According to Bloomberg.com, Barry Diller (Chairman and CEO of IAC/InterActiveCorp) has joined a growing list of corporate executives trying to convince the public that they should pay for the online content that has largely been produced by the public — for free:
“It is not free, and is not going to be,” Diller said today at the Fortune Brainstorm conference in Pasadena, California. In addition to IAC, he is chairman of Expedia Inc., the online travel service, and Ticketmaster Entertainment Inc.
Diller, 67, joined a group of media chiefs, from Liberty Media Corp.’s John Malone to Walt Disney Co. CEO Robert Iger, who are challenging the accepted model that consumers pay for Internet access and then content is free. Diller predicted there will be three revenue streams: advertising, subscriptions and transactions.”
Advertising and transactions are one thing – while both are fraught with ethical, moral, and legal concerns, they have nonetheless become established “revenue streams” for many online companies. The advanced targeting capabilities afforded by the Internet delivers consumers to corporations more effectively than print media or television could have ever dreamed (e.g. facebook), and many people — myself included — have demonstrated a willingness to pay (or pay more) for “secure” transactions (e.g. PayPal). But subscriptions? Why should anyone have to pay for online content, the overwhelming majority of which has been freely produced by the public?
Propertizing free information, and charging people to access it, is an awfully Grinch thing to do.