Must read piece on future of digital media and ‘the paid media myth” (Forbes)

Great piece that really nails it, by Forbes writer Greg Satell

The Paid Media Myth

A common media non sequitur is that subscription revenues are somehow superior to ad revenues. After all, the story goes, paying customers are far better than casual interlopers freeloading on content. Paywalls go up, advertising income goes down, but the hope is that, in the end, integrity will win out. This is just silly. The simple fact is that media has been primarily ad supported for generations. Broadcasters (at least before the cable era) built their businesses completely on ad revenue, magazines supplement print and distribution as much as 95% and newspapers are lucky to break even on copy sales. Free is, in fact, often a step up. As I’ve noted before, the golden rule of media is this: Marketers are willing to pay more for consumers than consumers are willing to pay for content. Anybody who ignores that simple principle either isn’t thinking clearly or is just not paying attention…As Vivaki’s Rishad Tobaccowala has pointed out, the future does not fit into the containers of the past. Whining over defunct business models is not only foolish and a waste of time, it can also blind you to significant business opportunities that are there.

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