The Future of Media (continued)

I said in my Future of Media post that they key to media in the online world was four things:

1 – Microchunk it – Reduce the content to its simplest form.
2 – Free it – Put it out there without walls around it or strings on it.
3 – Syndicate it – Let anyone take it and run with it.
4 – Monetize it – Put the monetization and tracking systems into the microchunk.

Since then, there has been a fairly vociferous debate on this blog and others about "free it" and whether or not a paid model for downloadable content will work.

Sure a paid model will work.  But its a niche business. 

The mass market wants free and ad supported content, the way they get it on TV today.

Ad Age has a good piece up today that suggests that Apple would be smart to encourage the media companies to put up free ad supported TV content in iTunes.  In a ironic twist, in order to read the piece you must fill out a nasty registration form that requires you to uncheck a bunch of boxes or get spammed by Ad Age.  When will people learn that fooling people into getting spammed is a bad business model?

Anyway, back to the Ad Age piece.  Frank N. Magid Associates, a well known market research firm in the media business conducted a survey about consumer attitudes toward iPods and downloadable TV shows.  The results are not surprising to me:

The survey found that 54% of respondents would be more likely to purchase an
iPod if TV programs could be downloaded free of charge in exchange for
watching a 30-second advertisement.

Among those actually planning to purchase a video iPod, 72%
said they would be more likely to download a TV program in exchange for
watching an ad. The Magid study surveyed 798 iPod owners between the
ages of 12 and 55.

“It appears that the option to download content of choice for
free will dramatically increase interest in purchasing a video iPod,
thus potentially increasing video iPod sales and penetration,” the
study concluded.

The mass media market is a free media market supported by advertising.