Walls are going up all around the media, particularly at newspapers and on social media. Will the construction of TV walls keep pace?
A number of newspapers around the country, including the Los Angeles Times, are setting up pay walls that pretty much require all consumers to pay to see their journalistic wares. It's not just big media pulling back content, but some of their customers as well. Only 20% of users’ messages on social media platforms are completely open to public scrutiny.
Not only that, but now 11% of regular social media users regret remarks they post; and among younger people 18-29, that number is a higher 15%. Fifty-eight percent say their privacy controls are set so only their friends can see their messages.
And then there's TV: Hulu has started its pay site Hulu Plus. Cable operators -- and other multiple video network sellers -- have been pushing networks and other TV programmers to join their TV Everywhere efforts -- which in turn might become a full-fledges separate pay operation years from now. Big media companies are making deals with subscription video-on-demand services like Netflix.
All this meets at the intersection of privacy, content, and data -- not just with everyday data, but increasingly with remarks made on social media.
TV networks hope these reticent-looking social media numbers aren't growing. They want consumers to talk about their shows and perhaps their marketing/advertising partners -- even if they hate stuff -- as long as they are "engaged."
No one wants to give away stuff for free – whether one's personal thoughts, one's expensive-to-produce real journalism, or one's multi-million-dollar TV shows.
This is not to say that some things won’t still be free every now and then -- a sample newspaper (or limited access to a newspaper app) or a TV network's new show for promotion of a special episode.
Perhaps this is a good thing. Maybe we don't have to have an opinion about every TV show, and every bit of entertainment or public activity -- especially when big companies use those opinions to monetize their business.
Maybe social media users should charge for their pontifications. TV programmers would understand that business formula.