How to monetise in the world of free

Paying for media content through a pay wall seems to be a daft idea. Why pay for stuff that is free elsewhere? That’s not to say people won’t pay for content, look at the success of iTunes and app stores. (Their success is due at least in part to the ease of making payments).

We see challenge. For consumers there’s just too much noise in the Digital Landscape. It’s random, raw, repetitive. And for content providers, in this Digital Land of the Free, where’s the revenue?  So here’s an idea. People won’t pay for most content (why should they? It’s free somewhere else isn’t it?) But they will pay for some content.

Our hypothesis is that there is a market for content that is original, timely, novel, exclusive, unique or has quality and authority… that is relevant to me, the individual. With that in mind, Duncan and I present a model underpinned by a media broker, where content is priced according to its relevance.

(Slides best viewed on full screen so you can actually read the commentary at the bottom of the page!)

View more presentations from marc mcneill.


  1. André Faria Gomes · Monday, 12 July, 2010

    This is great stuff. Thanks a lot for sharing these slides.
    Now let’s monetize the web (but with stuff that adds value).

  2. cyrille · Monday, 12 July, 2010

    Interesting and very well illustrated presentation, we get the message!

    However I’m still not convinced of how feasible this proposition is: algorithmic filtering and aggregation of data is often disappointing (and already free in any cases), while human filtering is prohibitively expensive, and often biased toward some editorial direction. Even crowd sourcing is not so fantastic, with clearly a trend toward the sensational.

    One “working” example remains, with books, which we pay for as they bring this kind of curated content, even though many book authors would say that the effort writing a book is not worth the money.

    By the way, the geek in 2010 using Rss readers, stored Google searches, dZone and Tweeter to collect and filter raw information is already his/her own curator, and pays the full price by spending time for it.

  3. Chris · Monday, 12 July, 2010

    “A is always cheaper than B if you ignore enough of A’s costs” – Thomas Sowell (roughly)

    Free doesn’t mean it is without cost. There are lots of hidden costs associated with “free” stuff on the internet (finding often moving sites, generally poor quality etc.); remove enough of those costs and pay sites effectively become “cheaper” than the free ones.

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