Give us your product for free.
People increasingly prefer their content on demand and on the web. We want to watch TV online. Read news online. Learn how online.
And, we’re used to getting it for free.
Compare that price to the price of creating content. An episode of CSI costs $2 million to create. Heck, even John & Kate Plus 8 cost in excess of $600,000 per show.
We’ve gotten away with this lasting disconnect by relying on advertisers to foot the bill. By renting out our eyeballs in exchange for our media fix.
We hoped that traditional advertising model would continue to pay for it. Websites charging by how many people might see your banner or video or, oh wouldn’t we like to forget, popup. Traffic would again be kind. Sheer mass would pay the bills.
Problem is: the traditional 30-second spot / full-page print ad model doesn’t translate to our online world:
- We’re never going to click those darn banners. We are “evolving avoiders.” Wherever the ads are, over time, our eyes learn to skip over. By consistently displaying their texty little ads on the right rail, Google actually changed how we view web pages. No longer do our eyes travel in that easy backwards C. Now we dart across web pages in a quick F shape, using an evolved blind spot to skip the right rail.
- There aren’t enough of us to watch in-stream ads. The one bright spot in online advertising has been integrating video advertising into programming. The recall is higher; the brand interaction better. So much so that advertisers will pay more for every set of eyes (vs. television). But, they can’t get enough critical mass online around any one show to meet the production budgets of America’s prime time favorites: CSI, House, Gossip Girl. (Oh, how I love Gossip Girl)
How do producers fund programming as the Internet shifts from being media’s value add to its prime outlet? We haven’t figured out how to price it or even who to charge.
They call it a problem of monetization. Bob Garfield gets a little pluckier and simply decries that” we are, most of us, exquisitely, irretrievably fucked.”