Saturday, March 20, 2010

First time in print

The idea I've been beating to death here has found its way into The Atlantic, only sort of reversed:

Derek Thompson offers "7 Ideas That Could Save Online Journalism" . We pass in silence over #'s 1 through 6. Here's #7, as he formulates it:
7) Make Verizon Pay. Think cable. Last, here's an idea that sounds impossible at the moment, but has ancestors in cable: sharing fees with Internet service providers. Basically content providers would band together in groups -- maybe like Journalism Online -- and lobby broadband internet providers like Comcast and Verizon. I see no indication that something like this is possible in the short term, Pew reports that a company called Clickshare believes it can implement a service in which "consumers have an account at one service (such as a news, cable or Internet service provider site) and can be periodically billed for access to information from a plethora of other affiliated content sites."

One would not imagine that Clickshare would see it quite the way we do:

 ...we who use the Internet think of the Net as both mechanism and mind - pipes and content. We believe that when we've paid our Internet Service Provider, we've done our share. The stuff we find when we connect is what we have already paid for.
Only, the corporate "owners" of the pipes do not see it this way. They make a clear distinction between pipes and content (and then proceed, if they're Verizon or Comcast, to offer miserable excuses for content), and tell us we are only paying for the pipes.
What strikes me in all the discussions, white papers, and bloggery among journalists and commentators is, they apparently buy this hokum -- hook, line, sinker, and mouse turd. Not once have I seen the savvy content gurus suggest that the money we end users intend for content is all being waylaid, ripped off, by the pipe guys. Somewhere back in the day when the pipes were being laid, there was a logical moment when Big Pipe had to think: "What if no one puts any content out there? Then who will use our infrastructure?"
Fortunately for Big Pipe, no content provider apparently ever raised the issue with them, saying, in effect, "That's a nice pipe you've got there - want some content? Let's make a deal." 
At this point, the impending doom facing journalism will require Content and Pipes to rethink the current model of content economics. Or, failing such gumption, Content and Pipes will attempt to throw us, the end users, the folks they are allegedly there "for," under the bus.

If we do find ourselves under the bus, it might be necessary to show Large Content and Fat Pipes that indeed, without a model adequate to the economic realities of human users, they are dreaming the phantasmagoria.
 the expanding frontier in the United States made for an atmosphere of uncertainty and fear that was ideal for phantasmagoria shows[11].

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Blogger jonhusband said...

Or, failing such gumption, Content and Pipes will attempt to throw us, the end users, the folks they are allegedly there "for," under the bus.

I am not a gambler, but I wouldn't bet above 1:1 odds here.

3/27/2010 4:28 PM  
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Blogger Tom Matrullo said...

Happy to be right (about the bus) and helpful.

3/30/2010 7:56 AM  
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