TREotM: A Start on the History of Media Revenue Models

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Chapter 13, Part 2

This is the latest chapter in my new book The Revoltuionary Evolution of the Media. Go here to read it from the beginning.

What?  You want me to pay?  Why?  News and information are meant to be free … everything wants to be free!  Why else was the Internet invented?  While there might be no free lunch, everything on the ‘Net needs to free.

Nice thought.  And more than a few wanted the World Wide Web to separate content from currency … something found to be simply impossible.

First, let’s review those “5 Cs” from an earlier chapter: content, conduit, consumer, connectivity and currencies.

For a medium to exist, it needs certain somethings.  These somethings include art, information, news, comedy, song, video, statuary and/or etc. – etc. – etc.  Plus, of course, the medium needs a way to transmit its something from the creator to whomever or wherever.  It needs a consumer, a recipient.  And, of course, it needs a way to pay for the creation, the distribution, the infrastructure and every step in between

Media can take many forms, formats and functions.  As we saw earlier, rock art was an early medium.  An artist or artists, some 25 centuries ago created pictures (really drawn or etched outlines of animals, people and scenes) on rocks found near the Duoro River in Portugal, in caves (with color no less) in France and elsewhere. No currency, of course, changed hands.  But bartering might well have taken place.  There was as yet no infrastructure to “move” the medium. 

Other mediums were created over time … from painting to statuary to plays to stories to tales to songs to tapestries and more.  Almost all were singular efforts … and many remain so today.

Oral tales and histories played significant roles in teaching and spreading language.

But until literacy, media as we think of it today didn’t develop.  But once it did, money became a primary driver. Since money is what makes today’s world go round we’re going to take a slight side trip next week as we begin tracking the monetary histories of each format: News – Entertainment – Information – Letters – Songs – Posters – Plays (Performances) – Propaganda – Maps – History – Books – Print – Newspapers – Pamphlets – Magazines – Telephony (Telegraph & Telephone) – Business-to-Business (B2B) – Radio – Movies – Television & Video – Electronic Media – Targeted Media – Direct Mail – The Internet – Collective/Social Media – Data-Driven Media – and more.  This is important, folks, because the monetization routes of various forms of media can tell us a great deal about their future. And ours.

(Meanwhile, anyone got any suggestions for media we should include in our money survey? I’m sure I’m missing something and I’d much rather hear from you than wake up thinking about it at 3:18 a.m.)

Next week: Chapter 13, Part 3

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