Op-Ed: The Internet Cannot Remain Free Forever

  • Brian Barrett of Gizmodo provides a compelling and timely opinion piece that addresses various issues related to the current and future cost structure of online media (“The Biggest Lie the Internet Ever Told: Free Everything, All the Time”).
  • Barrett’s post reminds us that the Internet is still in its infancy — and online media is still essentially in beta, and as it continues to grow we should accept that not all content can remain available for free.
  • We’ve seen an interesting collection of revenue and advertising models in recent years that were designed to keep up with online media distribution and related technological advances (all of which are really still in beta form) — as well as a steadily climbing level of consumer demand.
  • Barrett points out that in order to move forward we may need to recognize the need for paid subscriptions and get past the philosophy that everything on the Internet is meant to be free.
  • He cites recent examples of online media approaches that have drawn criticism (“each one a flaming arrow launched straight at the heart of free”), such as Hulu Plus, the New York Times paywall, the TIME magazine paywall, and Fox’s recent decision to delay new episodes from streaming.