Business Models For Free

January 13, 2008

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In my opinion one of the most important concept for “financing” media content in the digital age is “make it feel free”. (The other possibility to finance content is distributing it with “high quality service” and great brand experience and get paid for it.)

Chris Anderson makes a list in his blog about all the imaginable revenue models for “free” business models:

  • CPM ads (“cost per thousand views”; banner ads online and regular ads in print, TV and radio)
  • CPC ads (“cost per click”; think Google ads)
  • CPT ads (“cost per transaction”; you pay only if the customer brought to you from a media sites becomes a paying customer. Here’s an example.)
  • Lead generation (you pay for qualified names of potential customers)
  • Subscription revenues
  • Affiliate revenues (think: Amazon Associates)
  • Rental of subscriber lists
  • Sale of information (selling data about users–aggregate/statistical or individual–to third parties)
  • Licensing of brand (people pay to use a media brand as implied endorsement)
  • Licensing of content (syndication)
  • Getting the users to create something of value for free and applying any of the above to monetize it. (Like Digg or our own Reddit)
  • Upgraded service/content (ed: aka “freemium”)
  • Alternate output (pdf; print/print-on-demand; customized Shared Book style; etc.)
  • Custom services/feeds
  • Live events
  • “Souvenirs”/”Merchandise”
  • Co-branded spinoff
  • Product Placement

Especially the first three, the “trival” ones, can get more interesting in the future, when “personalised advertising” finally is on the market and the consumers have accepted it.

Well… the list is long…

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