Paid Content on paid content

Paid Content is holding a conference on paid content. I’m there. Sigh. No surprise that I think this is too much focus on one model and meme.

At the start, James McQuivey of Forrester says: “People don’t pay for content and they never have… They have always paid for access to content. In the past, access happened to be gated by analog constraints.” We correlated the form – the gate – with the content. He argues that we are paying more for access but didn’t pay for content. “Media have always been a subsidized business.” He argues that subsidy is shifting from advertising to “a device and access service subsidy.” He says that he who controls access commands the highest share of revenue. He emphasizes that content rights holders win only if they hold a monopoly on that content; if competitors can do likewise (read: news) it doesn’t work. He says that device makers are a new player in getting access revenue. He also says that overall, revenue will go down because advertisers’ money will be split among many media (read: the end of scarcity). He says that competition among content creators will be fierce.

Next up is a panel on big-media joint venture. In Twitter, someone asked what a JV is. I said it’s a bunch of cats tied by the tail. As this is in the NYTimes building, I’m reminded of the newspapers’ disastrous JV, the New Century Network. I’m less interested in big-media JVs than in small-media JVs (aka networks, a la Glam).