Monday, October 26, 2009

Will Consumers Pay for Online Content

Hulu wants to charge for online content. Will consumers pay? They pay for Netflix, they pay for Blockbuster, but will they pay a site that has been previously offering its content for free? I expect that consumers will simply get more annoyed at thesecompanies and will utlimately find a way around them. The challenge for Hulu is not how to build a subscription model, but how to build an authentication model that feeds off of its cable license fees. Authentication is really all about convergence for the consumer, "what you want, where you want, when you want, how you want" - one price for access across all devices.

The added wrinkle is that the relationship between the cable company and its customer base is a poor one - built on poor service, bad communication, mistrust, and bad feelings. As technological advances hit the masses, from Apple to X Box, cable technology, and the box that enables TVs to function, look and act like old fashion, rotary dial, phones. There is nothing 21st century, with cool looks and interfaces, and ergonomic design to make the consumer feel that they are getting the best product from cable. Rather, they feel overcharged, and under appreciated. Hence as competition enters the fray, the customer makes a quick exit to the door.

So online content may try to find a subscription model. Just don't expect the consumer to roll over and take it. We have been mistreated for too long and will find other alternatives to satisfy our video cravings.

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