In an insightful blog post this week, Seth Godin (whose popular marketing blog is syndicated through Newstex Authoritative Content) offers his thoughts on the shifting world of media through what he refers to as the “erosion in the paid media pyramid.”

First, you need to understand how Seth defines the media pyramid. He breaks media down into four distinct categories:

  • Free: The most prevalent (e.g., movie trailers and free book chapters)
  • Mass: Offered for a price but that price is affordable enough that a large audience can access it (e.g., newspapers and books)
  • Limited: With a higher price tag, smaller audiences pay for this content (e.g., Broadway shows and small conferences)
  • Bespoke: The most expensive content accessible to only a small audience who is willing and able to pay for it (e.g., the most expensive conferences or events)

As Seth explains, free content appears at the bottom of the media pyramid as shown in the image below. It’s the most prevalent and accessible, particularly with the massive number of content creators and amount of free content available online today.

As we all know, the shift from paying for media and content to accessing free media and content is only going to continue. Seth writes in his post:

“The creators aren’t going to go away–they have no choice but to create. The infrastructure around monetizing work that used to have a marginal cost but no longer does is in for a radical shift, though. Media projects of the future will be cheaper to build, faster to market, less staffed with expensive marketers and more focused on creating free media that earns enough attention to pay for itself with limited patronage.”

He’s absolutely right. Publishers that continue to fight against the free content movement will fight a losing battle. If you read my article about the Associated Press restricting its employees from using social media, then you already know that many mass media organizations have yet to understand that they’re focusing their efforts in the wrong places.

What do you think?

Image: Seth Godin