceived quality. So the argument against this, so far, is that peple shouldn’t pay for perceived value?

Diller predicted there will be three revenue streams: advertising, subscriptions and transactions.

While not a direct quote from Diller, this again highlights at least one thing I’ve seen on techdirt before. Hell, there was an article posted on techdirt within the last few days discussing ow traditional journalism has been paid for by advertisers for the past 180 years or so. “Paid for,” translates quite nicely to, “not free.” Or am I missing something?

Just because you, as a read, don’t have to pay for it directly at the time you’re reading it doesn’t mean it’s free. The Bloomberg article has a banner ad, a right-column ad, and three sponsor ads below the article.

I guess those ads were put there free of charge, too.

Don’t misunderstand me. I’m not arguing that everyone should be charged for everything they do, but to say that it won’t have a cost associated with it is bordering on stupid.

Diller is associated with one site that provides free services to consumers: He is associated with two sites that charge a transaction fee for services at the time of purchase: and ticketmaster. And there are numerous sites that charge subscription fees for various levels of service ( being one, though there are alternatives).

So, taking that into account? How is anything Diller said factually wrong?

As for what Miller said (bottom of article), I disagree that journalism will increasingly become a “paid model” online, but I do agree that, “some companies will have material people are willing to pay for, and others won’t.” I’m pretty sure I’ve read something similar to that on techdirt before as well…

Ben says:

Re: Re: ummm...he's not really off the mark

i think it’s because diller is arguing that news online will switch to a paid model… which is wrong.

I agree, and I said as much in my original post. While I do think there will be some subscription-only access to a limited amount of news content, by and large I don’t see a move away from primarily free news as being very successful.

I also agree with one of the other anonymous posters who said there is probably a misinterpretation ont he part of the reporter. I think that is very likely; perhaps some bias, too.

Michial Thompson (user link) says:

In the strictest of definitions is he not right?

In the strictest of definitions he is probably correct. Techdirt for example may be free to the readers, but it is far from a free service. I see ads on every page of Techdirt I open. Those ads are paying for me to read the babbling blog for free.

Nothing on the web was put there without some form of reward to it’s creator, it may not always be monetary, but it has had some level of reward. It may just be the ability to babble, or the ability to vent or whatever, but noone puts forth the effort to do something without some level of reward to themselves.

So by applying the strictest of definitions the idea of free content is truely a myth.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: In the strictest of definitions is he not right?

It’s often free because we don’t notice the price. Heck, the entire concept of “FREE!” is give some stuff away and then stiff them on the back end by getting them to overpay for other stuff. Mike will say it in nicer words, but it is the only logical explanation for every increasing concert ticket prices, especially from groups like Live Nation who are suffering on the retail CD sales side.

Cue Mike coming to say I need to go to Econ 101 in 3… 2… 1…

HFC says:

Re: Free ANYTHING is a myth

I’m replying to you at work. I have a free high-speed Internet connection, a free computer, my browser (and all other software) is free and I even have Adblock Plus running, so I don’t have to see any ads which may or may not be displayed. This content is free to me.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Free ANYTHING is a myth

“Whether it costs you time, effort, money, or otherwise, nothing is free. Free content? You’re paying for internet access, right?”

And if there’s someone giving free samples of a product, say, shampoo, you still have to spend the money going there for Fuel, right?

Clearly, the free samples aren’t free because THEY charge you for gasoline. Damn shampoo companies and their charging for automobile gas.

What is your point?

ChrisB (profile) says:

Re: Free ANYTHING is a myth

You’re right, nothing is free, but some things are much much cheaper than others.

Mowing your elderly neighbors lawn is much much cheaper than having her hire someone (free to her but some nominal cost to you). Let’s pretend there was a Bylaw saying you couldn’t mow your neighbors lawn. That artifical monopoly would drive up the cost of lawnmowing. If the Bylaw was struck down (or people started ignoring it wholesale), then the bottom would drop out of the lawnmowing business. Dozens of companies would go out of business (because they couldn’t compete with “free”) and/or scream for the Bylaw to be put back. Would your lawnmowing skills be as good as the “professionals”? No. Would her lawn be mowed? Yes.

