Some think it is cool to set a movie, a song, a book, a game, an article free on the web. Some feel they should be paid for their creative efforts.

Content Insider #124 -- Free Stuff !!!!

THE Insider

Content Insider #124 -- Free Stuff !!!!

Author: The Insider

Hugh Jackman, producer and star of X-Men, said he was “disappointed” when an early version of his movie was prematurely set free on the Internet.

Wolverine on the other hand was P***ed !!!!

Oh yeah…so was News Corp’s Rupert Murdock.

Purloined Copy – One way or another an early copy of X-Men Origins was illegally uploaded to the web.  While the copy circulated the Internet and is undoubtedly being saved/shown in various corners of the globe.  Many black hatters asked people not to view the yet-to-be completed film and see it as it was intended…at the theater.   We’ll wait.  Source – 20th Century Fox

The incident helped Hollywood strengthen their case that piracy is robbing them of revenues and hurting everyone…including consumers. 

Pirates Everywhere – The pre-release of X-Men Origins on the web before the movie was released in theaters reinforces the opinions of many that Hollywood’s danger is within.  It is much easier and faster to send a digital copy of the movie halfway around the world than videotape it in a theater, make DVD copies and sell them on the street corner.  Source -- MPAA


The furor may die down but the way the entire content industry is moving we doubt it!

The incident made us think that the Internet has desensitized our always on world.  

Some people think you’re some type of hero if you hack into a corporate system and “liberate” people’s private information.

Blink of An Eye – Because the majority of today’s content – documents, video, photos, music – begins and stays digital throughout its life; theft and distribution is unnervingly easy.  Most security is inadequate so grabbing the content from one system and sending it around the globe is way too simple.  Source -- ABI


Some think it is cool to set a movie, a song, a book, a game, an article free on the web.

Some feel they should be paid for their creative efforts, their content, their intellectual property and yes even the bandwidth folks use.


Free For All
We’ve never been certain if Chris Anderson, editor in chief of Wired magazine, was serious or deeply, intellectually funny when he crystallized the concept that free is a superb Internet business model. 

Oh Boy…Oh Boy – Like kids in a candy store, people with way too much time on their hands surf effortlessly around the web grabbing content from here…there…everywhere.  Yours?  Mine?  Doesn’t matter.   It’s out there to be taken.



Setting music free helped U.S. recorded music sales drop from $11.5 billion in 2006 to $9.9 billion in 2008 according to the RIAA (Recording Industry Association of America).

Putting TV shows online has allowed us to timeshift, placeshift our favorites and using a little extra (free) software obliterate the commercials. 

Throwing all the news (doesn’t even have to be fit to print) online lets people ignore copyright laws and share stories on anyone’s/ everyone’s site and blog.

Stryker sized up the situation differently when he commented, “Mutants, I don't hate them. They must be controlled”

We agree with both sides of Stewart Brand’s aphorism at the first Hackers’ Conference in 1984 when he said, “Information wants to be free.  It wants to be expensive.  That tension will not go away. It leads to endless wrenching debate about price, copyright, 'intellectual property', the moral rightness of casual distribution.”

Jewels Should Fly – Information wants to be free and wants to be expensive.  It wants to be shared and it wants to be kept behind lock and key.  The ying and yang of content will continue for years.  Source – NY Times



But at the end of each business day there has to be money in the cash register if the organization is going to open its doors tomorrow.

It is that little something extra that gives every stakeholder a return on his or her investment – sweat, brains, time, financial.


Big Money Maker
Part of the problem is that the largest web player – Google – has perfected “free.”  

Use them and you’ll have free gmail, free video entertainment with YouTube, free document storage, maps, news, photo storage and more.

Of course people get a little irritated when Google has a problem and folks can’t access their gmail, when their photos are lost, when their video get taken down, when their online applications/document/data files disappear.


How dare they !!!!

It was recently reported that Google loses $470 million a year giving you upload/download access to YouTube.  Other sites lose about as much as their volumes/traffic increase. 



Video Rules – While YouTube is one of the most widely known online video sharing sites, it is far from the only site.  Around the globe there are hundreds of sites where people share professional, independent and personal/amateur videos…from a few minutes to a few hours in length.  Add TV shows and music videos and it’s no wonder bandwidth demand continues to grow.  Source - Vobile


Losing a little on each transaction and making it up in volume is a helluva business model.

