There's more media content and entertainment everywhere for consumers. Shouldn't the price be dropping?
One report says it's the exact opposite -- that theatrical movie prices, book prices for Kindle, pay areas for newspaper Web sites, and new Internet video subscriptions -- like the one coming from Hulu -- all mean media prices are rising.
Jeff Zucker, president/CEO of NBC Universal, makes no bones about it. Content isn't free; someone has to pay for it. While advertisers will contribute, consumers will certainly remain a factor. He says there is a growing problem of the after-market -- that networks pretty much get one run to monetize a show and that's it.
There is also, of course, the push by cable operators for "TV Everywhere," in which, if you're not a cable subscriber -- or for that matter, a satellite subscriber -- you will be paying for content online.
That big tome called "Free" from Wired editor Chris Anderson tells us just the opposite. In the big picture -- on a supply and demand basis, with growing and faster moving technology -- prices for some content should be dropping to near-zero. History has shown us that -- even back at the turn of the 20th century, when it came to selling razors and disposable blades.
As it concerns the media, many of these projections are based on a new stream of advertisers -- as well new metrics for advertisers -- that would help to support all this free stuff.
But media content providers can push buttons with consumers. If something is truly free, there might be some guilt attached to that -- or, alternatively, the feeling that some stuff is truly worthless.
Consumers know there is always a kicker -- even if one is not completely apparent at the time. For decades consumers paid $20, then $30, then $60 a month and more for cable subscription packages.
Now, those under financial duress -- a small minority of the entertainment-paying population overall -- are abandoning their cable/satellite subscriptions, moving to "free" content areas like Hulu -- still predominantly free for the near term -- and other video services like YouTube.
But free isn't forever. Yes, Gillette can still give away men's razors for free and then charge $20 for a small package of disposable blade refills. Comcast doesn't charge anything for most of its video-on-demand content -- yet continues to push for consumer fees for a broader range of premium TV and movie content.
Two different trends keep going: More media and entertainment content, as well as more of it competing with one another, and more people willing to pay for it.
If the laws of supply and demand don't seem to apply to entertainment and media, it may just mean we don't fully understand the capacity of consumers. Media owners don't always get it as well.