The Physical Urge

Narrowstep serves its content in any shape form or context required by a customer. On demand ? Sure. Downloads ? No problem. Scheduled ? There you go...

It has raised an interesting question for the marketplace, though. Given that advertising will be the main driver in the market, what user paid for content will work ?

The options are:

Credit (where the user buys credits up front)
Physical delivery

To date, my experience has been that physical delivery often outsells the other formats.

The issue seems to be physical ownership. It's one of the reasons why I don't use iTunes - I don't want to be forced to use Apple's proprietary format to listen to music I have paid for - in fact I have a similar issue with any DRMd music. If I've bought it, then I want to own it and not depend on some megacorporation's greed.

I remember talking to a record company owner over sushi in New York some time ago. I asked him how downloads were affecting his business. He said that the hip hop business remained the sector most impervious to the onset of downloads. I asked why. "Poor people like to own thing," he replied. In other words, the purchase of a physical good is still set into the consumer alter ego.

Clearly, this is beginning to change, but will people be happy to consume data that only exists at the other end of a wire and controlled by the content owner? If they've paid for it, they may be more reticent. Maybe the answer is to send them a membership card...