Of course when Anderson advanced the idea of free, he didn’t really mean “free.”

Problem is we started the Internet out all wrong…companies would share bandwidth, servers, services, support and “others” could use the connectivity on an as-available basis.

All of the stuff -- locations, sites, information, ideas, news, research, data --  is pretty hard to resist.

And according to Pew research we’re online doing everything, all the time.



Generational Choices – Men, women; young, old people all have different wants, needs and preferences when it comes to searching out and using information and content on the web.  The one thing we do know for certain when we view the chart above is that “everyone” enjoys the web.  Source – Pew Interactive


IDC and Cisco found that online is so enticing that:

  • the number of users increase more than 40 percent per year
  • traffic will increase by a factor of six for the next three years
  • bandwidth requirements will increase more than 300 percent over the next three years

The challenge is the lines between good, evil…mine, yours…free, paid have blurred.

People who don’t have a real business plan, business sense agree with Victor Creed, “How else am I supposed to get your attention?”

There’s “free” and there’s free.

The way Google (and tons of other for-profit companies) serve the stuff up it’s hard to see the difference.

Especially when folks spend more and more time online capturing, copying, enjoying digital content and it doesn’t cost them a dime. 


Digitally Active – Regardless of their age people from every background have found digital music downloads as an excellent way to relax and be entertained.  The demand continues to grow rapidly.   But video downloads and viewing is still in its infancy…especially in countries where bandwidth is on the “skimpy” side.  Source -- Ipsos


Content in Depth
If you look at Anderson’s long tail content -- -- you’ll see that folks would really like people to pay for their stuff (audio or video).

Whether it’s surrounded by ads, subscription or one time purchase people want to make money.

Let Us Entertain You – Many feel that IDC’s projections for online entertainment is on the conservative side especially the younger generation.  For them it is all about being able to download and enjoy…legally or illegally.  All looks, sounds the same.  Source -- IDC


The really free stuff is up there because:

  • You might look at or listen to it but you wouldn’t buy it on a bet!   
  • People have real jobs but want to express themselves
  • Someone just wants his/her 15 seconds/minutes of fame

Of course there are altruistic people like our son.  He set up as a no charge/donation site for indie musicians years ago.

We don’t even want to know what it costs for his co-lo (co-location) service, server/storage upgrades, constant tweeking to enhance/refresh the site.

There’s no charge for people to post their music.  No cost to download/enjoy the music. 

There are hundreds of similar music/video sites around the globe run by people who want to share their avocation.   

Of course even with the original videos are involved there are grey areas.

For example if the video is yours and the music is “borrowed” sites may delete them just to avoid the lawyers. 

The “free” content (the stuff that the gazillion of other business sites/services/blogs) put up is only available to you without charge because someone wants to ride along and get their message(s) in your face.

As with Stryker they tell folks, “I care because I know how valuable you are. I'm putting together a special team, with special privileges.”

It’s advertising. 

It isn’t a dirty word. 

It is what helps attract business, individual customers to your product, service.


A Little For Us All
Media folks all want their piece…print…radio/tv…web sites…blogs.

Don’t be a snob about it…you might like it. 

You might learn something. 

You might buy something. 

If you’re underwriting the free content someone may spend more than time…you hope. 

The industry needs to encourage consumers just as Silver Fox did...“Walk until you bleed... Then walk some more.”

If you’re not into out-and-out piracy/theft, “free” is the best world for you. 

You want people to become part of the community for nothing.

 You want them to participate at the level that’s best for them and you.

Depending upon the community you can share/enjoy/sell music, games, video, applications, information/opinion.

That is the true power, robustness, richness, enjoyment of being online all the time.

In these areas it’s a me-centric world. 

It’s a lot more fun, a lot more enjoyable, a lot healthier than drifting over to the “fun to steal” part of the iNet/web.

The challenge for us in business is to create something of value people are willing to pay for…not easy but more fun than stealing content/ideas or watching yours sit there… ignored!!!

You have to remember…Jackman just may tell Wolverine people are watching a “free” version of his flick.


A Little Irritated – Aussie Hugh Jackman was a little irritated, disappointed when someone prematurely made the Wolverine movie available prior to the official opening.  Even dedicated free-contenters urged


And if people don’t get the word regarding the difference of “free” and free content, just tell them what Logan said…“We didn't sign up for this.”

Ah…we’ll buy our copy!!!!!

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