Chris Anderson: Charge for Niche Content, Not Popular Content

A recent speech by Chris Anderson, Wired Magazine’s Editor-in-Chief, discussed the free vs. paid content debate:

When he addressed how this is affecting media and whether or not traditional media organizations should charge for their content online, he draws a number of conclusions from what the Wall Street Journal is doing. The tension is not so much free versus paid, but free versus freemium. In one slide, Anderson comes up with the following rules for media companies trying to figure out how to make money online:

1. The best model is a mix of free and paid

2. You can’t charge for an exclusive that will be repeated elsewhere,

3. Don’t charge for the most popular content on your site,

4. Content behind a pay wall should appeal to niches, the narrower the niche the better

via Chris Anderson’s Counterintuitive Rules For Charging For Media Online.

What it means: interesting thoughts on what content media companies should charge for. Knowing what I know about online value creation, I believe it makes sense.

Why Monocle is Probably My Favorite Magazine Now

Monocle Magazine Logo 

Monocle magazine is great!

But first, some background story…

In September 2007, I lamented the demise of Business 2.0,  probably the favorite magazine of the business/technology tribe. Following this death, I went back to my old flame, Wired Magazine, whom I felt at the time had improved drastically since the dark 1999-2002 period.  Recently, I got tired (again) and canceled my subscription (again).

Back to Monocle. I had picked up issue 15 last July, the City issue, as the theme really appealed to a local media guy like me. I had enjoyed the read but I believed it was because of the subject matter. Fast forward to last week, I picked up issue 19, the 2009 Forecast/Predictions issue. Again, a topic that’s really attractive to a strategy guy like me. Since then, I’ve come to the conclusion that this magazine fits perfectly in today’s social/local zeitgeist.

Split between headings called “Affairs”, “Business”, “Culture”, “Design” and “Edits”, Monocle covers a variety of subject like sociology, anthropology, city trends, design/ideas/new technologies and politics. The mix of business and society creates a group of stories that’s very stimulating.  I would say the only thing missing is a larger dose of technology-oriented articles.  Business 2.0 was very good at covering bleeding edge tech business ideas. But I definitely recommend Monocle to everyone who liked reading our favorite business magazine.

BTW, if anyone needs more convincing arguments, Alain de Botton, currently the best young philosopher in the world, is a regular contributor. If you don’t know de Botton, you need to read “How Proust can change your life“, “The art of travel” and “Status anxiety“.

Quote of the Day: Chevrolet on the Need for Phone Books

“Lose the phone book. You’re probably using an online directory anyway. So call to stop the delivery of your traditional paper phone book. Telephone books make up almost 10 percent of waste at dump sites.”

One of the Chevrolet-sponsored eco-tips found (via LocalOnliner) in an advertising insert in the latest issue Wired Magazine. Chevrolet throws some pixie dust (I’d love to see the source of that 10% number) at the Wired readers to make people forget gas-powered vehicles are one of the largest sources of pollution on the planet. Directories are about local commerce. They’re all about calling before going shopping. They use recycled paper and can be recycled back. ‘Nuff said.