Apparently Time Warner Cable doesn’t like their customers according to this blog entry on Slashdot. I can’t say whether this story is true, but downloading 45GB in a weeks doesn’t sound that unusual for somebody who is using the Netflix service or iTunes to watch movies (~9 feature length movies). So, my question is what does Time Warner want? Do they want customers to quit their service all together and demand a government utility for the Internet? Do they want customers to discontinue their service and rent movies and TV shows directly from Blockbuster or a kiosk? This is the reality of rich media and they better figure out a way to make some money before they get squeezed out. Hating your customers isn’t a way to do business. I understand that bandwidth is expensive, but it should push them to innovate rather than to calcify and hate. The ISPs need to understand and catch up with rich media and work with customers and the media producers to come to good solution for everyone. If they keep hating their customers, pretty soon they won’t have any and go out of business. And I’ll say good riddance too …
I’ve been following the news coming out of the Newspaper Association of America (NAA) conference. Here’s a link to latest thread as Google’s CEO, Eric Schmidt adds his 2-cents. Basically the newspapers have discovered that “free” isn’t a business model while, at the same time, they have no idea how to regain control of the distribution of their content from the millions of bloggers and aggregators out there in the world. The thing I don’t understand is why they object to bloggers and aggregators providing links to their content and why they are acting like the music industry folks and “hating” upon their customers. First of all links are the life’s blood of the internet. If you want people to find your content, then links to your content (along with quality content) will help put your content on top of the Google stack (links are the Internet’s “street cred”). What news agencies don’t want is bloggers and aggregators reprinting content in whole without crediting or linking back to the source.
Let’s take a look at my interaction with Ad Age. I pay a subscription to Ad Age because I find the content compelling. I ended up getting a subscription because of links from the CEA news aggregator. Some Ad Age articles are free, but not all of them. I wanted access to this news so I pay for it. What a concept! In my blogging I put links to Ad Age in them and if my readers want to read the Ad Age source they can choose to pay and read the source article. Mind blowing isn’t it? So what’s the secret? Um … it’s called compelling content!
So with respect to bloggers, news agencies want them to find their content. News agencies want bloggers to pay to read content and then repackage the headlines so they compel their readers to follow the links back to the source. Those readers, then, will be confronted with the choice to pay to read further. So my message to the news agencies is that they should show some love to bloggers rather than “hating” upon them. Most people like their news pre-digested and spoon fed to them. Get used to it! Understand who it is that wants to get beyond the headlines and serve that audience. Quit worrying about the masses for which the “cesspool” of the Internet and headlines are good enough. Let the bloggers and the aggregators have the close relationship with the masses — use them as envoys. I think Eric Schmidt got it right by telling the news agency execs and reps,
These are ultimately consumer businesses, and if you piss off enough of them, you ultimately won’t have any.