Why Content Isn’t and Shouldn’t be Free

Things I’m currently reading:

Free Ride: How Digital Parasites are Destroying the Culture Business, and How the Culture Business Can Fight Back by Robert Levine (former editor of Billboard and New York Times writer) which makes the argument that, despite all technological trends pointing towards the opposite, the culture business (and content by extension) is and always should be business and not a right. As I get older (I’m 25) and have a better understanding of the detriment of piracy, I realize that my free and clear access to premium, non-user generated content is only sustainable by my support of the content creators through my “verified” eyeballs (advertisements, Nielsen measurements) or wallet (sell-through rate). None of this information is new, of course, but it is weird to be reaching that age where my morals about piracy begin to conflict with my (still) small purchasing power and desire to access premium content.

When It Comes to Television Content, Affiliate Fees Make the World Go ‘Round by Bill Gurley (a general partner at Benchmark Capital, a Silicon Valley venture capital firm and is considered one of “technology’s top dealmakers”). I never truly understood the power of the TV broadcasting business until I read this article. Truly gave me an understanding of why and how the networks, studios, and cable companies form a cabal-like business environment that has only gotten stronger with technological advancements (give those executives credit for reacting quicker than the music business) rather than weaker. It explains why ESPN, with their enormous $5+ per sub affiliate fee and overwhelming leverage power with satellite and cable companies, would NEVER choose to bypass that system to feed their content directly to the customer. It would make zero fiscal sense, despite all evidence pointing towards the contrary by those who do not understand the television business.

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