I was reading a tweet by Sean Blanda of Technically Media, and the subsequent replies:

@seanblanda It’s nice to see the Internet move from “everything should be free” to “I’ll gladly pay for services”

Sean like me is a Generation Y user of the internet, we were a part of it from the beginning, with internet connected computers in our houses early on. I share his sentiment, in the late 90’s and early 2000’s that our generation with the mentality that “everything should be free”. Information, music, movies, software, it all should be free; because well it was available for free, through services like Napster, Bit-torrent, and DC++. At the time if you compared illegally shared media to its legal version the prices were considerably higher. Music sold by CD and movies sold or rented by DVD, at rates that are much to high for our generation when compared to free. 

The internet like what all new technology will eventually do, has reshaped industries and pricing models. The entertainment industry, in particular has had a rough go of it. They’re starting to get it right but there are people of older generations that are fearful of new pricing structures where they had narrower profit margins or wider and less controlled distribution models. Some times they responded harshly with lawsuits and other times they adapted and evolved, but with some ugliness. Hulu and Netflix are great examples of their adaptations, but also of their ugliness. Hulu essentially was an adaptation of the national broadcasting model for the internet, and Netflix originally a DVD rental service that helped kill Blockbuster, realized early that on-demand services through cable companies were a bigger threat responded by launching Netflix Watch Instantly. However, fearful of slumping DVD sales studios and broadcasters are beginning to delay their content or even worse not making it available at all to these digital services. I understand the need to turn a profit, and I respect it, but to artificially increase demand on a waning technology just places the studios in a poor position when it comes to competing with competitors that have better foresight with our generation.

For me it has been 10 years since I bought a CD, and never a DVD; however I have 30 gigabytes of music and according to my ratings on Netflix I’ve seen over 1,800 movies (I keep find more movies I’ve seen that I’ve yet rated so this could be over 2,000). I still don’t pay for music and I’m not using P2P. Pandora, and streamed Radio has replaced my downloads. Netflix Watch Instantly and on-demand have replaced my use of Bit-torrents. However, I’m beginning to grow frustrated with reports on Gizmodo and Engadget that studios and broadcasters alike are delaying content on my services. I would say, “I feel like they’ll be back”, but I won’t, because I know they’ll be back. I, like all consumers can vote with my money, I pay for Netflix and on-demand movies, while I do not pay for Pandora or Spotify, I do click on an occasional ad as vote in their favor as well. I will not buy another CD or DVD, these companies need to be realistic before demand for P2P increases in Gen Y again.

Some examples of pricing models for TV, Movies, and Music that seem to be working:

  • Music
    • 99¢ songs, iTunes, Napster, Zune, and etc
    • $10 – 15 dollar monthly subscriptions Zune, Rhapsody, Spotify…
    • Free music ad-supported and other wise, from the Artists, YouTube, Pandora, iheartradio, Last.fm, and so on
  • TV and Movies
    • $5 – 6 dollar digital rentals, on-demand, Zune, iTunes, Blockbuster “Cinema Now”
    • $7 – 15 monthly subscriptions for unlimited usage, Netflix and Hulu
    • Free videos, some commercial supported, National Broadcasters websites(sort of), Hulu, YouTube, on-demand..
  • Software
    • Lower priced versions of professional software, Photoshop Elements, Student and Teacher edition of Microsoft Office
    • $6 – ∞ for pay as you go (depends on size of organization), Microsoft Office 365, Adobe CS subscriptions, and etc…
    • Free software, some ad-supported, Google Docs, Open Office, Works(blech)…

So if you’re like me and content hungry, but want a fairer price, vote for the companies you like. Pay for their subscriptions or check out their sponsors. The entertainment industry is trying to hold out, but they’ll come around, they have to.

As always, feel free to discuss this with me in the comments below.