I hope you can figure out what is what in than analogy.

imfaral (profile) says:

You're missing the point

The point of the article is that Diller see the web moving back to an AOL (walled garden) set up. Diller and others it seems, think that people will be willing to pay to access every website out there. They think that people will be willing to pay to access select content. This is in contrast to what we do now. No one, I don’t think , would say that something is 100% free, someone had to make it/think of it etc. That’s not the point. Diller’s statement about people wiling to pay for something they see is valuable is very true. All it takes to ruin their model is for a few “rebels” to offer quality content and not make people give them a credit card to see it. This site wouldn’t even have to be add supported, think open source software. Once this happens people will quit visiting the paid site since this one is “free”. The value to the consumer will be higher then the paid site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: You're missing the point

“The point of the article is that Diller see the web moving back to an AOL (walled garden) set up.”

Nope, I think you misread it entirely.

AOL wasn’t a walled garden, that is such a re-write of history. AOL was a dial-up service before the internet really hit, it was a complete a-z service that didn’t require any external sites to make it run, everything was internal to AOL. You paid a price to get connected specifically to AOL. Later on, they created a portal service that let their users get to the internet. Remember, AOL existing 6 years before the commercial internet was even really out there to be had.

AOL’s only mistake was not ending up with a national broadband partner, so they became effectively an ISP with services for people on dialup, and a pointless “pay for access” service for people using high speed from other providers. They called it “bring your own connection”, but in reality, the internet had caught up and passed the features of AOL and it was no longer an attractive property for an external user to pay for.

AOL isn’t a lesson in “walled garden” as much as people would like to say that. It is a lesson in missing a significant market shirt and perception shift that came with a “better internet”. Put another way, if AOL’s content today was as much better than the internet content as it was 20 years ago, they would really have something.

Diller isn’t suggesting any sort of “walled garden”, just pointing out that content cannot be produced for free, so assuming it will be endlessly available for free is a myth. We have wide free availablity now because other sources are paying to make it work. Most TV stations and newspapers moved online with no intention of making money off their websites – now with declining ad sales, they are attempting to make all of their products profitable, including the web.

A subscription model for higher end / quality content isn’t out the question. Heck, if you paid Mike for a overpriced hoodie or a t-shirt, you effectively paid for content (you just didn’t do it directly)

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: You're missing the point


“effectively paid for content”

THIS is the point of FREE content, and having the fans/users pay for value. The content is free and engages the user. The user conncts with the source of the content (Mike or itself) via the content itself and wants to have something of value that goes beyond the content. The user buys something ELSE of value, the hoodie or LOOOOTS of tshirts, for a price. Increasing the user’s connection with the site. They paid for the hoodie and the increased satisfaction they gain by being “closer” to the content by owning said hoodie.

They didnt pay for the content…they paid for a way to become emotionally conencted to the content. Even something as simple as a hoodie showing off the website you liek is a way to connect.

yes they “effectively paid for content”, but they didnt HAVE to pay for content. They paid for a hoodie, but they got a hoodie content, and a connection between themselevs and the site.

Anonymous Coward says:

Re: Re: Re: You're missing the point

“They didnt pay for the content…they paid for a way to become emotionally conencted to the content.”

It’s the amazing thing about marketing, it can make you think you did one thing when really you did something else. You think you connected to something, when in reality they just connected to your wallet in a way that you won’t noticed as much. Think of it as sugar coating the whole deal.

Plus as a bonus, people who do buy the “merch” end up paying for people like me to get stuff for free. That’s right, I get it free because they pay OVER the cost to get it. It still isn’t really free for me, just someone else is paying for my ticket.

It’s sort of like going to a movie theater, they triple the prices for tickets, but there is a 50% chance that you won’t pay anything. Can you see what they are doing there? It’s a 50% increase in revenue, and half the people feel they got something worth $30 for free! Tricky. Oh yeah, Popcorn is now $72 a tub. 🙂

Alex Hagen says:

Playing dumb again Mike?

Mike, this playing dumb routine you always go back to when responding to claims like this is wearing thin. You know what he means and what his argument is, yet you pretend like he is saying something else so you can try and be sarcastic and funny. Well, it isn’t working, so you might want to find a new shtick.

RobShaver (profile) says:

Free Speech or Free Beer?

Perhaps free is a myth. Was it free to create? Is it free to put it on the Internet? Is it free for the creator or free for the consumer?

If a band gives its music away for free on the Internet but then does a concert tour, is it okay (moral) to sneak into the concert venue and listen for free? How’s that different, in the moral sense, from listening to the music on the Internet? Infinitely copyable goods do have some marginal cost, do they not? So we’re just talking about that difference, right?

I still don’t think I understand Mike’s ideas, but I do think things are pretty screwed up.

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