Will people pay for content again?

This is the question all content owners have been asking for a long time.

James McQuivey is an analyst at Forrester Research, where he serves Consumer Product Strategy professionals.  “It’s the most common question I get in my travels:   Will people ever pay for content again?”  See three-minute clip from a recent interview.

Basically, James position is that people never paid for the content; rather, they’ve paid for the access to that content.  They paid the newspapers and cable providers to deliver the content, and bought expensive TV sets, laptops and cell phones to get and view that content.  Forrester believes that being connected/having access is more important than the quality of the content – for example, Netflix.  All the content is old but people are paying anyway.  (I personally do not agree with this completely.)

Following that supposition then, and knowing that video data (which is bulky) will be the bulk of data transfers in 3-4 years, any hardware or software that companies can develop that speeds up data transfer, improves/enlarges the capacity of the carriers, makes the data flow more efficiently (encoding, bit rates) would be winners.  And any technology that makes customer adoption as easy or in as few steps as possible (in no particular order)

  • high video streaming quality
  • light or no client downloads
  • organized content
  • multi platforms, multi devices portability
  • easy ad insertions and data tracking across all devices
  • higher synchronous video loads across multiple genres like gaming, sports, conferences, virtual worlds, augmented reality

And the early trend is that mobile devices will start consolidating into one so the load on telco networks will explode exponentially.  But what changes to the current ecosystems and players (content, distribution, advertising, value propositions) must happen before all of this can converge?

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