Chris Anderson kicked off Wired’s Disruptive By Design conference and gave some ideas for old media wanting to find out how to make money in the new Internet driven world.
“This is the law of gravity online,” says Anderson. “Everything that becomes digital will become free. There will be a free version, either you will be competing with free or giving it away for free and selling something else. If it is not zero today, it will be zero tomorrow.”
When he addressed how this is affecting media and whether or not traditional media organizations should charge for their content online, he draws a number of conclusions from what the Wall Street Journal is doing. The tension is not so much free versus paid, but free versus freemium. In one slide, Anderson comes up with the following rules for media companies trying to figure out how to make money online:
1. The best model is a mix of free and paid
2. You can’t charge for an exclusive that will be repeated elsewhere,
3. Don’t charge for the most popular content on your site,
4. Content behind a pay wall should appeal to niches, the narrower the niche the better