Co-Opt The Pirates

By way of John Battelle’s weblog (he is quoted there), I came across this very interesting article about Podzinger.

The crux of the article are summarized in these two paragraphs:

But the real revolution might be for the copyright holder: PodZinger’s spiders will in time be able to track down specific video content on command–a clip from last night’s Daily Show, for example, or everything that belongs to Comedy Central–and insert an ad into each segment, no matter where it is playing. In other words, PodZinger could force each and every YouTuber to watch a short commercial if they want to see the clip they asked for, then tally the number of times it’s played so the advertiser could pay the copyright holder directly. And what if the person posting the material doesn’t want the ad? Tough luck; it’s not his video.

In essence, PodZinger wants to make allies of what are now two opposing parties. “Bootlegging is going to happen anyway,” says Alex Laats, PodZinger’s CEO. “Why not make money in a reasonable way? If people can get paid for their content, and you can track when it is viewed, and advertisements can deliver their brand message, then who cares?” As Laats sees it, this way, everyone stands to benefit from the video boom: The copyright holders, the pirates, the fans, and PodZinger, which would skim a few cents off the top.

There is always going to be people ripping off content however hard you make it with copy protection, it is just a plain and simple reality.

So you have two choices open to you. Either you can work really hard to lock down the content, and sue the whotsit off anyone and everyone who does not have a legal copy, or you can ride the wave and make money from it.

In the first instance, you will need to spend money on enforcement, costs which will have to be passed through to your customer base, which will be shinking because your product will get more and more expensive and dealing with DRM is not something most consumers want to do.

In the second instance, your content will be more widely distributed, reach a bigger audience, and you will make revenue from advertising.

There is a lot of content available to consumers, way more than they could possibly assimilate in any given day, and generally consumers want to be entertained with a minimum of hassle. This means that given a choice, they will probably opt for cheap or free, available now, and on the device currently in front of them.

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